FAQs about Skimmer
Related FAQs: Best Skimmer Op./Maint. FAQs, Skimmer Maintenance, Skimmer Operation/Maintenance 2, Skimmer Op/Maint. 3, Skimmer Op/Maint. 4, Skimmer Op/Maint. 5, Skimmer Op/Maint. 6, Skimmer Op/Maint 7, Skimmer Op/Maint. 8, Skimmer Selection 9, Skimmer Op/Maint 10, Skimmer Op/Maint 11, Skimmer Op/Maint 12, Skimmer Op/Maint 13, Skimmer Op/Maint 14, Skimmer Op/Maint 15, Skimmer Op/Maint 16, Skimmer Op/Maint 17, Skimmer Op/Maint 18, & Best Skimmer FAQs, Skimmers 2, To Skim or Not to Skim, Best Skimmer Selection FAQs, Skimmer Selection, Skimmer Selection 2, Skimmer Selection
3, Skimmer Selection 4, Skimmer Selection 5, Skimmer Selection 6, Skimmer Selection 7, DIY Skimmers,
Hang-On Models, Algae Control, CPR Skimmers,
Skimmers, ETSS Skimmers, Euro-Reef Skimmers, Prizm Skimmers, SeaClone Skimmers,
Eclipse Systems, Skimmers for
Small Systems, Skilter
Skimmers, Algae Control
Tiny Bubbles (not the Don Ho classic) and Larger Ones
& Bubble Troubles 1,
Protein Skimming: An Important
Tool For a Successful Reef Aquarium by James Gasta
Protein Skimmers: A Myriad of
Choices by Steven Pro
Skimmer Impressions by Steven Pro
Tunze 9002 DOC Skimmer Product Review by Justin Norman,
Vertex Aquaristik, A
promising line of skimmers from Germany, by James
AquaC Auto-Shutoff Waste Container,
Product Review by James Gasta
fish? Big, efficient skimming
ASM G-1 Protein Skimmer w/ G-500 Pump
Hello - PLEASE HELP
I am having problems with my skimmer as I moved it to a different reef
I can’t seem to get it tuned. It keeps taking on water and it is not
skimming at all.
What height should the water be with it be sitting in the sump?
<Mmm; well, about "mid way" up the contactor column is about right. From
there it's a matter of adjust flow and percentage air mix. You may not
have much/anything to skim. One way to check this last is to try another
skimmer here. I encourage you to read this FAQs file on WWM re ASM
And contact the Chuas at All Seas, the manufacturers (info listed on the
FAQs site) if you can't get it to go otherwise>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Two Curiosities (Cycle and Skimmer/evaporation)
Hello WWM Crew,
I am about a month into the set up of my new tank, and I have several
curiosities that I am puzzling over. As you all are always here for me
(and I REALLY appreciate that) I thought I would send them your way in
the hopes that not only can you answer my inquiries, but also that they
might perhaps help someone else as well.
First a little background. I have a 75 gallon tank with a 30 gallon
sump. I filled the tank in late February, and on March 8 got 42 lbs. of
really good live rock at a LFS that is about an hour and a half away.
This stuff was well cured, large but light (very pours), and full of all
kinds of life: sea stars, brittle stars, all kinds of pods and Mysis,
sponges, worms, snails, clams, feather dusters galore. I took it home
and stuck in the tank. The original plan was to put an additional 35
lbs. or so of (formerly) live rock (now dead) that I had in my tank four
years ago that has been sitting in my basement dry in a 5 gallon bucket
since. The plan was to let the old rock “feed” the new rock through the
cycle period, and the new rock to fill the old rock with bacteria.
However, I didn’t have time to put all the dead rock in and aquascape
that day, so I just stuck the new rock in the tank for a few days until
I was going to have time to do the rest. Having seen all the life on the
new rock, I’m glad that I didn’t have time. Especially since on one of
the rocks was a hitchhiking Kenya Tree Coral (it’s about an inch tall
closed up).I didn’t even notice it until I was home. I had hoped to
start the tank as a FOWLR, and eventually (maybe) move on to some soft
corals. But I ended up getting thrust into the world of corals already.
I didn’t want to go ahead with the original plan for fear that
it would kill the coral and a lot of the other cool life on the live
rock. So, on the advice of a friend (who owns the LFS store where I got
the rock) instead of going ahead and putting in all the dead rock, I am
adding instead one or two of the rocks per week so that the bacteria can
build slowly and handle all the dead stuff on the old rock. I have also
washed them off really well—spraying them with a hose and also immersing
them in water several times. All of the dead rocks except one are less
than 5lbs. each and a few are really small. I’ve added four this way
(less than 10 lbs. so far), and so far all is well.
<This is a good, workable plan; though I most often suggest and use
old/dead rock under the new>
So now for the first curiosity. When I put the new live rock in the tank
originally and left it for several days, I expected a brief cycle—it was
well cured, but out of the water for almost two hours on the way home.
But I never got one. For the few days that I left it in the tank by
itself, I did “feed” it a small pinch of fish food every other day. In
fact, I have had no evidence of a cycle at all—even putting in the four
dead rocks so far (over the last two weeks).I’m not getting any ammonia
or nitrite (which I didn’t expect to get), but I’m not getting any
Nitrate either (and I have a brand new Nitrate test, and an older one
too).It is just a standard Nitrate test (not a low level one), but it
keeps reading 0—certainly not 5ppm (the next step up on the color
chart).I would have thought that after having been in there three weeks
that I would be getting some kind of Nitrate reading.
<Mmm; nope. You have a classic "balanced" aerobic/anaerobic
I am getting some algae this week—some diatoms and a little bit of hair
algae. I’ve had to use my lights more because of the coral. I did set up
my skimmer (Aqua C EV-180) a few days after I put in the new rock. This
is the first time I’ve used a skimmer (I didn’t have one before), but it
was easy to follow the directions and install it. It didn’t skim
anything at first (during break-in).It just churned the water, but after
I put in the first of the old rocks it started skimming some dark gray
water. It will slow down after a day or so, but then when I put another
old rock in, it will produce some more.
<Par for the course>
So here are my theories on why I am not getting any Nitrates.1. The live
rock is substantial enough (and the waste is still small enough even
with the four old rocks) that the denitrifying bacteria in the live rock
is removing the Nitrates as they are being produced.2.The Nitrates are
being used up by the algae in the tank. In addition to the diatoms and
hair algae, there are lots of coralline algae that seem to be growing
before my eyes.3.The skimmer is removing a lot of the dead stuff from
the old rocks before it can go through the cycle.4.All of the above.
<All three; but mostly 1)>
The other curiosity is mostly more of an observation. My skimmer, when
it is producing foam greatly increases the rate of evaporation in the
tank. In the period of time before I installed the skimmer, I thought I
had the rate of evaporation roughly figured. This remained fairly
constant while it was breaking in as well. But when it started producing
foam and skimming the evaporation really increased. I'm losing a little
over a half gallon a day. When I empty the cup and clean the tower, it
loses the head of foam and takes several hours to build it back
up. During this time the rate of evaporation slows way down. I'm not
losing that much liquid in the collection cup itself. It's evaporating
more rapidly. I guess I was curious as to why this is the case?
<More surface area; more rapid evaporation>
Is it normal? And is this something that is common with all skimmers or
<Normal for all>
Again, thank you for always being there for me (and all of us).I have
learned so much from your site and from the inquiries that I have sent
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
New To Marine keeping 8/31/15
Hi we have just bought a 47 gallon tank ,
it's been set up for 3 weeks, but we are having loads of micro bubbles
coming from the protein Skimmer, in the tank, what can we do to help
reduce these bubbles ,
<Mmm; really; best to be "just patient". They'll soon be gone on their own. This
"bubble ness" is part of some "new" set up occurrences. You could just turn the
skimmer off for right now... turn it back on once the system is cycling (nitrate
and with the wave maker blowing the other direction it's cycling the bubble
around. Please help
<Again, best to just wait. There are surfactants, products that will coalesce
bubbles, but this will only delay your system becoming "cycled"...
Try not to worry re. Bob Fenner>
Re: New To Marine keeping 8/31/15
Oh thanks bob will keep in contact join up site
<? Okay! BobF>
Horrible Protein Skimmer; sel., op. f's
I am writing today with questions regarding a reef octopus (1000)
protein skimmer, it is a hang on back, and currently I hate it.
Contrary to many online reviews, excluding yours, it seemed to be an appropriate
option for my 65 gallon mixed reef. I have given it the time that the customer
service support agent recommended when I contacted them about the issues I am
and continue to encounter. It has been running for almost six months now. The
tank has 0 ammonia and nitrite but nitrate is 10-20ppm. I have two clownfish,
who are starving because I don't want to add food and nitrates, some xenia,
mushrooms, and my live rock.
<Mmm; do feed the Clowns, in fact all life here.... better by far... >
This is bothersome and not ideal for adding livestock. The problem is that the
skimmer consistently produces, well, water? No smell or nastiness or even foam
to speak of, and so far has overflowed the collection cup in the middle of the
night with no obvious reason multiple times. So, is there a hob protein skimmer
that addresses the overflow vulnerability, at this point I would be happy if it
just ran straight back into the tank. Also budget, I seem to have failed with
the reef octopus, unless there is some unforeseen solution you might suggest?
<Yes; there are other makes, models... these are addressed on WWM>
I could probably spend $200 more on a different skimmer at this sad point, but
not the $2000 for the deltec that seems to be the only one that specifically
addresses the overflow concern. Does the aqua c have a design that might cause
an overflow to be funneled back into the tank, or another with a more modest
<Their Remora line, middle or largest size would work; or the Urchins>
And I guess it wouldn't hurt if the equipment actually produced foam, the reef
octopus is either incapable or I am vastly confused.
<Mmm; well; the issue might be "your water/system".... sometimes some don't
produce much skimmate>
Finally while I am expressing my discontent, I can't put my hand in the tank
without an immediate overflow by this stupid machine.
<Mmm; do you have test kits for alkalinity and Calcium, Magnesium? Am curious
what your general water quality is here>
I use ro/di water, 0 tds with a meter, I don't add any chemicals and I do
thoroughly rinse my hands before inserting them, but I can't have this overflow
every time I try to smother that vermetid snail, chuckle. He constantly
irritates with his mucous web but as long as he doesn't reproduce. Thank you in
advance. Your time is so appreciated.
<Let's keep chatting for now. Bob Fenner>
re: Horrible Protein Skimmer; sel.
I appreciate your response and I have been pouring over your website. I am
writing back because I can't seem to find a clear answer to my question and I am
being asked by the Deltec representative for my choice of protein skimmer (and
credit card number).
<Deltec units are nice, just pricey>
I am concerned over the quality of the unit, the reef octopus produces huge
water laden bubbles and overflows more often than not. I want to know if there
is a hob protein skimmer that specifically addresses the issue of potential
<... none that I'm aware; however; they span a range of utility and
I think the Deltec mce600 is designed for any overflow to fall, flow, back in to
the tank, but the model I am being offered is the Deltec mce400, information, in
English, about it is scant at best. Do you know anything about this model,
whether it has the overflow protection?
<It does not as far as I'm aware... again, w/o a sump.... for hang on/s I've
already given you my (AquaC) rec.s>
It seems sketchy that there seems to be a lack of knowledge or even vendors of
these Deltec products, and it is $400. I also am including api test results as
suggested. My 65 gallon is only 6 months old so I just started testing for
carbonate hardness 8 dKH, 500 ppm calcium,
<Too high by a hundred ppm. Please, READ on WWM before writing us>
I don't yet dose or use any chemicals, though I may have to find some help with
testing. My calcium appears high for not having added anything? This can
be so confusing.
<Then keep reading, questioning and NOT buying. BobF>
Skimmer issue 6/9/15
Hey good. morning Bob,
My girlfriend and I were looking at houses this weekend. When I came back
my skimmer collection cup became full of skimmate and started pouring
back into sump.
<No fun.... I'd retrofit an overflow line to dump this outside the system (like
into a milk jug)>
My water was very dusky, and there giant foam heads in the sump. Much of the
foam has dissipated , and the water is starting to clear up.
The only think I did was thrown in prime to control ammonia.
<Hopefully will help>
My fish are all alive. Is there something I should still do to protect then, or
is this something that just needs time to clear up. I didn't have any rodi water
made up upon discovery.
<When, where in doubt, water change/s! Am a huge fan of keeping goodly volumes
of pre-made water on hand.
Skimmer, op. 5/13/15
I have a Super Reef Octopus 1000 skimmer in my 72 that will be going into my new
150 very soon. Sometimes it works great but it just randomly overflows most of
<Yikes... I hope some where, how that it doesn't make a mess, stink>
I cleaned it out a couple of months ago, and it is in the filter sock area of my
Should it be there or somewhere else?
<Mmm; somewhere the water is of a constant level; not too much turbulence...
There are MANY differing sump designs>
I have mud in my middle chamber along with Chaeto and then the pumps and some
rock rubble in the final chamber... Maybe it doesn't have enough waste to skim?
<Mmm; not the/a cause of overflow>
Should I put it on a 12hr on/off schedule?
<I might... >
It's really getting to me. Right now there is a black dogface puffer, teardrop
butterfly, comet, Flagtail Blanquillo
<Neat animals; DO keep the top covered!>
and a long nosed hawk. I feed Omega flakes in the morning and Mysis at night.
Also the puffer gets a meaty meal every other day. Is that too much feeding?
<Shouldn't be... use NO3 measures to gauge>
Thanks as always,
<Have you written the manuf. re the skimmer? I would. Bob Fenner>
Re: Skimmer 5/13/15
Hmm, the Coral Vue website says this...
"There are several common reasons a protein skimmer will overflow but the most
common is a chemical within the water itself.
Chemical Reaction - Some chemicals react with the air that the skimmer produces
and causes the skimmer to over produce foamate. Chemicals known to cause
skimmers to overflow are, red slime remover, medications, reef/frag putties
(epoxy Putty) frag glues, water conditioners, dechlorinators, stress coat, NEW
filter socks, newly mixed salt, bacteria (seeding)
additives as well as other dosing medias. In order to remove these chemicals
from the water column we suggest that you do several 20% water changes over the
period of a month and add a good amount of fresh activated carbon to the system
and change out every week till the skimmer has returned to normal operation."
What do you think?
<These are factual statements; causes of overflow... but you did not mention any
of these possibilities. Is there a correlation twixt what and when you feed
(mostly the puffer) foods?>
I do put in newly washed filter socks every night. They are rarely ever too
dirty unless after I clean the tank and move around the sand and shake out rocks
one a week. That's the only thing I can think of.
<I don't like this sort of mystery... thankfully I take it your skimmer
overflows back into your sump.... I'd try cleaning the skimmer thoroughly, esp.
the contact chamber and collecting cup... clean and dry. Bob Fenner>
Hello again, Mr. F.
Just to let you know, my comet seems to be doing all right in my DT.
I released in there some very small cichlids and it ate at least 2 which I
witnessed. And until now my fire shrimp and 5 cleaner shrimps are untouched.
I need your advice on another thing now: as I have described in other occasions
my system is composed of a 1000 l DT with a 200 l sump with live rock, skimmer (
aqua medic aCone 3.0 ) with ozone, calcium reactor and UV right under the DT.
From this sump, the water goes in my basement where I have a 250 l RDSB with
Chaetomorpha and another 150 l sump under the RDSB with live rock. I would like
to move my skimmer in an intermediate small tank in the basement, just before
the RDSB. Reasons: noise ( I know it is supposed to be silent but is very
efficient so I like it the way it is) and the mess walking around with cup in
the living area.
Problem: the flow that goes in the basement is lower than the one exchanged
between the upper sump and DT - about half - so there will be lesser water
circulating around the skimmer which will be placed in a sort of remote position.
But we are still talking about 2000-2500 l/h that goes through the basement. Do
you think the skimmer will be less efficient in the new position, or will
continue to do it's job, even if is more remote?
<I think it will be fine in the basement. IF the water level issue becomes a
concern, I would move the skimmer to an intermediate position (not the first),
where water level is maintained at a greater and steady height. BobF>
Andrei from Romania
skimmer overflowing 2/3/14
Hello Mr. F,
The lighting issue is taking care of, I really hope that I will be able
to make the transition smooth enough for my corals.
I have another question maybe you can help me :
I have a AquaMedic aCone 3.0 with a ozone 100 connected
to it. The system is functioning for over a year but I still have some
very annoying problem: randomly the skimmer overflows.
<Some of AM's skimmers are touchy in their settings... hopefully you
have yours set up where if/when it overflows there isn't a mess or too
much loss of water>
I also have a Apex Neptune controller with all the probes so I measure
the salinity, ph, ORP and they are all stable. The level of the skimmer
is 17.5 cm so it is in the range of they`r recommendation, and it
doesn't happen after feeding or in any other particular moment. It can
go very well producing nice and lots of skimmate for about a week
or 10 days and then out of nowhere it overflows.
<... usually such events are related to foods/feeding, water changes,
I know is not precipitation either, because I don`t use balling
method, I have a calcium reactor so the Ca and alk inflow is constant.
When it overflows, if I rotate a little the air injection nozzle on the
venturi pump it can calm down and it can last one hour, one day or 10
days, then it starts the problems again.
<Ah yes; the sensitivity/touchiness I alluded to>
The pump is cleaned regularly, I also cleaned the entire skimmer and now
I don`t know what to do. Usually these problems are associated with
cheaper and bad skimmers, but I refuse to think that a 900 euro brand
new skimmer from AquaMedic is bad.. For now the problem is quite
annoying and I would really appreciate some advice from you, before I go
and change this skimmer.
