The past couple years I have been experimenting with small builds to learn about the do's and doníts of planted aquarium and am currently experimenting with CO2 Injection on a small tank. My goal is a roughly 220 gallon tank but make shrink some.
What I am planning:
1. 220 Gallon Planted tank, with large schools of small fish and invertebrates.
2. 3 Pipe Overflow:
3. Around 55 Gallon refugium
4. Automatic Water Change and Top Off
5. Home Built LED Lights (Already have built smaller scale)
6. CO2 injection with PH Sensor
7. Mineralized Top Soil Substrate
8. Possibly and additional Canister Filter.
9. Home Build Stand that will hide all the hardware
10. Small LCD Display with various readouts and controls. (Self Built)
What I am not sure about
1. I have seen some opinions that C02 injection is not very compatible with a refugium/sump and was wondering what others think/found with it.
2. For the refugium,
a. I have read about miracle mud in the past and how it is supposed to help keep nutrients in the water column for plants. I was thinking that basically sounded something like mineralized top soil so I was thinking that occasionally (6 months?) replacing half the MTS (possibly modified with more minerals) in the refugium would help keep the plants happy
b. I was thinking to keep most of the water column open therefore needing a second filter (Canister) to help out. That would allow me to more easily do automatic water changes, cycle out the substrate or use it to grow various plants and inverts (I love fresh water shrimp). My Point is I wouldnít be putting a lot of filter media in the refugium I donít think.
3. Adding a canister filter to a tank with a refugium: Where would be the best place to put the intake and outflow? Tank, Refugium, if Refugium what part?
4. Not married to the idea of Mineralized Top Soil I am open to suggestions.
5. How much and how often should water changes be? I assuming with the automatic water change I will need to shut down the refugium pump. (10 Gal Daily?)
a. Which would shut down the flow disturbing the main tank (Unless the Canister was still running), however I believe small more frequent changes are better than large infrequent would be and with automatic water change I could do it as often as I want.
b. Should I slowly draining the refugium and letting the auto top off replace the water while the refugium pump running. Problem with this is it would be harder to gauge how much water was cycled out and would rely on timers.
I am open to any and all suggestions and criticisms to the set up. This is an I idea I have been slowly building and will greatly appreciate any feedback.
I am currently drawing up a rough draft is Sketch up, after I get some feedback I can finish the first draft and will post some images.
Thanks for Reading!