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FAQs about Skimmer Operation/Maintenance 10

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

Skimmer Production... Hi Guys, Excellent website. I'm learning tons of stuff from this site and I'm totally glad I found it. My question concerns my hang-on Amiracle SL-15 wet/dry filter and protein skimmer. My tank has been set up and running for 2 months now. I have a 46 gallon "fish-only" tank. I also have a Fluval 204 for mechanical filtration running with a UV sterilizer. I have about 40 pounds of cured live rock in the tank. The only fish I have in the tank are 3 Chromis, 3 percula clownfish, and one flame angelfish. For invertebrates I have 2 emerald crabs, 5 turbo snails, and about 10 little red leg hermit crabs. <Sounds nice..> My question concerns the protein skimmer (it sits within the hang-on filter). The skimmer was producing quite a lot of foam when I first was curing the live rock. The live rock I bought was only about 50 percent cured with a foul odor to it. The skimmer was pulling out brown liquid quite frequently during the curing of the live rock and I would have to empty the collection cup every day or every other day. Now, Once the live rock finished curing, the skimmer has not really been pulling out much. In fact, the foam in the skimmer never really even rises into the cone shaped part of the skimmer but only has the bubbles swirling just below the cone part.  <Hmm...Needs an adjustment> I told the guy at my fish store about this believing that there was something wrong with my skimmer. He told me that nothing was wrong. He said since I have zero corals, etc. and not too many fish, that the skimmer won't pull out much. He told me it was fine. Then, as an experiment, I bought a piece of semi-cured live rock. I then put the rock into my tank. The skimmer started foaming up within about 15 minutes. The foam stopped after about a day or so later.  <Still think it needs adjustment> In your opinion, do you think that the skimmer is working properly? It is pulling very little out. Its just leaving a brown residue ring of waste right under the cone. Also, when I wipe my finger on the inside of the cone, there is a brown film collecting on the walls of the cone, but as I said, no foam rising. I'm not sure if I should buy a new skimmer or if everything is working ok.  <Well, a well-tuned skimmer should be able to pull some product out of even a well-established, nutrient poor system. I'd try to adjust it until you get some more product> I appreciate your time,  Thanks! Ed Kraselnik (Queens, NY) <It's a good little skimmer, Ed- try tweaking it a bit, and that should do the trick! Regards, Scott F>  Thanks again, Ed Krasenik 

-Standard Turboflotor conversion to hang-on?- hello-- I was wondering if the regular Turboflotor 1000 can be converted or modified to a stand-alone or hang on skimmer?  if so how? <You might be able to do it if you are handy with acrylic, otherwise you'll have to suck up the 40 some odd dollars for the hang on model. For about the same performance, you'd be better off with an AquaC Remora Pro. At the shop we run an in-sump Turboflotor and an Remora Pro on the same 90g reef, both take out about the same amount and consistency of skimmate (and that's w/ the RIO pump). You may want to look into that.> I know the multi is available for this, but at a much higher price!  thanks-- brad <I'm not aware of any specific plans for this, but with a few pieces of acrylic, you may be able to do it. I have no idea how beautiful it'll look after that though! Good luck! -Kevin> DSB and Skimmer 1/30/04 I read Anthony's bit on alk/ca supplementation, and was wondering when he claims the ideal being a deep sand bed of 10+ cm aragonite sand, and mentions water movement, is that water movement through the sand via a undergravel type filter system or just movement at the surface of the sand? <not through the sand at all my friend... do read up on deep sand beds and all will be clear soon/promptly. They are static beds intended in large part to be anoxic to support natural nitrate reduction. Dr. Ron Shimek has an inexpensive handbook on the subject and we have the most extensive coverage of the topic currently in our "Reef Invertebrates" book. But getting back to your question... just strong water flow above the sand bed is needed to keep particulates in suspension for proper handling (consumption by filter feeders, export by skimmer, etc). Good water flow prevents excessive solid matter from penetrating and accumulating in the deep sand bed (DSB)> I have two 400w Metal Halide lamps on my reef setup which is 32" deep, one is 5500k the other is 6500k and are in a homemade melamine hood about 30" above the surface of the water, with two 20,000k 40Watt fluorescents and two 40Watt actinics, I don't know too much about lighting, and am concerned the balance of the halides to the actinics is too far out, (lots of halide, very little actinic),  I was considering switching the two  40w actinics to two VHO actinics, and maybe downing the halides to 200Watts each at around 10,000k, would this be beneficial or a waste of even more money? You are very much on the right track here my friend. The 400 watters are excessive unless your display is a hardcore collection of shallow water Acroporids (or other shallow water corals) and/or clams. Lower wattage halides would be just fine. The fluorescents (of any color) are not needed here particularly when you use lamps 6500K or higher. They are just for aesthetics if you like> Lastly, I have a Berlin classic skimmer with a mag 700 on it, and in the last few months it has hardly been doing anything at all, <they have this reputation. I myself do not care for the model/brand... not as consistent as other models IMO like Euroreef or AquaC> it takes like maybe a cup a month or so, <oh, my... with a good skimmer you can get this every 2 days!!! In some cases more. Your skimmer needs cleaned (distilled water and vinegar) at the very least> it use to do lots more, now even with the air venturi opened all the way it still does not overskim at all, even if I hook up a air pump the venturi it still does not over skim, it doesn't even skim properly at all, and I can tell I am having my dissolved pollutants build up because I am getting my tank covered with Cyano Bacteria, <correct my friend.. the a good skimmer is crucial for success in most tanks> so I am having to do extra water changing to try to fix it, I checked  the flow rate coming out of the skimmer and with the 700gph pump  and the skimmer being submerged about 8" in the sump the output of the skimmer is only 90gph, that seems very low to me, would replacing the pump (its about 1.5 yrs old) help the skimmer perform like it use to? <there a bigger flaw here... the skimmer shouldn't be sitting in he sump proper with a fluctuating water level (sump to evaporation. Moreover... it needs to catch all raw water from the overflow first. Even the best skimmer would not perform well as you have it here my friend. Do build a skimmer partition in the tank to catch all raw water in a standing overflow that runs over to the open sump. Then give the skimmer  good cleaning and lets see if that helps. Frankly, having talked to so many aquarists that would not take this brand of skimmer for free (no kidding) because of its design/reliability and difficulty of getting consistent skimmate... I am wondering if you just should not look at upgrading here. Kind regards, Anthony>

- Tuning The BakPak - Hi Crew, The water level inside my Backpack skimmer is starting to get so high that I can't put the cup high enough to go over the bubbles. The bottom of the cup is still under the water, even with the rubber band/o-ring is at the bottom of the cup. The skimmate is going to be very wet & thin if this continues. The skimmer did not do this before. Am I doing something wrong?  Do I need to clean it out? <Might want to check the exit port for blockage.> I have BioBlox in there, but like I said, this just started happening & I've had this skimmer for around 5 months. <Have the BioBlox been in there for five months. I know from experience that if there is any chance for back pressure in the settling chamber of this skimmer to get blocked up, it will perform exactly as you describe. I'd try rearranging the BioBlox to try and promote the free movement of water through that second chamber on the skimmer.> Thanks, Pufferpunk <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 -- >

- Lee Air-lift Skimmer - Hello.  I just set up a medium-sized Lee's protein skimmer in my 55 gal FO tank.  After only 2 days, I am getting about 1/2" of light brown liquid in my collection cup.  Is this good? <It's not bad.> From reading the box, it sounds like you don't want any water collecting in the cup. <Due to the design of this skimmer, this is about the best you can hope for... also, this wetter foam will likely go away in time and give way to something a little drier. If you've been using any water conditions - stress coat, dechlorinators... these are what often cause excessive foaming like this.> Also, (totally unrelated question) I read in one of your threads that small bubbles coming from an air stone in your aquarium can be bad for the fish.  Why is this? <Hmm... you may have misinterpreted - typically, these small bubbles don't enter the water under great pressure. That being said, it is possible, via things like plumbing leaks to create tiny bubbles that enter the water under pressure. These bubbles then find their way to the fish's tissues and cause real troubles. Really don't think this will happen with a normal aquarium air pump.> Thanks,  Sherri <Cheers, J -- >

- Skimmer Performance - Hi Crews, I had an Aqua C Remora. It is not producing any skimmate in the cup for the last 3 days. The foam stay at lower half of the tube. Due to equipment fault, my salinity is at 1.029 and I am trying to get it down to 1.024. So my question is that while lowering my salinity, does it disrupt my Remora from skimming efficiently? <It does alter things a bit...> I don't think my tank is lack of nutrient because I am experiencing Cyano bloom now. Also, when I added powerheads to combat Cyano, the Remora reacts negatively. The foam go even lower down the tube? Any ideas??? <Live with it... or perhaps purchase the surface skimmer attachment. The circulation is really quite useful.> I am confused and lost. Should I continue to wait further (3 days now) for my Remora to produce skimmate again? <I would... am doing something similar. My Urchin stopped skimming over the weekend, after a water change - has produced nothing since.> I checked the pump, cleaned the cup, cleaned the inner tube etc, but to no avail. <Yes... I have done all the same. Just be patient... it will start working again.> My tank is 46g, 45lbs LR, 2 small clownfish, 1 cleaner shrimp, 8 snails. Is Cyano bloom normal for my 3 months old tank? <Yes. Cheers, J -- >

Best Pump for This AquaC Skimmer >Hello there, >>Hello. >I searched the database, but was unable to find an answer already posted--sorry if I just missed it.   >>Vast amounts of info to be slogged through here!  No worries. >My question is a quick one: >>Hotay! >I'm going to be getting an Aqua C Remora skimmer for my 30g cube tank, and I'm wondering which pump is generally regarded as best for it (Rio 800 or MaxiJet 1200)?????   >>I will recommend a MaxiJet EVERY TIME.   >Are there pros/cons for each?   >>MaxiJet won't burn up on you and pollute your tank (that's the con of the Rio).   >The tank will contain a bimac octopus, so I'm looking for the best, most effective pump (of the preceding two listed) for this skimmer.  Thanks--I'll be waiting to hear from you before I place my order.  Sam Sundberg - Mpls, MN >>Well, I hope I was quick enough, I know how it is when you have an itchy clicker finger!  I say MaxiJet, all the way.  Marina

