• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.



Apr 18, 2004
i have a 5 foot tank and want to semi-replace the bioballs cos i think they are doing more harm than good but dont want to get rid of them all - kind of like insurance for if the caulerpa crashes or whatever...

anyway i have a 5 by 2 by 2 1/2 foot tank i was thinking a 3 foot refugium would this be ok? i have a 2 1/2 foot sump now with only a filter media tower and skimmer but i was thinking... whole new tank

overflow from display tank goes to bio media tower trickles down...

water is drawn into the next compartment containing algaes and mangroves etc then into the next where the return pump pushes it through a skimmer and back up to the main tank... hang on would that work? i think i should have the skimmer first and the bio media last - but then if the biomedia is making nitrates, they are added as the waterr returns to the main tank!!! oh jee!!! lol

HEEEELLLLLPPPPP i am not great at designing these things!!!

is there anything i am missing??? any additions? suggestions? hang on i am ment to have a slower flow through the fuge arent i... damn!!!! lol
Hi oscar...

is this tank for cephs?

if so i think i'd maybe be tempted to keep the trickle. Yes it can speed up nitrate production but i think its ability to convert ammonia to nitrite to nitrate so quickly outweighs that. Lets look at other ways to remove nitrate and phosphate too :) Still getting high readings?

You could add the refugium and give it a slow flowthrough and put a DSB in there... that'd be fine

If the caulerpa crashes you'll do better with the skimmer than the trickle

think id be tempted to have about 80% of the water go into the original sump/filter and have the other 20% go into the settling chamber on the refugium. you could have lots of algae mangroves etc in here and maybe seahorses or something????

Also, the skimmer should always be first in a trickle set up... this is because the majority of waste in a tank is stuck to the surface film and if drawn into the skimmer first will be reoved before the filter need worry about it.

So to confirm... water overflows straight into skimmer, then out into trickle then return from sump.

On a seperate system the 20% water flows into settlemet chamber in refugium with DSB then into pump and return.

hope that helps?
that certainly helps A LOT!!! thankyou - i never really took the time to ask about order of filtration etc... i just assumed the guy before me got it right - i sortof thought the bioballs were pretty good despite people seeming to HATE them - so i though the seperate refuge might be the way to go but i am really limited for space under the cabinet since the sump is an akward size and shape (really tall for the tower but also far too wide - waste of space - made to increase tank volume i guess...) maybe i could look for some seccond hand tanks (checking copper history of course...lol...been through this many a time hehe) which fit in nicely since the volume can be shared between the tanks so i can get a larger fuge!!! i didnt think a 2 foot tank was anywhere big enough for a five foot ( i have heard 20 percent is good but i guess this is when the fuge is the only filtration?)

yeah it will be a cuttle tank - smaller aussie tropical species!!! (:

as i said in another thread nitrates are still dropping but seem to be levvelling out a bit so i thought to add a fuge

btw maybe cos it is after the bio tower but my skimmer has stopped working!!! whats up? i tried cleaning it and all! i dont think the floww is quite enough but it isnt a huge skimmer (i need to upgrade sooner or later)


Hi Sam, no problem... what we are here for ;)

Skimmers can be a real pain in the arse sometimes, no nice way of expressing that!!! The riser tube sometimes needs cleaned, neck should be cleaned frequently, air intakes should be flushed with hot water, clean the impeller? Used any additives? they can stop skimming... even putting your hands in the tank messes up a skimmer! Is it keeping a constant level? ... could be so many things... which model?

Having the skimmer has one benefit in that it will re-oxygenate the water before iy goes back into the tank... but an airstone in the sump could do that... so still skimmer first :)

Why not make the refugium a display tank insted of hiding it? It could be plumbed in several feet away with discrete pipework and still do its job... you could house a mantis in it or something in a section????

ok the skimmer first - i add iodine strontium calcium for my reef but i have always done so - all parts are clean - i always have my hands in the tank...bad i know but hey whats the use if you cant enjoy it - this too was happening when the skimmer was working

it is a jebo - dont have a model not having bought it but it is maybe 40cm tall dark plastic basic model i think... i have just noticed that there is a lack of air bubbles i traced it back and realised that instead of the air tube injecting oxygen it is sucking water partway up its length i have cleaned the tube - and i blow through it to clear salt regularly anyway - and blown air in to push the water out but i comes back straight away... im guessing that this is the reason for the malfunction - duh (lol) no air = no bubbles but i hope there is a simple solution cos screwing around with it sure hasnt helped./..lol. i might try turning everything off and reconnecting it all and restarting pumps etc...

i had thought of a seahorse fuge but the feeding would be a pain - i really hate hatching brine - maybe if i could get captive bred frozen food reared ones - though they are just brown - that might be ok - the problem with a display fuge it twofold for me - im not sure how to have the tank - on a cabinet i guess but then it might look strange not tied in and mum wont like that...lol and if it is a display that kind of limits the amount of macro algae you can pack in there - also floating styrofoam with mangroves shoved in might not look great but maybe i could plant them?

wow i never realised how cool mantis shrimp look lol - actually i never knew what they looked like at all! but i think if i do convert my 3 foot fresh to a seahorse fuge - which i am very keen on i might add some cleaner shrimp or coral banded shrimp - are these things all ok together? never had any shrimp but i hear they dont get on great!!

my main concern with this however is whether i would be able to plumb it!!! how do you do it - i really have no idea sorry to trouble you but could you work out a little plan - just in words - for me?? im not great with theoretics of pumps and that - for the undertank one i was thinking gravity feed to the fuge then a very simple overflow into the sump so that flow rate is controlled by the diameter tubing on the gravity feed but i dunno about the side by side logistics - ill give you some specs just in case you can give me an idea... thanks again

it would be a 3 foot fuge with the top of the tank still a good foot below the water level of the main tank (gravity feed possible?) it would be right next to it - side by side (this is actually loooking to work out perfect on space!!! thanks for the idea!!! (the 5 foot was placed off centre on the wall leaving about a 4 foot gap to the wall cos of a slump in the floor - at the time i thought my luck was terrible now i am praising the dodging building work!!!)

actually maybe my idea of an overflow to the sump would still work cos the tanks are so close together you wouldnt see the tubing or piping - what do you think???

ooooh i am getting really excited lol and this is only over macro algae - though i suppose seahorses have their appeal - lol

sorry for the long long message - and thanks for your response in anticipation - it seems as if just talking through it has sorted out many of the kinks for me though i would never have thought of a side by side seriously withought the suggestion - i dont really know why...lol

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