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FAQs about Skimmer Operation/Maintenance 11

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

Protein Skimmer not producing fine bubbles after 1 year of use Dear Crew: <Steve> I have a protein skimmer (Aquatic Life Systems Aggressor 90) that has stopped producing fine bubbles after 1 year of use.  It worked great until a couple of days ago. <Happens> The pump has an air intake with a small plastic valve.  The pump is a PT-1500 (I can't read the brand name-Made in Taiwan).  It is pumping water fine, but the bubbles have become much larger.  I have taken the air intake apart and cleaned it along with the hose, but it didn't make a difference.  I ran water through the intake hose and valve.  There are no restrictions.  Do I need a new pump? Thanks,   Steve <Maybe... but I'd first take the whole unit apart, lightly bleach wash... especially the area twixt the pump and the contact chamber... in the hope/trial to remove some accumulation of gunk that might be there. There is a very real possibility that your water/system has reached a sort of stasis in terms of its "skimability"... where there is not much to actually skim... I would still run the unit though. Bob Fenner> Read on... read on, thirsty learner 5/3/04 I have a skimmer question.  Does a skimmer suppose to STILL pull out DOC's if all that is in my tank are corals (LPS and some button polyps).  No fish in this tank.  What is your opinion on this?? <your corals and polyps (and so many other life forms in your tank) eat, respire, shed metabolites/pass waste just like fishes. Snails rasp algae and turn it into fecal pellets that should be skimmed before they dissolve and feed more algae. You need a skimmer IMO for many things. Please do read more on this topic on our extensive coverage of "skimmers" in our wetwebmedia.com archives and the article on skimmers by Steve Pro in our brand new e-zine, Conscientious Aquarist: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/TOCV1.htm best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Re: skimmer performance 4/26/04  Hello.  <Hello again! Sorry for the very slow reply! I was out of town working on the first issue of "Conscientious Aquarist" magazine. Look for a link to the first issue here at WWM on May 1st!>  My system is a 55 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump. I have about  70 pounds of live rock and two inches of sand (some live). I test regularly  and NH3/4 is 0, NO2 is 0, NO3 is about 15 now, salinity is always 1.024,  Temp. is always 79, I use a digital PH monitor which states 8.4 during the  day, I use Seachem reef advantage (sparingly) and Kalkwasser, Lugol's (2  drops per week), and Seachem reef buffer. I have a Euroreef CS6-1 and an Eheim 2215 canister filter, the tank has a 600 gph return pump and a 402  powerhead to make about 800-900gph flow, I use some activated carbon (change  small amounts every two weeks), and my feeding to a small maroon clown  (about 2 inches) and small Naso tang (about 3 inches) is not much. small  portions of formula one twice per day and 3 or 4 quarter sized pieces of  seaweed (for the tang). Maybe a Naso, even that size, was too much on the  system?? Oh yeah my Ca is around 350-400 and my alk is 3-4 meq/L and I do  sometimes 10, sometimes 20 gallon changes every week (99% of the time!) with  DI water mixed with reef crystals salt. I think that is it. I just re-did  my system by building it into my wall, looks great! and now I can see what  goes on behind the rockscape, how cool that I see things I haven't seen in  the two years the tank has been set up! Again, thanks for all the help,  keep up the great work!!  <With your stocking levels, feeding regime and water change schedule, it is no surprise that your skimmer is only producing small amounts of skimmate. There just isn't a lot there to skim!>  P.S. have you ever used a SeaChem iodine/iodide test? I don't seem to get  any reading on it (but the reference does work!? I can't imagine there is  no iodine in the tank with the water changes and Lugol's, any advice would be  great.  <Actually, it is possible that the iodine level in the tank is below the detection limits of the test kit. Iodine is very rapidly depleted by combining with organics, being taken up by the animals, adsorbing onto substrate and carbon, etc. Try testing very soon after dosing. In the case of iodine, I would not try to treat to normal sea water levels, but rather use the test kit to be sure that even shortly after a dose that you are never exceeding NSW levels. Many aquarists are very successful and never dose iodine, and many have had disasters from overdose. Do be conservative! Best Regards, Adam>

Workin' that Skimmer fo' da Skank! Hello Crew,  <Hello, Richard.>  I hope you can help me with my questions pertaining to the above .For the past 2 weeks my skimmer is not producing any dark substance as it has been before. I usually gets about an inch or so of dark smelly substance from the skimmer but now what I have is a very tea light coloured liquid about half an inch a day. I have dismantled and washed every single part of the skimmer and is now producing a lot of foam but no dark coloured liquid as before. Is there anything you think is the problem?  <Well, it would help to know what skimmer you're using. It's also good to know what your inhabitants are, how long you've had the skimmer, and how old your aquarium is. If you've recently added any epoxy putty, gels, or any other additive to your aquarium, this could be causing the skimmer to produce a light tea-colored waste. If this is the case, eventually the skimmer should settle down after roughly 48 hours. Another possibility is that you've adjusted the water too high, which I will continue later on.>  Is it ok that I adjusted the skimmer so that the foam are formed at just an inch above the collection cup ?  <This could be what's causing this to happen. If you want to try, you can lower the skimmer water so that it's around 3" from the collection cup. However, this may not solve your "problem.">  Or do you think it is high time to replaced my skimmer?  <It depends what skimmer you have now and how old it is. Personally, if you have a Sea Clone I would upgrade. Sea Clone's are not very efficient in removing waste and often release bubbles into the aquarium if the nozzle isn't adjusted right.>  Thank you very much for your valuable advice to this matter.  <I wouldn't worry about it too much. The important aspect is that your skimmer is removing some waste from the aquarium. Take Care, Graham.>  Regards Richard  Skimmer questions 4/14/04 I have a EuroReef cs6-1 skimmer in my sump.  I only get about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of skimmate per week!  Is there any tips you can give me to adjust this skimmer?  I have heard people using this skimmer and getting MUCH more skimmate than that! <This may be just fine depending on the size of the tank and stocking levels.  If your tank is 75 gallons or less and lightly stocked, the skimmer may be pulling out all most of the organic wastes that are being produced.> I have also tried to adjust the pipe up for more bubbles and down for less but I see no difference.  How deep of water should it be in, mine is in about 11", too deep? <This may a bit too deep.  I believe that Euroreef recommends no more than 9" deep.  Check your instructions or www.euroreef.com.  If it should be shallower, you can always prop it up on something.  I adjust my cs6-1 so that when I have just cleaned the cup and it is bubbling, but not making foam, the froth rises to about the middle of the union connection in the neck of the skimmer.> My nitrates have always been around 20-30 and I blame this on the skimmer not being adjusted properly.   <This isn't the place to lay the blame.  A properly functioning skimmer will help reduce the organic load and therefore indirectly will have a small effect on nitrate, but proper biological filtration is required too keep it below the range you are reporting.  I will need a description of your system and filtration to try and help track down the cause of your nitrates.> All other husbandry is done on schedule.  I have also tried to use Kalk to  help but it seems to not have much of an effect.  Please help I can not stand these levels of nitrate much longer! <Kalk will have little effect on skimmer performance.> I also paid good money for this skimmer and know it should be doing more (due to what I have read on your/other sites).  Any help will be greatly appreciated!!! <My hunch is that your skimmer is performing fine.  Please do write back with the tank size, stocking levels, feeding routine, water change routine, results of any water testing (salinity, pH, alkalinity, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate), a description of the system (live rock?, sand?) and any other filtration employed and we can get this figured out.> Thanks for the great site and all recent help.  (And Anthony's book, can't stop reading it!)  Sincerely, Blaine, a nitrate hater <Thanks for the kind words, I will pass them along to Anthony.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Fussy Skimmer?  Hi Guys  <Scott F. your guy tonight!>  Thanks for all the good advice. My Aqua C EV120 has been disappointing in its performance lately. Two weeks ago I noticed it wasn't producing foam after working great for the 2 months since I bought it. I thoroughly cleaned it an also removed carbon and Chemi- pure, which I'm sure changed the way the skimmer perceived the tank, and could be a factor.  <Definitely...Skimmers are very sensitive to their operating environment>  The evening of the cleaning, it started working better and was collecting a little. It the stopped again. During this time, I did move all the rock around and stirred up the tank. I'm sure this affected tank chemistry along with the carbon change.  <Again, a possibility, and a good observation on your part>  This past weekend, I changed the impeller on the Mag 5, and it worked real good all day Sunday, and almost filled the cup to the overflow. I added carbon during my Sunday maintenance and the foam height has slowly lowered now to the middle of the updraft tube and is nowhere near the collection cup. How long do I wait for this to adjust, because during the skimmer's quirkiness, the Cyano has really increased. I'm getting a little frustrated because I spent some nice $$$ on this skimmer.  <Well, I can certainly agree with your frustration. I have an ETS skimmer that took many MONTHS to get dialed in (part of the reason why I don't recommend ETS skimmers too often, BTW). Aqua C skimmers are among the best on the market, but they are rather fussy when environmental parameters change. As you observe, it often takes a few days to get them producing again after such a disruption. I'd probably give the skimmer about 48 hours, max- between an environmental disruption and the time an adjustment is made. Unfortunately, there is no set time table as to how long a skimmer takes to readjust, so you'll just have to learn your skimmer's "Rhythm", and go from there. At this point, I suppose it's time for an adjustment. The new impellor "unbalanced" the "equation", so to speak- so an adjustment is most likely in order. Make it a small one, and wait several hours between adjustments for best results. If things just don't work out, do contact the ever-helpful Jason Kim (owner of Aqua C). He's a great guy, and a treasure trove of knowledge on skimmers. Be patient...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- To Skim or Change Water - Hello to all of the great crew of WetWebMedia... Your site has been very informative and helpful to me for the past few months and I am very thankful that such sites exist.  I have a question regarding the use of a protein skimmer.  Why would  a protein skimmer be necessary when frequent water changes will give me the same end results (remove dissolved organics, replace trace elements, and better water quality). <Mostly because even with very frequent water changes, you're only removing a percentage, 5,10,20 percent or so - in roughly a week most skimmers will see 98% of the tank water. In addition, they actually perform slightly different functions so then even in the presence of very frequent changes - let's say 5% a week - there would still be bogus stuff that the skimmer would remove. Don't get me wrong, water changes are very important, but I would rate a protein skimmer with almost equal importance.> Wouldn't a reef or fish only aquarium be better off with frequent water changes without the use of a skimmer... since skimmer tend to remove some of the important trace elements that are necessary for aquatic life. <Only the most aggressive and over-sized skimmers remove 'too much' - a sensibly researched and purchased skimmer will do much more good than harm. I'll make you this offer, same as Bob Fenner is known to do... if you buy a skimmer and drink the stuff that collects in the cup, I'll buy the skimmer for you. In my opinion, every saltwater tank should have one.> Thank you for your time. <Cheers, J -- >

