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FAQs about Skimmer Selection for Marine Systems 3

Related FAQs: 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, Skimmer Selection 8, Skimmer Selection 9, Skimmer Selection 10, Skimmer Selection 11, Skimmer Selection 12, Skimmer Selection 13, Skimmer Selection 14, Skimmer Selection 15, Skimmer Selection 16, & DIY Skimmers, Skimmers for Refugiums/Sumps, Hang-On Models, Best Skimmer Op./Maint. FAQs, Skimmer MaintenanceSkimmer Operation/Maintenance 2, Algae Control, Corallife Skimmers, CPR Skimmers, Deltec Skimmers, ETSS Skimmers, Euro-Reef Skimmers, Prizm Skimmers, SeaClone SkimmersSkimmers for Eclipse Systems, Skimmers for Small SystemsSkilter Skimmers, Tunze Skimmers, Algae Control

Related Articles: Skimmers by Steven Pro, Protein Skimmer Impressions By Steven Pro, Marine Filtration, Mechanical, Physical & Chemical, and FAQs

Overflow arrangement on a huge system (1,200 gallons)

Skimmer Upgrade Options Dear WWM Crew, I have a question about upgrading my skimmer. First, I'll give you a quick rundown of my system: 75 gal tank, 3.5-4 in sand bed (CaribSea special grade reef aragonite), CPR BakPak II skimmer, CPR hang-on refugium with blade (?) Caulerpa on reverse daylight cycle, heater, 2 powerheads for circulation and 70 +/- pounds live rock. I add Kent buffer for pH/alkalinity control and Kalkwasser in top off water for calcium. Tank inhabitants include 1 Spotfin butterfly (4"), 1 chain link moray (9"), 1 royal Gramma (3.5"), 1 Redspotted hawkfish (2.5"), 1 neon goby, 1 banded coral shrimp, a few hermits, and a few snails. The CPR skimmer works great, but I feel it is too small a unit for the tank and bioload. <Agreed> It produces about a cup of skimmate each week. I know Anthony would like that much produced every day or so. <I am a little more relaxed (3-4 times weekly), but agree in principal-the more you remove the less there to fuel undesirable algae.> I will be adding a pygmy angel soon (in qt tank now) <Glad to hear about the QT.> and a short nose puffer later. I would like to upgrade the skimmer to a larger, more efficient unit. I recently upgraded tanks from a 55 gal to the 75 and everything listed above was in/on the 55 gal except the eel. After reading the WetWebMedia FAQs and articles, I have mixed opinions on which unit to get. I need to buy a hang-on model as I don't have a sump. I also would like a unit with a surface skimmer. Options include, but are not limited to, Aqua C Remora, Red sea Berlin HO, Big Mombassa, Excalibur Skimmer, or Aquamedic Turboflotor. What would your first choice be for efficiency? <The Aqua-C Remora Pro with Mag-Drive pump.> Any of the above units or others not listed? Thank you for your help. Sincerely, Jason Bartlett <You are quite welcome. -Steven Pro>

Protein Skimmer (choosing) I will direct this question to Anthony, since he seems to be the BIGGEST proponent of skimmers, but I'd appreciate answers/input from the rest of the team as well. <Anthony is away at the Backer Show, so you get Steven's opinion today.> I know you guys (and gal) don't like to directly pick one product over another, but this is a tough decision for me. I just sold my TF1000 and am looking to get a new skimmer. The TF1000 is a fine skimmer, but I am just really curious as to whether or not I can get "more" skimmate from my triggers and puffers inhabited 100G with 40G sump. I want to know if the higher end skimmers from Aqua C and Euroreef are really better. I want to upgrade to a larger tank someday, so I wanted to get these questions answered, so I opted to upgrade. Anyhow, I've narrowed my choices down to either the Aqua C EV-180 or the EuroReef CS 6-2. They are roughly the same price at Marine Depot, and I'm wondering if you had a preference. I'm looking for great skimmate production with minimal tweaking. <The Euro-Reef model is rated for up to 100 gallons, which is fine for your current tank. But since you wish to upgrade, I would go with the Aqua-C. It is rated for up to 200 gallons.> I've also posted at talk.wetwebfotos.com for their suggestions. Thanks! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Protein Skimmer Selection Hi, I need your help. I am setting up my first salt water aquarium. At this time it will be mainly a fish only set up, the tank size is a 135 gal show tank. I am buying Amiracle wet dry 400 filter for it, but I need help on the skimmer selection. which skimmer do you find the easiest to use for a beginner that really works like they advertise. Amiracle has a combination filter and skimmer called the pro series, anyone know anything about them? they also make a 250 /350 gal skimmer any good, need help have not bought the filter or skimmer yet any suggestions. appreciate any help you can offer, really like your web site. Thanks. <Please read through the many FAQ's on skimmers beginning here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimmerfaqs.htm -Steven Pro>

Skimmer Anthony, <Steven Pro this afternoon.> Thank you for your quick response. I am considering your recommendation about the Euro-Reef skimmer and was curious as to which model you would recommend for the 180 gallon reef set up - I was thinking CS8-1 or CS8-2? <Definitely the CS8-2, rated for up to 200 gallons.> As far I could tell this model exhausts from the top tubular set up with a sponge around it (looking at the pictures on the internet) with this also eliminate the micro bubbles? <Should help, but one thing. If you turn your skimmer off, do the bubbles disappear?> Best Regards, Mike <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

Protein Skimmer Recommendation Dear Bob, Steve, Anthony: <Steven up in the middle of the night.> I currently have 90ga. FO, 60-70lbs live rock, crushed corral, Wet/dry Amiracle with mag 7 pump, magnum 350 canister run with carbon for week, then filter pad only. Mainly for circulation. Running for 6 months, removed live rock and cc after 6 months due to medication. Replaced with new rock and substrate. Currently stocking Picasso trigger, Guinea fowl puffer and juv. emperor angel in quarantine. Next fish is lionfish, and finally clown trigger. When these fish get too large will either move to larger tank or give away. Question of day: Recommendations for protein skimmer. I have am thinking of obtaining a Red Sea Berlin Classic. What are your feelings on this? <Not my favorite, but I have not tried out the new "Turbo" models.> How large of a water pump do I need for this skimmer? <I think they use a Mag-Drive 500 or 700 or something equivalent (different brand).> Mag drive or Eheim? I know you like Eheim but I can not find these in any of the mail order, I know I must be looking under the incorrect pump manufacturer. Any help would be gladly appreciated. <Eheim is the manufacturer, but perhaps your mail-order company does not carry that line. Do look through the FAQ files on skimmer selection. Euro-Reef, Tunze, and Aqua-C are all fine brands. -Steven Pro> Regards, Mendy1220

