high phosphates, algae scrubber or Refugium

BonelessEvil

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when I first started my current tank (80 gallon display, ~22 gallon sump), I had an algae scrubber. I tried switching over to a Refugium with Cheato, but had trouble keeping the Cheato alive. It just wouldn't grow and later, my phosphate started to rise (they hover around 0.26) and subsequently, the tank plagued me with hair algae. in the Refugium, I was using an Kessil H80.

In the next week or so, I will be starting a new tank (110 gallon, visible, sump ~50 gallon) and I'm trying to decide between an algae scrubber and a Refugium with macroalgae. Like I said, I've been having trouble with hair algae growing. After my Refugium fail in the current tank, I put my algae scrubber back in, but not before trying NO3PO4X and Vibrant to control the phosphate levels. I didn't see much of an effect. I've also used GFO and it had a limited effect as well. (edit: I'm also switching to a filter roller. Will that help?)

Which system should I use, algae scrubber or Refugium?
If Refugium, how should I set it up? (Right lighting, a pump to tumble the Cheato?, Etc.)
 
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My refugium does an excellent job at lowering phosphates. I used a prime 16hd over my refugium (chaeto, red ogo gracilaria, pom pom gracilaria), and dosed chaetogro (now all for reef + potassium + iron). I currently have the fluval evo light over it since my prime's power brick died. but it still works well. I turn the algae over every few days.
 

Mywifeisgunnakillme

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I think the turf scrubber will be more effective, but potentially more often maintenance. Make sure to seed it with the right turf alage. MELEV has a nice video on that.

The refugium works if you have the space and enough light. But sometimes macros are harder than turf algaes to keep alive. Chaeto or calurpa would be my vote. Although ulva is pretty hardy.
 

PeterC99

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I’m a Refugium with chaeto. Able to overstock my 90 gallon aquarium with 24g sump and keep PO4 and almost zero. Simple egg crate Refugium with Neptune grow on opposite light schedule. Chaeto grows very well and harvest every other week.

8BC12A46-39DA-46C8-ACE8-668CC1CDFC79.jpeg
 
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TCoach

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I have a Chaeto refugium in the first chamber of my sump (after filter sock). I‘ve had to resort to using GFO to get my PO4 down. It was at 2.5 ppm ( NOT a misstype)! now running at .1. Has taken several months to slowly lower it.

Refugium gets first dibs on nitrate and phosphate. The my GFO and Bio Pellet reactors work to control what the algae does not consume.
 
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TCoach

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I have a Chaeto refugium in the first chamber of my sump (after filter sock). I‘ve had to resort to using GFO to get my PO4 down. It was at 2.5 ppm ( NOT a misstype)! now running at .1. Has taken several months to slowly lower it.

Refugium gets first dibs on nitrate and phosphate. The my GFO and Bio Pellet reactors work to control what the algae does not consume.
Here is a pic.
 

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PeterC99

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yes refugiums work.... But, trust me, not always if the chaeto doesn't grow or traps too much detritus.... Research a bit. An algae scrubber works too.. So do bio pellets and vodka dosing.
How do you like your IM heater?
 

Mywifeisgunnakillme

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How do you like your IM heater?
No complaints! You will have basically no fluctuations in heating if your tanks does not heat up from lights and other equipment... It's just nice package (kinda like the iphone of heaters...) of easy controller setup and nice magnet mounts for titanium heaters and temp probe. The fact that titanium heaters themselves are TINY comparatively speaking is a very nice touch.

Put it this way, i tossed my other heater setups and run these even on the salt water mix up station.

You can get plastic mount for them from Harry's aquatics.... I sent him my first one so he could design the mount...
 
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BonelessEvil

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Thanks for the comments. My problem with the algae scrubber has been the difficulty of cleaning it. It's just awkward. If there's a better way of plumbing or procedure for managing the device, please enlighten me.

I would like to do a Refugium for the simplicity, but do I need to do lights on the side or will one light on top be sufficient? What would be a good refugium light for an area about 15 gallons?
 
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Thanks for the comments. My problem with the algae scrubber has been the difficulty of cleaning it. It's just awkward. If there's a better way of plumbing or procedure for managing the device, please enlighten me.

I would like to do a Refugium for the simplicity, but do I need to do lights on the side or will one light on top be sufficient? What would be a good refugium light for an area about 15 gallons?
Make sure it's stupid bright
COB LED Grow Light Full Spectrum, CANAGROW 100W Waterproof Grow Lights for Indoor Plants, Plant Growing Lamp with New Technology, Natural Heat Dissipation Without Noise
 

Mastiffsrule

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Hello,

I have had great success with Rowa-Phos. I have a 180 and a 60. I am a big believer in no chemicals other than dosing and as little equipment as possible. Less to break and save money.

