Take refuge in here.

Gozer_1
Member
I'm clueless on this subject and couldn't find any one place with all the answers so I started this topic to try to build an all in one "How To" refugium topic. Any refugium info you want to share, by all means share. Whether they answer my questions or not. I'm sure I will have many questions as I get along in my project.

That said here is my mega question list.


OK here's the deal, I have an empty 10 Gal tank and a 55 Gal Marine with no refugium. What will it take for me to use this 10 Gal. tank as a refugium? Can I set it on a stand next to my display and pump from one to the other and back? I have 2 Rena Filstar XP2 Canisters. They pump 250 gph. Is that too much flow? Too little? Can I use them in a circulation pattern. Out from my display, through some carbon and floss, into the 10 gal. then out of the 10 gal through the second XP2 and some bio material, then into the display. In one thread some one was talking about overflows and baffles. Well I'm baffled on that one. Also, what lighting will be best for it?
Once I have a working refugium, what do I put in it? I have live sand, and a nice piece of rock. That's it. I need to know some stuff I can grow in there. Shrimp? Snails? Crabs? Macro Algae? I would like to have a refugium worth looking at. lol

Well, that is all I can think of for now. Please post soon lol ;D
 
agsansoo
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

Gozer_1 said:
I'm clueless on this subject and couldn't find any one place with all the answers so I started this topic to try to build an all in one "How To" refugium topic. Any refugium info you want to share, by all means share. Whether they answer my questions or not. I'm sure I will have many questions as I get along in my project.

That said here is my mega question list.


OK here's the deal, I have an empty 10 Gal tank and a 55 Gal Marine with no refugium. What will it take for me to use this 10 Gal. tank as a refugium? Can I set it on a stand next to my display and pump from one to the other and back? I have 2 Rena Filstar XP2 Canisters. They pump 250 gph. Is that too much flow? Too little? Can I use them in a circulation pattern. Out from my display, through some carbon and floss, into the 10 gal. then out of the 10 gal through the second XP2 and some bio material, then into the display. In one thread some one was talking about overflows and baffles. Well I'm baffled on that one. Also, what lighting will be best for it?
Once I have a working refugium, what do I put in it? I have live sand, and a nice piece of rock. That's it. I need to know some stuff I can grow in there. Shrimp? Snails? Crabs? Macro Algae? I would like to have a refugium worth looking at. lol

Well, that is all I can think of for now. Please post soon lol ;D
This is a favorite subject with me !!! ;D

OK ... As for the canister filter for intake and out-take for the fuge ... don't do it. You will end up with a flood, this is why everyone uses overflow boxes. Whatever the return pump delivers to the display tank ... that amount of water flows back down to the sump/fuge. Look for my updated "show me your refugium" page, I will update it tonight.
 
atmmachine816
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

O I shall have to read you update, that threads been dieing to have an update

Refugiums have different purposes, grow copepods, reduce nitrates with macro algae, hide equipment and be a place to have more live rock for more filtration. Correct me if I'm wrong agansoo but I believe that's what they are for right
 
agsansoo
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

That's right atm ... Plus it adds more total water volume to your system ! ;D
 
atmmachine816
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

duh forgot that one
 
  • Thread Starter
Gozer_1
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

OK so I read this article on about discussing refugiums.
The description they give for a refugium is what I'm looking for. Not so much a place to hide stuff and clean water, but a place for the easy going crowd to live peacefully. I'm going to go the other way around with the refugium higher than the display. That way the overflow is from the refugium to the display. I don't want scummy display surface water. Like I said I want something cool to look at. As for the under the tank "reverse photosynthesis" thing that article talks about, I'm pretty covered on filtration. I have lots of live rock plus one XP2 is nothing but porous bacteria laden rocks - SeaChem Matrix and Denitrator. Maybe down the road I'll try one, my problem is that when I went shopping for my first fish the LFS lady talked me into a "really cute and active" fish. He is a vicious killer!!!!!!!!!!!! See my topic in fish species specific "A kick in the Wrasse" . I need a place for some shrimp and copepods, and such. Just for the pleasure of watching them in action.

By the way the baffling baffles comment was referring to the "show me your refugiums" post. That just wasn't the refugium type I was looking for. Thanks for any and all help.
 
agsansoo
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

Are you looking for a 5 gallon plastic (acrylic) above main tank refuge ? If so I have a PDF how to that might give you some ideas how to build one cheap !
 