Skimmer Performance Questions Hello <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Lately my EV-120 has stopped producing muck gunk. At first the Mag 500 was at full throttle producing lots and lots of wet foam. I had to put a valve on it to get it to a nice zone where it produced a cup of dark nastiness every day. Last Saturday, it kinda stopped producing anything, so I opened the valve full throttle and during maintenance, removed the carbon and also cleaned the air intake. I saw that the skimmer worked well that night and was working in the morning. I went out of town and my wife was tank watching and when I returned all was well with the critters but I could tell the skimmer production had been very very minimal for the time I was away. The skimmer is only 2 months old. Can it be that the carbon was released?? <Well, fresh activated carbon has very strong organic absorption capabilities, and it may have some effect on the skimmer's production. However, the normal production will generally resume after a few days. Perhaps you cleaning was a bit too aggressive, and the organic coating on the skimmer's neck was a removed. Usually, sudden cessation of foaming in a skimmer is indicative of a change in the skimmer's "operating environment", such as a major water change, excessive cleaning, or need for cleaning! Again, this will usually take a few days to re-establish itself. Sometimes, adjustments to the skimmer during these periods will create a longer "re-establishing" period. Perhaps if this happens again, you should just try cleaning the skimmer and NOT re-adjusting the flow. Maybe this will work...> My nitrates are still very low but I have seen a pretty marked increase in Cyano. <Well, Cyano is absolutely a product of organics in the water, or bound up in or on the substrate. Continuous attention, in the form of regular water changes with high quality source water, use of activated carbon or other chemical filtration media, good water movement, and consistent productive skimming will help you defeat it over time. Stay vigilant!>   It's a 90 gal semi reef/fish tank. also. My new bulb anemone completely shrunk down to 1/10th its size and looked real bad on night. It stayed like that for an hour and pumped back up!! since then clown and squishy the anemone are a happy duo. What was that shrinkage all about?? Joe <Really hard to say, Joe. Could have been anything from a physical irritation to a minor lapse in water quality, or even a need to close up for a while to metabolize food. As long as the anemone has consistently re-opened and behaved normal otherwise, I wouldn't be overly concerned. Keep an eye on things, of course, as anemones can be difficult. Keep up your good observations and diligent maintenance practices! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Seaclone help thank you for posting in your Faq's skimmer/maintenance 8 section on the SeaClone skimmer. I have also purchased a SeaClone skimmer, and have been searching the net trying to figure out why it will not work right, as usual I always end up at your site, very helpful! Anyways the tidbit on using a piece of foam to raise the inside cup up worked for me too, it works like a champ now, after fiddling with it for weeks. thank you Tammy <Outstanding. Thank you for reporting your success. Bob Fenner>

Wet Skimmate as Water Changes Question First off, I wanted to say it's amazing the effort you guys put into answering questions! <We try, thanks for the compliments>  I have a 29 gallon reef tank (30lbs base rock, 35lbs live rock & 30lbs live sand) with a Remora Pro Skimmer. <An excellent skimmer, I have one myself> When the collection cup is placed in the medium position, then it takes a good two weeks to get a cup of dark muddy skimmate. If the cup is placed at it's lowest position, it produces almost a cup a day of light green skimmate (And the skimmer is much quieter in this position). My question is whether there is any benefit/detriment to leaving the collection cup low and then just replacing the water taken out every few days as a water change rather than keeping the cup high and pumping water out to do the changes. <I would try to find some sort of mid point, to where the cup needs emptying every other day or so. I get about 1\3rd cup a day of medium brown liquid in mind, and it's most of the way off the skimmer. Just adjust the height every day or so until you get it where you want it. Also, I would not use light skimmate as the sole means of water change>  Thanks, <Anytime>  Justin  <M. Maddox>

- Skimmer Plumbing - Howdy All, I have had problems with the Rio 2100 pump that came with my Turboflotor Skimmer (T-1000).  I had anticipated this problem from perusing the articles on WWM before purchasing it a few years ago.  I have done my research (on WWM mostly) and purchased a reliable pump as a replacement.  The new pump is much bigger than the Rio and will not fit in the sump of my Tidepool Wet Dry (maybe not quite enough research? :-) ).  To accommodate the new pump I'm planning to relocate the protein skimmer assembly to a secondary sump that will gravity flow back in to the Tidepool Wet Dry sump.  An additional benefit to moving the protein skimmer assembly out of the sump is access to the filter media will become tremendously easier. <Why not just put a bulkhead on the Tidepool and feed your pump this way... quite an easy thing to do.> My search for supplies lead me to my local fish store where they criticized the setup of the Turboflotor Skimmer.  The local fish store folks claim that all water from the tank should first pass through the filter media as a pre-treatment before the skimmer. <Pretty standard...> I have read Mr. Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" chapter on filtration and studied the drawing on page 84, so I'm fairly confident that my current configuration is fine (water flow directly to the skimmer as a bypass from the overflow of the aquarium). <Yes... not at all worth splitting hairs over. In many cases one way of setting up such things is just as viable as any other...> Just to be on the safe side I'd like to ask if there is a true benefit to having the entire tank effluent pass through the Wet Dry? <In the case of the Tidepool, this is your only physical filtration... would be a good chance of gross particulates making it back into your system otherwise.> If there is a benefit I can add a pump to push water from the sump to the protein skimmer and gravity feed back to the sump.  Aqua Medic recommends a rate of flow of "approx. 250 GPH"; I assume that's good? <Yes.> What affect would a significantly higher rate of flow have? <Hmm... could make it so the skimmer doesn't work at all - would stay as close as possible to the manufacturer's recommendations.> Conversely, what affect would a significantly lower rate of flow have? <Same, but different.> Assuming 250 GPH is golden, which side would you want to error on, high or low? <Neither... I'd want to be as close a match as possible - use the performance of the Rio 2100 as your guide - any replacement pump should be very similar in specification. A difference of 10-20 GPH in either direction won't affect the skimmer a whole bunch, but much more than that and you may not be pleased with the results.> On a different but related topic … I was wondering if it would be beneficial to run an old backpack style Wet Dry filter that I am no longer using in my secondary sump. I would utilize the backpack filter in quarantine tank setups to provide a little better filtration than a power head.  Can the filter system or power heads be returned to the sump upon successful completion of a quarantine period with no worries? <I would keep quarantine equipment separate from your main system - don't mingle.> Best Regards, Patrick <Cheers, J -- >

Flow directly to the skimmer? 4/9/04 Howdy All, I have had problems with the Rio 2100 pump that came with my Turboflotor Skimmer (T-1000).  I had anticipated this problem from perusing the articles on WWM before purchasing it a few years ago.  I have done my research (on WWM mostly) and purchased a reliable pump as a replacement.  The new pump is much bigger than the Rio and will not fit in the sump of my Tidepool Wet Dry (maybe not quite enough research? :-) ). <Whoops!  I hard thing to research really, you just don't know until you try it!  Many folks have reported problems with Rio 1700, 2100 and 2500 pumps.  Other models seem to be more reliable.  All are most certainly cost effective.> To accommodate the new pump I'm planning to relocate the protein skimmer assembly to a secondary sump that will gravity flow back in to the Tidepool Wet Dry sump.  An additional benefit to moving the protein skimmer assembly out of the sump is access to the filter media will become tremendously easier. <Another benefit is that you can design the secondary sump to have a constant water level which allows the skimmer to perform much more consistently.> My search for supplies lead me to my local fish store where they criticized the setup of the Turboflotor Skimmer.  The local fish store folks claim that all water from the tank should first pass through the filter media as a pre-treatment before the skimmer.  I have read Mr. Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" chapter on filtration and studied the drawing on page 84, so I'm fairly confident that my current configuration is fine (water flow directly to the skimmer as a bypass from the overflow of the aquarium). <I disagree with your LFS.  Most reefkeepers avoid any mechanical filtration at all, so obviously the water entering their skimmers is not pre-filtered.> Just to be on the safe side I'd like to ask if there is a true benefit to having the entire tank effluent pass through the Wet Dry?  If there is a benefit I can add a pump to push water from the sump to the protein skimmer and gravity feed back to the sump.  Aqua Medic recommends a rate of flow of "approx. 250 GPH", I assume that's good?  What affect would a significantly higher rate of flow have?  Conversely, what affect would a significantly lower rate of flow have?  Assuming 250 GPH is golden, which side would you want to error on, high or low? <Wet/dry or skimmer?  I would stick as close as possible to the manufacturers recommendation for flow rate through any device, particularly a skimmer.  Overdriving the device may reduce it's efficiency or cause it to flood. Good water movement in the display and through the sumps will ensure that the most nutrient laded water is always available to the filtration devices.> On a different but related topic … I was wondering if it would be beneficial to run an old backpack style Wet Dry filter that I am no longer using in my secondary sump.  I would utilize the backpack filter in quarantine tank setups to provide a little better filtration than a power head.  Can the filter system or power heads be returned to the sump upon successful completion of a quarantine period with no worries? <Again, I am not sure if there is some confusion with the term wet/dry, but...  I am strongly in favor of storing some filter media or even running a small hang on power filter in the sump of your display so that it is always ready to use for emergency or quarantine.  After use in quarantine or hospital tanks, the filter should be washed well with fresh water and allowed to dry completely before re-use.  Absorbent materials like filter pads and disposable filter elements should be discarded if exposed to medication.> And finally, on a completely unrelated topic I'd like to ask about TLAs. There are many TLA references made on WWM and I'd like to know if there is a page dedicated to explaining them and proper usage?  I think such a page would really be helpful!  Best Regards, Patrick  BTW  TLA=three letter acronym <Ha!  I almost missed that BTW and went to search WWM for what a TLA was!  I had never heard of one.  Anyway, if you are talking about conversational shorthand like BTW, FWIW (for what it's worth), IMO (in my opinion), WRT (with regards to), there are many internet sites that list these.  A google search for terms like email acronyms or chatroom shorthand should yield many results.  If you are talking about aquarium specific references like BTA, LTA (bubble and long tentacle anemones respectively), DSB (deep sand bed), CBS (coral banded shrimp), I am not sure that a reference exists.  Most can be deduced from the context of the discussion.  Best Regards and HTH (hope this helps). Adam>

