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Thread: How to start a refugium?

  1. #1
    Hermit Crab

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    Question How to start a refugium?

    My wife and I are redoing our sump setup for our 90 gallon display. We got a new 40 gallon breeder tank and are dividing it into 3 sections (intake/skimmer - return - refugium) with glass baffles. Right now the first baffle for the bubble trap and the baffle for the refugium section are curing. I have a feeling by the end of the weekend we'll be ready to install it into the stand and get it running. The eventual goal is to have a food source for a mandarin.

    Now with the background out of the way, how do we get the refugium started? Can I go to the store and buy live copepods and Cheato? How long before they become established in the tank and sump? I can put some sand in there and live rock rubble for the copepods and algae to be happy in.

    I saw this https://livecopepods.com/zencart/ind...products_id=51 would that be the best way to go?

    Should I run my light for the sump 24/7 or only run it the opposite of my display tank? I assumed 24/7 would be better for the algae and hence the copepods.

    Thanks,
    Jim

  2. #2
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    The good thing about this hobby is there is more than one way to do things and be successful. If you would like to set up a fuge using chaeto, then once you get some from your LFS or whereever, you can toss it in there and really there is no waiting game with it if that is what you are referring to when you say "established". The chaeto will resume/continue to grow once it's requirements are met (lighting, excess nutrients including nitrates, phosphates etc). Copepods from what I understand, will even live in the ball of chaeto and will eat whatever food/detritus etc, makes it in there, but if you would like to add a sandbed and some live rock that is fine and totally up to you. There are pros and cons to both (using and not using liverock and sand in a fuge) but for the most part people go either way with success. On that same note, some people don't even use a fuge and have successful aquariums so, like I mentioned you can go either way. As for the photoperiod, some like to run it on an alternate photoperiod from the main display whereas in some cases, it is required/advised that you run your lighting 24/7 depending on your algae of choice. Stuff like caulerpa can go "sexual" if lighting is interrupted so in cases like this, people like to run their lighting 24/7. Where chaeto is concerned, I'm not 100% sure exactly what is recommeneded although I'm thinking you can go with either the 24/7 or alternate photperiod, but hopefully the others will chime in to confirm as I have never kept chaeto before.

    Just a few thoughts to get the ball rolling.
    Last edited by Krish; 03-24-2011 at 04:48 PM.
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  3. #3
    Hermit Crab

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    Thanks krish. I did some searching and it looks like Chaeto requires a day/night cycle so I'll run it opposite of the display tank.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tecnomage View Post
    Thanks krish. I did some searching and it looks like Chaeto requires a day/night cycle so I'll run it opposite of the display tank.
    Sounds good!! That will help you maintain a constant/consistant ph level.
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  5. #5
    Cleaner Shrimp

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    If you put sand and/or LR in your fuge it must fully cured (if your tank is already established).
    Cheato needs to be tumbling in the water, so you probably don't want any LR, it will catch on it.

    In my fuge there is a DSB and LR, I had some grape caulerpa, but it disapered. So for now my fuge is a DSB with LR, pods, mini dusters, sponges,snails,B.worms and little critters crawling in and out of the rocks.

    And as far as lighting, I ran mine opposite the display lights. Even though I had caulerpa, I never had a problem.

    The fuge is just what the name says, it's place where there little "bugs" and stuff can live without being eatin' by the fish. It can also be boi filtration. So just make a nice home for those little "bugs" and such, and you should be good.

  6. #6
    Anthias
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    I can give you some macro algae for your fuge if you want. It grows fast and I trash what I pull out, so you are welcome to it.

    I have a pretty good pod population going too, lots of different kinds. I can try to get some together for you this weekend. I'll put a little bag of shells in (sewed up in some garden bird netting) and the pods will move in. Let me know if you want this.

    I have 3 type of macro algae. Grape caulerpa, caulerpa mexicana and chaeto. 90% of whats in my fuge are the two caulerpas though. They grow way way faster than the chaeto, at least in my setup. Great for sucking out nutrients. You'll want 24H light on the grape caulerpa though if you get it, or it may go sexual.

