Build Your Own Refugium Sump

This is the last of the blogs for the recent Care Guide update.  

 

A refugium sump doubles as your filtration system sump that contains your equipment and a refugium.  There are about 100 ways to build one and I’ll just give some general guidelines for you to follow and a couple of different examples.  Your design is up to you. 

 

What you will need:

 

A tank of some kind; this can be an aquarium, a strong plastic tote, or a tank you build from scratch.  I prefer a tank I can see through.

 

A light; a daylight spectrum 6500-6700k light is best for this. 

 

Some method of dividing the tank into chambers; this can be sheets of glass or acrylic with the appropriate bonding agents, (silicone or acrylic bonding agent) or it can be smaller tubs or containers that fit into the sump. 

 

Your filter media, this will include the three types of media mentioned at the top of this section, biological mechanical, and chemical. 

 

Your equipment; all of your pumps, skimmers, heaters, etc. necessary to make the system operate.

 

 Design:

 

From the discussion on sumps you already know a pump will sit in your sump or in the plumbing that leads to it.  This pump will move water up to the main tank and the main tank will overflow into plumbing that leads to your sump.  So you have water flowing out and water flowing in.  You want these at opposite ends of your tank.  As the water flows through your sump, it will flow through all of the types of media you have in place.  It will also flow over your heater and it may get skimmed by your protein skimmer.  The path the water takes to get through all this media is up to you. 

 

The refugium in the sump is a large chamber that houses the life you want to protect from your fish.  Usually it is set up similar to an aquarium display.   This would include a substrate such as sand, live rocks, and possibly mangroves or macroalgae.  Remember if your sand is 3 to 6+ inches deep, it forms a low oxygen environment for anaerobic bacteria to live.  (Remember an advantage to deep aragonite sand beds is that they dissolve over time releasing calcium into your water.)  These bacteria consume nitrate.  Often copepods, worms, aiptasia, sponges, and bacteria will populate the refugium without any help from you.  You can also buy these items, either in bags or on life rocks.  Aiptasia is often a nuisance in your display tank but in your sump, it adds to filtration. 

 

The light goes on top of the refugium chamber.  Because the PH of an aquarium falls during dark hours, it is common to set a timer on the light such that the light comes on at night and goes off during the day.  Another option is to leave the light on 24 hours a day.  This is probably less efficient than having a light cycle but it is simple. 

 

Bypasses:

 

However you design the path for water to flow through your system, always ask yourself, can this chamber get clogged? Where will the water flow if it can’t flow through this chamber?  Will it flow onto your floor?  To prevent this from becoming a problem, always build a bypass to any clogable chamber.  When the chamber clogs, the water level will rise in the prior chamber.  By not having that chamber’s walls reach the top of the tank, it will overflow its walls but not the external walls of the tank. 

 

Nutrient Lockup and Export:

 

The whole point of setting up a refugium is to get nutrients out of the water.  The life forms in your refugium do this by consuming the nutrients and making them a part of their biomass.  In the process of doing this they lockup the nutrients and prevent them from being available to nuisance organisms such as cyanobacteria that can cover your tank in a matter of hours.  A refugium has a limit to the amount of biomass it can house.  Once that limit is reached the organisms in your refugium are no longer able to lockup nutrients.  You can expand the lockup capacity of your system by feeding biomass from your refugium to your fish.  This locks some of the nutrients in the flesh of your fish.  It also reduces the amount of nutrients you import into the system by feeding fish foods from outside.  Many fish will eat copepods extracted from your refugium with a baster or by your system pumps.  Some fish will also eat macroalgae.

 

Once the lockup capacity of your whole system has been reached, it is time to export nutrients.  This is simply a fancy way of saying, take stuff out to make room for growth.  Mangrove trees can be trimmed like bonsai trees.  Macroalgae can be trimmed and given away or even sold.  Live rocks and sponges can be swished in a bucket of seawater to remove excess waste.  The substrate can be vacuumed, or sifted a portion at a time.  Filter fiber can be replaced.  Be careful not to export too much at any one time.  This could reduce your system’s lockup rate and cause fluctuations in your water parameters.  Also consider that when you clean your display tank, you are also exporting bacteria.  This combines the effect of any nutrient export you are doing in your refugium. 