Low Skimmer Production 4/9/04 I have searched and studied the WWM site for answers.  I have received very valuable information for which I am very thankful! <Glad you have found WWM helpful!  Sorry for the slow reply.  We had to bounce your question around a bit due to the large picture that was attached.> I have a 55 gallon tank with (left rear corner) overflow (water exits through the floor of the tank).  My Euroreef skimmer is not producing much at all , maybe 1/4-1/2 cup per week!  I know this should not be.  I have it about 9-10 inches deep in a sump receiving overflowing water first before being dumped to a 10 gallon sump with filter and return pump.  I have tried to adjust the riser tube up and down with little or no results. <This may not be a problem at all.  Even the smallest euro-reef models are plenty for a 55 gal tank.  If yours is lightly stocked, the skimmer may be performing optimally, there may just not be that much to skim out.> Maybe I am confused, I read that it is not optimum to have overflow in the floor of the tank due to break up of proteins?? <Surface skimming, as is accomplished by your corner overflow is ideal because proteins collect at the surface air/water interface and get swept into your sump where they can be skimmed.  No matter if your drain goes out the side of the tank or the bottom, the water has to fall the same distance to your sump, and it is nothing to worry about.> Also I have the sponge that comes with the tank on the overflow pipe, this should be removed??  I really want to push the performance of this skimmer, due to the fact that, for me, it was not that cheap. Any help would be great!  Sorry for the mass of questions lately, you all are just so informative and helpful!  Have a great day/night! <The sponge should be fine, just keep it clean.  As I said, if your stocking is low-moderate, your skimmer is probably working fine.  When it fills up every other day, that is when you have a problem! (too much bioload/feeding).> P.S. Can you tell me what kind of clam this is? <As per Marina's earlier message to you, please re-send a smaller pic (if you haven't already) and we will get back to you.  Thanks for all of the kind words and best of luck!  Adam>

Aqua C Skimmer Adjustments 4/9/04  First off, the book, The Conscientious Aquarist, and this site are incredibly helpful, informative (in a responsible, intelligent way), and very entertaining. Thank you for guiding me with my new set-up. However, I need a bit more specific advice that I could not seem to locate elsewhere..... I have a 60 Gal with 65lbs. Fiji live rock, 60lbs live sand, a big wet/dry sump that has the bio-balls removed and a filter bag in their place (should I keep the bag 'till I fill the space with live rock?)  <filling with live rock is a popular habit, but not necessarily a good one. If it can be done without restricting water flow, OK. But if not, do resist... it may be an impediment>  and an Aqua C EV-120 skimmer. The tank has been up for 3 weeks. As I am just now installing the skimmer, Aqua C recommends I leave the air valve and water valve fully open while initially setting it up.  <yes... this is recommended and correct for most skimmers initially>  The problem it that doing this results in copious amounts of wet foam spilling to the cup/reservoir.  <understood... to correct, leave the air full open and restrict the water inflow until it subsides. If that is not enough, then the skimmer is sitting too low in the water (if sump model) or the feed pump is oversized>  Turning the air valve down lowers the foam ok, but seems to be inefficiently skimming.  <Correct... always resist throttling the airflow>  After much tweaking of the skimmer, I currently just have the air turned way down and bubbles in the tower, no overflow. Have I lost my mind, am I missing something, or is this just a break in period. (I know this is probably a question for Aqua C, but I like you guys better=)  <the old saying of a "break in period" is mostly bunk IMO. You need to focus on water flow here my friend>  Thanks in advance, Pat in Costa Mesa  <best of luck. Anthony>

- Skimmers and Skimmate - Hello again. I have a question about my skimmer.  Here goes, It is a Euroreef CS6-1 (I got it due to researching on your site), I know how much skimmate I should be getting but I don't know how to adjust it to get these results. <Hmm... I hope you haven't been going by those silly "cup of coffee a day" recommendations that I've seen bandied about on our site. While well intentioned, it is beyond misleading to suggest that any/all skimmers MUST PRODUCE a certain amount and consistency of foam in order to be working correctly. In fact ALL systems are different, and as a result ALL skimmers will perform differently. There are many factors that will affect this, but by and large - any skimmate is better than none, regardless of it's color or consistency.> I have tried to pull the tube up for more bubbles and even down for less bubbles but I am only getting about 1/2 to 3/4 inch at most per week!  My 55 gallon tank is set up so it overflows into a 6 gallon garbage pail with the skimmer in it, then overflows to a 10 gallon tank to get activated carbon and filtered (by Eheim 2215), then pumped back to main tank through a Mag 7. Knowing the crew has experience with this skimmer any help on adjusting or tips/ secrets would be great (nitrates are higher than I want at 20-30ppm and have been this way too long, increasing skimmate will lower nitrate...right?) <Uhh, not directly - skimmers can remove some compounds that will break down to produce nitrates, but skimmers won't remove nitrates directly. Would suggest you start changing more water than you typically do, and perhaps even increase the frequency. Do think that perhaps your skimmer is working as well as it can in this system.> (I even got a clam to help with nitrates!!)  I also use Kalkwasser to help skimmer and I use only DI or RO water for 20% weekly changes. Thanks for all the help.  Sincerely a NO3 hater!  P.S. The crew should make house calls! No joke!  <That's what maintenance companies are for. Cheers, J -- >

Flow directly to the skimmer? Howdy All,  I have had problems with the Rio 2100 pump that came with my Turboflotor Skimmer (T-1000). I had anticipated this problem from perusing the articles on WWM before purchasing it a few years ago. I have done my research (on WWM mostly) and purchased a reliable pump as a replacement. The new pump is much bigger than the Rio and will not fit in the sump of my Tidepool Wet Dry  (maybe not quite enough research? :-) ). To accommodate the new pump I'm planning to relocate the protein skimmer assembly to a secondary sump that will gravity flow back in to the Tidepool Wet Dry sump. An additional benefit to moving the protein skimmer assembly out of the sump is access to the filter media will become tremendously easier.  My search for supplies lead me to my local fish store where they criticized the setup of the Turboflotor Skimmer. The local fish store folks claim that all water from the tank should first pass through the filter media as a pre-treatment before the skimmer. I have read Mr. Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" chapter on filtration and studied the drawing on page 84, so I'm fairly confident that my current configuration is fine (water flow directly to the skimmer as a bypass from the overflow of the aquarium).  Just to be on the safe side I'd like to ask if there is a true benefit to having the entire tank effluent pass through the Wet Dry? If there is a benefit I can add a pump to push water from the sump to the protein skimmer and gravity feed back to the sump. Aqua Medic recommends a rate of flow of  "approx. 250 GPH", I assume that's good? What affect would a significantly higher rate of flow have? Conversely, what affect would a significantly lower rate of flow have? Assuming 250 GPH is golden, which side would you want to error on, high or low?  On a different but related topic … I was wondering if it would be beneficial to run an old backpack style Wet Dry filter that I am no longer using in my secondary sump. I would utilize the backpack filter in quarantine tank setups to provide a little better filtration than a power head. Can the filter system or power heads be returned to the sump upon successful completion of a quarantine period with no worries?  And finally, on a completely unrelated topic I'd like to ask about LTAs.  There are many TAL references made on WWM and I'd like to know if there is a page dedicated to explaining them and proper usage?  I think such a page would really be helpful!  Best Regards, Patrick

Skimmer Question saved for Adam, but Clam ID Needs Better Picture I have searched and studied the WWM site for answers. I have received very valuable information in which I am very thankful! I have a 55 gallon tank with (left rear corner) overflow (water exits through the floor of the tank). My Euroreef skimmer is not producing much at all , maybe 1/4-1/2 cup per week! I know this should not be. I have it about 9-10 inches deep in a sump receiving overflow water first before being dumped to a 10 gallon sump with filter and return pump. I have tried to adjust the riser tube up and down with little or no results. Maybe I am confused, I read that it is not optimum to have overflow in the floor of the tank due to break up of proteins?? Also I have the sponge that comes with the tank on the overflow pipe, this should be removed?? I really want to push the performance of this skimmer, due to the fact that, for me, it was not that cheap. Any help  would be great! Sorry for the mass of questions lately, you all are just so informative and helpful! Have a great day/night!  P.S. Can you tell me what kind of clam this is?  >>Hi Blaine, can't answer your skimmer question, though I do suggest calling Euro-Reef, they're quite helpful there. After I send this back to you, I am forwarding the message back to Adam for his answer regarding your skimmer operation. I *can* tell you that the whole point is to increase contact time within the reaction chamber, so adjustment of flow may also be necessary. However, this is not a strong area for me.  My response is regarding your clam pic attachment, it's quite large and using up over 20% of our space. Also, the pic itself is quite fuzzy, so I'm suggesting a couple of things:  First, take *clear* pictures. Clams don't move about very much, so a clear shot should be easier than with fish.  Second, make sure you can get shots of the shell as well as the mantle, the shell is not at all visible in this picture and is vitally important in clam identification. If you can *also* get a shot of the shell with the mantle at least partially retracted, it will be of help.  Thank you! Marina

Prizm Skimmer Help Form A WWM Reader I have one of these (and mine skims!). There is indeed a hole here for air to enter, about 2or 3 mills across. This doesn't seem to limit airflow in any way. However if the pipe hangs free it's a lot noisier than if it's attached though it skims much the same. I can suggest that putting a valve on here is a good idea as it adds a little more control over foam production through the device.  <On behalf of our fellow hobbyists, I thank you for your unselfish sharing of information. That's what this site is all about!>  I have a question on Caulerpa pruning. I have read several books, articles on this (inc. Reef Invertebrates, and while all agree it is essential, nowhere says where to cut! I assume that with all the problems of leakage and so on I am not to cut individual leaves, but rather have been cutting back at the level of what would be called a rhizome on a java fern, the main branch. Am I correct?  <Well, that is my thinking, too. Careful pruning near the thalli is a safe bet> Regards, Wayne Oxborough 

