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FAQs about Refugiums 1

Related Articles: Get Thee To A Refugium by Bob Fenner, Refugia: What They're For And How To Build Them by Forrest Phillips, Pressure Locking Sump Baffles; Welcome to the World of Versatility! By Joshua McMillen, Reef Systems, Reef Set-Up, Refugiums, Reef Filtration, Marine System PlumbingFish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Macroalgae

Related FAQs: Refugiums 2, Refugiums 3, Refugiums 4, Refugiums 5, Refugiums 6, Refugiums 7Refugiums 8, Refugiums 9, Refugiums 10, Refugiums 11, Refugiums 12, Refugiums 13, Refugiums 14, Refugium Rationale, Design, Construction, Hang-on types, Pumps/Circulation, Lighting, Operation, Algae, Livestock, DSBs, & Caulerpa, Marine System Plumbing, Holes & Drilling 1, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing NoiseMake Up Water Systems, Marine Aquarium Set-Up, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, MysidsAlgal Filtration in General, Mud Filtration 1

Hang on Refugium filter and skimmer by CPR


Two Refugiums 7/31/05 Hi, guys love the site Now off to my question do yo think it would be a good idea to set up two refugiums one a ten gallon aquarium with 6-7 inches of sugar fine sand some live rock and some Chaetomorpha, and the other a HOB Aquafuge refugium (large) with either miracle mud (5-6inches) or some other type of mud as a refugium with no light  and some live rock. Hoping to grow plenty of pods and food for my mandarin in my 60 gallon tank. Thanks in advanced <Sure. Bob Fenner> Refugiums, and Stocking a Reef Tank Hello- Sorry to bother you again! I decided that I want a refugium for my 55 gallon tank, and was wondering if the large Aquafuge external HOT refugium would be enough to filter my whole reef tank, or do you recommend the use of a sump/refugium? <Either work fine... you may want more mechanical filtration> If I used the hang on tank refugium how often, and how much would I need to do water changes, keeping in mind that I want to do few water changes a month? <About the same... see WWM re> Also I was wondering if I would be able to keep 1 percula clown, 1 mandarin goby, 1 firefish, and 5 green Chromis in this tank setup? <Should be fine> If not how many fish could I keep? If so could I also keep a hippo tang in there too, Keeping in mind I want to do as little water changes as possible. Thanks so much for your help, I greatly appreciate all the help. Will <I would study, set your mind on about what this system is going to take in the way of your time, before committing to the hobby. Bob Fenner>  

Just too many nutrients? (refugium questions) So here I am again! I've written a few times asking questions about what to do with my tank. I have a 29gal mini-reef with mostly inverts/corals and a few....ok 6 fish (too many for a 29gal IMO) <Mine too> deep sand bed, about 40lbs of live rock and double 55w PC lighting. It's being filtered by a Emperor 400 that has pods and shrimps doing the filtering (I've never had to change the filters).. there's also a few sponges in the filter. I added 3 powerheads to get some flow in the tank. everyone seems to be enjoying that. Here's the list (and I test the water regularly it all comes out fine) Inverts/corals- green/yellow polyps trumpet coral x-mas tree worm rock (what are those little striped arm things poking out of some of the holes? They almost look like baby serpent stars?) various little hermits snails of every type 1 cleaner shrimp 3 little red starfish 2 flame scallops - they've actually cleaned the tank up a bit, they also get target fed every other day with a zoo/phyto food. that actually has real zoo/phyto in it. I can't believe what some of the filter feeder food has in it...since when do they eat wheat gluten? Fish- 2 false perc clowns 1 watchman goby 1 firefish goby 1 lawnmower blenny (who doesn't do his job! he prefers flake food) 1 neon Dottyback and 1 Eiblii angel...oh my was he a bad impulse buy! He's already picking on the scallops and corals. Someone thought he was too pretty and I did some reading up on him after we got him home. Not something I want in the reef tank with pretty polyps and bivalves. I'm going to see if the store will give me credit for him. we've decided this will be the last impulse buy. Reading first. spend money later! <Yep> The tank was doing great up until about 3 months ago when the Cyano started up... battled that with aggressive siphoning and water changes. Finally narrowed it down to a certain food we were using...the Cyano always seemed to come back in force after the fish were fed. I've been really careful not to overfeed and have been doing plenty of water changes...I think this tank just can't handle what has been put into it. <Agreed> After the Cyano went away the hair algae came up...ugh! I've tried everything to get this stuff under control. Bought a protein skimmer a month ago and that was a complete failure.. half the time it just overflowed and it always dumped tons of microbubbles into the tank. I ended up giving up on it. <Look for a better make/model> Finally bought a hang-on refugium the other day in hopes that this will help control the nutrients. I've been reading the site about different macro algae and I was looking at the grape Caulerpa...lots of bad things and good things. I'm looking for mass nutrient export! <Good> Will this be an ok macro for me to use? <Yes... though there are others, and folks here to rally for them over Caulerpas> Sorry for the long email but this hobby gets frustrating at times...I try to read up on everything I can and a lot of stuff just doesn't seem to be working for me...I know I need a bigger tank! =) <Yes!> Thanks for all your help, I really appreciate the time you take answering questions! ~Angela <Do look into a small hang-on skimmer... my fave, the Remora from Aqua-C... that you can move onto your next, larger system. Bob Fenner> 

Sumps and refugiums, human behavior, WWM Hello- Sorry to bother you again but I was wondering about sumps and wet dry filters.  I have decided against a wet/dry, and wanted to get a sump/refugium.  If it is going to be a 55 gallon tank with as many fish as I can get while keeping the bio-load reasonable compared to my filtration.  How much live rock should I keep in the sump and how much should I keep in the display tank keeping in mind that I want a total of 55lbs of Live rock? <Ten or so in the sump/refugium, the rest in your tank> Is a sump better than a hang-on-back refugium? <Either can be superior to the other> also how much live sand should I keep in the sump? <This is posted on WWM> I am planning on keeping 60lbs of live sand in the display tank.  Finally I was wondering if you could recommend a good sump for a refugium for the 55 gallon tank. Thanks So much for your time, your advice is greatly appreciated. Will <Keep studying Will, and looking about for your possibilities, store-bought and DIY. Bob Fenner>

Canister filters and refugiums 5/4/05 Hi all, It's been a while since I've had occasion to e-mail you...I hope this finds you all well. <Very well... with hope for you in kind> Somewhere in the wealth of info on your site I remember reading a comment that canister filters are basically nitrate factories and that a refugium is a better way to go. <On the point of nitrate production, yes... any/all high flow mechanical filters like canisters, power filters... and especially wet/dry or fluidized bed filters, can and will contribute significantly to nitrate accumulation> That being said, I have a 55 gallon FOWLR and a few invert aquarium that's been running well for almost five years now (with your site a big reason why). I have an Eheim canister filter and a protein skimmer, and am considering adding a CPR hang-on refugium. <Very nice construct> If I do, do I ditch the canister filter, and if so, how? <I'd pull its mechanical and biological filter media and use it strictly for extra water flow and a place to put/hide carbon> Do I establish the refugium for a period then remove the Eheim, or remove the canister filter when the refugium is installed? Since the refugium will be stocked with existing tank water and live sand, I didn't know if there was any concern that removing the filter would drop the level of bacteria to an unhealthy level and leave me with a danger period until the refugium was running for some time. <That is a possibility, even if slight, for a short period of time> Thank you again for all your help. All good wishes, Daryl Klopp <With kind regards, Anthony>

Small Tank, Small Refugium...No Place For A Mandarin - 05/03/05 Hello, <Cheers!> I have a question. <Me too...er...wait...this isn't about me...> I have a 55 gallon reef tank. I recently bought a Mandarin Goby <Do rethink this purchase my friend, return for exchange or credit. Your system is truly to small to provide what this animal needs for the long-term.> and a Fairy Wrasse. I was thinking about getting a CPR hang on the back of tank refugium. My question is, I have a 65 watt 10000K bulb light fixture. The hang on the back Refugium is 24 inches long, about 6 gallons of water. 1st, I assume adding this to the back of my tank with some live sand and some green seaweed stuff <Chaetomorpha linum gets my vote.> won't topple over my tank LOL. <No worries mate <G>.> It needs about 30 watts of light based on the watt per gallon rules. My light is double that. <Merely a guideline at best, other factors to weigh (water depth/clarity, etc..> I really want to cultivate copepods for my mandarin <A noble idea but I have to refer to my earlier comment. You just don't have the square footage (tank and 'fuge) to support this wonderful creature.> and have some Chaetomorpha and Caulerpa. <Please choose one or the other (see my earlier comment re.). The alga\u2019s compete for space/life on the reef just as every other organism.> I heard Caulerpa can release toxic spores when the lights go out so that's why I want a hang on the back refugium so I can keep the light on 24x7. <It's my opinion that Caulerpa is "toxic" at any time, but what you speak of is the reproductive act that's commonly referred to as "going sexual," which is often triggered by the day/night light cycle. If you choose the Chaetomorpha, I think you'll be better served with a "reverse daylight" cycle.> People are telling me an in-tank refugium that sticks to the back of the tank is too small for copepods. <Wouldn't be my choice either.> Both are made by CPR. Of course the in-tank one is only 29.99 no light required because it's in the tank. I guess my questions are is the bigger hang on the tank refugium the better choice and for the plants and animals I mentioned above will a 65 watt 10000k bulb be too much light? Do I need the 50/50 in a 65 watt? or the smaller wattage 30 watts and have to spring for a new light fixture. <As with many things in this hobby, yes, bigger is better. As for the light...the 65w 10K will serve just fine.> I e-mail you guys because you know what your talking about and always give good advice <Uh oh...pressure!> Thanks...........Chet from Colorado. <Welcome Chet...Eric from South Carolina.>