 

Sometimes macroalgae can become toxic if it gets too crowded.  Always be mindful of how full your refugium is getting of macroalgae. 

 

Example 1:


 

The first example of a refugium sump is a 20 gal sump I have running on a 30 gallon tank.  This refugium could run a tank much larger than it is running but it is doing a good job.  It is made from a 20-gallon aquarium that is divided with glass panels into three chambers.  The first chamber is the refugium.  Often the first chamber is a mechanical filter.  This sump is fed by an overflow box that has sponges in it.  That acts as my mechanical pre-filter.  Next to the refugium is a media chamber.  Here I have an additional sponge, fiber filter, and a bag of carbon.  Notice that if the 2nd chamber overflows, it overflows into the 3rd chamber.  The third chamber is the pump chamber.  The pumps are protected from sucking up gravel by having a chamber all to themselves.  There is a heater in the refugium chamber as well as a protein skimmer. 

 

In this design, the water level in the entire system is relatively constant until the water level falls to the height of the wall separating the 1st and 2nd chambers.  Then the water level in the 1st chamber remains constant while the last two fall till the pumps suck air.  Because the capacity of the last two chambers is much less than the system as a whole, if I see the water level is lower in the last two chambers than the 1st chamber, I know I need to add water immediately.  By keeping the heater in the refugium chamber, I know it can never go dry. 

 

The walls forming the chambers are not perfectly vertical.  They are put on an angle so that the 2nd chamber is narrower at the top than at the bottom.  This is so the sponge can’t float up. 

 

Example 2:

 

The second example is a 37 gallon aquarium that I didn’t want to permanently divide.  It’s a nice tank that I may want to use as a display one day.  The tank has two chambers.  One houses all of the mechanical and chemical filtration media and the other is the refugium.  The heater and pumps both sit in the refugium chamber.  The pumps have shields around them to protect them from sucking up substrate and I have the substrate—crushed coral—pushed away from the pumps so they will sit lower. 

 

The first chamber is made from a dollar store garbage can I have hanging on the side of the tank.  The overflow from the two display tanks above it falls into this can, through the media inside, and out the holes I drilled in the bottom and bottom of one side.  There is pond filter media that is a hard plastic woven wire thing called Matala®.  There are 3 densities of this material.  A bag of carbon sits on top of the Matala® and a fiber pad sits on top of the bag.  The fiber pad clogs up with waste and I rinse it in the sink.   The garbage can sits lower than the sides of the tank, so if it overflows, it overflows into the refugium chamber. 

 

There isn’t much to explain about the refugium chamber.  It contains the crushed coral mentioned above, some rocks, and a few red mangroves.  The heater is down low in front, the pumps are off to one side.  The protein skimmer is not in the sump.  One of the pumps in the refugium leads to the protein skimmer and it dumps into the lower tank.  This allows the pump to perform two tasks at once.  It runs the protein skimmer and it provides circulation for the system.  As the water exits the protein skimmer, it flows through a second garbage can with Matala® and fiber but not carbon.  

TADDA!!! Me with the new two tier system.  In this post, you can find the last of the two tier system project updates and links to all the other project updates that explain how the system was built.  

TADDA!!! Me with the new two tier system.  In this post, you can find the last of the two tier system project updates and links to all the other project updates that explain how the system was built.  

The missing video and Sun Coral Feeding Tip

So, I said I was going to make a video today.  I did get the tank all cleaned up yesterday but cyanobacteria is relentless.  I really learned a lesson on those sun corals.  Here is the problem: Sun corals get starved during shipping and handling process between the collection place, the importer/wholesaler, retailer, and customer.  When sun corals are starved, they stop eating.  They are not photosynthetic so if they don’t eat they die.  To get them to eat, they have to be fed and fed and fed.  I wanted the best sun coral experience for my customers, so I did this to get sun corals ready for them.  Now the cyanobacteria are eating what the sun corals didn’t eat.  

