Refugium questions

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I recently restated my tank( about 3 months old) and added a new sump when I restarted the tank. I have never run a refugium before. The sump has a 5 gallon refugium. The refugium is fed by a separate pump feeding out of the sump. The pump feeding the refugium is a 237 gph pump with a spray bar in the refugium and the refugium empties into the return section of the sump. The refugium is approx 8" wide x 13" deep and 11" tall. I have live rock rubble in the bottom of the refugium and added a baseball size ball of cheato a little over a month ago. I light the refugium with a reef breeders pico refugium light 6 hrs a day. Currently the cheato seems to be growing really slow and periodically small pieces tend to break off the cheato and float around and settle on the bottom of the Refugium, so I assume it is not doing well. My nitrates are between 5-10ppm and my phosphates read zero on a API test kit. I just recently started to get brown alga and some patchs of green algae growing on the sides of the refugium and the spray bar. My tank is clear of algae, but I am currently only lighting the tank 5 hrs a day with low level lighting as I am gradually increasing the light every week by and hour the will adjust intensity. My questions are what should be the flow rate in the refugium? I have tried different flow rates but tried to get cheato to tumble so have it maxed out now. The cheato will tumble for several seconds when nudged alttle to get it to tumble but will settle back on the bottom. How long should I light the refugium? Since the cheato sets on the bottom is it to deep in the water or is the depth ok. Is the new brown and green algae normal for sumps with cheato? Do you add a snail or two to clean up the algae in the refugium or will it clear up if cheato starts growing? Any help would be appreciated.

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Fritz

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General view is slow flow through the fuge. You likely have some new tank syndrome things going there that will pass. Chaeto requires high nutrients, with out it, it dies. Lighting only 5 hours a day is very short. I think most ppl do 12, on opposite from display tank.
 

Ishai Thatcher

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More light, and you can always try a nutrient supplement like chaeto grow. The flow with chaeto isn’t super important, it can take high or low. Sumps built for the triton method often have all the main drains directly into the refugium so it’s a lot of flow.
 

Imaexpat2

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One of the biggest problems I see with most refugium start ups is not using enough algae to begin with. If you have any size of a tank at all, a base ball size chunk of Chaeto aint gonna do a whole lot for you anytime soon. Make sure you use enough algae from the get go!

Lighting, the right color temp and the right amount of run time has a lot to do with how well a refugium with Macro Algae will work for you. You want a light that is specific for growing plants. Back in the day we used a clip on brooder lamp fixture and a 65 watt 6,500k bulb. It worked but not so well. Serious reefers would use a 175 watt halide 6,500K bulb and that was better but tere were often heat issues and required a chiller too. Today we have LED's that are specifically designed soley for growing algae. I use a Kessil A80 Refugium grow light and its awesome. I run it about 12-18 hours a day. The sprig of Dragons Breath Maco quickly grew to over whelm the 5.5 gallon tank I was growing it in, in prep for a sump set up on a 55 I was gonna add to my rock tank. The quality of light and the quantity of light you use makes a huge difference!

BRS did a great video on You tube about refugiums, you should watch it!

1. 2. 3.
As they said in one of the videos....think of your refugium as a tunable filtration system!
 
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Thanks everyone for the feedback. I have watched the videos previously but did rewatch them now that I have refugium running and i am having issues. I was able to pick up a few new pointers. Is the cheato breaking off small ends a sign it is not getting enough light or possibly not enough nutrients? I have tried running the light different lengths of time but settled on the 6 hours as the cheato appeared to hold together and not break as much at that length of time. I think I will try running it 12 hours for a while and see how that goes. Also the feedback on needing more cheato to outcompete the brown and green algae seems logical, but I would think that if there is enough nutrients to grow the brown and green algae the cheato would grow well also. I assume that is not the case? As for my light I am lighting with a reefbreeders refugium led pico light. There is not much info on how high to mount it above the fuge, but currently I have it about 5" above the water. Does anybody have any experience with this light? It states it is designed for the fuge and cheato growth. I think the cheato is liking the higher flow since the cheato also appeared to break less with the higher flow, however I would like to put pods in the fuge at some point but I am afraid the flow is to strong for them. My reason for thinking that is because there are a few pods in their now that came in the cheato and I have witnessed them strugglingt to get back down into the cheato if washed outinto the current. What flow rate is needed for pods in a fuge?
 
Maxout

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Thanks everyone for the feedback. I have watched the videos previously but did rewatch them now that I have refugium running and i am having issues. I was able to pick up a few new pointers. Is the cheato breaking off small ends a sign it is not getting enough light or possibly not enough nutrients? I have tried running the light different lengths of time but settled on the 6 hours as the cheato appeared to hold together and not break as much at that length of time. I think I will try running it 12 hours for a while and see how that goes. Also the feedback on needing more cheato to outcompete the brown and green algae seems logical, but I would think that if there is enough nutrients to grow the brown and green algae the cheato would grow well also. I assume that is not the case? As for my light I am lighting with a reefbreeders refugium led pico light. There is not much info on how high to mount it above the fuge, but currently I have it about 5" above the water. Does anybody have any experience with this light? It states it is designed for the fuge and cheato growth. I think the cheato is liking the higher flow since the cheato also appeared to break less with the higher flow, however I would like to put pods in the fuge at some point but I am afraid the flow is to strong for them. My reason for thinking that is because there are a few pods in their now that came in the cheato and I have witnessed them strugglingt to get back down into the cheato if washed outinto the current. What flow rate is needed for pods in a fuge?
I'm not of any help in regards to your questions, but good question on the flow for pods. We just added pods and have a wave maker in the refugium just to keep some flow in there. It is on the lowest setting but wondering if it is to much flow for pods. I am also wondering if you can have chaeto, sea lettuce and oro all at the same time.
 

Ishai Thatcher

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I'm not of any help in regards to your questions, but good question on the flow for pods. We just added pods and have a wave maker in the refugium just to keep some flow in there. It is on the lowest setting but wondering if it is to much flow for pods. I am also wondering if you can have chaeto, sea lettuce and oro all at the same time.
Yea u can combine all kinds of macros, just make sure they are all getting light. Pods will live deep inside the chaeto flow should not be a problem. And you can always put a pod hotel or two in there to give them extra safety and protection from the flow.
 

beginner_reefer

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Yea u can combine all kinds of macros, just make sure they are all getting light. Pods will live deep inside the chaeto flow should not be a problem. And you can always put a pod hotel or two in there to give them extra safety and protection from the flow.
Thank you! Wasn't sure if one macro would kill the other or not. What is a pod hotel?
 

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