Help me convert this sump to a refugium. Please and thank you.

Discussion in 'Filtration, & Other Equipment' started by Marcus Alexander, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Marcus Alexander

    Marcus Alexander Cleaner Shrimp

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    For some odd reason, this image will NOT upload to my Clownfish Harem Tank thread. No worries.
    As long as I can get the help that is what matters. So I was to add Cheato to this with a light of some sort. I also want to keep the protein skimmer. Any suggestions? I have the RedSea Reefer 350. I saw online that some people have converted the ATO to the refugium. I'm game for that, but I'll need a step by step guide to doing so.
    IMG_2452.JPG
     
  2. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    When I read the first half of your post, converting the ATO was also my initial thought, but it presents a problem...you will need another ATO.

    To help others, here is a diagram of the sump from Red Reef
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    So let's assume you decide to convert the ATO and you have replaced it with another ATO elsewhere. Here are your steps:
    1. Plumbing: You will need to drill 2 holes near the top - 1 for inlet and 1 for drain. You will need to install a weir of some kind on the drain. You can get an expensive weir box, or just use a slotted pipe laid horizontally. In a tank, I would go with the high end drain box. In a refugium, I would just get a slotted drain pipe from Marine Depot. With a refugium, you want the flow to be a cross flow, so drain on one side and inlet opposite. You will also want the inflow water to be spread so it moves the whole column of water. If you just put a pipe, you will get what we call short circuiting where the new water jets across the tank and the rest of the water becomes stagnant. So consider using a Tee with Elbows on each side and oversize them so you eliminate any incoming velocity. Point them downward and it will create a tumbling current in the box, which is better for chaeto.
    2. Lighting: Space appears to a premium and you will want a high efficiency light to maximize light and minimize heat. You will also want to minimize light in the spectrums not used by photosynthesis. It's wasting power and producing heat. Many people will debate this and say just use a CFL or just use a cheap LED. I'm not saying it wont work, Im just saying you are wasting energy and producing heat in a small space.
    3. Chaeto and pods: Find a good source for chaeto and pods. I trimming my bush about monthly. I'm sure there are others closer to you.
    4. Substrate: This is completely optional. Some of use Miracle Mud and I prefer it. I also seeded it with micro stars and I grow Caluerpa in it. Others prefer a sterile environment that they can keep clean and limit the refugum to chaeto only. Neither method is wrong.
    One of my prefered videos regarding refugium lighting:




    I was sold on the concept of the Kessil lighting but did not want to spend the money. So I built my own LED fixture for the refugium using a 1.6" heatsink, some 7 Photo Red LEDs, 2 Royal Blue LEDs and 1 Cool White LED. I get 700 PAR at the surface, I get 4x chaeto growth each month and I only use 22 watts on the fixture. My tank is fed 40 ml of liquid food DAILY and my nitrogens all test at 0.0. Phosphates on the other hand still require GFO but that is because I feed heavy.
     
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  4. Marcus Alexander

    Marcus Alexander Cleaner Shrimp

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    Okay guys the moment you all (or no one lol) have been waiting for! I'm done with the conversion. So I failed at drilling it the first time. You will see a huge area of silicone where I corrected that mistake. Drilling the bottom was a success. This actually turns out better because the water will fall directly into the filter socks after going into the fuge. I wrapped it in a waterproof LED light strip. I don't trust the waterproofness of it so I wrapped that in waterproof electrical tape. The hose came from Lowes. Got a small pump pushing water from the sump to the refugium. Now to get some Chaeto and bring down those nitrates! Please see the pictures below I'll try to upload a video once I get the Chaeto.
    IMG_2624.JPG IMG_2627.JPG IMG_2623.JPG IMG_2618.JPG
     
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  5. BluewaterLa

    BluewaterLa LARC Boil Master Administrator LARC Supporter

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    looks to be a good amount of light.
    What lights did you use on this ??
    Way to go man, glad you got up the nerve to get this project started and finished.
    I say who's judging on the mess up, tell everyone that was done intentionally to keep light off of that area LOL
     
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  6. GPReefer

    GPReefer Let the Fin Begin! Administrator LARC Supporter POTM Winner

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    The resourcefulness of reefers never ceases to amaze. :) Will be interesting to see how this comes out. You may have just started a new fad with the Red Sea Reefer folks.
     
