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Advise on refugium setup in backchamber (AIO tank)

Harry H

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Dear Reefers, need advice.


I upgraded to a larger All-in-one tank 12.5g  from IM Nuvo 10g. I have a) customized Media basket and b )the Minimax Innovative marine desktop reactor from my previous tank. I repurposed both to become two refugiums because I have the accessories (ie free) and why two refugium?:- because there is a seperator in the backchamber so it ended up with two. I installed the Chaetomax LED light 2 days ago and both share the LED light. A friend kindly provided me a pinch of Chaeto so I am all set. And today just bought some Tiger pods and added to both refugiums (this is for fun as I know I should have waited LONGER. Me bad.)

Here is the question: the Minimax reactor is acrylic and transparent. Is it a good idea to place that into the AIO backchamber as a repurposed refugium? Will the "leaked" light cause the whole AIO chamber to grow algae??!!! Or because of the presence of the two lumps of Chaetos in their respective refugiums, they will take up the nutrients and the surrounding will be algae free? Reefer bros/sis with such similar experiences, please enlighten me. Thanks. (The Media Basket is black on 2 sides but the chamber is black so in essence there should be less light "leakage"). Or maybe it doesn't even matter? Or should i make a customized shade so that the Chaetomax LED light only shine on the two refugiums? Or i should get rid of the repurposed Minimax reactor and purchase another Media basket (like S$58!!!!) to prevent light leakage. You can see I need real HELP!

Past Mistake

I know what DOESNT work. In my old IM 10G tank, i saw Innovative Marine marketing this outside LED magnetic light. Use a razor to slice off the black lamination and shine a LED light through. And the video looks so cool. I had some empty space in the backchamber and I did exactly that and put some rough material in the chamber for the Chaeto to cling on. The result is the whole area become a sludge fest and the algae blocked the light and I had one extra area to clean. On hinsight, I should have used the Media Basket as a refugium instead of using the "free" space in the chamber. Too much work and fault is mine. Had I used the Media basket, it might have worked.


I know there is a proportionate effective ratio between size of tank and the refugium size. Having two small refugiums might be pointless.. yes water change,  yes good tank maintenance etc.. it is just hobbyist tinkering but at least I hope i can achieve optimal tinkering with my reefer bros' advice here. After all this is the joy of the hobby to experiment and see the outcome.

Super thanks!!!


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The light leaked will definitely encourage algae growth in another area, and as long as the Chaetos are the majority of the nutrient fixer, it shouldnt be too big of an issue. But why do you want to contain the algae growth to only the reactor? Algae growth outside the reactor is not a bad thing unless they're clogging the pump/bio-media.

I guess illustrating with photos would be a lot more helpful?

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