So I learned two lessons.  The fist lesson is to set up a separate tank for the sun corals.  This tank will I can have a high amount of nutrients in it without affecting the main system.  A small 5 gal system designed for fresh water with crushed coral substrate and a power head added should to do the trick.  I’ll fill it with water out of the main tank and change it a couple times a week—no need to spend extra money on marine quality filtration for such a small set up.  The corals don’t need light so no reef quality lighting is needed either.  The second lesson is to take corals that are extra stubborn and put them in a small bucket for a couple hours a day with extreme high nutrients. I started doing this and it worked.  I’m going to be adding this step to the sun coral profile, so people can do this at home.  I already wrote it in MS word.  I’ll post just that revision next.  I’m going to have to apply these lessons on the next shipment because all three sun corals, in stock, flew to North Dakota today.  

The video is going to be on hold till the weekend but during the 1 or two hours the tank was clean this morning, I did get some great ( I would say awesome but I said awesome below and you can’t have two awesomes in one paragraph) pictures of the M-XL zoanthids.  I’m posting those to the store, then I’ll get them on here.  It’s just awesome and I know people are going to be happy to have them.  Heck, I’m happy to have them even though I know it’s only temporary housing.  :-)  I’ve had them for close to three weeks and nobody even knew about them.  

Stay tuned for the sun coral update and Happy Reefing everyone.  

Star Polyps are doing awesome in the 30 gal since the rearrangement.  With more room to grow and lots of TLC these guys have taken off.  The multi-frag rock I am holding is the result of me trimming lobes off the main colonies.  Trimming these lobes is necessarily for their health.   For more on lobe trimming visit the star polyp profile.  I super glued these frags to a rock and after a few weeks, they have fully recovered from the trauma of being handled, cut and glued.  The main colonies have also fully recovered and look better than before the trim—as they have filled in more evenly.  I highly recommend super glue on star polyp frags.  I also used a product called Insta-set to harden the glue faster.  I’ll post on that separately.  

Hung a Power Switch Box Instead of Using a Power Strip

I said before that I was going to have my nephew hang the box but I needed to buy a bracket from the hardware, so he couldn’t finish.  I hung it today.  The only thing left for the project before I post the summary video and pics, is I need build up the spill catch, so it’s higher.  I’m kind of feeling lazy the past couple days and doing a bit less work than I was for the few weeks before the holidays.  I can finish the project tomorrow and get that video up.  I know some of you are waiting for it.  The top tank needs a cleaning though and that means clouds, so the video might have to wait a day.  The cyanobacteria are back.  It’s because of all the feeding I have been doing for the sun corals.  I have a blog for that coming soon.  

About the Switch Box.  

Instead of getting a power strip with 6 plugs and one switch I got I bought a power switch box made for DJs.  It’s actually an American DJ brand.  The box is designed to mount into a rack, so I had to make a mount of my own for it to mount to.  It has 8 plugs and 8 switches.  This way I can turn on or off any thing plugged in, one at a time.  No more fumbling with unplugging stuff to do water changes, feedings etc.  You can tell by the lights in the picture, I am using 7 of the eight plugs right now.  The dark one is turned off.  The box comes with a 15 amp circuit breaker.  It’s way better than anything I’ve had on my other systems.  Until a few hours ago, the box had been lying on the floor of the system.  That’s why the camera never goes down there lately.  

       

I guess now that it is hung, I see I need to tie up those wires so it’s not such a mess.  One bonus to having the power mounted like that is, it’s highly unlikely that it will ever get dripped on.  

Happy reefing everyone.  

