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FAQs about Skimmer Operation/Maintenance 2

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

Large Prizm Skimmer

Your 12 millionth question on skimmers.... Greetings to the unfortunate soul who gets to answer this question! <I say a greeting> I read through the archived Q & A's (felt really stupid after the answer to my last question was right there--had read it months before I asked but the three remaining memory cells filed that info somewhere weird. Won't do that again, hopefully) and never really saw this addressed: <Okay> I got a Seaclone skimmer before I found this site...was switching it back and forth between the two tanks and the 10 gal quarantine tank, but with the high bioload in the 65 gal combined with a 5" lawnmower blenny being sucked into the Penguin filter (whaaaaaa, I hate losing anybody for any reason) and not realizing it for about 3 days, the nitrates have skyrocketed (about 100 on the red sea hard-to-distinguish test kit), and scrupulous filter pad rinsings and partial water changes over the last 2 weeks have barely helped (down to about 60-75?). Yes, I know I need to get a "real" skimmer, see Question, below details: I'm trying to happily pair up organisms two by two (except for the "kinky" ones who get paired up however they want) to try to induce spawning from everything from fish and algae-eating Nudibranchs to tunicates and microcrustaceans (and hopefully corals?). I'd like to get as much biodiversity going as possible, for the health of the system in general and to provide zooplankton food/maybe even get some to live and grow up.  <Good plan, goal> Some day enough food to sustain Dendronephthya type corals and crinoids?  <Someday, yes> That's the dream. I have a 29 gallon with the soft corals and a pair of (spawning!) transparent cave gobies, and a 65 gal with hard corals, 2 bar gobies, 5 neon gobies, a pair of gold-banded maroon clownfish and their bubble anemone (the minute it gets near the corals it'll be moved to another tank), a copper-banded butterfly, and will have a Kole tang for algae control when it gets out of quarantine (ca. 24" of fish total, on the edge of overstocked, I know...). Both tanks have a lot of snails and hermit crabs for cleaning and a lot of tunicates and sponges for natural filtration. I'm going to build a refugium to hang onto one of the tanks, eventually either tie them together (with a common sump?) or build a huge tank (does this urge for even bigger boxes of water ever end? keeheehee!) <Only with our endings> I want to eventually have all-natural sponge/tunicate filtration a la Steve Tyree, but got those books after I got too many fish to go with my few sponges, and would like to have real sunlight instead of the metal halides, but would have to tear a wall out of the house (slap! don't even go there....) <I won't> The Question: The Seaclone is adequate for the 29 gallon with the light bioload including mushroom anemones that supposedly don't want heavily skimmed water. That tank doesn't have nitrate problems, even with the skimmer off it for a week at a time. For the 65 gal with the higher bioload the Turboflotor 1000 sounds about the best for the 65 gal (or is this overkill?). <Mmm, no... can be adjusted down, or "pulsed" on a timer...> What does the needle wheel do to zooplankton? does it chop it into billions of pieces like it does the air bubbles?  <Mainly yes, puree> I noticed that the Seaclone seemed to suck up a lot of the phytoplankton (DT's) I would add--I started turning off the skimmer for about an hour so the beasties could eat it first. Would a "real" skimmer rapidly suck up all the zooplankton and phytoplankton, too? <Yes> Could I get by with some clams to lower the nitrates if the skimmer will trash my zooplankton? <Mmm, a refugium, and/or macrophyte algae, DSB... other devices, livestock, techniques would be better to utilize all the way around. Bob Fenner> Sorry it's long, I can't seem to help it..... <No worries> Thanks! --Kari

Skimmer question Looking thru WWM I didn't see this answered (but of course I could be wrong)... Is skimmer output affected by temperature? (about 50-60 F) <In general, yes. Higher temperatures yield more output> I recently got a used Red Sea Berlin hang-on skimmer from a friend...I placed it on my 55g temperate marine tank in my basement to see how it worked (considering using it for an upcoming 40g reef)...it looked pretty good at first, then bubble output went way down (no matter what adjustment I made), so that now it looks like a large SeaClone skimmer -- little tornado effect in the middle and not much foam...It has the original Rio 2100 pump (I'm looking into another pump, but my only Mag pump is only 500 gph...) <I would definitely upgrade this pumping mechanism> Looks like the reef will be getting a nice new Remora after all...Redpaulhus <Ahh, even better. Bob Fenner>