Refugium Design Choice - 05/03/05 Hello: <Howdy!>  First I'd like to say thanks for the website, outstanding job, it has really had a positive impact on the success of my aquarium. <Glad to help.> My question is about refugiums, I have a 120 gallon tall tank FOWLR with aprox. 230lbs of live rock. <Wow!...where do the fish swim? <G> > It has a Berlin style sump with SK-300 skimmer (which I'm not to happy with). I have 4 med size triggers a small flounder and three small damsels. <You do realize your tank is too small for all these fish in the long term?> I have somewhat elevated nitrates. I change out 30 gallons of water every two weeks. <Excellent!> I feed my fish once a day about 2-3 square inches of frozen flat pack foods squid, Mysis, krill etc.. <I believe in feeding fish well...but two smaller meals (if/when possible) will serve you/them better.> I would like to switch to a refugium with a skimmer (trade up to a TurboFlotor 1000). The problem is I don't know which designs would work best for me attached is a pic of what I had in mind. <I'm afraid the pic didn't make it.> I'm planning on having this custom made 30X18X16 (that's my space limit). Also, I don't really know how big the baffles should be, you know how wide or how far from the bottom. Should I use foam or bio balls. And what size pump should I use I was thinking a Mag 9. My LFS is helpful but he's not sure either. < Okay Bob, you say refugium, but I think you're talking about a sump (skimmer, bioballs) with a refugium integrated in to the design. Have a look here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumprffiltfaqs.htm, and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm, along with the related links at the top of the pages. But generally speaking, I use two baffles to separate each component of the sump. The first is positioned an inch off the bottom, the second (spaced a couple inches apart) is on the bottom and is an inch below the first baffle. The first baffle sets the water height in the compartment. This design usually provides an effective bubble trap. Do have a read of the links I indicated, and feel free to write back for further clarification if need be.> Any way thanks for the help. Bob Davis <Regards, Eric R.> PS: how do I read the reply? <Hmm...try left to right and top to bottom <BG>.> <PS: Sorry Bob...couldn't resist.><<What if they're Japanese? RMF>>

Aiptasia infestation & quarantine question Dear Crew,  <Hi Paul, MacL here with you this fine and lovely day.> Last week, I obtained a half-pound of live Gracilaria parvispora (Ogo) from a dealer in Hawaii. I specifically asked the dealer if I needed to quarantine the Ogo before adding it to my downstream marine refugium. His emailed reply was no. <First and foremost, quarantine everything!> Upon adding the Ogo to my refugium, I noticed a few dead amphipods. A few days later, I discovered three 1-inch Aiptasia specimens attached to the glass and to a clump of Ogo. I've never had Aiptasia in my tanks before. After spending all night throwing out everything in my refugium including live rock, quarantining the Ogo in a bucket after the fact, sanitizing my refugium and hoping that the Aiptasia hasn't made it to the main tank, are there any other precautions I should take?  <You should be aware that lots of people use Aiptasia in refugiums for nutrient export. On the other hand its possible that this dealer was unaware that he had Aiptasia in his Ogo. Most people are going to say that you don't have to quarantine grasses etc before you put them in your tank because usually they come out of a situation where they've been used for nutrient export.> Regarding the dealer, should I simply warn him to check his Ogo tanks for Aiptasia or should I also demand my money back? What is customary?  <I might email him and tell him that you ended up having to put the Ogo in quarantine because you found some Aiptasia in it and you didn't want to chance having that go into your tank. I'm sure he didn't mean you any harm, but if you feel very strongly about it you might see if he's willing to give your money back or perhaps you two can come to a compromise. You'll need to treat the Ogo in quarantine to remove the Aiptasia from what's there.> 

Aiptasia Infestation Dear Crew,  <Hi Paul, MacL here with you again today.> (1) If Aiptasia is used in refugiums for nutrient export, how does one prevent the Aiptasia from contaminating the main aquarium?  <The people I know who are using it in this manner are keeping in enclosed in their sumps. So far they are telling me that they are not having it move. I personally wouldn't like to take the chance. One person I know who is cultivating it in their refugium has a second tank with softies that contains peppermint shrimps and copperband butterflies in the line before his main tank, so he controls them that way.> (2) Is it common for growers of Gracilaria parvispora to culture it in tanks with amphipods and other marine creatures, such as Aiptasia?  <With pods, definitely. With Aiptasia, probably not. But there are many people who don't view Gracilaria the way that others do. To them its a nuisance. This is something that is changing as more people begin to use it in their refugiums.> (3) Are you aware of any suppliers of live Gracilaria parvispora and Chaetomorpha linum within the 48 states? (I live in Colorado.)  <Honestly no I'm not unless Inland Aquatics has it. However, I do know that there are lots of people trading it on lots of websites. One with people close to your area would be www.reeffrontiers.com. They have a lot of people based in the western United States who are using Chaetomorpha.> Thanks very much.  <Its been lovely to talk with you Paul, if we can be of any further assistance please let us know. MacL> 

Adding A 'Fuge - 05/01/05 Hello Guys, < Howdy James! > I have a 300G main tank and a 100 gallon sump with bioballs, coral chips, and Caulerpa. Up top there is 150lbs of live rock and 8 x 5 inch fish - angels, tangs, triggers, wrasse, oh and 1 x 20 inch snowflake eel. < Kewl! > I have a Aquamedic baby skimmer rated for 500 gallons I think. I do a 10% water change with seawater once a week. We have a marine lab here in Cape Town who have a pipe going 5 miles out to sea, they then filter the water. It's free to us fishy folk. So, for over a year my nitrates were always 0. I hadn't checked in 3 weeks, but bam, up to 50+ I have no new fish and my feeding regime is the same. Ammonia is 0 and nitrite is 0. I did remove some ceramic rings?? Can't be that can it? < Wouldn't think so. The bacteria on the rings would do little to reduce nitrates, thus would have little impact on increasing same if removed. > Anyway, I've decided to build a refugium for NNR in a 60 gallon tank with 6 inches of aragonite and another 50\60 pounds of live rock. Does this sound ok to you? < Excellent to hear, I'm a big fan of refugium and DSB methodologies. > Do I plumb the refugium to and back from the sump? < I would bleed raw tank water from a return line to the 'fuge, and then gravity drain from the 'fuge to the sump. Do have a read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium1.htm  and at the related links at the top of the page. > Should I also add Caulerpa or anything else? < Can do...my suggestion would be to exclude the live rock from the 'fuge and use the space to culture Chaetomorpha rather than Caulerpa, if available. > And what kind of water flow would it need? < 5x - 10x tank (refugium) volume should suffice. > My bioballs are in the first chamber in the sump, but completely covered in water. Does this mean they won't be working properly? < Working properly, maybe just not to their full potential as in a "wet-dry" application. > I intend to start taking them out with the addition of the live rock. < Would not just remove, but would replace with more live rock. > In the main tank I have around 4 inches of aragonite. I have not siphoned it for a year as it looks very clean. < Unless this is sugar-fine sand, you'll be surprised at the amount of detritus that will accumulate. This may well be the source of your nitrates. With the addition of the refugium, my recommendation would be to reduce the substrate in the main tank to 1" or less of fine aragonite gravel. This will prove much less problematic considering the large (potentially) messy feeders you have. On the other hand...if you need a deep substrate for the wrasses, or wish to employ a DSB in the main tank, then increase the substrate to 6 or more inches of sugar-fine aragonite sand. > Does this mean my circulation is working well? I only have the 2 return pipes coming in at the top, each rated at 1500 gallons an hour. < For a FOWLER this should be enough flow in this tank, though there is no harm in adding more...your fish will appreciate it. Sorry for all the probably obvious questions, the LFS people are no help. < Happy to assist <G>. > Many Thanks James. < Regards, Eric R. >

Refugium Lighting Scheme Hi everyone at WWM. <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> A lighting question here. What do you suggest I light my refugium with? Either one of those 13 inch lights or the ones that you can clip on the sides? Since I know that your suppose to keep them on at different times of the day, I would not want to ruin the moon light effect it has at night with bright lights. Any suggestions? <I like PC's...You can use one of thee many lower wattage, highly efficient systems, like the fine Coralife units.> Plus how many Emerald Crabs can I keep in a 55g reef? <Hmm...really depends. I would not keep too many in there. Maybe one or two. Potentially aggressive towards each other, particularly in smaller quarters.> Thanks for your time. Teddy <A pleasure! Regards, Scott F.>

Refugium - Stocking 04/25/2005 Hi, I have a 72 FOWLR and have a bit of a nitrate problem (< or = 40 ppm) and bought a hang on refugium from eBay (12 x 18 x 4 inches - only $35 shipped!) basically a generic CPR one. <Hey nice hardware.> I have an extra 32 watt PC (actinic/10,000 K) that I plan on using for the refugium, is this too much light? <I think that light will work nicely> Also, what type of Caulerpa do you recommend? <There is a lot of discussion on this and the most popular macro seems to be Chaetomorpha. Fast growing and will not go asexual which is the rumor on a lot of Caulerpa> Should I put red mangroves in? I've hear they do a good nutrient export job, which is strictly what I am looking for. <Mangroves, which are nice, take some room to grow and Chaetomorpha is much easier to grow with this setup in my opinion> Should I put a sand bed, use mud, or go naked / bare. <This is all based on what you want to keep.  Because this is a fish only that will depend on the food requirements for those fish.  Amphipods can be grown with a larger substrate while copepods like a smaller particle size.. It all depends on what you want to harvest.> All I'm looking to do is improve my water parameters, the refugium isn't for looks as it's behind the tank. Oh, and one more thing - should I be running the lights 24/7, a reverse schedule of my main tank, or something else? <A lot of people have success with 24/7.  A good reason to run a cycle that is opposite your main tank is to help stabilize PH.  So I would recommend the latter of the two.> Thanks so much for the help! <Anytime.. EricS>