Fixing a Bug

As you may remember from Quick Project Update 8, I built a diffuser for the protein skimmer’s output to the lower tank out of a small trash can.  I also built an identical diffuser for the sump.  Both contain filter media. See the link above for pictures and further explanation.  

Yesterday, I noticed the one for the protein skimmer was bypassing; meaning that at least some of the water was not flowing through the filter media. It was flowing over the side of the box instead.  This is a common sign that filter media has done its job, is clogged, and needs rinsed or changed.  

When I pulled the media out, I noticed that it is not very dirty.  Yes there is some filth but not enough to require maintenance.  

            Above: Here is what the filter media looked like after I pulled it out.  Some filth but not super clogged.

After further examination of the media, I discovered small clogged spots in the last layer of the media.  These are the spots that correspond to the holes in the bottom of the basket it is sitting in.  In other words, most of the water has to flow through these small spots and sense they are clogged, the water has to bypass. See the pic below.  

         Above: you can see the clogged spots that match the holes in the basket.

I decided to put a layer of empty space below the filter media, I did this by cutting rings of PVC from some pipe.  

        Above: here you can see the rings I made.  The media will be flipped over and it will sit on top of those rings in the position they are shown.  Then the water should be able to flow though the entire media instead of concentrating in those spots.  

Conclusion: I decided to conduct a flow experiment.  I didn’t rinse the media.  I just stuck it right back in dirty.  Sure enough, the flow is no longer bypassing.  After that, I went ahead and made rings for the sump basket as well.  

My Dining Centerpiece and Minor Project Update

           I took some of the left over reef sand from the top tank and put it in this bowl.  The seashells, I got at Walmart years ago.  It’s like having a tiny bit of beach right on my dining table.  I grew that plant to look like that from near dead.  It’s the benefit of learning about lighting for aquariums.  I plan to do a post about just plants.  

            A closer look shows there are some fungia skeletons too.  Those are three that didn’t get enough to eat in the 30 gal tank.  Lesson learned there….Feed the fungia.  Their skeletons are nice though.  To see and learn about LIVE fungia, including a feeding video, click here

         The side view.    

On an unrelated note: My nephew is going to put some finishing touches on the two tier system today.  He’s 15 and is going to be here for a couple hours without his parents.  This will keep him from being board and help me.  There are only two things left to do, then I’ll make a video going over the whole thing.  If you have been following me, you have seen pictures of nearly the whole thing already but it will be nice to have a summary.  I also know at least one person is waiting for it.  

Have a great day everyone.  

DIY Teaches Me

I’m kind of excited I to have solved this problem.  

When you do stuff yourself, you are forced to learn things that you would not otherwise learn.  Several weeks ago, I read a forum post referencing a video about how to make a stockman stand pipe to silence external overflows that make a lot of noise.  It was a minor interest to me but I didn’t really remember how it worked or how to make it.  My overflow didn’t make a lot of noise.  When heard the raging gurgling that was going on in the overflow for the new system, I knew I had to figure this thing out.  I couldn’t make a stockman stand pipe because I was already glued in.  I watched several videos on YouTube about different types of silencers and they all had some things in common.  With that, I designed my own silencer that fits with the pip I already have.  Right now it’s just a prototype made out of PVC pipe, some blue masking tape, a small air hose, and a tiny C-clamp.  Once I get the materials to build a permanent muffler, I’ll post a how to blog.  It’s very simple.  

Quick Project Update 8. Excited. Almost There

I’m excited to get water in the new system but at this point I need a break.  I have 3 problems to solve on the system.  One, I thought was solved.  The other two are related.  The stand is not perfectly level, which is impossible to tell before you fill it, when it is sitting on carpet.  The related issue is the water level.  Because the tank isn’t sitting level and the high side is the side with the drain, the water level on the other side is too high.  The complication here is that I don’t have a place to store the seawater while I do the shimming.  The last problem is that the protein skimmer defuser needs to hang higher (about an inch above the tank level) without spilling onto the floor if it clogs.  Otherwise the water doesn’t flow through it, it flows over the side.  I learned all this by putting water in the tank.  The top tank had an internal leak, which I fixed earlier, so it’s not running yet.  It’s drying.  The leak was from the main tank into the overflow box.  These kind of problems are normal when building what amounts to a prototype anything.  It doesn’t mean I don’t need a break though.  