Tank problems, Skimmer Bubbles Getting into Display Hello to everyone at WWM!! Thank you so much for taking your time to answer the questions that are thrown at you every day. <A daunting task some days.> My tank is a 46 gallon bow front. I have around 50 lbs of live rock, 1 yellow damsel, 1 brittle star, and a black urchin (a stowaway on the rock), plus various snails and crabs. About 6 months ago I started having trouble with algae. Not just a little but huge amounts of hair algae and other kinds that made my glass impossible to see through and that you couldn't just scrape off. I tried everything to get rid of it. All my water perimeters are fine and I even bought more test kits in case they were bad. I didn't feed the fish because I was afraid of adding more nutrients to the tank for the algae. My old protein skimmer died so I decided to do something drastic to the tank. I emptied all the water, threw out all the substrate, and took the tank outside where it was thoroughly cleaned. Added new aragonite substrate (washed first), scrubbed all my rocks with a toothbrush to get rid of the algae and put in my newly purchased Bak Pak 2R. I am hoping the animals make it. So far so good. <I will keep my fingers crossed for you.> The main problem right now is the skimmer. It is shooting out tiny bubbles everywhere. I can see where bubbles are produced in the bubble chamber but the mid chamber that I guess is supposed to stop the bubbles from entering the return chamber is not doing the job. Millions of bubbles are just continuing to flow into the return chamber and out into the tank. I put the sponge provided at the bottom of the return pipe but it doesn't really do any good. Any suggestions? I am at my wits end. This used to be such a relaxing hobby but lately it has been more trouble than its worth.  <CPR makes a bubble trap as an add-on to their Bak-Pak units. Generally about $20 mail-order. If that does not work, I would contact them directly http://www.cprusa.com/ -Steven Pro> Thanks, Olivia

Re: Anthony's recent postings: Skimmer box inline Wow, Anthony, thanks so much for the helpful response!  <always welcome!> You mentioned advising you of my skimmer and available space -- I have a 72g bow front tank on a bow front cabinet. My sump is a 15g tank, and my skimmer is a new AquaC EV120 (thanks to you guys here at WWM -- my old skimmer was a Red Sea Berlin). There is only one foot of clearance between the top of the biotower and the underside of the cabinet.  <yes... too crowded to place it inline and slightly above under the stand> I have a little space on either side of the sump, but due to the bow shape it's a little narrow.  <it would be nice if it could fit here> There is only about 5 inches between the back of the cabinet and the wall.  <indeed... not going here...> Any advice on the easiest way to get raw water to this skimmer would be most appreciated. <yep... find or build a skimmer box just slightly larger (just several inches wider of a foot print) than you need to fit your skimmer in (glass, acrylic or plain old Rubbermaid if convenient). This will be drilled with a high water overflow's) sufficient to handle some or all downstream raw water from the overflow. Think of vessel/setup rather like sticking a bottle of wine in an ice bucket... except this ice bucket is going to have a running overflow...heehee. I'm wondering if all of the above places fail to serve you, if you wouldn't mind fixing this small vessel on a short pedestal next to (or bolted to) the stand? It will be placed of course at a height just slightly higher than the biotower that it will feed with its overflowing water. And how will we hide this new piece of hardware out side of you tank you ask?!?! Easy! It will be hidden in a most unique fashion: a five gallon pot with fine sand and some brackish water with hold the mangrove tree that you keep next to your marine aquarium! An $8 incandescent "plant type" incandescent spotlight mounted to the ceiling and shining down will keep this crazy plant happy for you (in addition to weekly misting of leaves and a good talking to on occasion). Really... how many of your friends have a mangrove seedling growing next to their tank? Ha! No worries... they are very slow growing and easy to manage. Many Florida collectors collect the Red Mangrove seed pods for less than $1 each. I used to get them shipped up in box lots wholesale for 20 cents. Some of these guys on the internet are selling them for $5-10 each!?! Capitalism is wonderful... but $5-10 each is fascism...heehee. The seedlings litter the Florida coastline and rot by the metric ton!!! Point is... don't pay too much for a seedling. A rooted or sprouted tree is a whole different matter.> Thanks so much, Chip <best regards, Anthony>