- Skimmer Questions and More - Hey first, your site is power headed I recommend it all the time; most of the info any new adept of the hobby is found there. This is actually the first time that I e-mail you guys...I'll keep it short.  I have a 33 gal. fish-only-tank (marine), Eheim canister filter, Regular red sea Prizm filter, 1 marine Glo actinic light, 30lb coral sand, 30 lb live rock, and maxijet900. tank is fully cycled (o ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite). I have 3 damsel I tomato clown(3in.) and 1 coral beauty(2.5in) all looking and eating fine. I have feather dusters and 2 Mexican turbo snail with 14 hermit crabs. tank has been running for just over a month with livestock in.... Qs: 1)skimmer and power head makes noise and since the aquarium is in my bedroom, I turn them off at night. when the I start them the next day, the skimmer seems to still be adjusted. is what I am doing harmful for the fish <It's not harmful, but it's not helpful either. I've had a tank in bedroom before... you will get used to the noise. I'd leave these both on.> 2) the skimmer collection cup) smells very bad. <That's pretty normal.> I clean it every two days with water. then white vinegar...then water again. <You can skip the vinegar step.> it's been running for a month about and ever since, the more time I spend in the room, the more my eyes get red and they itch. so I bought a air filter with no real outcome. impossible to open window due to cold temp. I was thinking of disabling the skimmer but that is my last resort. is the smell in the room harmful for health (i.e.. allergies) <Not that I am aware of.> (I am not using ozone).... is there pills or something I can buy (that is not harmful for humans) and put in collection cup to neutralize smells. <Not that I am aware of - some of the high-end skimmers have collection containers for overflow from the collection cup and these sometimes have activated carbon on them to filter out some of these smells. I'm not sure how you would modify a Prism skimmer for this, but if you could somehow put a small bag of activated carbon on the skimmer cup, that might address some of the problem.> 3)with my current livestock, can I add more fish... like yellow tang and firefish <I would not add any more fish to this tank.> thank you for you time. your advice will be much appreciated, Zahi <Cheers, J -- >

- Setting Up a Turboflotor - Hi, I am truly hoping that you can help me in my quest to get my TF 1000/multi working correctly.  Some background: The tank is a 46 gal with 80-90lbs live rock, sump with TF multi hanging off it, and there is also a UV filter that I use. This is the first skimmer that I have ever used, so I am not sure how it should be working or if it is even working.  I have done research for days and have yet to find the answer to my questions.  The first question is how much skimmate should I be getting? <Hard question to answer definitively. Every tank/system/bioload is different, and the combination of these will produce wide-ranging results. I say any skimmate is better than none.> The collection cup doesn't fill up for at least a month but it does get dark skimmate. <Good enough.> The nitrates in my tank are rather high, which is leading me to believe that the skimmer isn't working at its full potential. <Skimmers don't generally remove nitrates.> I am using the original pump that it came with, I believe it is an Aquabee something or other. How do I adjust it to optimum levels? <Make sure the water height in the skimmer is not too high, not too low.> I have tried playing with the adjustment knobs, I am not sure if that is even doing anything. <Well... as with many things, only adjust one thing at a time and then give those changes a while to take affect.> I have tried adding an air pump where the silencer is located, but that didn't really help.   I am now thinking about upgrading the pump to an Eheim 1060, but I am not sure if it is really needed?  What do I need to do, should be doing to get this thing to operate correctly? <I'm not convinced it's operating improperly.> Thank you in advance for any help.  Jim <Cheers, J -- >

- Setting Up a Turboflotor, Follow-up - Thanks for the response. <My pleasure.> It has calmed me down a bit.  My LFS is who started me thinking that it wasn't working all that well.  After talking to a bunch of people I am beginning to agree that it is working as well as it can.  Thank you again, it is greatly appreciated. Regards, James <Cheers, J -- >

- Revenge of the SeaClone - I'm curing some beautiful Caribbean LR from FFE in a 31 gal Rubbermaid tank. Following your advice I'm having aggressive water-flow (2 x Rio 1400 powerheads), one small (Fluval 1+) carbon activated filter and a Seaclone/Marineland 100 protein skimmer (venturi, co-current) that is not new (used by somebody else before, and hence not in the break-in period). Unfortunately ever since the LR came (3 days ago) I was unable to obtain the nice "gunk", the think solid/semi-solid dark green/light green stuff that's supposed to land in the collection cup. Instead I'm getting about 1 cup-full of watery brownish water in the cup. The skimmer seems to work well -> lots of small bubbles in the skimmer, lots of foam coming into the cup (so much that it escapes through the hole on top of the cup), but once in the cup it does not transform into the nice green gunk but into dirty brown water. I looked in the protein skimmer manual and they said to make sure that the venturi valve is at 2-3 inches below water surface. Checks. Other than that, I tried to adjust the valve at the air intake. The more I open it, the more air gets in and the less water flows through the skimmer (which I think is what I want), so for now it is full open. The skimmer itself does not have any adjustment for the height of the collection cup (I believe that others do). I am not sure if the watery output is due to a poor skimmer design (although it seems by the color of the deposits in the cup that the previous owner was getting green stuff out), or an incorrect adjustment (again, only the amount of air entering the venturi is adjustable), or simply because it's not skimming an established aquarium but rather a fresh batch of LR that is having a terrible water quality (4-6ppm ammonia!). <Your first guess was the correct one... the performance of this skimmer, or lack of it is due to a woefully inadequate design... some have tried to make modifications to it to enhance performance, but the gains are modest at best. It should be noted though that any skimmate is better than none - your rock will cure, no worries.> Thank you again for your time. You guys are doing a great job!  Mihai <Cheers, J -- >

Skimmer Query Hi Kevin, <Hi there, sorry for the delay, I was diving in sunny mehhhico! :) > Thanks for this.  When you say the foam can leak out from the lid, is this because it needs changing/cleaning and it is full? <It can happen when the skimmer is over foaming, like when curing live rock. Even with an empty waste collector it can blow foam out thru the skimmer cup/ skimmer body connection. It really has to be over foaming tremendously for this to happen, but this wouldn't happen with other skimmers which use a tighter seal.> Can you point me to any info on exactly what skimmers remove from the water (in chemical terms). <Dr. Ron Shimek was doing some research on just that subject, do a reefs.org and a reefcentral search, you should be able to come up with a TON of info. Enjoy! -Kevin>  Thanks, JP - Making the Skimmer Fit - I have a big question! I did email earlier in the week, but I thought maybe it didn't go through. I am really in desperate need of some advice! I have a 75 Gallon Fish Only Tank. IT has been set up since last March. I have only 4 fish, a small Clown Trigger, a porcupine puffer, a tomato clown and a damsel left from cycling. I have a wet dry filter with bio balls, etc. My husband bought me a very nice skimmer for Christmas. It is a Super Reef Devil. The only problem is, it doesn't fit in my sump. I didn't research enough. But, I love the product, and I think it will do a nice job. My husband has said I have two choices for the installation. I can mount it outside the tank, for gravity to work. It is too tall to elevate it under the stand. I can also drill a hole in the Plexiglas sump. He's a little nervous about that. We don't know how strong the acrylic is. <Likely stronger than you think.> We don't want the skimmer to accidentally get bumped and crack the Plexiglas. <Hmm... would take a pretty big bump.> The other problem is if we do drill a hole, we have to insert the tube and it has to be sealed. I have no idea what is safe to seal it with. <You need to pick up a bulkhead, these make the sealing and plumbing of the drilled holes much easier.> My idea was to build a bigger sump, and sit the existing one inside of it, and saw down the one we have to create a overflow of water. Yeah, he didn't like that idea. <That plan is over-complicated... drilling the hole for the pump is much more simple, and in some ways the 'standard' solution.> The problem is, we can't fit 2 pumps and the skimmer into my sump. Any ideas? <I'd drill the sump.> I don't want to put the protein skimmer on the outside of the cabinet. It would be ugly. Do you have any information on drilling a hole in the Plexiglas? <Either use a standard hole-saw or perhaps even a Dremel or roto-zip tool. Once you have the bulkhead in hand, use the gasket to trace a hole, and cut the hole to match. Put in the bulkhead with some silicone sealant on both sides of the gasket and tighten it by hand.> What would you do? <I think you know by now...> I really don't want a different skimmer. It's a pain, because we will have to send it back. Any suggestions at all, besides sending it back? I read the book the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, it is excellent. I have learned a lot. We have kept all the fish alive since I read the book! That was about 4 months ago! YEAH! I really appreciate you reading this!  Thank you, Patricia <Cheers, J -- >

Protein skimmer placement and flow 1/8/03 Hello crew, <Hi Dan!  Adam here.> I have a 100-gallon flatback hex tank.  I am going to setup a reef tank.  I am designing the filter system on paper to insure that it is going to work efficiently and fit under in my cabinet.  I have researched the different filter systems and decided to go with the mud filter. <Kudos for doing plenty of planning ahead!  It will save a lot of headaches down the road.> Which leads me to my first question.  In the mud filter can you have too much flow through the mud and Caulerpa and what would you recommend for the amount of flow? <I would check with Eco System concerning flow recommendation for a particular size mud filter.  I would say that as long as the flow isn't so strong that it disrupts the mud, it isn't too much.> I will have two filters (one on each side) to save space instead of one big one in the middle of the cabinet. <I would weigh space against the added costs of two sumps, two lighting systems, etc. against space concerns.  I can't imagine that the space advantage is that great.> My second question is the placement of a protein skimmer.  Through my research (even though they say you don't need a protein skimmer with the mud filter) the majority recommends that you have one. <I agree here.  Running skimmerless is becoming more popular, but is best saved for well established tanks and experienced aquarists.> Should it be placed first where the water is coming from the tank before it goes through the mud and Caulerpa or after before it is pumped back to the tank. <If possible, I would supply the skimmer with water that has not yet passed through the mud filter.  This will reduce the amount of microplankton (generated in the filter) that might skimmed out.> My concern is that if it is after it will pull some of the nutrients out of the water, which is the biggest reason to go with the mud filter. <I am a bit confused by this statement.  The point of both the Caulerpa in the filter and the skimmer is to remove waste.  Neither of these will remove very much waste in a single pass, and so will leave plenty for the other to remove.  I really think the impact on microplankton is a much bigger concern than the availability of dissolved nutrients.> Thank you for your time and help with my questions.  It is greatly appreciated. <Always a pleasure!  Adam> Dan  