I dont’ have the protein skimmer hooked up yet.  It’s going to sit on a shelf next to the lower tank and drain into the trash can, err defuser on the right side there.             Above: Two defusers: one for the protein skimmer and one for the drain into the sump.  Both are going to have 4 layers of pond filter media by Matala.  The one for the sump will also have a  bag of charcoal and some fiber to catch small stuff.  The one for the skimmer is just to stop bubbles from getting into the tank.  Each are made from $1. trash cans from the Dollar Tree and $1 set of knives, also from the Dollar Tree.  I bent the knives to make a mounting bracket.

    Above: Side view of the system.  The protein skimmer is going to sit on a shelf and drain into that defuser.  The defuser needs to sit higher than it is here, or it won’t drain out the bottom and side.

        Above:  Front view of the system.  You can see the top has been removed.  This makes it easier to put the top tank on.  You can also see the stripes I painted on the legs.  It looks like I seeded a bit more live rock than I needed.  It was dry but it is definitely live now.  Amphipods were squirming on my hands after moving the rock from the trash can to the tanks.  

         Above:  A close up of the water level on the side where it is too high.

So, writing this blog has given me the break I needed to think.  My brother is going to bring over more water storage and an extra hand to help with the shimming, later this week.  I have an idea of how to fix the defuser level.  See the pic below.  I would like to get the water in the top tank tomorrow but that is going to have to wait for the shimming.  

       Above:  That’s a scrap piece of acrylic from the construction of the tank which means it fits in place perfectly.  Now I could bond it to the tank and be done but I don’t want it to be a permanent part of the tank.  The other option is to attach it to the wood with an L bracket.  This means it won’t be sealed at the rim of the tank and an overflow to the back would make it to the floor.  To solve this, I’ll put some holes at the top in the front.  It should never overflow but one must be prepared for these things.  

Quick Project Update 7

Quick Project Update 6

Quick Project Update 5

Quick Project Update 4

Quick Project Update 3

Quick Project Update 2

Quick Project Update 

Quick project update 7

To view this blog on it’s own page and comment, click here.

Almost done

Nearly everything I need to finish the project has arrived.  Before I can begin assembling everything, I need to paint Yesterday I did some touch-ups to the paint on the stand and I diced to up a black ring on the columns at the shelves.  You may remember from the last update I had a yellow stain there, in two spots, when I moved the holes drilled for the shelves.  I guess it was the glue reacting with the finish.  Today I planning to paint the wall behind the tank.  You may have noticed in pics, that there are butterflies and dragon flies painted on a purple background in that room.  Well, if I put the tank in front of a wall in there, I will never be able to paint behind it.  Yesterday I made last minute decision to paint.  I picked eggshell as the color.  It’s the color you pick when you don’t want to spend time and energy picking a color.  It’s also the color home builders use.

I painted the PVC pipes because two of them are going to be visible in the system.  I used Krylon Fusion paint for plastic.  There was something wrong with the pain and my can was clogged.  This led to a stream of paint coming out instead of a nice spray.  I decided to keep going and fortunately the paint flows smooth when applied in a drenching coat.  I suspect you could dip stuff in this paint and it would work.  The paint would not cover a few spots, I suspect didn’t get sanded well enough.  It won’t stick to shinny surfaces.  The pipes turned out well, in spite of everything.  

I decided to cut the top off of the stand.  The stand went to the ceiling before but the 2x4s were warped and at the top you could really tell.  The purpose of having the stand so tall was to provide a place to hang lights.  I’ve decided to use legs instead.  

Above: The pipes turned out well.  It says it takes 15 min to dry but the full cure time is much longer.  Heat always helps these things speed up, so I put the pipes in a warm place.  

