Refugium Refusal : Why would you NOT run a refugium?

BRS

Why wouldn't you have a refugium running on your reef tank?

  • No Space or equipment

    Votes: 204 25.9%
  • Don't think it's worth the extra time or money

    Votes: 47 6.0%
  • Tried it and it didn't work out for me

    Votes: 59 7.5%
  • I do have a refugium running

    Votes: 424 53.7%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 55 7.0%

  • Total voters
    789

vlangel

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I have run tanks with and without refugiums. The only reason I would not have a fuge is space. I would choose a fuge compartment before a skimmer compartment. I have found that a DSB and macro algae can be very effective at lowering nutrients. It also is a nice natural space for larvae shrimp and pods to reproduce and feed the tank. I like that balance.
 

Timfish

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Thanks. Great reads!
Wow, those studies really make one question the value of a Macroalgae refugium. From those studies it looks like we really should be creating stony coral with sponge refugiums!
The macro algaes are just such great primary producers and exporters of nitrates and phosphates. I don't think I could maintain my current fish feeding volumes without it. I used to think the algae exudate was basically doing my carbon dosing in my DT automatically and all the heterotrophic bacteria and other microorganisms it was feeding was a good thing! All of that discussion about the bacteria in the aura-biome or holobiont shifting towards the more pathological and reef unfriendly bacteria in the presence of algae exudate really makes me question what I'm doing. I wonder if the guys at AquaBiomics have seen a significant difference in tanks which grow macro-algae refugium vs ones that don't?

Now that we have 16S DNA testing more available it will be interesting to see what it reveals as more data is collected. I'm setting up a ssytem shortly following Lee Chin Eng's methodology and will be getting AquaBiomics tests on a monthly basis. I know testing done with skimmers by Feldman at Penn state showed a skimmers skew the bacteria to non skimmable types so it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the decades to come in maintaining reef systems sustainably now that we can monitor the bacteria.

Question for you, how do you determining your current feeding regimen is appropriate for your fish and corals?
 

JayinToronto

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Now that we have 16S DNA testing more available it will be interesting to see what it reveals as more data is collected. I'm setting up a ssytem shortly following Lee Chin Eng's methodology and will be getting AquaBiomics tests on a monthly basis. I know testing done with skimmers by Feldman at Penn state showed a skimmers skew the bacteria to non skimmable types so it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the decades to come in maintaining reef systems sustainably now that we can monitor the bacteria.

Question for you, how do you determining your current feeding regimen is appropriate for your fish and corals?
Jealous re: AquaBiomics testing. Not available to us Canucks yet. It really seems like nailing down the microbiology of our systems will be the holy grail. Though knowing what is optimal is one thing, getting our system there will be another issue altogether. With how hard it is to get actual ocean live rock these days I'm not sure how we'll all get there. Looking forward to following Lee Chin Eng's setup. You better do a tank build thread! How strict are you going to stay to his methods?

My current feeding regime is based on a few observations. First, to my knowledge, my most metabolically demanding fish are my anthias, so I make sure they are staying fat. Second my clowns and my blue chromis spawn often. I feel that's another positive indicator. Third is the aggression of my tangs. They fight less when they are getting a lot of nori and macro algae from my refugium. And fourth, just observing that everyone is maintaining or putting on weight. Those are the minimums. However in general I simply try to feed as much as I can without seeing a up creep in my nitrates and phosphates. I check those both at lease once a week. I shoot for roughly .1 phosphates and 10 nitrates, but I'm not that fixed on it. I find that as long as my feeding volumes remain consistent that the aquarium seems to adjust on it's own. LRS fish frenzy and reef frenzy are the main caloric inputs. I also feed Mysis, nori, and sump macroalgae.
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on those observations.
 

