sand in refuge or not...that is todays question


New member
I know this is and has been debated alot but I want to get some info on it.
my soon to be tank is a 75 softie lps and a few sps w/40 breeder sump/fuge
the fuge area will be 13"x16" x12" and i am a very bog fan of bio. filtration. i also like the look of it too:) there will also be a 29 or 40gallon display refuge going to be added as well...all depending on were I get to setup it up. :)

so would a 1-2" sand bed help or hurt.
I know alot of ppl like the bare bottom for ease of cleaning...

Matt Dean

I don't like wet hands!
I personally didn't do sand, however, if you do put sand, put it in plastic containers so it's easy to remove when you need to. Ideally, have 2 containers that fill the space. then you can swap out one at a time to keep things "fresh" without a big swing.


New member
If you're gonna have sand in the refugium for biofiltration, it might as well be a deep sand bed (4-6"). IMO, 1-2" in that space won't provide much in terms of denitrification.

Having said that, my preference is not to have sand in the refugium, so that it's easier to clean out detritus. That space may be better used to add more live rocks and chaeto macroalgae. But if you must have sand in there, you can place it into a tupperware container so that it can be easily moved during cleanings.


New member
my question is mud in the refugium?

I was going to use either Miracle Mud or Caribsea Mineral Mud.


New member
I run 1-2" of sand in my fuge. I don't care for a dsb but that's an argument for another thread. I also don't care for the mud at all. I used Fiji mud in my last fuge, it made a mess and I saw no benefit to it at all. The only thing I did see while using it was an explosion of pineapple sponges. Literally everywhere.

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New member
yeah it was not for the bio-filtration but more for the look.( like a little fish tank down below) that still did something. however after thinking about it more I think that i will just go bare bottom or more live rock, since I will have a display/marco algae refuge anyway.

what about rubble on the bottom LR on top then cheto and other marco's?
is there any "rule of thumb" on the amount of LR in the reuge. I had a 10 sump on a 55 once that was full of some nice LR in the fuge section...


Premium Member
You can just fill up your fuge area with live rock and that would still do it's part in bio-filtration. But like you said, you plan on setting up a display macro/fuge tank so why bother doing that in your sump? Just keep it clean for more water volume and ease of maintenance. =)


New member
I have apx 4" with LR on top and chaeto in the refugium of the sump. Also use rubble in baffle space. Because I do water changes from the sump, I just stir water up well to handle detritus. Seems to be working for me...


New member
I have a 1-2" sandbed in my fuge, up and running for 13 months now. I do not disturb it or do anything for ditritus. I leave that to my cucumber ,nassarius snails and ditritivores such as bristtle worms and pods of which there must be a gazillion. I closely monitor nitrates in case it rises but it stays at 0.


New member
I have 6" of sand in mine with chaeto floating over it. It's been that way for over 3 years now and I haven't had any problems. It's in a separate 10gal tank that I can disconnect from the rest of my system though just in case. I really don't have anything in there besides a crab I caught from the DT a long time ago.

Nitrate is typically .5 or less. Phosphate measures 0 with Hanna. I can't claim that the DSB is responsible for the low levels. All I can claim is that I haven't had any issues with it.


New member
I have 5 inches of sand in my 'fuge area, with a bunch of live rock that I didn't want in the display, and chaeto. There are some nassarius snails in there, as well as bristleworms and tons of pods. I leave the detritus to them. My nitrates are currently 0. It just depends what you prefer, it can work both ways with proper diligence.