Display Refugium

Discussion in 'Red Sea Max Owners Club' started by Susanedw, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    Had this in the main forum but decided to put here as well for other RS owners to weigh in. Probably should have put the other one in the beginner thread.

    Decided it’s time to do a refugium. Reasons: Help control nitrates, pod population, possible other critters that I can’t use in dt, have a nice planted aquarium with some rock. Much of what I find out on the net is for sump refugiums. As I can’t put it below main tank (too big), I decided to do a display refugium. Will have to decide if it runs opposite dt or not or if lighting from each would interfere with needed dark time as they are close together

    I picked up a 29 gal complete aquarium kit for my display refugium. My DT tank is a RSM c250 66 gal, so I think a 29 gal will be a good addition, and large enough (more than 50% of water volume which I estimate at 46 gal) to be useful. I’m assuming I do not need the bio wheel filter. It has LED lights and moonlights and heater, which I also won’t need but nice to have a backup. The stand I ordered will hold 2 tanks of that size so the smaller quarantine (when I get it) will go on bottom.

    It won’t stand tall enough to be able to use gravity to feed back to display which I’d hoped for to protect pods. So I’ll have to get a pump to use for the return to main tank.

    Should this be a deep sand bed. 4 or 5 or 6 inches? I won't be able to ever vacuum the sand with pods and plants planted.

    Here are some questions.

    -PVC pipe or flexible tubing? Stand will be on wall facing tank by the corner. See pic at end. Tank is just under 3 feet from corner, so new stand will be right at the corner. So less than 3 feet separate. Looks are important to me. Whatever I use, I might paint it same color as wall and fasten to the wall with brackets.

    -I might have a bag of caribsea sand left from the setting up the main tank. It was live but the dog chewed holes in it so lost much of the water. Assuming it can still be used, just not live anymore?

    -have some dry rock left so will put in a piece or two. Esp. the pukani left. Not a lot, just some for pods to hide

    -have to decide if I'm painting the back or using black background taped. If I paint, what do I use?

    here is what I have so far. No diagrams but pics. This first image is the front view of my sump as though the tank wasn't there and the glass is black of course. My first thought to add a overflow box from sump to refuge will not work. There is no place/access/room to put it. On top of that, the sump is a good 3 + inches lower to allow for flood control, and the overflow boxes aren't deep enough to reach to water level.
    .
    That means no gravity feed to refuguim which is a bummer so I guess I need to use the chiller accessory (#10) to go to the refugium. I don't have a chiller yet. There are 2 ways I think I can do this.
    #1 use a separate pump as shown (#11). when I add a chiller, change plumbing to go to chiller than to refugium and back to tank
    #2 Use the return pump (#7) to go to the refugium, and then a pump to go back to that return, reserving the chiller area for a chiller later.

    To return to main display: Pump from refuge directly into the main tank with a black pipe or tubing that drops down, releasing water lower into tank (for any pods that make it through and to keep pumps and foam blocks in sump from being clogged with stuff from refuge. I'd use some kind of nozzle/spray bar to keep flow from disrupting sand bed). See some questions return water to main tank below.

    This image is of my sump. Next picture after this at end of post is of my tank setups.
    250-filtration-system.jpg

    Okay, the main dt is approx 37" long.
    From end of tank to Wall approx 34"
    From end of tank to front of refugium 20" (might be less if I have to pull tank out from wall a bit.
    From floor to top of refuge: 50"
    Main tank just under 60" with top of sump 4 inches lower

    Plumbing outlet would run from the side with the red sea logo to the refuge and back again. Below the refuge will be the quarentine tank. Right now I have a 10 not yet set up and may upgrade to a 20. It would be separate plumbed of course.

    So my choices at this point to get water back to main tank: (if there are more choices feel free to share):
    #1 Use internal pump to go back to dt (and make sure nothing gets sucked in) much like I pump water into main tank with water changes
    --This method means I need either an overflow box inside one corner or a weir/baffle separating the main refuge from where I put the submersible pump

    --Use an internal box or weir attached to glass that will fit the pump inside it but not sure if they are deep enough (usually 5 inches) to handle enough water with a pump, even though water is constantly moving inside it
    --Read that you shouldn't have 2 pumps for a refugium--pump either to or from but not both and use gravity for the other. I can't see how I can use gravity
    #2 Use an external pump to somehow pump to the back of main tank, either into the sump or into the tank itself
    --Can't really find any external water pumps or see how to do this. Seems like I'd have to drain into a small canister filter that will then pump water back to main display. If I did this, I'd use rubble inside only to protect pods and not the filter media. I don't need a large one--just need to go the 3 feet to the main tank and the lift is less than 10 inches or so. Wouldn’t need an overflow box with this method and pods wouldn’t be shredded

    Advantage of external pump or canister is it will keep heat out of that small tank. Esp. with no chiller yet. I will add a fan to the display and another one to the main to put off the chiller as long as possible.
    https://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-Aqua...UTF8&qid=1489456675&sr=1-20&keywords=chillers

    So pros and cons?
    Suggested products?
    Does any of this make sense? any help or suggests welcome and will clarify if I'm not clear here. It's a lot to think about and try to put into words <g>
    20170313_210150_resized.jpg
     
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  2. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    Okay, after much research, I've come up with 2 possibles for plumbing for my refuge.