PinkReef

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If you are building your refugium as a Refuge wanting to raise copepods to cater for Mandarin etc what is the advice regarding algae. I was going to focus mainly on chaeto to give the pods somewhere to reside along with siporax and a pod hotel [or two]
What about critters, is it worth having a snail or two and emerald crab to do some tidying up
I will have an X-Filter in the sump but this will be set to allow small pods through as they come through the return
Same... if you just want pods, would "pod hotels" actually be sufficient, or do you need the chaeto (or other algae)
 

Timfish

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Jealous re: AquaBiomics testing. Not available to us Canucks yet. It really seems like nailing down the microbiology of our systems will be the holy grail. Though knowing what is optimal is one thing, getting our system there will be another issue altogether. With how hard it is to get actual ocean live rock these days I'm not sure how we'll all get there. Looking forward to following Lee Chin Eng's setup. You better do a tank build thread! How strict are you going to stay to his methods?

My current feeding regime is based on a few observations. First, to my knowledge, my most metabolically demanding fish are my anthias, so I make sure they are staying fat. Second my clowns and my blue chromis spawn often. I feel that's another positive indicator. Third is the aggression of my tangs. They fight less when they are getting a lot of nori and macro algae from my refugium. And fourth, just observing that everyone is maintaining or putting on weight. Those are the minimums. However in general I simply try to feed as much as I can without seeing a up creep in my nitrates and phosphates. I check those both at lease once a week. I shoot for roughly .1 phosphates and 10 nitrates, but I'm not that fixed on it. I find that as long as my feeding volumes remain consistent that the aquarium seems to adjust on it's own. LRS fish frenzy and reef frenzy are the main caloric inputs. I also feed Mysis, nori, and sump macroalgae.
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on those observations.

Researchers are certainly making headway but I'm not expecting the microbiology will be nailed down soon. :/ A lot of the updates I get from google scholar are on advances in understanding human microbiomes and there's a lot more people working on understanding it then on reef microbiomes.

As far as improving the microbiomes in our aquariums I'm inclined to think we already can take steps to restore healthy microbiomes beyond adding wild or maricultured live rock or "muck" like @Paul B has related doing. One thing I stumbled on a couple decades ago was using water from a "healthy" system, a ssytem that had active and inquisitive fish, corals "seemed" to have good growth and good colors, and an absence of nuisance algae issues to help with systems that had deteriorating corals and nuisance algae problems. I don't expect it to happen every time but I have been surprised on occasion to have nuisance algae issues clear up in one week with a water change from a "healthy" system after water changes with new saltwater did not seem to help. Some of the research I posted above showing the DOC from corals promotes autotrophic microbial processes and seems to directly effect the types of bacteria in the water above corals supports this. It also seems to me using water (and sand and rock) from a "healthy" ecosystem to transfer beneficial bacteria is much like using fecal transplants in people to help with bacterial or developemental issues (Ref 1, Ref 2)

I use pretty much the same criteria to determine if I'm feeding properly. But I've also treid different foods and looked at the research on feeding corals. 30 years ago flakes and pelelt food was mostly grains and frozen foods were clearly better. But I never stopped varying or changing things around and now that's changed I think. At least I've been able to see fish live to or beyond their wild counter parts life expectancies feeding just pellets. Using autofeeders and pellets, sometimes with different sized pellets and sometimes using nultiple autofeeders I've been able to minimize the aggression I've seen between fish and keep both aggressive and timid feeders with ideal body weights. (This may seem counter intuitive to some but what I find helps with a group of large tangs is to feed small pellets, it takes more time for the more aggressive individules to feed and lets more pellets spread out, feeding tubes on return pumps also help since it takes longer for the the pellets to be fed to the fish and spreads tehm out over a much wider area.)

As far as feeding corals I suspect you may be feeding your macros more than your corals if you're adding food for them. Research definitely shows species specific requirements. What one species likes is detrimental to another and the amount of feed needed can be very specific. It seems to me fish poop is the best all around choice. Here's links if you're interested




Fig. 3 from this paper: https://www.researchgate.net/public...nutrient_loading_on_the_coral-algal_mutualism

Context‐dependent effects of nutrient loading on the coral–algal mutualism(1).png

The Lee Chin Eng system I'm getting ready to set up will be a pure system in the sense I'm only using air pumps for water movement but I'm planning on using two on timers to get an ebb and flow mimicking tides so some may argure that's a modification on his system.
 

