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Lately I have been putting together a plan for a custom tank that I would like to eventually build, which involves a sump for filtration and support equipment. While researching the sump layout I have come across many saltwater designs that incorporate a refugium into the design, which will usually hold live rock, live sand, some plants, and maybe some scavengers/invertebrates. Is this a common thing in freshwater sumps as well? Obviously we can't use live rock or live sand, but we could grow plants to help with nitrates and even keep some cherry shrimp for a food source/cleanup crew. Even the plants could be used as an occasional food supplement for some fish.

Has anyone seen/done this?
 

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Is this a common thing in freshwater sumps as well?
It's not real common, but you see it done occasionally. I had a section in my sump for plants at one time, but didn't do much for nitrate control. I've read that the best way to use plants for this purpose would be to use common, fast growing house plants and just put the roots into the sump.

Regarding shrimp for food, I figured by the time the pump took them in and spit them out in the tank, it wouldn't be live anymore.

There might be some benefits, I just don't know of anyone who's kept it going long enough to prove it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
prov356 said:
I had a section in my sump for plants at one time, but didn't do much for nitrate control. I've read that the best way to use plants for this purpose would be to use common, fast growing house plants and just put the roots into the sump.
Is this why you often see mangrove roots in saltwater sumps? Fast-growing, easy to replace as they get to big. I've also seen algae grown in sumps in removable strips. The theory is that by promoting algae in the sump you take the nutrients that algae needs to grow out of the water and slow down/stop the growth of algae in the main tank. I think this is called algae skimming?

prov356 said:
Regarding shrimp for food, I figured by the time the pump took them in and spit them out in the tank, it wouldn't be live anymore.
I figured this to. I was thinking more along the lines of letting them breed like rabbits and thinning the heard every once and a while by putting some in the display tank.
 

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I have been using refugiums in our sumps for some years now with varying success. Three sumped tanks we have operating all use refugiums. I have found better water conditions and healthier fish using natural plants in the tank either in the DT or the sump.

We grow out Cherry Shrimp for a clean up crew and pretty much daily one or three find a way around the sponges and go for the ride. Some of the smarter fish have staked claims nearby the returns waiting for these treats.

Salt Water fuges are arranged differently than Fresh Water. With SW you allow the path of water to flow thru the fuge on the way to the pump, with FW you want the fuge off to the side and only allow 1 to 3x's turnover to flow thru it so you put the fuge and mech/ bio on opposite ends with the pump in the middle or something similar.

The messier the plants the better they are at removing nitrAtes and you will need a very large refugium if that is your quest. :thumb:
 
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