  • Thread Starter
Gozer_1
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

agsansoo said:
Are you looking for a 5 gallon plastic (acrylic) above main tank refuge ? If so I have a PDF how to that might give you some ideas how to build one cheap !
Kinda sorta, yeah. I think I have a plan. A little overflow action. I think it will work nicely. First I will pump water from a small sump into a 10 Gal tank. This tank will be set next to but higher than the main display. I want this to then overflow to the main display, which will then overflow back into the sump. The only problem I see is setting up the overflow from the 10 into the main. Might take some "on the spot" engineering. I'm not exactly sure where to go with overflows lol I've looked at pictures on line and have seen generally 2 kinds. One is a basically a box inside the tank with holes drilled in the aquarium side to plumb a drain into the sump, and the other looks like something that hangs on the back. Not sure how that would work. Anyway what kind of overflow device are we talking about here. I'd like to avoid taking too much more space in the display. Plus I don't know about making holes in a glass aquarium. Sounds a little sketchy to me.
 
  • Thread Starter
Gozer_1
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

OK, so I have done some reading  and I've decided to go under. The LFS lady found a new home for the mean fish  so I can go forth with my reef. No need for a display refugium. I have found some great designs, even found one with the same equipment I have. I understand the baffles, all the Sump/fuge building things. What I need to know now is..... Do I need to match overflow rate to return pump rate? Or do I go big with the overflow so that it's capable of anything the pump can throw at it. The Overflow shouldn't "overflow" any more than the pump can pump back in right? Speaking of overflows. Does anyone know about the CPR H.O.T overflow box or Tom Aquatics Surface Skimmer Overflow box, or any other hang on overflows?
 
agsansoo
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

Question 1 : Do I need to match overflow rate to return pump rate?
Answer 1 : Yes, it has to be able to handle the pump output.

Question 2 : The Overflow shouldn't "overflow" any more than the pump can pump back in right?
Answer 2 : Correct, whatever gets pumped up, an equal amount flows back down.

Question 3 : Does anyone know about the CPR H.O.T overflow box or Tom Aquatics Surface Skimmer Overflow box, or any other hang on overflows?
Answer 3 : I have a CPR H.O.T overflow box. I forget the model number, it the one that's rated for 600 gph. (more later g2g)
 
agsansoo
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

More on Question 2 : The Overflow shouldn't "overflow" any more than the pump can pump back in right?

There's two ways to get flooded floors. The first way is if the overflow box looses it's siphon ... The return pump keeps pumping water up into the main display tank until the tank overflows. The second way is if the return pump stop working (like in a power outage). Water exits the tank via the overflow box and the return line, the return pump line creates a siphon. If the return line is under water too far, all that water will end up in your sump. (wet floors) That's why you must drill a 1/4" hole in your return pipe as a siphon break.
 
agsansoo
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

Oh yeah ... There are two types of H.O.T. overflow boxes, a weir type and a U-tube type. I like the weir style better. More on this tomorrow !
 
  • Thread Starter
Gozer_1
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

Well as far as the flooding due to the return pumping and the overflow not overflowing, I plan to install a fill level switch to kill the return pump if the display gets too full. I hadn't thought about back siphoning though. My return is going to be a horizontal tube near the top with a capped end and four output holes drilled in the side. Sounds like that will be OK. The drawing I found shows the same output as the one I have.

I've been making little drawings of plans and looking up how to make baffles. Going to build a new stand now. lol
Thanks for offering your wisdom It's been an enormous help.
 
agsansoo
Member
Re: Take refuge........in here.

Here's a photo of my overflowbox and return line.

7.jpg


I drilled three small holes in the return line at the swivel joint.

8.jpg
 
  • Thread Starter
Gozer_1
Member
Well, I just thought I'd update this thread real quick. I am almost done with the new stand and have everything planned out. I still need the overflow box and a return pump as well as finishing the stand. I'm going with a Mag Drive return at 190 GPH with a CPR overflow rated up to 300 GPH with a 10 Gallon fuge. I wanted to go with a 20 but it just won't fit. No biggy, I have 1 Rena Filstar xp2 with bio media, and 1 with foam and chemical filter stuff so this is more for copepods and the like as well as a place to stash my noisy skimmer.
 
