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FAQs about ETS/S Skimmers 

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


A Tech ETSS 800 XR skimmer       3/13/15
I just bought a large 300 gallon system off a friend with a 130 gallon sump. It came with the AE Tech ETSS 800 XR protein skimmer.
<Nice units; though... the one big downside... is these/their skimmers take a lot of water/pumping... and concurrent expense to run>
I have no experiences with this type of skimmer, and the manufacturers website www.superskimmer.com  is currently not available.
All I am looking for is some literature about the skimmer. An operation manual would be great if you know where I can get a copy or just download a PDF on it.
<Mmm; let's see: I'd post on some hobby bulletin boards asking if someone has a pdf copy or will scan their analog>
Please let me know what ever information you can about it so I know what I am doing when I get this thing up and running! I cannot find any info online ANYWHERE and no one has posted any videos about how to properly set it up, adjust it, and use it. Thanks, Jace
<Easy to set up... and adjust... has to have a dedicated pump of size...
Bob Fenner>
re: A Tech ETSS 800 XR skimmer       3/13/15

OK, I will start digging around on the forums to see if anyone has a manual they can scan and email me, thanks
<Welcome. Oh, and do search on WWM re ETSS. BobF>

overflowing skimmer, ETTS, foods     7/23/13
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 systems>
 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 sump.
<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>

Etss 1800 xr pro skimmer     5/27/12
Hey James(Salty) and the rest of the wwm crew.
<Hello, do not recall who you are as you didn't reply to the original thread.>
 Here's some pics of the ETSS 1800 XR skimmer after about 1 week running on my 300g display w/180g sump.
The first 2 pics are just showing the skimmer. The 3rd pic is the skimmate inside a 5g water bottle. Boy does it stink! The skimmer drain hose has nasty smelling air pumping out of it at all times. I would definitely recommend this skimmer to anyone. Its such a simple design yet so powerful.
I have it running off of my return pump (ReeFlo hammerhead) so no need for another pump which is a bonus!!   Thanks for the help.
<No problem and thanks for the pics and update.  Looks like a very efficient skimmer.>
Take care.
<And you as well.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Etss 1800 xr pro skimmer 5/27/12

Sorry, my apologies.
<No problem.>
 I originally replied to the original thread, but my pics were far too large so when I re-replied(lol), I just sent the pics in. I originally had questions about adding a 180g sump onto my 300g display to which you told me just to fire it up as long as the water param.s were in check between the two tanks. I have had it going for a few weeks now, and those pics I just sent were from about 1.5 weeks into everything running together(including the skimmer). I'd say the skimmer is doing its job well. I probably have almost a gallon and a half of skimmate in the water jug so far. Thanks for the help.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
 Take care.

My ETSS Skimmer question & reef maint. f'  12/10/09
Hello Bob,
<"Come on Irene!">
We met at MACNA in Atlantic City. I never knew there was an Acropolis in the United States!!!! I'll have to make the pilgrimage one day.
<Heee, and in Tennessee of all places! A scaled-down version, and stuccoed, but quite neat nonetheless>
I'm so glad that you're so approachable and friendly. Your wealth of knowledge in the hobby is unsurpassed with a willingness to share with all.
<Well-placed in our hobby interest eh?>
Five months ago I set up a 150 gallon sps/clam tank. Each of the 2 overflows drains to its' own dedicated sump. One is a refugium and one is a Rubbermaid tub that feeds the skimmer. The skimmer tub is plumbed to the refugium, which holds a lower water level due to the return pump pulling only from the refugium at a much faster rate than the Rubbermaid tub can flow through. This way, I don't directly skim anything living in the refugium, which has approximately 25 pounds of live rock and ball of Chaetomorpha.
My skimmer (an ETSS Evolution 500) is externally plumbed into the garage.
Powering the skimmer is an Iwaki 20rlt.
I've always been able to pull a dry,
disgusting foam, yet my remote gallon of milk waste container usually has taken 3 weeks to fill. I did my routine 15% water change Sunday morning and have added no new livestock, yet for some reason it has been filling my remote container twice as fast for the last few days. I started a zooplankton supplement for my sps corals, yet that was over a month ago.
<Mmm, don't think this is a factor>
My water parameters are as follows:
Specific Gravity: 1.025
Phosphate: undetectable with my kits
Nitrate: undetectable
Calcium: 430
Alkalinity: 9dkh
Ph: 8.4
ORP: 380
I have what I consider to be a heavily stocked system: 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Achilles Tang, 1 Red Sea Desjardini Tang, 1 maroon clown with Bubble Tip anemone, 1 six line wrasse, 5 Chromis, 2 lyretail Anthias, 1 Royal Gramma and a blue devil damsel. I do feed heavily (3 frozen cubes of mysis and Formula 1 twice per day and half a sheet of Nori every other day) yet have seen no ill effects. In fact, my Chaetomorpha has actually began receding from what I assume to be a nutrient poor system. I have approximately 120 pounds of live rock in the display, as I feel more swimming room for fish and growth room for corals will make for a better long term environment and higher volume of water.
<We are in agreement>
My question is... even though Chaetomorpha is receding and parameters seem ok, I'm noticing that a greenish film is developing on my front display pane daily. Is something going astray which I am not aware?
<I suspect the skimmer and this green growth are indicative of an overall change, "aging" in your system itself>
My skimmer is rated for a 250 gallon aquarium. Could it be possible that I need a higher flow rate skimmer; a bigger one?
<Mmm, no. This is a fine, though high water flow unit... well-matched here>
I love the fact that this countercurrent downdraft consumes a mere 45 watts for what it's pulling. Could the need for a bigger skimmer be in my future. Thanks.
<I'd do the following: Add to your maintenance schedule, the taking of the ETSS off line, and diluted bleach soak, rinse it to remove "bio films" every three months or so... and start adding ten, twenty pounds of new/fresh live rock to bolster the biodiversity of your system period.
These two steps should re-center your system, return the skimmer to peak performance, and rid your glass of the green film. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: re: My ETSS Skimmer question
As always...you're a scholar and a gentleman. Thank you.
<Heeee! Well... trying to be more of both! Cheers! BobF>