Andrei from Romania
<You might try the hobbyist bulletin boards, even write AquaMedic for
their input. IF you can't deal easily with the probable overflow
eventualities, I would switch skimmers/brands. Bob Fenner>
Re: skimmer overflowing. Aqua Medic and skim. op. f's
Hello Mr. F.
Quoting you <Mmm> . I tried contacting them and they told me , quote : "
the skimmer is not bad, is sensitive and the problem is in your water "
Well, I don't think I really have a problem in the water because the
parameters I monitor are stable in a reasonable amount for a reef
aquarium .The skimmer is placed in the mid sump and when it overflows is
not a problem because the water just spills back in the sump, but the
idea is that if the cup contains skimmate it will spill back in the tank
polluting it, and this makes the skimmer pretty useless .
<I suggest you look into drilling the collection cup (half inch maybe
ID) and fitting it with a thread to barb ending that you can attach some
flexible poly tubing to; diverting/directing the skimmate to a larger
container (perhaps a one gallon plastic jug)>
And a good skimmer is the centerpiece of a tank filtration, so...
I am just mad because I paid 1000$ + for this and is not reliable.
Any suggestions as for a brand or option?
<The above... take your time drilling the plastic... Get the fitting
Thank you once again,
overflowing skimmer, ETTS, foods
I am on vacation and spending my time reading about skimmers and trying
to decide if I need a new one.
I have a 90 gallon reef with refugium and an ETSS skimmer (I
think). It is powered by a Mag drive 5.
<Mmm, a good match... Don't like the ETSS design as it "takes so much
pump/ing"; but do work; nice for large/r, variably loaded/stocked
The problem is that every time I turn off the system's pumps and
filtration to feed the fish ( usually about 5 -10 min) the water level
in the sump where the skimmer lives rises from the unpowered tank
overflow and if the skimmer immediately comes back on when everything
is turned back on, it puts up way to o much bubbles/water
through the column and
then into the collection cup and it all overflows back into the
<Yes; common surfactant action w/ the food/s... I'd experiment w/ other
makes/models of... Am a huge fan of Spectrum pellets as a staple... this
could likely be supplemented w/ quality frozen (defrosted) foods,
greatly decreasing foaming>
Also , even though I have taken apart and cleaned the Mag drive pump ,
most of the time it does not immediately start up and has to be
physically taken out of the pump and "kicked" to restart.
With regards to the skimmer itself, it is probably 7-10 yrs old. Does it
have the latest/best needle/spray injection technology?
<Don't use needles, and there's really not much different, better on the
market (would add at a reasonable cost, but even then, less than 10%
diff...); so, other than saving on electricity (considerable) to run
this unit (which I would do)... I'd leave it as is>
Thanks for your help ,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: overflowing skimmer 7/23/13
I had assumed the bubbling /overflow was due to the protein skimmer
working in temporarily much deeper water as opposed to the food being
added as the reason. not true?
<Very secondary... depth is a minor issue, influence here. Try this
operating w/o adding foods. BobF>
Coralife Luft Pump... quitting against a skimmer... 3/4/13
I have a question about the Corallife Luft Pump,
<I too am a huge fan of this product... have toured where it used to be
made in Germany (by Tetra) and in Blacksburg, VA where the company moved
but didn't see this query in your FAQ's. Here's my set-up: In
my classroom, I have a 100 gallon, cold, salt water tank. The
Luft Pump is attached to an ozonizer which is attached to my
protein skimmer. I've been a fan of the Luft Pump for
years because they last so much longer than any other air pump I've
used....until now. Recently, my old Luft Pump had lost its zip so
I ordered a repair kit and a new pump, just to be safe. I replaced
the diaphragm and it worked well, briefly. I thought, "Wow, that's
I can't believe it wore out so quickly, but it happens." So I
replaced it with the new pump. The exact same thing happened.
It worked great for a day, and then it barely seemed to push air.
<Mmm... I suspect some sort of back-pressure issue here... the
skimmer... is this a wooden airstone type? I'd ask that you try blowing
through the 3/16" ID airline tubing... can you produce bubbles? These
"stones" need to be replaced every few months... sometimes more often>
Since I was out of pumps, I decided to run both a the same time and use
a splitter thinking that maybe two weak pumps would be equivalent to one
<Uhh, no... either can/will produce near 9 psi... will produced more air
volume together w/o resistance... but the discharge has to not be higher
resistance than the 9 psi>
Here's the weird thing: I found out, by accident, that if I
unplugged the pumps, just for a minute, they would work perfectly for
hours after. So clearly, nothing is wrong with the diaphragm.
Are they over heating?
<Again, the airstone/s... overheating, yes>
If so, it seems unlikely that a minute would cause it to cool off
significantly. If over heating is the case, what could I do to
prevent it? Could it be something else?
My routine now, when I come into class, is to unplug the pumps, let them
sit for a minute and then plug them back in. Clearly, I can't do
this indefinitely. Any suggestions?
<Look into replacing the limewood airstones w/ fused glass bead types...
A few folks make these, but you may have to order... If all else fails,
is a good source.>
Re: Corallife Luft Pump 3/6/13
I replaced the air stones and that seemed to help. Thanks.
<Ahh! Let's hope the back pressure didn't harm any components in the
pump itself. Cheers, BobF>
I have had my 125 gal mixed reef with a 40L sump with three chambers,
the first being a crypt <-ic zone> chamber, second a return chamber, and
being a recirculating chamber that has a overflow wall back to the
return pump section. I currently have been running my pm bullet 2
skimmer in the crypt
chamber with an overall water flow of around 525-575 gal/hr. Also in
this chamber is a NPX bio-pellet reactor only treating a 100g amount (to
preserve food for my macro Chaeto in the recirculating/refugium chamber)
and a PhosBan reactor, as well as a sponge filter for sponges and copes
breed and grow. The recirculation chamber has about a 175-150 gal/hr.
water flow rate through it. For the past 6 months or so my skimmate
has been minimal to null. I was considering moving my skimmer from the
higher flow crypt chamber to the lower flow refugium chamber. My concern
is will i lose skimming filtration at a lower flow, am i overreacting
and should be glad I'm not producing an abundance of skimmate.
<I wouldn't move the skimmer, as moving it won't change the
functionality here... the use of chemical filtrants (the Phosban) and
carbon addition are
likely reducing the skimmate production period. IF your skimmer reaction
chamber is being kept clean, I wouldn't be concerned (but then again, I
am not a fan of using the chemicals you mention). Bob Fenner>
re: Skimmer Placement 1/21/13
<Oops; didn't see the rest/below...>
My display has appx. 3800 gph flow rate between closed loop circulation
pumps and a surface breaking power head. All water parameters are in
very good ranges nitrates - 0 -1 at max , phosphates - 0 - .03 pH.. -
8.4 salinity - 1.023 temp - 79.1- 79.6 night/day. My water clarity is
excellent, coral growth and extension is good there are not any problems
with the system other than the concern from lack of skimmate.
Any insight to these ?'s would be much appreciated.
Stock consists of :
2- swallowtail angels male and female
a Pair of clowns 1 ocellaris and 1 snowflake ocellaris ( lay eggs )
pistol shrimp/ watchman goby pair
orange-back fairy wrasse
yellow eye Kole tang
red sea sailfin tang
assorted reef hermits (x25)
Astrea snails (x18)
Turbo snails (x2 a little smaller than billiard balls)
green clown goby
citron clown goby
coral banded shrimp
skunk-back cleaner shrimp
and mixed corals all doing well !
this is fully stocked and additions of coral have been my only additions
in 2 years now , fish are approaching adolescent to adult sizes i would
assume there should be plenty of bio waste available for skimmate
production, there just isn't any anymore !
Would you keep the skimmer in the higher flow chamber or the Recirc
<Really makes too little difference to move at this point>
Will this effect water quality negatively or at worst stay the same ?
<Not appreciable. Won't change>
Also very little Cyano in display but refugium walls are another story ?
would the skimmer in this chamber combat that ?
Overall Thoughts ?
Thank you for your time reading this and responding ! love wwm !
re: Skimmer Placement 1/21/13
I unfortunately i am in the position that i am forced to use tap water.
This is why i run gfo. To my understanding the npx is a
biodegradable plastic that feeds bacteria for nitrate control
beyond that gfo has been my only way to keep phosphates at a lower
level. What would you recommend instead other than an R/O unit because
this is not practical in my situation.
<The RO is the best, cheapest means... even if you have low pressure
issues, need to buy, run a pump... BobF>
Overflowing Skimmer – 12/02/12
I have had an Aqua-C Urchin Pro Skimmer running on my
75 gallon aquarium for 5 years.
<<I know these guys (Jason and Steve)…good skimmers, good people>>
It has always worked great.
I have it set up to drain the skimmate to a collection container outside
of the aquarium. This week the skimmer went crazy! It
produced gallons of clear "skimmate" in one day.
I keep my tank lightly stocked and don't over feed, so it would normally
take months to produce a gallon of skimmate. Unfortunately, I
didn't notice there was a problem until it had flooded my living room
Fortunately, the skimmer was the problem. I'm sure my blood
pressure was quite high until I figured out the tank itself wasn't
The loss of saltwater was replaced by my auto top off system.
Enough freshwater was added to lower the specific gravity from 1.025 to
1.024. The only recent change to the aquarium was the addition of
a brain coral a week ago. Other than that, nothing has been added,
removed, changed, etc. in over 6 months. Any guesses as to what
would cause the skimmer to suddenly do this?
<<Some change/addition to water chemistry…hard for me to say>>
I doubt it's the brain.
I searched the skimmer FAQs. I apologize if I overlooked the
answer. I found similar problems described with "cheap" skimmers
and it was thought to be a design problem. That's not the case
Is this problem typically fixable or is it time for a new skimmer?
<<Likely an isolated incident. It’s impossible for me to say what
happened with any certainty, but…perhaps airflow became restricted by
debris causing the skimmer to overflow…or perhaps cleaning products were
inadvertently introduced to the system causing the excess in skimmate.
It’s not likely the skimmer requires replacement, but should it continue
do contact AquaC for their take on it (858-689-1121 or
Thank you for your help and the help you've given in the past.
I have a very healthy tank and I owe the credit to WWM.
<<Is redeeming to know>>
<<Happy to share… EricR>>
SSA CS1 not producing much skimmate 10/17/12
Hello, I have a 54g corner tank with 10g sump that are both
about two years old. The tank is stocked with about 100lbs of
live rock, three small fish (maroon clown, six line wrasse, damsel), a
handful or crabs and snails, and a coral banded shrimp. I have a yellow
a dozen small polyp colonies, and a few small mushroom colonies. I'd
classify this as lightly stocked but you might not agree. Anyway, I've
been having a green hair algae problem for the better part of a year and
finally decided to invest in a protein skimmer. I use R/O water and have
numerous Hydro Koralia pumps for circulation but the hair algae has
become a huge
I decided on the SeaSide Aquatics CS1 after doing a lot of research.
I've read great things about this skimmer and the Sicce 600 pump.
Anyway, after and two and half weeks of operation, it's producing only
about 1/8" of light-medium brown/green skimmate a day. The skimmate has
no smell, but does have a fair amount of solid dark particles. The
skimmer is sitting in
about 10" of water, the manufacturer recommends 25-27cm which is 9.8 to
10.6". I'm running it wide open (maximum air) thus far. Sump turnover is
about 200gph. My question is whether this seems like reasonable
production or does it sound like something isn't working right/tuned
<Likely is about right for the conditions of your system presently...
"light stocking" and the two notes above>
Is this too much skimmer for my tank? Maybe my biolode is too low?
<Not too much and there's no such thing as too low bioload>
I have read about people who get dark, stinky skimmate and I'm not
getting anything close to that yet.
<You' don't want it, really... DOC removal in such quality and good
quantity are indicative of undesirable conditions>
Maybe the new skimmer needs longer to break in?
The skimmer is generating a lot of foam within the skimmer body (about
half the chamber is full of foam), but very little is getting into the
Many thanks in advance for your help.
<As you're "getting some skimmate" I would not worry, be concerned
IF you had the means to measure RedOx, and had a good value... I would
not further obsess. Bob Fenner>
Protein Skimmer (possible problems/replacement options) –
For some reason my Bubble Magus NAC-6 is no longer producing any
skim/waste into my collection cup.
<<Mmm, could be a couple of things. While unlikely I think, maybe your
system is at a point where there’s not much to produce. Or… Maybe,
there’s something ailing with the skimmer>>
I’ve adjusted the intake valve and cleaned the skimmer. Still no luck.
So my question is could the pump inside be weakening?
<<It could…through possible “swelling” of the impeller magnet and the
subsequent drag created (and a very damaging condition if so). Or
perhaps the mesh-wheel has become damaged/worn. If this last, a simple
replacement may take care of the issue>>
Do you hear of Bubble Magus giving people trouble?
<<I can’t say just off hand…>>
Also part two of this email is, I've done quite a bit of research on
your site, and still can’t come to the conclusion of what type of
skimmer I should buy?
<<My recommendation..? Get the best needle-wheel skimmer you can
Need an in sump skimmer (in case the Bubble Magus has given me all it's
got). My specs are 75g mixed reef, low-medium waste.
<<Check out the in-sump offerings from Reef-Dynamics, Bubble King, and
yes, Reef-Octopus…follow the manufacturer’s recommendation re size>>
<<Happy to share… EricR>>
Protein Skimmers/Operation 4/22/12
Love the site. Have a general question this time, in regards to
protein skimmers and the amount of skimmate. I'm wondering if
there's a "general" amount of production to look for from whatever brand
of protein skimmer you happen to be using? Meaning, assuming a moderate
to heavy bio load, should one expect a certain amount of production on a
daily or weekly basis as a "marker" for determining weather or not that
particular skimmer is functioning appropriately? I ask because I wonder
about my own and am considering upgrading to a better model. Probably a
Reef Octopus if I decide to do so. In my case, my current skimmer will
produce a full cup "at times".
However it's also pretty touchy from the standpoint of having to be
adjusted perfectly and have the perfect water level in the sump to do
<Required for most skimmers. ATO devices are great for maintaining
a constant water level in the sump. >
In addition to that, there's no markings on it anywhere so I'm unsure of
what kind it is...came as part of the complete setup I purchased from
someone else. I would classify my bio load as a moderate, leaning
towards heavy. A 155 gallon FOWLR setup with several tangs, blue ring
angel, percula clown and harlequin tusk. Realizing it's probably
difficult to impossible to say for sure, if it were your tank would you
expect a cup full of skimmate on a daily basis? Or, if utilizing your
preferred skimmer, would you then expect a cup full of skimmate on a
daily basis? My apologies for the somewhat vague question.
<The true test is to monitor nitrate levels in the system. An
efficient skimmer, properly sized, should reduce nitrate levels.
With the species of fish you have, keeping nitrate levels at 10ppm would
be ideal. If you decide to upgrade, do get a skimmer rated for a
300 gallon system. This should be enough skimmer to handle your
heavy bioload. James (Salty Dog)>
Air Pump, Skimmer use, reg. maint.
Have another question. This time in regards to air pumps, for
use with a protein skimmer in my case. My question is, do the
internal parts/membranes in all of them need to be replaced fairly
regularly, regardless of brand?
I've tried two different brands, first a Whisper and currently a
Hagen Marina, and they've both needed their inner parts replaced
within 6-12 months.
I was thinking of buying a Luft pump, since I know they are supposed to
be of higher quality. Just wondering if I should expect similar results
regardless of brand?
<The Luft Pumps have a heavier membrane and should last about a year
before it needs replacing. I've used this pump years ago and
was pretty happy with it.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
What a stink!/Protein
Is there any reason that the protein skimmer (Remora) needs
to stink all the time?
Every time I walk past the tank it's like low tide! UGH!
I empty and rinse it once a day and sometimes twice, (on my 75gallon,
6week old reef )... as it is quite the prolific skimmer!
Maybe this is because it hasn't cycled yet??
<Would have nothing to do with the smell from the skimmer.>
This is difficult to determine, as I added one large 8lb. chunk of LR
at 3 weeks ,...got tons of brown diatom algae, then put in 35lbs of dry
The dry rock is developing bits of purple algae and a film of brown
At present, it's just starting to show 20 ppm for nitrates.,
0 nitrites, 180 KH, 8.4 pH, Ca
So, any suggestions for the stink?
<Next time you clean the skimmer cup, unplug the skimmer and on the
following day see if the smell is still there. Is possible
something may be decaying/rotting in your tank or sump. Also
perform an ammonia test.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
<<Mmm, and there are possibilities of placing a carbon contactor
on top of the collector cup, or even carbon in the cup to alleviate
some of the smell. More can be found by contacting Jason at AquaC
(.com), the manufacturer. Bob Fenner>>
Re: More re: what a stink! Skimmer, AquaC...
Thanks for your input Bob. I wanted to see if the smell was
still there after not running the skimmer for a day. Then I was
going to refer her to Jason.
<Ahh, minds like ours stink alike! B>
What a stink!/Protein Skimmers 3/27/12
Carbon in the cup? Hmmm, good idea! :)
<I'd still make sure the smell isn't coming from the tank or
sump. Just shut the skimmer off after you clean the cup and wait
a day and take a whiff. James (Salty Dog)>
Fw: Remora Query
See below Roberto.
I received a Remora query from a gal today. Other than what
I replied to, is there anything she should look at?
Re: Remora Query 3/27/12
Hmm, sounds like the skimmer is working well and as a result,
collecting lots of stinky stuff (a good thing). Skimmate is a
nasty liquid, indeed.
It might be possible to place a very loosely-filled bag of large grain
activated carbon on top of the skimmer's collection cup. The
air that runs through the skimmer escapes from a little hole up there,
and that's where the smell is coming from, no doubt. That
might help filter out some of the
Thanks to you both. Will post/share. BobF
Re What a stink!/Protein Skimmers
Seriously, the tank is still a fairly new set up. No animals yet,
unless you want to count the copepods!