  • Thread Starter
Gozer_1
Member
Sure wish I could get things together and finish this thing. Too many set backs. If only wood was free I'd be done with this thing. lol
 
  • Thread Starter
Gozer_1
Member
Done Done Done

So long ago I started this thread. I was fired up to get things rolling. As I started planning things out I realised quickly, how much work it was going to take. I started planning and building a new stand that would be big enough for a 20 gallon sump. After finishing the frame many months later I realized it was the exact same size as a 75 gallon stand. Around the same time Outlaw had sparked my interest in a used 75. Long story short, I made a great deal with my LFS and bought a tank and stand ending my long lived battle with motivation to build a stand. Left with no excuses I started putting things together. At long last the thing is working and I feel a small sense of accomplishment lol

In the next few posts I hope to pass on my lessons and give a good detail of what I did and what I should have done. I think anyone interested in building their own sump system will find it interesting and may help them avoid some of my mistakes. Atleast I hope lol.
 
  • Thread Starter
Gozer_1
Member
My sump guide post #1

Ok, the first thing to consider is space. Space below, behind and in your tank. How much room is there between the stand doors? This space is more important than "How big of a sump do I need for my tank?". You can find a few things that say X amount of sump for Y amount of display but in the end you can only use what you have the room for. That space should be used to the fullest. There is no maximum sump size. Believe me, the more room you have in the sump, the easier your life will be.

The space below is most important. You need to know what the largest size tank you can fit in the stand and have working room. This includes space above the sump for things like skimmer collection cups. Mine is short a couple inches and the skimmate has to be siphoned out because I can't remove the cup. You want the largest size sump you can fit through the door and work above. In my case that is a 20 gallon tank. I would like to have used a long but had a free standard 20.

The other two dimensions pertain to the overflow. My tank not being predrilled meant I needed a box. That box needs room behind the tank as well as inside the display. Most take up very little room inside the tank. Mine does, however, require a fair amount of space behind the tank. (It's a CPR box by the way)

Those are the things to consider first before you start planning. Once you know what you are going to be working with it's time to start thinking about what you want your sump to be. What is it's purpose to you? Just a filter and a place to stash equipment or do you want more than that? Having a large sump space offers you a lot of options. Biological filtering, skimming, and even a refugium. Typically they consist of 3 sections. A filter\equipment section, a refugium and a return section. That's the setup I used and would suggest to anyone else. I'll detail each section later down the road when I get to the actual sump construction. For now just think about how you want to use this space. What you want to put in there is going to determine how big your sections need to be. For mine, I decided I wanted one side to act like a canister filter and the other to be a small refugium to help boost my pod population. I also knew I wanted to fit my skimmer in there some how too. Armed with this I started planning a basic sump design. I reead about baffles and bubble catchers and so many other things and started making sketches. Next post I'll get into the design stage. I'll skip my trial and error and just pass on what I learned from it lol
 
  • Thread Starter
Gozer_1
Member
Sump guide post #2

Ok so now that the I knew what I wanted to use the sump space for, how much room I had to work with, and the tank size for the sump it was time to plan how the sump would be configured.

There are many ways to configure a sump so I'll stick to what I did for simplicity. I decided to place the return section in the center of the sump with the refugium on one side and the skimmer/filter on the other. This allows you to have a larger refugium section.

Now the queston is, how do I section off the tank? I looked at a bunch of pictures and watched one flow till I got a handle on how it all works. It feels a little tricky at first but seeing it in action really helps. I took a long time running through ideas of how to direct water through the sump and in the end still didn't have it quite right. I'll spare you the in between stuff and skip right to the finished product. I made my partitions from plexiglass I purchased at Home Depot. I used the thicker sheets to help avoid bowing and such. Keep in mind that thicker plexI is harder to cut. I highly recommend having atleast a Dremel with the cutting tool for this. A table saw would be nice. You want to be able to get the smoothest straightest edges you can. I cut some with a plexI knife and it worked well but is a miserable blister inducing job. For this project a Dremel and some practice will be fine. Nothing I did is actually supporting the main water weight. I left that up to a tank manufacturer.