ETSS skimmer 4/2/09
I have an old ETSS skimmer labeled only as an Environmental Tower Super Skimmer with no model number. I believe it to be comparable to the 600 from the pics I've seen. The only difference is my collection cup attachment plates are square instead of round.
<I have dealt with these.>
The problem I have is that I believe the barb fitting for the injector was wrong. It was a 3/8 or 1/2" barb. When I powered on my Iwaki 55 it would immediately overflow the cup with nearly bubble-less water.
I since changed it to a 1/4" barb and it seems to have corrected the problem. I can now run the outflow valve set at about 1/2 and get a dry foam to the cup.
<Well, good.>
I have also added 2 bio balls to the tower because they seemed to be too far down the tower when I got it. The balls now sit about 2-3 inches below the barb. I wondered if I am moving in the right direction or if I'm hurting the performance of my skimmer. The reason I ask is that I've never seen one running before and the reaction chamber seems to have more water in it than I think it should.
<I have seen this particular older model in action...the water level should work out surprisingly low....like 2 inches or so from where the cup junction is. It is so counterintuitive, but these do work well when run
with a bit lower level.>
There is about 2 inches of turbulent water and bubble mix at the bottom of it, then solid white bubble filled from there up......I didn't think I should see water at all if it is performing at it's peak.
<That sounds ok, you should not have a solid white mix at the bottom.>
I guess to summarize my questions I will ask what level should the bio balls be at, is the 1/4 barb the correct one or is there something better, and what level (if any) should the water be at in the reaction chamber or
should it be all bubbles?
<Well, the same as the water level, these do seem to work better with the bioballs a bit lower, not stacked to the top. As for the barb fitting, what is sent with the unit seems to work out well.>
I was also thinking of buying a few threaded plugs and drilling them with varying sized bits and pattern of holes (like three 1/8" holes pointing towards the center) to get the most out of the skimmer. Do you think that is worth experimenting with?
<I don't. For what it is worth I do know the fellow that designed these skimmers (his name escapes me right now) is very willing to work out these issues....they are even using different bioballs nowadays with these. I
thought this was a bunch of horse stuffing at first, but the newer bioballs do make quite the difference. Do give him a holler at Superskimmer.com, I have Cc'd them here. These are very underrated, great skimmers IMO.>
Thanks a TON!,
Kevin M
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: ETSS ? skimmer 4/3/09
The skimmer described sounds like an older Reef Devil model, about 1/3 the size of an ETSS 600.
Follow the instructions for the current Reef Devil, available on our web under support, to get it to run properly.
The Iwaki 55 is way too much pump, this skimmer only uses 700-900 GPH Powerheads, 8 Mini 1" Bioballs.
Gary Loehr
A.E. Tech Inc
72 Maple St., Beacon, NY 12508
Ph 845-838-9044, Fax 845-838-9301
Hours 9-5 EST M-F
<Thank you Gary, I have heard nothing but good things about you from Mark at Seven Seas Fish in Clovis, CA. I knew you would have the solution for this fellow! Scott V.>

ETSS Evolution 500 Skimmer dilemma 9/1/08 Yes, we all make mistakes, and I am beginning to fear that I have made a costly one. <We all do, don't despair.> Even after listening to advice here to purchase a Euro-reef Skimmer, I went ahead and purchased an ETSS evolution 500. I am using it out of sump with the recommended Mag 9 Pump, and a water level of about 7 inches in my 30 gallons Sump. Having only 24"-25" clearance in my stand, I was unable to set the Skimmer directly in my Sump (I don't believe that this should matter). <It should not.> It is a downdraft, countercurrent Skimmer, and I just cannot seem to get it to operate correctly. I am using it in a newly set up 120 gallon tank, with only a couple of Blue Devils and a Scooter Blenny. According to the documentation (which does not state Sump depth), and the illustration on AETECH's website (superSkimmer.com), I thought that perhaps my Sump water level was too high, so I lowered the water level in my return and tried it there, but I still do not get the good, dry foam. <I take it you are getting a light, wet foam? If so all you should need to do is open up the gate valve at the bottom of the skimmer to lower the water level in the skimmer a bit. If that is already open you can put a gate valve on the Mag output and restrict it a bit to lower the level in the skimmer. Either option will yield a dryer foam.> If anyone has any experience with this Skimmer, I would really appreciate some help in getting it running correctly. Like any good Skimmer, it was a sizable investment and I would really like to make it work if possible. <These can work quite well, if all else fails, do contact the manufacturer directly.> Thank you for your help. Jeff <Welcome, Scott V.> ETS Sump Buddy 40, Skimmer sel.  8/11/08 Hi Crew, <Kevin.> I'm wondering if anyone at WWM has heard any buzz on the new ETS Sump Buddy skimmer series [http://www.superskimmer.com/SumpBuddy40.htm]. ETS skimmers seem to have the reputation for being great skimmers but at a premium cost. <I have seen them, they are good skimmers.> However, looking at the suggested MSRP for the Sump Buddy's on AETech's website, this new series seems to break that tradition. I don't know if the product is just too new, but I haven't been able to dig up very much information in the way of opinion (no hits at all on WWM). I would think with ETS' reputation, coupled with a reasonably price product, there would be more inertest in these units. I'm currently looking at the AquaC EV 120 and Euro-Reef CS100s for my 58 gallon reef and would really like to know how the ETS Sump Buddy 40 stands up. <I really can't help you too much here. The ETS is a good skimmer, but so are the other two you mention. You really will not go wrong with any of these choices. Pick what suits your sump and wallet the best!> Thanks, Kevin <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

R6: Skimmer Height...Looking For a Short Skimmer with Tall Expectations - 08/11/08 Eric, <<Hey Jeff>> I have just one more to run by you. <<Okay>> Have you ever heard of ETSS Evolution 500? You can find it on this page: http://www.customaquatic.com/customaquatic/itemdetail.asp?itemid=PS-AE05EV Please let me know; I am about ready to pull the trigger. Oh yes, I will couple this with a Mag 9.5. Regards, Jeff <<The downdraft-style skimmers are reputed to work well by some (usually the BIGGER the pump the better), and this particular manufacturer is thought to provide a quality product from what I know. But I find these skimmers to be a too noisy for my liking (at least in the larger models)…and I haven't seen one I thought did as good a job as a high quality needle-wheel skimmer like my Euro-Reef model. But, that's not to say this skimmer wouldn't do a good job for you…I just feel the Euro-Reef, AquaC, or Tunze to be better choices. Bottom line…any of the skimmers we have discussed will very likely work fine for you…so do weigh features such as ease of cleaning and power consumption/pump requirements before you pull that trigger. Eric Russell>> <Well-stated. RMF>

Skimmer Mod Question - 08/08/07 Hello, thanks for your time. I have what appears to be an old PM skimmer. I thinks it a pm because the faint hint of their round sticker is still on the skimmer and its built similar to the bullets/etss in looks. I acquired this skimmer for next to nothing and was going to use it with an Iwaki. The thing is, someone drilled the tube a little more then halfway up like they were doing a recirculation mod on it, but didn't drill another whole below it to recirc. Maybe they recirculated it back into the plumbing that pushed water into the skimmer in the first place. It appeared to be retroed with a venturi outlet to draw air in it. That mod has my mind going. I am thinking about drilling this skimmer a second hole and trying to run it as a recirculating skimmer that is gravity fed. I can find no information here or on the other major sites about anyone doing a recirc mod on a bullet type skimmer. I believe after reading about other recirculating skimmers, it will work. The water enter and exits out the bottom area but other then that, once the water is in the main skimmer body, its similar to my ASM skimmer (I have been reading about the recirc mod on that as well, but this is larger then my ASM). Do you think this is would work? Its a six inch diameter, 14 in to the neck. What size pump would you suggest for the recirculation pump? Thanks in advance, I have gotten a lot of information from your site. I have spent many many hours reading on here! Jill in TX. <hi Jill> <Here is a link to a DIY skimmer mod. It is for an ASM skimmer but they are similar and will help you figure out how to do what you want. http://www.asmskimmer.com/modifications.htm > <Thanks Rich aka Mr. Firemouth>

