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 Emerald Crab

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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.
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  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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