More Prizm Problems...  HI... I've been reading through the article's already posted, but haven't really found anything that seems to be helpful to me yet. I have a 120g reef tank, about 3 months old. I have 115 lbs of live rock in there, a small yellow tang, small flame angel , royal Gramma, many crabs and snails and a few starfish. Everything is doing quite well and all of our water quality test come out great. We have been having some problems with our skimmer. Its a Red Sea Prizm Pro. It seemed to be doing well up until the last week or so. Instead of producing about a cup of "yuk" water a day, now it takes maybe a week to do it. My husband has tried adjusting it, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. ( the only change it made was 1 time it filled the collection cup up in about 30 minutes, so he tried adjusting it again) I'm trying to save my husbands sanity by seeing if this is normal? Or are we doing something wrong here... Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks  Janice Myers  <Well, Janice- we've had a number of inquiries regarding this skimmer of late! I'd see what your fellow WWM readers have had to say (one of the responses is on this page today). Unfortunately, this skimmer has a less-than-stellar reputation for reliability and performance among many hobbyists. One thought that seems to be universally helpful for many skimmers is to keep the neck of the skimmer clean. Ironically, the very gunk that you are trying to accumulate can actually impede the skimmer's performance as it dries. I'd keep the skimmer clean (but don't over clean it), and keep tweaking it. In the end, if it just isn't working for you, it may be time to consider a different unit. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Turboflotor modifications 4/1/04 No, really, I have searched the FAQS...I read about plugging the hole in the reaction chamber of the Turboflotor so that water will be sucked up from the sump as opposed to a bypass and/or second pump. My question is...plug it with what? silicone? I cannot get my hand down the chamber tube, any other suggestions? <I would imagine that some kind of plumbing fitting would make a close fit.  A bit of silicone to fill the gaps and voila!> Originally the TF1000 classic did fine with the flex tube running from the drilled overflows but now all I get is fast filling water. I have a 180 g with a Dolphin Ampmaster 3000 for my return. Way too much flow to direct to the skimmer. I'm about to put it up for sale and buy a Euro-Reef or Aqua C. <You could set up a way to diver the appropriate amount of flow to the skimmer and the rest directly to the sump or use a small power head to feed the skimmer.  Ultimately, you will probably find that this skimmer is undersized for your tank.  Euro-Reef and Aqua-C are highly recommended as are Precision Marine Bullet, My reef Creations and Deltec.> A second question I have is, and I've read up on this one too but got confused...I have started to set up my 180g. It has about 1/2 inch live sand, 100 lbs Walt Smith live rock, which is starting to sprout macro algae and the troublesome skimmer. I want to move the contents of my 55g tank (55lbs of Fla live sand and 110 lbs of Fla live rock , plus fish and inverts, soft coral to the new setup and get rid of the 55g tank. I need to know the safest way to do this without upsetting the balance. <First, be sure the 180 is completely cycled.  Then begin exchanging water between the systems.  Once you have exchanged at least 55 gallons, simply move everything over.> I am concerned about the possibility of the sand bed having some toxicity released since it didn't follow the less than 1" greater than 3" rule. <Toxicity isn't an issue.  Nutrient release and die off of any living critters is.  I always suggest using new sand in a new tank and only using some of the top layer of old sand to seed the new sand.  In your case, I would drain the old tank to within an inch or so and use a large flat scoop to transfer the top 1" or so of your sand to then new tank.  This is a bit tricky to do when the new tank is full.  Just turn of all pumps, go slow and try not to allow the sand to get blown all over.> I don't want to lose any of my livestock or beneficial sand creatures. How would you direct me to move the sand over? I also have a couple of bags of CaribSea oolite available to boost up the height. Which would I put in the tank 1st, dry on top of the live or vice versa? <New sand on the bottom, old sand on top.  You don't want to bury all of the critters.> Your help is always appreciated and I always recommend your site. Kimberly Torres.  <Glad to help!  Adam>

Prizm (Skimmer) Problem?  Hello!  <Hiya! Scott F. here today!>  I was wondering if any of you great people there can help me with my Prizm protein skimmer...I just purchased it used and it appears to be working well so far - the only thing wrong with it is it is missing the second (hose barb) connector - it has been broken off. I know that the first connector is for priming the unit and then the instructions say to attach the air hose to the second connector (hose barb) after priming is done but it is broken off so my question is: Is this 2nd connector ( hose barb) just blocking off the air from the airline hosing completely or is supposed to allow some air to get through? I assumed it was just a resting place for the airline hose to sit until you need to prime it again and that it doesn't allow any air to go through but since it was missing I just plugged the airline hosing with a knob from one of those 3 line connector tree things. But I don't have any bubbles at all so I'm wondering if there is supposed to be some air going into that hose barb. It would make sense that there should be some air going into the skimmer in order to create the bubbles that produce the foam in the collection cup but since that connector is missing I have no idea. I'm thinking that there was probably a small passage for air or how would the skimmer work, right? If there is supposed to be a little hole in that connector that is missing for the air to flow through, does anyone know how big the air hole is - would it be about the size of one of those little black things that have 2 open ends that allows you to attach 2 air hoses together or is it smaller than that? I've tried connecting the air hose to the priming connector and it bubbles like crazy so I'm thinking that the other connector was supposed to allow a little less air through it but not supposed to be closed off completely, right?   Any help would be greatly appreciated.......Lana.  <Gosh, Lana- sounds like you've really studied and theorized on the operation of the skimmer! To be quite honest with you, I have not used this skimmer myself, so I'd be remiss if I attempted to comment. If it were me, I'd contact the manufacturer directly for some advice and information. Additionally, I'd place a post on the WWM Chat Forum asking for input from fellow Prizm skimmer users. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F>

Skimmer Fix  Hi Scott!!  <Hello again!>  Thanks for replying to my question...I went down to a local fish store that sells the Prizm (I know you guys don't really like this skimmer but so far, I find it works great and it is skimming that awful brownish - yellow goo it is supposed to)  <That's good enough for me!>  To look at one brand new and have discovered that the hose barb (2nd connector) does indeed allow air to pass through it into the reaction chamber and the 1st connector is for priming and it is the one that blocks off the air completely - so, what I've done is cut off one end of an air hose connector (to connect 2 separate ones together) and crazy glued it where it was missing and attached the provided air hose to it and now it works perfect!  <Excellent fix!>  Just wanted to let you know so you could pass on the info. to someone else if need be. Thanks again....Hats off to you and everyone at WWM for providing such a valuable service and expert advice. I love your site and have buried myself into it (and was lost for many hours) reading all the posts. Cheers......Lana.  <Glad to be of assistance, Lana! Your generous sharing of information is what WetWebMedia is all about! Thanks again! Regards, Scott F>

Kilter Skilter 3/29/04  Hey Guys, I learned of you guys from my dad, He has been very grateful for your help. I have a 55 gallon salt water Fish/ Invertebrate mix tank. I am writing because I need help with my Skilter 400. I had used it on a previous tank a couple years ago and I lost the manual, I have it all set up an running but  I'm having one problem, and that's it is aerating at full blast and not pulling any protein out. It is also spilling a lot of air bubbles back into the tank. Is it something I need to let run all the time or should I be able to turn the air off? Let me know If I'm doing something wrong. Thank you, Jason  <add a brass needle valve (for air, get at local fish store) to the airline intake to fine tune the air input as needed. This makes a world of difference. Anthony>

Skimmer Vs Skimmer! Quoting WWM FAQ Crew <crew@mail.wetwebmedia.com>: 2.  I am getting an AquaC Remora skimmer to replace my  SeaClone100.  My SeaClone is kicking out about 1/8 cup of green liquid and white foam daily.  I know that the  Remora needs time to "break in".  My question is should I keep running the SeaClone for 2-3 weeks until the Remora is at 100% or just swap them (and keep a close  eye on chem levels)? "Not a bad idea to run them both at the same time for a while, but not necessary. It would be interesting to compare performance of the two, so this would be a neat experiment, I suppose> Good luck! Regards, Scott F"> <Hey- that's me! > OK, the results are in.  I ran both the Remora and my SeaClone 100 for a week in the same tank and both with their respective surface skimmer boxes.  Fascinating results. <Do tell> Day 1:  Seaclone 1/8 cup dark brown skimmate, Remora almost nothing. Day 2:  Seaclone same, Remora 3/4 cup dark green tea colored skimmate Day 3:  Seaclone slightly less but same quality (dark), Remora 1-1/8 cup dark green tea colored skimmate Day 4:  Seaclone 1/16 cup dark skimmate, remora 1-1/2 cups--same quality day 5:  Seaclone negligible skimmate, Remora almost 2 CUPS of greenish-brown skimmate somewhere between coffee and tea coloring Day 6:  Seaclone making nothing but bubbles, Remora making around 2 Cups of skimmate Day 7:  Removed bubble-maker (SeaClone) and Remora taking full skimming load <Cool...> It is still making just over 2 CUPS of greenish-brown tea colored (lighter than coffee) skimmate daily along with plenty of white foam. I have it so the bottom of the collection tube is about even with the top of the water column in the chamber.  Do you think it needs adjustment?  I am using the MaxiJet pump FYI. <I'd try to see if you can get some darker skimmate, so if you adjust it, make very slight corrections until you get the skimmate that you desire> In my humble opinion, the Remora is a FAR SUPERIOR skimmer to the SeaClone.  (seeing is believing)  Even though the Pre Skimmer box is big and rather ugly, the surface is free of film and there are NO BUBBLES released back into my tank!! <Yep! This is just another example of why we consistently recommend Aqua products for many hobbyists. Jason Kim and his crew are doing something right!> Just thought you would be interested in these findings and would like to pass them on to all the readers. Thanks again for all your help and for all the hard work that the Crew puts in to a great site!  You guys don't get thanked enough IMO. Ray <Ray- thanks for your kind words, and for sharing your interesting results for other WWM readers. It's this kind of sharing that makes what we do at WWM so rewarding! Regards, Scott F> Ray Pryor

Euroreef Skimmer Question 3/28/04 I am calling on your help since; 1. Euroreef has never returned my question (extremely disappointed), 2. You have been a great help in the past - excellent site. I recently added a 15 gallon sump to my 55 gallon FOWLR tank.  It is a three compartment sump. First is raw water w/ New Euroreef 6-1 skimmer, then goes through filter sponge into a compartment w/live sand, then goes into the third compartment w/return pump. I was having a hair algae problem prior to adding the sump.  My nitrates were a little high, which I believe was the cause.  I tested the water the day after installing the sump and all parameters were, and still are zero. My issue is:  The Euroreef skimmer is not skimming like I think it should. I would think with all the hair algae in the tank the thing should be going bonkers.  The water level stays consistent at 7 3/4" in the skimmer compartment.   <this is very good/important> I have to have the riser pipe almost as high as it goes to get any foam production.  The first week I barely got anything out, since then, I may get a 1/8" in the cup every other day. <better performance is likely/possible here> have adjusted up/down, from dry foam to wet foam, and cannot get much of anything into the cup.  However, gunk collects on the inside of the tube just before it reaches the top. I will say that the hair algae is dying off very well and my water has never looked so good.  All water parameters are still zero. >the installation sounds very good overall... I'm only wondering about how the water is overflow. If through drilled overflow holes (ideally back wall... not a floor/well which interferes with stratified protein rich water over-flowed) then all good. But if only though a single hole (limited concentration of proteins)... or worst of all - a siphon overflow tube drawing from many cm below the surface, then therein lies your problem> Do you think that my water is at a point where there is not much to skim?   <not very likely in most tanks... and certainly not yours with hair algae as evidence of a nutrient excess> I am confused that the skimmer is not producing much, however, the tank is continuing to greatly improve and has never looked so good.  What do you think? Much appreciated, Dennis Nolan <test the skimmer for a design flaw by adding a small amount of Novaqua water conditioner or like product with colloids in it. Be home for several hours afterwards, the skimmer should foam like mad. If not, there is a flaw somewhere. Best of luck, Anthony> Euroreef Skimmer Question 3/28/04 Thanks for QUICK response!!  I am using a siphon overflow.   <ah-ha! I knew it <G>. There really was not many other possible explanations for your thoughtful installation of this very fine skimmer. The problem here is that a siphon overflow pulls thicker/deeper water off the surface than a drilled overflow and as such has diluted concentrations of proteins. Really miserable delivery of raw water to even the best skimmers> I had to w/o tear down and drilling holes in glass tank.  Do you think I need to adjust the overflow box to better skim more surface water? <yes... aim for the thinnest water possible. This can be done by having a larger/wider over flow that stretches the surface area that the same X gph of water is drawn over> Should I also remove the prefilter sponge from the overflow?   <oh, my goodness! I did not realize there was a pre-filter. This will cripple any skimmer... absolutely cripple. All skimmers need unrestricted raw water to work best> I have not due to large particles of hair algae dying off.  I did not want to overwhelm the sump and skimmer pump with this algae.  Your thoughts? Thanks again, Dennis Nolan <I seriously am uncomfortable with siphon overflows. I'd rather run a  tank without them (top mounted skimmers and no sump if necessary). They will generally fail in time. I have half joked often that I will not sleep in a house with a siphon overflow (fail/fire hazard... ha!). Anthony>