Working A Skimmer Harder...  Hi Scott  <Hey there!>  Got another one for you.  <Sure...>  My skimmer is currently not producing any thick sludgy foam, it was doing this previously and now it only produces light tea coloured liquid. However I have not changed any of its settings.  All still remains the same. Any ideas?  Thanks Ziad Limbada  <Well, Ziad- I'd do some tweaking to the skimmer to try to get that dark skimmate that us reef geeks "crave"...LOL>

- Coral in the FOWLR, and More -  Hi,  Thanks for all the information you provide on the website. I am a newbie and have two questions. My first question is a is it possible to add some type of coral to a fish only system? <Sure.> I currently have regular lighting that came with the tank. I would like to add something other than live rock and fish. <Well, then start by improving that lighting just a tad - perhaps up to power compact fluorescents... then consider some Gorgonians - very nice, and very bad tasting so your fish won't bug them.> My second question is I am building a refugium and should I put the skimmer (Euro-reef CS6-1) before the refugium or after? <I'd go before.> I currently have a 90gl system.  Thanks again for your website, it is a dictionary of information. <Glad you find it useful.>  Jose  <Cheers, J -- > 

- Skimmer Woes - I have a Aquaclear Aquatics Pro 150 wet/dry with a built in protein skimmer.   To make a long story short the skimmer that came with the wet/dry doesn't work well at all. <Unfortunately not an uncommon story.> I recently bought a Turboflotor 1000 multi to replace it, I plan on removing the skimmer that came with the wet/dry and putting the Turboflotor in its place.  My question is will this cause problems with the Bioballs seeing as the water enters the filter, then it is skimmed, then it flows over a drip plate and then drips over the Bioballs. <Shouldn't cause any problems.> I am worried about the micro-bubbles being released from the skimmer. Will these bubbles harm the Bioballs or will this set-up help rid the micro-bubbles before the water is pumped back into the tank? <No... the air bubbles won't hurt anything - it's just air, and if you consider that 'air' is the dry part of the wet/dry filter... I think you'll be all set. Do read here for more information about this type of filtration: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm > Any advice is greatly appreciated. Mike O. <Cheers, J -- >

Re: I NEED SOME MAJOR ASSISTANCE. 1/5/03 Okay, rather new to keeping a saltwater aquarium. I started last March. Fish only tank 75 gallons 4 fish, a small Clown Trigger, a porcupine puffer, a tomato clown and a damsel left from cycling. Yes, I know the two smaller ones may become food. But, that's not my problem now. <I hope you mean "That is not my current problem"!  I am guessing you are planning on moving these smaller fish and not leaving them to constantly run for their lives!> My husband bought me a protein skimmer for Christmas! I read the book the Conscientious Marine Aquarist! Based on what I've read, the protein skimmer is more necessary piece of equipment than a UV filter. My husband doesn't think it's really important to have a protein skimmer, but from everything I've read on this website, it's VERY IMPORTANT. <I agree with you that a PS is a very important piece of equipment, especially with large (or soon to be large), messy predatory fish like yours.> Now, the problem is, I got an in sump skimmer.  I have a wet dry filter, and my pump is in my sump. Even without the pump, the skimmer won't fit. It's a Super Reef Devil by ETSS. It's really nice, but my sump isn't nearly big enough to hold both pumps, and the skimmer. I do not want the skimmer to be visible. We've called a few people for advice.  Either we mount it outside the tank (ugly), (not enough room in the cabinet to elevate it to desired height)  we drill a hole in the sump, which we have no experience with (sump is acrylic). <Drilling an acrylic sump is really not that hard.  You just need a hole saw (available at home depot or Lowe's), an electric drill and a steady hand.> Then there was my crazy suggestion of getting a bigger sump, and sort of sitting the one we currently have inside it, then sawing an overflow. <Why is this a crazy idea?  If you have the space, there is no downside to a larger sump (except the expense).  You wouldn't even need to saw an overflow.  You could drill holes or even DIY a custom drip chamber.> I can't disturb my bio balls <Why not?  If you are using live rock in the display, I would probably phase out the bio balls anyway.  If you need to make sump modifications, you bioballs can be stored in a bucket of tank water with a powerhead and heater for a couple of days without any ill effect.> and I don't want to do any damage to my fish. Can you maybe provide a suggestion? What would you do? I know it's some creative plumbing. <If you are using live rock, I would eliminate the bioballs and use the space gained for the skimmer and pump.  If no live rock, I would probably go next for the bigger sump.> Someone suggested getting a big plastic tub. I DON'T KNOW! AAAACK <"Rubbermaid" type tubs make inexpensive and perfectly suitable sumps as do ordinary glass aquariums.> We ordered it on line, and I really want a skimmer. I don't want to return it, and most of the ones that are in sump are bigger than the one we got. Unless you know of a different model. Okay, should I have researched better, yes. <Hopefully one of the above suggestions will suit your needs.  Please feel free to write back with any additional questions.  Adam> Thank you, Patricia J. Brian

-Sealife Systems Skimmer- I recently purchased a motorized 150 skimmer by SeaLife systems. when I installed and made the proper adjustment to the outlet and air valve it was, as I expect, returned bubbles into the tank and I expected to improve or stop completely in the next day or two. on the second day it was starting to collect some dry foam, but still leaking bubbles into the tank. it was sold to me with a Rio 2100 (692 gph) but SeaLife system include a CA 2200 (800 gph). could this be the cause? <Doubtful, the skimmer has only been running for a few days, you can't tell. Upgrading to the CAP pump would probably give you a boost in efficiency because of the extra 100+ gph.> the only additive I use is the Kent two-part CB calcium/alkalinity buffer every week. I haven't preformed a water change since the skimmer was installed. what should I do to fix it? <You shouldn't expect normal skimmer operation for at least the first full week, if not 2 weeks. It needs time to break in, and once that happens, it usually will significantly reduce the amount of bubbles that slip back out into the sump. Good luck! -Kevin> -Broken Sealife Systems Skimmer cup- I dropped my collection cup for my SeaLife 150 skimmer while cleaning it, shattering the bottom. do you know where I can find a replacement? <Any retail store you deal with that carries that skimmer can call Sealife up and order a replacement, just ask! -Kevin> -Zach

Skimmer Question 12/30/03 Hi there, <Hi again Pete!> Thanks for all the skimmer advice, just one last question! The AquaC skimmers seem to be the most highly rated skimmers on your website and their low height means that they could fit in my sump without having to be removed to take off the collection cup. I'm quite cynical and I see that AquaC sponsor WetWebMedia, they are as good as you say they are right??! <I am new enough here that I didn't even know Aqua-C was a sponsor!  In addition, we do work very hard to give unbiased opinions.  If I though another device would be better for your application, I would have said so without hesitation.  Aqua-C skimmers are top-notch.> The question was whether you can get these skimmers in the UK, I emailed the website about it but didn't hear back. <Give them a couple of days.  Jason is usually pretty good about this.> Also they recommend the Iwaki pumps, haven't seen those for sale in England either... Any ideas? I think the EV-120 looks like the best for a 100 gallon tank. <Any equivalent pump will work.  Iwaki's are external only, and you previously mentioned submersibles.  Iwaki pumps are probably the gold standard by which all other external magnetically coupled pumps are judged.  FWIW, I would be shocked if they aren't available in the UK.  They are a large company that supplies a wide variety of industries.  You might check their website directly.> Thanks once again, I've got into the habit of reading WWM almost every day now, always lots of new things to learn! <Always happy to help out!  I look forward to chatting again! Adam> Pete Re: Skimming 12/30/03 Thanks for the advice Adam much appreciated. <Glad to!> Point noted about the fish but they do seem to be getting along fine at the mo (touch wood!). The Gramma and Firefish are always swimming together at the front, kinda floating in the current from the MaxiJet (looks great fun). These guys are like this nearly all day. <Great!  A pleasant surprise.> Will keep an eye on the feeding incase their well mannered behaviour changes with each other. Interesting point on the Mysis shrimp. I do have a frozen cockle food as well so may feed this more and see if the skimmer starts to foam again. <I have found the effect on skimming to be temporary (about an hour or so), so this may not be the issue, but variety is highly encouraged anyway!> Can you recommend any other frozen or flake foods that would be suitable for these guys (point noted on the algae). <Most marine foods are very high quality.  I am partial to those brands that specialize in foods (Omega-sea, Ocean Nutrition, Hikari, OSI for example), and Piscine Energetics for Mysis.  Frozen foods are the most expensive per nutritional unit, but avoid the nutrition damaging drying process.  For dry foods, I prefer pellets to flakes since they don't oxidize as easily and don't let as much of their nutritional value dissolve into the water.  I also seek products that use little or no terrestrial plant or animal material.> Cheers, Martin. <Best Regards!  Adam>

Skimmer Question - 12/27/03 Hey Adam, thanks for your reply! <Glad to!  Sorry we didn't work out a solution.> I agree the Berlin would be adequate if I could get it functioning well, the problem is that I can't...  I agree that not enough air is entering, but having seen photos of other Berlin skimmers on your website and others in operation - it is the same as them, with air going up through the middle tube and then remaining in the top 1-2 inches of the middle tube.  You mention that the adjustment for water level is too low, I agree that if it was higher I may collect skimmate rather than a brown deposit occasionally on the tube inside but I don't think there is such an adjustment on the Berlin? <It sounds like you have done everything possible to optimize the skimmers performance, and I don't think there is a water level adjustment.  You may just have to upgrade.> Forgot to mention: the anemone problem is a plague... the white Kalkwasser precipitate in a big syringe is good at half destroying them and has been done to literally hundreds of them (they are so persistent though :o/ and the Regal angel only pecks at them once they have been 'Kalkwasser' think he's scared of the stinging cells otherwise, even after this they can come back). <These angels, don't always eat them with gusto.  It may be taste, it could be nematocysts, it could be lack of hunger.  You may try cutting back on feeding a bit.> The interesting thing is, even when hundreds have been destroyed and the tank must have more proteins floating around than ever, the skimmer still doesn't collect any brown liquid, foam does rise in the tube for a bit though... <Agreed.  A well functioning skimmer should "go crazy" with such wastes available.> I did what you suggested and put the skimmer so that it hangs on the outside of the sump, a bit of an eye-sore not being able to close the base but at least I know the water level in the sump was not the problem as it's operating as before, no waste in 2 days. <Well, at least that's ruled out.> I know 2 fish isn't much waste in a 100 gallon tank but the wrasse does eat a couple of mussels and between them 2 frozen blocks of food a day though which is no small amount. There were more fish in there before (yellow tang, flame angel, scarlet hawk - all killed in a hot summer when I was away :o( ) however the skimmer was just as ineffective... <That is quite a bit of food, and your previous stocking level was much more typical.> Perhaps the needle-wheel pump upgrade would be a good thing to get, however I do believe a product should work as it is supposed to without add-ons and don't really have much faith in RedSea products right now. <I agree and understand.  You would probably be happiest with a new skimmer.> Possibly this skimmer is good for a really high waste producing fish only tank where there is constantly enough waste for the foam height to enter the collection cup and thus for skimmate to collect but not for a reef tank where the water needs to be 'polished' of proteins.... ? <I agree that the skimmer would produce more in a "dirtier" tank, but even if was producing more, it would still be overwhelmed.> I always seem to be on my knees with the head in the sump trying to make this damn thing effective! I'm surprised you said that effective skimming wouldn't reduce the likelihood of a plague of anemones, but then I guess they aren't much different in morphology to the corals I want to keep anyway. <You may be able to slow the spread with a more powerful skimmer, but the existing Anemonia will survive on even the slimmest pickings.> Any more advice on how I could get this skimmer to function well?? <Short of replacement..  I can't think of any.> Many thanks and have a merry Christmas and new year!!  Pete <You too!  Perhaps you could add a skimmer to your Christmas list retroactively!  Adam>

