Monday, August 2, 2010

Refugium Reveries Come to Life!

--our new HOB (hang-on-back) refugium

I had been thinking of installing a refugium from day 1. However, I got so overwhelmed with the sump and protein skimmer, media reactor, powerheads, lights, etc., etc., etc., and all the other equipment simply needed to get our aquarium up and running, I decided to wait on the refugium. Maybe we didn't need one afterall.

After getting "Scooter", our Scooter Blenny, I instantly reconsidered. A refugium would lower phosphates (and unwanted algae growth) and most importantly, provide a good source of copepods and amphipods to feed the fish, espeically the poor little Scooter Blenny. I knew we had gotten him waaay to prematurely. Concerned about his future and long-term health, we splurged on the refugium. (I'm also starting a college fund for him; his IQ is amazingly high).

What is a Refugium? Quite simply, it's a small aquarium set-up as a "Refuge" from the critters in your main tank. It allows sensitive critters, like copepods, to breed in peace. The water from the main tank circulates through, feeding the copepods (tiny-flea like crustaceans eaten by Scooter Blennies, Dragonets, Clownfish, and most other fish) back into the main tank.

I was a little intimdated. Where would we put it? How would we install it? How much would it cost? How hard would it be to put together? As soon as I found out how easy the hang-on-the-back (HOB) refugiums are, we splurged and bought one on the spot. It came with it's own light for the macroalgae and a pump to circulate the water into the refugium from the main tank. I added substrate to the bottom, live rock rubble, and macroalgae, and whallah! We had a refugium! We also spiked it with a live culture of copepods to help get them going. I know it will be a few months until we have a healthy population but I'm excited about our new addition to our tank!


  1. Cool, seems like the HOB thing really works well, from your post it seemed a fairly easy thing to setup. Wish you luck with the refugium, may it keep your phosphates + nitrates down, and be a good breeding ground for the mini/micro guys.

    I'm looking forward to adding a refugium to my system soon, but I can't do HOB as I don't have a back... tank is visible from all 4 sides. But a new side cabinet coming in soon, inside which I'll move the ATO and then use the ATO space in the sump for a refugium.

    Please post your observations about what goes into your refugium and also your water params, I'm quite curious to see how quick you notice critter population growth.


  2. Thanks for the comment! I will definitely keep you posted. We spiked everything with a copepod culture but have noticed a definite increase in critter population ever since!