The liquid in the skimmer is very dark and scummy! And stinks in
Haven't tested for ammonia yet cause I don't have the kit for
However, the other numbers look ok for now.
I think I just have to be patient, as I've already spent OVER $1000
in the six weeks. Now I think I need an RO unit. Ahhh. Damn costly
hobby. I should have set up fresh water,...oh well. Kind of stuck with
it now. I'm not feeling "the love" today, so please
excuse my lethargy.
<Did you put uncured rock in the system? If so, is
likely why the skimmer stinks, will have a nasty smell until the
waste/decaying matter is removed by the skimmer. James (Salty
Re What a stink!/Protein Skimmers 3/28/12
Jim,... I put dry rock, from Bulk Reef Supplies in the tank.
I actually dunked each piece of dry rock ( up and down like a
washing machine!) in salt water from my tank, to remove any loose
I love the rock and the quality that they packed for me, so I am
not dissing Bulk Reef Supplies . They really
"rock" ha, ha. Little joke.
I'm going to send you some pictures so you see what I am
facing. It's just depressing, you know? Lots of hair algae,
at least that's what I believe it is.
I went through this algae problem 6 years ago. I believe it's
because of the water here on Cape Cod Mass.
Would you say that distilled water is the next best thing to RO?
<Yes but expensive for the amount you use monthly. Be better
to buy an RO unit.
I found a nice one for 100.00 and it has a Dow membrane. Works
great. Have a look here.
<You're welcome Pam. James (Salty Dog)>
Aquarium Question; skimmer sel.,
I have a question regarding my filtration.
I have a drilled 150 gallon tank with 2 Tidepool 2 sump filters, an
Eheim 1260 return pump and powerhead inside the tank. It houses fish,
inverts, anemones and live rock with a sand substrate. I need a
skimmer, but am not sure how to hook it up with these filters,
<Mmm, an in-sump model could be situated in one of the Tidepool
as they are not sectioned off except for the bio wheel.
<Not really a big deal>
Should the bio wheel be left in?
<Yes I would>
( Right now I use a filter pad and carbon.) If you could help advise me
on this, and maybe a
good model I would appreciate it. Thanks
<There are many. Please read here:
and the linked files above in the series. Bob Fenner>
Skimmer Gone Mad --
I've had a curious problem crop up recently with my protein skimmer
and was curious if you might have some insight as to why it's
The tank is a 125 gallon FOWLR with a CPR wet-dry filter that has an
internal protein skimmer in the first chamber powered by a Rio 2100
I've converted this to more of a sump/refugium by removing the
Bio-Bale and adding live rock and live sand. Anyway, I've had
several occurrences over the past month where I think I've got the
skimmer set at a perfect water level/skimming level only to come back
later and find it suddenly skimming like crazy, almost as if some kind
of water parameter had suddenly changed. In several cases, it pulled
off gallons (or more) of liquid and overflowed the drain
I haven't been able to correlate it to tank lights coming on or off
- or any other in-tank conditions for that matter. What would suddenly
cause a skimmer to start overproducing skimmate?
<<Any number of factors really, even changes in barometric
pressure'¦but aside from the latter, this is most often
brought upon by additions to the tank (food, additives, medicines,
etc.)'¦most anything that affects water chemistry/makeup.
Another cause can be skimmer design. Any skimmer can
overflow'¦but in my experience, what are considered to be the
'better' ones (e.g. -- Euro-Reef/Reef Dynamics, H&S, Bubble
King, others'¦) 'hold' their settings better and are
less prone to overflow conditions. In your case, the problem may well
be just the skimmer itself>>
Thanks for any insight you might be able to provide. I sincerely
<<Happy to share, Dave'¦ EricR>>
So I just recently bought a 75gallon rimless overflow tank (will be
used as a reef aquarium) While I am not new to the hobby, I am new to
having a sump, sump sock, protein skimmer, and pump (700 gph). The
protein skimmer I have is a Bubble Magus NAC6, did research on it and
read it is one of the best skimmer available for this tank size. Just
giving you the background details, but here come the questions. On the
first night of turning on the protein skimmer, within a few hours it
started overflowing with bubbles. I read a few reasons as to why it
might be overflowing, because the tank is so new, the sock causes micro
bubbles if not rinsed thoroughly enough. But I also spoke to a very
knowledgeable friend who said I shouldn't even turn on the skimmer
for at least 2 weeks to let the tank cycle properly. What do you think?
Also can you tell me something I need to look out for, so I can be a
somewhat prepared for problems that may arise in the future.
<Your friend is correct in a sense. In new systems, the skimmer
won't pull much of anything out unless you are curing live rock in
the system. New skimmers take time to break in due to manufacturing
oils, newness of the acrylic, etc. It is best to allow it to run to
break-in/age so it will be ready to perform once waste is being
produced. All that you need to do is close off the air supply to the
venturi until you get to a point where overflowing does not occur.
After about a week or two, you can gradually allow more air into the
venturi following the above guidelines.
There should be some set up procedure in the skimmer manual for you to
Thanks WWM, you make this hobby just that much more enjoyable.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Questions/Skimmer Operation/Maintenance 7/30/11
Hope everyone is having a good day.
<So far, so good.>
I have a Remora pro. I recently just changed
out my very noisy Mag 3 for a Sicce Syncra 1.5. It has a flow
of 357 gph so I thought it would be comparable. It's has lived up
the silent billing so far. Very quiet which is great because the tank
is in my room. The problem is it has been on there two days and still
nothing has reached the cup, and the pump is on full blast. I can see
that it is producing foam, but the foam isn't making it up to the
collection cup. The cup is all the way down. The only thing I can think
of is that the hose adapter reduces down to 1/2" from 3/4",
but I don't know if that could restrict flow enough to cause the
<Could, but more than likely is the newness of the plastic on the
pump causing a reaction which breaks up the protein film the skimmer is
trying to develop. A few days of operation should take care of the
Should I upgrade to the Syncra 2.0 (568 gph)? I can always turn the
flow on that one down.
<I'd wait/see re above.>
I am nervous about the Rio 1400 because of all the horror stories, but
I want to keep a pump with that type of cover over the intake. I lost a
blenny to the mag's open end style, and the screen I put over the
teeth of the pre-skimmer box clogs up. Thanks for the help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
PM Bullet 2 Skimmer
Sudden Drain 7/28/11
Hello, I have a Precision Marine Bullet 2 skimmer with a Mag18 pump,
and lately I've been trying to dial it in better because I had it
off for 2 weeks while I was away because I didn't trust my parents
with it, anyway, when I got back it overflowed way fast (like in 30
seconds it was at the top spilling into the collection cup) and I used
the manual to set it up from scratch, gate open, air valve shut, get
water to proper height, open air valve to 5 o'clock. It worked for
about 20 seconds then in the base where it gets sucked up by the exit
pipe back to the sump just completely drains and doesn't rise again
until I close it more, then it does the same thing.
<Needs finer adjustment... of the water flow/diversion into the
mixing chamber, perhaps with addition of (some) air>
I have checked and cleaned everything with vinegar and a saltwater
scrub to try and get rid of fluctuations in the skimmer, but it still
has the problem. Any help would be great thanks!
<I'd try adjusting again... with both valves as mentioned. The
overflowing should slow down w/ the removal of material from the water.
IF you can't adjust to running, a very large water change might
solve this issue. Bob Fenner>
I have been reading all over Google and your site and have found many
questions about splashing but none about my skimmer and how to
I have a <Kent> nautilus TE skimmer and the
return into the sump is noisy and has been splashing all over the
inside of my stand. I tried adjust the sponge but that only creates
less outtake and is causes the dry "gunk" (chamber) to get
water filled. Is there something I can do to decrease or perhaps add on
an adjustment to bring this outtake closer to the water to reduce
<Sure there is! First you could simply add PVC piping to the out
take of the skimmer to plumb the return water back into the sump rather
than letting it simply fall. Also, many like to add a gate valve to
this. It allows you to keep the pipe as low as it can go and then
control flow with the gate valve. Either way be sure to allow air into
the line right where you will connect the aftermarket piping. Otherwise
you can create a siphon inside the line that will make your skimmer
fluctuate in water level.
There are many detailed instructions and pictures in the online
Just Google ASM skimmer mod. A few years back this particular
modification was all the rage with the ASM skimmers, even whole
websites dedicated to it!>
Thanks for your help.
BTW I love this site. You guys have probably saved me on more than
<Thank you, happy to hear! Scott V.>
Aqua C EV120 skimmer/Skimmer
Hi all at WWM.
Just Ã£ quick question about this skimmer, is it possible to
run this without Ã£ sump?
<Yes, I run my EV180 outside the sump but there are some cautions
you must be aware of. I've attached a PDF containing the EV120
instruction manual that will guide you in doing this.>
Could I position it behind my dt on Ã£ stand level to the top
of the tank (gate valve) and put the Mag 5 in the display, plumbed to
the skimmer and add an extension on to the output to make sure it gets
to the dt. Too risky? I have an opportunity to buy Ã£ used
EV120 for 50 dollars.
My Tank is 108 gallon mixed reef (mostly softies). Currently using
Coralife 120, not happy with it, adjusted all the way down and still
threatens to over flow collection cup. Its been running for 1 year
plus. Any comments?
<I'm not familiar with the Coralife unit but generally the
problem lies with excessive pump output and/or a clogged venturi tube.
There should be a molded air line connection on the pump inlet, remove
the air line a get a drill bit close to the same size as the air inlet
and clean this tube out by rotating the drill bit with your fingers. If
this doesn't help, you may want to install an air control valve in
this line and throttle it down until the actual water level is below
the collection cup of the skimmer. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Aqua C EV120 skimmer/Skimmer Operation 3/28/2011
Made a mental error in my reply. Disregard using the air valve to
throttle down the air flow. If the venturi isn't clogged, this will
just make matters worse.
<Mmm, actually, I like/use this idea myself. Best to have a
mechanism to adjust the air/water mix. BobF>
Re Aqua C EV120 skimmer/Skimmer Operation
Sounds good to me Roberto.
Skimmers And Carbon/Marine
Hey I just had a quick question about protein skimming and the use of
I've been reading about how carbon shouldn't be used in reef
tanks if you employ a protein skimmer.
So can you avoid using carbon if you have a protein skimmer going or
would carbon be good to use as well.
<Unless you have a very efficient skimmer rated for twice the volume
of your tank,
I would use carbon but would much prefer Chemipure or
Also I was wondering if you could use carbon and not a protein
skimmer.<You could get away with it in a lightly stocked tank but
the use of a protein skimmer is always a big plus.>
I assume protein skimming is far more effective that just using carbon
in a filter.
<If I had to choose between the two, it would definitely be a
May want to read here and related articles found in the header.
As always thanks for your advice and time.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
I recently bought a Aqua Euro USA Nano skimmer II. It's a hang on
the back type for Nano tanks. It's a venturi driven model, and I
was wondering if I could hook up an air pump into the air hose where
air is being sucked in to get better performance. Thanks in
<Hmmm, this can be done, but you are likely asking for a
Sometimes you can make mods like this and really help a skimmer out.
Many times it just kills the dynamics within the skimmer either in the
pump or the reaction chamber and get zilch for the effort. I have never
personally worked with this skimmer. But I have modified many similar
skimmers over the years and have come to much prefer the "old
school" limewood air diffusers set in the reaction chamber. Scott
Aqua C Remora Pro HOT Skimmer-
Still Wet Foam 1/7/11
I have a 75 gallon reef tank that has been running for about 6 years
with the following parameters:
<A bit low... I'd raise to 1.025-6>
<Too low for chemoautotrophs>
I purchased an Aqua C Remora Pro HOT skimmer about 2 months ago. The
micro bubbles are gone, but the foam is still wet. It is a light green
My previous skimmer was a BakPak and I always got a nice dark green
skimmate. I'm trying to figure out what I may be doing wrong.
<Mmm, might not be you...>
The skimmer is level. I have the rubber ring as far down on the
collection cup as possible.
I do have a hang on the tank refugium. The livestock are as
1 yellow tang
1 maroon clownfish
1 true percula
1 flame angel
1 yellow watchman goby
3 peppermint shrimp
Various snails & hermit crabs
1 green emerald crab
1 Torch coral
1 long tentacle anemone
Plus about 70lbs. of live rock. Any insight would be greatly
Thank You for your time,
<Well... I might refer you to Jason Kim and folk over at Aqua C...
but I suspect your unit is doing about what it should be... given
(thank you for being so complete) the data you present. The fact that
you have no measurable HPO4 leads me to believe that there isn't
much food/feeding going on in this system... and hence not much
skimmate likely. Do raise your SgG... and peruse WWM re foods/feeding
of the livestock you keep. Bob Fenner>
Re: Aqua C Remora Pro HOT Skimmer- Still Wet Foam
Thanks Bob for the advice. I had some testing kits that were outdated
and thought everything was in order until I had hair algae growing
& couldn't quite figure out why.
A new batch of testing kits gave me a clue! I did some water changes
and held back a bit on food, probably too much. I typically feed them a
variety of frozen food, plus some phytoplankton.
<Umm, nothing you list as livestock eats/uses this. I'd leave
The fish are all healthy and the anemone is finally looking happy
again. I will raise the salinity as suggested and get back to normal
Thank you for your help!
<Glad to share w/ you Angie. BobF>
Merry Xmas Guys!
<And to you and yours Sal>
How often should I take out my skimmer and clean it. I do it once every
few months right now and I'm starting to think that is too long
between cleanings. Any advice?
<About once a month is a good interval for most folks... easy to
remember to do the beginning of each month. Cheers, Bob
need a little more advice. My protein skimmer doesn't seem to
produce much skimmate on a daily basis, sometimes next to nothing at
all. I have a 150 gallon Oceanic FOWLR setup with a wet dry in the
Liverock wise I probably have between 175 - 200 lbs, some in the tank
and some in the sump. I feed every other day on a regular basis and the
tank currently hosts a Percula Clown, Blue Tang, Annularis Angel,
Powder Brown Tang and a Humu Humu Trigger. They make quite the mess
when it's feeding
time. As far as the protein skimmer goes, I'm not exactly sure what
model it is because it came with the setup when I purchased it from
another person and there are no "brand" markings on it
anywhere. It's definitely adequate size wise and there are copious
amounts of the bubbles you would expect to find swirling around within
the Skimmer body. Overall the tank is in great shape with no real
problems, some slight red algae from time to time. I'm wondering if
I should invest in a different skimmer, or is it possible that
there's just not that much protein to be skimmed, so to speak?
<First thing that comes to mind is, do you clean the skimmer on a
Build up of skimmate on the walls of the reaction chamber and/or neck
leading to the collection
cup will drastically reduce the efficiency of your skimmer. Another
item to check is calcium build up
in the air venturi usually attached to the pump inlet. Excess calcium
build up here will reduce air flow going
into the skimmer. Is it possible to send a pic of your skimmer? May
lead to a better answer.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Protein Skimmer/Skimmer Maintenance 12/15/10
I check and maintain the items you mentioned regularly.
The calcium buildup especially as it definitely does have a major
impact on airflow.
<Yes it does, and can change the water level depending on the type
of skimmer used.>
I do have a Whisper Air Pump hooked up to it as well. I'm also
wondering if the water flow through the skimmer is too fast, if
that's even possible. Doesn't seem to be and adequate current
and bubble production is present. Here are a few pictures...
<The pics didn't do too much for me. Did the skimmer always
behave like that, or did the problem just start recently? If always is
the case, you likely do not have an efficient skimmer.
With your fish load, you should get a good amount of skimmate every
couple of days. James (Salty Dog)>
Best Placement of Skimmer Pump
in First Stage of Sump -- 11/16/10
I have an AquaC EV-180 skimmer driven by a Mag 7 pump.
<<A fine skimmer choice>>
Currently raw tank water enters the first stage of the sump. In the
first stage I also have the Mag7 pump and the skimmer exit.
<<Not an atypical setup>>
The pump is on the bottom of the sump. The water level in the first
stage of the sump is 10 inches deep and contains 6.5 gallons of
<<Okay -- and I'm assuming you have the skimmer body elevated
so as to sit in no more than 8' of water, as recommended by the
I am wondering if it would be advisable to either move the pump to just
below the water level or to build a box to sit the pump in the first
stage of the sump to feed the pump water directly from the surface of
the water in the first stage sump.
<<Not needed'¦ The incoming rush of water keeps
everything 'mixed' -- little or nothing to be gained by
repositioning the pump here re its height in the water column, in my
From an organic richness perspective to feed the protein skimmer does
it even matter in this setup?
Right now with the main tank exit, the protein skimmer exit, and the
protein skimmer pump all in the first stage of the sump the water is
very well mixed anyway.
<<I would leave things as they are'¦
Euro-Reef Pump Issue
Hello good folks.
I have been using my Euro-Reef skimmer for a few years now and it's
been great. But now it doesn't seem to want to work. I have tried
taking it apart and cleaning it.
<Have you cleaned out the air inlet on the manifold? Usually this
will clog up with calcium.
A drill bit the same size works well for this.>
When I put in back in the water for a try, it might work or it might
not. When it doesn't work, you can feel that it is
"live", but it's not sucking in water like it should.
Sometimes if I cover the intake hole with my hand or tap it a few
times, it will take off and run.
After playing with it a few minutes ago, I got it running full strength
after it had been out of the water for a few days. Then when I pulled
the plug on that test in a barrel of water and transferred it back to
my tank, I plugged it in and it wasn't working right again.
I either need a solution to fix or a compatible replacement. It is
model KSP-3500 (350 gph).
I seem to remember hearing something about soaking the whole thing in
vinegar for these issues. Would that work maybe?
