Do I need a Refugium?

Do I need a Refugium?

A little bit of aquarium maintenance is not only unavoidable, but it can also be a fun way to do some satisfying work and stay involved with your tank in particular and the hobby in general. But, in some cases, an aquarium system never seems to get in the right balance, so to speak. The result is massive, regular water changes, frequent replacement of chemical filter media and lots of algae scraping. When the chore of keeping your aquarium livestock alive (much less healthy) becomes what seems an almost insurmountable feat, you might start to consider throwing in the towel.

Rather than giving up, many frustrated aquarists resort to installing a refugium. This often happens only after much consideration, since (1) this might involve making substantial changes to the existing filtration system and (2) well-designed units can incur a significant expense. For sure, it’s not a decision that many take lightly.

In pretty much every case--every aquarium system--a refugium will (at least to some extent) serve two purposes: Improve water quality and improve animal nutrition.

What this really means is that a refugium, if densely planted with actively growing macroalgae, will amend your system’s water quality by removing excess nutrients and CO2. This, in turn, will lead to reduced growth of nuisance algae (and less algae scraping!). It could also lead to greater stability of pH values.

Improved water quality should, in itself, help to improve the wellbeing of your animals. But the increased availability of live pods and greens that a productive planted refugium provides can only further enhance their health!

So, do you need a refugium? Look at it this way: There are multiple ways that one could go about simplifying aquarium maintenance. But in terms of natural, long-term solutions for both water quality and feeding issues, you can’t really do better than a booming, well-constructed, heavily planted fuge!
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