Hooking up an external skimmer... needing high flow... avoiding trouble   12/19/06 I have an ETSS 600 pro skimmer and Iwaki pump that I need to install in a sump that has no bulk heads and no room for an in sump install whets the best way to plumb this thing so it will work correctly. Or is there a way. Thanks Robert <Best way... the only way I would do this... is to install said (large diameter) through-puts, two... screened... tee'd together... from and to the sump... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Ozone use, ETSS Skimmer    11/28/06 <Bob, I assume the TraylessQs folder is unreadable messages. If I'm incorrect in this understanding, do let me know. Original email address was . Message is as follows. -JustinN> <Thank you for this Justin> Dear Mr. Fenner, <Bob> I am new to your website and find it a fabulous forum for all kinds of professional advice and information. I do have a question that you have probably been asked 1000's of times. Please forgive my asking it again. It involves me (nervously) starting to use Ozone in my tank.  I will be using a  Microzone 300 Ozone Generator and a Milwaukee OPR Monitor/Controller to control it. I have a 135gal Reef Tank (LPS and SPS mostly) with 125 lbs of live sand and 125 lbs of live rock which houses 12 fish (5 Tangs, 2 Perc Clowns, Flame Angel, Coral Beauty, Lawnmower Blenny and some other ugly fish my wife bought). <Careful here...> After reading your excellent book (The Conscientious Marine Aquarist), and many of your responses to Ozone questions, I have one question I couldn't really find an answer for. I use an ETSS 800 Protein Skimmer that empties back into the bio-ball chamber of my wet/dry sump. I want to use Ozone in the Protein Skimmer and am concerned about the return water emptying back into the bio-ball chamber. <I see> Will the return water, now "ozonized", from the skimmer kill off anything on the bio-balls, and then will it harm my tank if I do not run the return water through carbon? <Mmm, highly unlikely to be a problem here... given the action of the ETSS unit in mixing air/water... and the rapid use therefore of this miniscule amount of O3> In other words… Please tell me a definite yes or no.. Do I need to run the return water through carbon or not? <Almost 100% no> I'm very nervous about this and don't want to harm my system in any way. Please give me your advice. I would really appreciate it. One other question if I may…  Should I set the controller to 300 or 350? <Try the lower setting, look for/measure incipient change in pH or other... and re-adjust upward with time. Bob Fenner> Bob Drews Ft. Lauderdale , FL P.S. Is it possible to call you, or have you call me for a consultation?   <Mmm, don't "do" calls... Better for all that if an item can be put into words... that this be done, shared... But may be down near you for Xmas (Lauderdale Lakes, visiting mum-in-law)... and could meet then... Do you scuba dive? Been to Splashdown Divers in Boynton Beach? Bob Fenner>

Re: Ozone use, ETSS Skimmer  11/28/06 Hi Bob, Thanks so much for the quick response and for your expert advice (especially in calling my wife's fish "ugly" LOL). <Heeee! I did NOT. Only urged your caution in such labeling> OK.. I will run the Ozone w/o carbon and see how it goes. <Very likely will be fine> I have another question if I may. Do I have to worry about the hoses and other rubber / plastic components under the tank stand from deteriorating because of the ozone? <Mmm, no... a minor concern here> I can clearly smell ozone under there. And can that ozone I smell harm my wife, dog, and myself? <No...> I would love to meet you when you come down to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I live right near Lauderdale Lakes. If you could let me know the dates you will be in town I will gladly arrange to meet you. And Yes, I do dive. I am a PADI Dive master/AI. Would you like to go diving? <Yes... I generally do when visiting there> I can take you down to the Keys for a day trip or something like that. Thanks Again, Bob Drews <Even better! Will try to keep your email on hand in anticipation of this adventure. BobF>

He's Lost His Bioballs! - 8/10/2006 I bought a used ETSS Reef Devil Skimmer and I have noticed that it hasn't produced much foam. I took it apart and to my surprise there were no Bio Balls inside of it. The instructions say there should be 8 mini Bio Balls. I looked up mini Bio balls on the net and these seem awfully small. Can you help me choose the correct size for this skimmer? Thanks in advance for your help. <Hi Bryan- I'd contact the guys who make ETS skimmers ( www.superskimmer.com was the URL, I believe) and see what bioballs they recommend. They can probably even supply them for you. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.> Brian Reddy

ETSS adjustment  2/13/06 Hey crew, <Scott> I have a ETSS Reef Devil skimmer with a Mag Drive 9.5 on a 55 gallon tank (a bit over kill).  I have the skimmer plumbed externally.  I didn't have room under the tank or in the sump, so I had to mount it behind the tank, thus not using a bulkhead fitting.  I have it sitting on a small platform about a half foot higher then the water line.  My question/problem is that it's been running for about 3 weeks and it still doesn't seem to be working like it should.  It foams any where from half way to sometimes three quarters up the foam condenser tube and it has produced some brown foam, it just seems like it isn't able to get it all the way up into the cup.  Any suggestions? Scott <Mmm, yes... you need to adjust the outgoing flow... to raise the foam up to near the collecting cup area... try an inch or so gap twixt the water and cup. Bob Fenner>

What is the best choice Mag12 or Mag 18? pump for ETS 700 skimmer ? Thank you for this opportunity . <Thank you for your participation> Would you please tell me what Mag drive pump would be the best fit for my ETS 700 36" high skimmer ? <Can and will> I can not have in line pump due to a space limits . I Like Mag drive pumps and it is now running on Mag 950 I know it needs more powerful pump the question is Mag 12 or Mag 18 ? <The 18 would be better... my biggest gripe with the ETS line of downdraft skimmers is just this issue... the too-high volume and pressure of pumping they require to operate well... However, if you don't mind the electrical operation cost, noise... they do work well> The Manufacturer recommends Iwaki with 700G/hr and is a pressure pump with cut off at 21 feet. The closest on is Mag 18 it pumps up to 21 feet however its delivering a little less then 1400 gal at 4 feet. Do you think Mag 18 would be too much ? <No... but I would either install/use a valve (likely a gate type for ease of adjustment) and/or (this is my real choice), divert the excess flow to recirculating the tank itself, running other gear...> Also I am reading from my skimmer manual that cutting off on a pump output is not recommended. <Cutting off? Can you explain this? Diverting water should not be an issue as long as the specified water flow, pressure is delivered to the unit. Bob Fenner> Thank you very much. Russell. Reef Devil Cracked Hi there, I have an ETS reef devil 2 that .....well I dropped! The upright tube snapped off, and I got that reattached with solvent( needle type applicator. Though the black box at the bottom suffered some hairline cracks at the joints and elsewhere. What I did was, cut new pieces of acrylic and used solvent and hot glue to weld in place over existing cracks.. Do you think this will work? Hate to loose $300+ from this accident, Any other suggestions. <Not really!  As long as it's relatively well repaired and sealed it will likely work alright.  Craig>

