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Thread: Need helping setting up

  1. #1
    Senior Member morrisjtja's Avatar

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    Need helping setting up

    Hi all, we are ready to re plumb the 55 acrylic and set it up. My head is literally swimming with all the info I got at the Christmas party Sunday. I am sitting in my living room scrapping of silicone and playing around with the sump penrosereefer gave me. Can you put a sock and skimmer in the same area? And since I eventually want a refrugium in the sump can I leave a spot open with some live rock or just empty until we want to do it? I have attached pics of the sump and a pic of a sump design I saw online and would like to try expect for moving the skimmer to the intake end instead. What do you think?

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    Senior Member morrisjtja's Avatar

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    Tim, I can't message yet so I doubt you got my reply

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    Yes, you can place a sock and a skimmer in the same area. Filter socks should go in a place that you can easily add and remove them every 2-6 days depending on your bio load and how long you want to leave excess fish food and fish waste in your system. The key to any skimmer is to have it sit in a baffled section that does not change in water height. The skimmer will function chaotically if the water height changes giving you a negative side affect of underskimming, over skimming, flooding the skim meat into your tank or not skimming enough. Obviously, this will give you in unstable system.

    Refugiums (although neat) are normally a waste of space in a sump of your size. Don't get me wrong, refugiums look cool and they do help us out, but with refugiums come numerous other issues. Honestly, refugiums will do very little for you unless you have enough algae in it to successfully neutralize phosphates and nitrates. No one can honestly tell us how much macro algae that we need in order to successfully eliminate or reduce phosphates and nitrates in our reefs. There are a ton of experts that recommend a lb. of a certain type or 1-10 mangrove trees per gallon of system volume, but none of them actually know nor do they have scientific proof to back-up there claims. Bio loads change, broadcast feeding amounts vary daily and livestock die without us knowing sometimes.

    Some hobbyists will utilize macro algae in a sump without turning it into a refugium by letting it grow rampid until it needs a trim and then letting it grow again. This is a good way of biological exportation of nutrients with little maintenance, but typically these chambers are not "clean" looking. All macro algae have the possibility of turning A-sexual which is normally caused by a drastic change in water quality, but numerous people have reported no change with the same outcome. A-sexual macro algae will immediately cease nutrient exportation which can cause to an algae breakout or a possible system crash in a display of your size. This will also more than likely, elevate the risk of clogging pumps by small macro algae particles floating into other chambers. Ineffective pumps create flooding and/or a lack of clean water returning to the display; resulting in dirty water staying in the tank and a lack of heated water returning to the display. Since it looks like your heaters will be in the sump (which I strongly recommend for esthetic purposes only), this is yet another thing you need to take into account. This could be mitigated via a controller with multiple thermometers, but that is a lot more money just to have a refugium.

    Refugiums normally require a deep sand bed that can be great for the display since it creates nitrifying bacteria and releases nitrogen and oxygen back into the water column when slightly disturbed, however, sand in one area also means sand in other areas that you don't want. Refugium mud is commonly used even though it needs to be replaced every 3-4 months. This is 100% impossible without making a massive mess and/or completely changing your system's stability which 2 of 4 coral families require to survive (most SPS and some LPS).

    Refugiums also mean that you need a light. Light creates algae (some good most bad) that in a sump, will also glow onto pumps, heaters and baffles. Algae on your pumps, and heaters are not the end of the world if you are willing to remove them bi-monthly, soaking in vinegar, scrubbing, rinsing and replacing, but if you don't like maintenance this can be a bad thing. Algae in your baffles is its own beast as it is hard to clean and normally hard to see. The positive side of unwanted algae going in your sump is that it will not grow in the display since it already has a great spot to grow.

    There are numerous other biological, chemical and mechanical features that you can add to your sump that will do 10x the work for you with little to no extra maintenance.

    Chemical- GFO and Bio pellet reactors
    Biological- Live rock, mangrove trees, bio balls and ceramic media
    Mechanical- GFO and Bio pellet reactors, turf algae scrubber and filter pads/socks

    I am not trying to talk you out of your refugium. I just want to give you the positives (for obvious reasons) and the negatives (so that you can come up with a good plan to mitigate). I will admit that I have broken just about all of the "reefing rules" and on some of them I have won and on some of them I have lost with a suffering wallet and pride. I hope this helps.

    JJ

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  5. #4
    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    I decided not to run a fuge and in place I have the equivalent of 300lbs of live rock and will have a bio pellet reactor with a strong skimmer.

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    Equivalent of 300lbs of live rock - is that the Marine Pure Biofilter ceramic media?
    Don't look here for a comment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Levi View Post
    I decided not to run a fuge and in place I have the equivalent of 300lbs of live rock and will have a bio pellet reactor with a strong skimmer.