<Could try, may help. As of Dec 31st, 2009, Euro-Reef, Inc. has
ceased doing business.
Former CEO and Vice President Jeff MacarÃ© has started a new
company called Reef Dynamics which produces a line of protein
Reef Dynamics will also provide product support to existing Euro-Reef
customers as well as limited warranty support for Euro-Reef products
currently under warranty.
You may want to contact them and explain your problem if the above
suggestions do not resolve the problem.
Go here. http://www.reefdynamics.com/aboutus.asp>
Thanks for all of your ongoing help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
UV sterilizer use with Ozone
Generator - Sure, just realize that they do two different things.
I've been searching the internet for the last couple hours trying
to find an answer to my question with no avail. I do believe I've
found the answer before, but I don't remember.
Anyway, I started using an Ozone Generator a few months ago. It's
made by Supreme Aqua. I noticed a few weeks ago that the JG fitting on
my AquaC EV-180 Skimmer had disintegrated .
<Not uncommon with ozone, it is a very strong oxidizer, and can
destroy most plastics within a very short period of time. You really
want fittings made out of a material called "Kynar" as it is
I talked to Steve with AquaC and he promptly sent me out two
replacement fittings. However, after cleaning off the skimmer, I saw
the body of the skimmer was cracked across the spot where the JG
fitting screws in and all
the way across the body and down the side. It was not cracked all the
way through, however it looked like it might not be far from splitting
<Hmm... may be a function of the JG fitting being tightened too much
rather than ozone.>
I was greatly alarmed. I contacted Jason at AquaC and he gave me his
cell number and sent me a replacement skimmer. Great Customer
<Aqua-C is known for their excellent customer service. I'm
pleased to say I'm not in the least surprised that you got such an
After hooking up the new skimmer, I decided not to take a chance with
my current ORP controller and Ozonizer .
I ordered a Ozotech Poseidon along with a Neptune Apex controller.
<Good brands, but I don't see the point, obviously the one you
had was producing ozone very well. The JG fitting failed because it was
exposed to ozone, not because your ozone generator was an off
My current controller is off brand and was shipped from overseas.
<Most of them are made and shipped from overseas.>
I'm not sure it's the culprit , but I don't see anyone else
using that brand or the off brand ozone generator so I'm not taking
any more chances with cheap equipment.
<I use an Enley ozone generator I picked up on EBay over a year ago
for less than $100 USD. Still going strong running 24 hours a
My question is do I need to run my UV sterilizer along with the Ozone
generator or is it redundant.
<They do two different things really. Ozone is used to burn off
additional organic compounds in the water. UV is used to kill off
bacteria, viruses, and the like. UV lamps DO produce ozone, but in a
very small amount.>
Protein skimmer collector cup
Are you saying that you let your collector cup overflow into the
<I let it overflow into a separate container which overflows into
the sump, so yes. It rarely makes it into the separate container. But,
as a safety measure I do.>
I could set it up so the overflow from the cup goes back into the
It would avoid losing 15g of water onto the floor. Also would avoid
replacing a burned out needle wheel (my only casualty thus far).
<That is my practice. I can't say that I'm a perfect reef
keeper, but it works for me.>
I don't think it would kill anything if some skimmate made its way
back in the system for a day. I mean, you check it at least once a day,
<Exactly my logic.>
After the skimmer is tuned, this doesn't or shouldn't happen
<Agreed. However it does seem to happen when one is on vacation, or
at work, randomly. Whenever the timing is worst.>
Re: Protein skimmer collector cup location, RMF, confused... as
Apparently, Murphy was a great reef keeper who vacationed frequently
So, um, tell me again why counter-current is bad...?
<Mmm, bad? Counter-current as a mechanism as opposed to what? Look
to our renal and hepatic systems, the path/flow of blood in the
"gills" of fishes... Indeed, counter-current is "not
bad" eh? B>
Re: Protein skimmer collector cup location - 7-14-10
Apparently, Murphy was a great reef keeper who vacationed frequently
So, um, tell me again why counter-current is bad...?
<I agree with Bob. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/proskimrart2.htm
Thanks again for your time and passion!
This is a very quick question. Do you recommend cleaning the entire
skimmer unit on a regular basis for reef systems? I have a Bak-Pak 2
with no bio media for my small reef which is growing an assortment of
wonderful life (I have not researched them individually yet but am
quite sure they are beneficial filter feeders). The unit receives
indirect light from the system and in many ways, is turning into a type
of refugium. I clean the collection cup often but wondered what would
be best for the reef. Clean the entire unit regularly or keep the life
contained within it? Any thoughts?
<The area where the bubbles rise to the collection cup should be
cleaned at least weekly along with the collection cup as you are
presently doing. Not doing so greatly affects the efficiency of the
unit. Would be better to have a small hang-on refugium that would
improve water quality rather than to allow life to grow in your
As always, thank you so much!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Protein Skimmer question,
I am trying to set up an 80 gallon saltwater fish only aquarium with no
hang-ons or tubing visible around the tank. The tank will be on display
on all 4 sides. I have no overflow, but I do have two holes drilled for
a canister filter. Here are my questions:
1: Can I attach an in-line sumpless protein skimmer between the
canister and the tank?
<There are a few skimmers that claim to do this out on the market.
They are junk and will end up with water on your floor! You really need
to either hang on the back or have an overflow and true sump.>
2: Is there a preferable place for the skimmer, (before the canister or
3: Is the Fluval FX5 canister filter powerful enough to pump the water
through the skimmer, or will I need an additional pump?
4: Can I also attach an inline UV sterilizer or is this too much?
<I would not, no real benefit IMO.>
5: Is there a sumpless protein skimmer that you can recommend?
<Nope, getting a true sump setup is far and away the route to go
Thanks for the help!
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Oceanic Bio Cube Protein Skimmer
Yes I know its terrible, but I have heard that most of the time it does
do something. So I recently bought it. Yet I am having trouble getting
it to work. I made sure the stock pump and airline tubing, including
the air stone was free of clogs. It is placed half way in my aquarium
as this was recommended. The issue is it is not producing enough
bubbles to even reach the collection cup. Is there a break-in time?
<Break-in time has nothing to do with bubble production. Sounds like
you may have a tight grained Limewood air stone. Try placing the stone
in boiling water for a few minutes and see if that improves bubble
production. If not, I'd replace the Limewood air stone and/or
ensure your air pump is working properly.>
Please give me a hand or lead me to a FAQ about this skimmer.
Thanks a bunch,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Cheap Skimmer vs. Quality
Skimmer with Miracle Mud Ecosystem.. Skimmer maint., AquaC...
Great, sounds good. One last question I can't seem to find an
The Urchin can be ordered with or without the drain fitting collection
What is this fitting for? Extended periods without emptying cup?
Where would the drain run to?
<Into any container. Used milk jugs work well. The issue with these
is that the collection cup should be cleaned every day or two anyhow,
so the drain fitting would ideally never come into play.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Now I've Seen It All...
skimmer maint. por los ricos 3/5/10
Bob and crew,
I received an email flyer from Premium Aquatics today. When I looked at
this pricey (600.00+ depending on model) I really didn't know what
the heck it was. After searching on the net, I finally found a review
of this gizmo. Unbelievable, and I do not believe people will be
standing in line to get one. It is neat though, watch the video.
<These automated wash-down systems for commercial skimmer collection
"cups" are very useful... not too surprising to find there
may be some sort of "high end" market segment for such with
hobbyist units. BobF>
Re: Now I've Seen It All 3/5/10
Mmmm, James wishing his mother and father were rich. Have you heard any
feedback re the new Red Sea skimmer with the built in cleaning
<I have not>
On another note, I've often thought about writing a short marine
article titled "If Money Were No Object, The Ultimate Reef
System", what I would buy if money was not an issue.
<A great idea for a topic/subject... for an article AND pet-fish
I have quite a bit of Jing tied up in my Home Theater/Music system and
I just love to demo it and see the jaws drop. With that being said, I
would just consider my system at the high end of the audiophile entry
level range when compared to systems where one pair of speakers can run
well over 10K with compatible amplification equaling that
figure......pretty much akin to my reef system.
<If wishes were fishes, we'd all have full tanks. Cheers my
05/02/10 Nitrates, skimmer use,
<I need somebody!>
I <I> have a 125 reef system with a 100 gallon sump with plenty
of live rock. I <I> do a 50 gallon water change every 10 days
with ro water. all <All of> my tests are in range except my
nitrates they never get below 80.
<Very high and will cause you problems. Read here:
I <I> do have about 20 fish
which I <I> feed very little twice a day. I <I> run my
skimmer 18 hours as it is overkill for the system.
<Really? You have 20 fish and nitrates at 80ppm. I would be running
this skimmer 24hrs as well as looking at the whole system, top to
bottom, starting with the stocking>
any suggestions ?
<As above plus reading, there is much to learn here:
thank <Thank> you for your help.
<No problem at all. There is a shift key on the keypad, and if it is
pressed it will allow the use of capital letters, Simon>
Just want to say thanks for answering all my previous posts.
Here goes again, my FOWLR system has been running for about a month now
(no livestock yet). The problem is my needle wheel venturi skimmer was
running ok and the bubbles in the chamber were micro and very dense as
in the chamber looked white with all the bubbles.
Then I came home from work the other day and the chamber was probably
only half as dense with bubbles. I fiddled about with it a bit and
seemed to get it going better by blowing down the airline/venturi.
Could this be
the problem, blocked airline/venturi, if so what blocks it, surely its
not the pump its only been running a month. Can you give me some tips
on keeping this performing as before.
<The most likely cause of this is blockage of the air line with
calcium deposits, and likely is in the plastic barb the hose connects
to at the pump intake. The best way I've found to clean out this
area is by using a drill bit close in diameter to the inside diameter
of the intake barb. Insert the bit into the barb while turning the bit
by hand. The job is a little easier if you remove the intake cap and
perform the operation over the sink or similar area. Also do the same
with the air regulator but do remove the adjustment screw before doing
this. I'm betting this will take care of your problem.>
Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Skimmer Problems/Skimmer
Maintenance... and lighting issue/smell 1/28/10
I did this, I got a syringe and filled it with distilled water and
squirted it down the venturi airline, it made it slightly better, so to
make sure I got some water out of the kettle and let it cool a bit then
<This procedure isn't going to do too much for removing calcium
Need to be physically removed re the drill bit. Once the lines are
clean of deposits, the distilled water method is a good way to extend
the time between cleaning the venturi and related components providing
it is done weekly.>
After a couple of hours there is a strange smell when I open the
<The lid on what, the light fixture? I'll assume so.>
I can't pinpoint the exact smell but its like plastic burning, is
the nearest I can put it to. The only other difference is I ran my
lights for the first time yesterday for about 6 hours. I am a bit
worried about it can you shed some light on this, is it the cycle!
Not the cycle, if the lighting system is a new plastic housing type
unit, it may just be the newness of the plastic reacting with the heat
given off by the lamps.
I would still continue to be cautious/observe here for the possibility
of a defective unit.>
Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
UV and filter sock affecting
Hello there WWM
First off I would like to thank WWM crew for educating us who are in
much need of direction in this highly addicting hobby. I read through
most of your answers hoping to find a solution to my problem and
figured I would
email you guys in the hopes to receive some feedback and
I have a 90 gallon reef tech tank that has 2 drains and 2 returns
plumbed to a 30 gallon sump/refugium containing an AquaC Ev 180
skimmer, 6" sand bed, macro algae and some live rock. The main
display has a 4" deep sand
bed with about 120 pounds of live rock. the system has been up and
running for 2 years and is heavily stocked with approximately 37 corals
consisting of softies, lps and sps. there are also 12 fishes living
harmoniously, 3 tangs, 3 dwarf angels, 1 royal gramma, 4 clowns, and a
<In a 90? Whoa my friend.>
The water parameters are all normal for a reef, aside from the nitrates
which are reading 10 ppm and I believe this to be due to my heavy
Last week, I was looking through some old aquarium equipment and
stumbled upon a 25 watt Aqua UV Sterilizer that I purchased a few years
back but never used. I decided to add it to the system by installing it
before the chiller intake being fed by a Mag 7. The pump is located in
the last stage of the sump, and returning the water right back to the
last stage, before being sent up to the main display via 2 more Mag
7's. After adding he UV, I noticed that my skimmer had slowed down
foam production significantly. I was baffled by this because if the UV
is supposedly killing all free floating algae and bacteria flowing
through it, wont it make the skimmer more effective due to the higher
<It can, but adding unused equipment also means adding manufacturing
residues that can effect skimming for a short time.>
I was also having a problem with the dual drain hoses going into the
first stage which were splashing water and creating massive amounts of
water spills and micro bubbles which bothered me. To fix this I ordered
inlet holders with 8" PVC pipe and 2 filter socks to diminish the
splashing and micro bubbles. by adding this to the sump it greatly
reduced the bubbles and splashing but now my skimmer wont skim at all
for the past few days. The skimmer pump is a Mag 9.5 located on the
first stage and feeds the skimmer that is on the refugium stage on top
of the 6" deep sand bed.
Before adding the UV and socks, the skimmer was foaming nonstop and now
no foam at all. Is the UV and Filter sock addition affecting the
skimmers performance and Is this something I should be concerned with?
Do I have too
much filtration going on or am I on the right track?
<You are doing fine here, give it a bit of time. New plastics in the
water are notorious for diminishing skimming. Wait and see. Scott
Skimmer operating depths:
Skimmer configuration & Skimmate production
I'll try to stick to the short story - not my strength. I ran
through various skimmer FAQs like "to skim or not to skim"
and whatever else turned up on the searches I tried.
I recently upgraded so to speak to a modified Solana from a JBJ -
turned into an empty cube with external overflow and custom sump - 44g
total system volume. I'm in love with this tank. One of my goals
was to set it up to
handle a mixed reef of some LPS and SPS. Knowing I'd need great
water quality for SPS, I built a custom sump, and got a skimmer - Reef
Octopus NWB 110.
<A nice skimmer>
While I was curing base rock for this new setup, I ran the skimmer to
try and get it to break in a bit before setting the system up. When it
was running with the curing rock, this thing was fantastic. Had to
empty the cup every day or two, nice dark skimmate - wet, but dark,
couldn't see through the stuff. At one point it was actually
pushing foam out of the holes in the cover of the collection cup! I was
very excited about the possibilities of being able to keep pristine
water with this thing.
<Sounds like it was doing what it was supposed to do.>
Well, system has been running for a few weeks now and I'm barely
Sometimes the foam gets to the cup and I get a clear liquid with chunks
of stuff in it. The neck gets consistently covered in gunk though -
cleaned it once or twice to see if that'd help, didn't seem to
<You could be running the foam a bit too dry.>
I've been trying setting it to varying heights, and adjusting the
"valve" so to speak on the outlet to adjust the water level
in the skimmer body. Get the same result all the time, not much
<Well, that isn't exactly true - you are getting solids - that
is the gunk, just not dissolved in water.>
So, to the questions:
1 - Is this lack of production due to light stocking and just plain
lack of things to skim? I do feed a fair amount, love to spot feed my
LPS and keep my fish fat and happy. This theory is the only one that
makes sense to me since I saw this thing working it's tail off
while the rock was curing and the water was chock full of
<I'm certain that there was plenty to skim while you were curing
rock, so I would expect production to drop once everything is
I'm planning on adding a light and macro to my fuge, maybe
that's is all I need for nutrient control until I get
more heavily stocked?
<I would still keep the skimmer..>
Black Ocellaris Clowns (pair)
Duncan (6-7 heads)
Blasto (8-10 heads)
2 morphs of a Euphyllia (Branching Hammers)
Dendrophyllia (3 heads)
Acan (4 heads)
More corals coming this week.
<So you are moderately stocked for a 44 gallon.>
2 - Do you have any clues on why depth of water a skimmer sits in
effects it's production?
<Yes. For a venturi skimmer, the lower pressure around the impeller
allows air to get sucked in through the air tube. The deeper the pump
is in the water, the higher the pressure, so less air gets sucked in.
Most skimmers have a recommended depth for the pump. This can be offset
either by putting the pump in shallower water or use a bigger
Is it just a matter of more water means the foam starts higher and is a
wetter skimmate and fills the cup faster, or is there a water to air
ratio thing going on?
<Two separate issues - higher water in the sump will result in less
air being sucked into the skimmer and less foam. The water height in
the skimmer controls how 'wet' the foam will be. A lower water
level will result in a drier foam that give a darker skimmate or even
solids. Wet skimmate will be lighter, and you will go through water at
a slightly faster rate.
<In theory, drier foam is more efficient because it 'wastes'
less water, but I have never seen anything definitive that one is
really better than the other as far as pulling nutrients out of the
water was concerned. For what it is worth, I tend to keep my skimmer on
the drier side.>
<So in short, you will need to place the pump at the height that
produces the best amount of foam - this is usually anywhere between 1
and 4 inches below the surface, but again, consult your manual. Once
you have that set, then adjust the water height in the skimmer to where
it produces the type of foam you are looking for. It may take some
time, but you will in time, find the 'sweet spot' for both.
Once you do, mark your sump level and adjustment valve with permanent
I'd like to understand this, the better I understand the workings
the better I'll be to adjust it and really dial it in.
Oh, and the skimmer is set in the sump, with a chamber sectioned off
for consistent water depth, it's in the same chamber as the inlet
from the overflow.
<The only trick is to keep the water level in the sump as consistent
If you're curious, last time I tested my water (yesterday):
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 5-10ppm
Phosphate - 0
Appreciate any info and insight.
Tunze Skimmer not staying on:
Skimmer troubleshooting 1/1/2010
I have recently upgraded skimmers from my Aqua C pro skimmer to a Tunze
9010 for my 120 gal reef. It was working amazingly until a few days
ago. I e-mailed Tunze with no response yet.