Sump / Refugium help please Hey guys.. thanks in advance for the help here... <Welcome> Setup - 75 gallon aquarium with 2 drilled 1" drains to a sump.  The sump has a return in the center (skimmer section on the left and refugium on the right) and can be plumbed for parallel flow by design.  The pump will have 600 GPH max flow at the tank level after head loss is subtracted...depending on which option is chosen below.  The skimmer is a EuroReef ES5-2..(350GPH pump) The rest of the tank flow is not a concern here...I will have more flow from a closed loop. I have 3 options to plumb the system...buying a new pump, etc is not an option...I must work with what I have. Option 1.  Place both drains in the skimmer section.  Once the water hits the return area, the pump returns most of the water to tank and less to the refugium via a T and gate valve.  The refugium then gets "skimmed" water and the flow of the refugium can be controlled with the gate valve.  The overall flow through the sump would then be reduced to a fraction. maybe 2/3 of the 600 GPH = 400GPH Option 2.  Put one drain in the skimmer section and the other drain in the refugium.  The pump would return all water to the tank.  300 GPH skimmer section + 300GPH in the refugium - 600GPH total flow. This would present new water to the skimmer section and new water to the refugium. Option 3.   Put both drains in the skimmer section but one will have a T (and gate valve) to divert some of the second drain water to the refugium.  This would also result in new water to the skimmer section and new water to the refugium...and then the pump would return the 600GPH up to the tank. Which is the best option and why?  I'm not sure if its best to pipe unskimmed water to the refugium or skimmed? <Better to go with Option 3... better to have unskimmed water feed the refugium... a handful of volumes per hour... Rationale for such is posted on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thanks, John

More volume! Dear Crew, With your guidance, my 16 gal reef has been going for about 9 months now with good success.  It is beginning to get a little crowded, however, with button polyps, various mushrooms, yellow leather, xenia, green star polyps and a hitchhiked Pocillopora.  I also have a clean up crew of various snails, hermits and a pistol shrimp (aggressive little booger)>  I have only an orchid Dottyback and in the future would like a cherub pygmy angel.  My question is: should I get a ten gallon tank and make it a sump or refugium? <A good idea... even better to have bigger, larger sizes of both!>   Can you do both? <Yes> How do you plumb it as I have no tools to start drilling holes. <Perhaps using overflow box/es, maybe situating the refugium/sump higher up than the main tank... pumping to it and having the water overflow back into the main... All covered on WWM. Bob Fenner> Susan Cestaro-Smith

Refugium Hello and thank you for all your help. After reading your site for weeks (and thank you for the site) and Anthony's books I have decide on how I want to set up my refugium, and would really like your input. Just a bit about my set up. I have a new 150 gallon and a 55 gallon that has been going for 15 years.  I want to set up a 55 gallon refugium. I like the advantages of a deep sand bed of around six inches I am also going to light the refugium the opposite times of my tanks. I want some plankton generation for feeding corals and inverts so I was going to add some live rock and was wondering about lava to give them a place to hide. <I would not use lava rock here> I was also thinking of doing something with inter tidal inputs, by pumping onto the rocks. I was also going to put the input on a timer so I can have it off for a couple of hours at a time to mimic tides. I was also wondering about putting a divider on the bottom so I could have a partial mud bottom. At this point I guess I will have to manually switch to the 55 when the 150 is in an off mode.  I was hoping to have the tank alternate between the 55 and the 150 but I am concerned about the switching of the valves so I don't flood my house. :) If you have any thoughts about this I would love to hear them.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, David <Do consider what can indeed happen should a pump or all power fail... design/engineer gravity overflows... redundant... to provide for possible transit volume issues. Bob Fenner> 

Refugium Lighting Hi guys awesome site. Quick question I currently have a 400litre tank with 2 x 150w MH and am planning to add a 100 litre refugium, unfortunately money is a bit tight at the moment, what lighting do you recommend for the refugium can I use lights from a hardware store as I don't have the money to purchase another 150w MH ? <Simple fluorescents of good CRI, Kelvin rating... this is posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Refugium Scheme They say there is no such thing as a stupid question; let's see if we can't find at least one of them here. <I'll bet that I don't! Scott F. with you today!> My plan to set up my 30 gallon refugium goes something like this. I was going to get a 20 pound bag of AragAlive and use that as my base, piling it up a little higher around the edge of the refugium, and sloping down towards the middle. Then, I was going to cover this with "sugar size" sand. I was thinking to add about a half inch of this every three days (to allow for the reproduction of bacteria, without killing anything off by going too fast) until I got to a depth of around four or five inches. <Okay.> Then, add a few good size pieces of live rock, and then add another half inch (or so) of sand (over the course of a few days), then add a few zones of "reef rubble". Then let this cycle for a couple of weeks, with a Penguin 330 Bio Wheel filter (possibly with the wheels removed, and just the mechanical filtering and carbon media) and occasionally introducing some water from the main tank, before adding it into my system. <Not a bad scheme, but I have also done it where you add the rock first, then add the sand. Sometimes this creates a more stable structure.> Now for the dumb questions. Does this sound like a reasonable plan, or am I dragging this out far too long? <I don't think so. There is nothing wrong with taking it slow. On the other hand, you can certainly add all of the sand at once, too.> Would I be farther ahead to just get my sand bed up to 5 - 6 inches in one (or two) fell swoop, and throw the rock on top, and let it run for a few days to let the cloudiness settle out? <Again- your call...but I'd be likely to do it that way, myself.> Is cycling the refugium before adding flora/fauna and introducing it into the main system a good idea, or just more of an unnecessary delay? <Personally, I'd cycle it with the rest of the system.> I was planning on having a combination of Chaetomorpha and Gracilaria for the macro algae; <My two favorites!> Would forty watts of fluorescent lighting, on a reverse photoperiod from the main tank, be adequate (if it makes any difference, I'm using a cooler for this, and the white interior should reflect most of the light, instead of letting most of the light escape through the glass walls, and the lights will be mounted just a couple inches above the maximum water line)? <Sounds pretty good to me.> Should I slowly ramp up the photoperiod, or just run with 12 hours right out of the gate? <I'd run it right out of the gate at 12 hours.> Besides the bugs, do you recommend other critters, like snails, sand sifting stars, etc.? <Your call. I'm a big one for lots of snails, and maybe a Serpent Star.> Other sources suggest that stirring up a DSB is not always a good idea. <I agree...I don't really like the idea of disturbing a sand bed. I would not disturb the sandbed deeper than the top 1/2" or so.> Are there any general rules of thumb regarding the harvesting of the macro algae, or do you just know it's time by looking at it? <When it starts overcrowding the refugium, you'll know!> Any advice, comments, or concerns greatly appreciated (I'd rather get the info up front, instead of doing a post-mortem). Feel free to add any insights that I could use for "food for thought". Mark A. Kaczynski <Actually, Mark- sounds like you really thought this through. It's really a matter of executing the plan! I would certainly take things slow, and allow for possible delays along the way. If you gradually build up the population of animals in the refugium, you'll have developed a tremendous asset for your system. Good luck and enjoy! Regards, Scott F.> 

In-wall vs. Not + a refugium dilemma  9/5/05 Hey all, I am going to be setting up a 55g reef to transfer all of the livestock in my 15g reef into, as the 15g has been taken over by Caulerpa, and will serve as my refugium. We built a hole in the wall for an in-wall tank, but it does not have to be the reef, it can be a fw cichlid tank. I'd really like the reef to be there, but it may be an issue to connect it with the 15g if so. However, I can set up a 5g fuge for it and connect them (55 & 5) easily. I don't think the 15 and 55 NEED to be connected, and I could make the 15 into a nice, peaceful horse/soft tank. My main issues are as follows: 55g In-Wall: Pros: - Skimmer can be hung directly on the tank. - Different outlet than the 15, which is running a 150w MH pendant and some pumps and stuff, along with 3 fw tanks. - More room to work in, hang stuff, etc. - Can construct a top - Everyone can see my tank, it is spotlighted, showcased Cons: - Hard if not impossible to connect to the 15 (no sump allowed) - Difficult to aquascape to be viewed from 2 sides - Traffic may stress fish 55g Next-to-15g: Pros: - Can be connected to 15g - Easily aquascaped - Calmer surroundings Cons: - Skimming power (CPR BakPak) diluted by extra water volume - Same outlet as 15g (will be running 2x 250w MH pendants, may be too much) - Top would be hard to construct - Out of view, in a corner, non-spotlighted So, what do you say? Both are near even in their benefits/problems ratios. Input requested. Thanks in advance for your help! <Mmm, don't have "strong enough" sensation to recommend one over the other, but am a big fan of the idea of the in-wall unit choice to more-fully influence your parents, others of the benefits of the/your hobby> /Problem 2: /The 15 currently has one 5g refugium, as was mentioned earlier. It needs to be moved away from the 15g, as the shelf it sits on is condemned. This is true for whether I go with the in-wall or the next-to-15. Would there be any (negative) repercussions to connecting an established 5g fuge with DSB to a new, uncycled reef tank? Any (negative) repercussions to removing one from an established reef that has been connected to it for 1 year? (Perhaps the 15g is "used to" the fuge, and there'll be a spike if it is removed). <Not too likely chance/s of negative repercussions here> Third option is letting the fuge remain as a stand alone tank until the 55 is cycled. <I would hook them up together. Bob Fenner> Thanks, guys. Mike G

