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HumblePie

Refugium, filter or both?

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Hey all, 

I know that there's no "one size fits all" answer to my question but I thought I would see what has been successful for folks on this forum. I'm in the early planning stages for a new tank  and have been going back and forth between a large refugium with some baffles for filter floss/sponges and media or having a smaller refugium and adding something like an AquaClear 70 to compliment it. Right now the larger refugium is winning do to the extra water capacity and fewer intrusions into the main tank. 

For reference, I am thinking the tank will be a 6g long that will primarily house softies and maybe a small fish or two (e.g. goby, etc.). The goal is to have a low bioload so things don't get out of hand too quickly

So, with that said, what seems to be working (or maybe hasn't been working) for folks...especially if you are running smaller tanks? If possible, it would also be helpful to know how long you've run the setup and if you changed from a previous one in the past. Any information is appreciated. Thanks.

 

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well, a couple things..

1. you will probably get more fish

2. most people don't use hang on back or canister filters because they tend to become nitrogen sinks.  They don't if you clean them often but if you don't keep them clean then you are just cycling all your water through all the nasty stuff stuck on the filter.

3. more water volume equals more stability so I would go with a bigger fuge. 

4.  i think a good skimmer and a large fuge would be just fine.  if you wanted to polish the water you could run filter socks or some floss. 

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@pdxmonkeyboy - Yeah. Good point about the HOB filter. I haven’t ever really run those before so wasn’t quite sure what the results might be. I’ve used the fuge options a couple times but never had enough macro growth to outcompete the bioload in the tank. As for the protein skimmer, I’ll have to make some compromises. The tank is going in the Family Room right next to the TV. If the tank is loud the family will revolt and banish it to another room...and that would be a bad day. So the challenge will be to find a fairly small skimmer that is deathly quiet... I’m guessing that would mean an air stone skimmer since the last Venturi skimmer I had was quite obnoxious.


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I have yet to go down to 6 Gallons but had a 12G for several years. It was an All In One so take that for what you will. I found with personal experience that weekly water changes and vacuuming the substrate combined with filling the back chamber with Live Rock Rubble & a little filter floss worked the best. I personally would opt for the larger Fuge in your situation. Over the years I spent a bunch of money on small Skimmers trying to find a way to export more Nutrients and went through the Hydor Slim, Tunzee 9004, Cad-Lights PLS-50, and corallife biocube skimmer and in the end I found them all to be wildly inconsistent, requiring constant cleaning and adjustment before saying to hell with it.  The larger fuge would give you more space for a better skimmer, Macro Algae, and Live Rock. You can find allot more examples on Nano-Reef.Com of people with Similar Setups to yours.

 

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@Exodus Your findings for the protein skimmer were spot on with mine. I've had a couple different ones in the past which were OK but not great. I found that frequent water changes and an ATO were the key to a more successful tank. I'm pretty sure I'll go with the larger refugium. That, essentially, doubles my water volume which will help keep the tank more stable and, as you point out, will give me more space for a larger (and hopefully better) skimmer.

[ EDIT ] - Almost forgot. With my last few tanks, I spent a disproportionate amount of time on the nano-reef.com forums (same username and image). Haven't been back in several years, though. I'll take a peek and see how those forums are these days. Thanks for the pointer.

Edited by HumblePie

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