Skimming - 12/27/03 Good Morning from the UK (or probably good evening). <And to you!  Sorry for the slow reply during the holiday time.> I wonder if I could trouble you with a quick question on my skimmer. I use a Remora Pro HOT Skimmer which has produced skimmate regularly for months up until I had a bit of a disaster....... <Nice skimmer!  I so hate to hear the "D" word!> I registered a spike in my ammonia and nitrites about a month ago and suffered the loss of 4 fish!!!!! Two clown fish and two Pajama Cardinals. <Sorry to hear of your losses.> My tank is 40 gallons, with Fijian Rock via TMC and live sand. I had a total of seven fish in here which combined with my no doubt overfeeding, will likely have caused the ammonia spike (saltwater newbie..... That's my excuse anyway). <Sounds like pretty heavy stocking (to begin with, not currently), but I doubt your feeding regime was the issue, I would consider it much more likely that an animal (even a single snail) died, causing the ammonia spike.> I managed to bring the ammonia and nitrite back to zero via water changes and using the cycle bacteria. I now feed sparingly (a quarter of a frozen cube of Mysis shrimp once a day just incase), do you think this is too little? <I suspect that your water changes were helped out by the fact that this was likely a one time event and the natural processes in your system.  Your current feeding is probably a bit on the light side and I would recommend a bit of variety (coral beauties natural diet is high in algae).  I would be concerned about the fire fish not getting enough food with two aggressive feeding tankmates.  I would also be concerned about the Gramma harassing the firefish into jumping out.> The tank now consists of a Royal Gramma, one Coral Beauty, one firefish, Red star fish, duster cluster, 2 common cleaner shrimps and a clean up crew of hermits and Cerith snails. <Be cautious that you don't have too many hermits and Ceriths.  I loathe crabs in general for their destructive tendencies (Even supposedly "reef safe" hermits for killing snails and each other for their shells!) and recommend keeping just a few if you must to keep competition low.  Ceriths are generally detritus specialists but may consume a bit of algae.  Keep no more than one per 2 gallons or so to prevent starvation.> Since this loss of fish and my cut back on feeding my skimmer has produced no skimmate, not even a small puddle? Do you think this is simply down to the lack of waste in the tank, or should I be looking at a problem with the skimmer? <This is probably a combination of your water changes and low feeding level.  Also, some Mysis are oily and tend to temporarily shut down skimmate production.> I have mailed Aqua C regarding just incase there's something I've missed but the pump is fine and the skimmer is "jetting" the water. <Jason's customer service and advice is second to none.  If he confirms that everything is OK with the functioning of the skimmer, I would trust that it is.> Do I need to be concerned? <Probably not.  I would try increasing your feeding a bit and see if the skimmer picks up.  Also, observe the skimmer to see if the foam collapses after feeding the Mysis.> Many thanks Martin. <Bet regards!  Adam>

Skimmer Question - 12/24/03 Hey, <Hey back!  Adam here today.> I have a Berlin hang on skimmer that is not used as a hang on, it is sitting inside the sump. The skimmer produces no liquid, only brown solid waste that collects on the inside of the black funnel (in small quantities) that leads to the collection cup, occasionally an extremely dry foam reaches the collection cup. The venturi is taken apart and cleaned regularly so that no deposits build up, as is the air tube, pump etc... The pump is an Eheim 1060 ~500 GPH. <Pump is appropriate.  You are cleaning better than most, I would say you aren't getting enough air or the adjustment for water level is too low.  That brown solid does carry a lot of waste, though.> I have an, (well I don't... my tank does) anemone problem, Anemonia species I think, no algae problems but lots of bristle worms and other critters that come out of the rocks at night. <Most bristle worms are nothing to worry about, but you will want to get control of those anemone ASAP.  They can go from one or two to a full on plague in a very short time.  I am surprised your regal angel doesn't pick at them.  Blue-face and emperors often will.  FWIW, better skimming will do little to control these beasts.> I think if I was taking out a cup of waste from it a week it'd have few problems. The system is ~100 gallons and with only 2 fish, but one is a very hungry 10" clown wrasse and a 4" regal angel, + a few soft corals. The tank has been running a few years but the skimmer has always performed this badly, had a Tunze before, though it was about 20 yrs old (inherited) it worked much better - until it broke. <That is a pretty light load for 100 gallons.  If you are doing regular partial water changes, your Berlin will probably be adequate if you get it functioning well.> The depth of water it is sitting in is 10.5" - will this adversely affect the amount of air that can be drawn down the venturi? (a recommended 6-8" in the manual)  Perhaps you have some experience of these skimmers not performing too well?? <I do think that the depth could be a small issue.  One option is to run the skimmer as a hang on - on your sump if you have the space.  If not, you could prop the skimmer up with a plastic box or something.> They were very strongly recommended when I bought it a few years ago. <When these came out and venturi skimmers were king, this device was at the head of the pack.  Now other technologies have exceeded the performance of venturis.  In fact, I do believe that Red Sea makes a needle wheel pump upgrade for this skimmer which may be worth considering.> Many thanks in advance for any advice you have!  Pete <Always glad to help!  Adam.>

Big Skimmer, Small Tank Hi, <hello> The tank is a 20 gallon SW. Over the last couple of months I've built a skimmer for it, as the water has always been slightly not clear. Anyhow, the first few days it produced some good brown green skimmate, and the tank water is now sparkling clear and now only white froth is produced. The skimmer is quite powerful, if I turn it up it really churns water and can produce a lot of froth. The question is, should I be aggressively taking this white froth out <No, not aggressively, You want the foam to be thick and dark. If you are removing yellow water, you are skimming to much and I would say to turn the air pump down> , might it contain something I should be removing? <very little> What it is doing is  Or, is it just frothed up water of no value to remove, and I should turn down the skimmer? <turn it down> The skimmer is air stone operated, but it's a bigger air stone than normal, I actually made it also. (from timber) <wow, since you made it can't you make it the right size? The skimmer might work better. good luck MikeH> Thanks.

Skimmer failure Folks, <hello> My skimmer has now packed in altogether and the LFS have contacted the manufacturers who say it could be 'some time' before a replacement part ( a known but recently discovered manufacturing fault) will be sent. I can't afford to buy a spare skimmer, so what would you suggest in the meantime. I have the option of putting a PolyFilter in the overflow, <do that> adding more carbon <do that> and increasing water changes from the current six gallons every other day (150 gallon tank). <I would say to do a big water change rather than a lot of  small ones. Wait until the end of each week and do a 30 gallon water change all at once. Also adding an airstone to the tank will help. Also test your water at least once a week to make sure levels are correct. Don't worry 15 years ago they didn't even use skimmers! MikeH> All advice gratefully received. Brian

- Skimmer Operation - Hi Crews, I had sent an email asking a few question 4-5 days ago and heard no response. I am resending it again with the previous email attached. Thanks for the time. <Sorry for not getting to it sooner. These things often fall through the cracks.> Hi all, Had been addicted to the Marine hobby and thanks for the commitment to this hobby. Well, I have 2 questions relating to my Remora skimmer 1.  3 days ago, I added a PolyFilter into my Emperor 400 to combat against phosphate. Immediately after adding the PolyFilter, my skimmer goes wild. My Remora starts to foam like crazy and I had to empty the cup every 2 hours. The water in the cup look lighter than normal. I thought the PolyFilter does not release any trace elements into the water. <It's not supposed to.> Why is this happening? <Some change in water chemistry... not sure what it is, could be dust or something on the PolyFilter. Wouldn't be too worried about this.> The skimmer operate normally after 1 day though. <There you go then.> 2.  To increase my water circulation, I added another Maxijet1200 PH to my 46g FOWLR tank. My Emperor400 is located at the left, my Remora is in the middle and this new Maxijet is on the right near the top of the tank when looking at the front. I have my outlet of the PH blowing 45 degree upward towards the front of the tank to avoid blowing the clean water returned from my Remora back to the Remora PH. However, once I turned on this new PH, my skimmer stop producing foam into the cup. The bubbles is still forming in the Remora chamber near the bottom column of the cup tube, but never go further up the tube. After a day, it is still the same. Is my new PH blowing at the water surface cause the skimmer to stop skimming?? <Perhaps... move it around and experiment.> I stop my PH now so that my skimmer operate normally again. My tank is 2 months old with 2 small clownfish, 4 hermit crabs and 6 snails, 45lbs LR. Thanks for your help. <Cheers, J -- >

