refugium / Sump tank let’s spark an ongoing discussion

DJC

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So I’m pretty new to marine in the past my tropical had in tank filters

Now I’ve moved to marine for the last 5months and am currently using a sump tank underneath or refugium some call it

However everyone has their own way and best practices on setting up sumps

Let’s get your tips
Let’s get your pics
Let’s get your setup tech

And perhaps what we post here will help someone new like myself understand best way to set up their sump tank

Mine was trial and error and my LFS gave me some basic information had too work it out for myself

Mine is
Chamber one filter sock and inlet from tank
Chamber two outlet and filter for protein skimmer
Main chamber - live rock filter wool heater and live shells marine pure biofilter balls & with matrix seachem biofiltration rocks (in a bag) hoping to put some lighting in here in the coming weeks to support the live rock

last used chamber outlet pump back to tank
Final chamber storage and empty till I can decide what to use it for

What’s yours like ?

IMG_2577.jpeg
 

CasperOe

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Here's mine! A very simple setup with a large refugium, a skimmer section and my return chamber.

You'll see that theres no socks and no roller; i rely on my refugium as primary source of nutrient export :)

So far so good..

1000001675.jpg
 

VintageReefer

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For me, the sump is a trigger systems ruby 30s

Chamber 1 is water inlet from tank and some live rock rubble, and heater

Chamber 2 is a lot of live rock varying from rubble to 7 lb pieces, a 3” sandbed, and an algae turf scrubber

On the media shelves between chamber 2 and 3 I have a row of ceramic media bricks and chemipure

Chamber 3 is the return pump
 

CasperOe

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For me, the sump is a trigger systems ruby 30s

Chamber 1 is water inlet from tank and some live rock rubble, and heater

Chamber 2 is a lot of live rock varying from rubble to 7 lb pieces, a 3” sandbed, and an algae turf scrubber

On the media shelves between chamber 2 and 3 I have a row of ceramic media bricks and chemipure

Chamber 3 is the return pump
No mechanical filtration? :) Or are you using the stock socks the Trigger sump comes with?
 

Aishwarya

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Here's mine! A very simple setup with a large refugium, a skimmer section and my return chamber.

You'll see that theres no socks and no roller; i rely on my refugium as primary source of nutrient export :)

So far so good..

1000001675.jpg
How do you remove the detritus? Skimmer or waterchanges?
 

CasperOe

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How do you remove the detritus? Skimmer or waterchanges?
I leave it! I let critters and CUC in the refugium take care of that.. :) I do have two skimmers though, one main skimmer (Octo 150 S) and one for Ozone.

I run a heavily "Triton"-system inspired setup.
 
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Bruttall

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I just recently rebuilt my filtration system. I have a 8ft 300g Oceanic DT tank and I used to run an Eshopps AF300 fuge sump, but I realized that a sump running less than 20g water on a 300g DT is just so underwhelming in it's performance. The "Fuge" chamber doesn't allow nearly enough water flow, it is more of a stagnant backwater chamber. DILUTION is KING in this Hobby, more water is better...ALWAYS!!!

I had a 6ft 125g All-Glass tank I had used for a QT a while back and some spare glass for baffles, so I got out my glass cutter and some silicone.

4 chamber Sump, Inlet/Frag/holding chamber/ Fuge chamber/ Skim Chamber/ and return pump chamber. Tank was already drilled for internal overflows, 2 holes on each end, 1 inch and 3/4inch. Allowed me to run the plumbing under the tank to help keep it clean looking.

No Socks or Matts. I do not have a need for any mechanical filtration, I use a Coral Snow DIY flocculant when I do water changes to remove any free-floating particulates, my water is usually Crystal Clear and my skimmer and chaeto provide all the nutrient export I need.

Sump Volume increased from about 18g to over 55g. I know the wires detract from how it looks, work and Xmas has me busy so not any extra time to work on hiding those, but that is a Future Project.
Icecap UV hanging there flowing about 300g/hr.

Vipar Spectra 165watt light on the end for when I do start keeping frags in there. Can also see my Water Station, I keep 50g RO/DI on hand at all times, doubles as an ATO reservoir. With my mixing tub on top for when I need to do water changes. No Buckets needed; the water change takes place with a couple of ball valves. I even made a Drain for my skimmer, using old Sweet Tea bottle to catch the skim-mate. when mostly full put the cap on it and into the trash it goes.

20231217_044328[1].jpg


20231217_044328[1].jpg

20231217_044328[1].jpg

20231217_044328[1].jpg
 
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DJC

DJC

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Here's mine! A very simple setup with a large refugium, a skimmer section and my return chamber.

You'll see that theres no socks and no roller; i rely on my refugium as primary source of nutrient export :)

So far so good..

1000001675.jpg
You run 2x protein skimmers ?
What do you have over the far right behind the filter balls ?
 