Tweaking skimmers 2/28/04 Good evening, <cheers> I own a TUNZE 3110/2 skimmer, < a very fine skimmer> which is for up to a 39 gallon tank (I am running about 33-35 gallons). It has been in operation for about three days straight now, set to the manufacturer's specifications of three rotations on the air valve. I have had to empty it at least once a day since it initial operation. It has always been pretty clear, but it still has been producing. Cleaning consists of just emptying the liquid out and washing it was clean water. I didn't feel the need to use a brush since it was very light. Now, for some reason, it is going crazy on me and emptying about a cup every 5 minutes that is very clear. Is there some adjustment I need to make to solve this problem??? Your prompt help is greatly appreciated! Thanks, Aaron Ziegler <there are many possible reasons for the increase in skimmate (albeit watery). A change in foods fed to the tank or a change (cleaning - often so) of plumbing usually does the trick. Regardless, you may simply have to raise the skimmer body in the water column (I'm assuming you have this skimmer mounted no a tank with a running overflow to insure very stable water level)... this will help to produce drier foam without reducing bubble volume. Anthony>

Protein Skimmer I just bought a Won brothers 75 protein skimmer and a maxi jet 1200 powerhead to power it I have a 29 gallon setup should this be enough to run the skimmer because it doesn't seem to be pulling anything out of it.<This pump should be just fine as they suggest a 300 gph and you have almost that.  Some skimmers can take a few weeks to break in also so for now just be patient.  Cody>

- Skimmer not Skimming - tank is 75 gal reef 6 months old 7 small fish three shrimp, leather and torch coral and some mushrooms. no filtration except skimmer original skimmer was knockoff of euro type, it never worked either. I have had a aqua c 180 running for about 2 months, (using a mag 7) in that time it has never made enough skimmate to run out the over flow tube. after cleaning the skimmer it will produce about 1/4 inch of gunk in cup and start coating the inside of the cylinder below the cup with brown gunk, once the lower cylinder is coated it has never put anything else in the cup. The water will bubble a lot and boil around in the lower cylinder but only goes up about 1 1/2 inches If I clean it again it will repeat the process. <So you do clean this then...> It may take it 2 or 3 days to produce the 1/4 inch of gunk. I replaced the original skimmer because it did not work, and got this one because it has many good things said about it on your web site. however in this tank it does not work any better than the first one. Is it possible I have something in my tank that is stopping the process, something in the live rock (Walt Smith Fiji perm) <Quite possible you just have more skimming than you have stuff to skim. The EV-180, while a very nice skimmer is probably much larger than the task at hand and potentially too large. Would have considered something smaller. In either case, you do need to keep the skimmer clean to get anything consistent out of it. At least the 1/4" of gunk is being removed.> The tank was previously a planted fresh water tank with co2 injection, it was empty and dry for 3 months prior to changing to salt water. I smoke tobacco but almost always have all the windows open (so Calif). I have emailed Jason Kim about this but he does not seem willing to reply. Any suggestion would be appreciated <Cheers, J -- >

- Skimmer Not Skimming - Sir, I have setup my new tank almost 3 months now, here are the specs: 55gal acrylic hex tank, 40-50lbs liverock, 25lbs live sand, 20lbs Aragonite sand, Amiracle 75 wet/dry system, Fluval 304 filter, Aqua c Urchin w/ MaxiJet 1200, 2 clown fish, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 hermit crab, 10 bumble bee snails and around 12 different corals. At first I have an Aqua C Remora, and it's working well. But because I bought an Amiracle 75 sump, I bought an in-sump Turbo protein skimmer using a rio2100. It was installed in my sump for almost 2 weeks and I didn't even got a single green waste on it. So I finally replace it with the very popular Aqua C Urchin but still I got nothing from it. I need your advice, am I doing something wrong? <Could be the location in the sump of these skimmers that is holding them back... should work well after a week's break in period.> why does the skimmer does not produce any green/waste thing. <Could be there is nothing in your tank to skim... give it some time, it should come around.> Your advice is very much appreciated .  Thanks  Joe   <Cheers, J -- >

- Seaclone Skimmer - I have read many times on your website the opinion that the Seaclone skimmer is a "complete piece of junk".  But I wonder if it is really that bad. <I suppose not entirely... any skimming is better than none, but from the other angle perhaps something should be said about products that are best only at separating the consumer from their money.> The reason I am asking is because I consider my tank to be pretty successful, and I am reluctant to buy a new Remora skimmer because I subscribe to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. <Understood... although my car has a bad control arm bushing at the moment - it ain't broke now, but if it breaks while I'm driving I'm in trouble.  If I fix it before it breaks I can save an accident.> Now I have lost a few nice pieces of hammer, torch and frogspawn corals within a couple of weeks after introduction, and I have also lost a few fish, usually within a week or 2 after introduction, and I am getting a few bubble algae her and there so it could be that I need better skimming, or it could be other factors. <Likely a combination of factors.> Tank is one year old. My nitrates are 0.0, ammonia and nitrite are of course 0. My pH is 8.2, Alk=2.5-3.0, Ca=360-375, SG 1.025, temp =79 F. I have 2- 2 1/2 inches of sugar fine aragonite. 50-ish pounds of Fiji LR in my 55 gallon tank. 2 48" VHO bulbs, and a standard 48" actinic blue (260 watts total) on 12 hours/day.  I also run a Fluval 303 (I think it's 303) with sponge, floss, and carbon, a couple of power heads for circulation. Additives are one teaspoon each part of C balance calcium and buffer per day, and biweekly iodine and weekly molybdenum. I change 5% water per week. Inhabitants are various LPS corals, softies, a coral beauty, bicolor Pseudochromis, and a small ocellaris clown, a bunch of snails and hermits.  If my nitrates remain 0 and I don't have an algae outbreak, should I be OK with my Seaclone 100? <I think so... but I have seen print-outs from a web-site that documents some hop-ups for that skimmer. Might be worth trying one or two and see if that helps... let us know too.> Thanks for answering yet another Seaclone question. Cord. <Cheers, J -- >

Inadequate Skimmer?   >Hello, >>Hi. >First off I would like to say what a great site you have!  If there is one fault, it is that there is TOO MUCH information which makes it hard to find precisely what you are looking for sometimes.   >>I KNOW!  You're right about that. >I just wish that I found your site in early November when I was setting up my system.  I would have avoided many mistakes.  Some background:  I have a 55gal minireef setup.  65# live rock, 2-3" live sand bed, Whisper filter, two powerheads with 700gph total flow, 220W PC lighting, and a SeaClone 100 skimmer (source of my question).  Using RO/DI water and Instant Ocean mix. I only have an anthelia and a green-star polyp right now as far as corals.  I am waiting for them to get more established before adding more.   For fish I have 2 percula clowns, Firefish goby, yellowtail damsel, neon goby and a yellow tang (who just can't seem to kick this black spot disease.... been dipped twice in the last month and getting another one tonight).   >>This system will ultimately prove too small for the tang.  Unfortunately, you may have to fallow the tank to rid the tang of the Blackspot.  I would reconsider a tang in this setup altogether. >All fish were QT'd for 3 to 3-1/2 weeks prior to introduction.   >>This woman *preaches* minimum of 30 days. >Also in the tank I have a red skunk cleaner shrimp, peppermint shrimp, 2 fire shrimp and an arrow crab.  I have a diverse cleanup crew of about 10 blue hermits, 8 red hermits, 10 turbo snails, 3 Astrea, 4 Trochus, 3 bumblebee, 4 Tongan Nassarius, 5 sand clams and 2 abalones. Pretty much everything is set up as I want with the exception of more corals that I will add as time goes on and a yellowhead Jawfish (as soon as LFS gets one in). Any opinions on my selection or anything I should add/remove (besides the arrow crab...he's on probation for killing a hermit)? >>The number of hermits is a bit high, you may need to feed extra.  Before adding the Jawfish I would seriously consider the addition of a refugium.  A refugium well set up can actually negate the need for any skimming whatsoever, too.  On to your question. >Ammonia and nitrites have been zero since mid-December.  The only thing I get is my nitrates creep up to around 10 before my weekly 10% water change.   >>That is fine, not to worry about a level that low.  IF you have lighting sufficient to grow most soft corals, then you have lighting sufficient for a Tridacna derasa clam, which could help these low levels.  A refugium with macro algae could also help in this regard, though in my opinion nitrate readings may actually be a bit too low to grow some macros well. >My pH, alkalinity, SG, Ca, and iodine are all optimal.  I have read nothing but poor reviews about my skimmer on your site (SeaClone 100) and I am rather concerned.  I added a DIY internal overflow box that successfully kept the surface film away.  I am getting about 1/8 cup of smelly dark greenish-brown skimmate daily.  For what I have in my tank, should I be getting more skimmate?   >>Not necessarily.  If you readings really are that good, and, more importantly, your SPECIMENS look good, then I wouldn't worry about it too much.  The issue is more one of quality than quantity, and you're getting the quality of skimmate desired. >The budget is rather tight and I would rather spend my money on corals than a new skimmer.  If it will greatly benefit my system in the long run, I would go with the Aqua C remora with the 1200 pump and a prefilter box.  Based on what I have read in the FAQ's, this is probably the best choice for me, correct?  What I have not found in the FAQ's is how loud it is.  Is it quieter than my SeaClone?  Also, how much is it's performance affected by the daily fluctuation in water level? (I do top off about 1/2 to 3/4 gal every morning with RO/DI) >>I honestly think you can wait on that, and would be spending your money BETTER on a refugium. >Sorry for the long email, just wanted to give you all the necessary background information so you could answer my questions.   >>Not to worry, more info tends to be better than less. >One last quick question (not related to previous ones):  -What is the strangest question you guys have been asked? >>Boy.. that's a tough one!  Funniest one I've read was about hermit crabs dying, yet mysteriously reappearing from the dead (it was their shed exoskeletons).  I think I've been asked some rather personal questions (something along the lines of "Would you like a spanking?"), but haven't quite filed those away for quick reference, if you get my meaning.  I also recollect one asking if a snowflake moray could be kept in freshwater.. I think we have the beginning of a new file/folder "Humorous FAQs". >Hope to hear from you soon.  Thanks again! >>Hope it wasn't too long, as lately my life has been a parade of mishaps.  Please, lord, let it be over for now!  Hope this does help.  Marina