I stopped the skimmer for a red slime treatment for about 48 hours.
<Red Slime treatments will kill the slime, but not correct the root
cause for it being there. Do read here:
When I turned it back on it will not run for more than about 1/2 to 1
minute then shuts off for about 10-15 minutes. It repeats this pattern
all day. I have collected no skimmate at all.
<Sounds like the pump is overheating or is clogged\stuck>
I have taken it apart to be sure it was clean and operational. Not much
build up - it is only about 5-6 weeks old.
My tank is about 2 years old - upgraded from a 24 gal to 55 gal now to
<I would suspect a bad pump at this point. I would take it apart
again and make sure there is nothing anywhere that may interfere with
the impeller, failing that, contact Tunze or return to the store where
you purchased it.>
Thanks for your help!
<My pleasure, and happy new year>
Protein skimmer placement
My question is directed to the placement of my skimmer in regards to
mechanical and biological filtration. I have a 30 gallon Euro-Fil sump
for a 125 gallon tank. The two 1-1/2" overflows drain straight to
my filter sock (mechanical) in the first chamber then goes through my
Aqua C ev-180 skimmer in the center chamber which is ran by a Mag 7
submersible pump. The skimmer outflow dumps into that same chamber as I
eliminated the last
baffle and sponge to accommodate a Sen 700 GA that runs my chiller with
it's own return to the tank and of course I have an external
Poseidon PS4 return pump also with it's own return. What are your
thoughts on this ? Is it ok
to run the skimmer after the filter sock?
<It is fine, just be sure to clean or change the sock every few days
to keep detritus from building up in it.>
and where would I place carbon with this setup?
<Between the skimmer and return pumps.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Protein Skimmer overflowing --
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hey Alex! JustinN here>
I recently upgraded my protein skimmer from a Remora to a Vertex
<Am not familiar with this brand, but they do appear decent at a
This is a large needle wheel skimmer, which performed nicely for me or
a couple of months. Over the last few months, however, I have observed
episodic extreme foaming, such that the skimmer, which is set up to
produce a fairly dry skimmate, will foam uncontrollably, ejecting
gallons of tank water out the drain tube. This has continued to happen,
despite the fact that I have opened the output valve on the skimmer to
maximum - most of the time it skims a very dry foam; but occasionally
the overflow occurs.
<It does happen -- most often, its related to dosing the tank with
some item, typically medications... I also note this occurring to a
lesser extent than this when a storm is rolling into town and the
barometric pressure shifts..>
I am thinking that some exudate from one of the tank inhabitants may be
causing this - mucus shedding, or spawning.
<Is quite possible -- not having familiarity with the specific
skimmer model, I unfortunately don't have much in the ways of
recommendations for adjusting the problem away.>
I'm wondering if others have observed this phenomenon, and if so
how has it been dealt with?
<Usually dealt with the same way you have -- adjust the skimmer as
I am worried that I cannot leave the tank alone for a vacation unless I
turn off the skimmer,
lest the top-off circuit over dilute it and harm my corals.
<What about a circuit similar to the top-off circuit, for your
skimmer effluent? If it drains a certain level past, the skimmer no
longer runs until the system is drained..>
Basic tank specs:
50 gallon main tank (2 years old), densely overgrown with Montipora,
Acropora, Acanthastrea, Favia, various polyps, and two large leather
corals. 60 gallons of sump split between DSB and fuge.
<Sounds nice! I would possibly contact the manufacturer and see if
they have any prior complaints/experience with a solution. A float
switch would be a down-and-dirty way to ensure that you won't
over-drain your tank during a vacation though.. Good luck!
Aqua C ev-180 skimmer, sump
inst. -- 10/21/2009
<Hello, Ed and/ or Lisa>
I have a quick one for you. I have my skimmer sitting in my sump, is
there any way i can quite down the splashing of water coming out of the
gate valve without affecting the performance? My gate valve opening
sits about 1" above my water line.
<2 common ways: zip tie some filter wool or a filter sock to the
opening, or make a platform out of something like eggcrate and place a
sponge on top. I'm sure there are other ways; you can probably
think of a few creative ways. You'll find that this cuts down on
<No problemo. Will N.>
Protein Skimmer Help: Skimmer
adjustment After moving from HOB to Sump 10/7/2009
Hi WWM crew!
I moved my protein skimmer from the hang on position in the back of my
tank to in my sump yesterday.
I removed the hard plastic tubing and put the pump directly on the
bottom attachment of the protein skimmer then submerged the pump, and
about 1/4-1/3 of the protein skimmer, in my sump.
<Is this a SeaClone? If so, please read here:
Since then I can not get a great bubble cyclone in the cylindrical part
of the protein skimmer. I must have spent 2-3 hours adjusting the valve
on the end on the air tube line but no success. I can get a tiny, not
well formed, semi chaotic cyclone but not what it used to be when it
was hanging on the back of the tank.
<That sounds more and more like a SeaClone.>
I checked everything is tight, no leaks. Any trouble shooting
<How deep is the pump? If it is a SeaClone, and it is more than
about 3" below the surface of the water, it will not 'suck
air' very well at all.
One issue with venturi skimmers is their performance is dependent upon
the depth of the water in the sump. Each pump\skimmer combination has a
'sweet spot' that works the best. You really have four options.
First, you can live with it, or put the skimmer back where it was.
Secondly, you can try a bigger pump, which may or may not work. Third,
you can connect an air pump to the air line and force air in. Finally,
you could get a better skimmer. There are several good ones out there.
The linked page I gave you earlier has links to several articles on
Re: Protein Skimmer Help:
Skimmer adjustment After moving from HOB to Sump
Hi again WWM crew,
Your advice about my protein skimmer worked last time! I needed to
raise the skimmer up toward the water line so it can suck in more air.
Well anyway, I bought a new protein skimmer online because it was cheap
and I wanted two skimmers for more filtration. I got it on eBay for $50
and well...it looks cheap..
<Insert obligatory statement on getting what you pay for
This new skimmer is set HOB, the other (old one) is in the sump. This
new one is giving me trouble because I can not adjust it properly so
the bubbles reach the top and no matter how much air I let in, or not,
always get micro air bubbles out of the return..and I was told this is
not good for the corals.
<It isn't, but a new skimmer can take a few days to break in. or
you can route the discharge of the skimmer through some sort of bubble
The new skimmer is designed just like a SeaClone....any
<Without knowing what kind of skimmer it is, it will be hard to give
more than generalized advice. - a bigger pump, perhaps an air pump to
force more air,
<Have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacloneskimfaqs.htm
<My pleasure, >
Hello Crew! Hope all is well.
<All is well here.>
I just returned from a wonderful vacation in Alaska where I was lucky
enough to closely observe humpbacks and orcas.
However, upon my return, I learned that my skimmer had
overflowed onto my MH ballast causing it to "fry" (3 fire
engines responded). There was also water damage to the floor
and ceiling in the finished basement below. The tank's heater also
<Yikes, a guess a real nightmare for sure. You don't live on Elm
street by chance, do you?>
My system is a 46 bowfront with a BTA hosting 2 clowns, a Coral Beauty,
a damsel, cc starfish and Pencil Urchin that have been living in
harmony for over one year. It also has a 4 in. DSB and 60 lbs.+ live
rock. Luckily everyone survived. My daughter was caring for the tank
but must have forgotten about the skimmer (Bak Pak 2). The skimmer also
overflowed earlier this year when I was unexpectedly hospitalized. Can
I safely turn off the skimmer next time I am away from home without
risk to the tank? I have no other equipment due to space issues, just
keep Chaeto in return chamber of skimmer.
<Yes, you should be fine doing this on a temporary basis.>
Thanks for all of your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Vacation Nightmare 8/25/09
Thanks. You are all so dedicated and inspirational.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
I have a Euro-Reef in sump skimmer that works well as expected. I
usually get the usual dark green tea colored skimmate but the last few
days it has been an orange tang color, as in the drink, not the
I'm not sure why this is. The food for the fish has been
primarily Spirulina. But I have from time to time given a bit of
Cyclop-eeze food for the corals, which is orange. If this is what is
causing the orange skimmate does this also mean I am using too much? Or
does the color of the skimmate always indicate the color of the
<As long as most of the food is being consumed and you are not
having nutrient problems in the tank, your feeding is likely fine. Some
foods can tint the color of skimmate, especially if there is coloring
added to the food. However the only time I have heard of truly
bright orange skimmate has been following the use of flatworm
medication, have you used anything of the sort recently?>
Thanks for your ongoing help.
<Your welcome, and do experiment a little with changes of the food
to determine if it is in fact from a particular item.
Protein Skimmer Question,
I have a question regarding my protein skimmer. I've had a Remora
Pro running on my 75 gallon for about 15 months now. It was giving me
about a cup of dark skim-mate every week. I gave it a vinegar bath
about two months ago and about a month ago, I added an Emperor 400,
that I'm only running charcoal out of. Since I've put that on,
I've had no skim-mate.
I'm wondering, if because of frequent water changes, and a
relatively low bio-load, can I get away without using the Remora if I
do frequent maintenance on the Emperor (clean the housing bi-weekly,
even though I'm not running filter pads, it still collects debris
on the bottom of the housing)? And how about if I replace it with a
hang-on refugium, I was planning on replacing the Emperor with one
anyway, now I'm considering
replacing the Remora. Mainly because it makes so much noise, and is in
the bedroom. Also, after every water change, it produces substantial
amount of bubbles in the tank.
<Do you shut the skimmer off during water changes?>
My tank has 80lbs of live rock, two Hydor stage 4 powerheads and I do
weekly 15 gallon water changes. For livestock I have a Yellow Tang, a
Chalk Bass, a Royal Gramma, a Lawnmower Blenny, a Lyretail Anthias,
three Green Chromis,
<I wouldn't call that a "relatively low
various snails and hermit crabs, Mushrooms, a Torch and hammer coral.
My specific gravity is a little high ( 1.026), calcium 400, dKH 11,
temp. 76, nitrates 0 and ph 8.1.
Any advise on how to proceed, or tips on how to quiet the skimmer would
be greatly appreciated.
<Marc, if it were me, I'd use the skimmer along with a HOB
refugium. The Emperor could be used periodically to polish the water
and remove nutrients the skimmer cannot remove. Once seeded with pods,
the refugium will also provide a source of nutritional food. The noise
level would not be a problem in my bedroom, the decibel level of my
wife's snoring would drown out any skimmer noise. Do consider
wearing foam ear plugs. And yes, you could get away without the skimmer
if it affects your sleep and providing your bio-load (fish) is not
increased. And if you should do this, I would use Chemi Pure instead of
the activated carbon, will be much more effective for you in your
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Protein Skimmer Question
I do turn off everything when I do a water change, should I not?
<Yes, is a good idea to turn off.>
Also, I have been considering purchasing the Remora overflow box, but
have heard mixed reviews. Do you have any experience with this
<No experience with the overflow box itself, but I've read
negative comments about them in customer reviews at the Premium
Aquatics web site.
If you decide to order one, make sure you get the model for your pump
as they do make three different styles geared to specific pumps. James
EuroReef Modification and the
best way to break up an old tank 2/23/09 Hello WWM folks,
<Chris.> I am interested in modifying my EuroReef skimmer for an
auto waste collection area. Do you know of an established method of
making this modification to the skimmer? <Basically just drilling,
then tapping/threading the cup for a hose barb.> It's an older
CS series rated for a 135gal tank with a Sedra 5000. I searched the
website, but it doesn't appear that anyone may have attempted this
before, although it would seem like an easy mod. <It is easy, $5-10
in tooling and it is done.> In addition, I have an old 125 gal glass
tank with a broken bottom, that I am looking to break up and take to
the curb to be hauled off. I would prefer to recycle if I can. Do you
know of a good way to do this? I'm not looking to shatter the
glass, and have a nasty cleanup. Any advice would be appreciated. <I
would call whatever municipality you live in to see if there is some
sort of bulk pickup day or where you can drop the tank off for
recycling. Otherwise, and hammer and a broom my
friend!><<Thick Levis, long-sleeve shirt and jacket, eye-glass
protection... and cardboard around/between you/hammer... and the tank.
RMF>> Again, thanks for your help. <Welcome, Scott V.> Best
Aeration And Filtration Question
2/10/09 Problem With Leaking Skimmer Hi, <Hello Glenn> I
appreciate your time. I have a 55 gallon aquarium with an Emperor 400
hob filter . I also have a hob needle wheel skimmer . It was skimming
great but the pump seems to be acting up . I had been trying to get it
to run continuously & got the fish shop I had purchased it from to
give me another impeller. It still cuts off. <What exactly do you
mean, "cuts off"?> Anyhow I noticed that it was making a
mess behind my aquarium. Lots of splashing & loose water was on the
back wall & on the floor. What I want to know is I really don't
need to get anymore fish. Is my HOB Emperor 400 enough filtration &
aeration for 3 green chromis & a long-nosed Hawkfish. <Should
be, the bio wheel should take care of the nitrogen cycle.> Right now
with this economy I really don't want to put much money in my
aquarium & I'm concerned about the water that was behind it . I
have a plastic runner below the aquarium so its hard to now how much
water has been splashing or seeping out. I am bothered by it though so
I don't know if I really want to run it even if I get the pump
working. Any advice would be appreciated. <You need to pinpoint
where the water leak is coming from. Without seeing it, I cannot offer
too much help here. You do not mention the brand name of the skimmer,
so I can not even visualize where the problem may lie in that regard.
Have you check "O" rings, if any, and hose connections if
present outside the tank, and possibly a crack in the skimmer body? Is
the collection cup seal leaking/overflowing?> Thank You,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Glenn
Re: Aeration And Filter Question
2/11/09 Problem With Leaking Skimmer When I say the pump is
cutting off , It will run for about two minutes & shut off entirely
. After about ten minutes it will start running again & couple
minutes later shut off entirely again . The pet shop tested it &
thought the impeller was bad . They exchanged impellers with one they
had & had me try it at home . It didn't work or help . <If
the impeller assembly was bad you would likely hear noise.> If I
were a betting man I would say it probably has an electric short but I
could be wrong. <I believe you won the bet here. I'm thinking
the winding in the pump may be shorted causing a thermal trip to
activate or the winding expands slightly from the resulting heat and
loss of electrical contact occurs and once the pump cools, restart
occurs.> I mean it just stops working entirely & then out of the
blue starts pumping again . As far as the leak I really can't fully
investigate without getting the skimmer to run longer than two or so
minutes at a time . There was a lot of calcium & streaks on the
back wall. <And your wife does not like the mural?> But if I get
enough filtration & aeration from an Emperor 400 hob I won't
sweat it. <Should have no problems here.> I just won't run my
skimmer. I have an Aqua Euro USA HOB needle wheel skimmer . The pump
would push water up into a chamber with a collection cup . Bubbles
would go up toward the cup & the water would flow sideways into
another chamber with a plastic pipe which lead the water back into the
aquarium. <Have you checked the warranty on the skimmer? Your LFS
may replace the pump, or contact Aqua Euro USA directly. They may be
able to assist you in getting your pump replaced at no or minimal
cost.> Thanks for your time James . <You're welcome. James
AquaC Remora Skimmer,
op. 02/06/09 Good afternoon all, <Hello Matt.
Minh at your service.> I have a quick question for you. I have had
my AquaC Remora skimmer on my 55gal tank for about a year now and for
some reason it just does not want to work correctly. I have about 50lbs
of live rock, two common clownfish, and a couple mushroom corals. I do
have a slight aiptasia problem that I am trying to correct. The only
chemical I have used in the tank was about 6 - 8 months ago to get rid
of my red slime algae. Since then I have obviously done numerous water
changes. Now to the problem with the skimmer. I cannot leave it on when
I am not there because it fills up with water in about 10 minutes
constantly. <Have you made any changes to the skimmer? Is it still
using the factory pump? Are you using the pre-skimmer box?> I have
the cup set up as high as possible as well and have also played around
with the height of the white screw. <These are the actions I would
have suggested as well.> I am at a loss as to what I can do about
this. it basically started happening when I added the red slime
remover, but that was 6 - 8 months ago so I cannot imagine that this is
still the problem. Oh yeah, I also use my own RO/DI water and it reads
0ppm. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Here are some more
suggestions that you can try to remedy the problem. First, give the
entire skimmer a thorough cleaning in warm freshwater to remove any
chemicals that could possibly still remain on the reaction chamber.
Second, run a small amount of granular activated carbon in your display
tank to remove any chemicals that could interfere with the protein
skimming process. Lastly, if the two aforementioned suggestions do not
work, try raising the entire skimmer assembly an inch or two
higher.> Thanks Matt <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh
AquaC EV-120 vs. Tap Water
Conditioner - Round 1 1/23/09 Hi All, <Thomas.> I am
just looking for a quick suggestion from you, if you would be so kind.
<Sure.> My setup is a 135 gal mixed reef, mainly softies, some
fish, and a 40 gal sump/refugium. I have a brand new EV-120 skimmer,
and I've always used Tetra Aqua AquaSafe Tap Water conditioner with
BioExtract to condition my 5 gal of make up water I add every 3 days or
so. Apparently, this water conditioner causes the EV series skimmers to
foam like crazy. I would really appreciate it if you could suggest for
me: 1. The best method for removing the conditioner that currently
remains in the tank. <Carbon or just time.> 2. A quality product
for conditioning my make up water that won't cause the skimmer to
foam like crazy. <I personally always used Kordon AmQuel in my pre
RO days. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/treath2o.htm for
even cheaper/better options.> Thank you very much for your expertise
and time. Thomas Bolton <Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: AquaC EV-120 vs. Tap Water
Conditioner- Round 2 2/2/09 Thank you!
