Friday, May 10, 2013

Q&A Video Series #4: What are the Benefits of a Refugium?


Welcome to the 4th edition of MarineDepot.com's Q&A video series. We have a great question today which actually came from a few different Facebook fans who are curious about the benefits of a refugium.

A refugium is basically a biological filtration method which will reduce nitrate and phosphate in your aquarium water as well as provide natural food sources for your aquarium inhabitants. The idea of a successful refugium is to provide an isolated chamber where marine macro-algae can grow and thrive and then absorb nitrate and phosphate from your aquarium water. You will also be able to provide a safe haven for micro-organisms, such as copepods, to reproduce which will then act as an excellent food source for your aquarium animals.

Refugiums can vary drastically as far as how they are plumbed into your aquarium. The easiest way is to purchase a sump system with a dedicated refugium area already baffled into the sump. You can also utilize a dedicated remote chamber that is separate from your sump, however, this will require additional plumbing and space.

If you do not have a sump system, you can consider a hang-on or in-tank refugium such as the CPR AquaFuge.

If you have a nano aquarium, many of the nano tanks on the market today will offer a space in the back filtration compartment that can be converted into a refugium fairly easily.

I recommend a fine sand bed of about 2" deep in the bottom of your refugium. You can also utilize refugium mud which will give you the added benefit of slowly releasing trace elements into your aquarium water. By providing a sand bed in your refugium, you will provide a safe haven for those micro-organisms to reproduce, as well, you will provide a suitable substrate for marine macro-algae.

Being that a lot of marine macro-algae do prefer to grow on rocks, you will want to provide small pieces of live rock or "rubble" rock for the macro-algae to grow on.

As you can see, refugiums are very beneficial to reef aquariums.  They ultimately reduce nitrate and phosphate in your aquarium and provide an excellent natural food source for just about any animal in your aquarium.

If you have any questions about refugiums, please give us a call at 1-800-566-FISH (3474) or click here to learn how to setup your own refugium.