- Skimmer Operation - Hi, I bought the Amiracle SL-15 hang-on wet/dry filter with protein skimmer for my new 46 gallon Salt water tank setup.  What I have done up to now is the following:  1) The filter/skimmer has run 24 hours with salinity at 1.023.  After 24 hours, I  put in about 36 pounds of semi-cured live rock with 2 strong power heads for circulation.   My question is: that the foamy water is spinning around just under where the removable collection cup bottom is (where it separates from the skimmer body)  The foamy bubbles never seem to rise higher up into the collection cup.   This is happening after about 28 hours of putting in the live rock.  Is this normal after 28 hours of running the skimmer? <Usually brand new skimmers take a week or so to really get cranking.> There is however a little bit of brown residue on the inside walls of the collection cup, (the cone part.) <Give it time.> The pump that came with my skimmer is the Rio 600.  However, the skimmer pump that is shown in AMiracle's online instructions to operate the skimmer is the Rio 800. Is the  Rio 600 powerful enough for the skimmer or do I need the Rio 800? <That probably has something to do with the production... I'd go the manufacturer's recommendations.> However they sent me the Rio 600 pump to operate the skimmer. <Might ask about that.> Thank you greatly for your time, Ed <Cheers, J -- >

- Skimmer's Gone Wild! - Folks, After several months of good operation my skimmer (Turboflotor 1000 Multi SL) has gone haywire. It suddenly started foaming massively, filling the cup in a minute with nearly clear water. Now two weeks later it's the same. I have the air flow turned right down, hardly any bubbles. The collection cone is nearly full of water, with about an inch of bubbles at the top. This is giving normal amounts of liquid in the cup, but it's very pale and doesn't smell much. The only change in the tank has been the addition of about 20KG of fully cured living rock. <That's change enough.> All water parameters are good, although calcium is a little higher than usual (around 400, usually 350 or so) and KH down. Any suggestions. <I'd let the skimmer go ahead and try to blow this out - perhaps put a valve on its pump so you can throttle it back there rather than by cranking back the air.> Tank is 5 x 2 x 2. Three soft corals, a shoal of damsels (11), two clowns and a tang. Thanks Brian <Cheers, J -- >

Free radicals (not a plea to release terrorists) Bob, <Andrew> I am hoping your knowledge of chemistry can reassure me somewhat about ozone application. Some facts and figures. <okay> 350l reef tank, 6 months old. Biological filtration provided by 55kg of Fiji live rock combined with 30x per hr water movement. No detectable ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. Eheim canister containing floss (changed weekly to avoid biological build-up), <Good idea> chemical media (RowaPhos and carbon), with the return going through a UV. Deltec MCE600 skimmer combined with 35mg/hr of ozone. Extracts a large amount of yuck each week, leaving the water absolutely crystal clear and slightly blue. Deltec calcium generator, with drip rate accurately controlled by peristaltic pump. Calcium 420, dKH 11.2. Combination of metal halide and actinic lighting. All corals, fish and inverts settled and growing nicely. <Sounds good thus far> The use of ozone leaves a strong distinct odour in the room. It is not a smell of burning electricity (i.e., I don't believe it is ozone), rather it is similar to the skimmate. <Not ozone> The room is not that well vented, so odours can and do accumulate. My understanding is that ozone will react with an oxygen molecule to give a free radical oxygen molecule (which is cancer causing with long term exposure). <Mmm, not so much reactions with oxygen... more a "falling apart" of the ozone/O3... with the monatomic oxygen becoming/being a free radical... in turn going on (quickly in general) to react with...> Is there any chance that the room is accumulating free-radical oxygen molecules? <No... the amount of ozone produced by hobbyist reactors is small... and the "life" of the reaction series resultant similarly limited> Do you agree with my assessment that the odour is likely to be a harmless bi-product of the ozone rather than ozone itself? <Yes, well put> Any ideas how I can reduce the odour? My LFS tells me "in the days when ozone was use extensively carbon air filters where used for this purpose" - but I don't know how I could apply a carbon air filter to the skimmer. <You can remove most all the smell and its cause by regular (weekly or even more frequent) placement of activated carbon in the filter flow path... yes, even though the ozone is introduced in the skimmer. Otherwise, I'd look into a "room air cleaner" (there are a few technologies to consider here...) and opening the window a bit when weather permits> On another subject, all parameters on my tank look good, healthy and stable. One exception is my slightly low pH which starts at 7.90 early morning and finishes at 8.25 by the end of the day (as determined by a good quality electrical meter). <Not to be overly concerned here> I know vigorous aeration would raise this, but I don't believe it would look right in the reef setting. My LFS has recommended a Kalk stirrer, timed to come on overnight. No doubt this would work, but I am reluctant due to unnecessary(?) (a) cost, (b) complexity of set-up / maintenance overhead, (c) risks of getting the dose wrong and causing damage to the reef environment. I believe I read a WWM comment saying 7.90 as a low point is not really a problem given that many ocean reefs can be lower than this. Would you recommend I leave my set-up as it is, add a Kalk stirrer, or tackle this is some other way completely? <You are wise to be cautious here... and consider your possibilities. The diurnal fluctuation in pH is not a worry... could be best "adjusted" by the use of a continuous or reverse daylight photoperiod refugium/sump... with photosynthesis during the main/display systems "lights off" period being offset> Finally, My reef contains a variety of reasonably peaceful fish - yellow tang, regal tang, royal Gramma, orchid Dottyback, couple of common clowns, cardinal, six-line wrasse. I would like to add a Pomacentrus alleni, as I think it is the most beautiful damsel. My research says it is semi-aggressive, one of the more peaceful damsels, but a damsel all the same. A couple of months ago I had to re-home a blue damsel as he was a naughty chap, seriously disturbing the harmony of the tank (although I had made the mistake of adding him before many of the others - I know, I know, but I've learned a lot since then!!). I understand that each fish is an individual, therefore there are no guarantees in this game, but do you believe the Alleni is likely to reasonably behave himself in my tank? <I do think your chances are good with adding an Allen's Damsel... more than 80-90%)> Thank you very much for your advice. I frequently lose an hour or two reading from you site. The rumour mill suggests Father Christmas may even be bringing me a copy of your book this year! Andrew Senior <Ahh, hope/trust you enjoy same. Cheers, Bob Fenner> To skim or not to skim, foam is the question! Hello <hi> First of all thanks for an amazing and informative site. Brilliant! I have looked for this FAQ but I just couldn't find it so here we go...I have a 25 gal tank with an Eheim external canister with carbon, sponge and ceramic tubes for filter material and AquaClear 500 external filter with its standard filter material  and a small air powered protein skimmer and about 1kg(not sure) live rock. The tank has been running "fishless" for about 3-4 weeks and the nitrite level is low, almost 0. I recently added a small Percula clown that seems quite happy and is eating well. My concern is that my protein skimmer is NOT making any sludge/foam or anything for that matter. Is it because the tank is not matured properly or is it because it's just a crap skimmer? <It could be both. First, in the skimmer are you using a wooden airstone? f not start their. Next is the air pump that is running the skimmer big enough. If you can, adjust the airflow on the airpump(s), try turning them up. Last in the long run it is worth getting a good skimmer. there are many good hang-on skimmers out there now. this will help keep your tank healthy and clean. MikeH> Thanks in advance Cheers! Daryl, SA

In Search of Dark, Yucky Stuff (Skimmer Production) Hi Scott <Hello, again!> Another one for you. <Sure!> I have my tank running for around about 2 weeks now. The skimmer is starting to generate some water in the cup. Its not like it over flowing or anything but the foam level tends to fluctuate and the water in the cup fills in slowly. This water looks lightish brown in colour. Is this normal or is there something wrong with my skimmer? <Sounds like there is nothing wrong with the skimmer; it just needs some adjustment to get the right combination of water/air flow in the skimmer to get a nice, dry foam, and a dark, yucky skimmate.> I was told that initially it will do this and once the bacteria builds up in the tank it will start producing more foam than water. <Well, it's usually a matter of adjustment, rather than a lack of organics in the water. A good, well-adjusted skimmer should pull product from the water even in a well-established, nutrient-poor system. All part of the fun- a certain amount of "tweaking" is part of the process of using a skimmer.> Is the water that its currently producing dirt? <Well, the water probably contains some concentrated organics. Better than nothing, but a some minor adjustments may yield the nasty skimmate that we desire!> Should I be emptying the cup out? <Yes, the product collecting in the cup and drying organics in the skimmer's neck will, ironically, lower the efficiency of the skimmer. Clean it frequently (but not over-zealously) and your skimmer will work at an optimum level!> Thanks Again, Ziad <Any time, Ziad! Roll up your sleeves and start tweaking that skimmer! Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Underachieving Skimmer? Hi Wet Media Gurus, <Scott F. on call today!> I've made an interesting discovery last night about my Prizm skimmer. It has not been skimming since I bought it about two months ago. Had tried everything from washing it to changing the air tube but still it wouldn't work on my 2ft FOWLR tank. <Grr...> However, when I introduced a small piece of dead shrimp to feed the crabbies two nights ago, it started skimming! It stopped again the morning when I removed the leftover shrimp. But to my surprise, when I threw in another piece earlier on, the skimming came back on... <Interesting...> Do anyone of you think its due to the lack of bioload in the tank...I currently just have two damsels and 10Kg of LRs and 20kg of coral sand in the tank. I didn't add any more fish due to its high nitrate readings. <No, I don't. Even in a very lightly stocked tank, you should be able to get some skimmate. It's really a function of getting that skimmer properly adjusted...> Any advice? Heard its a sad skimmer, its that true? <Well, it has a reputation for being a bit of an "underachiever", but with proper adjustment, you might just get some production. I think that the burst of productivity might have been due to the oil content of the shrimp that you were feeding...Just a thought- but it is a possible cause. In the end, if you can get that sucker dialed in, it should produce. Keep tweaking...> Many thanks, George <My pleasure. Regards, Scott F.>