VintageReefer

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No mechanical filtration? :) Or are you using the stock socks the Trigger sump comes with?
I don’t use any mechanical filtration
I don’t do water changes
I don’t run a skimmer :)

My middle section is a cryptic zone with sand, live rock, algae scrubber, and natural sponge, pods, worms, etc
 
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PotatoPig

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IMG_9661.jpeg


20 gallon long with glass baffles - DIY

From right to left:

Filter sock, behind skimmer.

Skimmer in first chamber with filter sock.

Bubble trap, exits low into the base of the middle section

Mini gravity ATO mounted to glass baffle, feeds into middle section

Middle section has a bunch of 1” pvc on the base, carrying eggcrate, carrying rock. Water enters below the eggcrate, distributes and flows up through the rock. There’s a crab living down there I need to fish out sometime. There’s also a Molly that was born in the tank, made it into the sump, managed a ride back through the return pump, then back into the sump again. I leave it there now. Anyway, middle section houses a bunch of rock that is a pod breeding ground. Light keeps random algae growing for the pods and Molly.

Baffle to final section to limit how much water the return pump can access in case of drain failure

Return pump shares chamber with carbon reactor and heaters.

I have a piece of PVC (front-left corner) that lands on top of the return pump inlet, feeding time I drop the food in there and it broadcasts it via the return line.
 
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DJC

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I just recently rebuilt my filtration system. I have a 8ft 300g Oceanic DT tank and I used to run an Eshopps AF300 fuge sump, but I realized that a sump running less than 20g water on a 300g DT is just so underwhelming in it's performance. The "Fuge" chamber doesn't allow nearly enough water flow, it is more of a stagnant backwater chamber. DILUTION is KING in this Hobby, more water is better...ALWAYS!!!

I had a 6ft 125g All-Glass tank I had used for a QT a while back and some spare glass for baffles, so I got out my glass cutter and some silicone.

4 chamber Sump, Inlet/Frag/holding chamber/ Fuge chamber/ Skim Chamber/ and return pump chamber. Tank was already drilled for internal overflows, 2 holes on each end, 1 inch and 3/4inch. Allowed me to run the plumbing under the tank to help keep it clean looking.

No Socks or Matts. I do not have a need for any mechanical filtration, I use a Coral Snow DIY flocculant when I do water changes to remove any free-floating particulates, my water is usually Crystal Clear and my skimmer and chaeto provide all the nutrient export I need.

Sump Volume increased from about 18g to over 55g. I know the wires detract from how it looks, work and Xmas has me busy so not any extra time to work on hiding those, but that is a Future Project.
Icecap UV hanging there flowing about 300g/hr.

Vipar Spectra 165watt light on the end for when I do start keeping frags in there. Can also see my Water Station, I keep 50g RO/DI on hand at all times, doubles as an ATO reservoir. With my mixing tub on top for when I need to do water changes. No Buckets needed; the water change takes place with a couple of ball valves. I even made a Drain for my skimmer, using old Sweet Tea bottle to catch the skim-mate. when mostly full put the cap on it and into the trash it goes.

20231217_044328[1].jpg


20231217_044328[1].jpg

20231217_044328[1].jpg

20231217_044328[1].jpg
Like super impressive wish I had the ability to set up a sump like this so many extra options you can use the sump for genius
 

Mikeltee

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I culture pods and phyto separately for three reasons... No messy sump, better control, and I don't have a big enough sump. I invest about 30 minutes a week and have 2g/week of phyto and 8g total of pods on hand. I supplement with reef nutrition phyto feast (32oz will last 6 months).

Refugiums require gentle flow which most sumps can't provide. The large 60" sumps with the returns after the skimmer and the gated refugium on the end are sweet and the exception. Im not saying that its a waste of time if you dont have this type of sump. I considered drilling a 10g tank and putting it off to the side.

I'd ditch the bio balls after your tank has settled. That fad has passed.

If you don't have a mandarin, pods will make it just fine in a mature tank without a refugium. When a 2 year fight with dinos finally ended with a leak in my tank, one of the only things that was left alive was pods that I never once dosed in 14 years. I never dosed phyto either. They were thick! I now culture them because I started with sterile rock and I want a pair of mandarins. It's fun as well!
 

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You run 2x protein skimmers ?
What do you have over the far right behind the filter balls ?
Yeah that's just be because I didn't want to run the ozone on my main skimmer ;)

In the right side it's maxpact bio balls.
 

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For me, the sump is a trigger systems ruby 30s

Chamber 1 is water inlet from tank and some live rock rubble, and heater

Chamber 2 is a lot of live rock varying from rubble to 7 lb pieces, a 3” sandbed, and an algae turf scrubber

On the media shelves between chamber 2 and 3 I have a row of ceramic media bricks and chemipure

Chamber 3 is the return pump
No skimmer? What are your nutrients and display size? Man I am really turning towards setting up an algae scrubber...
 