Above:  What a mess left after painting with a stream of paint instead of a spray.

Above: This has to go.  This room was used as a storage room before.  Now that I am going to be taking pictures in there and spending a lot of time in there, I need to get rid of the paint for a little girl.  

Well, Back to work.  

Happy reef keeping everyone

Quick Project Update 6

Quick Project Update 5

Quick Project Update 4

Quick Project Update 3

Quick Project Update 2

Quick Project Update 

Dec 5th, 2011

Water Tightness and Strength Test

To water tightness test a tank I simply found a flat surface in an area that could handle some spillage—my bathroom— and started a slow filling of the tank.  The shower worked perfectly for this because the government is trying to force us to use less water and therefore, the shower doesn’t put out a lot of water very fast.  It probably took about 20 minutes to fill the tank.  The tank really looks pretty, filled with water.  Everything went together so well, and the materials are so nice.

Above:  Almost full.  Those are fish magnets on my bath tub.  They kind of look neat (almost real) through 4 feet of water.

Above: Filled to the rim

Above: Water on the surface shimmers as seen from below.  

So the tank held water just fine with no fish in it.  I’ve heard that very large fish and other sea creatures can break a tank, so it was time for a large animal strength test.  I had to find a large animal to put in the tank to do this test.  I found one that is about 6 and a half feet long and weighs about 200 pounds.  For a pic of that, click read more.

Read More

Building an 87 Gal Acrylic Tank and It’s so Pretty

You wouldn’t think an empty tank could be a thing of beauty but I believe this one is.

To chose the materials for this tank, I consulted this tank calculator which is located on this page.  Then I chose the material that was available localy that most closely matched what they were selling.  I went with 3/4” acrylic.  The tank measures 48” X 23 3/4” X 17 3/4”.  According to Google, that makes it, 87.6 gallons.  Tanks are usually rated by the gallons of water they can hold plus the gallons of material used to make it, in my experience.  My stand is 48” X 24”.  I allowed a quarter inch of clearance on the side.  Hopefully that will be enough because the columns are made from not so perfect “premium” 2x4s.  The space available 24 inches at the shelf and varies over the vertical span.

I ordered the material from Lairds Plastics.  They have locations around the US.  I was happy with their service but I didn’t shop around for price.  They sell 4x8 sheets of material.  I had them cut the sheet to my specifications and they did so perfectly for a $25 fee.  Then, all I had to do what bond the pieces together.

I chose the flattest surface I could find (a nearly perfect stone top dining table), covered it with a tarp, peeled back the paper a bit and, with some help, taped the tank together. 

 Above: My brother tapes the tank together.

The bonding agent for these tanks flows like water and cures in a few seconds, so it is impossible and unnecessary to put it on the surfaces to be bonded before putting them together.  You simply squirt the bonding agent into the seems, from the inside of the tank, and the runny stuff floods into the crack.  There seems to be some capillary action at work too because it can flow uphill about an inch.  

Above: because the bonding agent flows like water, it is necessary to bond surfaces only in the horizontal position and not the vertical.  For this reason, we needed to tip the tank on its side to bond the corners.  

The final step was to apply a thicker bonding agent in the seems to be certain there was a good seal.  This is an extra precautionary step that is only recommended because we are trying to hold water.  The flooding of the seams is plenty to hold the thing together but it is not perfect and we want perfect.  The idea with the thicker bonding agent is similar to using silicon to bond glass, in that a bead is formed along the butted edges but the stuff doesn’t get between them. The thick stuff flows more like maple syrup than silicone though.   This means it can move after you put it down.  Fortunately I discovered this, when bonding the bottom edges, as it flowed onto the bottom.  To prevent it from flowing out onto the display surfaces, I placed the already strongly bonded tank on its edges with the edge pointed to the floor.  

Above: The tank is tilted for the bonding of one of its edges.

