Freshwater refugium tank?

Discussion in 'Advanced Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by ZanderFTW, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. ZanderFTWValued MemberMember

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
  2. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    It's a great way to control nitrates, which can be a nice DIY project.

  3. toosieWell Known MemberMember

    I think the refugium is a very good way to filter a tank. There are several benefits to running a refugium, one being it adds extra water volume for the fish without having to have a larger tank. You can accomplish a visually fuller looking tank this way.

    My main beef is the idea that is often presented in that you don't have to do near as many water changes because the nitrates stay low. There are really so many more reasons for providing water changes than just to lower nitrates. Unless there is always a full variety of minerals being supplied to the tank, the fish and plants will suffer from deficiencies. Some of these deficiencies in fish aren't easy to diagnose and are often misdiagnosed as some other type of disease. Fresh water provided by water changes helps to maintain that constant supply of minerals and it really takes the need out of trying to figure out what types of minerals you should be trying to add to the tank. Water changes are a cheaper way to provide these minerals than having to buy other sources. Fresh water takes much of the guess work out of these things and can only benefit your fish.

    I think the worst reason to have a great filtration system of any kind is to avoid water changes. It's best to do both. Have a great filtration system, one you can understand and maintain properly AND regular large water changes. That way your fish get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

  4. soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Is a refugium like a fresh water version of a saltwater sump?
  5. toosieWell Known MemberMember

    A refugium is a separate little eco system that feeds to and from the main tank. It uses mechanical as well as biological filtration. The water is usually cycled threw the refugium quite slowly in order to allow more contact time with the biomedia. It's designed to grow plants and algaes in it as a part of the whole filtration system so it uses a light to promote life and growth.

    A sump is more designed to keep the water level the same in the main tank at all times and provides more water volume for the fish. It provides an area to use heaters, thermometers, skimmers, and other equipment without cluttering up the appearance of the main tank. It isn't designed to promote life so no lighting is required.

    I'm sure there is more than just this for differences so maybe somebody else will have more to add.
  6. soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    I see, i always though sumps were used to support extra space for bacterial growth so you could support higher bioloads :D. I was wrong lol. Thank you for the detailed responce :)
  7. toosieWell Known MemberMember

    No, I don't think you were wrong. I believe sumps do use bio balls or other bio media, but beneficial bacteria doesn't require light in order to live. The fact that there is bio media in a sump, as well as extra water, means it does help with higher bioloads. It doesn't necessarily help with nitrate levels though, and because of the benefits of plants in a refugium, nitrate levels are able to be naturally kept lower.
  8. soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    I know this means i have to make one now right? I could see how this could be useful with high stock tanks like cichlids, or larger tanks that are harder to do large WC on.
  9. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    :animal0068: Hi, I've moved this topic to the Advanced Freshwater Topics, as it is a not-so common FW approach.

    As for sump vs refugium - many sumps incorporate the refugium as a section, so the two terms are often mistankingly used synonomously. Toosie's description is pretty much spot on :;hf
  10. toosieWell Known MemberMember

    :) Do lots of research because there is more to it all than what I have explained. I only touched base on the type of refugium the OP is asking about which acts as the filtration system for the main tank, and it sounds like the type you may want to try. There are other types of refugiums out there that aren't intended to be a part of the filtration system.

    I think most sumps utilize a wet and dry type of system for filtration, but again, there are probably different ways to set one up.

    I'm not an expert on either of these systems so I know there is a lot I don't know about them, but I've tried to tell you as much as I could. Research them as much as possible so that you can design one based on your needs, and please don't use them as a substitute for water changes or gravel vacs because those things are still very important.
  11. soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    No worries, i understand the concept, just wasn't sure the difference. There is no substitute for WC or regular maintenance.
  12. ZanderFTWValued MemberMember

    i didn't realize you could actually buy these things you would have to do the plumbing and get the plants for the refugium though.
  13. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    You can buy anything....for the right price :)
  14. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

  15. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    It can and will work, I can verify this not form a fish point of view but from chemistry and work. The plants will do a wonderful job just be sure to select plants appropriately as you really don't want to have to add to the tanks to keep them working well. Most times you will see simple plants in a setup like that.

    I have been looking at going a bit more complex but as a separate tank and thats just a whole different ball park even.
  16. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

  17. ZanderFTWValued MemberMember

  18. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

  19. extreoxyNew MemberMember

    wouldn't a FW refugium just be a aglae scrubber?
  20. FeatherfinValued MemberMember

    I think it's a great way to filter an unplanted (or even planted of course) tank!

    If you have an algae problem in the tank due to excess nutrients, and your new refugium can then out-compete the algae for nutrients, then I believe the refugium would act as an algae scrubber. However, the refugium will also work to keep water quality cleaner as well which is the main bonus.

    I have a silver dollar/severum tank that I've been meaning to do this to. I have a big wet/dry filter with plenty of room for plants. I just need to get around to buying a light for it and then I'll have my refugium going. :D It's a 180g and my only permanently non-planted tank... it seriously needs some plants for the nitrates so I'm hoping the refugium will make an impact.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012

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