<Happy to help.> I just wanted to follow up to let you know that
I have switched to AmQuel+ and have been able to slowly increase the
output of the pump going to the skimmer as the days pass and the amount
of BioExtract in the water disappears. <Great! Many of these bio
mumbo jumbo concoctions are great for making a skimmer go nuts!> The
EV-120 skimmer is pretty awesome, and I would recommend it to anyone.
:) <Definitely.> Thanks for your help! Thomas Bolton <Welcome,
Protein skimmers/Balancing pump
flows 1/20/09 Hello. I just discovered your site and what a
site it is. I've been on it all afternoon reading readers
questions, suggestions, and more importantly your suggestions. I
definitely learned a lot. Thank you. <Happy you found us!> I
concentrated my reading in the area of protein skimmers. Yes the
dreaded protein skimmer. I've had mine running for about 5 1/2
years now and it never seemed to run correctly for more than a few days
at a time. Because of this, I'm on the verge of just giving up on a
hobby that I used to long for. <Don't lose heart, you can figure
this out.> It really is frustrating. I love reading, researching,
and seeing all the fish and inverts that are a part of the hobby, but
when I think of that skimmer I just want to quit. Maybe you can help
me. A little about my set up. It's a 150 gallon salt water glass
aquarium. My fish consist of; 2 Scats, 2 Yellow Tailed Damsels, 1
Rabbit Fish, 1 Light Blue Powder Tang, 1 Humu Trigger, 1 Flame Hawk
Fish, 1 Maroon Clown, 1 Coral Beauty Dwarf Angel, and 1 Flame Dwarf
Angel for a total of 11 fish. There is no live rock, just
"dead" type if you will and about 120 pounds of Florida
crushed coral, (approx. 2.5 inches), for a substrate. The tank it self
is a "reef ready" type with two built in overflow boxes in
each rear corner skimming the water off of the top down into a
perforated pipe wrapped with a foam filter. The water from both of
these comes together in the cabinet under the tank via a "t"
then drains into a ten gallon glass rectangle tank used as a sump. The
sump houses my Red Sea Berlin Turbo Skimmer with associated pump that
came with it; (both are junk). From there the outputs of the skimmer
run at a slight downward angle, (as per the set up directions), into
the top of a Tidepool 2 Wet Dry filter. In the sump of the wet dry is
the heater. A Quiet One pump is plumbed through the bulk head of the
filter so it is outside of the sump, runs through a check valve, then
up to the outputs back into the tank. I could never get the skimmer
pump and filter pump to operate in unison for more than a week or so.
<And it will never happen. Balancing flow between pumps can happen
for a period of time, but one will always change.> Either the
skimmer sump would run dry and suck air into the pump or the wet/dry
filter would run dry and it would suck air into the pump. I do have a
ball valve after the quiet one pump and before the check valve. I use
it to help regulate the water flow. However this is usually
approximately 90% closed. If I open it more, the wet/dry would
cavitate-if I were to close it a bit more, the skimmer sump would
cavitate. If this isn't enough, the skimmer never seemed to operate
to it's advertised potential. It would collect a very watery
solution which much would just drip from the drain in the collection
cup back into the skimmer sump. As I was reading on your site, a few
things did stand out in my mind. One was the fact that an individual
said they had their overflow boxes filled with bio balls. Interesting I
thought. Inside of the wet/dry the only bio-filtration I have is what
ever the bio-wheel is contributing. Should I fill these boxes with some
type of bio media and if so what type. <Doubtful, the BioWheels are
fairly effective at what they do. What do your water tests tell
you?> Also I noticed that in the sump where the skimmer is you
recommend that there be a weir of some sort boxing in the skimmer from
the rest of the sump. How is this done? <A simple baffle, see here
later today (the link needs some love first) on how to do this cheap
Should I keep the skimmer in its own sump, or am I going overboard?
<You can, but a few things need changing, this is the source of your
trouble here.> How do I get both pumps synchronized and working
together at the proper flow rates? <These separate vessels need to
be linked with some piping below the water line on the lowest of the
two. Balancing pump flows will never happen, you need to allow the
level in the tanks to move back and forth. This does mean you will need
one larger sump or you will have to drill the ten gallon and the
tidepool. See here for drilling the glass:
http://reefercentral.com/Videos.html.> Finally, I've had an
outbreak of marine ick two time since my tank has been operating which
is 5 1/2 years. What's your take on ultra violate sterilizers?
<Can be useful, but unnecessary in an otherwise healthy system
IMO.> I don't want to give up on this wonderful hobby.
<Please don't!> When my tank is working well and clean
it's absolutely beautiful! <Hmmm, perhaps ask yourself what is
done different when the tank is like this?> I hope you have the time
to read this all and write back. Thank you in advance for any advice
you can render. Sincerely Ted Pergolizzi <Welcome, Scott V.>
P.S.- Live rock or not? It's beautiful, but I'm afraid of
losing it all if I need to medicate. <Yes live rock all the way! If
you go this route do be sure to read about curing the rock first. As
for medicating, this really needs to be done in a quarantine tank to
treat the fish properly and not crash your system. A few more links:
Elevated Skimmer. No, elevated
higher than that! 1/4/08 Hi there, I am plumbing my Precision
Marine Skimmer (venturi style) into my sump. I would like to sit the
skimmer on a table next to my tank (which is about 28ï¿½
above the bottom of the sump), as there is not enough room under the
tank in the stand or in the sump. I will be using a Mag 9.5 and will
have approx 2ï¿½ of rise restricted by 1 - 90 elbow and
two unions and a Â¾ ball valve with all Â¾ inch
flexible PVC. <This is the recommended pump for this skimmer, but
with the head height you will add I would step this up to the next
larger Mag to ensure the skimmer operates properly.> The return from
the skimmer is 1ï¿½ PVC with a 1ï¿½ gate
valve. I know the gate valve will narrow the inside diameter some here.
Can you advise me'¦ will this work? <It will, but for the
trouble an insurance I would go ahead and step this up to 1.5"
line after the valve. The 1" valve will flow more than the typical
1" gravity line due to the pressure from the water column inside
the skimmer. Stepping up the size of the drain line will ensure this
can keep up too.> I know there are issues with a skimmer being too
low in relation to the water level'¦ but could not find
anything on WWM with the skimmer sitting at an elevation comparable to
this. <It does diminish the flow available from the pump, hence the
recommendation above.> I am sure it is covered somewhere on the
site. There is an awesome volume of info here. Thank all of you for
that! This site is my primary resource tool for all things aquatic.
Scott <Good the hear, happy to help! Scott V.>
Salinity Stability in a Reef
Tank ~ 12/30/08 Hi There, <<Hello>> I am wondering
the importance of absolute salinity stability. My conductivity can vary
from 50 to 53 (using Neptune controller) due to various factors from
inputting more Kalkwasser than is evaporating, skimmer overproduction,
water changes, etc. I am working towards stabilizing this # but I am
wondering if I should worry and care to try to stabilize this?
<<A good question'¦ Depending on a coral's origin
many do experience such fluctuations in the wild, seemingly without
harm. I've heard tell of Xeniids growing on freshwater waste pipes.
And corals living in lagoons often experience wide fluctuations in
salinity due to the tides and the effects of evaporation and rainfall.
But as far as captive care goes and the induced stresses re, it is
likely best to keep such fluctuations to a minimum in the aquarium. To
put your specific situation in better perspective and to maybe make it
more understandable to a wider audience, the Conductivity readings of
50 to 53 (mS/cm) equate to readings of about 33 to35 ppt for Salinity
and 1,024 to 1.026 for Specific Gravity (depending on exact water
temperature and which conversion chart/calculator you use). Though I
prefer to see reef tanks stabilized more towards the upper end of this
scale, I think these readings/fluctuations are acceptable>>
Speaking of skimmer overproduction, when I do a water change for
several hours after my skimmer produces a lot of wet skim (almost
water) <<Many systems experience just the opposite (a loss of
skimmate production)'¦ You may be stirring up detritus and
releasing colloidal compounds that increase the foam production>>
and my ORP drops by 75-100. <<This would also seem to support my
theory>> As always thanks for all of the info. <<Quite
welcome>> Best, Bryan <<Regards, EricR>>
Skimmer help, op.,
Vertex 12/25/08 <Hello Jack. Minh
at your service> I've had my Vertex IN 250 skimmer running for 4
day now on my 150 gal. Right now I have a light bioload with only 4
small fish, 1 small coral, some hermits and snails. I seem to be having
trouble getting a consistent skimmate out of it. Its not pulling out
anything really dark or nasty yet, just some lighter colored foam. Then
every once in a while it will overflow into the cup and I have to empty
water out of it. Do I need to keep the foam head set a little lower and
just let it alone for a few days? <This is the course of action I
would suggest.> Does it take a while to break in or am I doing
something wrong? Skimmer is in my 55 gal sump in 8 inches of water.
This is my first skimmer so I'm not really sure what to expect from
it or how to fine tune the adjustment. Lots of ?'s here but I'd
appreciate any feedback.... <If you are getting foam in your
skimmer's collection cup, then it appears that your set up and
installation of the skimmer is correct. It will take some time for the
skimmer to break-in fully and start to collect consistent skimmate.>
Thanks! <You're welcome and happy holidays, Minh.>
Yet Another Skimmer Question
(inefficient design?) ï¿½ 12/23/08 Hi....
<<Hello Gretchen>> My tank was set up 3 months ago, fish
weren't added until 2 weeks ago, live rocks are over 2 years old,
<<Hmm, you might want to consider swapping out some of the rock
for new'¦ For the benefit of renewed alkaline/bio-mineral
content, and a fresh injection of beneficial biota>> everything
else just purchased (used and new): - 45g Tall - live rocks and live
sand - 20 gallon sump under the tank - separated into 3 sections:
intake on the left which holds a Red Sea Berlin Classic skimmer, then a
triple baffle bubble trap, return section, and lastly, the refugium,
separated from the return area with a baffle w/ teeth on top for water
to pour through...the fuge is receiving 25% water from the intake and
one of the outlets for the skimmer is pouring into the fuge.
<<Very good>> - Skimmer is powered by a Rio 2500, one
outlet is pouring into its own compartment (intake area), and the 2nd
is routed to the fuge, using pvc for both outlets. - Lighting is just
enough for non-coral life (tank to be a FOWLR tank) -- 1 - 40 watt
actinic and 1 regular white fluorescent to offset the blue) - currently
housing just around 10 various hermits, and around 10 various snails,
and 2 false Perculas. - At first, levels were: ammonia & nitrites
0ppm, pH 8.2-8.4, but nitrates were 160+ ppm. <<Yikes!>> I
fixed this by using ro/di water and making a 75% change (this was
before I had inhabitants!). <<Ahh'¦>> Now, I'm
constantly at ammonia & nitrites 0ppm, pH 8.2-8.4, and nitrates
between 5-20ppm. <<Okay>> I've done so much searching
for specifically my brand of skimmer (and no doubt you guys all have
your opinions on it). <<Hee-hee! Indeed this is true!>> I
got it used, and the pump is brand new. It works perfectly...I
*think*.... <<You are in the best position to know>>
I'm getting wonderful bubble action (after figuring out that the
baffle needed to be in the inner tube! Prior to this I was getting the
cyclone, and not a lot of bubbles)...the bubbles are filling up the
inner tube, and pouring over halfway down the middle area, but not
passing the skirt. I've Googled around like mad for 2 months and am
still confused. <<Mmm, you may be running *too dry*, but with
this model skimmer getting it set is not always easy. I've used
this model skimmer before myself, as well a seen it used by others, and
I always found it to be a real pain to get and keep adjusted. One thing
I did fine that seemed to help was to oversize the pump. I always found
that the venturi/skimmer design worked better with the bigger pump.
So'¦ You may want to consider trying a RIO 3100 with this
skimmer and see if it performs any better>> When I fixed the
bubble issue, I thought it was working...I was getting dry foam
intermittently, but it never gushed over. <<This is typical with
this skimmer>> The neck and lid were thick with sludge. That
lasted a week...it stopped foaming as much, so I cleaned the neck off
with just tap and ro/di yesterday. <<Good'¦ The skimmer
should be cleaned every few days to keep it working (as well as it
will/does, anyway)>> And now, I don't see any foam. I figured
it was because it needs to re-prime itself, and I had just done a water
change. <<Maybe'¦ But it also probably needs a new round
of *fiddling with it* to get it going again>> I'd like to
understand, how the foaming action starts to build up and
overflow...will it only overflow if there's enough dirty particles
attached to them? <<Simply put, yes'¦ The *dirty* foam
is a result of the attraction of hydrophobic organic molecules to the
air/water interface of the bubbles. It *is* possible for an
aquarist's system water to be clean enough to not allow the
expected skimming action. This may be the case here, but I doubt it.
Though the large swing in your Nitrate readings may well indicate a
like swing in skimmate production>> I've got zillions of
bubbles in the membrane just bouncing around...will they stay in there
until there's enough particles to make them work their way up the
neck? <<They won't *stay* (the bubbles will eventually rise
and burst), but your skimmer's venturi should be injecting a
constant stream of bubbles so in essence, yes, there will be bubbles
present when organics become present>> Or should I increase the
pressure somehow to raise the water level, so it is higher up the neck?
<<You can do this'¦ A skimmer requires the correct
combination of water flow vs. air injection/bubbles. Better skimmers,
in my experience, make finding and holding these settings
easier'¦ And also seem to work better over a wider range of
water/air combinations. Readjusting this skimmer is likely what is
needed here (remember the *fiddly* comments I made about this skimmer).
And then checking/re-checking to make further adjustment as
necessary>> It seems the gunky bubbles barely overflowed, but
rather, stuck to the neck. In which case, it is working to get stuff
out...but does it sound like its working as well as it should?
<<In a word'¦ No'¦ The skimmer needs to be
adjusted to overflow skimmate in to the skimmer cup. Just how wet or
dry to make the foam is a matter of debate, but you should at least be
making *some* skimmate>> Is it right for me to assume that since
I don't have a lot of bioload that this may be why I'm not
getting the overflow of dry foam that a lot of other people I've
spoken to? <<This is a possibility, yes. Though I would simply
adjust the skimmer to produce a wetter foam (best to try to remove what
dissolved organics you can)>> I just want to be sure that I can
continue to stick with this skimmer, because a lot of people who've
gotten it to work really love it. <<Then give it some more time
and experiment with the skimmer settings a bit>> They just
can't explain to me why mine isn't overflowing with dry foam
like theirs. <<It may be a matter of adjustment as
indicated'¦ Or it may be a matter of inefficient design, as
also indicated. This model skimmer seems to vary in efficacy from unit
to unit, but overall is a modest/marginal performer in my
experience>> Everything else *seems* like it's working (like
I said...lots and lots of micro-bubbles inside-- can't even see
through the acrylic), and I'm not ready to trade this in for a more
expensive one (we will be upgrading to a 125g next year, and want to
save for that; this 45g is our first "experimental" tank)
Thanks! Gretchen <<Happy to share. EricR>>
Re: Yet Another Skimmer Question
(inefficient design?) ï¿½ 12/23/08 ATTN: Eric
R... <<Hiya Gretchen!>> Thanks for all the tips!!
<<Quite welcome>> I guess I will stick it out with the
skimmer and its adjustments since I will be upgrading to a 125g
sometime next year anyway. <<Okay'¦ These skimmers can
be made to *make do* for a small system such as you have now. But
jeez'¦ What a pain they are'¦>> Unless I find a
good used skimmer, I don't see an immediate reason for me to shell
out for a better that might not be big enough for a 125g, especially if
I can put up with this one. <<Okay>> I'll just be
diligent about my water changes. <<Very good>> I forgot to
mention my refugium uses Miracle Mud, so hopefully that will help keep
my tank healthy. <<Ah yes'¦ A very useful
adjunct>> And since I brought this up, I'm going by
information I read that the water entering the refugium shouldn't
be too strong so pods can flourish, so the result in my sump is that
there is just a little bit of the fuge water entering my return.
<<The *pods* can actually *flourish* under a wide range of flow
conditions. But in your case, I would follow the instructions/flow
requirements for the Miracle Mud>> Too bad the pods get crushed
after going through the return pump. <<Ah, not true! Many/most do
make it through just fine. And even the ones that don't are still
providing benefit/nutrition>> Next tank design will have the fuge
on top of the tank. <<Cool!>> As for the live rocks...I am
guessing I have 30lbs of rock in there, not enough for my 45g.
<<This too is a matter of debate. I think many hobbyists use *too
much* rock thus hindering water movement/swimming space for fishes, and
facilitating detritus accumulation>> Would the older live rock be
bad to keep instead of replacing? <<Mmm, no'¦ Is not bad
to keep'¦ Just not as useful/beneficial as swapping out for
some *new*>> Here's the live rock's history: My brother
had it for a couple of years, but in the last year, after his tang died
off (yes, he kept a tang in a 45g, shame on him!) <<Hee-hee! You
tell'm sister!>> he just maintained the tank's salinity
over the next year until I took over. In that last year he didn't
do much water changing, if any, and just kept topping off. I always
thought the older the rock the better, since it would have been well
established. <<In the overall scheme of things a
mature/established/stable system is best, yes. But swapping out some of
the old rock will not jeopardize this and will provide the benefits
mentioned in our previous exchange>> Or is it that old rocks
might be excreting bad things? <<Mmm, no'¦ Not unless
bad things were previously introduced/absorbed>> There wasn't
much coralline growth to the rocks to begin with, but I've noticed
more coralline now that I've taken over. So given that history, I
don't know if the old rocks are any good now. What do you guys
think about it? <<Yes, they are still *good*>> I am slowly
adding more live rock, but haven't removed any old ones.