Above: The two bonding agents I used.  A two part agent is said to be better but this is simpler and an the one part applicator is cheaper for a person only bonding one tank.  If I were in the tank making business, I would go with the two part.

Above: This is a video showing how the boding agent floods the seem of the two panels being bonded.

Now that the tank is built, I have to wait 24 hours, then I can test it for water tightness and strength.  The tank also will need to be drilled.  I could have done this before but I decided to do it after building it.

20 Gallon Refugium Sump DIY

Note: This blog is a little long winded.  The video at the bottom is worth a watch, even if you don’t want to read the whole thing.  

In the spring of this year (2011), I made a 20 gallon refugium sump out of a 20 gallon glass aquarium.  I did this because it was a lot cheaper than a store bought one and, because it was going to be visible, I wanted it to look halfway decent.  Sure you can see the pumps and filter sponges but the look of those acrylic sumps, with the tops folded over, just doesn’t appeal to me.  I think this one turned out pretty and sometimes I lay on the floor and stare into it.  There is so much going on in there that you never know what you will see. The new system is going to have a cabinet on the bottom. Maybe I should put a window in that cabinet.  

As you can tell from the root word to refugium, refugium provide a refuge in your aquarium system.  What is the refuge from you may ask?  It’s from predatory fish and coral.  This refuge allows things to live in your system that would otherwise be eaten.  Some refugiums are second display tanks that house fish or other life that would be eating by the fish in your main tank.  Others are used as filters.  Some refugiums are small tanks that can hang on the side of a display tank like a hang on filter does.  The word sump applies when the refugium is placed under the display tank.  Usually the word sump is left off but I feel it is more specific to use it.

This 20 gallon refugium sump has lots of things living in it.  There are several live rocks, which are covered in fantastic displays of coralline algae. There are several red mangroves; starfish, millions of copepods, aiptasia, snails, and a substrate full of bacteria.  There is also some read macro-algae growing in there, tube worms and some hardish inflatable thing.  Most of these little life forms will filter impurities from the water as food.  Aiptasia is often thought of as a pest because it can spread fast and prevent corals from having real estate.  In the sump, it can help filter the water.  The copepods are all the little bugs that are living in there.  Coralline algae is the purple that covers everything.  The starfish, I don’t know much about.  

Red mangroves absorb nitrates from the water.  It is said that they don’t grow fast and are not effective nitrate reducers.  I suspect this is because of the bonsai like fashion most people keep them.  I’m planning to experiment with putting a in a place where they have more room to grow.  I have a hard time believing that a tree, capable of growing to 100 feet, grows too slow to absorb nitrate from an aquarium of any size.   

I’ve taken a video of the sump.  The video shows some of what I talked about but not all.  I almost got footage of a tube worm flowering out of its tube but the chip filled seconds before it happened.  I did get a starfish but you can only see some of its legs sticking out of the mangrove roots.

I don’t think I need to go into how I made the sump because it’s pretty straight forward.  I will say a few things though.  The glass in the dividers was bought a glass shop and not the hardware store.  It is 3/16” thick, which is thicker than you can get in the hardware.  It is sharp and I wish I had them dull the edges.  Finally, the glass is intentionally installed on an angle, tapering the slot for the sponge narrower towards the top.  This is to prevent the sponge from floating up.  

Happy Reefing Everyone,

Joe

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Nov 22nd, 2011 11:22am 

Searching For Material

I have been searching for material to build a corner overflow.  My upper tank has one like what is shown in the pic and I’d like to make a matching one for the tank I’m building.  I’m having a hard time finding the material.  It would be nice if I could buy it already fingered like that but so far, I’m not having luck.  I’ve also looked at just buying sheets of black acrylic but I’m not having much luck there either.  Any thoughts?

I have another design idea but I’d like to go with this one.

This picture of my closet doors was taken through 24 inches of clear acrylic.  Try that with glass.
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This picture of my closet doors was taken through 24 inches of clear acrylic.  Try that with glass.