Protein skimmer Hi WWM,  My 120g tank has finally cycled (almost 7weeks to the day), and now I intend on slowly stocking it. I originally bought a Sea Clone skimmer, I know - grossly underpowered for my tank huh?. <hehe... in ways that "grossly underpowered" hasn't been thought of before!>  This is not connected, and I am intending on purchasing a skimmer I have seen at my LFS. It is called a "Queens Turbo Protein Skimmer", and is rated for 2000ltrs. I trust the shop owner, who tells me this is more likely 1000ltrs in reality. <yes...mfg claims can be inflated... even outside of the wonderful capitalist Mecca USA <smile>> It looks heavy duty and is priced at $500 (NZ) - approximately $200 US. The Turboflotor is priced at $799 (NZ) - around $430 US. <wow! I had no idea that the rate of exchange sucked so bad for you. My sincere condolences> I was wondering whether you have heard of this brand / model, as my search of the Net thus far has revealed no references to it at all. <I have not heard of it at all, my friend> Any remarks would be greatly appreciated by this New Zealander. Andrew Hough <regarding the skimmer: at those prices... you can build a much better one easily that will be far cheaper. Many DIY sites on the web and many different styles... have you browsed the great DIY section on the Aussie site www.ozreef.org ? Fantastic. My instinct says that this unit is not worth that kind of money. Even the Turboflotor (which I like) is not so low maintenance that I would spend that kind of cash on it in NZ. DIY my friend... all the way. I even like the simple but effective tall Nilsen style countercurrent skimmers that you can make with PVC parts. I have a diagram of one with parts detailed in my book. I'll see if I can get another crew member to help me convert it from AutoCAD in to a useful image for web posting. Kindly, Anthony Calfo.>

Protein skimmer Going to buy a new skimmer for a 180 gallon reef tank. In your Q&A you talk about a cup of dark liquid a day, how can I know if a new skimmer will do this RGibson. <There are many high quality units that have been recommended in the FAQ's. Any of those should be fine. -Steven Pro>

Protein Skimmers Anthony, I have been experiencing poor results with my Berlin Turbo protein Skimmer. I am looking for an in-sump skimmer no larger than 10x10x26 to handle a 125 gallon tank. What do you feel are the best skimmers? Dollars are not the key consideration. <A Euroreef would be one of the very best choices hands down. It would be a coin toss for me between that and a Tunze and I'm leaning toward the Euroreef. They are not the cheapest... but they are very well designed, sturdy and reliable. Feedback from aquarists categorically is that they produce skimmate consistently with less effort than most any comparable model.> Thanks as always, Joe <best regards, Anthony>

Skimmer Questions G'day Robert. <<Not Robert, but JasonC - Bob is away Diving. > Just a quick question, I've been looking at the Tunze protein skimmers. The 235/2 or 230/2. Are they any good?  <<they are considered by many to be a premier brand. Have never used on myself.>> I've never seen these before but I really like the compact design.  <<also look at AquaC and Precision Marine - both have compact models.>> I was looking for a hang on for my 150 gallon fish only tank when I came across these skimmers. I like how they just sit above the water which is very different to the other bulky hang on designs.  <<yes, again AquaC has a very popular Hang-On model... links for all on the link page except Tunze which is www.tunze.com - the links page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/links.htm >> Thanks for any information you came give me. Robert. <<Cheers, J -- >>

Protein Skimmer Could you recommend a hang on tank skimmer suitable for a 20 gallon tank with appx. 20lbs of live rock. Thanks Jeff Woods <most of the small commercial skimmer are tedious and weakly effective. You might try looking at Bak-Paks though. Very favorable feedback from many aquarists on this brand. Anthony>

Skimmer to Super-Size or not Super-Size Hi,  <Hello, Anthony Calfo in your service> I am setting up a 90 gallon w/ overflow into a sump. I purchased a BakPak2 for my current tank which is only 29 gallons, but before I even opened the BakPak2 I decided to get a larger tank-- <bless your heart!> hence the new 90 gallon. I am going to start out with LR/LS and fish, and then slowly progress into inverts--maybe even over a years time--I am in no hurry. I have been doing tons of reading and have read that some people with reef tanks are not necessarily using a super-sized skimmer.  <which depends entirely on the invertebrates kept... if you want a tank full of Xenia, great... a weak skimmer may be just fine. If however you want a tank full Alcyoniids (colts, leathers, etc) or LPS corals (hammers, octopus, elegant, etc) .then it will eventually fail to allelopathy (chemical warfare). Make a list of targeted livestock before making this decision> I am thinking that maybe I don't even want/need a skimmer rated at 250g when I will actually only have 75g or even less when the rock and sand are in place,  <a poor rationalization, my friend for the way most people set up reef tanks> and that a skimmer of that magnitude may pull out too much "good" stuff as well  <growing corals also pull out "good stuff", should we eliminate them to...hehe <smile>. Some species shed more noxious compounds than you'll know what to do with. It all boils down to what species are you keeping?> and that the BakPak2 rated at 60g will be sufficient. My question is this: Is it possible to over-skim?  <very unlikely given the dynamic of everyday Aquariology (a contestant degradation of water quality)> I can still exchange the BakPak2 and go a different route now, considering that I am going to slowly evolve the 90g tank into a reef tank. Thanks pat <I would strongly advise you to get a skimmer rated for slightly larger then your tank (like for a 125 gall). If you think you don't need as much skimming you can back off. If you discover that you are wrong, you can pick up the pace. If instead you put an undersized model on and discover that you are wring... then you are out of luck and have wasted money on an undersized skimmer while stressing invertebrates. Anthony>

Protein skimmer & Lighting Hi,  <Hi, Natalie... Anthony Calfo here. I must say that you have a beautiful name. My niece and Godchild share it with you> I just started a 55 gal salt water tank. It now has 3 damsels, a brittle starfish, and an Atlantic Anemone.  <do resist anemones if you want coral... a tough mix as motile anemones bring their stinging tentacles on the road to wreak havoc in the tank> I have about 15lbs or live rock, working on buying more.  <the best investment for a marine aquarium> I just added the starfish and the anemone. It will eventually become a reef tank. I need a protein skimmer. Could you give me a few suggestions that are good but also are at a reasonable price? I am short on money right now, but I need one now, right?  <as soon as possible, but not at the expense of buying an inferior model. Compensate by low stocking/feeding and extra water changes in the meantime. Do look at CPR BakPaks, Turboflotors, Euroreef Skimmers, Aqua C. Some mail order places on the net like Custom Aquatic have quite competitive prices> I am going to add fish, algae eaters, and invertebrates slowly. <slower the better, yes> I would also like to know a couple of things about lights. I have a two lids making the top of my aquarium. The original lights are what I am using now (15w each). First, what type and number of wattage do you suggest? I want to get some corals but not the ones that require high intense lighting.  <you really need to pick your coral species before you can pick any lighting...they have such different needs. And try to avoid mixing drastically different families from LPS, SPS, Octocoral and Corallimorph families... just a recipe for problems in the long run. Have a dominant theme and stick to it. Low to med light for Zoantharians and LPS species, medium to high light for Octocorals, and high light for clams and SPS species to make a gross generalization> Again my budget is limited. I am not worried about going cheap now and spending even more when I upgrade. When I say cheap I don't mean the cheapest out the best for the money. I would also like to know if I need to buy a different lid or what?  <two retrofit 6500K Iwasaki metal halides (150 watt) would work nicely. Very little DIY save for screwing the reflector and socket foot into the canopy lid, A great savings indeed and a lighting scheme that would be great for the long run too. Halides offer the most bang for the buck hands down> Some people have told me that I could just lay it across the lid I have now with no covering. This did not sound to cozier. Please let me know.  <depends on the light... but indeed not safe for most> Thanks, Natalie  <kindly, Anthony>

Tunze skimmer. I have a dilemma here, maybe I should spend more to get Aqua C remora instead of Tunze.. what do you think?.. thanks. Steve. <I personally think the Tunze is a much better skimmer... but you need to weigh what matters most to you. What do you want to spend, are you willing to work harder with extra water changes/chemical media if a another skimmer doesn't work as well, what fits, etc. Both brands have a good reputation. I'm sure that you can be reasonably safe with either. Anthony>

