In the early 1960s an Indonesian entrepreneur named Lee Chin Eng introduced the world to a revolutionary concept in saltwater aquarium keeping called “Natures System”. His revolutionary method; no mechanical or chemical filtration!
The method Lee Chin Eng devised was basically an aquarium loaded with live rock. Lighting was supplied by sunlight, he didn’t make water changes and the only compromise to a totally natural system was the use of an air pump with a length of tubing that gently bubbled under the “live rock” in the rear of the aquarium. This basic concept was the forerunner of the refugium.
The function of a refugium, as the Latin name implies, is a “refuge” for minute living animals. A refugium can be quite small and compact, some hang on the back of an aquarium like an outside power filter. Usually they are located under the stand like the TRUVU PSRF series
. As a general rule the refugium should be approximately 20% as large as the aquarium.
The operation of the refugium is quite simple. Water exits the aquarium and enters the first chamber, where the water is pre-filtered through a 200 micron sock to capture detritus. The nutrient rich water then passes through a slotted divider into the main chamber of the refugium. This is where, “live sand”, “live rock” and macro algae like chaetomorpha chaeto and caulerpa spp chemosynthetically neutralizes toxic nitrites (NO 2) and nitrates (NO 3). The water flows through a second slotted divider into the third chamber where a pump conveys the water back into the aquarium. Many aquarists’ opt to use a protein skimmer as a tertiary form of filtration. There is room in the third chamber of the TRUVU PSRF PLUS
for a protein skimmer.
Straughan,R.P.L.,Anenome Rocks, Saltwater Magazine, Jan./Feb. 1966
Wilkens, P., The Saltwater Aquarium for Tropical Marine Invertebrates, Engelbert Pfriem, 17
by: TRUVU Aquariums