Easy DIY Above Tank Refugium

Project by Erik and Joann from Appalacian Reef

 

Materials Cost
1 ea 45 Qt. Rubbermaid Tub from Wal-Mart $5.45
1 ea 1' Bulkhead from Premium Aquatics $5.95
1 LOA model 6065 from Wal-Mart $24.95
6' of 1' Tubing @ $1.30 ft from Home Depot $7.80
6' of 1/2' Tubing @ $0.42 ft from Home Depot $2.52
3/4' screw to 1/2' nipple adapter $0.42
1 Mini-Jet 404 from Premium Aquatics $14.95
Total $62.04

 

 

Step One
You begin by measuring the lid and finding the center-lines, essentially splitting the top into quarters. Then measure the light unit. Mine measured 6-3/4' by
11-3/4'. With a sharp razor, carefully cut a rectangle out of the center of the top. Your light should fit flush on this opening..
Refugium step 1
Step Two
Then you must cut out the bulkhead hole. I chose to use a larger bulkhead on this refugium in order to facilitate the outward flow of water. To install a 1' bulkhead you must drill a 1-3/4' hole in the back of the tub. I did this with a drill-saw, but twisted it by hand rather then using a drill. The advantage to hand-twisting it is that you dont burn the plastic, because you are not heating it up, and you get a much cleaner hole. Then fit the bulkhead in, making sure to put the washer between the front of the bulkhead and the tub walls. Tighten down, and test for a water-tight seal.
Refugium step 2
Step Three
Now you must get water to the refugium. I used 1/2' tubing plumbed to a Mini-Jet 404 to feed the refugium. This pumps about 100 GPH into the refugium making for a 10X turnover rate. On the other end of the 1/2' tubing I used an elbow that had a 3/4' thread on the opposite end. This allowed me to plumb it to the top of the refugium without worry that it would create a siphon or fall out and leak all over.
Refugium step 3
Step Four
Now that your refugium is plumbed, it is time to make sure that it is safe from overflowing. I purposely have the water that feeds the refugium drop about an inch before hitting the surface of the water in case the power goes out, my refugium will not be siphoned out into the main tank causing an overflow.
Refugium step 4
Step Five
Now it is all assembled, you need to add sand, rock and some critters. My refugium is a temporary jail for my hermit crabs at the moment, but I am noticing the pod population is starting to grow up there regardless. Currently I have some sargassum, some feather caulerpa and some unidentified algea in there. There is about 25 lbs of Southdown sand in there and a piece of liverock from my main tank.
Refugium step 5

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Easy DIY Above Tank Refugium