VintageReefer

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My display is 75g

I now feed more than ever and have increased feedings and have had no impact on my numbers and no growth of algae in my display. I have found that as I nearly quadrupled my feeding, the only impact is my scrubber grows algae faster. And my corals are happier also :)

7x a week I feed PE mysis flake food to my fish

5x week I take a cup of tank water and add in
- 2-3 squirts of brightwell coralamino acids (rec dosage is 1 squirt per 25g)
- 3 scoops brightwell reef blizzard s (rec dosage 1 scoop per 25g
- 2-3 scoops benereef
- 2-3 scoops goniopower
- few pinches of flake food crushed up

These food /amino dosages are maximum reccomended amounts assuming they are being fed individually, and I am using max dosage of multiple products combined.

I use a turkey baster and target feed my torches, hammers, goni, scoly, Cynarina, Duncan, favia etc and the leftover mixture I dump in front of a power head

my digital test equipment consistently reads .02-.05 phosphates and 0-5 nitrates, typically 2 nitrates

With no filter socks, and no skimmer, I have nothing to cause any harm to my pods and I have a thriving population.
 
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I culture pods and phyto separately for three reasons... No messy sump, better control, and I don't have a big enough sump. I invest about 30 minutes a week and have 2g/week of phyto and 8g total of pods on hand. I supplement with reef nutrition phyto feast (32oz will last 6 months).

Refugiums require gentle flow which most sumps can't provide. The large 60" sumps with the returns after the skimmer and the gated refugium on the end are sweet and the exception. Im not saying that its a waste of time if you dont have this type of sump. I considered drilling a 10g tank and putting it off to the side.

I'd ditch the bio balls after your tank has settled. That fad has passed.

If you don't have a mandarin, pods will make it just fine in a mature tank without a refugium. When a 2 year fight with dinos finally ended with a leak in my tank, one of the only things that was left alive was pods that I never once dosed in 14 years. I never dosed phyto either. They were thick! I now culture them because I started with sterile rock and I want a pair of mandarins. It's fun as well!
Mandarins are my fav fish of all times

I dose my tank twice a week with 20ml of phyto for my corals next step is a mandarin

Your guidance is fantastic and has definitely given me some setups to think about

I forsee a second tank coming me thinks lol
 
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DJC

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My display is 75g

I now feed more than ever and have increased feedings and have had no impact on my numbers and no growth of algae in my display. I have found that as I nearly quadrupled my feeding, the only impact is my scrubber grows algae faster. And my corals are happier also :)

7x a week I feed PE mysis flake food to my fish

5x week I take a cup of tank water and add in
- 2-3 squirts of brightwell coralamino acids (rec dosage is 1 squirt per 25g)
- 3 scoops brightwell reef blizzard s (rec dosage 1 scoop per 25g
- 2-3 scoops benereef
- 2-3 scoops goniopower
- few pinches of flake food crushed up

These food /amino dosages are maximum reccomended amounts assuming they are being fed individually, and I am using max dosage of multiple products combined.

I use a turkey baster and target feed my torches, hammers, goni, scoly, Cynarina, Duncan, favia etc and the leftover mixture I dump in front of a power head

my digital test equipment consistently reads .02-.05 phosphates and 0-5 nitrates, typically 2 nitrates

With no filter socks, and no skimmer, I have nothing to cause any harm to my pods and I have a thriving population.
Waw Waw and Waw that’s amazing
 
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IMG_9661.jpeg


20 gallon long with glass baffles - DIY

From right to left:

Filter sock, behind skimmer.

Skimmer in first chamber with filter sock.

Bubble trap, exits low into the base of the middle section

Mini gravity ATO mounted to glass baffle, feeds into middle section

Middle section has a bunch of 1” pvc on the base, carrying eggcrate, carrying rock. Water enters below the eggcrate, distributes and flows up through the rock. There’s a crab living down there I need to fish out sometime. There’s also a Molly that was born in the tank, made it into the sump, managed a ride back through the return pump, then back into the sump again. I leave it there now. Anyway, middle section houses a bunch of rock that is a pod breeding ground. Light keeps random algae growing for the pods and Molly.

Baffle to final section to limit how much water the return pump can access in case of drain failure

Return pump shares chamber with carbon reactor and heaters.

I have a piece of PVC (front-left corner) that lands on top of the return pump inlet, feeding time I drop the food in there and it broadcasts it via the return line.
Like super impressive

What is the reason for the pink light does this have benefits ?
Next part of my set up I want to project a light system over my sump in different minds which is best and how to install however it’s definitely something I want to set up next
 

VintageReefer

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Like super impressive

What is the reason for the pink light does this have benefits ?
Next part of my set up I want to project a light system over my sump in different minds which is best and how to install however it’s definitely something I want to set up next
Red light spectrum promotes algae growth
 

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