Why add a refugium to your reef tank?

by Owen James

Refugiums aren't the prettiest additions to a reef tank, but they're very useful

Refugiums aren't pretty additions to a reef tank, but they're useful

(Image: seanmcgrath)

The Marine Depot blog has a nice introductory article up today on the benefits of adding a refugium to your reef tank.

I love refugiums! Seldom does one little add-on do so much. With a refugium you can:

  • Add biodiversity to your reef system
  • Stabilize your pH by alternating the refugium lighting with your main aquarium (or simply leaving the lights on full-time)
  • Incorporate a sand bed for nitrate reduction without having to worry about removing it from your main display some day
  • Allow pods and other critters a place to live unmolested by predators

On that last note, Marine Depot’s author Keith makes a great point about what not to put in your refugium:

Fish are at the top of that list. If you put a fish into your refugium it can, in a matter of days, wipe out the copepods and amphipods you are trying to grow. Do not put fish in there. Certain crabs, such as Arrow Crabs, are well-known for their ability to feed upon bristleworms, so many crabs should be excluded from being allowed in. Sand sifting starfish are another one to mention since these guys can decimate the life of a sand bed very quickly.

Too many people set-up a refugium then put an unruly damselfish or a hitchhiking crab in there. You’ll still get the benefit of algae, but you’ll lose most of your pods.

A refugium gives little creatures some peace and quiet

Remember, a reef tank has far more predators compared to lower down the food chain animals than a real coral reef. Adding a refugium enables you to balance things out a bit.

You can click to read the full refugium article on Marine Depot, or if you’re more of an expert, you might want to check out this interesting article on creating an even more dedicated environment for macroalgae.

Read the Ultimate Secrets To Saltwater Fish And Invertebrates.

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