Beast Skimmer and sump as I said before am working on a new sump for my aquarium its a 100 gal marine tank. the sump I designed had chamber 1 was a 15x6" chamber were the beast was going to sit and be feed by a 1060 pump, chamber 2 was 12x15x10 deep but my local aquarist said the outflow is not enough to fill drip tray enough. What do u think I think it should balance out the other end using a 1060 pump with a back feed of 5-5.5ft hope u can help me out than for the advise Craig brown <Craig.. your intent or dilemma was not clear to me from the description. Is there a reason why you cannot simply have the first chamber field raw overflowing water and overflow into the second stage (chamber two/open sump/whatever downstream) with a pump working the skimmer from inside the first chamber on a dedicated loop (water in and out in same chamber)? Balancing pumps of even like models never work... it is not perfect science and they are not perfect products.. one will fall behind inevitably. Anthony>

Re: Question regarding w/d use as refugium Hello, Mr. Fenner, <Howdy> And thank you for the quick response! <You're welcome> I have started this refugium project, and realize that I do indeed have a few things confusing me. heheheh- I thought I had it all figured out. <Don't know anyone who does... including myself> I read somewhere online that using play sand (sand for sandboxes, etc) is okay for a project such as this. Is this true? <Well... actually only a few types are advisable... you likely want to avoid the ones that are silicates... and use one that is carbonaceous (made of calcium carbonate) of all about the same grade...> I bought a 50 lb bag today for under two bucks, then before I added it starting thinking... just what's IN this stuff? <Question of the hour> Another thing- I went to purchase the PC lighting today (would you believe that Home Depot had NO PC fixtures that aren't for outdoor/motion sensor applications?), and I realized that I had utterly no idea what kind of wattage I'm looking for. I'm looking to light my sump, which is at most 10-12 gallons. And it's only 1/3 full at any given point, so I am thinking that 60 watts of light may be serious overkill on this. What would you recommend? <Sixty watts would likely be okay...> I think that's about it for now. I truly appreciate the help. /john <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Carefully planning the expansion of my reef Hey Bob, So you have answered all my questions about refugiums and the like directly and indirectly.... I am NOT making the same mistake I made when I got into this hobby and just jumping in with little research :) <Plenty of time now... and more than enough new mistakes, omissions to make w/o revisiting the old ones> So before I set up a sump/refugium type deal I want to make sure I am solving MOST issues at once and not limiting my solutions by taking a particular path.... I want to make this reef a little more self sufficient. Already I see that adding chemicals, such as CA and trace elements will become expensive and a burden, worst I could neglect it and that would not be fair to the residents of the reef :) So that being said, I want a Ca reactor... <Good idea> I don't know if you are not permitted to give brand name recommendations but I am asking anyway :) <Yes... it (this site) is of my creation, origination... can/do say pretty much what I think, feel... a few brands are fine, Knop, K2R... and there is sufficient help to consider DIY... see the link to Oz's Reef on the WWM links page> I only have 20 inches in the refugium/sump to fit it... <You mean within the stand? An important consideration... some will fit... or you can place the unit outside of the stand, delivering the effluent via a line that drips into the sump> I am beginning to think that I will have no room for the refugium part if I put a skimmer and a Ca Reactor in the sump side. The tank will only be say about 10 gallons of water in a 20 gallon tank. I thought that I had room for a 27 gallon but then I would not have room to put my hand INTO the tank to do stuff.... I might get a custom one built to the maximum dimensions of under my cabinet... spent too much already to skimp now :) <Or perhaps a more flexible container and through hulls fitted with flexible tubing... Like a Rubbermaid tub?> Ok, So what Ca reactor will suite my needs with the space limitations and a 108 Gallon Reef tank. <Do take a read through a recent issue of FAMA (Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine) and/or the manufacturers listed on the WWM links page here. I haven't reviewed what's available in several months> Other specs: 108 Gal 173 Lbs LR 160 Lbs crushed coral 5 Powerheads 440 Watts VHO Fish and inverts and corals (Anemone, Green brain, Colt Poly, mushrooms, Bubbles, etc) SeaClone skimmer I am dropping (well want to anyway) for a AquaC or other... again space restrictions... Euro-reef would fit too... So what do I need buddy anything else?).... I want to get it right.... I guess everyone does.. that is why we write you :) <Just the gear that goes with the unit... a carbon dioxide bottle, regulator, needle valve, controller if you really want one...> But don't worry. I have not stopped using my own head and won't rely COMPLETELY on you... or will I, hehehehahaha:) <Now you're worrying me!> Kind regards, Robert Jackson of Canada.... Fun FAQ's Yes people use chillers in Canada too :) <Be chatting. Bob Fenner> and...

Ca Reactor cont'd Hey Bob, I have to leave work and was too lazy to reopen hotmail :) How about this reactor... sounds impressive... C-1502 KORALLIN KALKREAKTOR Regards, Robert Jackson <Yes, a good unit. Bob Fenner>

Refugium Bob, After a recent visit to your site, I realized that I may be confused about optimum refugium configuration. <Let's try to straighten each other out> I currently have a conservatively stocked 100 gallon tank in circuit with a 55 gal refugium. The refugium has live sand over an under gravel filter plate (without circulation), live rock, multiple varieties of macro algae, and many varieties of worms, and crustacean-like creatures. It is isolated from the tank with a 25 micron filter in the return line. The setup has been stable for 14 months, with no apparent disease (except the two hippo tangs with HLLD that they developed when in isolation and Rx for parasites, probably scars as no other fish has similar symptoms). After reading on the site, I reversed the light cycle on the refugium (now 4pm - 10 am). <Good idea> 1) I have left the gravel in the refugium undisturbed: some references on your site implied that I should clean it periodically. Should I do so? <I would at least "gently stir it" once a month... to increase circulation, discount compacting... or gently vacuum one half each period/month> 2) Should I remove the mechanical filtration in the return line? Is there any concern about losing the property of blocking parasite life cycles with the filter? Would it be better to allow the crustaceans in the refugium to be pumped into the fish tank? <I would leave out the particulate filter. Bob Fenner> Thanks!

Need your advice.. (refugium re-design) Bob, hope all is well with you. <Yes my friend, thank you> I wanted to get your opinion on using a CPR Aquafuge Refugium with some Miracle Mud and Caulerpa on my 60 gallon fish only tank. <Both good products, approaches, compatible> I would love to get my hands on an Ecosystem Filter, but I felt I could save myself some money by doing it this way. Plus, I didn't want to just do away with the wet/dry filter I am using. <I understand... and have seen, used many such "modified" systems myself> Do you think this refugium would work or do you think I should spend a little and pick up an Ecosystem Filter? <The system you propose will be fine. Bob Fenner> take it easy, Dindo

Re: need your advice (refugium modification) Bob, I appreciate your help as always... hope your Indonesia trip went well... <You're welcome and thanks, yes, very enjoyable> have another question or two.. how can I add this CPR refugium with Miracle Mud and Caulerpa to my existing 60 gallon tank without bothering the livestock and water chemistry? what do you recommend I do? <Hang on the back, fill with system water, add mud, rock, algae, let settle for a week or so with the lighting on... then turn on the pump> do you know where I can get some compact lights to light up the CPR refugium? <Probably easiest to order from an e-tailer as an intended pet-fish product/hood... list on WWM links pages... or make yourself with fixture/lamp from Home Depot, Lowe's sort of outlet> or what other type of light would be beneficial? <I would use small compact fluorescent... that's what we use on ours> much thanks, Dindo <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Goby from Canada again ... (refugium) Hello again from Canada Bob... <Hi Bob-in-Canada, Lorenzo Gonzalez here, still standing in for Bob-in-Indonesia, 'til he becomes Bob-in-California again...> Actually I might as well tell you what I was thinking could be a refugium.... Simply a sump with lights and life? <Pretty much. If cost is no object, a refugium can be as beautiful as your main tank... of course if it's hidden in cabinetry, there's little point.> That being said I was thinking... A container say... 20 to 30 gallons (min?)... more if you say, for the 108 gallon. With 8 inches of crushed coral in the bottom (anything beneath the coral?) and just a few pounds (say 20) of live rock. <29 to 55 gallons would be fine - one can purchase a 55 gallon glass tank for less than $USD60 here in Michigan... 8 inches of substrate is definitely overkill. Remember the water level in the refugium will be relatively low compared to the show tank, to compensate for overflow/balance. And consider adding a plenum. > Covered with lights. A simple pump to move the water to and from the sump? Maybe a stop switch? <No to the 'to-the-sump' pump, overflow must handle this task. You only use a 'return-to-the-main-tank' pump. Yes to the lights, but not necessarily as much as your main system. A rack of standard outputs, or a medium-sized/output power compact... You won't be growing corals or clams in there...> Now where and how do I get these life forms? How do I know if I am growing the right algae? <You want a bunch of different Caulerpas and/or Halimedas growing in there. Some snails, a handful of small scarlet or blue-leg hermits, bunch of live rock, and no fish. If you can't find them at your LFS, try mail/internet order.> How long will it take before the Goby will get live food from this source? <Uhh. Hate to say it. Unless you start with some seriously nice live rock, and gobs of healthy algae, it'll be weeks before that fish has much in the way of live food. I never recommend these fish for a tank less than a year old...> I am new to Salt water setups (kinda) but have had fresh water for 10 years now. <Welcome to the Marine world! Many others eventually make the same transition. Eventually, with some patience and perseverance, you'll discover that a big balanced reef system is less work than most freshwater aquariums, due to bio-diversity and internal eco-balances.> Oh ya... I fresh water dipped the Goby and did not quarantine him since I have no other fish. Do Goby's need a Cleaner Wrasse? <Cleaner Wrasses are a big no-no in Bob's book, read about them on the site. Go with shrimp or cleaner Gobies instead. For food, do try to get the Mandarin to eat some frozen mix, like 'Formula One' or 'Brine Shrimp Plus' - barring that, you can resort to live brine, which has many drawbacks, but many of these pretty little guys will eat. Better than starving to death, which is what happens to probably 90% of the Mandarins purchased by 'impatient' hobbyists...> Ok I think I have asked enough for tonight :) <What part of Canada do you live in? Regards, Lorenzo>