    #1. build up my stand with concrete blocks so the refuge is slightly higher than the sump in the main tank. This allows me to use a powerhead pump in the main sump to the refuge. And then an overflow box back to the display tank.

    #2 Keep refuge lower and try to figure out how to put an overflow on main sump (all in one) to drain into refuge and return pump back to main tank which means I need to partition off a sec. of refuge for the return pump

    I've read that the first option is less prone to floods, because if the pump fails, no additional water is supplied to the refugium and only a small amt of water will continue to empty to main tank until overflow box is empty. But what if the overflow box fails on the refuge. Wouldn't the main tank keep pumping into the 29 gal refuge? And really flood?

    I'd like to go with option 1 as I can get pods into my main tank without going through a pump.

    Also, when I add a chiller, can I tee off the pump in the sump and split the water so most goes to the chiller and then some to the refuge who only needs 30 gal per hour flow rate. Hoping to get everything ordered and get the tank set up.

    Will set it up as a separate aquarium until I get plumbing done so it can start cycling. Plan to do a water change and use half that water to start it.
     
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  3. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    I think I found a solution to using my pump and avoiding any flooding using this float valve kit http://www.aquahub.com/store/product67.html
    any opions? This way, if the water level drops in the sump, it shuts just that return pump off. When I feed and do wc's it should be okay if the water level rises to the high point but it shouldn't ever drop below the set low point.

    Opinions?
     
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  4. Joe_Koors

    Joe_Koors New Member

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    Dont use two pumps ever. Why dont you gravity your fuge into the sump underneath?

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  5. Trio91

    Trio91 Member

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    What about a drop algae scrubber instead of a fuge?

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  6. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    @Joe_Koors This is a red sea max. The sump is built in, behind the tank. There is room to add another pump in the chiller area and to use that to pump to the refuge _beside_ the tank (kitty corner) and then gravity back to the main display.

    there isn't room really to add an overflow to the sump: I'd have to give up the opening with the twin fans, and the water level is too far down (to be flood safe). My concern was if the overflow on the fuge failed, that the pump in the main tank would flood the fuge and pump my sump empty and burn out 3 pumps (2 return, the one to the fuge). I think that float deal I found will prevent that.

    @Trio91 I also want pods and there isn't much room below the tank as the stand is split into 2 compartments.
     
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  7. Joe_Koors

    Joe_Koors New Member

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    For my display fuge i have my return pump plumbed to both the main display and the fuge. Then the fuge just drains back into sump. I valve the side going to fuge much slower flow.

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  8. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    @Joe_Koors That's what I'm going to do with the chiller when I eventually add one. I didn't want to use the main display return and lessen the flow into the tank so figured I'd add another pump into that chamber (#11 on diagram above). I'll either start with a lower flow pump or use a ball valve to control how much flow until I add the chiller.

    I'm hoping I have this all figured out. This weekend, I'll get plywood and concrete bricks to raise the stand height and pain them black to hide them and get the back of the tank painted or use a black background. When all my equip gets here, I'll see if it all works
     
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  9. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    here is my diagram of my plumbing and set up. it is NOT to scale and the front of tank is like looking into sump (pretend tank not there. Did not put in all the sump chambers.

    tank plumbing.jpg
     
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  10. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    Had to return first refuge 29 gal tank as hood defective and they didn't call to say another tank came in on friday. turns out they had a 37 gal 28 bucks cheaper on sale with the same footprint. Score!! It's ready to add sand and water. Irritated that there is a sticker stuck between top trim and glass and I didn't see until after I painted. Going back to petsmart to see if they'll give a discount. who would put a sticker at the top? Should have been at the bottom.... Hood totally sucks. One piece. I have to take it off to get into tank. Will look into just lights and no hood. Can't believe that either.

    Otherwise, I think i'm all set once everything gets here to do plumbing. Going to start it up on it's own with the hob filter for now. Need overflow box and hubby needs to do the float box that hooks to the pump I'll use. Oh, guess I need one of those yet too. No water yet. what you see is the main tank reflection

    almost there 20170318_191326_resized.jpg
     
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  11. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    I am assuming I do not want to put any of my display tank water into my refuge until the cyano is gone. I do a water change tomorrow at the 48 hr mark. I'm willing to bet I need to do another treatment. Need to find out if I can retreat immed. or put carbons back in and give it a few days before retreating. Skimmer has been running. Directions on box said not to turn off just remove box. I did until the skim settled.

