Discus Water Change – A True Story / Saltwater Next Step

By: Kevin | April 27, 2011

So, I may enjoy my free time entirely too much considering this video I made. There are two hobbies I enjoy more than any others, 1) Aquariums and 2) Technology! Clearly I had to put them together. (Please note, music is high on the list too!) Anyway, I have been struggling to keep my discus tank’s ammonia level down. I tried live plants in the tank for the first time and although they were very cool, I believe the plants had small amounts of decay which added up and forced me to do water changes 1-2 times a week. In the end, I decided to ditch the live plants to get my ammonia level under control. I’ll keep you posted on the progress…


Be warned this is a bit cheesy but it cracks me up. Enjoy!

Back to business – Next Step: To My Saltwater 
My live rock is nearly ready for the 55 display. I have been cycling my tank for nearly 4 weeks now and have noticed that the return pump from my refugium to the display is a bit weak. After consulting some of my peeps over at greateriowareefsociety.org,  it was generally accepted that I need to cycle my tank through my refugium 5-10 times an hour. Go say hi to my friends over at girs.

You may be asking, a refu-WHAAA???? The dictionary definition really sums it up.
refugium |riˈfyoōjēəm|
noun ( pl. -gia |-jēə|) Biology

an area in which a population of organisms can survive through a period of unfavorable conditions, esp.glaciation.ORIGIN 1950s: from Latin, literally ‘place of refuge.’So its a safe place for bacteria to hang out and do their thing and by that I mean break down (eat) fish waste. They are the same bacteria in the display, however, the refugium is specifically intended for high concentrations of our little friends. 
My modified 10 Gallon refugium. Quickly; water comes in on left hand side form the black tubing. Water is skimmed there; passes through the actual refugium in middle; finally hits the far right where it is pumped up 4ft back into my display.

My modified 10 Gallon refugium. Quickly; water comes in on left hand side form the black tubing. Water is skimmed there; passes through the actual refugium in middle; finally hits the far right where it is pumped up 4ft back into my display.

 

Already have some life showing in my refugium sand!

Already have some life showing in my refugium sand!

Ok, back to pumps. Like I said, I need to cycle the water through the refugium about 5-10 times an hour. To do this I need a pump that can keep up. The trick is, I don’t want one that is too powerful otherwise it begins to defeat the process of being a ‘safe zone’ and the water will cycle through too quickly. A bit of simple math will get me to my answer. Ok lets think, I have a 55 gallon aquarium therefore, 55 gallons x 7 cycles an hour = 385 gallons an hour (I chose 7 cycles as a middle ground).  I am now in the process of scouring the internet and local pet shops for the perfect pump.Once I have a new return pump I’ve been advised that it might not be a bad idea to get a Mister Bar. Instead of having the water return in a single hose with one point of return entry, the Mister Bar disperses the water out over a wider surface area. Some pvc tubing from good ole Home Depot or Lowes should do the trick and yes you guessed it — I’ll be posting my Mister Bar build soon! 
ttyl world.