refugium sump


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I just aquired and set up a 150 with a 55 gal. sump and skimmer. I am curious if the sump is designed correctly or not. The tank has 2 large overflows. The left one drains into a sock and then flows through a baffle into the center chamber. The chamber with the sock also houses the skimmer but the skimmer pumps from the center chamber
and also returns directly to the center chamber. The main return pump is in the center where it splits into 2 tank returns. Ok now for the right side chamber which is the refugium. The right overflow goes into a submerged pvc pipe full of drilled holes that bubbles into the refugium. Not sure what that's for. There is no sock or filter pad on this side. The refugium has a sand bed and macroalgae and I was told to add live rock to this as well. It flows straight over a wall and not through a baffle to the center return chamber. I was having bubble problems but fixed that with a filter over the return pumps nozzle. I also took some biobell material from a backpack skimmer on my other tank and put it in the baffle on the left side. Thought that would help kick off the cycle along with the live rock I put in display tank. So is this a good design or is it *** backwards?


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Not really too sure that you want one of the overflows draining directly into the refugium. Flow in that region of the tank is supposed to be somewhat slower than the rest of the sump. I don't know how your plumbing is set up but, you may want to consider having both overflows drain into the skimmer section with two filter socks. Also, if possible, have the skimmer pump and return in the skimmer section. This should help reduce microbubbles in the return section.

I don't know what size return pump you have but, if it's big enough, you could make a "T" in the return line and have that feed your refugium section, in addition to supplying water to your display tank. You would have to put a ball or gate valve on the branch of plumbing to the refugium in order to slow the flow down a bit. If you're worried that this would take too much flow from the display tank, try it out. If it's not enough, you can get a bigger return pump. Or, you could just use a smaller pump to supply the refugium. I'm not sure if that's the most energy-efficient way to go, though. Plus, extra pumps mean extra heat in the tank.

Now, as far as the sand in the refugium goes; get rid of it or add more. There's no point in having sand in there unless it's a deep sand bed of at least 5 or 6 inches. Personally, I would take the sand out and put live rock in there instead.

That submerged pvc tube in the fuge is probably designed to minimize the bubbles from the turbulence of the water flowing into it. Obviously, it's not really doing a good job. You should be able to undo that problem by replumbing the way I said above. You'll also likely be able to get the sponge off of the return pump. This will benefit you as it will be one less thing to clean. Filter socks and sponges trap detritus and serve as nitrate factories. The less of them you have to deal with, the better.