Skimmer Selection Testimony FYI! I own Berlin skimmer, EV 150 from aqua C, and my friend who owns reef devil and after trying out Euroreef I think it will be my lifetime skimmer it is amazing how much, and darker skimmate (like coffee) I will rate this number one). It is producing, compared to the other brands, and easier to maintain and not to forget to mention that it is IDIOT PROOF. <Agreed> One last note, the Sedra pump it comes with is very quite if the collection cup is screwed tight and properly, I know someone made this comment last two weeks ago that it was very noisy. Thanks you guys are doing a great job. <Thank you for this input. Bob Fenner>

Tunze skimmer. I want to get Tunze skimmer for my 55G. Found one for good price but it cover up to 47 and 40 G. it's 3110 and 210.. 3110 is vertically tall to fit into my tank and 210 is horizontally fit.. Which one you recommend? I know I need spend more money on it but maximum price is 120 bucks.. thank you for your advice. <I am guessing by the prices, that these are both used. In that case, get the one that works. If they both work, get the one rated for a larger tank. Check out the Tunze web pages for exact ratings, http://www.tunze.com/ Liters times 0.264 equals gallons. -Steven Pro>

Euro Reef Thanks for adding yet more positive input about a skimmer line that excels in gathering nothing but raves. Sounds like I will be buying into this line. Now will the CS6-1 be sufficient for a full blown 75 reef or would I be better off getting the CS6-2? I will not be getting a larger system so future upgrades are not a concern. I don't want to under skim yet I don't want to go over board for no real good reason. Over-kill is over-kill after all. -Zimmy <The CS6-1 will serve you well. -Steven Pro>

Euro-Reef Hello guys. I am going to be purchasing an in-sump skimmer to go on my new 75ga Oceanic Reef Ready tank. Now, I have read all kinds of info. on in-sump skimmers. If I am going to be spending a lot of cash I want a superior product, period. Everything I read about EuroReef sounds like it is truly one of the best skimmers available. I just don't want a skimmer that is good, I want one that is superb. From what I have heard and the pictures I see of them working (massive bubbles!) they have my curiosity at a peak. I have read some of your opinions on this product and am wondering if it has changed or not? Is EuroReef worth the bucks? -Zimmy <No to changed opinion, it is a "superb" product. -Steven Pro>

Skimmer for my 250 gallon Hi Bob, <Steven Pro this morning. I am part of the WWM crew and taking my turn answering questions.> I have a 250 gallon tank with two 3ft leopard sharks. I want to by a skimmer that will do the trick the first time. Money is not that much of an issue. I was looking at the Berlin turbo XL which is rated for 500 gallons. I'm afraid I might make the wrong decision. Please help, any recommendations on an appropriate skimmer would be appreciated! Thanks, Frank <I would look at commercially sized units from Euro-Reef and RK2. That way when you upgrade to the several thousand gallon tank that your sharks require, you will not have to upgrade your skimmer, too. -Steven Pro>

Tunze skimmers How do you rate Tunze skimmers? Some folks say they are the best there is? <I'm one of those folks that rank them very high. I have purchased 6 units in the past decade for personal tanks. They are reliable, durable and idiot-proof after the initial adjustment period. There are many other great skimmers out there nowadays too. Euroreef also ranks quite high. Turboflotor and Aqua C also are in the ballpark> as I am setting up a 150 gal system and want the best money can buy thanks R. Luckert <I would strongly advise two skimmers on staggered cleaning schedules to maximize skimmate production (uninterrupted). Pick to different styles too as they do extract different compounds (even if slightly)... like the centrifugal Venturi action of a Tunze with an aspirating needle impeller-Venturi style. Kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

To skim or not to skim (protein that is) Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro this evening all hyped up on coffee and dessert and unable to sleep.> Thank you for running such an awesome site and dealing with some many questions with such patience. I am beginning my first saltwater set up for fish and if possible, I wanted to get your advice on a protein skimmer. I was recently given a 35 gallon hexagon tank (18" x 21.5" x 24") for Christmas and I'm trying to figure out what type of protein skimmer would be best for such a vertical tank. I did look through the FAQs at www.wetwebmedia.com but did not find anything specific to my tank. Because this is my first saltwater tank, I do not want to spend too much money (< $100 is possible) on a protein skimmer. <I am sorry to have to be the one that tells you, but you are going to have to spend more money. You get what you pay for and $100 is not going to buy you anything good new.> However, I am just not sure what brands or styles (in-tank vs. hang-on) would be best for my tank's size and volume. I welcome any suggestions that you can offer. Thanks for taking the time to help me out! <Hang-on is best. For a small tank such as this, the CPR Bak-Pak or Aqua-C Remora would be good choices.> Respectfully, Derrick <Bite the bullet and spend the money. -Steven Pro>

Re: To skim or not to skim (protein that is) Dear Steven Pro, <Bob here today. Steve's showing a fish friend about Pittsburgh> Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly. Please don't apologize for bearing "bad" news. I was afraid that of the fact that I was going to have to pay for reliability and efficacy. I'll look into the hang-on skimmer that you suggested. Thanks again and I'll let you know what I go with and how things work out! <Will send your note off to Steve. Be chatting. Bob F> - Derrick

To skim or not to skim (protein that is) Hi Mr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo up at bat this time, good sir> Quick question. Did you have any advice on top of Mr. Pro's advice on the CPR Bak-Pak or Aqua-C Remora skimmers for my 35 gallon hexagon tank (18" x 21.5" x 24")? Thank you. - Derrick <I couldn't agree more with it. There is no such thing as a low maintenance, effective AND inexpensive protein skimmer in our industry. Good things are seldom cheap and cheap things are seldom good, as the adage goes. I have literally operated tens of thousands of gallons of seawater as an industry professional in the past decade, and I can honestly say that a protein skimmer is the single most important piece of equipment once biological filtration is established. Personally, given to choose between setting up a tank without a skimmer or not having a tank at all, I'm inclined to the latter because I wouldn't want the work or aggravation of the tank without one. Put a crowbar in that wallet my friend and break out that communion money that you've been saving...<smile>. I promise you that a year down the road, you won't regret it. A good skimmer is an investment that will give you far greater returns. Best regards to you in your endeavors, Anthony>

Re: Protein Skimmers... Mr. Pro/Fenner/Sorry if I'm missing someone, <Antoine has a sick cat, so Bob here> Is there a configuration/brand/etc. that you can recommend to install some sort of sump/protein skimmer/et al onto our 125 gallon fish only tank?  <Yes... there are several... most any container will do as a sump... the larger the better... and many makes/models of skimmers exist for this size system> We are trying to do everything correctly but also minimize the appearance of peripherals on the tank which is why we really do not want to move the tank out from the wall in order to fit a hang on skimmer on the back. <I understand the latter. The first statement... like so much of the universe there are "better/worse" choices, acts, but no real "correct" path... only yours> Also, from all the research I've been doing (learning volumes daily) it seems more advantageous to have a sump incorporated in the tank as well, as opposed to the skimmer only. Any information you can enlighten me with is greatly appreciated. <Yes, this is so...> Bowing to your superior knowledge, Robert A. Nardizzi <Please take a long read through the marine set-up sections on our principal site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marindind2.htm Bob Fenner>