    I had planned to start the fuge with half tank water, and half fresh. And to add a bit of my tank sand to get the refugium off to faster start and to avoid having to start a new cycle. My plan until I can use tank water is to start it. And when ready to hook up the two tanks, I'll do a fifty percent water change and refill with tank water as I add fresh salt water to the main tank
     
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  12. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    so the tank is cycling with a pc of shrimp and bio spira. I'm hoping I don't have to tear it down. It doesn't seem as steady on the stand as I'd like. Maybe with weight beneath it would be better. The stand is for 2 29 gal. I ended up with a 37, just higher and same footprint and was planning on a 20 gal quarenteen on bottom. Will ck with hubby tonight. Might have to put concrete blocks on bottom and will see if he can maybe also strap to the wall in case of earthquakes. This is calif. but out in the central valley. Haven't felt one since we moved here in 2000.

    Do I need to go thru the entire cycle or when ready just plumb to main display. It's a bit larger than a typical refugium so it's a lot of water. Should get my cs overflow box and returns tomorrow.

    Okay, so this tank that I got at petsmart, a TF 37 gal, is not the best. Talk about cheap. If I can find a place online to leave a review, I plan to. Might also contact the company.

    -The worst is this neon orange sticker right above the water line that tells me who built the tank and when.... Who the he** puts a manufactors sticker where it can be see and where the consumer cannot remove it? It is between glass and trim.Right now I can barely see it with the water line and the skim and bubbles but hey, guess what? The camera got it... will find a pc of black acrylic to silicone over it. Petsmart did give me 20 off tank. I'd already painted it when I found it. The way I handled the tank, it was from the back and that eye sore was hidden from my view otherwise I could have painted the other side.
    -Hood is one piece. Meaning every time I want into the tank I have to pull it off totally. What? Who thought of that? There is a feeding hole but people do have to get into the tanks.
    -Power hob filter makes this awful grinding noise every so often. Scare the heck out of me.
    -Thermometer has no markings for temp adjustment. You just turn blindly... And of course if it isn't high enough you have to remove hood, fight the cord for the led lights to move the hood just to get to it

    I just keep telling myself its a refuge but dang it, it's a display refuge. and yeah, I won't need the therm. or hob filter once I'm hooked up, and yeah, guess who has to go on amazon and buy new lights...

    Looking at led's. I sure see the difference between just whites and my rs max lighting. Wow.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  13. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    Okay, except for plumbing the two tanks together--need hubby and he's in gardening mode getting his garden in, the refugium is finished. Ordered more dry rock to add to it. Didn't like what I had and it is on display after all. Not sure where all the macro's need to go as it is very difficult to get good info on placement as most people put in sump refugiums So for now, this is what I've got. Add some to my main tank, put in a suction cup shower soaps holder to see if that would help with my nitrates until the tanks are hooked together. Refugium should be about done with it's cycling. Been almost a month. A good 3 weeks I think, from Mar 18th. Don't have any cuc yet. Have to find ones that won't eat the algae or the pods when I add them. Water is still cloudy from me tearing it apart and redoing it. 20170415_183720_resized.jpg
     
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  14. StirCrayzy

    StirCrayzy Well-Known Member

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    i envy your husbands ability to garden this early in the year ! Here in MI we dont dare start anything before memorial day due to late Frosting.

    I wouldve started the fuge with excess water from the Display's water changes, otherwise your in for some degree of shock when you finally plumb the two together. Or start dumping your WC water into the fuge now to start the assimilation. : Cool idea, i like anything that involves adding more tanks!
     
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  15. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    @StirCrayzy I had a pretty bad break out of cyano when I started that tank. It's coming back again. Lost a sea cuc under the rocks and it put my tank into another major cycle so dealing with high nitrates now. Got some no3-po4 x from red sea to try to get things back balanced out. Using less than half the dose as I don't want to get rid of all nitrate.

    And no one beat me up but I added a damsel to the refugium so there'd be some food for the good bacteria and something in there for me until I get pods. I need to see if this macro algae grows so pods have something besides rock so I'll wait on those for the algae to grow. Yes, I know a refugium is a refuge... But it's also a display so it's a combo refuge and second tank.... Besides, my rock work has all these cool caves and crevices that are perfect for a small fish... Can ya tell i'm hooked... I think the rock work turned out a bit better than some of my rock in the main tank!! And no, I'm not changing...

    I should probably add a nassarius snail to clean up food the fish doesn't eat? Not sure if a hermit will attack the plants. There's not really any algae yet. Diatoms went away.

    .
     

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  16. mr_tap_water

    mr_tap_water Well-Known Member

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    The idea with the Red Sea nopox you use the recommended dose then gradually decrease the dosage as your level Drop then you use a maintenance dosage to keep things just above zero.


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  17. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    @mr_tap_water Okay, the lfs guy suggested a lower dose to keep from overdosing the tank and bleaching out the corals. I'll be testing every day to keep an eye on it.
     
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  18. mr_tap_water

    mr_tap_water Well-Known Member

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    If you didn't know already with using Nopox you need to be wet skimming.


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  19. Susanedw

    Susanedw Active Member

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    what is wet skimming? Is that taking the container off? And for how long, every day? @mr_tap_water
     
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  20. mr_tap_water

    mr_tap_water Well-Known Member

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    You have to let more air into your protein skimmer making what it Collects more of a watery substance rather than a Thick gunky substance. And if you haven't got a protein skimmer you shouldn't really be using it.
     
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