Re: Goby from Canada again ... I live in Montreal.... Kinda... I just got back from The Netherlands and since I had to moving figured I would restart my aquarium as Salt this time... as is the case with most freshwater aquarists I always wanted Saltwater. I have not seen Goby for a few days now. I think he might have gotten eaten. You will never believe this but... We found a 3 inch crab that managed to come with the Live rock. Some of the pieces were over 20 pounds each so I guess he was hiding in there some where. We were going to keep him but until we see goby if that crab shows his face again he is out. I will put him into the quarantine tank I just setup. Do you think that an ocean crab like that would pose a danger to the fish that currently inhabit the tank? <Yes. A crab this large will catch and eat almost any small fish that is likely to swim right past... get rid of him.> Now that I am finding all this great info on the net I wish I could start over. I would get a bigger tank and stand... so that I could incorporate a better refugium. <That's how that always works out, isn't it? :-) > Thanks for your info. Oh ya.... So eight inches is too much... how many then? 3 like my main tank? should I incorporate a skimmer in the refugium? I don't know if I have enough space.  <3-4 inches is fine. Then a pile of live rock over that... adding a skimmer to the sump is a good way to augment a smaller hang-on-tank skimmer already on the main system, if that's the case.> I have determined (without a custom tank) I can fit a 27 gallon tank under the left side of the stand. The right side has 2 shelves if I really need a little more space I could drill a hole. On the top shelf the ballast and heat sink is currently there. <Sounds good. Check out maybe the Urchin skimmer from AquaC, small, in-sump skimmer, easy to find space for. -regards, Lorenzo.> Catch you later, Robert Jackson

Refugium set up <Hi Brad, Lorenzo Gonzalez playing-Bob, while he's underwater somewhere in Asia 'til mid-June> Hi Bob, hope you are enjoying your extended weekend, so I will try to be brief. I am setting up a new refugium for my 90 gal. reef. I am using an old 70 gal tank as my refugium and dividing the tanks as follows: 3/4 of the tank will be refugium, the other 1/4 filter equipment, etc. But my question is in regards to excess bubbles. My display tank is on the main floor of the house and I am drilling holes in the floor to the basement were the refugium/sump is to be placed along with the skimmer, pumps, heaters, etc. The drop is about 8-9 feet from the over flow of the display tank to the bottom of the refugium/sump. Is this going to produce enough bubbles to become problematic?  <You might build a bubble trap of large PVC pipe or acrylic walls, down in your sump, if this proves to be a real issue. Look at www.ozreef.org to see how DIY skimmers are put together, you'll likely be constructing a similar contraption.> Will this cause all the CO2 to be driven off? I have been reading that too many bubbles is to be avoided in the refugium.  <Yeah, nobody likes too many bubbles. Don't worry too much about the C02, though.> Also, I am using two return pumps a Rio 2500 and a MagDrive 5 trying to avoid purchasing a new one. Is the PSI factor for the return height going to be too high for the return pumps to handle? <I SERIOUSLY doubt the Rio will last long at that head, if it pushes it at all. Not sure about the Mag. I'd start looking at a new Eheim or similar (though Bob will strongly champion the Eheim!)> Keep up the GREAT information on WetWebMedia.com! I have referred to  this site almost as much as your book! <He'll be glad to hear that. (I keep all the emails I'm answering for him to audit when he can)><<No need Zo... they're more than fine... Good solid information, delivered with grace and a wry sense of wit, reason and com/passion... very glad to say/see we agree so often/much. Bob Fenner>>

Refugium question Would one of those ecosystem filters make for a good refugium filter? <Yes> Seems like it would be low maintenance. Cheers. J -- <Bob Fenner>

Refugium Up and Running Dear Bob, My 20 gal. net refugium is up and running with three 20 watt Flu. on 24 hours per day. As you suggested, the flow bypasses the 25 micron Ocean Clear mechanical filter (also contains the carbon). <Sounds good> I have 3 Caulerpa varieties started along with a Hawaii red fern and a money plant. A shelf puts small starter plants 6 inches from the lights, Live rock and gravel underneath. <How nice> Water over flows into the main 30 gal. net sump. Some hair algae is sprouting on the rocks. With all that light, it looks like micro algae could flourish in this tank. Should I consider this a problem? <Not yet... it will likely be outcompeted, poisoned by your other macro-algae> I am now looking for ways to establish a strong variety of fauna in the refugium to provide natural feeding. I found that I can buy "cultures" of copepods, amphipods, Mysis shrimp, and Gammarus shrimp. I'd like your opinion on adding some of these. Will they multiply in the refugium and pass through the Iwaki 700 up to the show tank? <Yes it/they will> My system has a 100 micron bag as a sump prefilter. It catches uneaten food and also a lot of micro algae when the glass is cleaned. Will this filter inhibit the circulation of fauna? Perhaps I could replace it with home made cheese cloth bags? <A good idea... worth trying... but being on the sump intake side, don't think there will be much trouble here... likely any "critters" that get pumped into the main tank will be consumed...> Ca reactor is still in the planning stage. I have pretty much settled on the small Knop unit. How do you feel about having the CO2 flow into the refugium instead of the main sump? <No worries> Do you feel that a pH controller to shut down the CO2 is a necessity if the system is left on its own for 10 day trips? <No... we don't use controllers by and large ourselves...> As you said, the yellow Hawaii tang is a terrific fish - really eats up on the remaining hair algae. By the way, I have not seen an Aiptasia for over two months. While I seldom see the peppermint shrimp (occasionally at night with a red flashlight - one had an egg sack), they seem to be doing their job. I assume they are finding plenty of other things to eat. <Yes my friend> For a novice, I find skimming your daily responses, reading some, printing some, is adding a great deal to my overall knowledge of this great hobby and appreciation for the efforts people go to succeed.  <Ahh, deeply gratifying to read> We're off to Cozumel soon to introduce the grandchildren to the underwater world that hey don't see in Colorado! Howard <And vice versa. Bon voyage. Bob Fenner>

New Refugium Dear Bob, The progress of my reef may be among the slowest on record (if there were records). 8 months and still only 5 fish and one coral with 130 gallons of water.  <Best to go slow my friend... the reefs in the wild take much more time than this...> The yellow tang comes Monday and the dip and quarantine tank are ready. The flame angel is bought and hanging out in a dealers tank until I get the tang situated. Maybe I'm slow and my basement filtration system is over done but I still haven't had a sick or dead animal. <Very commendable> I have put together a 20 gallon (net) acrylic box for the refugium. It will be drilled for an overflow into the main sump through a filter sponge (to catch bubbles) and fed through a ball valve with 0 to 200 GPH from the 25 micron mechanical filter. Two 20 watt "daylight" fluorescents for lighting. 15 pounds of small junks of live rock with a good start of both grape and blade Caulerpa are ready in a spare tank. <Very nice... though the mechanical filter is somewhat unnecessary> Even after reading most of what I found with "Google" (another fantastic service from wetwebmedia! ) I would value your answers or opinions on a couple of questions. <Okay> I have sand and gravel aragonite material. Which should go in the refugium? Or both? <Both or separate would be/will be fine... if it were me/mine, just the larger grade Aragonitic material for ease of cleaning...> How can I "inoculate" the substrate? The only live sand I can get in small quantities comes in prepared jugs or bags of liquid. Does this have worms and copepods? Should I take sand from the mature show tank? <It already is, will be from the live rock in your main system... just bypass that 25 micron sieve for a few days...> Should I add an air stone? A small powerhead? <No... the flow and algae that will grow there will do all the gas exchange needed, desired> When I get this going I will have over 160 gallons in circulation. Does all this "count" when determining acceptable bio load? <Of a certainty, yes> Between dive trips, I am really enjoying this great hobby! Howard <Wish we were in some place with warm, clear water right now. Bob Fenner>

Refugiums... and beyond! thanks to your writings, I was inspired to investigate refugiums, and have found a LFS that can get compact versions that will work perfectly with both of the systems I have, I only wish I did this a long time ago, thanks for the help, tom <You're welcome my friend. Life to you. Bob Fenner>

