A refugium as discussed previously are exceptionally useful to assist in the control of nitrates, phosphates and other nutrients in the aquarium.
For those who have not read our previous articles in relation to this subject a [tag-self]refugium[/tag-self] is basically another aquarium, normally external to the display aquarium where macro algae is grown and micro organisms are allowed to produce with no predation. The [tag-tec]macro algae[/tag-tec] in the aquarium assist in the removal of nutrients from the water column.
The majority of aquarists choose to install the refugium beneath the display aquarium hidden from view in the sump area which is a good place to install it, however it not a requirement that it has to be installed in this location.
Not everyone has a sump or even has a place under the display aquarium, for these people the refugium can be installed next to or above the aquarium if that is the requirement of the aquarist. There are some people who do have a sump area and decide to install the refugium in an area where it is visible. I personally think that this is quite a good idea as the refugium is exceptionally fascintating to watch – loads of life scurrying around looking for food, macro algae swaying in the currents etc.
Is there a benefit of having the refugium above the aquarium?
Yes there is. The primary purpose of the refugium is to assist in the removal of excess nutrients from the water column, however in this area various little lifeforms will grow and call this safe area home.
If the refugium is under the aquarium then any of these little lifeforms which make it to the proximity of the returm pump will get smashed to pieces before they get to the display aquarium – no good to the fish like that!
If the refugium is above the main display aquarium however, this problem is removed. When the refugium is above the display aquarium water is pushed up to the refugium and the water is allowed to overflow back down again. Therefore no return pump to smash up the little beasties means food for the fish, corals etc.
Whats better is that it is free food – not enough to mean that you can stop feeding the fish, corals etc but free food all the same.