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    =s fuge!
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  9. #7
    Senior Member morrisjtja's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by static reef View Post
    Yes, you can place a sock and a skimmer in the same area. Filter socks should go in a place that you can easily add and remove them every 2-6 days depending on your bio load and how long you want to leave excess fish food and fish waste in your system. The key to any skimmer is to have it sit in a baffled section that does not change in water height. The skimmer will function chaotically if the water height changes giving you a negative side affect of underskimming, over skimming, flooding the skim meat into your tank or not skimming enough. Obviously, this will give you in unstable system.

    Refugiums (although neat) are normally a waste of space in a sump of your size. Don't get me wrong, refugiums look cool and they do help us out, but with refugiums come numerous other issues. Honestly, refugiums will do very little for you unless you have enough algae in it to successfully neutralize phosphates and nitrates. No one can honestly tell us how much macro algae that we need in order to successfully eliminate or reduce phosphates and nitrates in our reefs. There are a ton of experts that recommend a lb. of a certain type or 1-10 mangrove trees per gallon of system volume, but none of them actually know nor do they have scientific proof to back-up there claims. Bio loads change, broadcast feeding amounts vary daily and livestock die without us knowing sometimes.

    Some hobbyists will utilize macro algae in a sump without turning it into a refugium by letting it grow rampid until it needs a trim and then letting it grow again. This is a good way of biological exportation of nutrients with little maintenance, but typically these chambers are not "clean" looking. All macro algae have the possibility of turning A-sexual which is normally caused by a drastic change in water quality, but numerous people have reported no change with the same outcome. A-sexual macro algae will immediately cease nutrient exportation which can cause to an algae breakout or a possible system crash in a display of your size. This will also more than likely, elevate the risk of clogging pumps by small macro algae particles floating into other chambers. Ineffective pumps create flooding and/or a lack of clean water returning to the display; resulting in dirty water staying in the tank and a lack of heated water returning to the display. Since it looks like your heaters will be in the sump (which I strongly recommend for esthetic purposes only), this is yet another thing you need to take into account. This could be mitigated via a controller with multiple thermometers, but that is a lot more money just to have a refugium.

    Refugiums normally require a deep sand bed that can be great for the display since it creates nitrifying bacteria and releases nitrogen and oxygen back into the water column when slightly disturbed, however, sand in one area also means sand in other areas that you don't want. Refugium mud is commonly used even though it needs to be replaced every 3-4 months. This is 100% impossible without making a massive mess and/or completely changing your system's stability which 2 of 4 coral families require to survive (most SPS and some LPS).

    Refugiums also mean that you need a light. Light creates algae (some good most bad) that in a sump, will also glow onto pumps, heaters and baffles. Algae on your pumps, and heaters are not the end of the world if you are willing to remove them bi-monthly, soaking in vinegar, scrubbing, rinsing and replacing, but if you don't like maintenance this can be a bad thing. Algae in your baffles is its own beast as it is hard to clean and normally hard to see. The positive side of unwanted algae going in your sump is that it will not grow in the display since it already has a great spot to grow.

    There are numerous other biological, chemical and mechanical features that you can add to your sump that will do 10x the work for you with little to no extra maintenance.

    Chemical- GFO and Bio pellet reactors
    Biological- Live rock, mangrove trees, bio balls and ceramic media
    Mechanical- GFO and Bio pellet reactors, turf algae scrubber and filter pads/socks

    I am not trying to talk you out of your refugium. I just want to give you the positives (for obvious reasons) and the negatives (so that you can come up with a good plan to mitigate). I will admit that I have broken just about all of the "reefing rules" and on some of them I have won and on some of them I have lost with a suffering wallet and pride. I hope this helps.

    JJ
    Thanks again JJ . I was tossing around the idea of using that space for a bio filter instead since the stand won't give me a lot of room to work, then I only need to cut one baffle down a few inches. I believe that's the route I'm going to go with.

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    Looks good. I run a similar sump on one of my frag tanks and it has been good. I'm a fan of refuge or bio zones for tanks however small. If anything it provides a little bit more rock and sand for bio filtration and to help buffer swings. I add a bunch of light so it will be the first area to grow algae and help limit how much is up in the display tank and consume some of my extra phosphates and other nutrients. I do need to make sure the pumps stay clear of any cheato that has collected on the outside of the screen but not that often. On the plus side I have plenty of pods for the fish and corals to eat.

    Here's the one I built from a 40 gallon, when I get back home I'll try and post a picture of it in use.


    From left to right, empty chamber for catching anything that rides the overflow, not necessary. Skimmer and bio-pellet chamber. Refuge or bio zone, I put my fuge at the end to catch any nutrients the skimmer doesn't keeps this area from being overwhelmed with nutrients if there is heavy feeding and allows the pods to fall right into the display tank and not be skimmed out. I also added an algae scrubber in this area and hit it with some LED flood lights. I use cheato and midens hair and never had an issue with it going sexual like caluerpa or some others. It has rock and about an inch of sand to help since the Frag tank has virtually no life rock.

    There is no one way to do it just finding the balance that fits what you like and how you care for your tank. Definitely excited to see how this build takes shape.

  11. #9
    Senior Member FireDawg56's Avatar

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    That was an awesome piece JJ!