<<This too is fine as outlined previously re>>>> And
of course, when I upgrade to a 125, I would have wanted to keep my
existing rocks and just add. <<Not a problem>> I've
seen a bunch of your articles/responses to people with "old"
live rock, and a couple responses say they were fine, and a couple
suggested what you just did, which is to replace. <<Ah, but not
to replace *all*'¦ Merely a few pounds at a time'¦
Every year or so>> I don't hear many people talking about
replacing some of their live rock every couple of years. <<A good
point'¦ On mature systems with lots of coral growth this may
well not be practical with causing unwanted damage>> Again,
thanks in advance, and I agree that you guys deserve proper emails (for
your readers' sakes, as well!), and hopefully I've remained
clear and to the point. <<You have indeed>> Happy holidays
to the awesome WetWebMedia Crew! Gretchen <<And to you in kind my
friend. Cheers, Eric Russell>>
Skimmer Query, AquaC EV180
11/13/08 Hi, <Ranjith.> I just got a new skimmer
yesterday - AquaC EV180. <Nice skimmer.> It has been running
almost 24 hours and I do not see foam rising into the tower. <You
very well may not for a few days.> I have set it up as per the
manual (at the base of the grey box). I do not think this is due
to a break-in period as my first skimmer (cut off coke bottle) started
skimming almost within a couple of hours. <It is break in.> I
also know that my tank HAS plenty of gunk to take out because even my
Azoo skimmer was taking out Â¼ cup of dark green liquid with
particles in it. Can the problem be any of the following? 1. The hose
connecting the power head to the skimmer intake is 2 feet long and is
coiled (no hard bends) <Little difference.> 2. The pump is
underpowered? (I use a 3000 LPH power head) <On the lower end, but
still within recommendations for this skimmer.> 3. Skimmer is the
one off faulty piece? <Doubtful, give it time.> Also, the dark
green output from my previous skimmer is gunk right? <Yes.> The
walls of the tower would have a thick slime coat each time I cleaned
the skimmer. Tank specs 120gal bow front 4"-5" DSB 80kgs live
rock Inverts: 1 mushroom colony, 2 Zoanthid colonies, 2 Palythoa
colonies, 1 moon coral, 1 finger leather, 2 feather dusters, snails.
Fish: 5" Volitans lion, 4" Skunk Clown Pests: 2" mud
crab (not counting legs or claws) Ps: please could you hit the reply
all :-) Cheers Ranjith <Scott V.>
New set up, Overactive Skimmer
11/4/08 Ok, giving this a shot. <Fire away.> I really
only have one question but a lot of background info to fill you in on.
I am absolutely new to reef aquariums although my dad has kept a 55g
saltwater tank for over 20 years. I'm trying to set one up from
scratch and I'm really trying to do it right (patience is something
I'm in surplus of, sometimes to a fault). <Good> I have been
fortunate enough to have been given a complete set up for free. Forgive
me for not knowing any brand names of the equipment I have at the
moment. I've been trying to research this as much as I can. . My
equipment is as follows: 30g glass tank w/stand; wet/dry trickle
filter; protein skimmer; 2-20" 15w mercury lights; one powerhead;
2-3 airstones; 2 heaters; 30-40lbs of once live rock (been in a dry tub
for about a month and a half now); siphon tube; water test kit; and
whole box of misc. stuff such as food, vitamins, water treatment stuff,
etc. I cleaned the tank, set up the filter, hung the skimmer on the
sump, filled it with fresh water (just to test the equip.) and got
things running, tweaking it here and there to try and quiet my
girlfriend... I mean the tank down slightly being that it's in the
corner behind the couch and chair. Now on to my question... I noticed
that when I start the skimmer up it immediately fills up to the top to
the point that it only takes about 45 minutes to fill the cup at the
top with what would be considered in a normal situation as very wet
skim. <With fresh water? Skimmers normally don't work in fresh
water so you may be headed for trouble when salt water is used.>
When I drain the tank and get ready to start my cycling process with
the rock that I have and enough pre-mixed (RO/DI) saltwater provided by
my LFS, will my skimmer continue to do this, or will the saltwater act
differently? <Will most likely produce even more skimate, need to
figure out how to adjust this equipment.> Being that I'm relying
on the DOM (decayed organic material) on the rock for a cycling agent I
anticipate having to empty the cup regularly but I work during the day
and really can't afford to have the cup overflowing inside the
stand. What do you suggest? With all the appreciation I can muster,
JÃ©an Dodes <Best bet here is to figure out what model of
skimmer you have and see how adjustable it is. With most skimmers you
can adjust the cup height, air flow, and in some the water level, which
all will effect production. Most likely you will just need to tweak one
or more of these variables to get your skimmer producing the way you
want it too.> <Chris>
New set up, Overactive Skimmer,
Reader Input 11/5/08 Hi Crew, <Hello> This is in
response to an email posted today on the WWM daily FAQs. I had a
similar problem with my Coralife skimmer. My problem was caused by the
wrong dechlorinator added to the water. My skimmer was hyperactive
regardless of water level. <Ah yes, thanks, a common cause that I
overlooked. Many additives will cause increased bubble production.>
The "fix" was to further restrict the air coming into the
skimmer. I put a small length of tubing with an air stone on the air
intake of the skimmer. This reduced the airflow enough to make
the foam controllable. After two days, the decholorinator had
"burned off" enough to remove the air stone and resume normal
operation. Regards Mike <Thanks for the input.>
Fluctuating Water Level and
Skimmer Performance -- 10/31/08 Hi :), <<Hello>> I
was reading through the skimmer FAQ and see a common problem. When the
tank has a fluctuating water level it hurts skimmer performance.
<<Yes'¦and more specifically'¦fluctuating
levels within the 'chamber housing the skimmer' effect the
water level/pressures within the skimmer itself which can lead to a
fluctuating efficiency of the unit>> Have yet to see a solution
to this (sorry if I missed the page with the answer). <<Really?
Simply place the skimmer in a 'chamber' within the sump that
utilizes baffles to stabilize water levels>> I have the same
problem. Due to the wavemaker the sump level fluctuates 2-3 inches from
day and night modes of the wavemaker. <<I see>> This can be
solved by placing the skimmer in the first chamber which has baffles
immediately after it right? <<If constructed with this in mind,
and if the working water height within the sump is below the top of
these baffles'¦yes>> I guess this has a lot to do with
the return pump working with constant output while the fluctuating
water levels changing input to the sump collection chamber. Thus the
change in water level only in the return chamber.
<<Indeed'¦and the reason for the baffles>> Placing
the skimmer in the first chamber just before the baffles does not have
this problem as it is gravity which is flexible in output :). Am I in
the neighborhood of being correct here? <<I think
so'¦>> Cheers, Ranjith <<Regards,
Getting the most out of the
skimmer/Sump issues 10/27/08 Hello all. <Jason.> I have
a Euro Reef in-sump skimmer that I need help with. <Okay.> My
sump, (30 gallon), has three chambers with skimmer on the left, pump in
the middle, and 'fuge on the right. All baffled off appropriately
but because the water level lowers with evap, the skimmer does not work
correctly. <Indeed a problem.> I understand there is a way to
maintain a constant level in the skimmer chamber but need further
instruction as how to do this. I have returns coming into both the
skimmer section and the refugium section. Both have valve adjusters.
<The baffle leaving the skimmer chamber should be higher than the
level of the water in the pump chamber (and sealed to the bottom!). It
should fall, at least a bit, into the pump chamber. This will keep the
skimmer chamber level constant, with all the evaporation showing up in
the pump chamber. An automated top off will also help/eliminate the
problem.> Thanks in advance for the help and for your amazing
service. Jason <Welcome, Scott V.>
ViaAqua Skimmer II, op.
10/20/08 Sorry I'm not a good emailer. Here I'll try
again. <Ahh, good.> Two days ago I purchased a ViaAqua
Multiskimmer II from a local pet store. After installing on to my 46
gallon bow front and plugging in as instructed, I had noticed the
collection cup soon filled with water and micro bubbles enter back into
tank. Troubleshooting said it may be due to high salinity. <Not
unless it is very high, enough to kill your tank.> I had then
removed a couple gallons of saltwater and replaced with distilled to
bring the level down which it had. <Do check your salinity now!>
Can you or you're readers have any other suggestion because there
has been no change and now see larger bubbles forming under and around
rock. <Do start with your salinity, if you lowered it too much the
bubbles in the tank will tend to be larger. As for the skimmer
overflowing, try a lower setting if possible. Otherwise, new skimmers
can take a while to break in (although the problem is usually the
opposite of yours) and any additives to the tank can cause your issue,
foods, vitamins, etc. Scott V.>
AquaC Remora Pro, op.
10/17/08 I knew that if I could get great advice anywhere, it
would be here so here is my dilemma: after getting disgusted time and
time again and having a few overflows with my Prizm Pro skimmer, I
decided to listen to the consensus here and purchased an AquaC Remora
Pro. <A good move.> I have never read anything but good about
this skimmer here. <For good reason.> To get to the point, the
problem is that I have been unable to adjust the cup level so that the
water bubbles do not constantly come over as a very, very wet foam and
spill over into the collection cup and then constantly run out into my
external overflow (gallon jug for now). If I let it run like this, it
will eventually empty my tank. If I adjust the O-ring at the lower
setting (below the drain fitting elbow) than the foam level does not go
up the column and into the cup at all. I got it with the drain fitting
option, and was a bit dismayed that it did not come with a plug just in
case I did not want to use the barbed elbow that it did come with.
<This will be a regular plug available at any hardware store, most
likely a Â¼' or 3/8' pipe thread.> I will be
calling AquaC later on today when they open, but any suggestions here
will be very greatly appreciated. <A few things come to mind. First,
do you use any additives on a regular basis such as Selcon or one of
the many magic coral elixirs? Many of these can make a skimmer go out
of control. Other point is, new skimmers can take a bit to start
producing a good skimmate. It is common to set the collection cup too
low to get something, and then it ends up being a very wet foam. The
collection cup will need to be set higher, this is what the skimmate is
telling you. Be patient, the foam will reach the top of the neck, again
if this is a new skimmer it can take a few days.> Thanks for your
help, Jeffrey Castaldo <Welcome, Scott V.>
Microbubbles and no skimmate...
Mmm, skimmer op. f' 10/1/08 Good Afternoon, <Hi
there> First and foremost, I would like to thank you, Mr. Fenner,
and the WWM Crew for taking the time to answer all of the questions and
for building such an informative site. I will apologize for the length
of this letter beforehand. I have a couple problems. First, my skimmer
is producing nothing other than a green tea colored liquid; <Mmm...
either needs adjustment or is "just" not a very efficient
make/model> secondly, I have a large amount of microbubbles or
microparticles that are making the tank cloudy. <No fun> I have a
125-gallon tank that I started in January of this year. I added 175
pounds of live rock and a Â½-inch of fine aragonite sand.
This is where I made the first of several mistakes. I knew the rock
needed to cure and had planned to do so in the tank. I placed the rock
in the tank with a CPR Bak-Pak 2 Skimmer, three powerheads and an
Emperor 400 BIO-Wheel. I obviously did not understand the difference
between curing and cycling. <Yikes! What a mess> I failed to do
water changes and the ammonia level climbed off the charts. At the
highest possible placement of the collection cup, the skimmer failed to
produce anything other than the tea colored liquid. I am sure you can
imagine what happened, no living creatures on the live rock from the
ammonia. The live rock had a lot of coralline (which bleached), but I
never experienced the foul odor during curing that I have read about
here. <You're fortunate t/here> The tank completed its cycle
in about three weeks. I had all the undesirable effects, such as the
diatom bloom. I had initially used tap water to fill the tank, which I
now realize was another mistake. I eventually developed the dreaded
Cyanobacteria. I added an RO system, and it had little effect on the
Cyanobacteria. I had my water tested by a water quality firm and found
that the tap water contained 600 ppm of total dissolve solids. <We
actually have more here in most of San Diego... and call our source
water "liquid rock"> The RO water contained 30 ppm
<Mmmm> so I added a DI filter to the system and lowered the TDS
to 0. The CPR skimmer has never made much skimmate and as earlier
mentioned, it was nothing other than a tea color. I finally defeated
the Cyanobacteria problem with a great deal of water changes. <You
must be getting the ahms of AhnoldS!> I had also read that dripping
Kalkwasser with an IV would precipitate the phosphates, which I believe
that I have, but have always tested zero. I believed the skimmer was
producing the microbubbles, so I upgraded to an AquaC Remora Pro with a
bubble trap, <Ah! Very good> but I continue to have little
skimmate production. I have even talked with Steve at AquaC; he
suggested that maybe the bioload was too light. <A possibility> I
have now had another outbreak with Cyanobacteria. I know there is a lot
of organic matter in the water, <But... "something"
missing> since the Emperor filter cartridges become extremely dirty
in a short amount of time. I have also dripped Kalkwasser over several
days to raise the pH to 8.6 to precipitate the phosphates. I have now
added a poly filter along with Chemi-Pure. <Worth trying> The
Cyanobacteria is still present and I siphon it out every few days. I
will disappear within an hour of "lights-out" and come back
vigorously within an hour of "lights on." I know this is not
light dependant and is a result of high organics in the water. I also
have a green algae that grows on the back glass (not sure if it is also
related to the Cyanobacteria or not) but its texture appears to be more
slime-like. The coralline grows well on the rocks but when it forms on
the glass, it grows to the size of a dime, then develops a small hole
in the middle, and completely disappears within a few days. The
microbubbles are not only very aesthetically displeasing but as you are
quite aware can be dangerous to the livestock. I have tested the
equipment that I have by have shutting everything off for 12 hours, but
there continues to be microbubbles or microparticles in the water
column, they never settle out or rise to the top. Sometimes it almost
appears that they are coming from the substrate and appear to get worse
the longer the lights are on. <Yes... I know of the sort of thing
you are experiencing... and a safe, easy "cure"> Again, I
apologize for the length but I am out of things to try. I also placed a
HOB magnum with a micro cartridge and ran this for a month to make sure
it was not just particulate matter and it appeared that this made no
difference either. Not sure if this matters or not but in the beginning
I had to add massive amounts of calcium because it kept dropping into
the 250 range, I was also adding Purple up. <Mmmm> After reading
on your site, I stopped all the supplements other than Kent Super
Buffer for my water. The calcium has remained steady in the 400 range
with no additives for several months now. I am just wondering are these
microbubbles the bi-product of the Cyanobacteria or some other type of
bacterial infection. Up until about two weeks ago, my pH fluctuated to
the extremes 8.1 to 8.6 it was as if the BGA was controlling this to
its own satisfaction. <Good guess> Calcium and DKH remained at
acceptable levels and pH would be 8.1 one day and 8.6 the next with no
additives. I first thought it was the pH meter, which is a pinpoint,
but after having it checked and calibrated there was no problem with
the equipment. 125-gallon aquarium (not drilled) pH 8.1 to 8.3 Ammonia
0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 20 DKH 11 Calcium 400 Temperature 79 (very
stable) Phosphates 0 (tank and RO water) Lights PC (4) 96 watt (on for
12 hrs) (3) Powerheads AquaC Skimmer (Rio 1400) UV (used for 1 month
with no results so I removed) Emperor BIO-Wheel (change filters weekly)
I have added phosphate remover and ChemiPure in the last month I use no
additives other than Kent Superbuffer for make-up water I have done
10-gallon water changes weekly. I also only feed Ocean Nutrition flakes
and seaweed for the Tangs. I am positive I am not overfeeding.
Livestock (1) Yellow Hawaiian Tang (1) Flame Hawkfish (2) True Percula
Clowns (3) Green Chromis (1) Watchman Goby (1) Sailfin Blenny (1)
Foxface (1) Kole Tang (2) Brittle Stars (3) Firefish Gobies (2) Cleaner
Shrimp (1) Flame Scallop (came with cleaner crew) Pulsating Xenia
(grown to three separate large colonies) (1) Frogspawn (3 heads)
Several mushrooms Several button polyps (1) White Pom Pom Xenia Cleaner
crew mixed snails and hermits Thanks for all your assistance, Roger
<Now... I am going to try my best at an effort of sleight of hand
here... suggesting actions w/o much (or any really) explanation of
causative mechanisms. IF you will try adding a bit (abundance of a
lacking essential nutrient) of carbon here... in the form of ethanol
(Vodka will do) or "simple" sugar (pentoses, hexoses), you
will very likely find a "miraculous" turning about of your
system... Either a half ounce of the C2H5OH... OR a couple grams of the
sugar (dissolved in some water), every other day for three, four
treatments... And please do write me back in a week or so and we'll
chat re... Not to be or appear disingenuous, I don't want/intend to
encourage others carte blanche to try this. Your situation however...
is apropos. Bob Fenner>
Re: fighting conch, algal
contr., and wet-dry conv. to live sump... Adjusting skimmer, macroalgae
light f' 9/11/08 Mr. Fenner, <Chris>
When you mentioned water quality mal-influencing skimmer function and
needing adjustment to raise the water level in the contact chamber,
does this mean: the water quality is poor, or that the skimmer itself
needs adjustment? <Perhaps a bit of both; definitely the latter>
I tested the water yesterday...salinity 1.024, ph 8.2, nitrate was high
(20ppm), ammonia, nitrite, phosphate were all zero. The pump attached
to the skimmer has a water flow dial on it...is this what you meant by
adjusting to raise water level in contact chamber? <Yes> I read
the skimmer manual section pertaining to the water flow dial, and
I'm embarrassed to say I'm still confused whether it will push
more froth into the cup by increasing the flow (turning knob
counterclockwise), or vice versa. <Just try going both directions...