Filter sponges affecting Skimmer activity Hello WWM Crew, I've read a few of Anthony's recent responses and it finally hit me what he was getting at.  <Hot damn... that makes at least one of us now <wink>!> I have a sump with an overflow. The overflow has a fiber filter pad around the drain tube it then runs down to the wet/dry and runs through another filter pad.  <yes... the idea sucks like no idea has ever sucked before> These were installed according to the manufacturers specs but it never made sense to me as they filter out food from the tank before the items can ever get into the sump or wet/dry area.  <Bingo! Give that man a hairy kewpie doll made in the likeness of a short outspoken WWM mentor of Mediterranean extraction!> According to Anthony's posts these pads allow decay of the food (which makes sense) and decreases skimmer output.  <bada-boom-bada-bing!> What I'm wondering is if it would be best, in your opinion, to remove all of these filter pads and rely on the skimmer to filter out the organics rather than relying on these pads as the manufacturer had suggested.  <I think that is a fine idea... that Anthony is a smart guy sometimes> Lately I have been disappointed by the skimmer output from my CPR Bak-Pak IIR <and yet.. it really is a good skimmer... not to be discredited by the tank manufacturer's poor overflow design> and I'm curious as to the reason for it. I've been careful with my feeding amounts but I find it doubtful that the small feedings are the reason I'm only getting about 1/4 cup or less of skimmate from my skimmer working on a 40 gallon reef tank. <yes!... seriously.. you are wise and intuitive... any tank can get daily skimmate, and 1/4 cup on even a 30 gallon is simply a tank with a design flaw that will accumulate dissolved organics which may easily lend itself to a fierce nuisance algae problem later> Any advice would, as always, be appreciated.  <just be sure to protect the overflows with a course mesh so that fish, snails, etc don't sail over the falls or clog the overflow pipe. Plastic gutter guard for rain gutters works very nicely for this...so course to not impede particulates, yet prevents macro-organisms from clogging your overflow seven minutes after you leave for a one week vacation> Thanks in advance, Mike Frazer <quite welcome... Antoine: the aquarist formerly known as Anthony>

Another Skimmer Problem Follow-up Thank you for your reply Steve, The same day I emailed WWM, I was cleaning sponge in the wet/dry filter and bumped the skimmer. Since then it is working well. <Perhaps you dislodged some piece of debris?> When I check it last night there was an inch of gunk...that's the most I have had in weeks. <Glad to hear it. Amazing what disgusting stuff a proper skimmer collects.> I did take out the skimmer a couple of weeks ago and cleaned everything, however I didn't run/soak in hot water with vinegar. Next time I clean it I will do so. If I have any more problems I will contact Aqua-C for help. Thank you for yours! Sincerely, Lori <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Carbon in Prizm Many thanks for your help so far. I wanted to know if I can put a small bag of carbon in my Prizm skimmer. Will this effect skimming? <Yes, probably for the worse.> I know the skimmer is not the best but I bought it anyway do to only using it on a 20gal. <Will be fine for a 20 gallon tank.> I already have a Fluval 204 for mechanical and filled with TBPC for bio filtration. I have just removed all of my crushed coral except for about 1 inch and I am going to add 20lbs of LR if I can get it past my wife.  Shaun Nelson <It would probably be easier/better to place carbon in the Fluval if you do not already have it packed. I prefer to use Boyd's Chemi-Pure in canister filters. If not, a simple hang-on filter is a cheap alternative. -Steven Pro>

Live Rock, Skimmer Functional Relationships Oh and Jason <Anthony again> Is it true that if you have live rock in a fish tank only, you don't need a protein skimmer. <wow... not even close to being true as they have little or nothing to do with each other functionally. Whoever told you this was SERIOUSLY mistaken and in need of some basic books on marine aquariology. I pray that they are not in the aquarium business. Skimmers are even more crucial to run full time on tanks with messy feeding fish like puffers. They export nutrients before they can degrade into harmful byproducts. I personally would not want to do all of the extra water changes needed for such a tank without a skimmer. Please do read more in the WWM archives about the merits of live rock and skimmers and their respective features> Thanks, Wendy <best regards, Anthony>

