Freshwater Refugium - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 39 Old 04-28-2013, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Freshwater Refugium

Hello! I have just started a Nano reef and im making a refugium for it. And i was thinking, why not have a refugium for my 30 gal freshwater tank? I could put some java moss in it. But what else could go into it to increase bio filtration? Maybe some shrimps, but which are best? and what about algae? Are there any good types of algae for freshwater? This is an idea i think could do very well. And i also havent set the tank up yet. Its going to be a planted freshwater tank. What fish should i stock it with?
Top swimmers?
Middle swimmers?
Bottoms?
And what would be good for a clean up crew? I tended to gave an algae problem before as well as food that would fall in tiny nooks and crannies.
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post #2 of 39 Old 04-29-2013, 12:20 PM
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Generally it is just best to put the plants in the main tank, unless a refugium is large it won't offer much benefit for all the cost involved in getting it set up.

Pretty much all algae is beneficial in freshwater, it's just not pretty to look at. All tanks will have at least some, it's natural.

Algae taking over a tank, however, is a sign of poor maintenance and/or too much light. Dim lighting is best for freshwater, with floating plants moderate lighting is okay. Dual T5HO, or Quad T5HO fixtures, like you use on reef tanks, is far too much light.

Don't get fish for the purpose of algae control, it doesn't work, besides it is treating the symptom and not the problem. If there is food left over 5 minutes after feeding, you've put too much in. With a sand substrate, everything stays on top and nothing can slip down into cracks.

Can't recommend fish, it all depends on your tap water (hard or soft, acidic or basic, etc).
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post #3 of 39 Old 04-29-2013, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Generally it is just best to put the plants in the main tank, unless a refugium is large it won't offer much benefit for all the cost involved in getting it set up.

Pretty much all algae is beneficial in freshwater, it's just not pretty to look at. All tanks will have at least some, it's natural.

Algae taking over a tank, however, is a sign of poor maintenance and/or too much light. Dim lighting is best for freshwater, with floating plants moderate lighting is okay. Dual T5HO, or Quad T5HO fixtures, like you use on reef tanks, is far too much light.

Don't get fish for the purpose of algae control, it doesn't work, besides it is treating the symptom and not the problem. If there is food left over 5 minutes after feeding, you've put too much in. With a sand substrate, everything stays on top and nothing can slip down into cracks.

Can't recommend fish, it all depends on your tap water (hard or soft, acidic or basic, etc).
It i pretty inexpensive to make the refugium. I dont want to look at moss hanging in my display. Algae can grow rampant in the refugium and it wont make a difference to the tank looks. I vac up food that doesnt get eaten. And i buy my freshwater. Its reverse osmosis from the lfs
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post #4 of 39 Old 04-29-2013, 11:44 PM
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Ro water is going to be too soft to grow most plants in freshwater. They get some of their nutrients from there such as calcium and magnesium(I believe.). You can buy supplements for these but then you will have to buy the water the supplements and the fertilizer for the plants. Why not just use your tap water for freshwater?? Then you (unless you have softwater) can just get away with just buying fertilizers.

Plants do everything that algae does. When you have a balance between the lights and nutrients the plant will thrive and the algae will barely thrive. Which what most planted tankers thrive for. So the algae won't do much good or grow very well with plants thriving.

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post #5 of 39 Old 04-29-2013, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Ro water is going to be too soft to grow most plants in freshwater. They get some of their nutrients from there such as calcium and magnesium(I believe.). You can buy supplements for these but then you will have to buy the water the supplements and the fertilizer for the plants. Why not just use your tap water for freshwater?? Then you (unless you have softwater) can just get away with just buying fertilizers.

Plants do everything that algae does. When you have a balance between the lights and nutrients the plant will thrive and the algae will barely thrive. Which what most planted tankers thrive for. So the algae won't do much good or grow very well with plants thriving.
I cant use my tap, its super acidic Its unreadable om ph tests. i have leafzone
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post #6 of 39 Old 04-30-2013, 09:41 AM
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I cant use my tap, its super acidic Its unreadable om ph tests. i have leafzone
What does super acidic mean, as in what's the lowest reading your test shows?

Do you have municipal water, or a well? Most municipal systems are actually basic, because acidic water will corrode the infrastructure.

If you have Amazon or Asian tropical fish, chances are you actually want acidic water. I don't think any natural water sources are a perfect pH of 7.0.

As for Leaf Zone, you'll want a different fertilizer. That one only contains Iron and Potassium. Something like Flourish Comprehensive is better, it has most of the nutrients plants need with the only exception being stuff they expect to see in your tap water already like calcium and magnesium as has already been mentioned.
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post #7 of 39 Old 04-30-2013, 11:26 AM
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Yah, RO is too soft for plants. Adding something like Seachem's Equilibrium to bring the hardness up will be needed in addition to the flourish comprehensive already mentioned and root tabs for the substrate plants.

I'd suggest testing your tap water to see what you have before deciding to go RO and re-mineralizing it. Seeing as you haven't decided on anything yet, this may still get you a good fish range to choose from. Don't test the pH immediately from the tap, let it sit for 24 hours to offgas the CO2 as that will affect the test results. I would be very surprised if the water is city and off the pH charts.

Jeff.


Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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post #8 of 39 Old 04-30-2013, 11:32 AM
I'll confess that I'm confused. How are you simulating surf in an 8g nano reef tank...or did you mean a SW fish tank?

Also, I'm with Geo. It seems to me that unless you add a large sump, a refugium isn't going to do much. I've seen some (expensive too) small commercial hang on back refugium's and frankly see little benefit and wonder what they're thinking.
I just think there are better ways to [better] control water purity, including algae.

I'm also confused about your tap water and your use of RO water. Without adding minerals, RO water is too pure for aquarium use (fish need to absorb minerals and trace elements through a form of osmosis) ...although if your tap water is hard, you might mix the two and adjust slightly for pH as/if necessary. (I do that with reclaimed water from my basement dehumidifier.)

How acidic is your water and is that the only reason you don't use it?

You might find value in the following article:
.
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-73276/

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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 04-30-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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post #9 of 39 Old 04-30-2013, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
I'll confess that I'm confused. How are you simulating surf in an 8g nano reef tank...or did you mean a SW fish tank?

Also, I'm with Geo. It seems to me that unless you add a large sump, a refugium isn't going to do much. I've seen some (expensive too) small commercial hang on back refugium's and frankly see little benefit and wonder what they're thinking.
I just think there are better ways to [better] control water purity, including algae.

I'm also confused about your tap water and your use of RO water. Without adding minerals, RO water is too pure for aquarium use (fish need to absorb minerals and trace elements through a form of osmosis) ...although if your tap water is hard, you might mix the two and adjust slightly for pH as/if necessary. (I do that with reclaimed water from my basement dehumidifier.)

How acidic is your water and is that the only reason you don't use it?

You might find value in the following article:
.
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-73276/
Any time i add tap to my aqaurium, even as little as half a gallon, my ph of my tank drops to 6.2 or lower. My fish then become stressed , red gilled, and die if i cant get it back up. Thus i dont use my tap. Im tired of loosing expensive fish.
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post #10 of 39 Old 04-30-2013, 02:26 PM
I harden up my water with chalk to counter softener salt in my tap. You can pull water from your tap and set it aside, drop chalk in them and let it dissolve.
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