Timfish

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@Timfish

I looked at AquaBiomics website. Quite impressive where they sell reef rubble from fishless systems to produce a microbe cocktail to seed systems. I also like the section where different microbe roles were explained. Looks like company < 2 yrs old.

@Paul B
Have you used AquaBiomics before?

I wasn't aware of their bacterial cultures for sale, that must be fairly. That should be a good addition if it includes microbes that can't be cultured in a lab. (That's one of the things that really grabbed my attention reading ROhwer's book was 16S DNA testing showed only about 5% of the microbes in seawater could actually be cultured in a lab.)
 

JayinToronto

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I wasn't aware of their bacterial cultures for sale, that must be fairly. That should be a good addition if it includes microbes that can't be cultured in a lab. (That's one of the things that really grabbed my attention reading ROhwer's book was 16S DNA testing showed only about 5% of the microbes in seawater could actually be cultured in
I wasn't aware of their bacterial cultures for sale, that must be fairly. That should be a good addition if it includes microbes that can't be cultured in a lab. (That's one of the things that really grabbed my attention reading ROhwer's book was 16S DNA testing showed only about 5% of the microbes in seawater could actually be cultured in a lab.)
5% only?! Wow, that’s a huge knock against bottled bac manufacturers!

Have seen the reef rubble available on the aquabiomics site. Always seems to be out of stock though.
 

Subsea

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5% only?! Wow, that’s a huge knock against bottled bac manufacturers!

Have seen the reef rubble available on the aquabiomics site. Always seems to be out of stock though.

In the old days, I used GARF GRUNGE. Of course, we never got a certificate of microbe populations.

I am with @Timfish on using water from a healthy reef tank to prop up bacteria culture diversity in a struggling tank.

In reading the AquaBiomics product info for reef rubble, they implied that they cultured these microbes, yet they used live rock as the source of reef rubble.
 
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b;ester231

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Tried a fuge a while back and it did not work out for me. I use a filter roller and it's great at removing nutrient causing waste. All the fuge did was strip out the remaining nutrients and trace elements. Then for months I had problems with my tank trying to keep up nutrients and elements. Got rid of the fuge and the tank was happy again. The filter roller just works to well to saport a fuge.
 

Lex_510

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Depends on your tank and personal preference. In my case I don't do waterchanges so I will need to replenish the mineral uptake from the corals. If you do waterchanges you most likely won't have to dose anything, or maybe a little bit if the coral uptake is high. I personally dose All For Reef every few days.
Would you recommend a deep sand bed in the refugium
 

fragit

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I do have a refugium, it’s a 40 breeder. I just pulled all my Chaeto out as it just is not doing what it’s supposed to consistently. It will grow well then wilt, pieces are constantly clogging my pumps in there. Additionally it prevents my other macros from growing, and my few SPS seem pale. I also have a compact roller mat running and a skimmer. I may shut most of the lights off on the fuge and pack it full of rock I have laying around.
 

Perry

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I personally prefer a dark sump with bio-media, as I use bacteria and carbon source, so a fuge is unnecessary. This all depends on how you prefer to run your tank. Fuge can also have it's drawbacks too, it just shows we can run our tanks many different ways :)
 

Nhjmc

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I purchased an external Hang On Refugium Box (3 Section) w/Pump & LED - Finnex and have had nothing but major algae issues since so I've taken it down.
 
BRS

If Reefing was a school what letter grade do you think you would be making?

  • A

    Votes: 64 11.4%
  • B

    Votes: 248 44.1%
  • C

    Votes: 185 32.9%
  • D

    Votes: 41 7.3%
  • F

    Votes: 22 3.9%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 2 0.4%

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