Skimming/Mud Filter I have a miracle mud filter and have read that you still recommend skimming. <Yes> If I am to skim for some part of the day, which part would you suggest? Daylight skimming? or Nighttime skimming? <Daylight is better than night, alternating every few hours is even better... If you perceive that you're not improving water quality (evidenced by higher redox potential, dissolved oxygen, improved water clarity/color... improved livestock vitality, removed skimmate... you could/can turn the fractionator off.> I have e-mailed several people who use the miracle mud filter who claim they get the best Caulerpa growth when they do not skim at all. Thanks -- Chuck <Are they/you out to just culture Caulerpa? Bob Fenner>

Algae bed/Mud + Refugium? + Skimmer? Hi Dr. Fenner, <Just Bob please> I respect your experience and I appreciate your willingness to share it. I have read through all of your FAQ's on refugia and mud filtration and I would like to bounce a few ideas off you. I am just getting started down the road towards acquiring my first saltwater system. I've been reading for the past 6 weeks and have become a fixture at the LFS's. <A good place to study> The goal of my system is to have a healthy system with the lowest possible maintenance necessary. In addition to the common reef inhabitants, I am MOST interested in keeping one or two Mandarinfish and I am coming to understand the challenges they bring. I have seen some algae/mud systems (no skimmer) in operation and I am very impressed with the quality of the water they produce. I understand that the water in these systems needs to be turned over about 5 or 6 times per hour. Is it possible for this type of sump to act as a refugium and produce enough live food for the Mandarins to eat with the water moving this fast? <Yes> Secondly, what is the survival rate for the plankton if it is being pumped at this speed? <Very high. I would speculate in the ninety plus percentage... those critters are tough> So lets say that you believe the water is moving too fast to grow enough food or the pump is killing too much of the plankton and I add a true refugium above the tank to grow food and other species that aren't suited to the main tank. I'll move the water through here pretty slowly and gravity feed it back to the main tank. <Fine> Now I have crystal clear water and yummy food for the Mandarins. Finally, the skimmer question comes up. I understand you like them and I will probably end up with one. However, I will probably begin without one as an experiment to see how much fish-life I can safely support without one.  <Better to start off with one, then turn it down, cycle it on/off...> The research I have done and the feedback from others seems to indicate that an algae bed/mud system without a skimmer is sufficient if you keep the fish population fairly low. I'd like to do some tests on this theory and try to better understand if/when the skimmer becomes necessary. Finally, I'd like to hear your feedback on running the skimmer, the algae/mud bed, and the refugium together. My thought would be to put the refugium above the tank and the skimmer and algae/mud below in the sump with the skimmer coming after the physical filtration and before the algae/mud bed. <Okay> What of Leng's argument that the skimmer will take the plankton and trace nutrients out of the system? <To some degree true... But what of the advantages of running the skimmer?> Given that the algae/mud bed is lit 24hrs/day, I understand that the use of a refugium that is only lit 12 hours per day on alternate cycle from the main tank is optimal. Can you explain how/why this reduces the fluctuation in chemistry? <Mmm, optimal? Depending on the types of life employed, either lighting regimen can be "optimal" for the system, water overall. Alternating the cycle can save redox, dissolved oxygen vacillations... leaving the light on continuously on the refugium/sump can accomplish the same> In this scenario (algae/mud bed lit 24hrs/day - refugium lit 12 hours per day opposite lighting of main tank) , what do you think of running the skimmer during the time that the main tank is dark and the refugium is lit. My understanding is that this is when the bugs stay close to the bottom of the refugium and are not brought into the tank in large numbers. Therefore, the skimmer would not be skimming the bugs during feeding time. <A good idea, hypothesis to try out> Would turning the skimmer on and off on a daily basis cause just the chemistry changes I am trying to avoid? Does the skimmer really kill the plankton I have worked so hard to grow? <Systems can be co-opted, marginalized in either case> What about Keep It Simple, Stupid. Am I going way overboard here. I feel that the benefit of biodiversity and food source from the refugium outweighs the cost of complexity. I'd like to get away with the algae/mud bed acting as this refugium - I'm just not sure if the algae/mud bed will feed my Mandarins. <Try it out> Furthermore, I am afraid that the skimmer will become necessary as I add more fish down the road but that's a complication as well. <Yes> That's about it, for now. Thank you immensely,-Jeremy <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Skimmers Thank you for your reply. UPS said your book is coming tomorrow but I'm off to an early start going to LA and Forest Hills. I can't wait to get started with it when I come back. I bought your book after stumbling onto this site and if it has a fraction of the knowledge you show here, I'm sure I will be satisfied. <You will be my friend> I'm getting into the 58 gal aquarium with my 14-year old son and for me a big part of the enjoyment is this preliminary studying and figuring out what to do.  <Ah, yes!> I used to keep a 120 gal aquarium in the mid 70's but that was in El Salvador and I could get my livestock just driving down to the beach. The methods then were also quite different than today. The 10 gal. we have is actually in my son's room and we both enjoy it a lot. We just need room for more critters and would like to build up to a reef tank over time. <A worthy project of shared discovery and enjoyment> I want to follow up on the skimmer question. I read through your skimmer FAQ today and I will probably get either the Turboflotor 1000 or the AquaC EV-120. I have a few more questions: 1.) You say the AquaC provides similar performance to "needle wheel performance", which is what I think the Aquamedic unit uses. <Yes. The AquaC products utilize an air-entraining nozzle technology> The only real spec difference I see is that the AquaC has a much smaller footprint. Given that the EV-120 w/Mag 5 pump costs 2x the Turboflotor 1000 w/Rio 2100, does it provide significantly more benefits (lower noise, better removal of waste material, easier maintenance or other benefits)? <Mmm, comparable. Better efficiency per size, time, passes> 2.) Which one would you get if you were choosing between these two and why? <The Aqua C as has a bit better service factor (easier to work on, adjust, less down time...)> 3.) This aquarium will be near our bedrooms. Is one unit quieter than the other or will the water trickling to the sump override both units' sounds so this question is not important? <Important all the way around. Some noise from the pump operation... can be quieted by insulation/placement of the units (as in a sump with a cabinet about), trading out the Rio pumps that come with these models for Eheim, other makes, models...> 4.) I read some not-so-favorable things about the Rio pumps. However, I think the Turboflotor comes fitted with a Rio 2100 with a special pinwheel. I can also get the TF 1000 without a pump. Do you know what is involved in fitting a different pump to it (say a Mag 5 or 7)? <Do know... Not much involved. All fitted with flexible tubing (polyethylene) and possibly a plastic clamp> 5.) Is there some web site that rates online aquarium suppliers? I have purchased a lot of computer hardware over the Internet but I rely on places like www.resellerratings.com to check out the places I do business with. I am particularly interested in hearing good or bad experiences with marinedepot.com and petswarehouse.com - I have seen some controversy regarding the latter and I don't know if it is justified. Could you please comment on these two sites if you know anything about them?  <I do know the formers proprietors (Ken Wong, Elko). Seem to be fine, competent, honest business people. The latter company is embroiled in some sort of lawsuit, and you can find on the net that they have some complaints against them with the likes of the BBB... But don't have that much personal experience with either to have high confidence in my opinions. I do know where I would find such opinions however. Please ask on our chatforum: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ You will find there have been a few discussions on just this issue> I would prefer to deal with my LFS and will even pay higher prices for their service and support.  <You are wise here> However, I also don't want to overpay and the reliability of the online suppliers will let me gauge how much to use their prices when negotiating a fair deal locally. <Agreed. I have a very similar working philosophy.> Thanks again for your help! Enrique Muyshondt <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Protein skimmer(s) by Oceanic I would like to know if you have any information the "Oceanic Protein Skimmers". <No... I have no personal, relatable information. I would ask the various listservs in the hobby. Our chatforum: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ see, ask your product/equipment questions there... and do read over the "Skimmer Selection" FAQs pages on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> Thank you, Jamie Stone