Super Reef Devil pump selection... Hi, I have a chance to get a good deal on an ETSS Super Reef Devil Protein Skimmer.  I have a 135 gallon reef tank with about 175 pounds of live rock. Do you think this would be a good choice?  <Sure, I've heard many good things about ETSS skimmers. But then again, I've also heard bad things.> If so, what pump would you recommend to run it? <ETSS recommends a pump that produces 650gph @ 0ft. You could use a Rio 1700, Mag-drive 7, Sen/Sedra 7000, etc.>   I hear a lot about Rio pumps, but I have also read where they aren't the greatest pump either.  <You got that right, the only reason anyone still buys them is because they're really cheap. I'd go with a Mag or a Sedra. If you buy this skimmer off the shelf, they come with a cap 1800, you may want to look into that as well. Good luck! -Kevin> Thank you very much, Paul

ETSS skimmers and live rock placement... Kevin, Thanks a lot for the info.  I bought the ETSS skimmer.  I am looking forward to trying it.  This is definitely a better quality skimmer than I have had before.  I was also interested to find out it has little bioballs inside it. Do you know why? I know what bioballs do in a wet/dry filter...is the same thing here?). <They're not for bio filtration, they actually control the consistency of the foam. I'm not sure if you're supposed to add more to make it drier or vise-versa...> I have a few setup questions.  I am getting ready to start setting up my 135 tank.  I have read a lot about setting up a new reef, but I am not sure about something.  Should I put down an initial layer of foundation lace rock and some basic live rock BEFORE adding the substrate or should I put down a shallow layer of sand before adding the foundation rock?  I have read where you  shouldn't have deep sand under your rock, but I didn't know if you should put the initial rock directly on the glass bottom.  Also if I shouldn't put sand under the initial rock, would it help to put it on egg crate instead of on the glass? <I'd install the sandbed first. Cut pvc pipe pieces about a half an inch to an inch shorter than the depth of the bed. Stick these pieces all over the place in the sand where the rock will sit to prevent the structure from tumbling down should something dig underneath.> I read one article where somebody built a PVC "framework" (sort of like a couple of shelves) with egg crate on the bottom of it to hold the rock. This guy even drilled holes in the live rock and strapped it to this PVC frame in spots to make it better.  Have you heard of or done this? <Yep, some people really like to anchor the rock like that. It's a great way to build complex structures like caves and the like, but you're all done if you need to move any of the rocks.> I want my rock to be secure, but this sounds pretty complex (I am a very detailed person...my wife calls it anal, and I would probably drive myself nuts trying to make this perfect :-)  <Hehe, yeah, no need to go through all that. Just set the base pieces on the pvc pipes and you'll be all set.> Sorry, for all the questions, but when I set up my 55 gallon reef, it was my first attempt at anything like this.  I know I made a few mistakes, this new tank is a big jump for me, and I want to do my best to set it up right at the beginning. <You're on the right track!> I really appreciate all of your help and patience with novices like me trying to learn more. <Enjoy and good luck! -Kevin> Paul

- ETSS Skimmer Retrofit - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I know that you folks do not normally comment on the pros or cons of individual skimmers.  I was wondering however you can share any info about the potential benefits if any of taking the bio balls out of a large ETS and putting in 2 Becketts. <I think it would work.> It seems as there has been a lot of favorable press about the Becketts, and if this may be more productive in the ETS than the current bio balls. <Yeah... in my opinion though, Becketts need big pumps to really maximize their efficiency - not a big deal if you have the pump already, I suppose. They can also be rather noisy compared to others. All that being said - they do work more than well enough.> I realize that you would then need a valve to control air flow. <That too.>  Anxiously waiting your thoughts. <I say it's worth a try, but perhaps do it in a way you can revert back to the original design. You wouldn't want to add the Becketts and then end up tuning the thing down to nothing to make it work... would be a waste of electricity.> Thanks in advance. <Cheers, J -- >

ETSS skimmer Retrofit 2 To Jason C <Hi there...> Becketts do not need large pumps to work well I used a MD40 RLT on a skimmer that can take care of a 400 gal tank. <My friend, I would define that as a large pump.> What Becketts do need is pressure more than flow to work well. More builders of skimmers used Becketts than ever before. <As do makers of hot tubs - I didn't say they were a bad design, but the "need" of high pressure is indicative of a lack of efficiency. No worries.> RGibson <Cheers, J -- >

Skimmer Hook Up Hi Bob, Thanks for the previous help. I have a quick question about hooking up/plumbing protein skimmers, namely the T1000 and the ETSS Super Reef Devil. I believe I saw on your site that the T1000 requires connecting an overflow directly into the skimmer. Is this true, and if it is true, wouldn't it be hard to adjust? <Mmm, not true... can be hooked up to system or a sump... Not as hard to adjust as many other makes, models... but better to situate in a setting where the pump/discharge water level varies little (i.e. if in a sump, refugium setting, where a barrier assures constant water level...> Also, how does the Super Reef Devil compare? I understand they utilize two completely different mechanisms of skimming, but what difference in skimming efficiency, noise, hookup, and power consumption?  <The SRD is for much larger and/or systems where "more efficiency" in skimming is desired. By comparison the Aqua-Medic product removes less skimmate per pass, but is far more quiet and requires much less pumping and energy> I know you are not a fan of ETSS, but this model claims it is pretty efficient, only using a Rio 1800, and it appears this skimmer just sits in the sump and does not require extra plumbing and would be sufficient for a smaller to medium size tank. <Yes, all valid points. A good unit... once again, by contrast, needle wheel makes (Aqua-C, Euro Reef for instance) are even more efficient... per dollar invested up front, ongoing...>  For reference, the skimmer would be for a 125g LPS (primarily) tank with light to medium fish bio load. Thanks for the help, sorry to bother you again. <Never a bother... and a good opportunity to present pros/cons of various makes/models of skimmers. All mentioned are fine products, suitable for aquarium use. Bob Fenner>