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  7. BluewaterLa

    BluewaterLa LARC Boil Master Administrator LARC Supporter

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    Forget small reactors !
    This reefer made a whole sump a reactor with wrapping it with lights ! ':clap:'
     
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  8. Redfish Koran Angel

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    The only thing I would suggest ,,, if you can make it happen at this late stage of the project ,, run the drain line from the refugium ,, too drain in front of the intake of your return pump ,, lots of awesome critters will grow in the refugium ,,, you want them going into the display tank instead of the filter sock ,,,
     
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  9. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    I fully agree with this! You will get good pod growth in your fuge in no time, and you want this directly pumped to your tank if possible. You will see improvements in fish behavior and coral polyp extension.
     
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  10. ihigh

    ihigh Toadstool Leather Coral

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    Man, I'm disappointed I missed this thread (busy the last few months) because I had the perfect step by step refugium drill+plumbing as I've planned it for my own 425XL and had done it on a friend's already.

    Looks nice though, I personally like an overhead bulb hahaha
     
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  11. Marcus Alexander

    Marcus Alexander Cleaner Shrimp

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  12. Marcus Alexander

    Marcus Alexander Cleaner Shrimp

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    @ihigh I'm going to try out the led strip for a while and will upgrade the lights if I don't see much growth. I was attempting to be cost-effective, but we all know how that typically goes.
     
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  13. BluewaterLa

    BluewaterLa LARC Boil Master Administrator LARC Supporter

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    Hard to tell from the pics of any brown spots in the cheato.
    Not to alarm you any and just some possibilities,, It could be dinoflagellates or some cyano in the cheato depending if it came from a system with them present in the grass already.
    Dino's like fresh new surfaces too for some reason.

    Does the spots look like they are part of the sump grass ? OR like other ''stuff'' in the mix of it ?
    If it can be pulled out without disturbing it you may want to go this route even if you sacrifice a small amount of cheato in the process.
     
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  14. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    I agree with @BluewaterLa on this. Chaeto itself does not turn brown, but it does act as a mechanical filter and settling substrate for other organisms...dinoglagellates included. Best to remove the area, but I would not let it consume your thoughts. I have it in mine as well and I find the chaeto out competes it. When I think my chaeto out monthly, I focus on areas that have other algae mixed in, such as the brown spots, clumps really, and dark green clumps.

    If the chaeto is in trouble, it will turn lime green, yellow then white. This indicates you have more lighting than nutrients relative to the chaeto prefered ratio. Dial the lighting back or increase the nutrients.
     
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  15. ihigh

    ihigh Toadstool Leather Coral

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    The reason I'm a fan of overhead is because of the durability concerns of the strip.
    I used that ATO topoff container as a holder for my current chaeto reactor and the plastic melted due to the heat production since its right up on the glass.
     
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  16. BluewaterLa

    BluewaterLa LARC Boil Master Administrator LARC Supporter

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    Would not have thought of this possibility, Thanks for sharing your experience.
    WHERE YOU BEEN HIGH !!!! Playing hide and seek Asian style ??
    Clue me in on the details dude, I want to play too :D
     
  17. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    Damn that is HOT!!!':hype:' I would not have expected that being full of water, but the plastic is not a very good conductor...and it is a fuel. Might be worth just making one out of glass if you want to strip the sides with LED's.
     
  18. ihigh

    ihigh Toadstool Leather Coral

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    I think the bigger issue is the strips are plastic or rubber themselves as well, they purely melted and shorted something since they had no way to conduct heat.

    Might have to put some glass rods to dissipate heat. Either way it works well when its working. I mean weekly chaeto being tossed away. lol
     
  19. ihigh

    ihigh Toadstool Leather Coral

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    hide in a hospital for 2 months, that's all haha
     
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  20. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    I wonder if aluminum tape would help with that. The issue is the tape would be wider than the strips and would obstruct visibility.
     

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