I found the best way to combat algae was thru multiple fronts. My most prized equipment along with the heater and return pump is a UV lamp set up properly. That helps free floating algae. Then I watch feedings to monitor how much phosphate actually goes in. A good CuC is essential as well as livestock like tangs that’s graze. And fI ally Rowa-phos.

It may take some time but once they all work in harmony there is no side affects to worry about from carbon dosing or other chemicals. UV light bulb 1x a year. CuC and Rowa as needed
 

sunken3

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when I first started my current tank (80 gallon display, ~22 gallon sump), I had an algae scrubber. I tried switching over to a Refugium with Cheato, but had trouble keeping the Cheato alive. It just wouldn't grow and later, my phosphate started to rise (they hover around 0.26) and subsequently, the tank plagued me with hair algae. in the Refugium, I was using an Kessil H80.

In the next week or so, I will be starting a new tank (110 gallon, visible, sump ~50 gallon) and I'm trying to decide between an algae scrubber and a Refugium with macroalgae. Like I said, I've been having trouble with hair algae growing. After my Refugium fail in the current tank, I put my algae scrubber back in, but not before trying NO3PO4X and Vibrant to control the phosphate levels. I didn't see much of an effect. I've also used GFO and it had a limited effect as well. (edit: I'm also switching to a filter roller. Will that help?)

Which system should I use, algae scrubber or Refugium?
If Refugium, how should I set it up? (Right lighting, a pump to tumble the Cheato?, Etc.)
My 250g experience... I had a fuge in the sump with the AI fuge prime. growing chaeto was up and down... it would take off and struggle... became a detritus trap over time and a home for bristle worms. I think if you have a lot of time, a nice fuge for macro algae and pods is great... but otherwise I find them a hassle. My last straw was the fuge light bleed into everything in the sump... so algae grew everywhere (probes, pumps, protein skimmer)..

I switched to an algae scrubber and never looked back (I made mine with 2 chambers so I could rotate the cultivation).

Also, I like phosphat-e for large phosphate take downs and GFO for maintenance. GFO is too expensive to use for large drops.
 

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My refugium has bristleworms, gha among the chaeto and coralline. The rabbitfish takes care of any gha that makes it I to the dt.
+1 to phosphate e (lanthanum chloride) for easy po4 removal.
 
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Mywifeisgunnakillme

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I would like to do a Refugium for the simplicity, but do I need to do lights on the side or will one light on top be sufficient? What would be a good refugium light for an area about 15 gallons?

Ideally, the macro should allow enough flow through/tumble so that detritus does not build up and light penetrates all of it. Where light does not reach, it will typically die, defeating the purpose of the macro scrubbing. So just adjust the amount of algae, flow, and lighting to reach those goals best you can.

That said, that's all the ideal. They can be pretty forgiving on all points and work well. Monitor nitrates and phosphates to meet goals.
 

Mywifeisgunnakillme

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no side affects to worry about from carbon dosing
Just curious what bad side effects have you experienced with carbon dosing?

I was thinking about it on a system, thinking a macro refugium grows macro to reduce nitrates/phosphates, and carbon dosing grow bacteria to do the same, but may take up less room and be less maintenance.
 
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BonelessEvil

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Just curious what bad side effects have you experienced with carbon dosing?

I was thinking about it on a system, thinking a macro refugium grows macro to reduce nitrates/phosphates, and carbon dosing grow bacteria to do the same, but may take up less room and be less maintenance.
I've been doing carbon dosing and it's pretty simple, but I feel like I have to replace it weekly/biweekly. I'm uncertain, as I've not done a white bucket test, how often I should be replacing it. While I have not done it personally, but just investigated it, consider checking out an ozone generator. If you turn them down a bit, so they only clarify the water, they seem like an almost maintenance free option, as you only have to replace or drive a cartridge much less often.
 

Mywifeisgunnakillme

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I've been doing carbon dosing and it's pretty simple, but I feel like I have to replace it weekly/biweekly. I'm uncertain, as I've not done a white bucket test, how often I should be replacing it. While I have not done it personally, but just investigated it, consider checking out an ozone generator. If you turn them down a bit, so they only clarify the water, they seem like an almost maintenance free option, as you only have to replace or drive a cartridge much less often.
Are you using bio-pellets or vodka or vinegar? What are you replacing weekly/biweekly? I've started some pellets and some vodka dosing. Nitrates are definitely being reduced. Jury is out on whether i'll continue. I have the pellets flowing into the filter roller, then the water passes by the skimmer. If it does not create too big a mess with bacteria film slime, it seems like a good way to go. I have not cleaned my display glass since starting it--it stays really clean. But i also run a large UV.
 

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