Category Archives: Refugium (Refuge)

Hydroid Jellyfish ID – Just Poke It!

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed what I thought was an anemone move in my tank. I took a closer look and watched an amphipod run into the anemone and it shot off like a jellyfish! Turns out it was a Hydroid Jellyfish. It might have came in on some chaetomorpha I got from LiveAquaria as that’s the only thing I’ve added to the tank for quite some time. Sounds like they aren’t too big of a problem in a reef tank so I wont worry too much about it.

Refugium Anemone – What is it?

This small anemone is living in my refugium. Any idea what kind it is? It’s about the size of a nickel, transparent and has arms that branch out like a snowflake. Watch when the amphipod steals food away from it and it pulls its arms in. Figured it out!

SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 36

36 weeks into running the SURF2 and I’m losing faith. For 9 weeks the GFO in the system has been removed. There are hints of success as algae starts to grow in the box but then it regresses. HELP! If anyone has had a great experience with the SURF2 please let me in on your secrets to success!

SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Day 54

SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Day 54








SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Day 32

SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Day 32








SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Day 21

SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Day 21







SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Day 16

SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Day 16








SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Day 8

Day 8 Update. SURF2 algae scrubber from Santa Monica Filtration in my 90 gallon refugium.










SURF2 Algae Scrubber Installation – Day 1

An easy installation! Now to sit and wait.

Santa Monica SURF2 Algae Scrubber Review

In an effort to reduce green hair algae in my saltwater aquarium, and to help water quality, I’ve decided to add an algae scrubber to the system. After watching a few YouTube videos (at the bottom) I was sold. So, after looking at my feeding program I decide to purchase a SURF2 Algae Scrubber for Santa Monica Filtration. This small unit was not cheap at $299 + shipping but I think it will be a great long-term addition to the system.  After picking up the unit today from the post office I’m happy to see that the scrubber seems to be built for the long run. 🙂 The construction of the floating growth container is very solid and the lid is nice and heavy. Not sure why I assume quality with a product’s weight but I’ll go with it. After a few weeks of cycling we should see some green stuff! Here area  few photos I took of the SURF2:

Santa Monica SURF2 floating surface Ribbon Scrubber with Green Grabber surfaces - 2 cubes feeding per day

Unpacking my SURF2 algae scrubber from Santa Monica Filtration.

Santa Monica Surf2 Algae Scrubber Super-Red 660nm LED lid

Here’s what the bottom of the SURF2 algae scrubber looks like. This side shines down on the algae in the floating growth container.

Santa Monica Surf2 Algae Scrubber Super-Red 660nm LED lid

The LEDs that light this unit are really bright! As you can see there are four super-red 660nm LEDs to get the job done.

Santa Monica Surf2 Algae Scrubber Growth Box

Here’s where the magic happens! This evening I will “seed” the growth compartment by rubbing some green hair algae on the inside of the box. The idea is to get a good culture on the sides of the box and harvest the algae that grows on the strings. It should take about a week to cycle the box and another couple of weeks before it’s time to harvest the algae.

Santa Monica SURF2 Algae Scrubber Growth Box with Green-Grabber Surface

The “Green-Grabber” side wall material of the SURF2 provides a lot of places where algae spores can populate. This surface seems to be very durable!

Santa Monica SURF2 Box Air Line Openings

The bottom of the SURF2 has a few openings to allow air to be pumped in. The air helps oxygenate the algae and move water in and out of the unit.

Santa Monica SURF2 floating surface Ribbon Scrubber

The LED lid sits nice and snug over the top of the growth box. I think I might float this unit right in my refugium.

Santa Monica SURF2 Algae Scrubber Instructions

I thought it was kind of interesting that the LEDs need to be turned off for at least 2 hours a day, make sense though. I will be using an open outlet on my APEX controller to program a light schedule. The instruction included with the unit provide some very useful insight on how to finely tune in the scrubber’s algae production via the trouble shooting section.

Fusion Air Pump - Model 700 - for SURF2 Algae Scrubber

The folks at Santa Monica Filtration recommended using a Fusion aquarium air pump (model 700) to supply the air to the unit. An air pump is not included so I picked up two (one for a backup).

My Video Updates:

Day 1:


Day 8:


Day 16:


Day 21:


Day 32:


Day 42:


Day 54:


Day 70:


Day 77:


Day 84 (12 weeks):


Week 13:



Week 14:


Week 15:


Week 16:


Week 23:

Week 27:


Week 30:


Week 36:


Week 43:



Week 47:



Week 49:



Week 54:



Week 58:



Week 62:



Week 65:



Week 71:

90 Gallon Refugium Update – Turtle Grass (Thalassia testudinum)

Update: 4 months up and running (started ~ 1/1/2014). After planting the refugium with some Turtle Grass (Thalassia testudinum) on 2/13/14 I am very happy with it’s appearance. I can’t wait for the grass to spread throughout the bottom of the tank. The only issue I had with the turtle grass was a bunch of hitchhikers came with it (flat worms, bubble algae, aiptasia, etc.). After a few peppermint shrimp were added to the fuge the aiptasia were taken care of but only after feeding the aiptasia so the shrimp could find them. I used a turkey baster to suck 10-12 flatworms off the glass, really hope they don’t show up again but they might.

