I'm pretty new to saltwater tanks, and I currently have a 36 bow set up with a few corals and a few fish - nowhere near overcrowded. When I first set up the tank, I saw all the fishies staring at me with their big fishy eyes wanting more food, so I made the mistake of overfeeding - driving my nitrates all out of whack. Once I saw what I was doing, I corrected my feeding and cleaned the tank and filters (along with a large water change. The problem is, my nitrate levels still stay pretty high, making me want to install a refugium, leading me to my question.
My tank is not drilled, so the only way to add a refugium that I could figure out would be to install it above the tank, using a pump up to the fuge, and then overflowing back into the tank. That's not really an option for me because I don't have enough room, and more importantly I'm not sure how my wife would like the looks of it. After seeing a DIY for a vertical deep sand bed, it gave me the idea to make a pressurized refugium. I've never seen or heard of anything like this, but it would allow me to install the refugium below the aquarium.
It would be fed from a pump from the main tank, through a line into a completely sealed container containing a deep sand bed and macro algae. The flow in would be fed by something small, somewhere around a 3/8 inch line, and the outflow would be something larger, along the lines of a 1/2 inch. The top of the container would be clear, so that I could light it on a reverse cycle. I want a low flow going through the system to help strain out some of my nitrates. Since the refugium is sealed, the single pump would provide the complete cycle of the water, with no overflow needed. The only problem that I could see (perhaps) is that there's no oxygen introduction in the container, but I'm not sure if it would matter since it is taking in oxygenated water from my main tank.
I'm very interested in hearing everyone's opinions on this, and thanks in advance for the help