Skimmers Hi! I have been reading WetWebMedia and have gone through most of the setup FAQ's. It is great to see your responses and I really appreciate the help you give out. I have "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" on order and according to Amazon it is now on its way to me. <You will assuredly enjoy it> I am in the process of setting up a FOWLR tank that will also house a few soft corals and invertebrates. I've been keeping a 10 gallon tank for two years with good success and can now finally step up to a 58 gallon reef-ready tank. <Much easier, exciting to keep> My question has to do with skimmers. I intend to set up a Berlin system with an in-sump skimmer. I have not seen any comparisons on the various kinds of skimmers available. There seems to be quite a variety and price range. I have my eyes set on an AquaC EV120 for this tank. However, there is also an Urchin Pro, a Venturi skimmer also from AquaC that is almost half the price. I also see the Aqua Medic Turboflotor 1000 mentioned in your web site. Is the technology used in the EV series of skimmers really that much better than the others? <Mmm, comparable to "needle wheel technology" by others> Also, would there be any harm in going one step up with the skimmer, like an EV-180? This is with the view of possibly upgrading the tank to 75 or 100 gallons a few years from now. <I see... a wise anticipation. No real problem with the upgrade> Thank you very much for any pointers you can provide. <We will be chatting as you go along> Enrique Muyshondt - Austin, TX PS: Do you add these questions to the low numbered FAQ's or the higher numbered FAQ's (Setup FAQ 1 or FAQ 7). <To the higher... at some time I hope we will have time to "prioritize", spiff up the spelling, word-usage in some of these. Bob Fenner>

Euro-Reef and AquaC Howdy Bob. Hope things are well. <Hello Brad. Steven here.> Thank God for the FAQ skimmer section on WWM. I was sold on the ETSS 800 for my system, but reading those pages have really changed my mind. I am now stuck on either a Euro-Reef CS8-4 or the AquaC EV400. My system is: 250 gallons of total system water SPS/Clam reef. 15 various fish heavy fish load 200 lbs. Fiji rock 150 lbs. live sand 70 gallon refugium with DSB Also I might upgrade my display tank to a 180 gallon for a total system water of 340 in a year or two. So I would like a good protein skimmer that will handle the change without upgrading. What would you suggest? <If your decision is between the two models listed above, I would have to suggest the Euro-Reef. It is substantially larger (36" tall, 8" in diameter, and rated for up to 650 gallons vs. 32" tall, 6" in diameter and rated for up to 450 gallons for the Aqua-C). The only drawback is the Euro-Reef has a larger footprint.> Right now I am using a Turboflotor T1000, CPR SR6, and a CPR BakPak. Too much "clutter", I want one to do the job, the others are going on reefcentral.com for sale! Thanks for always keeping me in the right direction. See you in Fiji in June '02! -Brad Stefanko <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Hey Bob! Skimmer for established coral tank, refugium Hi Bob, Quick question....I have looked up and down your site (good one) and was wondering if you had a 20 gallon refugium type tank and were looking for protein skimmer would you use the CPR back pack or the AquaC Remora? I went through every link on your page including the chat rooms but nobody really seemed to ask this question. I have no sump, no extra filtering, 3 powerheads, no fish, 48 lbs of live rock and various propagated corals. Growing very well by the way.) Thanks again for all your assistance. <Likely the CPR Bak pak here... as only want "some" fractionation and the system is already up, going well. Bob Fenner> Beers, Paul (again) =)

Re: At my wits end (refer folks to the FAQs... on skimmer sel.) Could you recommend a protein skimmer. I am interested in the Berlin skimmer. Is this one good or would you use something else. If so, what? <For your 10 gallon tank the Red Sea Prizm should be fine. -Steven Pro>

Re: At my wits end (you'll learn...) I was actually thinking for the ninety gallon that is waiting in the wings. <The Berlin, Turboflotor, Euro-Reef (my best recommendation if you have a sump), or an Aqua-C unit would be good. -Steven Pro>

Skimmer Hi Bob, <You got Steven Pro today.> I'm running a Turboflotor 1000 on my 240 gallon fish only system. Do you think that this skimmer is too small for my system? Or is it ok? I'm also In. ozone in the skimmer. The tank is stocked very lightly with 3 big fish. Thanks again. <The Turboflotor is rated for up to 250 gallons. I personally hate to operate near the upper limits. I would add a second skimmer and alternate cleanings every other day. -Steven Pro>

Re: Protein Skimmer, Coralline Algae Will heavy protein skimming affect my Coralline Algae growth? <Yes, it should encourage it.> I need to buy a more efficient protein skimmer. The one I have the collection cup is only a quarter full after one week. So from what I understand it should be at the most a quarter full a day. <Try several attempts at adjusting it before you end up tossing in the towel. Also, try cleaning the pump and impellor of mulm. This is a frequently overlooked duty in maintenance. -Steven Pro> Thanks for the response.

Re: Live Rock and a few other Thank you very much for the responses, <very welcome> I'll change feeding habits right away with the correct options that you've listed. I'll also probably upgrade my Skimmer, <always a good investment> I was going to initially purchase a marine Tech, but was talked out of it by my LFS. It doesn't produce more than maybe 2 oz of green gook a day. <2 oz on an average 75 gallon tank (fed and stocked) is very modest... indeed keep shopping, many good brands out there> thanks again, Maria <kindly, Anthony>

Re: Protein Skimmer Bob,  <Anthony Calfo in your service> I went onto the website and looked up about algae control. I didn't find anything about existing algae. I have been able to control the green algae growth, however I would like to get rid of the algae that is left. Will the algae eventually disappear through protein skimming? <indeed, most nuisance algae can be starved with daily protein skimmer performance (even a second skimmer is a great idea to stagger cleanings for uninterrupted skimming). Careful feeding (discarding thawed juice from frozen foods, etc), and high Redox and pH (8.4 and above) are also helpful.> Thanks <best regards, Anthony>

Skilter purchase Hello all! This is a simple one for you. I want to upgrade my little Skilter 400 I am using on my 55 gallon reef. It does a lousy job skimming! Can you please RECOMMEND what to buy? I just don't want to do any more guess work on this issue! Thanks a lot! -Pamela <I will help, but nothing beats you learning and making an informed, educated guess. Take a look at the CPR Bak-Pak and the Aqua-C Remora with Maxi jet pump. -Steven Pro>

Re: Skilter purchase What do you think of this? Sea Clone AQS08111 Reg: $119.95 Our Price: $68.99 thanks! <I would use it if it were free. -Steven Pro>

Re: Skilter purchase Ahhhhhh, that bad! <Pamela, I am sorry. I mistyped. I meant to say I WOULDN'T use it if it were free. And I literally mean it. I have one sitting in my laundry room. Got for free for a comparison test I did for a local store. Hooked up the SeaClone and ran it against the Prizm from Red Sea in a controlled test. The Prizm was better, but there are even better choices out there. I get the sense you are looking for another, maybe cheaper option, than the others previously mentioned (Aqua-C, CPR, Euro-Reef). If so, take a look at the Excalibur here http://www.championlighting.com/. I have used these before. They perform reasonably well and are fairly quiet. -Steven Pro>