Jason Comes Through (3/10/04) Thanx Steve! I've been reading recently about the troubles with the Rio pumps. I plan on getting a MaxiJet 1200. Hopefully that will help. I also contacted Jason at AquaC as your suggested and he gave me some advice that I'll try. It was nice to see how quickly he responded and how willing he is to help. I only wish more company's were like that. I'm keeping my eyes on the Linckias! :) Still nervous about them, but I'm a new salty mom! LOL <I knew you could count on Jason for some good tips. He's helped me with my Remora Pro. I agree with the MaxiJet upgrade. I expect you'll be satisfied. I surely hope your Linckias survive & thrive. Either way, please update us. Steve Allen.>

Predator skimmer 3/9/04 Hello, I recently installed a predator 1 skimmer on my 125 reef that has been set up for 3 years. <Hi Mike.  Adam here.  The predator is one of the most underrated skimmer on the market in my opinion, particularly in terms of "bang for your buck".> The only pump I had around was a Rio 2500.  This is on the small side for this skimmer.  I installed it anyway.  It quickly produced a nice dry foam in the skimmate cup.  Then, this weekend, I went out and purchased a Gen X 4100, which is rated for 1080 gph.  For some reason it would not produce any foam.  I messed with various settings, and did not get any foam at all. <Did you get bubbles but no foam formation, or did it produce a much smaller amount of bubbles?  Oils and other manufacturing residue can limit foam production quite a bit.  It is also possible that the new pump is too powerful and somehow limiting the amount of air drawn into the skimmer.  Manufacturers are generally very helpful with these kinds of problems.> I reinstalled the 2500, within minutes I had foam again.  I am confused.  Perhaps it was too turbulent in the chamber?  I have Bob Goeman's booklet on skimming and that is pretty much my conclusion. <Turbulence definitely affects foam production, but the effect is usually small unless the turbulence is actually knocking down the foam.  Considering the design of this skimmer, this seems unlikely to be the case.> However, I expected more from this skimmer, than what it is giving me.  I can't seem to get any response from the company, as of yet.  The shop that I bought it from is as lost as I am.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. <I would verify that the new pump is not significantly more powerful than what the manufacturer recommends.  If it is not, I would set it back up and let it run for a day to allow an residue to dissipate and for the pump surfaces to get coated with organics.> And hey, awhile back I wrote in about raising clownfish, and thought that I would let you know that I have been somewhat successful, and have a few small tanks filled with baby clowns!  Thanks  Mike <Congrats on your breeding success!  Best regards.  Adam>

Rio Pumps (3/8/04) I have a Rio 800 pump in my skimmer and two Rio 800's as power heads. I've added sponges to both the power heads in the tank to act as a mechanical filter. I'm glad I did because they really have trapped a lot of the floating garbage that was getting into the pumps. I'm still worried about my skimmer as it's been making a lot of noise. Not that they're very silent machines, LOL Thank you for your suggestions! Eileen :) <Happy to help. BTW, Rios do not enjoy a good reputation. Your skimmer might work better and be quieter with the MaxiJet AquaC offers as an alternative. Read more about Rios by searching on WWM. Steve Allen. PS  Do let me know how your Linckias hold up.> Skimmer Cleaning I see a lot of comments regarding proper cleaning of your protein skimmer but no info actually documenting what proper cleaning is defined as? Just cleaning out the collection cup as it gets full or more? <The collection cup should be cleaned at least once a week and be sure to clean off the neck well as there tends to be a lot of build up there.  I also like to take the whole ting apart and remove any build up once a month.  The pump is also very important to clean as that is a key component.> Thanks!<Thank you for writing! Cody>

- Sump and Skimmer Improvements - Hi folks, I have a Turboflotor 1000 in my sump that works fairly well on my 55G, but it won't suck air and has to have a boost pump to function well. Right now I get reasonable amounts a coffee colored skimmate that would make a skunk blush. I suspect the problem with the venturi is that the skimmer is getting too much inflow head from the overflow and the needle impeller simply cannot generate enough head difference across the venturi jet to pull in any appreciable amount of air. I haven't tried it, but it seems reasonable that a bypass valve would be a better fix. <Agreed.> Had the pump, not the valve on hand. However, a bypass dumps even more garbage into the sump tank to rot - even with the skimmer pulling gunk out there is still some debris that gets through. Installing a pre-filter that would fix that, but at the price of increased required maintenance as well as somewhat defeating the skimmer. <Only somewhat... most of the stuff that a skimmer would take out will make it through a micron bag or sponge filter.> A better solution is needed. Am I correct in thinking that I could improve system health and skimmer performance if I converted to a sump that dumped overflow into a "pre-filter" refugium? <Well... you haven't convinced me that either your sump or your system is under-performing.> The idea came from distilling your FAQs and reading my personally autographed copy of "Reef Invertebrates" - You sign 'em, I'll plug 'em. :-) Is this better than installing a bypass valve and feeding that and skimmer discharge into a refugium and thence to the return pump buffer tank? <Don't know that there is a 'better' in this circumstance - will be enhancements and drawbacks to all designs.> I can engineer the sump to force a constant head to the skimmer input pipe from the refugium and dump excess flow as well as discharge into a buffer tank feeding the return pump. Space and access considerations suggest that I can build and install a two piece sump of about 13 to 15 G of static and about 10 G of evaporation loss buffering capacity (Hmm, when do I get in trouble from the side effect of salinity shifts from too much buffer capacity?) <Salinity shifts from too much buffer capacity? I'm just not sure I follow you here.> Regards,
Charlie H.
<Cheers, J -- >

Adjusting a skimmer - 2/23/04 Well hello Paul, oops, I mean Pahulio! <Heheheheeee> Very cute! <OH?> Update: I took apart my Remora skimmer and cleaned out under the screw, (did I tell you this?). <Yep. I know very little about this skimmer but did look through the site a bit.> So far, not skimming any better, but I did go to the Remora site and emailed Jason Kim. I do hope he replies. <He will and if not him then someone will be in touch. Great company. Let me know if you don't hear from them in the next couple of days> I also went to www.drfostersmith.com and found lots of helpful info about wavemakers. <Yeah. Random pulsing is about it though. Nothing too special. Check out instructions on the Carlson's surge device (named after Bruce Carlson formerly the Director of the Waikiki Aquarium.) See here: http://www.breedersregistry.gen.ca.us/Reprints/MFM/v11_aug96/simple_surge.htm http://www.masla.com/reef/csm.html That is what we like to use in addition to our powerheads at the Monterey Bay Aquarium> They sound intriguing although quite a project that would entail a bit of rearranging of my rock and powerheads. <to get the best coverage then I think that you will have to do some arranging. I thought you didn't like the unsightliness of your powerheads, though?> I may purchase one in the future AFTER a bit more research. <Good girl. You get an A> I also purchased some Poly Filter. <Sweet. Me too. I bought four packages today.> I never heard of this product, but this is not surprising seeing how lazy I have been in the past to go out there and look around! <Works well. Many of us here at WetWebMedia headquarters enjoy and recommend this product quite readily. Let me put it this way, I have never had a Cyano bloom in the tanks I use it in> I do say Paul, I believe you just may have cured my lazy bug! <Not lazy.....just overwhelmed. Sounds like you have much going on and adding anything else to an already busy schedule is quite overwhelming to say the least!> I'm printing everything in site and have started a folder for my reef experiences. <Good to hear. I do the same> what do you say about that? <A+?> Take care my friend and do write back, <Will do> ...my neuro nets are getting quite accustomed to you. <Sweet. Thanks for being part of it all. You are on your way to being a Conscientious Marine Aquarist for sure. ~Paulito>

AquaC unresponsive?? - 2/25/04 Hi Paulo, <Heya> Just to let you know, Jason Kim has not returned my 2 emails yet,..........(gee, I feel like I'm tattling)! <Naughty> I'm frustrated because I can't do a thing to my Aqua C Skimmer to make it skim! <Here is some info for ya. Hopefully the numbers are still accurate: 619-405-XXXX (my personal cell phone). The office line is 858-689-1121 Jason Kim> Maybe it's because the top cover is warped?? <I doubt it but maybe.....> Anyways, I've told all this and more to Jason.<Good> Hmmmmmm, maybe he's on vacation. <Possible. Give a call and CC the sales desk> Anyone there know what I should do short of a new purchase? <Hang on a little longer??....> Thanks, Pamela

Jason Kim to the rescue - 2/27/04  Hola, mais uma vez! Nice to hear from you again Paulo! <No worries. Always nice to chat with you> First of all, I have mentioned your name to Jason in my emails, AND in my telephone conversation! <WetWebMedia right? Jason has no idea who I am> Not to worry, I give credit where it is due! <No worries at all. Wasn't looking for any credit but I was hoping it might have a little leverage on your behalf> And of course I shall keep up my maintenance. <That a girl> I can hardly believe that my "lazy bug" seems to have disappeared, I think thanks to you. <Doubtful its because of me....I think you are being rewarded and e3xcited by the changes to come> Your interest and humor has sort of spurred me on. <Cool> Thank you again! I'm learning quite a bit. <Great. Knowledge can be a reward> I did post my query about the Remora at the wet web chat site, <Excellent. Seriously, I dig that you took it upon yourself a step further> and got 4 responses. One from the famous Steven Pro. <Ex WetWebMedia dude> He suggested that I run the skimmer in a separate bucket 3 times in hot water, 1st with bleach, 2cd with water and WW Vinegar and 3rd with plain hot water. <May I add one more bucket to the mix??....more hot water then scrub to make sure all the stuff you ran through in the other buckets is really rinsed out> I have the proportions in a folder. <Good for later applications> Sounds promising if not a bit of a hassle, but I'll try this before I decide to upgrade. <Cool. Jason, didn't have any other ideas? How long have you had the Aqua C?> One of the responses was a bit difficult to read. This guy had bad experience with Aqua C skimmers and his sits on the closet shelf. <Maybe he could send it to you to see what the issues were? Maybe his is better than yours? Maybe he'll show his if you show him yours?>  Ahhhh, hope that won't be the case with mine! <Me too!!> Oh yes, before I forget,........... you are funny! <Not!......Well, I try> Beijos pra voce! <Ahhh.....I love the sound of Swahili rolling off the tongue. Sounds lovely =) Till next time.... ~Paco> Pam