Turboflotor modification Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service whilst Bob travels Australia for several weeks... he was spotted yet again on another nude beach... the witness couldn't tell if he was wearing a white thong bikini or if he simply sat on some dental floss> I have a Turboflotor 1000 HO with the AquaBee pump on a 90 gallon tank. I'd like to improve its efficiency. Any thoughts on how to make this happen? John <In all seriousness, yes my friend. Much has been written on this in the archives and on various message boards. The gist of it is to improve the inflow at the base of the unit with another water pump. What model powerhead to use depends to some extent on your system and the quality of overflowing water fed to the skimmer. However, it will be a smaller pump likely under 300 gph. Do some archiving and compare pump recommendations to systems similar to yours. (you can use the search engine on this site to seek only pages on WWM). A Maxi-jet 1000 might be in the ballpark for you...perhaps even smaller. Kindly, Anthony>

Pumps Hello, I am not sure who will answer so I won't give any names <excellent... because I wish to be anonymous today...<smile>> I have looked over your site, which has now become a daily ritual, <as I do too, right after my garlic bath> and am having problems setting up a sump. I got a CPR90 (suppose to move about 600 gph) overflow box and ran it to a sump. Then in the sump I have a Berlin Turbo Skimmer which puts the skimmed water into another chamber for return to the tank. Now for my return pump I have a Rio 3100 (suppose to move about 600 to 700 gph at 4 to 5 ft of head) with plastic tubing and a ball valve at the end. The reason for the ball valve is I believe I would have to match the water coming from the skimmer rather then the water coming out of the tank so either it doesn't overflow or run dry.  <ultimately a slippery slope> Basically is it OK to return unskimmed water to the tank or should I continue my frustrating experience of 'matching' flow rates with the skimmer.  <please do not match because it will catch up to you. With a good turnover of tank water per hour, returning some unskimmed tank water will be fine> I tried finding answers at the CPR site and all I have found is to use a pump equal to the overflow coming out of the tank. But what if a person puts a skimmer in the middle? Help! Ann <a skimmer in the middle is quite normal and will be fine as detailed above. An overflow to a skimmer chamber in the sump that the skimmer works in/draws from my help a bit... but a standing sump model skimmer is fine just the same if (BIG IF) you keep the sump level from fluctuating (else skimmer performance is compromised). Best regards, Anthony...oops! signed, Anonymous>

Emperor Aquatics Skimmer I was just wondering if anyone can help me set my skimmer. Here's a link for the pic http://nissannx.info/images/dsc03045.jpg It's made by Emperor Aquatics (have no idea what the model is). I've have visited Emperor Aquatics but could not find the model I have. I have left them an e-mail several times but no reply. It is a Venturi skimmer currently I have a 250 gallon/hour water pump. But it seems not to be working? Do I need a higher pump? If so what would the recommended pressure? Thanks, Steve <The best option I can give you is go to the Emperor Aquatics page and find the model closest to yours in dimensions. They give exact measurements for all their skimmers and recommended pumps here http://www.emperoraquatics.com/aquafoam.html -Steven Pro>

Skilter Modification (Follow-up) I just wanted to let you know that I went ahead and tried the Skilter modification that Tom W. uses on his 20 gal tanks and I must say that the amount and 'quality' of my skimmate(?) has greatly improved. (High quality skimmate...now that is funny!) Also, I have not been using the Skilter's air producing ability at all. As a result the number of bubbles going into the tank has decreased dramatically. Thanks for sharing the information. My fish, inverts and I are much happier for it! <Glad to hear it. Will post on the daily page and file under the proper FAQ to help others. -Steven Pro>

Skimming Question Hi Guys , <Steven Pro this evening.> I have a question regarding the amount of skimmed liquid I should be seeing. I have a 120 gallon tank running a CPR CY 194 wet/dry that has a large skimmer built in (hope you're familiar). The tank has 110 lbs. of live rock, assorted mushroom corals, a dozen large hermits and a dozen large snails. The tank has no nuisance algae at all. I only get a couple ounces per week. The technical guys at CPR said it was because there was no bio load. What else were they going to say. Just wanted your opinion. Richard <What, no fish? The easiest way to answer this is what goes in must either be taken up by the residents in the form of growth or it must be removed by skimming. The heavier you feed the tank, the more must be removed by various nutrient export system; protein skimming, activated carbon, algae scrubbing, etc. I prefer to have to empty a cup about every other day. Anthony is more militant/dedicated and attempts to extract skimmate daily. It is one of the most effective forms of nutrient export and the more you remove the less you have contaminating your tank water. -Steven Pro>