Armed with a Dremel and some sheets of plexI I started with the two main dividers. (Bare in mind that this is more of an "I should have" kind of explaintion of what I did. I had a lot of trial and error as I said) I measured the inside width of the 20 gallon tank. It was 11 and 7/8s inches wide. This number should be around 12 for a 20 gallon. I also measured the inside height at about 16 inches. here's the first thing to take in to account. You have 16 inches but you want some room left over in the sump to prevent overflow. (I'll explain that later) A good rule of thumb is to make your main dividers 2 inches shorter than the height of the tank. So mine are 14 inches tall. Now ready to cut I marked out a 12 by 14 and 1/4 inch rectangle. You want to leave extra for fine tuning the fit. I recommend the planner attachment for the Dremel. Again it takes some practice but will work great. You can plane the edges you cut till the divider fits snuggly in the tank. Now that you have your dividers for the two sides you can move them around and think about how much space you want in each section. The only trick here is leaving enough room in the return section for the tank to drain in to in a power outage. A few gallons of water will drain into the sump if the power goes out. The drain tubes empty out and the return line back siphons to the air inlet at the water surface. I basically eyeballed how much water would be in the tubing and added the volume of 2 inches of the surface of my display and planned for that much space. It ended up being a lot more than in reality so I could have made a larger refugium. Mine drains off about 3 gallons of water so I need to leave an extra 3 gallons in the return section. Remember that 2 inches at the top. Well that 2 inches is about 2.5 gallons. So we need another half gallon extra in the return. My pump needs 3 inches of water to operate so if we make the return section 6 inches wide we'll have plenty of room. Now we know the two divders will be 6 inches apart but where do they go? It's best to have the largest refugium section you can. You have 18 inches to work with. I would go with 6 and 12. One divider goes 12 inches from one side and the other goes 6 in.

Now how do you get the water from section to section? You need spillways. These will be 2 inch cut outs in the main dividers. You want to make a 2 by 2 square cut out on one top corner of each divider. This is where the water will spill into your bubble trap which I'll explain later. First we need to finish the main dividers.

I wanted the filter side to have 2 compartments. One for the skimmer and one for filter media. To do this I made another divider. This one 14 by 6. At one end I cut a 2.5 inch by 5.5 inch rectangle to allow water to flow under. The uncut 0.5 inch (5.5 instead of 6) is to help support the divider at the bottom. You want to glue this to the center of the main divider using super glue and corner clamps. Make sure the cut out is opposite the cut out spillway on the main divider. You want the water to flow under the minI divider. Voila, two chambers. You can now glue this main divider into place. Place a square on the outside edge of the tank an line up the, hopefully, snug fitting main divider inside. Once the divider is straight and in place you can silicone the seams. Run a bead down the seam and use your finger to smeer it in. May take some practice to get it to look as good as a store bought tank lol. When all the seams are sealed your fliter section is done for now. On to the refugium side. You can just glue it into place. Make sure the spillways for both main dividers are on the same side. Your return pump will be opposite these spillways. Next time I'll get into the flow box I put on the refugium divider to have the water at the bottom of the refugium be the water that spills out. It will help move some pods and such in to the display and will encourage the water to flow through refugium. For now I must sleep. Hope no one is too terribly bored or confused. Knew I should have taken pictures at each phase. DOH
 
agsansoo
Member
Wow ... You've come a long way in such a short time ! Can't wait to see your sump construction thread !

 
  • Thread Starter
Gozer_1
Member
So now we have a three sections, 4 if you count the divided filter section. We know the water will drain from the tank and be split between the two end sections, refugium and filter. This water will fill the two sections and spill in to the middle return section. One last thing to cover here is the flow box in the refugium. For this I took two 4" X 8" pieces of plexI and glued them in to a long corner shape using super glue and corner clamps. When this was set I glued it to the refugium main divider and tank side inside the refugium so that it creates a box around the spillway. This will force the overflowing water to come from the bottom of the refugium instead of the top. As I said this will help get pods and such to get moved in to the main display.

