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Refugiums and Biomedia Sumps

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Refugiums, and Bio-Media Sumps

Refugiums and Sumps, are a popular and beneficial addition to the saltwater aquarium system. The inclusion of a deep sand bed in the refugium can increase biodiversity, create a healthier environment, and produce a more natural food source for copepods and microalgae consuming inhabitants.

Home for live sand

Refugiums serve as a home for live sand, live rock, and microorganisms, which feed and thrive on the detritus and wastes from the main aquarium, thereby adding to the biodiversity of the system. This microenvironment is also an excellent nursery for microcrustaceans, worms, and microfauna.


Picture of OC Aquatics Macroalgae

Macro-algae, usually of the Caulerpa species, is grown above the rock and sand in a refugium or sump, feeding upon the nutrients within the water. This keeps waste product levels in balance and reduces the frequency of water changes. In addition, macroalgae can release compounds into the water that are thought to aid the immune systems of the inhabitants.


The two most popular substrate options for biomedia sumps are reef mud and live sand. Reef mud is an excellent source of trace elements, minerals, and nutrients. Live sand provides additional benefits because it is "alive" with millions of beneficial bacteria. This bacteria reduces the maturation period for the refugium and provides biological filtration benefits.

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