    The one thing I have found my Refugium does is create a safe place for pods to grow. It maintain a healthy population of Pods that feed in to my tank through the return. I can go in to it at almost any time, lift out a hand full of calerpa and find 1/4" pods covering it.

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    I'm a fan of a fuge. It's a safe place for things to grow. I have no problem keeping my pumps and heaters clean. I've found lots of snails and even a couple of banghaii cardinals in my fuge that were doing just fine. I like having many things pitching in to keep my tank healthy so there is no single point of failure - besides me.
    Last edited by Joe; 01-20-2016 at 09:53 PM.
    Don't look here for a comment.

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    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    Great points about fuges but I want to point out that the traditional thought of fuge is macro algae etc and actually to have a fuge all you need is a safe place for things to grow. This can be a chamber with live rock that is kept dark for sponges and pods to grow.

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    Here's a shot of the 40 gallon sump with fuge/bio zone / whatever the "actual" thing is called. There are lots of ways to do it, but I really like having the light and another area for pods and algae to grow in your tank. I have done something like it with all my tanks. I've noticed effects in the display when light and things aren't going well in the sump. I even off set the light cycle to minimize the pH drop when the tank lights go out at night and photosynthesis stops.

    It's only a crappy cell phone picture, but I hope it helps.

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  18. #13
    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ehren View Post
    Here's a shot of the 40 gallon sump with fuge/bio zone / whatever the "actual" thing is called. There are lots of ways to do it, but I really like having the light and another area for pods and algae to grow in your tank. I have done something like it with all my tanks. I've noticed effects in the display when light and things aren't going well in the sump. I even off set the light cycle to minimize the pH drop when the tank lights go out at night and photosynthesis stops.

    It's only a crappy cell phone picture, but I hope it helps.
    My point was to look at a refugium from a big picture stand point. Technically a sump is a refugium since it is a safe harbor from predators. Great example is that the live rock sump JJ has is a great refugium. Pods and sponges grow rampant. Refugiums can be whatever you decide and contain whatever you want.

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    The typical layout is filter sock to catch crap from over flow and the skimmer in first section. I also use the 1st section to add any additional pumps for reactors or algea scrubbers down the road. Middle section I always prefer to be the "fuge" section. I have the same chunk of cheato I started with over 4 years ago and still harvest it every other week. And 3rd section is return pump. I believe you don't need any live rock in there sumo or fuge as the rock in your display will have everything your tank needs in it. The flow thru your sump shouldn't be fast at all so as to allow ample time for maximum skimming and contact with macro algea in the center section. The normal is to say you want your tank to turn over 10x. So essentially tank gallons time 10 the the "flow" you want. However, you don't want it all thru your sump. You sumo should account for maybe 25% of the turnover with the rest coming from powerheads inside your display turning the watwr internally thru all your rock and sand.

    When it comes to macro algea, I've never had my cheato or caleurpa go sexual, nor have I heard of many ppl having that issue either. I've also never had to clean heaters or pumps outside of just being bored out of my and and needing something to do. Heaters haven't come out of the tank except to check functionality every now and then in years. Any size area you set aside for your ball of cheato is your fuge section. As long as water is moving thru at a nice slow pace you'll be good. The point of it is 2 fold, 1, give your little bugs a predator free place to grow, multiple and spit excess bugs into rerun pump to stock display and 2, give your system a place to effortlessly grow algea so it doesn't grow in your display. It's suppose to grow the gross and baste crap down below and out of site where it csn easily be trimmed amd managed and not in your tank for everyone to see. If you have a clean sump it usually means you have a dirty display

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  20. #15
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    There is a lot of good stuff in this thread. As you can see Jessica, everyone has a different way of going about things. I will aslo add that no one here is wrong, but no one here is right either. We all know what we have found to work best for our way of reefing. None of us can tell you what will be right for your system because we do not know how your tank will react. Out of all of the members that have posted so far, none of us have the same chemistry inside of our tanks.

    Regardless of mangroves, macros, live rock, chaeto, reactors, deep sand beds, manual chemical dosing, etc. none of us truely know the exact amount of nutrients that each one of these elements export. None of us can prove it, except that it is working for us. I promise that all of us are still researching and trying new ways of inexpensively and effectively ridding of us our tank's negative algae.

    I can also tell you that none of us soley rely on only one type. We normally incorporate numerous types until we find out which ones work best for us.

    I prefer the low maintenance side and I have found that live rock and a good bio pellet reactor works best for me. I have also just had an algae breakout in a tank because it is new and we are still working out the kinks.

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  22. #16
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    Time to add a fuge Mr jj, give that algea a place to grow where it's wanted. Lol

    But yeah, multiple ways incorporated here, 2 skimmers each rated for the water volume I have so basically skimming 2x my total volume. Also have a biopellet reactor and an 18x15 turf algea scrubber and a trough with 400+ lbs of rock. So yeah jj is right. Know ones right or wrong as every tank is different, even if set up the same amd will require it's own individual care requirements to make it work for you
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