Skimmer Question (operation) Morning Crew! I have a quick one about my skimmer. I have a Prizm backpack and for the last week the bubbles have stopped hence the skimmer has been basically just swirling water around and spitting it back into the tank. My LFS told me to clean it out .....that there may be something blocking the flow? I did that last night and I'm still not skimming. What's going on here? Could it have broken just like that? <I would check the airline. It could have become unattached to the powerhead or it could have become plugged.> Thanks guys. Rick <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

The use of skimmers Hello everyone. I removed my Skilter 400 Skimmer today for 2 reasons. It was noisy and it was hardly skimming. I have a 55 gallon reef tank, 60lbs. LR, 4" live sand including "GARF GRUNGE", great stuff. Very low population of fish (5 @ 1") and about 90 snails and crabs. So what do you think? If I do 10% water changes every week, can I keep the water healthy without a skimmer? <I would not have a tank without a skimmer. Once you seen the disgusting stuff a quality skimmer running properly is removing you will not want to have one either.> I have heard differing opinions about the use of skimmers, like they remove important trace elements etc., etc. <Here is a Calfo-ism for you, corals remove trace elements and most people don't mind them. I do not agree with the trace element argument. Skimmers remove far more noxious stuff than good.> Your expertise is very welcome. Thank you, Pamela Mary <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

SeaClone Noise Hi Bob, Steven or Anthony, <in that order that would make me "Curley".. although Steve looks nothing like Moe> I'm having some trouble w/my loud SeaClone Protein skimmer. It is only noisy when I have the air valve opened.. I recently modified the skimmer, which helped improve its skimming, but it is still loud when the air valve is open. I think the problem is, caused by drawing air in through the impeller, instead of drawing it through the output of the power head, like many other power heads. Am I correct?  <not exactly... aspirated air through the impeller can be quite good> If so, I'm thinking of replacing it w/a RIO 1100. It draws air in through the power heads output. It's gph ratio is also higher than the standard SeaClone Pump. I think my skimmer may work better with a more powerful pump.  <agreed...may work well> Please let me know what you recommend. <if you do the Rio with a Venturi, place a piece of course foam block on the intake to act as a muffler or simply extend the airline to do the same> As always, thanks for the great advice, Glenn <best regards, Anthony>

About the Sea Clone: I haven't been able to get any skimmate at all yet.  <you are hardly alone in this dilemma among aquarists> I was assuming it was a little bit of both the fact that the tank is not really developed yet,  <even one week old tanks produce skimmate easily with the fresh minerals in the salt mix to spawn diatoms/algae, etc> as well, I'm not really experienced at finding the correct air valve setting. (It's hard to see where the collection cup rims starts in the Sea Clone) <yes.. it really is more of a design problem with this model> I've been told, as well as seen on your site that you need to have the water level meet the rim of the collection cup. Maybe you are aware of other clues I might be able to use to get it right, besides the obvious of actually seeing skimmate ;) Should I hear the gargling of the water through the pump? or is that too much air? and so on. <I am of the opinion with many aquarists that great patience and a lot of luck is required to get this model to perform at all let alone consistently... I would seriously consider a skimmer upgrade or a DIY project to make a better one. A skimmer one of the most important pieces of hardware you will ever buy for a marine aquarium... invest well in it. Aqua C and Bak Pak have some good hang-on or lower priced models, Euroreef and Turboflotor have great higher shelf models. You'll need to spend some bucks to get a good one... As they say, Good things are seldom cheap and cheap things are seldom good!" Anthony>