AquaC needs to do what they say - 3/9/04 Paulito!, thank you for the offer to call Jason, but I can do it as well. <OK. No problem.> Just a bit busy and over whelmed with all the stuff going on, sweety. <Totally understand. Just say the word and I will call him on your behalf. WetWebMedia has a pretty good repoire with him.> Seems like you too have a full plate. <Will always have a full plate> Eat up, there's more to come.! <Yummy!> Sorry, just had to say that! <I hear ya! ~Paulis> Pam

Cleaning a non-operating skimmer Anyways, I promised an update about my Remora. <OK> I did as Steve Pro suggested. Three <you mean four??> baths total. One with hot water and bleach, one with hot water and WW vinegar and the last with plain hot water. <Oh I see. Three> Fun! It's up and running now. Hope by tomorrow it's skimming! <Let me know if that worked. Actually let me know all the steps you tried when it starts working> I did another water change today, I'm doing weekly now. <Great> Also, since I don't have real sufficient water movement (yet) I let my tank enjoy {woman} made surges and currents. I take the top off the tank, dip in a half gallon pitcher, and pour, dip and pour, dip and pour! The debris sloshed around is impressive and each time I do this, I can just hear the sigh of relief ,as all the little animals in the crevices release their prospective waste! :) <Good. Get the flow up soon> This was my Friday night, fun stuff, huh? <Sounds like it to me> I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings! <Sunlight....> Pamelita Here's a pic for you I caught tonight. My Lionfish was hiding in the featherduster upside down, so cool! <Very cool ~Paul>

Skimmers and powerheads - 2/24/04 Ahhh, one final letter before I call it a day, got to get up early tomorrow and do it all again! <Seems like a bad dream sometimes. Or even better....Groundhog Day the movie> First, thank you for the "A+" . It still feels good to be praised by my "teachers"!! <We are all looking for recognition of our efforts> Secondly, I DO still dislike the appearance of powerheads. <As do I, but sometimes a simple solution for interim purposes is the best way. Can always change it later> This is why I said I would have to do a bit of re-arranging. If I were to buy a wavemaker, I would like to hide the powerheads behind the rock. <That is what we do at the Aquarium> But this presents a problem with maintenance, no? <Make it so that you can get to them but you still have them hidden from view> Ahhhh, maybe I better check out the Carlson's surge device you talked about. <Sweet. We love 'em at the 'Quarium!>  I'll go to the link you kindly pasted for me, (thank you). <No problemo> I'll certainly let you know if Jason Kim gets back to me. <Please do>  Can't wait to hear what he says. Hey ya know, I was looking at my skimmer and realized it didn't have the large rubber ring that wraps around the waste receptacle what's that thing called?), <O-ring or gasket but more like an O-ring> maybe this is why it's not skimming? <Not likely but the O-ring does help with placement of the collection cup. I keep my collection cup at a point where the bottom of the cup opening is about a 1/4 inch under the top bubble layer> Hmmm, I'll have to make a note of that for Kim. <Yes. Important to note for troubleshooting purposes> Well, I'm yawning now, got to go off to slumber land. <A wonderful place to visit sometimes. Others times well.........not so nice> Good night Paul, <Good evening ~Pauly> Pam

-Get rid o' dem dang bubbles!- I have a 55 gallon reef tank with an overflow and a ten gallon sump.  The return pump is a mag drive with (I think) about 650 gallons per hour. <sounds like a mag 7> In the sump I have a Euroreef CS6-1 skimmer (which your site recommended, THANK YOU very pleased) and the inlet and outlet of my Eheim canister filter.  My question is how do I stop some or (better yet) all of the tiny bubbles that are being blown back into my main tank? Are these bubbles harmful to my clown, tang and corals? <The fish don't care, but without very good water flow, bubbles can cling to the undersides of some stony corals, over time building up and causing necrosis.> This pump is really putting a lot of bubbles in the tank! <I doubt it's the pump, the bubbles you're experiencing are likely coming from the skimmer. Installing an acrylic baffle before the return pump should solve this in short order. You could also try using some filter pad in the sump to slow the bubbles' path to the pump so they can hopefully pop on the surface.> ( before, I had just a 55 gal tank w/o return pump and sump and it looked SO clear now it looks like a tank full of little bubbles). <It's like a 55g protein skimmer!>  ANY advice would help! (Thanks, I hope you are not bothered with so many questions, there are just so many!) <I hope this is of some assistance. -Kevin>

Skimmer with Bioballs - 2/22/04 My skimmer was off-line for a couple weeks until I could get a crack fixed on the inlet tube.  After I got it running again my nitrates and nitrites spiked. My nitrates are at 10ppm, and nitrites are at 0.2 ppm. <How long was the skimmer off?> The skimmer has bio-balls in the bottom of it.  <If it was off for any amount of time then the bio balls fouled. Take them out, in my opinion> Could the bio balls be affecting the readings?  <YES!!! The nitrifying bacteria died while the skimmer was off> Should I unplug the skimmer pump and see what happens to the readings? <Take the bio balls out. Use live rock as your main filtration rather than bioballs>  The tank is a 90 gal acrylic with 100 lbs of live rock. <No need for bio balls, mate. Your set.>  I also have two back filters with carbon media. <Perfect. Lose the bio balls. Do change 10% percent of the water every couple of days until the readings are mitigated. ~Paul> Thanks G Clark

Powerful Pumps Without The Noise! Hi Crew, <Hello there! Scott F. here today!> Thank you for your helpful web site.  I have two questions for you both about noise, one is about my return pump set up and the other is about a noisy skimmer.  My tank is a 300 gallon reef tank in my living room it currently has an Iwaki mdrlt70 running the return to a height of 5 ft.  The water is distributed through 5 nozzles around the tank. The problem is twofold:  a) I don't think there is enough flow, and b) I want to put a couple of the SCWDs (SP?) to vary the flow pattern in the tank. <I really like the SCWDs!> My overflow box is in one corner and measures 8inches by 12 inches. I would like to have a two pump system just in case something were to ever happen to one pump I have a back up.  I have looked at the Dolphin, Blue-Line and Velocity pumps, the Velocity I have heard adds too much heat back into the system so I am deciding between the blue-line and the Dolphin.  Any suggestions or advice on pros and cons of either pump and other possibilities? <Both are quality pumps, IMO. If you want radical flow, go for a Dolphin Ampmaster. It is quiet and VERY powerful!> Is there a definitive way of finding out which one is quieter? <You'll just have to ask around, and visit some fellow hobbyist's aquariums to hear for yourself> Secondly,  I recently added a Euroreef skimmer with the upgraded quieter pump in my sump. The problem is that the pump as supplied from EuroReef does not lay flat on the sump floor it is levitating ? inch above the sump floor this causes the skimmer to vibrate and makes the entire sump resonate.  Any suggestions to make it quieter would be appreciated.    <Perhaps you could position some closed cell foam around the pump to limit the vibration? Just a thought...> Thank You Bijan <You're quite welcome, Bijan. Maybe a few of our WWM readers could chime in here, too! Regards, Scott F>

- Nothing in the BakPak - I have a Bak pak protein skimmer.  I leave it on all the time and lately there is no bubbles or waste in the top.  Should I turn it on and off. <I'd leave it running all the time - no harm done.> If so when can I tell it needs to be turned on.  Thanks again. <Cheers, J -- >

- Surface Film & Skimmer Performance - Greetings from chilly Illinois! <Greetings...> Thanks again for putting up a great website. I have noticed the last few days that a silverish film was on the surface of my 55 gal marine future mini-reef.  Current inhabitants include 2 percula clowns, yellow-tail damsel and a Firefish goby along with 3 turbo snails, a peppermint shrimp and about 8 hermits.  Got around 50# live rock with about 15# base Tufa and about 1-1/2-2" live sand.  Got a 500gph powerhead in one corner and a 150gph in the other.  A skimmer (more on that later) and a Whisper 3 filter. I did some searching on your site for a solution to this problem.  The problem is that there is just soooooo much great information that I have trouble finding a solution to my exact problem.  Anyway, I decided that the film definitely had to go so I simply used a small, clean Rubbermaid juice-box container and slowly lowered it into the tank and sort of skimmed the surface water off and taking the silver film along with it.  Took a while, but I got about 75% of it...along with about 1 to 1-1/2 gallons of water--which I did not replace being that I am scheduled for my weekly partial change (5 gal) in 2 days. Here is what happened and what I am wondering about.  About 2 hours later, I walked by my tank and saw that the protein skimmer collection cup (which I had cleaned just before removing the film) was almost overflowing with icky greenish-tan foam!!!  Normally I get about 10cc of foam "liquid" per day and I had about 25cc of liquid below this foam!  I am using a (can hear your groan now) SeaClone 100 skimmer. What would have caused this sudden, monumental increase in foam production?  I am thinking one of two things.   1.)  The surface film was somehow interfering with the gas transfer and thus inhibiting the production of foam <Hmm... if I remember correctly, it is in this film where gas exchange takes place. Not certain this would be the cause.> 2.)  By lowering my water level from just below the lip of the plastic top by about 3/4" and leaving it there, the skimmer now works better. <Perhaps more likely.> Any ideas on this? <Not really... suspect as you do that the change in water level had something to do with it.> Oh yea, my Ammonia and nitrate levels were zero and just a trace of nitrite (about .1 mg/L), pH 8.3, SG 1.024, KH 11dH. Thanks again and hope to hear from you soon! -Ray <Cheers, J -- >

-Skimmer & filter order- I'm new to the hobby and have a 135 G reef-ready w/ dual returns, a Amiracle Maxi Reef 300 and two Mag7 return pumps that I bought @ my LFS. <ok> I've recently acquired a E.T.S.S. 600 with Blueline NS 800 pump.  It makes sense that I would want to run the skimmer before the biomedia, but I can't figure out how to make it work.  How would you set them up? <No worries, the order will make little difference. Most hobbyists that have similar setups are forced to put the skimmer after the prefilters and biomedia. Putting the skimmer before the filtration will not drastically increase your skimming performance, I hope this helps! -Kevin> Raymond J Seidel Jr.

