FYI: why not a display/fuge tank?


Staff member
RC Mod
A fuge doesn't have to be an ugly tank. It's just a 'green' tank. A display fuge isn't going to replace your sump---you've got gear that goes in there. But setting a 30g nanocube on a shelf near your 50 g reef/fowler offers two differently beautiful tanks, if you practice a little careful tending.

Here's why I think it might be useful:
1. not everybody bought enough sump to have room for a big enough fuge.
2. a big fuge means a big stable supply of pods for dragonettes, who are very personable. And many other critters don't mind a pod or amphipod for dessert. If you have to travel, your tank isn't going to starve for a day or two.
3. a weed tank can look pretty. Add inverts like snails and hermits, even some critters you'd be worried to let near your fish. You'll have activity in there: think of it as a nice little tide pool.

4. it's not only added stability for your water---a big wad of cheato acts as a particulate filter, and keeps your water clear without having an ammonia penalty.

5. A remote sandbed can be a lifesaver if you have a sandbed problem or a big critter died when you were on vacation. The extra 'processing' power of a remote sandbed (the bottom of your fuge) can save your tank in a crisis. Say you had a serious problem and had to do a mega water change with all your critters in buckets and your main sandbed compromised. That reserve sandbed will 'seed' your other sandbed while doing all the work itself---and that reseeding is not like an original cycle: it's a couple of days and your main sandbed is functional. Of course it works in the other direction, too.

Just set up a closed loop for circulation: water comes in, water goes out, and carries copepods with it. Even amphipods can make it through the cuisinart action of an Iwaki 100, and swim off. Pods get through. And you have a second tank to look at, of a completely different nature. You can even add some very small appetites, like red-stripe gobies, if you have to have fish. The small appetites won't deplete all your pods, and they'll be up and about instead of hiding, in a world where they're the biggest fish around.


Active member
I like this idea.

I have turned my refugium into a display under my 30g oceanic. It is behind the tinted glass, but the light on the fuge makes it visible. Everyone comments on it and thinks it is very interesting. It also allows me to put some low flow corals where they are more comfortable than the sps display.


Active member
I set my basement systme up with this sort of idea in mind. The fuge is in the fishroom behind the DT, but I spend as much time in there looking as I do at the DT. DT - 150 fuge 120g, sump 50g. Whne people come over they at first go "Why such a big tank in here?" then I show them all that is in there and the staring begins...


In Memoriam
heres mine its an old pic looks differnt now


New member
Subscribing to this. It would be cool to see a stand built for two tanks. Lets just say a 100g DT then a step down and in front a 50g fuge.


Reef Engineer
+1 (thousand!!!!) :bounce1:

I totally agree!! This is exactly how I have my tank set up, my DT is 60 gallons on a stand, and my refugium is 30 gallons on a stand next to it with a similar lighting setup and similar focus on it.

Here are some old pics that show the fuge running strong, though the tank didnt have much in it yet. I also agree with billdogg that I spend at least as much, if not more time looking in the fuge.


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New member
I planned this from the beginning of my build and incorporated the fuge into the sump and put doors on the cabinet so it could be viewed.

I have a slight problem though and would like some suggestions. The fuge collects a lot of sediment. I keep a power head in it but it doesn't seem to stir things up enough. I haven't had much success keeping macro because it gets smothered.I have thought about putting foam over the teeth on the inlet side to act as a filter.

Here is a before and after pic




New member
My cat loves my fuge. When I open the doors to the stand (at least a few times a day), he comes running. I wind up having to leave them open until he finally gets bored. I had wanted to build the stand with a viewing port, but the wife didn't like the idea...

One thing I had thought of doing in an ideal situation was to build a long trough estuary filter about 6'x1'x1' and just have it chock full of greenery above and below the waterline. Mangroves, sea grass etc. Would be kind of neat to have on a long deep window sill to get natural light.

So*Cal Reefdude

New member
i have thought about doing this with my 300reef that im setting up. i was thinking of a 55 on the wall perpendicular to the tank as a fuge with a few dwarf lions in it


New member
hah! read my sig. i'm with you 100%

having multiple boxes of water increased my fun bigtime.

just like you are saying. you can have two different setups and/or different critters that wouldnt get along together in the same box of water.

by definition a refugium does not specify that it has to be some gnarly sand bed/macro cesspool looking thing, only that it provides "refuge" for certain species from other certain species


New member
Thanks ahlebik. Joce I will try to get a picture of my sump. It's right behind the display refugium and is the same size tank (40 gallon long). Problem is that it is about 2 feet away from the wall so it's hard for me to get it all in one camera shot.


New member
All these display fuges look really nice. I have my 65g DT set up and Steve is building me a stand that will house a 30g display fuge (4" above DT to gravity feed) and a 20g or 29g equip.sump below (behind closed doors). WOW - I hope to have a nice looking display fuge one day soon too. Question: Many years ago when I used to frequent RC, mangroves were all the rage, but I don't hear much about them anymore. Why? Also is there a reason most of the fuges use chaeto, instead of caulerpa or some of the more attractive planted types of macro algae?