Re: Skilter purchase Don't worry Steven, I'm still learning, just a bit tired these days, you know the drill... work, kids, $$$$, etc! <Pam...just to throw my hat into the ring: if there is a tank upgrade or significant additional invertebrate purchases planned in the 2-3 year plan, I would consider investing in something even higher shelved like a Euroreef skimmer. You don't hear complaints about that beast of a skimmer. Kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Skilter purchase Hey Anthony, I can't seem to find this Euroreef skimmer. Is it under another name. Can you tell me where to get it, and while you're at it, come on over to the house and put it in for me!! (he, he!) <Mmm, their link/URL: http://www.euro-reef.com/ wasn't just working... but this is them. Bob Fenner>

Yet another protein skimmer question I've done my homework and realized that I need to replace the SeaClone skimmer I have on my tank. I got the tank second hand from a man who helped found GARF (www.garf.org) so I assumed he had all sorts of good equipment. <Assumptions are dangerous... as you know> Regardless of how I came by my skimmer it needs replacing. I have an 80 gallon fish and live rock setup. I currently have one puffer, one Toby, a lunar wrasse and may be adding a blue jaw trigger to the tank. Since all of these critters are kind of piggy eaters I need a good skimmer. <Yes, agreed> The major problem is that it's a tall tank so it's only 48 inches long. Take into account the center brace and I've only got about 20 inches on either side to use. Take into account the power filter and that only leaves me the 20 inches on one side. Not a lot of room. As I don't run a sump I'm stuck with either an in tank or hang on the back style. Then take into account that I prefer the Venturi style and I've come to the conclusion that I need an Aqua Medic Turboflotor 750. <A good unit> Does this sound reasonable to you? If so, where on the net can I purchase one?  <Etailers have this make/model... or the similar T1000... there are other good choices here as well... like AquaC's Remora... Links to sources here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/links.htm> I live in Boise Idaho and my skimmer choices are 5 different generic ones, the SeaClone or the BakPak from CPR which is only rated to 60 gallons. I can buy the CPR locally for $170 or online for $120. But I can't find anyone anywhere who carries the Aquamedic skimmers. I've contacted them but haven't heard back. Any other thoughts on which skimmers I should look into? <Please read through the "Skimmer FAQs" posted on WetWebMedia.com under the Marine Index. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Dave

Re: Yet another protein skimmer question I have read many of those FAQs. That's what lead me to the Aquamedic skimmer. Could you direct me to the Etailers that do carry those? <They are listed on the WWM Links pages... Custom Aquatic, Aquatic Warehouse... others. Help yourself. Bob Fenner>

Re: Skimmer Question, Perry, input Pls Thanks a lot. Anyway, just found out today that a Tunze 3110 cost about the same price. <Wow! Tunze are generally good units (bad customer service however here in the U.S.), but quite expensive relatively here> The only draw back is that it is an in tank unit. Hmmm...Choices, choices. <Am not a fan of this placement...> Anyway, if you happen to pass this way, drop me a line. <Be chatting, visiting. Bob Fenner> Cheers, Anthony

Re: Protein Skimmer Well, only a quarter of the collection cup gets filled weekly. The pump I have is pretty strong and generates lots of tiny bubbles. The model I believe is the Berlin 60 or 40 I am not to sure. I have an Eco Sys. which they tell you do not need a protein skimmer. I rather use one because I still get allot of green stuff in my protein skimmer. Do you know if the Prizm protein skimmer is efficient? <Yes, do know... about "medium" efficiency (extraction per pass)... an okay choice for small systems... a few tens of gallons> What do I do about the existing algae in my tank? Will eventually go away? <Please read the many materials on algae, algal control, prevention posted on WetWebMedia.com here. Bob Fenner> Thanks

Skimmer Question Hi Bob, I've started a mini-reef (15 gal) recently after enjoying fresh water and planted tanks for many years. Primary purpose for starting this reef was fascination with the technology and the beauty of the fishes and corals (plus too much free time!). <Well-stated> Anyway, with no experience, I did not want to spend too much on it. Most of the stuff I used are spares or are cheap! But, the $$ are beginning to catch up.  <Many, many people will be bobbing their heads up and down like old Beatles dolls in the back of ancient Chevies with no shocks on reading this> For instance, initially I purchase a cheap (<S$20) skimmer (Orca 300). It's an in-tank, counter-current air powered unit. However, I don't think it's working. There is no foam in the cup, only a clear liquid (and a only bit at that). To give you an idea of how much a bit is, I only need to drain the cup about once in six to eight weeks! I was thinking of replacing it with a HOT unit. I am thinking of a Red Sea Prism. Can I solicit you opinion on this skimmer? or do you have a better solution. <Many choices, much input my friend. Please read re skimmers on our principal site... starting with the index here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marindind2.htm> I am using a canister filter (Eheim 2023) without a sump. Hence, it cannot be a sump skimmer. Also, given the small size of the tank, I don't want an in-tank unit. I fear my choices are limited. <Not as much as you will soon know... there are a few excellent hang-on models for you to consider.> Also please note that over here in Singapore, my choices are very limited. Most of the popular ones are very expensive and for much larger tanks. <Mmm, I visit SG fairly often... as countries go, it is likely the one with the greatest selection (was just there a few months back for the Aquarama trade show...)> Regards, Anthony <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner, who will send your note to a friend in Sing., Perry Chong for his kibitzing.>

Eclipse I am sorry to bother you. <No bother at all. That is why we are here, to help our fellow hobbyists.> I have an eclipse3 on a 20 long gallon fish tank. I have a Lee's counter current protein skimmer in there. I was hoping to upgrade it. Any suggestions? <It depends on how handy you are. For most skimmers, you are going to have to cut a portion of your Eclipse hood. There are some rather handy fellows over on the WWM message board, http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/. I know several of them have done similar retrofitting operations.> Thanks, Anthony <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Protein skimmers Hi there Bob, <Howdy> I'm not very chemistry or physics minded but I'm trying to understand how a protein skimmer might change the gas composition or chemical nature of saltwater in the aquarium. <Okay. Much of this is "documented"... the highlights? Elevated dissolved oxygen, lessened carbon dioxide, raised redox... removal of phobic organics> I've heard that if the O2 saturation of the water is low, use of a skimmer could assist in "blowing off" CO2 so that more O2 could be absorbed but that it would not be able to "supersaturate" the water with O2. Is this right? <Yes> Could the use of a powerful skimmer also change the percentage of other gaseous components of the water? <Yes...> By powerful, I'm not talking industrial strength or anything like that. Just bigger than needed for the tank that it is being used on. I know that the idea of using the skimmer is to catch dissolved organic waste on the air bubbles so that they can be removed when the foam turns back into a liquid in the collection bucket. Is there anything else that is caught up on the bubbles and lost in the foam? <Yes... notably some "trace elements" of consequence (vitamins, minerals...)> The reason I'm trying to figure out more about how the skimmer might change the aquarium environment is that I've noticed a problem with one of my fish that only occurs when the skimmer operates for more than a day. I keep 4 seahorses and one of the two males has a tendency to accumulate air in his brood pouch if the skimmer runs too long. <This is an important observation... you must need address the added small air bubbles being discharged into the seahorses space. Perhaps they can be coalesced by discharging the skimmer effluent onto foam, filter media... Perhaps you can adjust the skimmer, discharge the water into a sump first and have the water pumped back to the main/display tank...> I know there are a variety of reasons that people think that this will happen. Bacterial or fungal infections of the pouch, mechanically "catching" bubbles from the tank in their pouches while courting, and super saturation of the tank with a gas. <Likely a mild case of "emphysematosis". Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bbldisease.htm and the FAQs beyond> The skimmer I now use is homemade and adds no bubbles to the tank so I know it's not the mechanical cause,  <I would not be so sure here... the very small bubbles are hardly detectable> although this also occurred with a "cheapy" skimmer that I used previously that did produce a lot of micro bubbles in the tank. I guess I'm wondering if the skimmer is somehow changing the chemistry of the tank so that a low level infection is aggravated?  <Possibly, but doubtful> Or if it is somehow changing the gas percentages and that causes him to produce gas in the pouch? <I suspect fine air bubbles, super saturation here> I've solved the immediate problem by simply running the skimmer for 8 hrs or so every other day. And this has kept him without pouch bubble for the last 2 weeks. Just out of curiosity, which I'm cursed with, the other day I tested my theory that his problem is triggered by the skimmer and ran it for 2 days straight. And yep, he was full of pouch air by the second morning. I manually released the air again and dropped back on the skimmer use and he's been fine again for the last couple of days. Another interesting tidbit is that he seems to accumulate this air mostly at night. <... a few possibilities... could be the "extra gasses", overall metabolism of the system during light-period 'uses up' the gas in question... or the activity of your 'horses' precludes gas accumulation during such time> So any input that you could give me on how the skimmer might be changing the aquarium and effecting this would be great. Thanks, Penny <Mmm, suffice it to state that this is a serious situation, and one I would address immediately per the above recommendations. Either this or replace, try another make/model of skimmer. Bob Fenner>