Yet another Skimmer question Gentlemen - Anthony has replied to other emails regarding adjustments of skimmers sitting in sumps by stating the use of "skimmer overflow" boxes or dedicated chambers for the skimmer to sit in. His referenced diagram was helpful in describing this set up. He described the box as a location to send raw water into so that the pump would have a constant level to draw from. This set up seems to be for skimmers with submersible pumps. Does this box system work for skimmers with external pumps? <Yes> I have an ETS Evolution 750 skimmer being fed with an Iwaki RLT 55 pump. This skimmer is placed in the sump raw and skimmed water is pulled from the sump by the pump to the skimmer. Another pump pulls out of the same sump back up and returns to the tank. I get very thin skimmate like watery tea and have never really had any nasty stuff from the skimmer. I thought with an 165gal with a 3" Picasso trigger, a 3" clown trigger, a 7" shoal tang, and a 6" harlequin Tuskfish that I should be pulling more nasty gunk from the skimmer than what I am getting. <Agreed> I have about 140lbs of live rock with an aragonite substrate and only a few sparse mushrooms. I was told by AE Tech that I was pushing too much water through too fast and not allowing the foam to produce. So I have turned the flow down of the pump and am starting to get some better foam production. However, the outflow of the skimmer empties back into the sump which does vary in water level from time to time. Would placing the skimmer, and its outflow, in an overflow box regulate the back pressure of the water flow to produce more consistent results? <It is not the outflow that you should be worried about. It is the variation of head pressure from where the skimmer pump draws water in.> The skimmer water would empty into the box and then overflow back into the sump. This would allow the sump level to fluctuate but not the level that the pump is working against. Would this be correct? <You want the skimmer pump to draw from a surface skimmed source and for that water to be held in a chamber at a constant height.> Thank you again for all your time answering questions. Steve Morvay <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Surface Tension/Protein Skimmer All, I am frustrated beyond words. My skimmer production had leveled off to about 1/2 cup per day, after overcoming a nasty outbreak of diatom in my six week old tank. All water parameters were and still are quite good. Fish, rock, macro algae, and one pulsing Xenia all look fine. This past Saturday I placed a foam prefilter on my Mag 950 return pump. The foam column in my Super Reef Devil (SRD) almost immediately collapsed. No great surprise since I had my hands in the sump moving things around to accommodate the rather large prefilter. However, the foam column has not recovered. I even called A.E. Tech. They suggested something I introduced to the tank has affected the water chemistry, which in turn has impacted the surface tension of the water. I have searched the web and have found several articles on why skimmers suddenly stop working (for non-mechanical reasons), and several articles point to 'oily' build-up in the skimmer. I have cleaned the skimmer (wiped with a clean dry towel). I also cleaned the Eheim Pro II 2028. At the suggestion of A.E. Tech, I filled my Hagen 402 QuickFilter with brand new Carbon (they actually suggested PolyFilter, but I don't have any). One hour later the SRD was foaming, but it lasted only an hour. Last night I scraped down the sides of my tank. Within 15 minutes, the SRD began foaming. Foam never reached the collection cup, but I ended up with a bunch of green 'gook' and solids all over the inside of the main collection tube. After 45 minutes, it stopped again. I do have bubbling / foaming water in the main tower, but it is 2-3 inches in height. What the heck did I do??? <Since your problem seems to be not enough air and water in the skimmer body, my best guess is that you skimmer pump is not performing at its peak anymore. Perhaps too much detritus got inside of it from moving things around in the sump or perhaps it is just due for a good cleaning. See if that does not make a difference in production.> Ammonia / Nitrite / Nitrate all zero. SG is 1.024 (measured with an ESHA Marinomat). PH is 8.4. This morning it is still feeble. I truly believe there is nothing wrong with the SRD. There is no oily 'skin' on the water. Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <If that does not help, reply back and one of us can/will advise you further. -Steven Pro>

Surface Tension/Protein Skimmer Follow-up Steven, You are a scholar and a gentleman -- and you were also right. I put a Mag950 (with a ball valve for control) on the skimmer and had foam overflow in three minutes. <Glad to have been of assistance and you should be receiving your payoff for the high praise in your PayPal account shortly :) > I am contacting A. E. Tech to inquire about a suitable replacement for the malfunctioning CAT 1800. I am hoping that a Mag700 or a SEN700 will work. Even with a ball valve to throttle back the Mag950, I am getting *very* wet foam. The Mag950 is simply too much pump for the SRD. <See if you cannot locate a gate valve of the proper size. They have much finer control versus a ball valve.> I'll let you know what A.E. Tech says about suitable alternative pumps. <Yes, let us know what they say and how a different pump or valve works out.> Thank you *very* much for your assistance. Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <You are quite welcome. -Steven Pro>

Best Skimmer for a 140 gal reef tank - must use Iwaki 20 RLT Hello Guys, <Howdy> Thank you for having such an informative website. I have had 140 gallon reef tank for four years. I keep mostly soft corals some hard. I want to take my system to the next level, as many aquarist eventually do. I am currently upgrading my system with halides and better circulation etc. In the upgrade, I have an Iwaki 20RLXT that I can dedicate solely to a skimmer (I'm getting rid of my Sealife 150 skimmer that sits in my sump). My tank guy plumed all of my pumps and chiller into my garage (just behind one wall). I would like a skimmer that can stand alone - not in sump. In my research, I have narrowed it down to ETSS Evolution 500, Super Deluxe Reef Devil, and an AquaC EV-180. <I believe the AquaC is the best value overall here: cost and performance for price paid> I was about to pull the trigger and get the Aqua C EV-180. But then I read that this pump is designed for in sump use. What do you guys recommend? <check with Jason Kim of AquaC (easy to reach) but I believe it can be used outside of the sump> What is the best skimmer out there that can operate with my Iwaki pump? <I'm really not sure how to answer my friend. It seems a bit backward to pick a skimmer that fits your pump best, and not a skimmer that meet your tank's needs best. Alas, we do not have all of the dozens of skimmer brands and models and their flow requirements committed to memory either <G>. You need to do this research here mate> Keep in mind that I have a dedicated pump and that I want the skimmer to sit in my garage.  <unless you get a killer deal/price on the ETSS, I'm not inclined to recommend it regardless. I simply don't find them to be a very good value> Thanks so much for you time and help. Juan Escobar <best of luck. Anthony>

Which Skimmer Is The Winner? (Protein Skimmer Choices) Thanks crew for the triple response!! <A big "You're welcome" on behalf of the Crew who responded to your query!> So this weekend I will order the skimmer and have bumped my water changes up from 5 gallons on Sunday to also include 5 gallons on Wednesday as well... <Wow! A water-change junkie like me! Your animals will benefit, believe me!> The CPR is sold, so unable to connect a skimmer until the new one arrives.. <Keep up the water changes> So I've narrowed it down to either the Euroreef ES5-3 or the ETSS Super Reef Devil I have an Iwaki 40RLT), space is kinda an issue and the Euroreef is 24" opposed to 20" - I know it's only 4 inches but I don't have much room to work with and I feel the ES5-2 will be too small if I upgrade to a larger tank which seems to be the trend..  Reading your responses on Protein skimmers, you guys REALLY like Euro-reef, but how would the ETSS (with Iwaki) match up??? <As someone who has used both, I can tell you that they both have their merits. I currently use an ETSS on my reef tank, and if I had to do it all over again, I would have went with a Euroreef, hands down. ETSS are great skimmers, but they are very fussy, take a while to adjust, and require a pressure-rated pump to operate efficiently. Once dialed in, they are extremely high-performance units, and are built well. Euroreef, on the other hand, are basically "plug and play" right out of the box! They use highly efficient pumps, produce massive amounts of skimmate, and are just an outstanding skimmer for any system.> One last question - the top inch of my 3 inch sandbed has begun to develop many bubbles which are visible through the glass which slowly work to the top and then are released to the surface..  Any clue on what this is, or is the sand just settling since the tank is less than a month old?? <Looks like you're simply witnessing the denitrifying effects of a hard-working sandbed. I wouldn't be overly concerned.> Thanks! Brad <My pleasure, Brad! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Protein Skimmer Selection >Which one of these would you recommend on 180 gal?  I have the ETSS 800 downdraft but not sure if I like it. Euro-Reef CS 12-1 Aqua -C EV240 >>Without a doubt, the Euro-Reef! >ETSS 800 was producing lots of skimmate 1/2 gal plus a day now get maybe 1/2 gal week.  This is a 180 gal. >>It's not just about size, dear (sorry, I couldn't resist), it's about QUALITY.  This thing may be producing lots of skimmate, but is it the NASTIEST possible stuff on earth?  Does it curl your hair?  Make your eyes water?  If not, it's not "the good schtuff".  Euro-Reef, baby! >4" sand bed 200 lbs live rock SPS coral, some fish and a few clams >>Hhmm.. something lacking there with "some fish". >Mixed crabs and snails DKH 12-14 Use Korallin reactor Calcium 340 Nitrates, nitrites, phosphates. ND Temp 77.4 to 78 before lights and after lights Use Salifert test kits check every thing Ph 8.4 am 8.6 to 8.7 pm with Hanna meter Salt 1.024 with refractometer Light 3-400 watt HQI 2-110 watt actinic Have too much algae, Sailfin blenny always has full belly.  Not much coralline algae seems slow to grow.  I have an Acropora that has grown from around 5" tall by 4" dia to around 10" tall and 10-12" in diameter in around 4- months. >>Wow, GREAT growth on the Acro.. on one hand some might say that your calcium is a wee bit low, but honestly I couldn't criticize it.  I suppose you could try tweaking it, but in my own opinion you're probably in this to grow the corals, not the coralline.  Search our site for more info, specifically by Anthony Calfo on the calcium issue. >Had one clam gap and die others doing well.  Just can not get rid of enough of the algae, not worried about getting rid of all of it, tangs and blenny eating.  Hope this is not too long. >>Nope, we just like a little punctuation now and then (ribbing you).  Consider a small tropical abalone, I think a system your size could do a good job of supporting it.  However, I'd wait till you have the new skimmer and let it kick in for a month or two, then see how the algae issue is doing.  Marina >Thanks Bruce