Turtle Grass (Thalassia testudinum)

Turtle Grass (Thalassia testudinum)

A bottle of Tigger Pods to help seed the refugium.

A bottle of Tigger Pods to help seed the refugium.

90 Gallon Refugium Cave

Nice hidy hole on the right side of the refuge. 2-13-14

Planted Turtle Grass (Thalassia testudinum) in the 90 Gallon Refugium

I really like the look of the turtle grass planted in the fuge.

90 Gallon Fuge Rock Arch

The right side of the fuge. Nice little arch/cave for dwarf cuttlefish one day. 🙂

90 Gallon Fuge with Turtle Grass

Update photo as of 3-26-14.

90 Gallon Saltwater Refugium Planted with Turtle Grass

Update photo as of 4-3-14.

Thalassia testudinum (Turtle Grass) Reef Aquarium

Turtle Grass (Thalassia testudinum) as of 4-3-14.

90 Gallon Refugium - Left Side Clam Shell Cave

The left side of the fuge has a nice clam shell shelter. Should be a great spot of “dark” organisms. 😉

My Saltwater Aquarium Fish Room

300 Gallon Saltwater Reef Tank

Fish room - Refugium, Mixing Tank, Protein Skimmer, ATO, GFO Reactor, Dosing Pumps

The back side of the tank is on the right. The refugium is on the top left. On the bottom left I use a 90 gallon tank to make saltwater for water changes.

Fish room sump area, Skimmer, ATO, GFO Reactor, Dosing Pumps

Fish room sump area, Skimmer, ATO, GFO Reactor

The sump area.

Reef Tank Room Actinic Lighting

Plumbing the Refugium

A few pictures of plumbing the refugium.

100 Gallon Rubbermaid Stock Tank Aquarium Sump

Old PVC from the return pump on the right.

PVC Distribution Manifold

New PVC Distribution Manifold

PVC Ball Valve Aquarium Return

Aquarium Sump Return Area

Running the line under the tank and down to the far wall, then through the wall to the left.

Refugium Pluming

Running the 3/4 ” feed line through the wall.

Refuge Plumbing

Up over the door opening.

Refugium PVC Plumbing

Back to the other side of the wall.

90 Gallon Refugium Plumbing

The refugium will be feed on the left side then drain down to the tank on the right side.

90 Gallon Saltwater Refugium

Refuge and saltwater mixing tank in place.

Refugium Return Pluming

The 2″ PVC pipe flows over and dumps into the top of the display tank.

Refugium feeds the aquarium

The drop into the tank. Good place for the fish to wait for pods.

90 Gallon Refugium Video Pan

A quick video pan of the 90 gal. refuge.

90 Gallon Refugium, Refuge, Saltwater Refugium, Saltwater Tank, Saltwater Aquarium

90 Gallon Refugium Update

Red Mushroom Corals

An update post of our 90 gallon refugium. I don’t see it very often with the lights on as it’s reverse lit (11:30 PM – 7:00 AM). I really like how big the mushrooms are when the lights (48″ Tek Light T5) are on. The mushrooms kind of cover up the mantis shrimp’s PVC cave system.

Inspector Mantis… PI – Gonodactylaceus ternatensis

Mantis Shrimp gonodactylaceus ternatensis

I was trying to get a good video of the mantis shrimp breaking into a snail for lunch but instead he was curious of what I was doing and tried to sneak up on me. 🙂

Listen for it… Crack! Every time I hear this I go to make sure he’s not hitting the tank. Thankfully the 90 refugium is made out of half-inch glass.

Mantis Shrimp Saying “Hello”

Peacock Mantis Shrimp Update

Quick video of our Peacock Mantis Shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) feeding. I’m really happy that he’s coming out more and wandering around the refugium.  Hopefully he will start eating the baby peppermint shrimp.

Baby Peppermint Shrimp EVERYWHERE!

Since removing the blue damselfish from the refugium, the peppermint shrimp population has exploded! There used to be a few in the rocks but now they are everywhere in the 90 gallon refuge.  I guess they aren’t quite large enough for the peacock mantis shrimp to care about.  It will be interesting to see how many of them will make it to maturity. I’d say the biggest shrimp are about 3/8 inch now.

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90 Gallon Salwater Refugium Update

I recently pulled a bunch of algae out of the refuge and thought I would take a couple update photos. The peacock mantis shrimp is the only creature living in the refugium. He pretty much lives in a conch shell buried in the rocks on the right side of the tank. He often chops off pieces of SPS coral to build with, lol. Since the damselfish removal the bug population has exploded! I’m really happy to have the bugs/pods back!

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