8 Things to Know about a Refugium

If you are fish hobbyist you may have heard the word refugium.  But what exactly is it and why do people use it?  A refugium is used to make separate sections in an aquarium. It allows sharing of water of the main tank in separate areas in an attached or inclusive space. The word refugium comes from ‘refuge’ because it is usually used to provide safety to smaller and more vulnerable species in a shared tank.

Sometimes a refugium is used to grow planktonic copepods that are later used as a tasty treat for fish in the aquarium. It is also used as a sort of overflow tank. Some people use it for easily changing water, especially in saltwater aquariums. You can also use refugium as a filter by growing algae in it. Now that you know what a Refugium is, let’s take a look at 8 things you must know about it.

1.     Refugiums Come in More than One Type

To take things to the next level, refugiums come in a variety of types. Each type fulfills a different purpose. When buying a refugium, make sure you know what it does and how to use it.  The 3 types of refugiums available in market are sump-based, in-tank and hang-on refugiums.

2.     What Inhabitants a Refugium

What you choose to keep is totally up to you! You can raise small creatures like copepods, shrimps and isopods in a freshwater refugium. You can add live plants and scavengers to keep the tank clean or you can keep small fish that needs protection from bigger fish. You can also maintain a refugium for growing algae.

3.     Sump Pump to Create More Water Movement In The Main Tank

A sump-based refugium can be used as a pump to increase water flow. This is very beneficial for reef tanks. Sump-based refugium is placed under the main tank and is usually hidden from view. You can install filters and water pumps in this hidden tank.

4.     Maintain pH level and Overall Water Quality

Plants and algae alter the pH level of aquarium by producing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen when lights are on. Leave the lights on in your refugium when it is dark in the main tank and vice versa.  This will help in maintaining an optimal pH level of the aquarium at all times.

5.     You Can Hide the Magic With A Sump Refugium

You can keep a separate refugium to keep additional filtration and accessories out of the main tank.  Devices can include sponge filters, uv sterilizing light, heaters, water skimmers and various reactors.  The sump below can be used to hide the mess and clutter of wires and tubing that would be hanging off the exterior of your tank.

6.     At what cost?

Price of a refugium depends on its size and type. A sump based refugium including a skimmer can cost up to $350 – $600. In-tank refugiums are relatively inexpensive ranging between $35 – $50. Cost of a hang-on refugium can vary from $75 t0 $150 depending on the size of the tank.

7.     How big is big enough?

Buy a refugium as big as your budget would allow. You should always try to size up a refugium to at least 20% of the size of the main tank.  The larger the refugium or sump, the larger the footprint of water that will be attained.  The larger footprint makes it easier to maintin the water quality.

8.     Fuge Is Just Another Name

Do not get confused if you hear people talking about a fuge.  Fuge is just another term for refugium.

Now that you know quite a lot on refugiums, try to get one for your aquarium if your budget allows. It will give you all the extra space for setting up equipment and will help you in naturally improving the overall quality of your aquarium.


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