Now that we have the water spilling into the return section we need to think about bubbles. The water level in the return section will be lower than then the other two sections. The spilling water falling whatever distance to the water below will draw air in to the water creating a ton of bubbles and noise. These bubbles are not just annoying. Air flowing through a water pump is called cavitation and is not good for your pump. To prevent these bubbles we need a trap. This trap will allow the air to escape before reaching the return pump and help quite the sump operation. For this we'll need a few small pieces of plexI to create a series of baffles or dividers that will sort of step the water down in to the sump. The first will line up with your two inch spillways. It needs to fit snuggly between the two main dividers and will be glued later. This divider needs to be 12 inches tall by 6 inches wide (or snug fit in return section). At the bottom of this piece you need to cut out a 5" by 2" slot. Leave about a half inch on each side of the cut out to support the baffle. The water will flow under this after spilling out from the side sections. The next baffle will be 6" by 9" with no cut outs. The water needs to flow over this one and it should be about 2" away from the first baffle. No need to be perfect here just make sure it fits snug. The next will be 9" by 6" with another 2" by 5" cut out at the bottom for the water to flow under. Another that is 6" by 6" with another 6" by 6" with the bottom cut after it may be necessary. It depends on the water level in the actual pump area. If it's much less than 6" you may want some extra baffling. 6" or more and the first couple baffles will do the trick. These baffles can be tricky to glue in place and get sealed so make sure to leave yourself room to do it. They can be as far a part as you have room for, and they can be as high or low (more or less than 9") as needed for noise reduction. The return water level will be determined when the sump is hooked up. Till then we don't totally know how much water will drain down to the sump. I way over estimated for mine and really don't need the bubble trap baffles as long as I keep up on topping off.

At this point you may feel a little confused and I didn't take pictures while building mine so I'll try to give you a description. When this is hooked up you'll have two lines of water coming into the sump. One will drain in to the first section of the filter section. Here you'll have your biomedia mainly and mechanical if you so choose. (I do not) The water will then flow up in to the next chamber in the filter section. This is where you want to put your skimmer pump and return. I use a removable divider to direct the skimmer out put through some chemical media. From this skimmer section the water will spill into the return. On the other side the drain water will enter the sump and flow under the flow box and spill in to the return section. These two spillways will dump into a single small section where it will flow under then over through a couple baffles helping it to ditch the bubbles and silence the falling water sound. After this it goes to the return pump and goes back to the display.

With all this stuff glued in and set we have our selves an official sump. It'll need to refined once it goes into action. You want to leak test your sections and you should set up some tubing and use your return pump to pump water through the sump. You'll just need a Tee and some tubing. Set it up so the pump puts the water in to the two outside sections and spills back into the return. This will give you an idea of what noise it will make and what adjustments you can make. Play with it in the tub for awhile till you get the idea of how the flow works. When you have it figured out you're ready for plumbing which will be my next topic.

A quick note on this quick guide. I'll be building a 20 gallon long version of the same thing in a month or so. I need the shorter tank to better accomodate my skimmer collection cup. When I do that I'll take pictures and do a much more detailed write up. This is just a quick overview mostly to satisfy my urge to say, "Look Look Look what I did" lol. Anyway, thanks again for reading.
 
  • Thread Starter
Gozer_1
Member
I have a better idea.

Ok, so I've learned a lot about the flow of water in a sump having one set up. I have found a few fundamental problems with my first design. Seeing this in action shed a lot of light in areas I hadn't expected darkness. Because of this I've decided to put this DIY talk on hold, well sort of. I'll start a new thread in the DIY section and post a link here. I want to get back to more strictly refugium stuff here. The new thread will be a DIY for a 20 Gal long sump/fuge. I have a much better idea and design as well as these things called photos. ;D Who'd have thought photos could mean something, right. I have the first couple parts ready. I hope to start resizing the pics tomorrow. I'll also post the new topic then. It will be an untested design so I won't make too many promises, but I have a great idea in mind. It will allow me to use half the tank as a refugium. I only have just over 1/3 in the 20 tall and I can't remove the collection cup from my Remora. I have to siphon the gunk with airline tubing and a careful suck on the end. I don't want to drink skimate. I dread the thought. I need a shorter sump, period.

Anyway, on the refugium note. What can I add to the DSB? I wan't to add a bunch of nassarius snails which will help, but what else will help? I'll have about 4 inches +. I don't know if I want too many algae eating snails. I want the algae to grow so I can physically remove the nutrients. So, ceriths are kind of out. The main goal for my refugium is to be the best little copepod home ever. Right now I have two small pieces of live rock. One of which I paid WAY too much for. I bought it as a "copepod 'condo' filled with live copepods". I haven't seen a population boom in the week since I put in the fuge. We'll see. Live rock is often disappointing at first. Still, I paid $40 where I should have only paid $20. It's really just a piece of rock that had a dead hermit on it. Probably died in transit. Anyway, tell me what kind of things you've added to your refugiums. Including macros and all.
 

Latest threads

Top Bottom