(Over)-stocking a 90 gallon aquarium 11/17/03 thanks for the fast reply Anthony, I do agree that the Naso tang will have to go in the 150 when I set it up.   <or sooner> I know probably a lot of people say they're going to set up more tanks, but I just cant see me resisting all the beautiful fish I'm missing out on, I mean I love the invert part of the hobby more than the fish, but I can't stand not being able to buy some of the awesome fish out there.   <please do re-read this last sentence you wrote... and consider the practical ramifications (stunting fish and watching them die prematurely = wasting money/lives) if not reckon what it means to actually be a conscientious marine aquarist> I have another question as to my euro-reef protein skimmer on my 90.  I've had it running for over a year, and I decided on the euro reef as from the WetWeb site.   <a fine skimmer.... one of the very best IMO> I still don't know if I have it adjusted correct.  I don't know if you've seen these in action or have any experience with one or not, but I have the CS-2 model rated for a 120.  I see you talk a lot about getting a full cup of skimmate per day out of a skimmer, <on a well fed tank with a Naso and Coris wrasse to boot... yes.> the collection cup on the euro-reef is pretty large.  Would you expect close to a full cup a day from this skimmer??   <4 oz of coffee colored liquid per day would not be difficult if you are feeding daily> After I clean out the cup and dry it I place the top of the riser tube about in the middle of the union that screws onto the body.  That have the bubbles bursting about 2" from the top of the cup.  I only get about an 1/8 of the cup full per day , and at that its more like a tea green, <the air or water flow is too high, causing this wet foam... or (more likely) the quality of water being fed to it is diluted. I'm guessing this skimmer like most that don't perform as expected is simply sitting in the open sump (of varying water level due to evap flux) and is not instead sitting in a bucket or partition to catch raw overflowing water at a static water level (greatly enhances skimmer performance). The one thing that could be worse than this would be to have the skimmer in an open sump downstream after a wet/dry filter or some other mechanical prefilter (which robs and nitrifies organics before they can be exported by the skimmer). All of these aspects are covered in the FAQs on skimmers if any appeal to you> I have had it for a year and adjusted it in many ways also.  I notice that I have to take the cup off and clean it every 3 days or so for the foam to stay rising good.  I do rinse out the air line also with hot water.   <very good cleaning schedule> Does this sound right for this skimmer.  Also it goes crazy when I do water changes and I have to lower the riser tube for a day.  Please let me know you're insight, thanks <you definitely can get much more out of this skimmer... do review the above possibilities and tune/tweak yours. Best of luck, Anthony>

-Few more questions...- That's good to know.  Thanks.  Also, my skimmer is a  marine technical concepts pro 4500s (single wooden airstone type, the water travels down as the bubbles  travel up, <Counter-current> and it's run by a Coralife Luft air pump (7 p.s.i.). The flow rate  through the skimmer is from a 402 powerhead from the sump  area which has about a foot or two of head pressure, so I  think about 75 gallons per hour (which is the size of the  tank) so say 1x tank turnover per hour.  Would you say that's enough for the skimmer? <The turnover through the skimmer is not my favorite indicator of skimmer sizing, it depends on bubble size, contact time, amount of bubbles, etc. MTC skimmers are great, and if you keep your airstone fresh, it should do just dandy.> (And my UV sterilizer about the same turnover, it's a double helix 18 watt) <I wouldn't suggest running the UV all the time, or at all for that matter. It would help you much more on a quarantine tank, only to be used should a problem arise. I hope this helps! -Kevin> Again, I can't say thank you enough. You've been a great help

Skimmer Help Hello, <Hi> I currently use a CPR Bak-Pak on my 55 gallon reef tank. Recently I have noticed a thick yellow film on my water surface, I've cleaned the entire skimmer and the film has not gone away. <first add some carbon if you have yellow water it will clear it up right away, Also get a powerhead or 2 and angle them so that they ripple the surface. the surface of you water should have no dead spots> Recently I have been battling algae and have lost two fish, corals are fine. <test water chemistry test phosphates and if high use a good phosphate remover ROWAphos is the best I have used. this should help get algae under control. Also add a lawnmower blenny > My question is should I get rid of the Bak Pak and go with a Berlin HO? < like I said I don't think the skimmer is your problem, I think it is your water quality Hope this helps Mike H> Is the Berlin HO superior to the CPR? I really appreciate any guidance. Thanks, John

Skimmer Tuning... Hi Scott <Hey there!> How ya doing <Just fine, thanks!> Another question for you. I have my protein skimmer up and running obviously the tank setup is brand new so there ain't much bacteria and things in the tank yet. What I want to know is how high should I have the bubble flow in the neck of the skimmer? Right at the top (close to falling over into the cup) or is this not too important, will it rise on its own once the bacteria and waste in the tank builds up? <Well, I'd try to get the foam concentrated in the middle of the neck, giving the bubbles a long contact time in the skimmer. After materials build up, the foam will do the work for you. However, every skimmer is different.> I have my bubble level fairly low at the moment as I am scared that it could overflow with water if too close to the top. <Agreed...there is a sort of "sweet spot" that you'll have to locate in your skimmer, where the foam is high enough to produce, but not high enough to overflow dangerously...> When the skimmer does start working what will fall into the cup, waste with water or just a frothy substance. <Ideally, you want thick, dry foam that will spill into the collection cup, yielding  the nastiest, stinkiest coffee-colored stuff that you can get> I have never used a skimmer before just want to be sure what I should look out for? <As above. Just make sure that you get the driest foam possible...> Thanks Again Regards Ziad Limbada <Any time, Ziad! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Tiny Bubbles- Big Trouble! Hello <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I recently noticed my ViaAqua Multi-Skimmer w/ sterilizer was producing an extraordinary amount of fine bubbles. There are bubbles on the live rock, sponges, and algae. This problem is very recent (two days ago) and up until that point it worked fine for the 2 months it has been installed. I checked the trouble shooting guide that came with the skimmer and replaced the filter element. I also cleaned the variable venturi and ran a small hose from the tank to the venturi intake. Nothing has worked and the skimmer has been turned off. <Oh, no...You want that skimmer back in operation ASAP!> What can I do?   Current Equipment:    29 gallon tank; Aqua Clear 300 filter; Aqua Clear 301 powerhead attached to undergravel filter (I had it so I used it); ViaAqua Skimmer; 65 watt power compact w/ 50/50 actinic bulb. Current bioload: 40 lbs Fiji live rock; 2 sponges; 2 brain corals; 1 button polyp; 1 leather Coral; 3 or 4 mushrooms; 2 gorgonians; a dozen or so turbo snails; 1 scarlet crab; 1 shrimp; 3 fish; and whatever else comes out in the dark. recent water parameters: temp - 78; pH - 8.1; sg - 1.025; NH3/NH4 -0; NO2 - 0; NO3 - 10; calcium 400 Thank You, Dean <Well, Dean- If the microbubbles are a recent development, there could be many different causes, ranging from a loose plumbing attachment to a component that is not seated all the way. My best advice would be to completely disassemble the unit, clean everything thoroughly, and re-assemble it. If you're still getting the microbubbles, you could try letting the effluent from the skimmer go through some foam blocks or other type of "baffle" system. Unfortunately, these types of problems require nuts-and-bolts solutions, usually with a few steps, and lots of trial and error...But, in the end, you will get the handle on these bubbles with a little concentrated effort. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Skimmer Performance and Adjustments - Hi Wet Web Media member of the day.  I have been reading the facts on your site about the Aqua C Remora skimmer and other HOT skimmers.  I have a Remora w/Maxi Jet 1200 on my 55 FOWLR (6 small/medium fish, 2" sand bed, 40 lbs LR) that has been set up for 2.5 years.  I upgraded from a Seaclone to the Remora about six months ago and have never really seen a lot of waste in the collection cup.  Every three days or so I probably get about a quarter of a cup of light green/light tan waste. <I wouldn't be concerned about this, skimming something is much better than skimming nothing - I know that there have been others on the crew to answer these types of questions with blanket statements like, "If you don't get a cup full of dark brown skimmate, something is wrong." I can assure you, nothing is wrong... every tank is different and especially as the systems get a little older, they tend to skim less and less.> I empty the cup every two - three days and clean the uptake tube each time.  Reading many facts on your site, I was wondering if my problem is the depth of the powerhead in the tank. The intake is probably five inches under the surface as that is the way it came.  There is a two - three inch striped tube connecting the powerhead to the skimmer itself.  It appears as if I cant cut the tubing because the powerhead will not be able to attach to the skimmer directly.  Could you provide any guidance on how to fix my problem? <You might want to try the surface skimmer accessory, which will draw water from the surface and can often enhance the performance of the skimmer. Not certain it is made to fit the MaxiJet pump, but you can give Jason Kim at AquaC a holler. His web site is http://www.proteinskimmer.com/ > Thanks, Amy <Cheers, J -- >

Skimmer/ Kalk questions Can I use a Euroreef CS6-1 in a 10 gallon sump for a 55 gallon tank?  Would it fit with the pump?  Thanks for the help. < no you must maintain a 6" water level and if the power shuts off it would overflow it will fit but it will be tight try a 20 long instead>   One question about Kalk slurry if you don't mind.  I pour (slowly, about 3 min.) 1/2 teaspoon in 3/8 gallon of cool DI water in my tank after lights go out, but I don't see any difference in Ca.  Also the ph goes from 8.1-8.2 but within 10 min it's back down to 8.14 and declining (using a pinpoint ph monitor). Should I use more Kalk? <yes your tank is using the calcium and you need to add more>   One more question, would a t4 pump be too much for a new All Glass Brand 55gallon tank with corner overflow built in, LFS said I would get some kind of bacteria?  (they tried to sell me a Mag 9100, is that better quality than the t4).  Thank you for all of your expert < yes in my opinion mag pumps are very heavy duty and run forever flow rate sounds good thanks Mike H>   advice... again.  Your tanks must be amazing!  (I attached a picture of my tank)

Skimming From The Start! Hi Scott <Hello again!> How are you <So far, so good!> I am finally setting up my first salt water tank tomorrow. <Cool- Now the fun starts!> Tell me do I turn the skimmer on from the word go or should I only turn it on once I have purchased some live rock? <I'd use it from the start, because there is a huge influx of organics that is released into the water though live sand, live rock, etc. A skimmer is truly your first line of defense in creating high quality water conditions> I was thinking of turning it on from the word go but will this not allow the tank to settle in. <Run it from the start, as I suggested...> I won't be purchasing my live rock immediately and fish will only be introduced a few months down the line once I have all my live rock and all water parameters are correct, probably will get the live rock sooner as I will be rather tempted to speed up the entire process once I am set up. <Yep- human nature being what it is, we sometimes tend to jump in a little more quickly than we plan...I still like the idea of running the skimmer from day one> Thanks Again. Regards, Ziad Limbada <My pleasure...Best of luck to you on this new adventure! Regards, Scott F>