- I am in Need of Answers!!!!! - Good morning Gentlemen, I stumbled across your site while researching prices for accessories for my new salt water hobby. I read the various questions and answers and I found your website to be very informative. However I am going to purchase your book so I can learn more about the salt water hobby. I am transitioning over from fresh water with over 10yrs experience and I have found that everyone has a different opinion about what is best "product" especially if they are the ones selling the product. <Quite true.> This is my question. I am purchasing a 150 gallon reef ready tank. I don't know which skimmer to use. I heard a lot about the Euro Reef and I was told to purchase the ETSS 600 skimmer. I did see the sump I was going to purchase which was the UHF Sump 72 system by AETECH. AETECH had the complete sump and skimmer setup on their site. I need your opinion as to which skimmer/model to purchase for the size tank I have. <I'd go with the EuroReef.> I will have live rock etc. I am going to have North Dallas Aquarium to maintain my tank as I learn more about the hobby. Also what do you think about the JBJ chiller? Which chiller would you recommend? <Have no practical experience with chillers - know that some are crap, but not entirely sure which ones those are. Best to look and ask around on the forums where you're likely to find several people using chillers.> Please reply to my personal address so I won't miss what you have to say. I greatly appreciate your help. Warren <Cheers, J -- >

- Too Many Bubbles - We finally got our protein skimmer working. My husband drilled a hole in the sump, and it seems to be working. It's been 12 hours. I don't know how familiar you are with the ETSS Reef Devil, we have a 75 gallon fish only tank. But, we are having a LOT of little air bubbles in the tank. There are tons of them, and they almost make the water look cloudy. I wasn't sure if this was normal. I know it takes a couple days to break in, but is there anything I can do? <Just be patient and wait for it to break in... this problem 'should' pass in a week or two. If not, give us a holler back.> Thank you! Trish <Cheers, J -- >

- Too Many Bubbles, Follow-up - Thanks for the response. But I'm having another problem! Of course. I always do. The skimmer is producing the bubbles fine in the tube, but when I raise it for the bubbles to flow into the collection cup, it fills up like wild and then if I don't unplug it it will overflow. AAAAH. It is a Reef Devil. If I turn the red twisty thing, to open the valve, it won't go down after it has gone wild. Skimmers gone wild! Okay not funny. But I can't seem to get it to the perfect skimming level. Do you have any suggestions? <Likely you will have to let the skimmer go wild for a day or two until whatever it is in the tank that is being removed has been completely removed. Skimmers new to systems that have never been skimmed often do this - if you use any kind of water treatment like dechlorinator, this is very common.> Either the bubbles don't go up high enough, or they go up and then out of control. I'm sure there is a solution, but I'm too much of a ding bat to figure it out. I am not sure why this keeps happening. Any technical advice? <You might want to put a valve on the output side of the pump that feeds the skimmer - this is also useful for tuning the skimmer.> The web page for the company makes it sound really easy, and their pictures show one running after a couple days and producing yucky brown stuff. But mine isn't! You probably are laughing because this is probably stupid, but I don't know how to fix it! <Well... I would get in touch with ETSS... just to get their opinion on such matters - they do make the thing after all.> Thanks! Trish <Cheers, J -- >

Skimmer Selection Do you have experience with the AquaC EV180 and the ETSS Reef Devil Deluxe? <Have experience with these brands, but not these specific models> I am considering these two skimmers and wondering if anyone on your staff has any thoughts regarding these two units.  I have a 90gal soft coral tank. It appears that the ETSS will process more water (350-400 gal vs. 275) and is less expensive.  Am wondering which performs better and needs less ongoing maintenance?  Thanks. <Well, both are great products from good companies. ETSS does process a lot of water, but it will require a bit more initial "tweaking" to get it producing good, dry foam and dark skimmate. Proper cleaning is imperative, as the performance of ETSS units really suffer if not cleaned regularly.  However, once it's dialed in, the ETSS is a terrific skimmer. The Aqua C model is also a very high quality unit. It has more features than the ETSS, in my opinion. For example, there is an optional valve to direct calcium reactor effluent into the skimmer (to help "blow off" excess CO2), a raised gate valve for more versatile placement of the skimmer, and slightly easier maintenance than the ETSS with "twist lock" type flanges used to remove the components for cleaning. One added benefit to Aqua C: You've got a terrific company owner, Jason Kim- who is extremely helpful to his customers...In then end, these are both excellent units, which will provide years of good service if properly maintained. I think the bottom line is, get the one that you can afford, and which fits the needs of your set up. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Which Skimmer? Hello Crew.  Love the site and read it almost daily. <Glad to hear it! Scott F. with you today!> I am in the process of planning a 300 gallon community reef tank.  I plan on a mix of corals and moderate to high bio load.  I am narrowing the choice of skimmers.  I would like to know your thoughts on the ETSS line of skimmers.  In particular and if you have experience with these skimmers, the ETSS 800 Pro.  Because of a lack of space I would like to keep the skimmer under the stand. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Michael <Well, Michael- I personally have an ETSS Evolution 750 skimmer on one of my tanks (a 150gal reef), and it performs very well. It did take quite a while to "dial in" to produce good dry foam and dark skimmate regularly. This involved adjusting the pump flow, gate valve, bioballs, etc. Not fun, but essential. The other key with ETSS skimmers (or any brand, for that matter), is to clean them regularly (like twice a week or more, optimally). These skimmers are incredibly productive once you get them "tuned" to your system. They are used by many, many public aquariums around the world. I like the ETSS, but if I had to do it over again on this tank, I'd consider the Aqua C EV line, or maybe a Euro Reef CS6-8. These are both more "user friendly" skimmers, IMO, and the Euro Reef is almost "plug and play". However, none of these skimmers works perfectly for everyone all the time. They often do require several rounds of adjustments to get a good skim. Both the Euro Reef and the Aqua C are a bit easier to clean, IMO, than the ETSS. Aqua C has one more good advantage- the owner of the company- Jason Kim, is a really nice guy and is always helpful when Aqua C users have questions (an important consideration). This is important, because, human nature being what it is- we are more inclined to clean something if it's easy! In the end- these are all great products; once they are set up, they should give years of good service. Do a bit of research, talk to some owners of each of these models- and then go for it! A skimmer is a very important (and pricey!) investment for your system-do it right the first time and you'll be so much happier! Good luck. Regards, Scott F>