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

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

Vibration isolating materials (wet) Hello Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I'm setting up a 90G fish only saltwater tank. The setup includes a Turboflotor 1000 skimmer with Rio 2100 needle wheel pump and a small Rio pump. The 2100 induces a fair amount of vibration into the skimmer which leads to noise as it vibrates against the acrylic sump floor (the Rio 2100 has rubber feet, but the skimmer base is hard plastic!) . <yes a common complaint... many aquarists have switched pumps because of this> I'm experimenting with ways to reduce noise with freshwater before filling with salt water. One thing that works very well is to place soft "natural rubber" in the floor of the sump. This does an excellent job cutting the noise, but I'm worried about material from the rubber polluting the water. Is natural rubber a good choice? <I believe it will degrade> Any advise on a good (soft) material to use in the absorb the vibration? <some folks have taken to propping the skimmer up slightly and suspending the now "stranded pump" on two "ropes" of flexible tubing (pinned to underside of stand. The pump will then "swing" slightly elevated off of the sump floor> P.S. I read your book before buying equipment and am glad I did. It's really a great book. <Bob is a great and wise fellow indeed. With kind regards, Anthony> Kurt, Leucadia, CA

Skimmer Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I am just setting up a 180 G Marine tank with a 40 G sump - my retailer is strongly urging that upgrade my DAS BX 1 Skimmer to a BX 2 (basically the same thing with two pumps, as I am sure you know). Do you think this is necessary? <I like the skimmer upgrade but that would not be my brand of choice. Still, if you can get a cup of dark skimmate every day with little trouble, I have no complaints...else look at something better like a Euroreef> I currently have 80 lbs of live rock with nothing else - I plan on building a reef with an average bio load. <actually a second skimmer cleaned on an alternate schedule would be excellent for water quality then> Secondly, I have been running the system for just over a week and can't seem to get rid of the microscopic bubbles produced from the skimmer exhaust, I have read all your FAQ's in this area and you recommend a solution that will not work with my type of skimmer as it exhausts from the bottom (in the sump) - I have tried putting open cell foam around the intake of the two mag 950's but the bubbles still make it through into the tank. Some of your advice suggests that skimmers need to get broken in / new salt water - do you think this is the case with the DAS model? <not enough experience with that specific brand to say so> Lastly, thank you for your dedication to the hobby, and to those beginners like myself who would otherwise have no one to place their trust in! Regards, Mike <very kind of you to say so with thanks from Bob, I'm sure, and all of the WWM crew. Anthony Calfo>

Skimmer II Steven, Yes, when I turn my current skimmer off (DAS BX-1) the bubbles are drastically reduced. I can't seem to find any information on the DAS skimmers, i.e. what my model is rated for, or anyone who promotes the product. The BX-2 is being quoted to me at $438.00 US and I will have to pay the difference from my BX-1. It appears to be very similar to the Euro-Reef design, would you be able to shed some light on the advantages? I think I will need this in order to convince my LFS to give me a credit and allow me to go elsewhere to pick up a Euro-Reef... <My experience is limited to the smaller, under 100 gallon, DAS systems. These came with air-driven skimmers and I was not pleased with their performance.> I know feel like I am asking too much of you, but you make it so easy - thanks again for your outstanding support! It's truly amazing... Regards, Mike <Sorry I could not be more helpful. -Steven Pro>

Sensitive skimmer Every time I do a water change on any of my aquariums, I get a HUGE amount of relatively clear overflow into my protein skimmer. In my 600 gallon fish only tank, it may be 150 gallons! <stirring detritus liberates a lot of colloidal material which helps foam to climb in a skimmer neck. This is rather common. Although in other systems that are better scrubbed, the action simply breaks the proteinaceous film at the surface and reduces skimmer performance temporarily> In my 45 gallon, it is 10 gallons! Why is that? Is there a way to prevent that?  <yep... turn off the aeration feature on the skimmer for a couple of hours <wink>. It is also a sign of very high organics most likely. Are these well stocked fish tanks or is it possible that you overfeed or overstock a bit?> It often overflows and makes a mess! Thanks, Ron <agreed... best regards, Anthony>