Re: protein skimmer Good advice on not using ball valves, I have been using them and yes they are difficult to accurately adjust. My question is this-- in reading thru your column you guys have suggested the Turboflotor T1000 as being one of the better skimmers. I was at a web sight selling these skimmers that suggests purchasing a second pump for this skimmer to improve it's flow. Quote--Skimmer in-take is gravity fed. Pump pictured serves only to aerate the skimmer chamber. Many hobbyist opt to purchase an additional 2100 to pump water into skimmer. Is this good advice or are they trying to sell more pumps? I am new to this hobby and am finding it difficult to get good advice. I sure am glad I stumbled on to your web site the other day.  Thanks for the help. Scott Buske <I have never owned one of these skimmers and have only seen two in operation, so I can only speak from limited experience. The main pump is merely to recirculate and mix air and water in the skimmer body. The 2100 operates in a loop. It draws water from the bottom of the skimmer, mixes it with air, and then injects it into the middle of the skimmer. There is a T before the RIO that draws in water from the sump like a Venturi. Of the tow that I have seen working one left the T unconnected and the other had a MaxiJet forcing water into the T. The one with the MaxiJet had the skimmer in a separate vessel and water had to be pumped to it before it gravity drained back to the sump. If you get another pump, I would get something smaller than another 2100. The other option is to plumb a portion of your drain from the display to your sump into this T. That way the skimmer gets surface water. You best bet is going to be to find a LFS that has one hooked up and closely examine how they did it. I hope I have been helpful. -Steven Pro>

Shared Skimmer? My dilemma: I have an established 55 gallon tank (a year and a half old). I also have a 60 gallon tank sitting empty in my garage with a bunch of misc. gear. Based on the following information, can I start up the second tank or would I be better off combining the stuff on one tank? On the 55 gallon, I'm running a Penguin Bio-Wheel 330 and a Penguin 1140 powerhead for water movement/aeration.  <OK> I have 3 larger pieces of coral sitting on an inch of scallop shell substrate, <horribly difficult to keep clean... not recommended> but no live rock. <highly recommended> I only have one damsel and a brittle star in the tank at the moment, but my ideal population would include a yellow tang, a tomato clown, and about 4 damsels in each tank. <active community fish> The 60 gallon tank is pre-fitted with inlets and outlets on the back. With it, I have a Magnum 350 canister, two smaller filters, an undergravel filter, and a couple of powerheads.  <not thrilled with the UG filter for a modern marine tank unless you are a very hard worker> I know I need to get a protein skimmer soon. Would I be able to share one between the two tanks and if so, I assume a hang-on type would be the easiest to share??? <no way bub... a necessary and full-time piece of equipment> I'm still very new at this and greatly appreciate any helpful advice you have to offer! Jeremy <Welcome and best of luck to you in this wonderful hobby. Help yourself and read some good books! Anthony>

Skimmers I decided to not use the overflow to put water into the T1000 and go ahead and use a pump to do that job. Both the Rio2100 that it came with to mix the water with air and the pump to put water in it will be in my sump. Is this possible to do? <I took a good look at a Turboflotor in action yesterday and now have a better idea of what you have been asking about.> Is my Rio800 good enough to do it? Also which pump model, brand, and size do you recommend to do this job? <The one that I saw used a MaxiJet, but you RIO should work.> Is also, when the Rio2100 that came with it goes bad or I just need a better pump to circulate the water in the skimmer which brand, model, and size do you recommend. <I do not know if you can easy change pumps because the pump that comes with the Turboflotor has a special impellor (needle wheel design). -Steven Pro> Thanks a lot!

Protein Skimmers What is a protein skimmer, and is it required for a saltwater tank. My tank has been going on for 2 months now - and the person at Petco (the only place I've found a decent selection) says not to add one for a few months. I don't know how much I trust Petco. Do you have any experience with the Prizm skimmer? <It is a piece of filtration equipment used to separate organics from the water. There is much for you to learn/read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimmerfaqs.htm The Prizm is OK for a smaller tank. The box says good for 100 gallons, but I would not use it on more than 30.  I always use and recommend a skimmer be used.> Does Live Rock need any special maintenance - special additives, etc? (ok, maybe two questions :) )) <Proper amounts of calcium, alkalinity, and lighting to encourage coralline alga growth.> Thanks ~bill <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Protein skimmer Hi there, I was wondering if you would give me your opinion on homemade protein skimmers if one was so inclined. Do you think they are worth the time, effort or money? This would be for a 200 gallon tank. <I have seen some very well thought out (design, engineering, construction...) DIY skimmers, and some appallingly poor commercial products (some of the most popular lines no less...). For a two hundred gallon system... if it was important (lots of SPS, giant clams, other expensive livestock), and important that the tank look/be its best (as in a service account for wealthy folks, in a public place...) I would look at the Euro-Reef skimmer line... or Aqua-C's... we used Aqua-C's in-sump skimmers on no further our coral farm tanks of about this gallonage... Their links (and others can be found on WWM here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/links.htm My further opinions on skimmers, selection: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm and the links beyond.> Thank you, Tom Beiser <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Protein skimmers for 125 Hello Bob, I have a 125g w/ a volitans lion, Picasso trigger, bird wrasse, porcupine puffer and chocolate chip starfish. The tank is fully cycled, about 11 weeks old, and I want to get a protein skimmer. <Good idea> The problem is that I am really confused because I've been told so many different things and every company's page says they are the best and the "revolution" in protein skimming technology, patent pending etc. Do I need a sump because of the size of my tank or can I use a hang on. <You could use either one... both have advantages, shortcomings...> I also use two emperor 400 filters. I have crushed coral substrate and dead coral; no live rock. <Might be worthwhile to add LR> I've read and been told by many that your the man to talk too about aquariums so any help from the expert would be deeply appreciated. <Oh, you haven't had the opportunity to go over our principal site? Please take a look (this is going to take a while) at WetWebMedia.com  Particularly the FAQs pages on skimmer selection, live rock... Bob Fenner>

