Should I go with Protein Skimmer or Refugium?

frcarvajal

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Hello guys,

Been having a hard time deciding if my sump should have a skimmer section or refugium.

Its a 35 gallon tank 24 x 18 x 18. Sump has a ATO container, return, and a chamber that could be used as refugium or to add a protein skimmer.

This tank will be a mixed reef. Mostly LPS. Can add 1 or 2 SPS in the future, but mainly LPS.

Have looked a lot of tanks without skimmer working just fine, but also have seen a lot of tanks without refugium doing amazing.

Which direction should I take?
 

hotdrop

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Skimmer for LPS IMO. Only because you want nutrients higher for lps and fuge is too efficient sometimes.
 

GlassMunky

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Personally for a tank of that volume, I’d go skimmer.
for refugiums to be really effective at nutrient control they need to be of at least a decent volume which in a sump that small I don’t think you have.
But I’m also sure you will get people who will say the exact opposite as me...
In the end it comes down to which you like better and want to do. Everyone’s systems are different and there is no RIGHT answer, just whatever answer works for you.

refugium would be cheaper as all you’d need is a light.... whereas most skimmers are at least $100
 

hotdrop

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refugiums to be really effective at nutrient control they need to be of at least a decent volume which in a sump that small I don’t think you have.
That’s not really true you don’t need a big fuge to be effective. I have a 10x10” fuge and I use 1/4 of it at most because cheto is so good at removing nitrates and phosphate that if it gets too big it all my nutrients hit 0
 

GlassMunky

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That’s not really true you don’t need a big fuge to be effective. I have a 10x10” fuge and I use 1/4 of it at most because cheto is so good at removing nitrates and phosphate that if it gets too big it all my nutrients hit 0
Guess you missed the rest of my post where I said youd get people who disagree and that there is no RIGHT answer
 

GlassMunky

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That’s not really true you don’t need a big fuge to be effective. I have a 10x10” fuge and I use 1/4 of it at most because cheto is so good at removing nitrates and phosphate that if it gets too big it all my nutrients hit 0
I could point you to just as many people who have fuges that do nothing except trap detritus and cyano.
hence why I said it depends on what they want and like and their system.
 
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TJDSEKULA

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Depends on other factors imo, like what stock you want to keep. For example I keep dragonets so my decision was to keep an ats with a small skimmer to back it up when I harvest algae etc (just enough to keep nutrients stable) while the ats returns to it's full glory. Either method could work and work well. If you decide on an alage based system you will need to allocate time to monitor your algae and trim back dieing sections so the nutrients don't end up back in the tank (not so much from the beginning but as the tank matures you should at least keep and eye on it) with a skimmer you'll most likely dose a carbon source and need to keep up on filling the container and making sure the pump and the skimmer are working, empty skimmer cup, etc.
If you intend to keep stock that needs live pod food I'd go with algae since I've had issues keeping a good source of them otherwise. Besides that I'd also base it on which is more maintainable for you.
 

Sweetreef21

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That is one clean sump... new system? I have a bunch of spots that I can’t really clean in mine without taking the sump out.
Ya its only been running a little over 1 month. But ive since added a aquamaxx ws-1. I do have some detritus starting to build up. Probably the best way to remove that gunk is with a turkey baster. Or atleast thats what im going to try first.
 

hotdrop

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Ya its only been running a little over 1 month. But ive since added a aquamaxx ws-1. I do have some detritus starting to build up. Probably the best way to remove that gunk is with a turkey baster. Or atleast thats what im going to try first.
I have stuff that builds up In the narrow baffle locations the one in the back is near impossible to clean. I don’t run filter socks so that might be part of the issue but still annoying.
 

Sweetreef21

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I have stuff that builds up In the narrow baffle locations the one in the back is near impossible to clean. I don’t run filter socks so that might be part of the issue but still annoying.
Hit it with a turkey baster man lol i know what you mean. It probably has little to no affect on your tank. I do run a sock on one side and floss on the either. Its a nice combo and makes maintenance easier!
 

pdxmonkeyboy

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My high school math teacher used to say (about what questions were due for homework)... "When in doubt, do all".
 
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Firemanreefkeeper

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I started with both on my 80 gallon tank. I have 11 fish in there now and a bunch of SPS. I always got zero nutrient readings when I tested. Last month I shut the skimmer off and went with just the cheato. I changed nothing else but shutting the skimmer down, I feed the same, I change same amount of water once a week and my nitrates are at 2ppm and phosphates are 4ppb when I test now. I'm glad I shut down the skimmer and stuck with the cheato. I have a bunch of pods now and my wrasse is always on the hunt.
 

hotdrop

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I started with both on my 80 gallon tank. I have 11 fish in there now and a bunch of SPS. I always got zero nutrient readings when I tested. Last month I shut the skimmer off and went with just the cheato. I changed nothing else but shutting the skimmer down, I feed the same, I change same amount of water once a week and my nitrates are at 2ppm and phosphates are 4ppb when I test now. I'm glad I shut down the skimmer and stuck with the cheato. I have a bunch of pods now and my wrasse is always on the hunt.
I started with both as well, and got rid of the skimmer fuge is a lot quieter
 
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