Skimmers Hello Crew (Anthony), I have researched Protein Skimmers and this is my conclusion. The Aqua C Remora is a nice unit as some people say, but I have heard some people say this isn't that powerful of a unit. They recommended the E.T.S.S. <and they are SPS keeper or men with "skimmer envy" and red sports cars in their driveway <G>. ETS style skimmer do work very well. They are some of the most efficient on the market. But there are several that are far better IMO, easier to clean (by far!!!), less expensive to purchase and operate (the wasteful pump size and power demand on an ETS). Point blank... the ETS and like downdraft style skimmers are over engineered. They are not a good value for your dollar (which is why Aqua C is so popular with aquarists). My strong preference is for a Euroreef if money is no object (still less than ETS) and an Aqua C if you can't afford to invest in a Euroreef. Both are excellent skimmers... I feel as though the Euroreef is a little bit more idiot proof though> 600 to me and said to buy this protein skimmer over the Remora or any of the Aqua C skimmer they make. <I'd take an Aqua C EV series any day over it> Then I have read from you guys (and gal) that the Turboflotor 1000 is a excellent unit to buy. <I feel it is good... but it does need pampered and tweaked to work well. Strong potential but not idiot proof> On company that sells these is charging $100 more and claims they have modified it from the original version to run better. Have you heard of doing this and what could they really do besides change to a stronger pump? <absolutely... and agreed> I am leaning to the Turboflotor1000 over all skimmers and feel this have the options and cost that I am looking for, but I still am trying to consider the Aqua C Remora Pro. This is a little bite more money than the Turboflotor 1000. I hope you can give me the best judgment of what you would consider buying. <very simply... Euroreef or Aqua C for value and performance. I don't like being a slave to my skimmer. And I don't feel like a $300 or more skimmer should be hard to clean or require frequent fine tuning> This is why I come asking questions because sometimes when you research somethings.... you only get confused by other sales people telling me different.... help is needed be a person who is not steered into the direction of a product that could be inferior, but purchased because the sales people make more money on the other skimmer.... catch my drift? <understood. And although Aqua C is an advertiser here... Euroreef is not. And most of the products we recommend are not. Hopefully most readers feel we are plainly honest (our very opinions and recommendations in-house differ for that matter at times).> Speaking of drift... it is snowing and I really need a Caribbean vacation!!!! say about three months long!! Thank you for you input, Paul <best regards, Anthony>

Clams and snails Hi Bob, <on the Calfo train today... Anthony in your service. First stop... Mollusks> I am setting up a 125 gallon reef tank. I currently have nothing but 180 lbs of live rock.  <an excellent start... a good skimmer too, right? Very important to get that thing working daily in the early stages.> It is starting to grow algae and diatoms. I want to get a cleanup crew of snails and crabs, etc.  <OK... but do rely mostly on daily skimmate production, carbon and water changes to control most nutrients> However, I eventually want to have giant clams. I've been reading Knop's book on them and he recommends against having snails.  <well... not all snails. He simply refers to the omnivorous or predatory nature of some common species. However, common Astraea Turbo snails are quite fine> This seems pretty extreme to me. How do you keep up with algae and detritus with no snails.  <again... I can't emphasize it enough to friends... getting your skimmer to produce a full cup of dark skimmate every day can eradicate most nuisance algae even when severe. Invest in a good skimmer and make it work hard, my friend> Thanks, John Kim <Best regards, Anthony>

Re: clams, snails, skimmate production Hi Anthony, Thank you for your prompt reply. I have an ETSS evolution 500 skimmer powered by an Iwaki 20 RLT pump. it has been set up and running but it does not produce a cup of dark skimmate a day. It is more like tea colored water,  <a fine skimmer... you just need to tweak it some more to get dark daily skimmate. Little less air or water in this case to prevent tea colored product> with terribly smelly gunk building up on the tube which I clean once a week.  <excellent... you may even need to clean that internal coating more than once weekly to get really sweet production> My tank has a life reef skimmer and a marine life cr-500 calcium reactor. The return pump is a Iwaki 55 RLT.  Do you think that I have a good skimmer?  <the ETS yes> How can I get it to produce that much dark skimmate a day? <likely reduce the water flow just a bit to make the foam climb higher and drier. Also, see how it is fed: is it getting surface extracted water or water drawn from a dilute and fluctuating sump level? Skimmer boxes that catch raw overflowing water are best to feed skimmers> Thanks, John <best regards, Anthony>

Skimmer Selection Gentleman, <<Greetings - JasonC here.>> Love the your site!!! Lots of great info!!  <<Glad you find it useful.>>  Having lots of bubble problems in my tank and have determined its my SeaClone Skimmer (it took 3 days for the bubbles to "rinse" out of the system with the skimmer off, not to mention it doesn't work that well anyways).  <<You are right, they don't really work at all.>>  I have a 75 gallon (Corner Over-flow) fish only system. Equipment: SeaLife Systems Wet-Dry 60, Lifeguard Quite One 700 gal/hr pump, 2 Ebo-Jager 125 watt heaters, coral life turbo twist UV, and 2 power sweep 228 power heads for in tank circulation. Really think I can't go wrong on this buy? Found a ETSS 500 Revolution skimmer at my local pet store never used for $100 bucks (no manual, no box)!!! Normally $300-$400. It has been sitting on the shelf for years collecting dust (in fact one of them has a dead wasp in the bottom) and they just want to get rid of it. Been trying to do as much research on this "down draft" skimmer as possible. Their web site promises the world of course  <<of course...>>  and the sales person is not very knowledgeable about the product. Considering the few FAQ's that I have found on your site, you don't seem to endorse them??  <<Have not used one myself...>>  Although it seems like a vast improvement over what I currently have. Do you agree??  <<That it would be a vast improvement, yes - for certain.>>  Don't think I can go wrong for the money.  <<For the price, it seems like a good value.>>  Anything I should look out for??  <<Cracks or weak joints in the construction, perhaps live wasps ;-) >>  Or any expected problems???  <<Don't know enough about the product but you should expect it to take a couple of weeks to break in.>>  Should I expect this unit to return fine bubble back into my system like the SeaClone (making my tank look like its filled with champagne again???) <<Hard to predict - one would hope not.>> Also trying to figure out how to incorporate it into my system? There is no way I can fit it into my sump with everything else I have in there (heaters, UV pump). Planning on sitting it next to my sump and run (what ETSS recommends on their site) a Rio 3100 pump soft plumbed out of the sump and then soft plumbed back to the sump. The Rio might even be a stretch to fit. Any suggestions on a comparable pump that's smaller?? <<Perhaps one of the Supreme Mag pumps - perhaps a Mag-7 or Mag-9.>> Thanks for all your help, JC, Cape Cod <<Cheers, J -- >>