Skimmer overflows and more Thanks for note Anthony! Hope you and your family had a great Easter! <our first with a new niece...wonderful. Thank you!> How does turning off the aeration solve the problem?  <the cessation of air bubbles will leave the colloidal matter in solution and make it no more likely to climb a skimmer neck than foam does in the aquarium proper. If, however, the skimmer still overflows with the aeration off, it sounds like the installer plumbed the skimmer improperly (many possibilities here... inline without a bleeder, excessive flow rate to compensate for a weak Venturi (or air pump if old/undersized), yadda yadda yadda, the list goes on)> Is it just good for me to get rid of that fluid or isn't it really accomplishing anything? <truthfully a waste of water... best to collect darker skimmate later> My nitrates are 10 in both the fish only tank and my reef tank with the sand bed. Comments?  <10 ppm? That's outstanding under any circumstance! Although popular literature tells us to keep it under 20ppm (which is approximately 5 ppm on your test kit... you need to multiply the reading by 4.4 to get actual nitrate as nitrogen)... your test of 10ppm (around 45 ppm) is quite good considering the fish load. Not even enough to begin stressing most of the sensitive fishes. Do try to keep that as a ceiling though... say 15 pm max (60ppm actual).> I have had 2 queen angels die about 2 weeks after I bought them from Atlantis. He thinks it is my nitrates.  <not even possible in my opinion. Another problem indeed... > Cyanide?  <supposedly no cyanide collecting in the Atlantic... I do believe it too> Very odd the other fish I bought that day all did OK. <agreed... it sounds like the problem was more specific to the species or the source. With 10 ppm nitrate and regular water changes on the system that maintain conditions near average seawater as mixed with a good sea salt... water quality doesn't seem to be the issue> Thanks for your thoughts. Ron <some things to consider about the Angels... how did they die (rapid gilling, any scratching/glancing, color or behavioral changes), were they quarantined at home or vendor, if not how long since they had been imported? Also, do a water change and add Polyfilters if it hasn't been done recently. Just a safe move to temper the possibility of a contaminant with dilution and chemical filtration. Best regards, Anthony>

Protein Skimmer I have a180 gal reef tank with a 40 gal sump, water flow 2400 gal per hour using two MD 40 RXLT Iwaki pumps. Temp. 78-81, ph 8.0 -8.4, used RO water and Instant Ocean for monthly water changes of 40 gal each.  Three 250 watt metal halide bulbs on 8 hours a day. Six small fish get fed one time a day. Tank has been running 9 months, protein skimmer is a Turboflotor t 1000 hang-on which is in the sump. The waste collector gets 1/2 cup per day.  Three weeks ago I changed to the back up Turboflotor t 1000 hang on and it got 1/2 cup per day. Is this protein skimmer two small for the tank? R. Gibson. P.S. tank has clams, corals, anemones <The skimmer is appropriately sized, but may still not be performing at its peak efficiency. If the water level in your sump where the skimmer pump is located fluctuates, your performance will not be as good as it could be. Also, you want the surface skimmed water to run smoothly into the sump/skimmer area with minimum turbulence. That way the protein concentrated water from the tank surface does not get all mixed up. Please read through the skimmer FAQ's to find some tips for increasing performance. -Steven Pro>

Skimmer Tweaking I NEVER produce any liquid as dark as coffee from my skimmer. It's always very light colored like light tea. . . what am I doing wrong? <you may not be doing anything wrong.. many types of skimmers and qualities of performance... venturi's are some of the most finicky styles> Please help. I have the type of skimmer that sits inside the wet/dry by the way. <such skimmers can be the most problematic... if they are not sitting in a skimmer box that fills with raw overflow water... then they are at the mercy of the fluctuating sump level which affects the flow rate (head pressure) on their feed pump. This lead to very inconsistent foam production. A simple plastic box/bucket/tub or divider in the sump can fill with water first before overflowing into the sump proper (see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm). And even with a well made/brand skimmer and ideal inline plumbing... you still need to make adjustments. If the skimmate is too watery, you may have too much air or water flow. My advice is to leave one constant (like max airflow) and then restrict the water on the outflow side to raise or lower the foam/water level in the neck. Lower the level to force dry foam collection or raise it to increase wetter collection> Thanks for any advice you can provide! :) <best regards, Anthony>