Plumbing Path  Guys, <Howdy, Cody here today. Sorry about the delayed reply.>  After reading your website, I have implemented a number of changes to my 125g over the last 4-5 months. I added a DSB, increased circulation (approx 15x), added a 30 gallon refugium and increased lighting on the main tank to 750 watts (VHO). I do 2-3 water changes each week (approx 10% weekly).   The water quality is very good. I have a moderate fish load (a number of small fish and 1 yellow tang) and a mix of corals (xenia, Goniopora, leathers, meat coral, 10" bubble, frogspawn, Ricordeas and wood polyps.   My quandary is around skimming. Because of the canopy over the tank, the refugium feeds the sump (with the skimmer) rather than in-line. In-line is not possible without a two pump setup which I have never made work. I am worried that the skimmer (which produces dark skimmate daily) is pulling out all of the good organisms that the refugium is providing. The proof is with the Goniopora, which is slowly receding. I am sure that part of the starvation is due to the relative newness of the refugium (only about 6 months old), though the refugium has thousands of copepods (I can see hundreds on the glass). There isn't another place to put the skimmer. Do I skim during the day and turn it off at night? Do I skim all the time? I get this sense that the usefulness of my refugium is limited by the protein  skimmer. <The skimmer is probably removing some of the goodies. It would be much better if you could have the refugium on its own pump or have the skimmer before the refugium. Since this is not possible I would probably run the skimmer during the day and off at night. This way you at least be getting some use out of the refugium. You could put the skimmer pump on a timer so it is off for 4-5 hours during night so your coral can feed. Make sure you're getting plenty of aeration while the skimmer is off though. Cody>

Skimmer Maintenance  Hi <Hi- Ryan with you>  Lately my skimmer is "acting" differently. It started producing more of a dry foam with large bubbles.. and when the collection cup had a lot of the bubbles in it I cleaned it out. <Good> since then it is still producing the bubbles but it seems to have a day and night cycle to it. More foamy ness in the am and it seems to drop down during the lit period. Nitrates are 2.5-5ppm... nitrites 0 ammonia zero. I have also had a larger outbreak of red filamentous algae. Is my skimmer not doing its job?? <It's possible, and somewhat likely. What type of Skimmer is it? Venturi, airstone etc? All have their quirks. If it's pump-driven, you may want to soak the pump in some vinegar solution to break down any build-up. Good luck! Ryan> 

Skim before Bio? Yes!!! 11/4/03  Hello.  <cheers>  Thanks for all the great help you guys provide.  <our pleasure>  I have a couple of quick questions for you. I know from reading the FAQ's that it is better to place the protein skimmer before the Bio tower in a wet/dry setup.  <yes... critical>  But I also know that probably 90% of the manufactured wet/dry filters are designed with no way to achieve this (without T'ing off the flex hose from the overflow).  <true... it is an industry faux pas that has been perpetuated for many years from early, ignorant designs put into production and slow to change. A significant flaw IMO>  So my question is, how much more effective is the skimmer with raw saltwater vs. Bio processed water?  <it makes a staggering difference in water quality and skimmer performance. The advantage being that organics can be exported by a skimmer before they are nitrified by a bio-filter not harmful byproducts>  Is it a difference of 10% or 50%?  <more likely>  Is it necessary or just better?  <necessary IMO. Poor performing skimmers across the nation are testimony in part to this>  Also, If I was to use the very porous lava rock or Texas holy rock  (limestone) in a sump/refugium and seed it with a few pounds of live rock, would it not be as effective as using all live rock eventually?  <nope... not even close. AT best, it will be biologically active for simple nitrification. But it would never reach the species diversity of aged rock harvested form the sea>  Thank you for doing what you do. Kirk  <a labor of love... best of luck to you. Anthony>

Seaclone modification 11/3/03 to whom it may concern, this is something you might find interesting about sea clone skimmers that I dug up since due to funds I was limited to the type of skimmer I could buy and have done the modifications recommended on the skimmer and it works great. here's a link to the sea clone modifications http://reefcentral.com/diy/seaclone_modifications.htm . thanks, frank di Gioia <thanks kindly for sharing this my friend... we will duly post this in the archives for all to see/read. Anthony>

Skimmer Cleaning Scott: <Hi there!> I recently read your comments on skimmer tuning, and you wrote: "The best option is to keep the skimmer as clean as possible without wiping away all of the oily matter that accumulates (otherwise, you'll have to let the skimmer run to "break in" yet again...".  Would I be lucky enough to have the same skimmer as you (AquaC Remora Pro)? <I have used this model previously, but am not using it in my current system...An excellent skimmer, nonetheless> Either way, how do you actually clean yours while leaving it oily at the same time ;)  I use a round bottle brush and hot water to clean the inside neck, which has gunk build-up.  Is there another way?  Thanks, Rich <Well, Rich- I just give it a quick rinse with freshwater, and gently wipe the gunk of with a paper towel...That's the best way, short of giving it a heavy scrub down and waiting to reestablish the skimming process.>

Working His Skimmer! Dear WWM crew <Scott F. your Crew member tonight> Great site and great book - which led me to the site. <Glad that you're here!> I'm three weeks into cycling my new  65 gallon FOWLR tank.  But my SeaClone (I've read your thoughts on this product) only produces a small coating of dark sludge a day.  How much skimmate should I be getting from this tank? <Well, we like to see at least a couple of cups of dark, yucky stuff per week, so if you're getting a something daily, you're doing better than the average SeaClone user, based on our readers' responses> ( no inhabitants, except those that came with the LR).  The live rock was supposedly cured before I bought it.  (I did see it in my suppliers curing tank for a couple of week prior to purchase). Perhaps - there isn't much organics for the skimmer to pull out yet? <Well, the real test of a skimmer's ability is its capacity to pull out stuff even when your tank is relatively low in organics. The more efficient designs will definitely pull stuff out on a regular basis...Perhaps you could tweak the settings on yours if you are not satisfied with its production> Cheers Chris <Good luck, Chris- Keep working that skimmer! Regards, Scott F>

Can a Protein Skimmer Really do That? >Hello again Mr. Bob, >>Ms. Harding in his place today. >As my previous letter, now I become one of the salt water aquarium moderator in my country, I know even though I have experience for about 10 years in keeping marine fish, but I still believe that my knowledge is still novice.  My question is does PROTEIN SKIMMER REMOVE AMMONIA, NITRITE AND NITRATE (later I write ANN)?   >>No, it doesn't.  It removes much of the waste that would later decompose into these compounds. >Because one of my senior told in the forum that this thing remove the ANN.  But, I strongly opposite him and told the forum that he was wrong, protein skimmer doesn't remove and never remove ANN, may be it will remove a very small part of ANN but ANN can only be remove by the Nitrogen Cycle process. >>This is correct, as I said, the best that can be hoped for with a foam fractionator is removal of waste products that later decompose. >Later he told to the forum again that he have a solution that can make water crystal clear and also remove ANN, so we do not need a Protein Skimmer. >>OH MY!  (I am laughing now.)  His nickname doesn't happen to be "saltcritter", does it?  (Search reefs.org for this individual, you will get a great chuckle.) >And at this point I opposite him again, I told to the forum that Nitrogen Cycle process can't be deny in marine aquaria, AM I CORRECT? Please advice and suggestion. >>Yes, remain confident in your assertions.  My own suggestion, as someone who's involved in another board's forums, is to state simply that the purpose of the board is to disseminate GOOD information, and if he has proof (scientific) of his claims, please make it available.  Otherwise, I might treat him as a "troll".  Enjoy!  Marina

- Gifted Skimmer - Hello crew. My wife surprised me with a skimmer this weekend. As awesome as that sounds, she doesn't know anything about the hobby and bought me a WON Brothers or Won skimmer and pump. The pump is by Hailea (HX-4500). Before plugging this sucker into my 75 gallon reef tank, How horrible is this device. Be honest! <It's not the best one on the market, how's that?> I have only had my tank up for almost a year and have had success running carbon only aka "dirty reef". Inhabitants include clownfish (1), coral beauty, purple Firefish, hermits, 2 pep shrimp, 1 cleaner shrimp, mushrooms, star polyps, button polyps, candy coral (tiny frag), finger leather (tiny frag), Galaxea coral (beautiful) and a new frogspawn (tiny frag). The frogspawn is set horizontally with enough distance between it and the galaxy. I have maintained a steady schedule of twice weekly 5 gallon water changes with premixed saltwater. I am adding three green Chromis to the display next week. That is where the skimmer comes in. I have read of tank thriving without a skimmer, relying on only biological filtration and water changes. <Yes, changing water as you do, in frequent, small amounts is a wonderful way to maintain a fishtank. I do suspect that no matter which brand of skimmer you ran on your tank, it would still pull out some nasty looking gunk from your tank, but... and to repeat, changing water as frequently as you do, you could probably do fine without a skimmer.> Please advise. <Is up to you - no harm will be done by adding a skimmer.> Thanks for your assistance. Cheers! <Cheers, J -- >

Plumbing design, skimmer first? Regarding the email titled "Plumbing Designs"...the proposed setup that I emailed you about previously is very similar to this. However, I'm curious as to why the skimmer is plumbed after the Miracle Mud/Algae section. You replied that the setup "looks good," but wouldn't it be better to have the skimmer first? <By and large, yes... there is some advantage in having the skimmer later in that the water level in its chamber is easier to keep stable, but some disadvantage in the removal of life that might otherwise be transported to the main/display system> I know that Ecosystem doesn't recommend that use of a skimmer, but I'd probably use one too, so I'm interested in your thoughts on the correct order (if any) of the plumbing of the skimmer. Regards, Walt <In actual practice, the order/arrangement of the skimmer usually is not of major consequence between these two alternatives. Bob Fenner>

The Joys Of Dark Effluent (Calibrating A Protein Skimmer) Hi guys, <Scott F. your guy today> I have a concern in regards to my protein skimmer (not sure exactly what make it is) I purchased my filtration system used from a LFS it consists of a wet dry and a protein skimmer that sits right inside it. I have a power head pushing the water into the skimmer and there are 2 air hoses that come off of it where I can adjust the amount of air bubbles and water flow <Good to have that capability> I am trying to figure out the best air water / mix and was wondering if you could provide the guidelines around it, i.e.; should I have the water level halfway up the stem between the primary chamber and the collection cup...should I have a slow continuous stream of bubbles going up etc. <Well, in my experience, the key with most skimmers is to get the water column within the skimmer to look like a fine milky white with bubbles. You'll know how to adjust by looking at the type of product produced by the skimmer. If you are getting a nice, "dry" foam, and a dark stinky effluent, you've hit it right. If it is a wet, overly frothy mix of bubbles, and a watery yellow effluent, then you probably need to restrict the water flow a bit more...There is no one "universal perfect" setting to get a perfect skim on any skimmer...Way too many variables...Unfortunately, you'll have to use some trial and error, not to mention, time- to find the "sweet spot" on your skimmer. A frustrating, yet oddly rewarding process!> I have been finding that I have been getting slime on the inside of the collection cup chamber, like it wasn't able to get it over the lip, I then try and adjust it and get a serious collection of water in the cup the following day... <Ahh.. all part of the joys of calibrating a skimmer. Ironically, the crud that is collecting on the neck of the collection cup is probably prohibiting further production of good foam/effluent. The best option is to keep the skimmer as clean as possible without wiping away all of the oily matter that accumulates (otherwise, you'll have to let the skimmer run to "break in" yet again...A well tuned protein skimmer should be cleaned at least once, if not twice weekly, IMO...This will help yield optimum results...> All help is appreciated Regards Chris <Hope I was of some assistance here. Just keep tweaking things- you'll get there! Regards, Scott F>

