--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!