Archive for the ‘Refugium’ Category

Scenes from the Fuge

Posted: November 10, 2013 in Refugium

I took a couple pictures from my fuge that actually kinda show the amount of life that has started to explode out of it.  Most of the little dots on the glass are pods. Hopefully it’s easy to make a couple of them out.

Micro Brittle Star

Full of Pods!


Labor Day Updates

Posted: September 3, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef, Refugium

Things slowly are looking a little better in the tank after the weekend. Added a couple Emerald Crabs to go after the algae (at the suggestion from John from Reef Cleaners), and my WP25 showed up. So far, I am really impressed by this little pump. Really pushes some water. There are a couple negatives (little worried about the bracket that attaches it to the aquarium as it seems kinda weak and I HATE the plug on it since it takes up so much room… ), but well worth the price.  Definitely doesn’t create the same undertow that the Vortech’s do, so I have no plans of removing the vortech that I have on there now.

I still need to tweak the direction the powerhead is placed to get the flow I want. I may actually even add another down the road. Right now I have it pointed down the back of the rock work from the middle left side, which I know needs flow. But I still feel like the front end directly opposite the vortech still doesn’t have the desired flow.

I couldn’t believe the amount of gunk that the powerhead got off the rocks. Does everyone normally clean their rock work?  I think this may end up being something I need to incorporate into my water change routine, but not really sure of an efficient way to do it.

Additionally, my fuge is starting to look a little more fuge like. The water definitely has a film starting to go. I accidently left the light in the room on while I was away, so that might be part of it. Going to increase flow a tad more, and also add to my light cycle. Right now I have a regular bulb in there. Debating between swapping the bulb to one of those long lasting/energy efficient bulbs since everything else in my house is on one… and that’s what was on from the room light.

I also put in a restocking order on my cleanup crew, which definitely has dwindled a bit in recent months.

Truckin along

Posted: August 6, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef, Refugium

I have read with biopellets that things get worse before they get better. I am starting to think that is what happened with me. Lots of hair algae along the back glass, some along the rocks. Looks like it’s started to peak out and subside a little.

Finally got enough of the ChemiClean out to get my main skimmer up and running, which should help a ton. Additionally, my fuge (which should be perfect for algae. Slow flow, no predators, less intense light) isn’t growing crap. I am going to try a basic shop light with a standard light bulb to see if I have any better luck. With the tank how it looks now, that fuge should just be CRAWLING with icky stuff! However, it’s not. Time for a change to see if I can get better results.

Stress before Success

Posted: March 14, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef, Refugium

After realizing, yesterday, that I needed to redo all my fuge plumbing, I had to hold off on plumbing until I got the remainder of the parts.

I picked them up on the way home from work today, and began assembling them. Unfortunately, the angle I need to get the new piping from the emergency overflow through was pretty tight.  This meant I needed to move the refugium until it was lined up correctly. So I began moving the tank to line it up. I kept bumping the pipe that was from my main tanks overflow.

Little did I know how barely watertight the bulkhead on my main tank was. As their was some pressure on this pipe, I heard something through the wall… wondering what it was, I walked around the picture. Water was pouring from the bulkhead on my main tank!  Panic set it.  I tried to stop the leaking, but (since the fuge tank was in the way, and I didn’t realize it) I was unable to turn the piping enough to stop the leak. Frantic I started looking for solutions. The hole is too tight to get my hand up there, and I can’t even get my hand down the overflow in the tank because of how tight it is. Eventually realizing that I needed to move the refugium to get the pressure of the plumbing.  There is no feeling the this hobby like the idea that you’ve completely screwed you tank. Especially when it’s due to a change that wasn’t entirely needed, and shouldn’t have effected the display tank in the slightest.

Where’s Life’s undo button?

This picture was from when the leak was mostly stopped. Though, it was fairly intensely dripping. At this point, the leak was still too much to be “acceptable”.  After a while of fiddling with the configuration of the pipes, I was able to get it down to roughly a drip every 10 to 20 seconds. This is how it was originally before, and stopped on it’s own. Let’s cross our figures it happens again.  Overall, I had a couple gallons of water on the floor of my stand.

Once I had the leak situation under control (though, my pounding heart persisted for most of the night), I realized that my initial plan of plumbing the emergency line straight through the wall wasn’t possible due to how the tank needed to be situated. This left me with a ton of water in my stand, an extra hole in the wall, and a dilemma on how to get the plumbing right on the emergency overflow.

