HOB Refugium, Cool or Crap?

Discussion in 'Refugium' started by euthyphro, Dec 14, 2006.

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  1. euthyphro

    euthyphro Flamingo Tongue

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  3. euthyphro

    euthyphro Flamingo Tongue

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    Ok, here it is. I have a 45 gallon tank. It will mostly be composed of coral. For now I am looking to spend between $50-$100 max. Considering that I am just starting out, and will most likely upgrade to a better system, what do you think i should start out with and would be easy to upgrade? A canister filter, a hob power filter that has a bio wheel and blace for carbon in the back, or should i go with a hang on refugium and some type of filter. Or should I skip all that crap and go with a sump/refugium right off the bat?
     
  4. OoNickoC

    OoNickoC Bubble Tip Anemone

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    I would go with the canister, skip refugiums until your into year 2ish of reefing. the hang on back type only work when tuned in finley....and even then can be unstable. I only trust large refugiums that are in combo with a ph controller (co2 system to compenste for the huge ph swings they can cause). They are an awesome form of filtration, but fine tuning them and getting them to actually work is tricky and decieving. If you only have 100 then i would simply save up a bit longer.....otherwise youll be spending alot more in the long run regaurdless.
     
  5. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Don't know if it's crap, that's not a design I see every day. I kinda like it even if it's small. And may be crap. :)

    Lot's of crapping this evening? ;D I LOVE SUMPS. And refugiums. Get a sump and put the refugium where ever you want. It doesn't have to be in the sump, it can be on the side of the sump or on top of it. Or it could still hang on the tank. One good thing about having a refugium outside of the sump is that you can gain more control of the flow through it and not worry about getting stuff in your sump pumps as much.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2006
  6. Dyngoe

    Dyngoe Fire Worm

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    I second the suggestion for a canister filter. In the long run you will replace it with a refgium/sump with a good skimmer, but getting started it is the easiest and best filtration you can get. If you do your reef right it will be ~8-10 months before you will put any sensitive coral in the tank. So, you have that long to plan for your new filter. Once you get there, plan on overdoing the filtration. Build a combo that can handle 100Gal. Why? Becaus eby then you'll be hooked and looking at 100Gal tanks. :)
     
  7. Malachi

    Malachi Sea Dragon

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    I like HOB Refugium and i have one on order. its a simple way to add water and food to the tank. you can put your chemicals in it, and not the main tank. Plus you can add other filter media in it if needed.

    Also a good place to put damaged corals or frags.

    I myself have never used a cansister filter on my reef tank, so i have no opinion on that.

    and under the tank sump/ref is the best but it will cost you more then $100.00 you have to save up for a tank, overflow, return pump, piping, light fixture (if adding a Ref). This is a good way to create out of the tank wave motion using a seaswirl or scwd (more $$). i had one set up until my sump sprung a leak and fried my ballast. Big Mess!!!

    I would redo, better then the first time if i had the $$, but i got a 5 month old baby.
     
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  9. euthyphro

    euthyphro Flamingo Tongue

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    I have this book here and it says nothing about refugiums. what exactly does a refugium do as as far as breaking down nitrogen and all that stuff goes? I see that many mechanical filters have places to grow beneficial bacteria, but is the bacteria grown on "bio balls" fundamentally different then the bacteria grown in refugiums- refugiums are for growing bacteria right?

    Also, if i got a canister filter now, could i add a sump and refugium later and still use my canister filter. Or would the canister filter be basically useless when a sump and refugium is present? It is my impression that one could use all three without one being redundant.

    Thanks to all you guys it wont be too much longer untill ill have all my stuff and be labeld a reef head!
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2006
  10. Malachi

    Malachi Sea Dragon

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    keys to a refugium is
    1. Plants and beneficial algae’s fight bad algae for phosphate and other nutrition
    2. add copods and they slowly get released into the tank for food source. Or can come form live rock.
    3. A medium CRP HBO adds 3 gallons of water. Under the tank adds more depending on the size of aquarium you us.
    4. Place to hide heater
    5. Place to hide probes for monitors
    6. Can use Mud for additional water nutrition
    7. Place to add supplements, such as two part calcium
    8. Place to drop charcoal in to polish water as many people on use it limitedly.

    I think one problem is that using Bio Ball or Bio Wheels is they will eventually start to increase Nitrates or Nitrites. Can not remember which one. Any one else hear this?
     
  11. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Re: refugium

    It's nitrates. It's not that they make them, they just don't break them down. (Subject for another thread. ;) ) Nice summary though Malachi.


    I wrote this about refugiums a few years ago that may help:
    Intro to Refugiums.
     
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  12. Dyngoe

    Dyngoe Fire Worm

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    Hi euthyphro,

    Here's how I would describe a refugium setup:
    First off, a refugium is not a stand alone filter but a part of a bigger filter process. Eventually you will want a refugium, sump and protein skimmer. This is arguably the best way to fight toxins in your system. I'm going to assume you understand the nitrate cycle of breaking amonia(fish waste) down to less toxic nitrates. Fish produce both amonia and CO2 as waste products. The amonia breaks down into nitrates which can end up being both toxic to fish and become food for algae. In a refugium you grow algae in a controlled environment outside of your tank to "eat" the nitrates and CO2. The algae in turn also adds O2 to the system through photosynthesis.
    Now, the second part to this system is a sump. A sump is nothing more than a water holding tank. It is usually attached to the refugium. For example, my sump/fuge is an old 30 gal tank that I divided into three sections. One section holds my refugium, one section acts as a bubble collector for my water coming from the tank and the third section is my sump. In my sump I have a protein skimmer, my heater, my chiller intake and outlet pipes as well as my return pump. When the water leaves my tank a small amount is directed to my refugium. You usually want a slow flow throught the fuge. The majority of the water goes to the bubble remover and then directly into the sump.
    I hope this helps clear it up. I found a nice site about sumps/fuges is: Melevsreef.com | Acrylic Sumps & Refugiums
    Now, about your cansiter filer. A canister filter is alot cheaper and easier to start with. Eventually the material in the canister filter may cause excessive nitrates to be produced, but if you clean it regularly and if you are only housing fish then it should be a great place to start. Remember when you clean it to rinse your bio media in tank water NOT tap water. Tap water contains chlorine and will kill the bacteria that break down amonia. When you finally do move to a sumo you can either remove the canister filter and sell in on Craigslist or you can use it as a place to run charcoal and phospahte removers. I have found it's a convenient place to put all those little bags of chemical removers.
    Now, one final thing to throw in. BioBall wet/dry systems are a better version of the canister filter, which in turn is a better version of a HOB bio wheel filter (if you were even considering that). Wet/dry filters provide massive surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow and allow more air to contact the bacteria. The bacteria require air and get some from the water that passes through a canister filter, but will grow faster and better in a wet/dry system. Eventually a wet/dry has the same limitation as a canister filter. It only breaks amonia down to nitrates which is still toxic to fish and corals.
    Final thing #2. One option you can do to get the benefit of refugium macro algae is to grow it directly in your tank. Some people actually like it. I have some growing in my nano and it does help remove nitrates from the water which helps water quality and stops other algae from using it to grow.
    As I said in my previous note, you should take a few months (8-10) before you think of adding delicate coral. Not only will this give you time to get prepared for it, but itwill give your tank ample time to balance out. Within 2-3 months you could start adding zoos, xenia and shrooms which are hardy. But SPS, LPS and especially clams require very good water and light. You will want some time to learn more about this all before risking a $50 frag of anything in your tank.
     
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