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REFUGIUMS:

FILTRATION FOR THE FUTURE OF MARINE AQUARIUMS


An aquarium refugium= is an isolated compartment kept either inside or outside your tank, with shared water flow so that it shares the water conditions as your main tank.  Refugiums are a new means of filterin= g your aquarium with noticeable benefits to the life of your marine aquarium.  Below, we will examine the primary be= nefits of adding a refugium to your system.

One of the thing= s that plagues most aquariums is the dreaded nitrates. There is no easy way to reduce these chemicals without a large amount of plants or water changes,= but most people don't like having plants in the display tank. Or, in some cas= es, the livestock in the display tank will savagely attack the plants until n= one remain.

What can be done? One of the answers is to add a refugium or sump.  In the refugium you will place a deep= sand bed of 6 inches or more. This depth will allow a large amount of bacteria= to accumulate that will remove nitrates from the water. You can also add live rock rubble to the refugium to help filter ammonia and nitrites. A more beneficial use of the refugium, however, would be to add aquatic plants, = such as macroalgae. The plants will effectively filter nitrates and keep you w= ater quality very high. An added benefit of the plants is that you can feed th= em to your fish if they become too numerous.

The refugium can= serve as a breeding ground for tiny food such as copepods. These tiny creatures= are food for mandarin dragonets and blennies, but can easily become extinct in the display tank. In the refugium, they can reproduce without the threat = of fish and spread to the display tank via the return pipe.

The refugium can also serve as a holding tank for aggressive fish or invertebrates that you don't want in the main tank. For example, if you h= ave a yellow tang that is attacking a new addition to the display tank, you c= an move the tang to the refugium until the new addition gets used to the tan= k. Or, if you have a crab that starts attacking your fish, you could put it = in the refugium where there is nothing to attack.

Another benefit of refugiums is the ability to hide your bulky and unsigh= tly equipment. You can put everything from heaters to protein skimmers in the refugium, reducing the amount of space occupied by equipment in your disp= lay tank. You can also use larger equipment, such as giant protein skimmers, = by placing them in line with the refugium.

In conclusion, it is clear that refugiums offer a wide range of benefits.= For a small amount of money, you can create a permanent filter that needs lit= tle or no maintenance and will greatly reduce the amount
= of nitrates in your aquarium= .