- Did the Skimmer [or lack of one] Do It? - Hello WWM crew. I have a bit of a problem I'm losing my babies. *sob* 75 gal reef aquarium 2 clowns 1 yellow damsel 1 purple tang. Now down to just the purple tang. <Sorry to hear of your losses.> My Remora Pro skimmer pump went down was not able to get one for 2 weeks. But now have replaced with  mag 5 pump <That pump is too large for this skimmer - you should put a valve inline to throttle that pump back a bit.> Rio pumps stink should have listened but any way. <Not sure I agree entirely... have owned, and still own several Rio's with no event. Do require frequent cleanings to keep them healthy, but that shouldn't be a big deal. Sometimes one or two will be bad out of the box, but that happens to every pump manufacturer.> 10 gal water change per week  while skimmer was down. Ammonia 0, nitrate 0, nitrite 0, ph 8.4, cal 220. Will bring cal up with Kalk. Bubble coral and mushroom suffering from low cal - do you think my fish deaths are due to skimmer being down? <Wouldn't be my first or second choice of causes.> Also have green algae every where on sand and all over live rock 100lbs (Arrgh). Tank 4 years old and one last question, what fish would you suggest with this set up? <Please go through the Wet Web Media website, many possibilities and too many to list here.> Thank you for providing such wonderful knowledge.  Rocky   <Cheers, J -- >- 

- Skimmer Noise, or was that Pump Noise? - Hi Folks, I'm new to the hobby and have just discovered your site. Looks terrific and I look forward to spending more time getting familiar with it. Here's the deal. I'm in the process of setting up my first tank in our family room. Equipment is being bought from and on advice of an experienced local dealer, but so far he's stumped on this one. I've plumbed the system myself and have a basic familiarity with the concepts involved, but I'm learning as I go. The tank's a 150 reef-ready with a Custom Sealife 200 wet/dry and an 1800 mag drive pump. I installed a Red Sea Berlin Classic with a Turbo pump in the sump. The problem is NOISE, and it's coming from the skimmer. The pump gives off a loud rattling or buzzing sound which is overpowers the 1800 pump and the chiller compressor noises combined. <Sounds to me like the pump is the source of the noise - have you tried swapping it out?> So far it can only be stopped by restricting the air intake tube (i.e. putting my finger over it). <Likely the incoming air is causing cavitation inside the pump - perhaps a bad impeller.> All devices have been padded with neoprene to reduce vibration/resonance, but this noise definitely an internal pump noise not a vibration against sump walls or bottom. After trying several footprint configurations when setting up the skimmer, I ended up with the pump output flowing directly into the reactor intake with no bends or distance in the flex tubing between them. I'm wondering if the high volume of air/water created by this direct unrestricted flow can be the source of the problem. <A possibility.> Can I create a different footprint with bends in the output tube and thus restrict the volume and control the noise? <About a valve inline?> If so how will I know what's adequate in terms of skimmer function? <By the skimmer's performance.> I'm still waiting on a response from Red Sea, but thought you might have had some experience with this situation. <Not directly, but if it were me I'd start with trying a replacement pump.> Thanks in advance for you assistance. Randy <Cheers, J -- >

Skimmer Blooper... Hello, how are you today? <Doin' great! Hope you are, too!> I have a 30 gallon tank with 30 lbs of live rock, and a Liberty 200 power filter.  I also had a CPR Bak Pak 2R skimmer, but after I cleaned it today and was putting it back together, I tore the rubber ring for the outlet tube.  It now leaks onto the floor. <Yikes! That's a classic one for the "bloopers" file...definitely not funny now- but one you can look back on in years to come and smile about...> Do I really need a protein skimmer on this tank, or will the live rock and power filter be enough? <In my humble opinion, a protein skimmer is just a required component of any marine system...I'd make the effort to repair/replace your skimmer as soon as possible..> The tank has been set up for over a year, and I have a few seahorses, a scooter blenny, a yellow assessor, and a purple mushroom coral. hanks; Kevin <Get that skimmer replaced! In the mean time, keep up great water quality with consistent, excellent husbandry techniques (disciplined stocking, feeding, use of activated carbon/Poly Filter, and regular small water changes...Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Excalibur skimmer 10/8/03 I just bought a advanced aquaria Excalibur skimmer.  Was just wondering if  you are familiar with that product?   <I do have some experience with it... its not bad for the price, although not on par with a good Aqua C or Euroreef... the letter two being well worth the money for their ease of maintenance> I bought it on Monday and I've got no waste in the collector cup so far.  Does it take a while for the skimmer to break in before its starts to collect waste?   <no... in fact, its a bit of a running joke that some manufacturers say their skimmers need a break-in period of as much as a few weeks. Ridiculous. Any skimmer that works can collect in 48 hours or less. If yours does not... tune the air or water flow (up for wetter product... down for dryer foam)> I move the arm up and down and turn the air valve around I still get nothing in the cup.  I don't know much about venturi skimmers since the one I had before was one with a airstone.  Any help would be greatly appreciated thank you.                     Scott <Scott... I'm wondering if there is a local aquarium society that we can get you hooked up with for a local aquarist to guide you with hands on advice here. What big city are you in or closest to? Anthony>

Protein Skimming And Its Effects On Marriage I have a 125 gallon reef tank with a Sailfin Tang, Purple Tang, Blue Hippo Tang, Coral Beauty, Flame Angel, Maroon Clown, and a Sixline Wrasse. <Interesting, colorful mix of fishes!> The only filtration I have been running for the past two years is a Berlin Turbo Hang On protein skimmer. For the most part I liked the skimmer but hated the Rio pump that came with it. <You're not alone in this sentiment. I have heard similar views from others!> I noticed that over time as the pump sat in the water, the hole where the propeller site started to warp which would cause the pump to not start. I also noticed that the inside diameter of the air intake tube shrank after being submerged over time. This is actually a long story which really does not involve my current question. The bottom line is that I eventually replaced the pump with a Mag drive and everything seemed to work better. Two years ago I put an old 30 gallon tank underneath my main tank and set it up as a sump. Since I had the hang-on version skimmer I just hung it off the side of my sump. I put my heater in there also and had another Mag drive pumping the water back up to my main tank. I have about 140 lbs of live rock and everything seems to be fine. My main problem was cleaning the venturi cone at the base of the skimmer where it connects to the elbow which is drawing water in from the pump in the sump. That little area was a pain to get to and clean. Well, after unscrewing and screwing that elbow to clean the venturi cone that fitting eventually cracked. Now it leaks and basically I can't use the skimmer anymore. <Bummer.> The bottom line is that I am now looking for a new skimmer but have no idea what I should get. I don't want to get another Berlin because I didn't like the way I had to clean it. <You bring up a good point here. Skimmers must be cleaned regularly (ideally, weekly-if not more often), and the easier a skimmer (and by extension, a sump, filter, pump, etc.) is to clean, the more likely we are to clean it! Just human nature, I guess- but everyone should keep this in mind during the equipment selection process> The few models I was looking at are the AquaC EV-180, Turboflotor 1000, EuroReef ES5-3, and the ETSS products. <All three are excellent- the "upper echelon" of skimmer products, IMO. There are others- but these manufacturers have consistently provided outstanding, reliable, and rugged products> Personally I like the AquaC product but the price is a little out of the range of keeping a peaceful marriage if you know what I mean. However, I am willing to spend a little more for a better product. My main requirements are efficiency of the skimmer and ease of maintenance. Thanks for any advice you may offer.  Gianluca <I am right there with you, my friend! Personally, of the three manufacturers that you mention, I think that Aqua C has the best price/product balance. The EV line (expensive though it may be compared to a Berlin Turbo), is nothing short of fantastic. Euroreef is outstanding in its simplicity and productivity- but it does use a form of "needle wheel" type technology, so careful maintenance is advised. ETSS products are quite expensive, but are very, very rugged, and have no moving parts to wear down. However, some people find the acrylic screws (that are used to disassemble the skimmer for cleaning) a bit annoying. I am personally using an ETSS on a reef system right now, and I really like it. However, it does take a bit longer to get "dialed in" compared to the Aqua C, and is downright ornery compared to the Euroreef! ETSS skimmers are used worldwide at many leading public aquariums and institutions, so they are doing something right here! All in all- any of the manufacturers that you are considering will serve you well. If installed per their recommendations, you simply cannot miss with any of 'em! My recommendation for you, overall- Aqua C EV series. If your marriage can handle it (not to mention, your wallet!)-go for it! Hope my two cents worth helps! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>  

Circulation w/o incidental plankton loss, how? Tunze "Universal" I don't get how it doesn't pull in Live Plankton. I can't seem to find any info on this. If this really is the case do other skimmers do the same thing.  You said it was pricey at J&L it is cheaper than the Aqua C EV and it has the pumps included which costs extra with the AQUA C every place I looked. For Under $600 you can plug and go.

Skimmer Operation MAG DRIVE has a 3600 pump out now!!! $175 Thanks for the Salt info it's only about half what I spend here in Green Bay. <Glad to hear that!> AC EV 240's look like they will work for size.  They say you can have these in line with the sump or in the sump. Do they work under negative pressure?? <I doubt it...> Can I be drawing water out of these. I don't think that sounds right. Do you know anyone who has used these inline before.  If in the sumps I'll have to raise it six-eight inches. <I'd contact Aqua C's owner, Jason Kim, directly at: info@proteinskimmer.com. He's a super guy, and can answer any of your questions about his products. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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