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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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Discussion Starter #5
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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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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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.
 

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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/freshwater-articles/water-hardness-ph-freshwater-aquarium-73276/
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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/freshwater-articles/water-hardness-ph-freshwater-aquarium-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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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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If you want to raise the pH of your tank then aragonite sand or crushed coral works wonders. I use it to raise the pH in my goldfish tank.

That said, back to your original question. Freshwater refugiums are few and far between, but I've done some research into them because I own goldfish which aren't compatible with most aquarium plants. Most of the refugiums I saw were either on goldfish or cichlid tanks. There are two routes you could go: under the tank and submerged; above the tank and immersed. If you have a spare 10 or 20 gal and feel like doing some plumbing then under the tank might be the way to go; if not then a hang on the back with immersed plants sounds like the way to go. The idea behind those is the plant leaves are out of the water and the roots are in the water. The roots will pull nutrients from the water and the leaves will get CO2 from the air just like floating plants in the tank.

I want to try something like this on my goldfish tank. I'll have some immersed houseplants in the HOB on the back of my tank. I'll put a desklamp with a daylight spectrum CFL so I am not limited by ambient light. I want fast growth as the goldfish tank can get high nitrates from time to time.

I was going to link you the website I found detailing a goldfish immersed refugium, but it appears the website has been taken down.
 

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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.

The only reason we do refugiums in marine systems is simply that most saltwater fish eat the macro algaes that serve as the marine equilivant of freshwater plants.

Yes you can do a refigium/sump in freshwater and for exactly the same reasons they are used in saltwater aquariums. As well as algae turf scrubbers as well.

The only reason we don't seem more in FW is simply because the livestock doesn't eat the plants like they do in saltwater.


my .02
 

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I was considering it as a side by side tank setup in order to have tall plants growing as I need to cover the fish tank... not fond of sweeping up dry fish. Sort of a larger scale HOB filter idea as I am pretty sure that I wouldn't need to actually run a dedicated filter with how I was going to set this up. One pump with an overflow return.

Didn't get the OK from the site supervisor (wife).

Jeff.
 

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can you test your tap water?
if its too low, can you shake it first and then test it?

do you use a water softener?


look into algae scrubbers.
 

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One thing to consider is that refugiums do not have to be seperate sump type systems.

One of the simplist things to do is simply partition the tank with something like 1/4" square plastic grids sold as lighting diffusers. So you have a small area with dense plants and most of the tank with fish on the other side.

On my old 55g saltwater I just put in a partition 3" in front of the back glass then added lights behind the tank pointing forward. It work like a charm with nitrates and phosphates unmeasureable and even provided macro algae and pods to the fish in front of the partition.

still just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter #16
can you test your tap water?
if its too low, can you shake it first and then test it?

do you use a water softener?


look into algae scrubbers.
straight from the tap, shaken up a bit,
Hardness 25
chlorine 0.5
Alkalinity 0
Ph 6.2
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Some Fish i want

Boes Rainbow x2
Albino butterfly Bunshynose pleco x1
Lambchop Rasbora x6
Pygmy cory Cats x6-10
 

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straight from the tap, shaken up a bit,
Hardness 25
chlorine 0.5
Alkalinity 0
Ph 6.2
Finally, someone with harder water than me.

That seems an odd combo... a hardness that high HAS to have SOME alkalinity... normally.

Given the symptoms, this is not surprising though. Zero alkalinity would result in zero pH buffering and a drop in the pH is to be expected. Raising the KH without raising the GH might be tricky. I know that using CaCO3 will do that but I don't know of any products that will supply only this... you don't want your GH to go any higher as that is outside of most fish ranges.

Using RO AND Equilibrium sounds like the best bet as you can start with zero KH and GH and bring it up to where you want it by just adding what you need. Byron does this for his extremely soft tap water and it works well for him.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Finally, someone with harder water than me.

That seems an odd combo... a hardness that high HAS to have SOME alkalinity... normally.

Given the symptoms, this is not surprising though. Zero alkalinity would result in zero pH buffering and a drop in the pH is to be expected. Raising the KH without raising the GH might be tricky. I know that using CaCO3 will do that but I don't know of any products that will supply only this... you don't want your GH to go any higher as that is outside of most fish ranges.

Using RO AND Equilibrium sounds like the best bet as you can start with zero KH and GH and bring it up to where you want it by just adding what you need. Byron does this for his extremely soft tap water and it works well for him.

Jeff.
I will play around with some ph and alkalinity boosters with a gallon of water and see what works. PLus im gonna use about 6 pounds of driftwood (what is weighs dry)
 
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