Refugium substrate... Bob- Thanks for the great web site! I try to check it out everyday and have learned a lot. <Thank you, and so much more to load on it...> I've searched your site and can't find an answer to my questions. I am going to be upgrading my sump and adding a refugium and want to know how deep and what type of substrate to use. <Mmmm, actually either "none" or "quite a bit" as in a purposeful denitrator, interstitial fauna incubator...> I thought about using the 'Miracle Mud', but, the price is way to high.  <Agreed... Please send Leng Sy a note about this... I do continuously> I thought I had read somewhere that you could use sand form Home Depot as long as it was non silica. <Yep, the folks at HD have a crushed coral Kiddy Pool sand that's very similar to Florida-sourced commercial products... not all locations have it, can be special ordered... by the pallet...> A LFS said no you can't use that sand. As a local San Diegan, why couldn't I just go down to Mission Beach and pick up a bucket of sand and after sifting out the cigarette butts, beer cans, pieces of old wetsuits and other misc. stuff, use that?  <Hmm, good tongue in cheek question... not really useful in a number of other ways... too much silicate, too two-dimensional... I wouldn't/don't use it... and live in San Diego BTW> What type of substrate would you recommend? I plan on growing Caulerpa and adding some LR in the sump. thanks for your help. <I would use none... but not vacuum out the detritus that accumulates either... If you choose to utilize a solid substrate, please read over the "marine substrate" section of the marine index of the www.wetwebmedia.com site... And are you going on the "tank tour" this Saturday to Orange County... vis a vis the local marine club?> Andy <Bob Fenner>

Survival of microscopic organisms in refugia Hi Bob, I want to thank you for answering all of my previous questions concerning refugia - I have one more. In preparation for setting-up a 180 gallon marine fish-only tank, I am researching the Ecosystem filter developed by Leng Sy (It seems that Mike Paletta, among others, have given it good reviews). <This is a very nice unit... and the technology is sound> One aspect of interest to me is that the mud refugium likely provides a home for microscopic organisms, which can be transported to the main tank via the return pump connected to the refugium. I thought I read in the refugium section of WetWebMedia that we shouldn't worry too much about microscopic organisms being shredded by the impeller of a return pump. This was good news to me, as I like the idea of placing the refugium below the main tank, which is also the suggested configuration for the Ecosystem filter designed for larger tanks. However, the idea that impeller pumps do not significantly shred microorganisms seems to be contrary to the position held by others, who place the refugium above the main tank so that microorganisms may drain from the refugium into the main tank without having to pass through a pump impeller. <There is currently quite a bit of discussion on the various hobbyist listservs over this very issue... Having operated such gear for many years and being semi-observant and interested, I'll assure you that enough, a bunch does "get by" the small centrifugal pumps used in our interest.> Are you aware of any studies that have tested the question of whether impeller pumps shred microorganisms? Even if impeller pumps do shred microorganisms, I wonder if shredded microorganisms provide a comparable degree of nutrition to coral and fish in the main tank as unshredded microorganisms? Bruce Grant <These same sorts of pumping mechanisms are used for delivering live food organisms in a few of the commercial culture operations I've visited... try them out and you'll see... some organisms do likely get "frappe'ed" via the shearing forces in non-positive displacement pumping mechanisms... they're still very much utilized by filter feeders, saprophytes... Bob Fenner>

Sumps/Refugium Set-Up Thanks a lot for all your advice. Is setting up a sump quite difficult?  <Not at all> I have space underneath my tank so I am looking to set this up soon. I read on your website that a lot of people have lights on them, is this necessary for just filtration??? <The lighting, live rock and macro-algae combination is well worth it> I think the lights are all 30W and the tank is 18inches high. Now that seems to me to be far too low. But they brighten up the aquarium very well. At the moment I am quite content with just a fish only tank as I am quite new to marine, but I feel that by adding live rock and a protein skimmer my tank could be so much more versatile. <Well put... and more stable, beautiful, healthier, easier to maintain, interesting...> At some point along the line I would be very interested in adding some corals to the tank, as I feel that they add such diversity and colour to the tank. To begin with just simple corals that can be quite hardy. (I realize that keeping corals is quite a lot harder than fish only and there are few "hardy" corals) <Actually there are quite a few easier ones... and you have a very good, actually the world's best marine livestock wholesaler in TMC in the UK... read over their review and the coral pieces archived on the www.wetwebmedia.com site> Oh and another thing my conscience is driving me crazy about live rock. Is it dangerous to the environment and reefs? <Not in the least... much more is moved, blown up, covered over, silted beneath... by human activity... not to mention the 99.999 plus percent that perishes from natural events... and it's self-replenishing. Not to worry> From what I have read on your site you do seem quite conscious of the environment and I presume that you would not endorse the use of live rock if it were harmful to the environment. <Hmm, again well-stated. Happen to be the author of "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist"... so, glad to appear consistent!> Thank you very much for helping me out, I appreciate your time and effort a lot. Matt. Thanks again <A pleasure. Glad to be of help. Bob Fenner>

Lights on a Refugium Hello Mr. Fenner, I have been doing a lot of reading on your wet web site about refugiums. So about 2 weeks ago I purchased an AquaFuge made by CPR. http://www.cprusa.com/products/citr.html I have also read that you say leave the lights on the refugium opposite of the main tank. Although I have been, but a lot of light is coming into my main tank at night via the CF I use on the AquaFuge. Is this ok? Or should I just run the lights the same hours I run the main tank, what has me wondering is cause you say opposite of the main tank, would it be bad to run both at the same time? Thank you very much, Kathy <Hmm, how much is "a lot" of light? Not to worry, if it were me, I'd actually leave the lights on as they are now... the amount of "ancillary illumination" is likely not excessive or real trouble to your main system's occupants. Many places leave their lights on continuously as you describe... including our experimental filter tanks (CF lights over hang on's have been on for years... the fishes still sleep, corals still grow... Bob Fenner>

Refugium Hello Mr. Fenner (AKA God of Reefs) <Yikes, am just a pet-fish kind of guy, please> I have started a refugium and the Macro algae is doing good thanks to you. I am seeing a lot of algae build up on the acrylic of the refugium, (I run my lights opposite of the main tank approximately 13-14 hrs.). I was wondering, if it is ok to put some snails in there to clear up the area I can't see through? <Should be fine> Also is it ok to put a few Neon gobies in the refugium (hoping they will breed) since every time I place them in the main tank they end up getting sucked through the overflow and never make it. <I probably wouldn't... as they'll likely eat most all the beneficial zooplankters there... instead, put viable screens (like a pin-type bio-ball) on/over the overflow edge, or other strainer to keep them out> Thank you, Rob <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Refugium Hi Bob, Hope you enjoyed your trip and got some good rest. <Thank you. Very nice battery-recharging so to speak... and very nice folks in the Cook Islands> I want to get your advice on a refugium I'm planning to set up. My goals are: 1. Main tank algae reduction. 2. Live food production for fish and invertebrates. 3. Water movement/ wave generation. 4. Water chemistry. <All worthwhile, and attainable> I don't worry much about the 4 point because the water in the tank has been good so far, and I'm planning on adding a Calcium reactor later that will hopefully cover that (By the way, won't calcium reactors act as fluidized beds to some extent?) <Yes, and vice versa... given large enough areas, patient monitoring and time (ahh, that all important, ever-elusive ingredient)...>  I plan to make it with 3 chambers. The first two would be only divided by a grid that would let the water pass between the two. In the first there would be a bed of mud (miracle mud?) <Maybe... could be just live rock, substrate of some sort (likely carbonaceous)... and can be added "later"> and I will grow Caulerpa in it. I plan on putting one of those plant bulbs on top of this that will remain on 24 hours a day. The water will enter the refugium on this side. On the middle chamber there will be a bed of 2 - 3" of live sand, and on top of it as much live rock as I can cram in there. The purpose of this is to grow as many stuff as I can to have the fish/corals happy and full of eating whatever this produces. If you know of any way I can max out the "live stuff" production here it will be greatly appreciated, Stuff like what to/not to-put in animal/plant wise, <I'd actually place no animals expressly here... i.e. none of the so-called "cleaner uppers"... some may be useful down the line (months)... but the "real" organisms will come about, live (not be consumed, outcompeted) by way of introduction through the macro-algae like Caulerpa, rock, sand...> or any better way besides LR/LS or mix of them or anything you think might help produce significant amounts of creatures. Then there will be a divide that will not let the water flow but on the top, sort of an overflow wall. The water will fill the two first chambers, and overflow onto the third, which I plan to use as a surge device, this way any live stuff won't be forced to pass through any pump. <hmm, do us both a favor and supply at least a small slot to allow some water to "underflow" the last section... should your water level "get" too low in the sump/refugium... at least this will save your pumping mechanism... maybe the life in all... And don't be overly concerned about the biota getting "spliced and diced" too much if/when it passes through the pumps volute/impeller... much will get by just fine> One thing is that I don't want bubbles in the main tank because I want to have sponges/sea squirts. I plan on having a sort of modified WC reservoir valve (Funny ha?) <Not humorous at all, a very good idea and description> that will close before all the water pours out, and that way will (Hopefully ) keep the surge pipe filled with water so it wont introduce air bubbles in the next surge. There will be a 1.2 - 2" pipe that will direct the surge against the normal current in the tank, and a 1" pipe that will be a safety in case the valve won't open. <Maybe situate a bit of coarse plastic media there as well to aid in this "bubble busting" exclusion... the Fein and Grob flocken that Eheim makes/sells is excellent here... one time purchase> And last, I plan on building a tall wood canopy that will also hold the refugium 2 - 3 feet above the tank. I'm still thinking how I want to build this because I know it can be a problem to access the tank, and will not be able to take it off because of the weight of the refugium. <Read through, consult with carpenters in your area... or a friendly structural engineer... there are fasteners, cabling systems that will greatly help in lifting your canopy, keeping it out of your way while working in the main system... and a need for careful design of the support of your refugium (that can "just" overflow via gravity and a constant level siphon/box back into the main tank if it's situated above it> Please advice also on size of the refugium tank (20 gal-30 Gal...) so it can hold all that stuff; how to much space give to each chamber; and advice on a good pump to get the water to the refugium. I'm including a rough scheme of the thing in an attachment. <twenty, thirty gallons ought to do it... and the structure... take a look at Leng Sy's pix in the hobby mag.s for Ecosystem Aquarium's acrylic boxes... they're about the right dimensions...> Thanks a lot for your help, Norberto. << Refugium.jpg >> <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Refugium Mr. Fenner, I have read your book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist and I believe it is one of the most informative books on salt water aquariums. I would like your input on a refugium for my 70 gallon tank. the only place to put it in my application is under the tank. I have a hang on the tank protein skimmer. The tank is full of live rock with live coral that seems to be flourishing. The question I have about refugiums is what size tank? How much water flow to the refugium? What type of lighting is required for the refugium? I hope you can give me some advice! Thanks, Parke Harber >> Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. The refugium should be as large as possible/will fit, compact fluorescents are the preferred lighting method, and two, three times flow per hour through the system's about right. Pls see more stored on our site: Home Page concerning this issue. Bob Fenner

