Refugium building


Ex FMAS bod member
Premium Member

I have been reading a lot of threads (old and new) concerning building a refugium as well as looking to friends in my local marine aquarium club and getting a lot of different information. The following is my current plan, let me know if there are any leaks...

I have an all-glass 180 gallon aquarium with dual corner overflows. I am planning on plumbing this down to a 30 gallon sump divided as follows -
The two overflows lead into (2) filter socks for primary mechanical filtration. This portion (inlet sump) will be approx 10 gallons with a protein skimmer in the sump.
The intake sump leads to a baffle (flat plexi plate separated from a plate with teeth at the top by 1" to eliminate microbubbles). The toothed plate leads to the refugium. Here I plan on utilizing 3" of sediment, live rock and macro-algae (pods, shrimp, etc. will come in time). The sediment and rock will be taken from my current 135 gal aquarium so it will be well established (volume of the refugium area is approx. 15 gal).
From there I'll go over another toothed plate into a 2" baffle. This will have egg-crate 4" from the bottom with bio-balls in the suspended space.
The final sump will lead to the bulkhead fitting to the pump (Little Giant 4-MDQX-SC pumping 1000 GPH accounting for head loss and age - it came with the system). Additionally there will be a Phosban reactor attached to the final sump area.

Lighting - I have an old PC that I'll use.

The inlets have ball valves on each line.

The outlet will have a ball valve and release fitting for pump maintenance.

I have considered utilizing two pumps - peace of mind if one goes out (2xMagDrive 9.5?) for a total flow of 1500 GPH (accounting for head loss)

This is my first shot at a refugium so all suggestions will be appreciated. I've been at this for about 20 yrs with good results utilizing trickle filters, magnums and a hybrid (wet/dry trickle with maco-algae in the sump).