- When the Skimmer Doesn't Skim - Hello! I have an Amiracle mini Quad HOT venturi skimmer that I cannot get to skim.  (I've read every skimmer article on your site I could find, tried all sorts of adjustments to the water level, air valve, flow rate through the valve, and am ready to weep and bang my head against the wall simultaneously.) I am hoping to avoid using a sump; are there any decent HOT skimmers that are not as temperamental as Venturi types? <Hmm... even among venturi skimmers, not all skimmers are created equal. I've used Amiracle skimmers in the past, and it's my feeling that AMiracle is not; a miracle that is, these are weak skimmers at best. I could also be that in your case, you simply don't have that much to skim which in the path of a weak skimmer will produce nothing. Without any other details about your system - size/age/bioload - it's hard to be certain.> Your skimmer reviews seem to be strongly in favor of Venturi skimmers, but I'd rather have some inferior skimming than none. <Do tell more about your tank and I'll be happy to make a recommendation.> Thank you for your excellent site! Mary <Cheers, J -- >

Skimmer Struggle- Game Over! Hey Scott, Thanks again for your response.  Yeah... you know I've been really trying and trying with this skimmer and its just so damn finicky and hard to set. I just gave up with it finally and bought the Red sea Prizm skimmer which is much easier to operate.  The turbo impeller just makes the foam 1,2,3 and it seems like a good skimmer. <Make sure that it produces, and you'll be a happy camper!> This venturi skimmer with the pump is just not really giving me good results.  Its no fun.   The Amiracle skimmer  just wasn't pushing up the foam through the neck as it should and the foam production was weak. Anyway, I have a lot of other things to worry about as you know with this hobby than to obsess over my skimmer!! <Yep- like watching the purple tips of your Acroporas, and worrying about silicate levels, etc> Thanks again though and like I said, I appreciate your correspondence Ed <My pleasure, Ed! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

SeaClone Skimmer failing a 150 tank - 2/12/04 hi, <Hello Alex> I have a 150 gallons fish-only tank, I have an U.V., I have a wet-dry Eheim professional, I have a wet-dry filter with approximately 500 bio balls, I have two power heads, <May need more depending on the power of these well....uh...powerheads> a heater, a sea clone skimmer(150gallons) <Seaclone does not have a great reputation for good skimmers. Be sure that you are getting at least a cup a week at the bare minimum>> ammonia 0, nitrite 0, ph 8.2, and nitrate 20-30, <Keep an eye on this but no need to worry> I don't know if my skimmer is doing well because it almost has nothing in the collection cup, <Well, that is my point about this skimmer> I mean I just have to change the collection cup every 3 weeks because its almost empty, <Not good> I only have one big yellow tang and a small Singapore angel, <Well, it is good to stock slowly> Do you think is there a problem with the skimmer or it could be normal because I just have two fish. <Likely the skimmer is a piece of..... I would look through our FAQs on skimmers and see if there are not some upgrades you might be able to make, otherwise you will likely have to change for a better skimmer> I have it set well and I have done all what the manual says, but it doesn't seem to work, <yeah, I expected as much. Look to EuroReef, My Reef Creations, CPR, or AQUA C. Any of these brands are well respected. I am sure I am leaving some out though> Thank you for your answer, and I'm sorry if is a little confusing with this e-mail, that would be because my English is not too good. <Not a problem. Thanks for being part of it all, Alex. ~Paul> Alex

- Adjusting the AquaC EV Skimmer -  After reading your write-ups about the AquaC (I can't fit a EuroReef) I just bought the EV180 for my 120 gal FOWLR-I also have an Amiracle wet/dry and will be adding a UV sterilizer. My question, I am going INSANE trying to adjust this skimmer-the level looks great for hours-but when I wake up in the morning its changed. <Is the skimmer in an area of the sump where the water level changes? If so, this is the root cause of your problem - if not... I'm not sure what to say.> I do not have a lot of room in my sump and am thinking of getting the urchin from AquaC-is this just as good as the EV180 or should I hang in there and give it more time? <I have both, but don't consider them to be equivalent - EV-180 is a much more powerful skimmer.> I'm going to have a fit if I have to adjust it ONE MORE TIME! <Then perhaps this is not the skimmer for you.> I need something-as you say-idiot proof-as I have no previous experience with protein skimmers. <Again... look to the water level in the sump - if it doesn't stay in the exact same place all the time, then the skimmer is in the wrong location.> Also, is the EV-180 a "down draft" skimmer as I've heard you mention? <Sort of, but not exactly.> What do you suggest-I think all this is a little over my head...  The impatient one in Mass. (what were known for)  :(  <Cheers, J -- >

Skimmer operation, punctuated? Hi, how r you?<Howdy, I'm great!> I have a small simple question to ask. Is it true that its not good to stop the skimmer during a period of time, during the night for example, because it can pollute the tank. There was trouble with oxygen involve in that if I remember..? I was planning to start a new tank in my bed room and stop the skimmer during the night.<It will not pollute the tank but the oxygen levels could dip because the skimmer provides a ton of oxygen to the tank.  If you just make sure the water surface is not stagnant and you have plenty of circulation you should be ok.  Most skimmers are nearly silent so I don't think you would have much trouble.  Cody>

Extreme foaming Skimmer I couldn't help but read today about the guy who had the over-foaming skimmer.  It sure sounds like when I one time added the Hagen Aqua Plus water conditioner directly to my tank and my skimmer made a real big mess due to the over foaming.  Water/foam everywhere and it took 2-3 days of real slow turned down skimming to get rid of it. If I had put it in and left the room it would have flooded over on to the floor for sure.  Do not use this or any of the conditioners that give fish the extra slime protection, like the Stress Coat etc. Big time mess... <Thank you for this input, reminder. Will post for others edification. Bob Fenner>

Fine Tuning A Skimmer  Hi Scott,  <Hello again!>  I did as you said, (made adjustments to the skimmer) and now its foaming. However, the foam has risen to the narrow tube part and hits the roof of the skimmer but isn't spilling over into the edges of the collection cup, (where cone part meets walls of skimmer) Also. when I feed the fish, the foam level instantly goes back down to the bottom again, (beneath the cone part) Then it takes hours for the foam to build all the way up to the top of the skimmer again.  <This is actually quite normal. Skimmers are very sensitive to their immediate environment>  Would you say the skimmer is working properly? This skimmer is driving me nuts! Thanks again,  Ed Kraselnik  <Well, Ed, the real key to determining if a skimmer is "dialed in" properly is to see if it is producing a dark, stinky, and yucky-smelling product. Unfortunately, skimmers can be a real pain to get working properly at times, but once you get one set, it's a beautiful thing! Keep at it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Fine Tuning A Skimmer- The Struggle Continues... Hi Scott, <Hi there!> Thank you  once  again for the very helpful response. I'm adjusting the skimmer as you said to get the best foam producing setting. When I take the collection cup off the skimmer it does stink when I smell it, but its from the organic residue built up on  the walls of the cup.  The dark yucky smelling product you are talking about, is it the actual dark brown liquid that I mentioned to you in the previous email  that the skimmer was pulling from the live rock curing? I was getting lots of dark brown liquid. The liquid was collecting at the "outside" edge of the cone. Or is the brown liquid within the bubbles in the foam?  I think its getting better, foam is building up quicker than yesterday.  Gotta be patient and  keep trying!! Thanks again, Ed <Well, Ed, glad to hear that the skimmer is starting to perform to its potential. The dark "product" that I refer to is the liquid that collects below the foam bubbles. It is an unmistakable sinus-burning smell! Another thought that I have is in regards to cleaning the skimmer. Do clean it frequently (like a few times per week, if you can), but don't get over-zealous about it, as this can actually remove some of the substances that build up inside the skimmer's neck, actually reducing foam production. It's a fine line! Like all aspects of skimming, once you get it down, you'll be able to forget about adjusting your skimmer, and you will see consistent foam production. It does take some patience, but stay at it and you'll get the job done! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Skimmer Tip From A WWM Reader!  Hi all,  <Hi there! Scott F. here today>  I just read through the daily Q + A's (03/02/04). There was a question from Barry regarding his skimmer overflowing. See:  Overcome By Foam (Skimmer Acting Crazy!).  I have this same problem with mine (T1000 Multi) from time to time.  Maybe he could try cleaning his pump (Impeller and Venturi) as I find it's caused by insufficient air flow.  This has always worked for me.  Just a thought and hope to help.  Cheers,  Duncan.  <Duncan- thanks so much for your input. It is most welcome! Sharing of ideas is what WWM is all about! Regards, Scott F>

Overcome By Foam (Skimmer Acting Crazy!)- Pt. 2  Thanks for the reply, Scott--in answer to "have I used any other additive which may have created white, wet foam"--I did put a capful of Kent Marine's Reef Essentials--could that be the culprit, and if so, WHY?  <It is quite possible! Many additives contain colloids and other materials that can effect the hydrostatic charge of the water, and impact skimmer performance in many ways>  If you feel that the additive is not at fault, I'm still back to square one--why won't my skimmer skim? It foams like a rabid dog!. Thanks....Barry  <I can understand your frustration! A lot of the key to adjusting a skimmer involves manipulating the air and/or water flow. Unfortunately, there is no "standard" setting for making a skimmer produce perfectly. It's really a matter of trial and error (mostly error!) in trying to get the balance right. Don't give up here. However, if you simply cannot get the skimmer to work right, it may be necessary to try a different skimmer. Exhaust all efforts first, however! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Bubbles in the reef - 2/3/04 Hi guys, can you clear something up for me? <Will do my best> Bubble size,. yes, that's what I said, bubble size. <Party on!!!> I remember reading about the importance of bubble size in the reef aquarium. <So size does matter?> Tiny bubbles are no good, Hmmmm, even harmful? <Not likely. Here is an article that I happen to share the same opinions on the subject matter. (myth 14 is related to your question): http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-01/eb/index.htm> I recently put an airstone in my tank and I certainly don't want my inhabs to feel, well, lacking because of the size of bubbles. <What is the reason you put an airstone in your aquarium?> And if the bubbles are too big, well, literature says they should be quite happy:)............What do you say?? <Depends on inhabitants I suppose (and the literature for that matter)> And one more question, maybe a bit easier to answer, Why has my skimmer stopped skimming? <Lots or reasons: cleanliness of skimmer, surface tension has lessened, or too little waste (never heard of this). Likely some adjustments need to be made to the skimmer as it is usually the likely culprit. I would contact Aqua-C, as they are a very good company with a highly regarded reputation and product. I am sure you guys could figure something out> It only produces about a quarter inch a day. <To be honest, I get about the same amount. Nothing to stress about unless you are having water quality issues> I have an AquaC Remora. Thank you! <Thank you for being part of it all ~Paul> Pam

Overcome By Foam (Skimmer Acting Crazy!)  You guys are awesome!  <Aw, shucks! Scott F. here today!>  My eyes are crossing trying to read all the threads on Protein Skimmers, and I'm still puzzled.  <Not unusual at all! LOL>  I have a 45 gal (soon to go to 65 gal) corner tank. SeaLife sump and SeaLife 75 skimmer w/Rio equipped pump. Tank up and running well for 3 months, skimmer skimming, all of a sudden only heavy pure white foam overflowing collection cup, into drain line, and overflowing skimmate collector. There are no adjustments on this unit--a button on end of air intake line only. Water level indicated on sump is only about 4" deep, skimmer sits in this water, of course. Using a Mag 7 to pump sump water back to tank. Only thing recently added was a small Whisper filter with charcoal pouch to hang on tank and polish water. If I built an overflow box for skimmer to sit in, so that it's in deeper water, would that do the trick? I have the outflow tube as low as it goes (per mngr's suggestion) but nothing but white foam goes to collection cup. HELP! Thanks....Barry 

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