Q & A: Setting Up A Refugium

Jim from Youtube.com writes,

"Hey Guys,

Love all the videos. Have a few questions for you though if you don't mind me pickin your brain?

I am in the middle of upgrading from a 29 gallon biocube to a 65 all glass pre-drilled tank. I'm using a 29 gallon regular tank as my sump.I am going to install 18" high lexan panels for chamber dividers. I have for filtration a 4" filter sock and Aqua Medic Turboflotor skimmer am going to put those together in the first chamber. The second chamber is going to be 13" long fuge and will have a bed combination of Miracle Mud and live sand then spaghetti algae with some rubble rock. The third chamber I have a TurboTwist UV sterilzer and a 2 Little Fishies Phos Ban Reactor as the
last step in the filtration am gonna put the sterilizer and reactor on their own pumps to loop back into the chamber then the return pump to recirculate to the tank. I think I'm pretty much along the right path but was wondering your input on it and if youd recommend any changes?

I decided to do this all due to the filtration in the biocube how it came just didnt cut it and figured I can have a much more beautiful tank by building my own as well as a much bigger tank to look at instead of dumping more money into the cube and have a smaller less elaborate tank to look at. Thanks for takin time to read my rambling ass message lol....Any feedback would be greatly appreciated......Jim"

Before I answer your question, I need to know if you have room to install a separate tank as a refugium. By separate, I mean one that is not contained within the sump. I am proponent of independent refugiums that slowly introduce water back into the main system. This can be achieved by having the drain from the tank tee'd into the regular sump and also the
refugium. You can either install a smaller diameter hose from the tee or simply install a ballvalve onto the line that feeds into the refugium to slow up the flow. You will need to install a high connection from the refugium to the sump. As the refugium slowly fills, the overflow dumps into the sump. You will increase the dwell time of the aquarium water in the refugium for nutrient removal by the macroalgae, denitrification from the substrate, and oxygen replenishment as a byproduct of macroalgae photosynthesis. If you have a healthy population of microfauna in the
refugium, it can be slowly introduced into the aquarium without risk of swift depletion.

Finally, I am not a fan of UV sterilization in reef tanks. If you are concerned about sporulation from your macroalgae returning into the tank, I have never experienced a problem even when my refugiums were not lit with a 24/7 photoperiod. I typically run lights on refugiums in the reverse daylight mode with great results. Good luck!


Joe Pineda is the Chief Technical Officer for Infinity Aquarium Design and is one of California's most respected professional aquarists specializing in marine science and biology and aquarium systems engineering.



Q & A: Lighting the Planted Aquarium

David R. from the UK writes,

"Hello if you could please i would like some advice, I am setting up two
tanks one cold one warm 7x2x2 cold 6x2x2 warm i want to plant my tank I
was thinking of using two T5 80watt tubes with reflector. Do you think think would be ok or would i need 4 80watts tubes on both tanks? Thanks"


I assume that the tank you are using for the planted ecosystem will be the 6' long tank. If that is the case, the volume will be around 179 gallons. At the very least, with a ratio of 2 watts/gallon, you would need about 358 total watts of lighting. If you plan on using four 80 watt T5 bulbs, you would be close. We typically recommend a ratio of 3 watts/gallon or higher, but some of the newer T5 lighting systems are very efficient in their design. Some companies incorporate individual reflectors per bulb that almost encase the bulb and preserve most of the bulb's intensity or lumen strength. Finally, it should be noted that the spectrum of the bulb is as important as it's wattage. Light in the 6500K range seems to work best. Good luck!



Joe Pineda is the Chief Technical Officer for Infinity Aquarium Design and is one of California's most respected professional aquarists specializing in marine science and biology and aquariums systems engineering.


Video: Chalk Preschool Installation

Of all the custom aquariums in Los Angeles that we have designed and installed, this one goes into my top ten! It's not always the crazy shapes and massive volumes that get me pumped but rather the simplicity of a basic idea that' tailored to the client. In this case: 2-4 year olds.

For more information on this installation, please read the article below.



"CHALK" One Up For the Kids

Each member of our installation crew provides individual creativity for every project we take on. Some of our guys are real technical nuts that thrive off the mechanics of the aquarium and custom designed filtration we are often recognized for. Such guys usually are the ones who would rather show you their cars' engines before they let you feel the comfort of the bucket seats. And then there are guys like me: totally into the exterior package and the overall visual aesthetics. And believe me, although my car has the horsepower of a small lawnmower, its gorgeous, and gets plenty of attention as I sail down Sunset Boulevard. Ultimately, the cohesion of our crew produces the entire combination of performance and style when the aquarium installation is complete. So when I got a call from Chalk Preschool in Chicago to inquire about including a very unique and very specific aquarium in the blue prints of their brand spankin' new Los Angeles extension I got pretty jazzed about being able to display our special talents.

Here's the idea: upon entering the facility there's a slightly sloped ramp leading up to the reception desk. This makes the front door handicap accessible and also provides a venue for after hours skateboarding (just kidding on the skate boards). However, once you reach the reception desk and continue down to the multiple classrooms there is now a ledge where the pathway and the slope run parallel (forgive me for making this sound like and algebra equation) and the city requires something called a knee-wall to prevent anyone from making one false step and…you get the idea. Needless to say, this knee-wall was mentally replaced with an aquarium that had the dimensions suitable for 2-4 year olds. Quite frankly- I fell in love with the idea of a long but short aqua-wall built for the little futures of America! The project quickly began to move forward and by mid-summer we had the tank fabricated and cabinetry built.

Fast forward to this week, when the aquarium is ready for fish. Part of me feels like a twelve-year old boy again when I make trips to the wholesaler to pick up a clients fish that have been imported from some corner pocket of the world's oceans. Its easy to forget that I have a "job" to do because what part of shopping for exotic creatures is work? Here's what we got: 1) Naso Tang, 1) Blue Tang, 1) Sailfin Tang, 1) Banana Wrasse/Sunset Wrasse, 1) Foxface Rabbit fish, 2) Percula Clownfish (gotta have Nemo!), 5) XL Green Chromis, and 1) Blue-spotted Puffer. I used Nature Bac's concentrated nitrifying bacteria to insta-cycle the aquarium and did a two hour acclimation followed by a fresh water dip. We're golden!

For the "engine people", here's what's underneath the hood: Wet/Dry Bio filter, Top Fathom protein skimmer, an Aqua Ultraviolet Sterilizer, Aqua Logic in-line chiller, Energy Savers titanium


I'll Give Ya Somethin' To Blog About!

Well if it aint about time! Although the idea has been on the table over at Infinity for well over two years now, it wasn't until today that we've finally launched our redeveloped website with the beautiful addition of this wonderful blog! Upon entering the world of file sharing, and creating our ever-popular YouTube page, the growing masses of aquarium hobbyists have made their presence known and have begun to come to us with some crazy and wonderful questions. We though that YouTube would be the answer to putting our opinions out on the internet but quickly found out that the time and energy it takes to shoot, edit, upload and view a 2 min installation clip was nothing short of Tchaikovsy's "Sleeping Beauty"......yeah...I know.