    Let me know if you want pods or algae and I'll make sure I get a shell bag in and that I don't trash the excess. I have a pretty decent amount of excess in there right now I think.

    rob
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    Rob - Seattle Central District
    75 G Display - 20 G Fuge - 50 G sump
    2 X 250W MH/4 X 65W Actinic CF
    Geo 612 Calcium Reactor - SWC 160 Cone Skimmer
    TLF Kalkwasser Reactor 300 - Tank Started Jan 2010

  7. #7
    Anthias
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    I really like my fuge being bare bottom. Makes it easy to clean. I have some live rock in there for pod houses/algae anchors, but besides that it is just glass on the bottom.

    EDIT: I have a few minutes before work this morning while wife is walking the dog. Sewing up some shell bags now incase you want my pods.

    EDIT #2: my make shift pod hotels are in the fuge now, so hopefully they will start moving in and be ready for transport if you decide you want
    Last edited by jrgilles; 04-01-2011 at 10:48 AM.
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    Rob - Seattle Central District
    75 G Display - 20 G Fuge - 50 G sump
    2 X 250W MH/4 X 65W Actinic CF
    Geo 612 Calcium Reactor - SWC 160 Cone Skimmer
    TLF Kalkwasser Reactor 300 - Tank Started Jan 2010

  8. #8
    Hermit Crab

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    Wow, thanks man. That's very generous of you! I'll take you up on the offer when you get some time.

  9. #9
    Anthias
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    Glad to help out. Let me know when you are ready. I'm around evenings and weekends.

    If you have an approximate date you think you will be ready for the macro, let me know so I can make sure I have some (ie. so I don't throw it out.) Fuge takes 2-3 weeks to fill up after I thin it back.

    Pod hotels are in there, so they are probably already moving in. You probably have a decent population going in your display tank already since you got rock from an established tank and there is lots of algae. Throwing some more in your fuge won't hurt though, and will help diversify anyway
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    Rob - Seattle Central District
    75 G Display - 20 G Fuge - 50 G sump
    2 X 250W MH/4 X 65W Actinic CF
    Geo 612 Calcium Reactor - SWC 160 Cone Skimmer
    TLF Kalkwasser Reactor 300 - Tank Started Jan 2010

  10. #10
    Anthias
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    Not sure how you are planning to light your fuge, but I am just using a Compact flourescent bulb (spiral deal), 27W (I think) 6500K. Purchased at lowes. I put that into a lowes clip on utility reflector. Seems to be working great.

    I do have an actual fuge light fixture if you are interested in going that route. Never used it though, as the bulbs are a bit pricy (well, a lot more pricy than a cheap plant grow bulb from lowes...)
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    Rob - Seattle Central District
    75 G Display - 20 G Fuge - 50 G sump
    2 X 250W MH/4 X 65W Actinic CF
    Geo 612 Calcium Reactor - SWC 160 Cone Skimmer
    TLF Kalkwasser Reactor 300 - Tank Started Jan 2010

  11. #11
    Hermit Crab

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    I'm usually available nights and weekends too, so it's at your convenience.

    I did a lot of reading before starting my sump project so I ordered:
    Melevsreef.com - Refugium Bulb

    It's in the fuge with a small bit of cheato, but it sounds like caulerpa is a lot better. I don't mind running the light 24/7

  12. #12
    Hermit Crab

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    Its funny, this whole sump/refugium is so my wife can have a green mandarin.

  13. #13
    Anthias
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    Yea, that looks awesome. Had I done more research on fuge bulbs (or any at all really...) I might have opted for a built in reflector like that.

    Is your sump in and running now? Thought I saw that you were redoing your baffles or something, but if you have macros going, must be up and running?

    I'll send you a PM with my phone and address
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    Rob - Seattle Central District
    75 G Display - 20 G Fuge - 50 G sump
    2 X 250W MH/4 X 65W Actinic CF
    Geo 612 Calcium Reactor - SWC 160 Cone Skimmer
    TLF Kalkwasser Reactor 300 - Tank Started Jan 2010

  14. #14
    Hermit Crab

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    I posted in that thread, but mine's been up and running for almost a week now. I'm pretty happy with it so far. The skimmer still bothers me, and I need to top it off and start up the ATO but I should have time this weekend to get the doors back on and everything happy.


  15. #15
    Hermit Crab

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    There's not enough flow for the cheato, and the power strip needs mounted properly. Funny how you can pick your own work to death and you're never 100% happy with it :-)

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