I Gotta Do It...but my wife will kill me (skimmer selection) Hi Guys! <Dead man walking!> I don't want to, but I got to do it...I need to get a new protein skimmer. Right now I have a mixed 300 gallon soft/hard coral reef tank with an ETSS 1400 Gemini Protein Skimmer.  The skimmer is very finicky and constantly needs adjustments, cleaning , maintenance. I just dissembled the whole thing, cleaned it and replaced the bioballs with new ones...what a pain. although performance is better but still not too good. <Agreed... am of the opinion these are per cost of purchase and operation marginal products>: I have selected 2 models for my new skimmer (my wife is going to kill me): <Hide all sharp objects, guns, baseball bats...> AquaC EV1000 with 300 to 1500 gallon tank capacity Euroreef CS8-4 with 350 to 700 gallon tank capacity Right now my skimmer is external to the sump,  I have a limited amount of height under my tank so the CS8-4 might be a tight fit and a hassle to get at for cleaning, etc. I could fit the EV1000 behind my >tank in place of the ETSS and I think it would be easier to clean, service by opening the shutters I installed in the wall behind the tank. <Agreed> My question is:  Is the AquaC "spray induction" the same as EuroReef's "needle wheel" technology ? <Nope... one's a Venturi induction-type nozzle, the other a whipping multi-pronged impeller...> If not, does it yield better or worse performance ? <The Euroreef... but I hasten to add... you may not need, want the extra "performance"> In general, the AquaC unit seems to handle larger tank volume...is this another reason to go for this unit? <Mmm, not IMO. Am sure you're familiar with WWM, the many Skimmer Selection FAQs files... even a "best of" one is there...> Thanks again for all your help! Chuck Spyropulos <Re-read through WWM here, and check out users' opinions on the BB's, Chatforums. Bob Fenner>

Skimmers & Calcium Reactors I am in the process of setting up a 180 reef tank and need to get a new skimmer. The skimmer I currently have makes use of an external air pump and bubble stone, which I don't think will be anywhere near good enough for my new system. After reading through all your FAQ's and articles on skimmers, I've narrowed it down to 2 choices, the ETSS Evolution 750 ($344 w/pump) and the Berlin Classic ($169 w/pump). It seems that both of these skimmers will handle my tank easily, and from what I have read both do a good job. Is the extra $175 for the ETSS really worth it? <I would not recommend either. There are far better choices, namely Euro-Reef and Aqua-C.> Am I correct that both these skimmers will work GREAT with my 180? <I would say marginal.> Are there any maintenance issues that should effect my decision? <The Euro-Reef is incredibly easy to clean.> The same goes for calcium reactors. There are many good ones out there, all with good reviews, but there is a $70 price difference on the 2 that I am leaning towards, the Knop C ($249) and the K2R ($419). Any preference for the 180g? <Both come with Eheim pumps. The K2R is a good bit larger, capable of holding more media, which means it will go longer before needing opened and added to. Either will serve you well.> Any advice is greatly appreciated. Will <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Skimmer Opinion Hi WWM Crew ... Looking for an opinion on the AE Technologies ETSS 800 Gemini Dual Downdraft skimmer. Looking at package of skimmer, large auto waste container, Dual Air Filter and Iwaki 55 RLT pump for $595. What do you think? <Do read through the WWM site regarding skimmer selection, etc. I would buy a Euro-Reef over just about anything else.> Thanks as always for the great site and information. Beckie Joslin <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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

SKIMMER (selection) HELP Hi Lorenzo, this is Sascha again. since my last mail I have been researching every night t find the best skimmer for my 125g fish only tank with sloppy eaters. I am stuck between the ETS evolution 750 and the AquaC ev200. In you last mail you mentions you would pick the ev200 and I would really love to know what makes you pick this one, since the ETS seems stronger, at least on paper. I have been looking for comparison charts everywhere, but couldn't find anything. I hope you can tell me what the better choice is, I really want to buy my new skimmer this week, since I can't get my aquarium clean enough with these heavy eaters. I also told my LFS to get me some live rock. please help me, it's 4am and I am still researching. <I will send your message to Zo as well for his input. I have read (and posted) your previous messages re this system... The ETS is a "stronger" type/model skimmer than the Aqua C as you state... runs on more flow/pressure, removes more gunk per pass... is this necessary or desirable? Not really with the size, type of organisms you proposed, along with the use of live rock, good, regular maintenance. Please re-read the "Skimmer Selection" FAQs posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com or re-contact us if this isn't sufficient information. Bob Fenner>

Slides, chili, skimmer Hello, Robert, what's up? This is George. Just want to thank you for doing this event. I had a great time.  <Okay!> Anyway. Keep in touch. Oh, right now I have a ETS Revolution 500 model skimmer, run with Sedra 9000. I assume you know a thing or two about it. <Yes> I upgraded from hang on the back Berlin skimmer. So I do see the big difference in performance. BUT since it is partially submerged in the sump. So the back pressure might kept it from doing the best job it should of be doing. I am not sure, just a guess. Since like most people, I don't have extra money to throw around at this point. And the performance of the skimmer is good enough at this point. I only have a 50gal tank, so that skimmer is more than enough at this point. I am going to stay with this skimmer for a while. What do you think? <Sounds good (enough) at this point> Well, thank you again for having me over. I need to go take a shower and get ready for bed. <Looking forward to showing more slides, and getting the underwater videographers to show their edited work...> I will email you some more when my brain is working. Too tired to think at this point. Almost 2am. <Yikes, chat with you soon. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, George

Skimmers Hi Bob- I recently upgraded to a 125 FO and am currently looking for an  efficient skimmer to put in the sump. I am wondering what you think is more efficient for the FO mostly  Triggers tank. Would a downdraft be better than a Venturi model? There is an ETS downdraft on EBay for 109.00. I was also looking at the  Berlin skimmers. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Tom <Cheap for the ETS... but it will require a large volume flow pump of its own... and electrical to power it... do like these downdraft types better than most of the venturi models (too many of the latter are very poorly engineered and constructed... just "cause it says "venturi" doesn't make it worth a hoot). But better than these types total are the needle wheel types like the Berlin, Turboflotor, EuroReef... which is definitely what I'd get... best in the short and the long haul for big, dirty fishes...Bob Fenner>

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