Flow Rate for Refugiums Bob - I've learned so much valuable information from you today regarding lighting and tank dimensions. Thank you. Just one last question and I'll leave you alone for a peaceful weekend.  I have read quite a few refugium postings on the web. Many of these postings state that flow rates through a refugium should be rather slow, say 2 to 15 refugium volumes per hour. I have seen two reasons for such a slow flow rate. One reason is that the algae in the refugium need time to absorb nitrates in the water. Another reason is that some refugium keepers want to raise small life forms to populate the main tank and feed tank inhabitants, and these small life forms might get whisked away from the refugium by a higher flow rate before having a chance to propagate. <That about sums it up.> I am thinking of keeping a refugium for the main purpose of reducing nitrate levels in the system water in a marine fish set-up. What flow rates would you suggest for passing water through a refugium? If you suggest a relatively slow flow rate, for what reasons do you think a slower flow rate is beneficial? <The range you state should be fine... as long as the flow doesn't totally "lay over" algae growth or tear it asunder... the more flow actually the better.> Thank you for all of your help today, and have a great weekend. Bruce Grant >> <Be chatting soon. Bob Fenner>

Lighting for macroalgae in a refugium Hi Bob, Once again, thank you for the prompt reply. I will look into Sylvania Chroma lamps and good electronic ballasts. With regard to ballasts, I know that the IceCap ballasts are good quality - how about Coralife ballasts for two normal output fluorescent bulbs? <They're fine.> You stated in your last message that CF lamps are less expensive per unit PAR than for other types of lighting. What rating for a CF lamp would you choose to grow macroalgae in a sump refugium?  <Just any small, inexpensive fixture and lamp... really. There are some units sold at the hardware stores by "Lights of America" that are very reasonable.> Also, how would a redder spectrum plant light perform watt per watt against a CF lamp for growing macroalgae? For example, would you estimate that one 55 watt CF bulb could out-perform two 36" T8 Gro-Lux lamps (60 watts total)? <Good questions all... but apparent spectral mix have little to do with function... redder would not be better. The CF would grow more of whatever and what's more be apparently much brighter.> Bruce Grant >> Many many things about EMR, lighting... Bob Fenner

In-sump refugium Hi Bob, I am a fellow San Diegan and have been reading your book. I have found it to be very informative and refreshingly practical. Thank you. The following is a description of a future tank set up, followed by some questions. I am planning to set up a 125 gallon marine fish only main tank in about a year. The main tank will include some live rock and about one inch of sand, a mixture of aragonite and "live" sand. I will connect the main tank to a large sump, likely a 55 gallon tank if I can find a deal on a used one. I intend that the sump will be sectioned off in two sections. One section will be devoted to a refugium. The other section will be devoted to water clean up.  <Good ideas... the larger the sump... the better for sure> I'm thinking that the main tank water will drain directly into the refugium section of the sump. There, the main tank water will be subject to only gross mechanical filtration, if any mechanical filtration is used at all. Also, I am thinking that some of the refugium water will be filtered through a fluidized bed filter to minimize any ammonia spikes that might occur in the system. I am planning to grow macroalgae in this refugium to lower nitrate levels, using full spectrum fluorescent bulbs.  <Okay... though I doubt that you will need the fluidized bed as an adjunct to aerobic nitrification... and do look into the current Compact Fluorescent lighting technology for your system... Custom Sealife is here in town as a source... and do consider also coming out/joining with the local SDMAS (Marine Aquarium Society), a nice small group of outgoing types!> The water would then flow from the refugium into the water clean up section of the sump. This section of the sump will likely include a 100 micron filter sock, a protein skimmer (most likely a venturi or needle wheel skimmer), and some bagged carbon. The water will then be pumped back to the main tank. It would be great if you could comment on the following questions: 1. Would you mechanically filter the main tank water before it enters the refugium? I could see how some people might think that the refugium algae and bacteria (and any other inhabitants) would naturally process waste materials from the main tank, and therefore, no mechanical filtration would be needed. <I would probably arrange for the eventuality or elective use of mechanical filtration... though after a few months of operation, particularly should you avail yourself of "mud, illuminated, algae filtration" it will probably be superfluous> 2. I understand that a drawback of fluidized bed filters is that the bacteria colonized in the filter can quickly die if there is a power outage. Are there any fluidized bed filters on the market that are less prone than others to bacterial die-offs during power outages? <Not really... you can always get/use a UPS product, maybe run that part of your system on a low energy use air pump... for real or back up... once again, I doubt if you will need, want to run such a device (FB) on an established reef.> 3. Is 2-3 watts per gallon of full spectrum fluorescent lighting sufficient for growing macroalgae? <Yes, most... for such a deep system (stock 125's range from 20-24 inches in depth if memory serves)... CFs or even some MH lighting might be a good idea... or perhaps some similar wattage fluorescents of whatever kind on 24h/d on your refugium and a modicum of the macroalgae situated there> 4. Would you incorporate a plenum system in the refugium? I have heard contradictory stories about the plenums discussed in Bob Goeman's book. Specifically, the most concerning thing I have heard is that plenums can produce toxic hydrogen sulfide gas, which can kill all the tank inhabitants in a single swoop. Why do people have problems with hydrogen sulfide production in plenums? What kinds of things should one do to avoid the production of hydrogen sulfide gas in a plenum? If one is committed to growing algae in the refugium, are the drawbacks of the plenum significant enough such that it would be prudent to simply focus on algae growth to reduce nitrate levels? <This is a BIG topic and still one of heated controversy... Properly set-up plenums and maintained systems with them rarely have these sorts of anaerobic difficulties... however, I am a big proponent of only utilizing such devices out of the main/display system for ease of manipulation... I would not be dissuaded in your case... but will broadcast our mail here to the local club for elucidation> 5. What do you think about utilizing deep sand beds in a refugium instead of a plenum? I understand that Bob Goeman's states in his book that deep sand beds will have anaerobic zones, which lead to the unwanted production of ammonia. Yet others in the business seem to swear by deep sand beds. <"Six of one..." both can be trouble... by and large, with the practical size of systems, grades of substrates folks use, this is a minor matter, let's say compared with not maintaining the beds themselves (periodic vacuuming, stirring...)> 6. Many people suggest using an ozone generator or a UV sterilizer to "sterilize water." I am swayed by the benefits of ozone use as discussed in your book. However, some people have told me that many hobbyists have killed all of their tank inhabitants by having a mishap with ozone. I suspect that they pumped in too much ozone. Some manufacturers recommend using about 10 mg of ozone per 25 gallons of water, and I was thinking of sending this amount of ozone through the skimmer on a constant basis. Would you recommend this amount of ozone on a constant basis? Would less ozone be more prudent for use on a constant basis? <Such urban myths of "dangers of ozone" rarely amuse... The production units available to hobbyists are incapable of such mortalities... if lucky they'll move pH slightly, of discernible effects... While improving water quality greatly. Yes, all the wholesale, collector facilities I have been part of design, construction, operation have utilized ozone, ozonizers... generally feeding the source into foam fractionators and running continuously...> Thank you in advance for any comments. I apologize if the length of this email message took up too much of your time. Bruce Grant >> <No worries. Do take a look at our website for more collection of others opinions/input of a myriad of topics: Home Page , the local club: eGroups : SDMAS  and hope to meet you someday. Bob Fenner>