Usually opening the valve is turning left/counter-clockwise...> The
last question in my previous email pertained to my keeping macroalgae
in the display tank...is the existing light (120W total) sufficient to
keep the macroalgae happy in the display tank (72L X 18W X 22H) with
100 lbs or so live rock, and 1-2 inch deep live sand substrate?
<Mmm, likely so... there is a huge span of "useful" to
optimal quality and quantity of light per species, Division of algae...
with much photo-adaptation> They're on a timer, approximately 8
hrs per day. This was my first large marine tank, so I contracted with
a local aquarium maintenance company to plan and install the system
(equipment, lighting, hard plumbing, etc.), hoping to watch the owner
work and ask enough questions so that I'd be more comfortable on my
own for future systems. <Good practice> At the time, I saw a
Berlin skimmer online review that was consistent with your comment
(that it wasn't the best choice), but I relied on this person's
expertise, since he said he had personal experience with this brand
skimmer. It was also his opinion that since this was not going to be a
reef tank, 2 standard fluorescent fixtures (housing two 50/50 bulbs
each) was all I needed. <Mmm, short-sighted in my opinion... I urge
folks to aim at likely upgrade scenarios... in the hope, knowledge that
they may well "graduate" to other types of systems in
time> Thanks, Chris S. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>
|Protein Skimmer "upgrade", Modifying Aqua
Euro HOB Skimmer 9/2/08 Hello Crew, <Hello Jeremy.>
You may or may not find this information of use to your readers,
but I thought I would pass in along for your review. When I set-up
my first salt tank about a year ago, I knew absolutely nothing
about protein skimming. My LFS convinced me to buy an Aqua-Euro HOT
skimmer that was light on the pocket book and supposedly had decent
performance. In the beginning it worked pretty well, and after
reading and studying up a little it seemed to perform up to the
general guidelines you guys have laid out for skimmer performance.
Needless to say, after the initial break-in period I noticed that
the over-all performance and quantity/quality of skimmate started
to dwindle, as is often the case in some of the cheaper skimmers on
the market. The Aqua-Euro skimmer (for those that aren't
familiar with it) utilizes both a needle wheel pump and a
non-adjustable aspiration set-up to control the water level in the
skimmer itself. I thought and thought and thought some more about
how the skimmer actually functioned, and wondered if there was a
way that I could modify it to boost it's performance. <There
usually is, as you found!> As I tinkered around with it a
little, I noticed that if I blocked off the aspiration inlet with
my finger, I would actually get MUCH better bubble fractionation
and over-all flow through the unit. The downfall though, was that
the water level in the outlet chamber would get dangerously close
to overflowing the unit. As I thought about it some more, I asked
myself if there was any way I could regulate the amount of
aspiration to get a happy medium between water level and
fractionation. I decided to add an inline gate valve that I had
laying around to the air line and see if that would give me
adequate control. It worked, and worked well! <Many 'high
end' skimmers provide such a device, it does work in some
instances.> But I wasn't done yet. At the top of the inlet
chamber, there is an angled baffle to help create some turbulence
before reaching the collection cup. I wondered if changing the
angle of the inlet down-tube would possibly increase or decrease
the amount of turbulence in the chamber and increase contact time.
I swiveled the tube as far to the inside wall of the chamber
containing the baffle as it would go and a really neat thing
happened. It created a convection current in the chamber
effectively creating and second pass of sorts for the fractionated
mixture. I now get more than double the amount of nice dark
skimmate from the same inexpensive skimmer for a five dollar
upgrade that anyone can do. <Wow, great!> I know Aqua-Euro
isn't really widespread in the marketplace, but for someone on
a limited budget, this is an inexpensive skimmer that can be easily
modified to produce as well as some of the more expensive units out
there. I've only had it for a little over a year so I cannot
attest to pump longevity, but I can say that it is silent, rarely
do I ever have to make any adjustments to it, it doesn't pass
micro-bubbles into my tank, and it has never broken down on me in
that amount of time. For those needing more visual aid, I've
included a simple diagram of the modifications in case you decide
to pass this along to your readers. <It will be.> If not, or
if you guys are vehemently against Aqua Euro for some other reason
feel free to send this straight to the dumpster. <Heee, no!>
I have not tried it because I don't own one, but I would
imagine a similar modification could be made to their in-sump
models as well, though I imagine it would be a little more finicky
since it appears that they only use one model of pump, and on their
bigger units they simply employ multiple pumps rather than using a
more efficient single pump. Sincerely, Jeremy <Thank you for
sharing your finds, this will be posted for the benefit of others.
Happy reefing, Scott V.>
Skimmer, Omni Life... -- 07/16/08
Hello I am looking for any information on an Omni Life skimmer. I just
recently purchased one, It came without a pump. <Can fit most any
on, and throttle up/down... does not work well in any case...> I
just need to know if anyone knows anything about this company Thanks,
Curt <Mmm, is a puny, un-engineered very low use tool... I would put
it back on the Net or the garage... whence it came. Bob Fenner>
Overskimming? Fact or Fiction? - 6/30/08 Dear Crew -- <Hallo!
Benjamin with you today!> A very quick skimmer question. We have a
hang-on-the-side BakPak2 skimmer on a 55 gallon tank. We recently
cleaned the skimmer (for the first time in almost a year). We followed
all the instructions and it seems to be working well. My question is
... is it possible to overskim a tank? <For all practical purposes,
no> The skimmer was pulling out about a quarter of the skimming-cup
once a week, now it is pulling out that much in every couple of days,
maybe even every day. Is it possible to overskim the tank? Could that
hurt sponges or other things that are doing in-tank filtration? <No
fears, this is by no means out of line- I would consider it a big
improvement. The efficiency of a skimmer lowers in a directly
proportional relationship to the amount of dissolved polar molecules.
In essence, it is a negative feedback; for every 1% DOC the skimmer
removes, the next 1% will be slightly harder to fractionate. I digress;
all this to say that it would take much, much more than a Bak-Pak II to
provide the needed power to overskim a 55 gallon tank- overskimming in
hobbyist systems is virtually unheard of, and almost impossible.> If
it is overskimming, how can we tune it to skim less? I'd prefer not
to cycle it on and off because it provides a nice flow in that corner
of the tank. <All is well, and I'd recommend cleaning it at
least monthly to keep up good nutrient export. Thanks for all your help
<Very welcome.> thanks Dave and Laura <Benjamin>
Euro-Reef Modified Eheim Pumps For Small ER Skimmers (Not
Yet!) -- 06/17/08 Hi, <<Hello!>> I have a
question about the Euro-Reef RS100. <<I am a huge fan of ER
skimmers'¦I own a CS12=3 with ER-modded Eheim 1262
pumps, myself>> I called them up and was hoping I could
switch out the Sedra pump for an Eheim.
<<Hmmm'¦the RS100 uses a ER-modified Sedra 3500
pump'¦I believe the only ER-modified Eheim pump is the
Eheim 1262'¦too much pump for RS100 skimmer>>
Since this pump performs much better and is quieter. <<The
Eheim pumps 'are' a much better pump than
many'¦agreed>> I couldn't get anyone over
there. <<Keep trying'¦ I have chatted with these
fine folks on several occasions'¦they were likely busy
and just couldn't get to the phone>> Is this a
possibility? <<I'm skeptical (unless you can get a
custom mod on a smaller Eheim model)'¦but you need to
speak to the folks at Euro-Reef about it>> Can you
recommend an Eheim pump for this size skimmer? <<Not with
the required needle-wheel or pin-wheel mod currently offered by
Euro-Reef and sized for their RS100 skimmer. You could try
looking around the NET to see if anyone offers a smaller
needle-wheel modified Eheim pump. H&S skimmers use such
modified Eheim pumps'¦1260s I believe (and about $300 a
pop)'¦but this is still probably too much pump for the
ER RS100 skimmer. A needle-wheel modified Eheim 1250 is what you
need to look for'¦good luck. Another option would be to
replace the Sedra pump that comes with the skimmer with a
needle-wheel modified Ocean Runner pump of comparable size. It
will be a fraction of the cost of the Eheim (though I do like
those Eheims!) and I find this brand of pump very quiet and
reliable as well'¦though they are a bit bulky/large. Be
aware, any pump you get that was not modified/designed/intended
by Euro-Reef to be used with their skimmers will very probably
require some modification/imagination to get it to
'mate-up' with the ER skimmer (and will probably also
void any warranties)>> Thank you. <<Good luck with
your 'hunt.' EricR>>
Re: Euro-Reef Modified Eheim Pumps For Small ER Skimmers
(Not Yet!) -- 06/18/08 Hi Eric, <<Sal>> Thanks
for the quick reply. <<Quite welcome>> Do you know if
the Sedra pump is very loud? <<They're not
'too' bad'¦no more so than a Mag-Drive pump in
my experience. The single Sedra-3500 that comes with the ER RS100
skimmer would not make much noise I would
think'¦especially if you take steps to limit vibration
by placing the pump and skimmer body on some sort of
'resilient' material like computer mouse pads, a piece of
sealed-foam insulation, etc.>> One of the reasons I want an
Eheim is because I've read they are very quiet. <<They
are indeed'¦there just isn't one available with a
needle-wheel sized for the RS100 skimmer>> I don't want
to hear the skimmer going throughout my entire condo.
<<Understandable>> Any help/ideas are greatly
appreciated. <<Provide some vibration dampening under the
skimmer/pump and I think you will be fine>> Peace Sent from
my iPhone <<Regards, EricR (sent from my work
R2: Euro-Reef Modified Eheim Pumps For Small ER Skimmers
(Not Yet!) -- 06/19/08 Thanks Eric, <<Welcome
Sal>> Just want to get this straight. <<Okay>>
You want me to put a mouse pad in my sump under my skimmer....
underwater? <<Yep'¦ It doesn't have to be a
mouse pad per se (though I have heard of folks using these), just
some type of non-reactive and resilient material to absorb
vibration from the pump and skimmer body. In my system, I have my
in-sump skimmer w/pumps and my submersible return pumps all
'cushioned' with bits of closed-cell foam insulation
(1/4') like that found at any home center (Lowe's, Home
Depot, etc.). This can go a long way towards reducing noise from
a vibrating pump. Regards, EricR>>
Protein Skimmer Performance Question 6/18/08 WWM
Crew, <Hello.> I have a Turboflotor 1000 Multi currently
installed as a hang-on in my sump. Tank overflow feeds directly into
the side of the sump that the skimmer is installed on so the water
level remains constant with the skimmer pump sitting approximately
4-5' under the water. The problem I'm experiencing is, after I
empty and clean the skimmer cup (1-2 X's per week), the skimmer
will produce about 1' of nice dark skimmate in the cup but it seems
to stop after that (The level of skimmate never rises). It does go from
a weak tea color to dark (literally almost black) color but the level
of production never seems to increase. <OK> From a clean, dry cup
I will have that 1' of weak colored tea within 24 hours; after
that, the only 'production' I see is the color of the skimmate
getting darker and darker. I think foam is no longer entering the cup
because when I remove the cup to clean it, there is very thick, dry
foam all the way up the center of the cup and attached to the lid of
the cup as well. Could this dry foam be preventing new foam from
entering the cup or is this normal production? <Your skimmate
production will decrease, in this case go toward the drier end, as the
neck of the cup get dirty.> I clean the needle-wheel pump, venturi,
& air lines once a month . <All good practice.> I've had
other skimmers before this one, most recently a Coralife Super
Needle-Wheel 125 and while it didn't produce this dark colored
skimmate, the level of production in the cup did slowly rise each day
as more foam entered the cup. <The darker the skimmate, the lower in
volume it will be, not necessarily a bad thing.> I've read
several pages of your skimmer FAQ's and have been unable to find
any other symptom similar to this. <Sounds like normal skimmer
operation. If you would like a wet foam, raise the water level in the
skimmer. Another option is to clean the collection cup daily to get the
wet skimmate. Best of luck, Scott V.>
Protein Skimmer Acting Up 6/18/08 Hey,
<Hello.> I recently did a water change, 15 gallons on a 55 gallon
tank, using a new salt, Tropic Marin, and cleaned the filters (in fresh
salt water) and changed out the carbon and Kent Marine Nitrate Sponge
from my Fluval 405. I unplugged the whole system for the cleaning, for
about 15 minutes at most. I plugged everything back in and when the
skimmer (sea clone 100) turned on, it began to spit out more bubbles
than typical. Now the collection cup fills up with clean water within
3-5 minutes. <This can happen with water changes, vitamins, some
supplements, filter cleaning, all of the above.> Also, if I turn the
skimmer onto low it spits out a lot of bubbles and a thin scum starts
to build on the top of the water. I have tested the water, and nothing
major was out of line. My nitrates were 15ppm (pinpoint monitor just
calibrated), and salinity was 1.025. any help would be great, as I have
looked all over the internet, and you are the only ones that I know
could have a solution for me. <Give it time, a few hours and it
should be back to normal. If it is not you will want to clean the pump
and airline. Obstructions here can do this also.> I know adding a
sump would be ideal, but I have a glass tank and don't know exactly
how to do this. <A hang on the back overflow or drilling the tank
are the two options. Visit:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ovrflowboxfaq4.htm for more information on
overflows; getting water to a sump.> Thank you, Brady <Welcome,
good luck, Scott V.>
Re: Protein Skimmer Acting Up 6/19/08 It's
been over 5 hours and 2 and a half gallons of water I've removed
because of the protein skimmer. It's still not working. I replaced
the water I removed with standard RO water. <Do check and watch your
salinity, this will be saltwater you are removing in this case.
Replacing it with fresh will lower your SPG.> Any other suggestions
to help this issue? < If your pump and air intake are clean, give it
time, shut the skimmer off for a bit if it is accumulating this much
water. Cleaning and water changes in the tank can make a skimmer go
nuts for a while, sometimes a day or more. Sit tight, Scott V.>
Protein Skimmer Question 06/02/2008 Good afternoon
guys, <<And Gals i hope... Andrew with you today>> First
let me say your site is amazing, this is my first question to you b/c I
have always been able to find the answers I needed by searching.
<<Thanks for the kind words>> However for this one I seem
to be having a little trouble (although I'm sure it's here
somewhere.) First my set up which has been running for 7 months now and
has consistently had the numbers to follow: 45 Gal. (high), custom show
tank (reef), 55 lbs of live rock making pinnacles and caves modeled on
a site/reef I dived and photographed in the Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi
(avid underwater phtog here), 3 - 5 inches of live sand sloping back.
My numbers Ammonia, Trite & Trates all 0, Ph 8.3, Calcium 423, Mag
1270, DKH 10.5, Phosphates 0 and strontium 15. Aqua C Remora Pro
skimmer and 1 - 150 watt Metal Halide with 14 K bulb and 1 PC dual
compact 80 w (1 pure daylight & 1 pure actinic) all in all ~ 6
watts per gallon. Inhabitants are 1 true percula, 2 cardinal fish, a
mated pair of Coral Banded Shrimp (she's constantly carrying and
laying eggs which are a nice supplemental feedings for the tank and
both are gentle with the tank mates - coral not so much), btwn 5 - 10
(of each) blue legged hermits, Nassarius, cone head and margarita
snails. Corals are 6 different types of mushroom (orange, blue, red and
green, 1 Palythoa polyp, 1 open brain coral (red) and after much
reading prior to buying I now have a gorgeous Goniopora sp. (green) the
size of a child's basketball (the ones pizza hut used to give away
at the final four) and that's just when he does not feel like
coming all the way out - he usually does and he's bigger at times
and is always out when the lights are on from day 1 (even in the
acclimating container.. =). <<Sounds like a wonderful setup you
have there>> Well needless to say I love him and have taken it
upon myself to read everything I can get my hands on on their care and
difficulty of care. Spot feedings of Cyclops-eeze mixed with zoo, brine
shrimp shavings and DT's oyster eggs several times per week. OK
enough about my tank and on to the real question: <<Ok>> I
have always been running the protein skimmer constantly 24 hrs. per day
except while feeding when it is off and timed for 1 1/2 hrs. when I
first started in reefing I didn't even think about how long may be
good or not good to run the skimmer. So I started to do a little
research and found out others only run theirs for several hours per
day. What would you (the pro's) advise for my situation and tank?
<<To be honest, personal preference. I would have to say its
about a split 50 / 50 of people i know who run all the time, a nd some
on timers. Personally, i don't run one at all. If you can run 24/7,
then i don't see any harm in it, this is usually the common advise
to give. Some of the people i know who run their skimmer for only part
of the day, actually only do this to cut down their electric
consumption>> I'm thinking a timer kicking it on during the
night-time & off ___________? would be nice so I don't have to
see all the micro-bubbles = ), but you...? <<If you have a micro
bubble issue with the skimmer, then i would attempt all avenues
possible to rectify this. I do know that sometimes, no matter what is
done, it cannot be stopped. So, if you do only want to run it for part
of the day, then yes, run it through the night while tank viewing is
not being done>> Can you advise a time estimate for my skimmer?
Or anything I could read upon for the Goni, I have all the common
books, but maybe I'm missing one or two. Thanks so much for your
time and all you do to help us little guys out. Alex - Manhattan, NYC
where I can't SCUBA dive without a shot... <<Please do read
more on the Goniopora here including linked articles and FAQ's
http://wetwebmedia.com/poritidae.htm >> <<Thanks for the
questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>
Re: Protein Skimmer Question 06/03/2008 Thanks for
the great advise and feedback Andrew. <<No problem at all, glad
to be of assistance>> Definitely gal's as well. I'm
fortunate enough to live in an apartment building where I don't pay
for electricity so that is never a problem. I will take your advise
since it has been working since start-up and keep running the skimmer
24-7. Thanks again for the link to more readings on the Goni - heading
there right now. Look forward to the next time we get a chance to chat.
<<Me too Alex, enjoy reading,>>