Aquarium Supplies, LED Aquarium Lights, Marine Aquariums, Coral Reef Tanks, Orange County Aquarium Supplies

OCReef Secure Checkout
Your Cart
Your shopping cart is empty!

Products Categories

Print Friendly View
Chaeto Macro Algae and Refugiums

Why should you add a refugium and macroalgae to your saltwater aquarium setup?

There are a number of terrific benefits to including these components, such as better nitrogen control, opportunities to add more species of fish, better biodiversity and keeping nuisance algae at bay.

What Is A Refugium?

A refugium, or "fuge", is a secondary tank attached to the main tank. Although it is a separate space, the refugium shares the water supply of the main tank. It is typically about a tenth the size of the main tank. Some people choose to display the refugium since it can have an interesting appearance of its own. Others choose to house it in a cabinet beneath the main aquarium. Some refugiums attach to the back of the tank. Fuges may have their own light supply or share one with the main aquarium.

Here are some of the uses for a refugium:

  • Assisting in cycling the main tank to keep nitrogen levels lower
  • Separating an injured or sick fish from the main population until healed
  • Growing macroalgae
  • Raising copepods and amphipods to feed your fish
  • Improving aquarium biodiversity for corals and fish

Macroalgae help manage nitrogen and other chemicals, which keeps the water healthier for your fish. Beneficial macroalgae like Chaetomorpha (spaghetti algae) or Ulva (sea lettuce) help keep nuisance algae under control. Herbivore fish and copepods also eat them as a food source.

Refugiums Provide a Refuge and Improve Biodiversity
Since a refugium adds about 10 percent more water to your entire aquarium system, it helps control nitrogen and other chemical levels more efficiently. Plants and macroalgae in the refugium also help take up nitrogen and add back helpful nutrients.
Sometimes, a fish may become ill or injured. Placing the fish in the refugium keeps it in its regular water supply but separate from the main fish population so that it has time to heal without being harassed by the others.

The fuge can also serve as a nursery for growing your own amphipods and copepods, commonly called "pods". Growing copepods in the refugium prevents the fish in the main aquarium from consuming them all before these pods can reproduce. These plankton are used to feed more delicate, difficult to feed fish like seahorses, Pipefish and Mandarin Dragonets. Pods are also an important part of the marine ecosystem. Adding these plankton to the aquarium system helps improve diversity in your saltwater fish tank.

Helpful Macroalgae

Most aquarium owners find algae to be a nuisance. However, some macroalgae like Chaetomorpha, also called "chaeto", and sea lettuce (Ulva) help the saltwater fish tank by absorbing nitrates and phosphates. This keeps the water healthier for your desired fish.
Chaeto and sea lettuce provide food for copepods and amphipods. These macroalgae also give the pods a refuge.
Caring for sea lettuce or chaeto is very easy. They can float or tumble in the refugium. They do best with medium to high lighting and medium water flow. They prefer light in the 5,000 to 10,000K temperature, or the daylight range. Trim and turn the macroalgae weekly to prevent fragments from clogging your pumps or overflows.

By adding beneficial macroalgae and a refugium to your saltwater aquarium or reef tank, you'll be improving the diversity of your system. This keeps your fish and coral healthier. For more information on copepods, refugiums, and macroalgae, contact OC Reef today! You can reach us by using the contact form online or by calling 949.429.8034. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Verified and Secure Web Store

Online Aquarium Supply
Aquarium Supplies

Online Aquarium Supplies
Sign up↑ for Exclusive Offers
(Email is Private & Secure)

Free Shipping On Aquarium Supplies

Ecotech Marine Vortech and Radion
Follow OCReef Aquarium Supply on Twitter Twitter

Like OCReef Aquarium Supply on Facebook Facebook

Stumble Upon OCReef Aquarium SupplyStumbleUpon

CREE LED Aquarium Lights

OC Reef LED Lighting donated to build the Treasure Chest Tank at the Children's Hospital In Detroit Michigan. See it featured on Animal Planet's Hit TV Series Tanked!

We have chosen this profession because we love what we do! It's our pleasure to serve you!

Sincerely, OC Reef Staff!