High Nitrates/Phosphates Hi, I have a 75 Gal. marine set-up (since 12,2000) containing approximately 60 lbs. of Fiji Live Rock as well as a Red Sea Berlin Turbo protein skimmer. My showpiece resident is a Hawaiian Dragon Moray Eel. In addition have one Cleaner shrimp and four Peppermint Shrimp as well as a few Astrea Snails/Nassarius Snails. Lighting consists of tow Twin Tube All Glass reflectors containing URI Aqua-sun and Actinic Lamps. This week, following a 25% (25 Gal) water change water testing results for nitrates were off the chart high as well as phosphates registering 1.6 mg/l. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.  Would the fact that my Berlin Turbo Skimmer failed on two occasions and as of this writing have replaced the impeller with the third design revision provided by Red Sea Inc. <The skimmer is a contributing cause... but the real producer is the Moray itself... Please take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/no3probfaqs.htm and on to the further FAQs posted on Phosphates... you might try a sump with a DSB, live rock, macro-algae there... and lighting this refugium... This would be the route I would go. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Ron Allard

Filtration Mr. Fenner Thanks for your quick response to my question. Your suggestions have been quite helpful. After doing some more research have come across a very good product at least it seems to be) from AE Tech. Any opinion about from your vast experience. Their ETS filtration systems seem far superior to anything I have come across. Thanks, Kevin O'Connor <Solid construction, not good engineering. Bob Fenner>

Too much Skimming Dear Mr. Fenner I took your advice and tried an in-sump refugium. My phosphate which was always at .4 ppm think it was leaching out of substrate] is now almost zero, and my nitrates which were always climbing have stabilized below 10.Like a DUMMY I asked for a downdraft skimmer for Christmas [super reef devil] now I think I am over skimming because the corals are not as extended as usual [mostly soft corals]. Is it feasible to put the skimmer on a timer to be on for say 10 hours a day when the tank lights are on or use a less powerful skimmer ? <Perhaps over skimming... but try the system as it is a few more weeks> BTW the sump has a good amount of Caulerpa lit 24/7 <Good. Glad to read of your successes. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Peter Occhipinti

Skimmers I have a 29 gallon reef tank. I also have a SeaClone skimmer. From what I have read you do not recommend the Sea Clean skimmer. Should I upgrade my skimmer. So far it seems to work very well. Or do you just not recommend it for large tanks? <The SeaClone is fine for small systems. Bob Fenner>

Protein Skimmer Selection Bob, Don't know how I "stumbled" on your site but I'm GLAD I did. Anyway, I have a 75 gal. FO tank with w/d filter along with a Fluval 303 for mechanical filtration. I give up on my SeaClone skimmer and would like to purchase a better one. I was thinking about an AquaC model EV-120 or EV-180.My sump is not that large (8"L by 10"Wby 14"H), but have plenty of cabinet height (30"). Eventually I am interested in going with a FOWLR system and could use the upgrade in skimming anyway .Any other models recommended? <Please read through the skimmer selection FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm and beyond> Thanks, Rob. P.S. I live in Long Island, New York and I am amazed at what tropical species arrive in the summertime and "hang out" around the Fire Island Inlet jetties. Look downs, big-eyes, tangs, file fish to name a few. A good friend of mine owns a 400gal saltwater and has a wonderful collection of these species. Pretty Neat. <Interesting indeed... imagine the amount of energy involved, the currents bringing the warmer, tropical water from the south... Bob Fenner>

Skimmer Selection questions I have a 55 gal only fish tank and I've just equipped myself with a sea clone protein skimmer. Is running for the pass 2 days and, that's my question, there is only yellow brown WATER coming up in the collection cup.. isn't it suppose to be like foam or something like that? <Mmm, not with a better skimmer... Let me send you again to: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm series of FAQs and the links beyond re skimmer selection...> I don't think its because its not well adjust because I've try almost every speed.. anyways.. I hope I'll write me soon with an answer.. <Umm, "get a better skimmer"... for this size system the AS unit is not useful. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Charles P.S: I also want u to tell me which one is the best between the SeaClone or Prizm.. if they are not which one is the best for the category around 55 gal.  thx again!

Question re skimmer selection Hi, I'm having a question regarding two protein skimmers. I have a 55 gal only fish tank and I eventually want to equip myself with a protein skimmer.  I've done some shopping and for the prize I want to give to that I estimate between two : the Prizm skimmer by redseafish and cyclone protein skimmer http://www.aquariumsystems.com/ I really don't know with one to chose. They both look good.. anyways... tell me what u think about those two and which one to pick.. thx for your help. <Please read over the "skimmer selection" FAQs on WWM starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm and following the links. Bob Fenner> Hope to have some news soon , Charles

Choosing a Good Skimmer Jason C., Quick question that I would like to hear/read your opinion: On a 120 gallon tank with a 40gal sump Rubbermaid only fills about 20-25) and a separate 40 gal Rubbermaid refugium(30 actual gal) which skimmer would you recommend; the Aqua Medic Turboflotor1000 or a Red Sea Berlin Skimmer could even get XL)?  <<of those two, the Turboflotor, although I'm an AquaC kind of person myself...>> It doesn't matter to me whether it is in sump or externally plumbed just as long as it is capable of handling the organic load, which really is not too large especially considering the amount of LR and Macroalgae between the tank/refugium. If you need more info let me know and I will provide.  <<is fine.>> Thank you. Michael L. Stewart <<You are quite welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

DAS Hi, I am working with a local company to help setup my 90 gallon salt water aquarium. They are recommending a DAS DA-1 protein skimmer. I cannot locate them on the internet, but what comments I do find about their products are highly complimentary.  <Mmm, don't know if these folks are still in biz or not: http://www.dutchaquarium.com/ > Is it a good product?  <Not one of my top choices> Is this company still in existence? <Maybe call them in TX, or email per the above link. Otherwise, my skimmer selection input here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm and beyond... And do use the chatforums, bb's for real hobbyist input. Ours: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ > Thanks! Kevin Hill, San Diego, CA <Oh! And the local marine clubs' as well. Bob Fenner, San Diego>

Re: skimmer help I recently purchased a small Visi-jet hang-on Venturi skimmer for my 40 gallon fish/invert. tank. My water quality has always been good, with sparkling water, but I figured a skimmer wouldn't hurt. Vie installed it and had it running for several days, but its not collecting any foam! it makes foam, but there just doesn't seem to be enough of it to reach the cup. If I turn the water flow UP, the foam collects more quickly, but it is watery and bubbles escape from the bottom of the skimmer and cloud up my tank. So right now the skimmer is running at about 30 gallons per hour. There is a nice, dryish foam, but not enough to push up to the collection cup, and a few bubbles are still escaping. What do you think? Does this mean there is no protein to collect or am I doing something wrong? <<JasonC here, giving Bob a chance to eat his turkey... unfortunately, I think you are suffering from a poorly designed skimmer. For the price range the Visi-jet is available, you'll be hard pressed to find something more efficient, however. I'm sure there's something in your tank to skim. How long has your tank been running? Cheers - J-- >>

Re: skimmer help The tank has been set up for about four months. The skimmer appears to be functioning...the water in the chamber is milky-white with many tiny bubbles. <<that would mean you should definitely have something to skim. Check the WetWeb forum, perhaps ask around: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/

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