Re: In-sump refugium Thank you for your prompt reply, Bob. I'll take your advice and look into the SDMAS. Just two follow-up questions with regard to our discussion: 1. I was thinking of using a fluidized bed filter because the main tank will be devoted mostly to fish, and hopefully a fair number of them. Accordingly, I thought that ammonia production could be an issue and a fluidized bed would help. Knowing that the main tank will be devoted to fish, do you think that the refugium could keep up with the ammonia production levels? If more biological filtration is needed, would you recommend another type of biological filtration other than a fluidized bed filter? <Hmm, do agree with your approach. Large, vacillating amounts of nitrogenous wastes are handled never better than by fluidized beds... just that they also produce quite a bit of nitrate... and are often unnecessary in a fully up and running system, heavily fish-weighted or no... But no big problem... you sound as if you will way on top of the goings on in your system... and can always turn it off if/when you find your live rock and sand are doing all that needs to be done that can by FB use> 2. Would you mechanically filter the main tank water before it enters the refugium? I could see how some people might think that the refugium algae and bacteria (and any other inhabitants) would naturally process waste materials from the main tank, and therefore, no mechanical filtration would be needed. To reiterate, I intend upon mechanically filtering the refugium water through a 100 micron sock before the water leaves the sump and enters the main tank. <Probably not, and sorry to have missed this item in our last tete a tete.> Thanks again, Bob. >> <You're certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Refugium Stuff Bob, Thanks for the great advice! A couple of follow-ups: What is the purpose of moving the sand to the sump?  <A few things... in terms of utility, just ease of manipulation... much easier on you and your livestock to have it there rather than the main/display system> If it's not in the tank why do I need to have it at all? Is it to help in buffering? Filtration? As a place to anchor the Caulerpa? All of the above? <You got it> If I use a Rubbermaid container as a sump (as you recommend) would you recommend putting the sand in a separate container and have it sitting in the sump (to keep it clear of any live rock, the protein skimmer, or additional filtration)?  <Yes, ideally... a tray sort of arrangement... set up as a plenum within.> How would you light the sump for good Caulerpa growth and would you leave the lights on 24/7?  <An inexpensive compact fluorescent... check around the large Hardware Stores... and yes, either reverse photoperiod with your main tank, or continuously lit> Finally, which canister filter (brand/size) would you recommend to put in the sump for the Siporax, PolyFilter, etc.? <My choice? Hands down an Eheim product... the larger the better... 2100, 2200 series... a very good investment... mail order... low power consumption, very reliable, quiet...> Thanks again for all of your help! Michael Krogman >> <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Do you have any good instructions on building a sump I really don't even know what one is.  <Hmm, no... most any chemically inert container that is easy to cut/drill, modify... larger, flatter vs. tall is fine> Also I have read this on your site but would like a little more info on it....my feather duster lost his head. In addition upon releasing it, the head floated over and landed on my open brain coral, I was gonna remove it but the open brain started devouring it! I have some pics kewl pics of it!). The feather duster now hangs all the way out of the tube like he's gonna fall out but then pulls back in. How long do you think it will be before he regrows the duster. Again, thanks again for your timely response. <Maybe a few weeks...> btw- I spread the knowledge you provide with friends. Joe >> <Ah, great to hear of it. Bob Fenner>

Refugiums Hi Bob, I am interested in setting up a 20 gallon live rock/plant refugium for my 75 gallon FO tank. From your book, I understand the refugium is to be pretty much left alone for the most benefit. I have a 5-gallon sump with built-in skimmer, filter pad and Siporax beads. I also have a UV sterilizer hanging on the sump. My question is, how do I plumb the refugium to my tank and existing sump?  <You can, but...> I want to make sure there are no floods.  <I agree... so something in the way of "equalizing boxes" like are used to convey water from systems to filter sumps are called for... if using more than one sump/refugium... at different heights/levels...> Also, is vigorous water movement to be avoided in the refugium?  <By and large, yes> Also, can I keep a few small fish in the refugium?  <Generally not desirable... as even a very small fish will eat much, most of the small crustaceans, worms... that you want to foster there> Thanks so much for your help. I have written to you before and your advice has always been right-on. J. Turco >> <Thank you for writing... Maybe take a look over the "Get thee to a refugium" piece I have stored: Home Page for a bit more on the topic. Bob Fenner> 

Refugium Bob, I have a 55 gallon tank with a 15 gallon sump (only partially full and want to grow Caulerpa in the space where my wet dry media is. Because of this I cannot provide a substrate. Will this be a problem and what kind of light do you need to provide to grow Caulerpa? thank you in advance for your advice. Jim >> Either grow the Caulerpa on top of the wet dry media, or replace the media with live rock, mud instead and place the Caulerpa there...  Any source of full spectrum light of whatever type output will do. I use small compact fluorescent hoods, but regular output fluorescents on up will do. Warm lamps (5k plus). Bob Fenner

Hang on? Bob, I just wrote concerning the refugium . Alternatively would it be possible to have a separate hang on overflow to a 10 gallon tank? Thanks for your thoughts. Jim >> Wowzah, absolutely.... My friends and I have been working on developing such devices the last couple years....! Ours also have an in-tank pumping unit (to a skimmer) a denitrifying bed (in media we cast...at the bottom middle), a yeast-driven simple calcium reactor, and a mechanical filtration area last... the middle with a light over it continuously, growing.... Caulerpa! Bob Fenner

Sumps Bob, Still getting info for when I am to start a reef tank, probably will be a long time but I am patient. Anyhow, my question is what exactly is a sump, and what is it's importance to a reef tank? How does it work? Why is it better than a trickle or any other wet/dry filter? How is it set up? Any info you can give is appreciated. If you are wondering what kind of reef tank I am thinking of, I am thinking of eventually setting up a 100-150 gallon tank. Hope this helps. Thanks. John Moyer >> Oh, a sump is merely a chemically-inert water-holding container... that is tied in with a main/display tank... to add volume, give a place to mount peripherals like skimmers, heaters, dosers, meters... And possibly as a culture vessel (refugium) or a natural denitrator... or a myriad of other roles. A related use is as the principal part of wet-dry filters (the tank is a sump)... You can mount a pump in, or outside of a sump... it can be in turn mounted under, next to, or above the tank it services... Sumps are very useful tools that grant an aquarist more water, water quality stability, and flexibility. Bob Fenner, who has more, including, "Get thee to a refugium" pieces stored at www.wetwebmedia.com if you'd like more full explanations.

Resource partitioning I've been considering on adding a refugium and most likely in the Leng Sy Ecosystem style. That is a sump with the Miracle mud and a bed of Caulerpa being lighted around the clock. Now I was talking with a friend of mine and he was suggesting that the Caulerpa in the eco-sump and the bacteria in the plenum (which I have in my system right now) will compete with each other for nitrogen. With only 1 that will win out and I he thinks that it will be the Caulerpa. As a result the plenum which acts as a nutrient sink will cause the Caulerpa to grow like crazy due to the excessive nutrients that will be released when the plenum system shuts down. Sounds pretty interesting to me but I don't think that such a thing will happen though. I feel that with a heavy bioload of fish along with corals and feeding there would be enough food for all the bacteria to go around. Bob I am interested in creating the ecosystem for the good benefits attributed to it including the plankton heaven which some of it makes it into the main display for all the corals and the fish to utilize. Your thoughtful comments would be greatly appreciated. Louis & Ivonne Please use our permanent address: >> Interesting thought processes evident here... Do agree that some sort of net transfer of energy, bioaccumulation and nitrogen-sinking will occur in the refugium/mud filter in competition with the anaerobes in the plenum... but do agree with you, this should pose little problems really... If your free nitrogen as nitrate dips below where you want it through testing or bioassay (let's say you want 2-5 ppm...) then you can always "harvest" part of the Caulerpa... I would go ahead with your plans. Bob Fenner

What's a Refugium? << What part don't you follow? A refugium is a type of sump arrangement, tied in with your main/display unit through a circulating pump to culture foods, add filtration, volume... A complete article on the same (Get thee to a Refugium) can be found at wetwebmedia.com, that describes what these are, how to set them up...     The brine should be disease free, but most all questions re disease transmission through Artemia can be "solved" by soaking/rinsing it in freshwater for a few minutes ahead of feeding. Keep your eye on Mr. Cutey Spiny Box Puffer... your Mandarin will likely be lunch soon! These fishes don't go together... for long. Bob Fenner>> I will check out that article- tank is 120 gal. My wet dry is a MR-200 by Amiracle, I have a Mag 700 pump as my main pump back into the tank, a mag 250 pumping my Aquanetics 25 watt UV sterilizer, and a Rio 2100 pumping my AMiracle protein skimmer. (PS , I had some trouble with my protein skimmer & AMiracle said they will send me their latest model in a week or so, but I have fixed the one I had, will I benefit running 2 skimmers . <Very possibly. If one isn't cycling "lower", that is, producing less and drier foam during some period of the day, then it is not sufficient for the system, and two are definitely better than one.> I had a scare over the weekend , for the first time my ammonia level went to 2 on my testing scale- did an emergency water change( in other words , I didn't let the new water aerate overnight, just added the new properly mixed water immediately- hope that was Ok - ammonia level has come down- didn't feed the fish for 2 days- I think the ammonia went up due to overfeeding) <Agree that the ammonia "spike" was probably due to overfeeding, but not to new water...> I was overfeeding ,because after feeding my angel & 2 tangs, I added by syringe extra frozen brine for the Mandarin ( he's doing Great- so far) then the puffer wasn't eating - so I kept trying to find frozen fish that he would like- he doesn't seem to see food real well. <You should look into culturing some live foods for that Mandarin... at least till the bottom substrate becomes well established with foodstuffs he can pick out himself... Keep an eye on that specimen to make sure it's eating and doesn't become thin. so I need some sort of answer to this problem.> does the puffer really cause a problem for the mandarin? Please reply when time permits. Thanks so much, Q82 >> <Yes, the Puffer in all likelihood will eat the Mandarin, probably at night, very soon. Bob Fenner>

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