Luckily, I was setup well enough to get the emergency overflow line to go across the wall and then through a hole next to the original overflow.  So (after another trip to the hardware store) I was finally able to get the plumbing completed.


Needless to say, I ended my night with a couple drinks and a visit to the bar. This project ended up taking WAY more than expected.  Let’s hope the (now tiny) leak from the display tank overflow stops on it’s own from salt creep, as it did before. So far, I see no leaks from the fuge now. So at least something went right!

Fuge Back Online


Posted: March 14, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef, Reef Angel, Refugium

Well… I have had several issues with my refugium. The first being a slow leak from the bulkhead, and the another being that I didn’t allow my plumbing to be easily removed. The final issue, which was major, was a clog (snail maybe?) resulted in an overflowing Refugium. I only lost a few gallons since I caught it early (thank god for reef angel emailing warning my ATO reservoir was low… I knew something was up since I had only filled it 2 days prior) but this would be an easy way to destroy my salinity, flood my basement, and burn out my return pump.


So, my plumbing needed to be worked. No easy task.  My plan was to drill a second overflow. This would be above my overflow box as an emergency overflow. Next I wanted to fix my pre-existing plumbing by sawing enough off to insert a union right after my overflow.  I originally didn’t use a union because I didn’t want the extra space between the wall and the tank. Plus my plumbing budget was shot, and unions are like 10x the price of all the other fittings (a very short sighted decision).


However, nothing comes as easily as planned. I didn’t have enough pvc between fittings to easily insert a union. Therefore, I had to saw through a fitting to even get the tank moved away from the wall. This means that 3/4 of the plumbing I have from my fuge needs to be thrown away.

Not as much done as I’d hoped… but still a success

Luckily, I did have some success. After a hard battle, I was able to remove the silicone around my bulkhead that had been my last attempt at fixing the leak prior to redoing it all.  Additionally, I got the worst part done: drilling another hole in the glass.  Since I wasn’t anticipating need double the plumbing parts, I need another stop at the hardware store today. Hopefully I will have it all replumbed by tonight!

Pray for no leaks!


Last night I decided to spend sometime (pre lights out on the display, prior to lights on in the fuge) with a flashlight sitting on the floor next to my fuge and peaking in. I was shocked at how much extra life already has overtaken it! The fuge began with the year old rockwork from my 28 gallon tank. I never seemed to have much microscopic life within this rock work at the time. But after a short time in the new fuge, it’s crawling with it.

Little pods were crawling all over the rocks, larger ones were found here and there (not enough to say a pod explosion… yet). In addition, the small little coralline spots on the rocks have vastly expanded. Now pink, dark purple and even a lot of light green. What had started as two microbrittle stars has transformed into at least 20, with little arms popping out of my rockwork everywhere.

My mangroves, which had sat in uncirculated, unheated water, for about a month after I took down my HOB fuge before setting up this one, have mostly come back. It looks like 2 of the 5 are thriving, with an additional one still living. I am going to give the other ones a few more weeks to see if they come back. The Chaeto is also looking great.

Additionally, my peppermint shrimp seems to be on a mission. In the 28 gallon, it always hid, and never touched aiptasia. Now, there is none to be found, and it constantly came out to investigate the light. It definitely enjoys not having any potential fish predators! I might need to pickup a couple more for within the display tank if I ever see any aiptasia pop up.

Lastly, I had great success in my previous tank with miniature feather dusters. They LOVE the new fuge. Only a smallish size colony started within the fuge, and now they are all over the rockwork.

There is one negative to the fuge right now. My rocks had a lot of settled gunk on them. This may be a good thing to help feed the inhabitants, but I am a little worried about how this could affect my water quality long term. I also really need to look at adding some addition to stir my sand, as it’s got some gunk settling on it as well.

It’s amazing how much having overflows seems to help a skimmer. I have it setup on my fuge now, and it’s CRAZY how much better it’s working (same skimmer that I had running on my 28 gallon) when it gets to skim the surface. My whole fish closet REEKS from the gunk this little guy pulls out. I am excited to see the results when I end up getting an appropriate sized skimmer.

My display has little life outside of my fish and coral. I can’t wait until the life starts to make its way into it. It’s in need of it’s cleanup crew (arriving Thursday), and then all I can do is wait!