Skimmer question Good morning Crew,  Great site guys!!! Just a quick skimmer question. Is it necessary to turn off the protein skimmer when adding things like phytoplankton, iodine, reef complete, etc..? <No, not necessary for additives. Probably not good for the pumps either. Most are designed for constant use and routinely cycling on and off would place added wear and tear onto their motors.> I've heard the skimmers don't distinguish between good or bad "stuff" & will remove the additives also. <This is true, but they remove far more noxious compounds than the few good things. Their benefits far outweigh any potential drawbacks.> Thanks in advance for you response, Craig <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Skimmer Question Steven, Thanks for the quick response. I'll follow your advise. <You are quite welcome.> A few weeks back, somebody asked about rigging protein skimmer to Eclipse systems. It's very simple & works great. You just have to trim the plastic "hood" of the eclipse on the upper left portion of the hood. A hole about 3.5 x 5" will do fine. I run a remora pro on the my 90g double eclipse3 & its fantastic. I highly recommend the remora pro w/the mag3 pump. The retro fitted Smartlights by CSL also work very well w/the eclipse. My 90g is full reef and doing fantastic. I hope this helps. <I will have this message posted to the daily page. Hopefully, your instructions and recommendations will help others.> Thanks again, Craig P.S. I am also doing a 50g fish only w/ baby Humu, baby whitetail triggers. They have not yet bothered each other or the 3 hermits, 2 snails & 2 cleaner shrimp that are in the tank. <If not yet, they will eventually.> I'm thinking of adding a very small Cuban hogfish to the tank. Do you think the hog will bother the cleaners? <Yes, and out grow the 50 in short order.> Thanks again <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Remora repair Also, it seems my new remora I got for the quarantine tank has a slight leak. Should I use silicone or an epoxy to correct this? <A leak where? I will write to Jason Kim of Aqua-C for his input here> The leak was where the input line went into the main body of the skimmer. It looked like the epoxy was a bit too thin and a small trickle was constantly coming out, enough to make a small puddle after a day of letting run on the test/guinea pig/quarantine tank. I ended up getting some 100% silicone and running a bead around that junction. It was not a serious enough problem to ship it back and get a replacement, and it would have cost me more on shipping alone than just going ahead and correcting the issue. I am more curious as to if these are tested before they go out, or did it just get bumped around a but in shipping. The original seal looks to be an epoxy. Again, any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated. I wouldn't have made it this far without your input. Thanks. Benji <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

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

Quick Skimmer Question I purchased a TF1000 protein skimmer that works great for my 90 gallon FOWLR tank. I have been very impressed with its efficiency. Just one complaint though, It came with a Rio pump with a bubble atomizer impeller. This pump is very loud.  <a common complaint> So loud that I went to the point of buying a timer so it would only run at night.  <bad for the tank in the long run and shortens the life of the pump with off/ons> This was ok because the simmer was so efficient, but 25% of the time the pump would not start and I would have to unscrew the impeller housing and retighten it to get the pump to run again. Do you have any suggestions of a different pump I can try that will also atomize the bubbles so well? Thanks so much for your time and experience. Scott Buske <no personal experience with this, my friend but I thought I recalled hearing several folks mention a specific pump for replacement in our old FAQ's and on some of the bigger Reef message boards. Do a keyword search on WWM and elsewhere (RC, Aqualink, etc). I'm sure somebody has hashed this over and over. Best of luck!>

Lovin' that New Skimmer! Hey Bob, <<not Bob, but JasonC standing in while Bob goes diving>> Just a quick note to once again thank you for the Aqua-C skimmer. Seems to be doing its job just fine without too much adjusting and it is very, very quiet - yippee! In retrospect, I may not have given the Turboflotor enough of a chance to "break in", however, it was overpowered with the 2500 or 2100 using the paddlewheel impeller. The Turboflotor also seemed to underpowered with the needle wheel impeller on either pump - and noisy. The only way I seemed to be able to get the bubbles to a reasonable level was to hook a small air pump to the intake hose. It is possible that more foam would have been produced if I had let it break in a couple more weeks (I let it run for 2-3 weeks) but I think you would agree that it is best to avoid prolonged experimentation and adjusting on my tank and fish when possible. At any rate the Aqua-C has ended my protein skimmer woes and frustrations. <<good stuff, am a fairly unabashed AquaC fan myself, and am happy to see you are pleased. Enjoy, J -- >> Thanks!-Dave

New Setup  I checked out the ratings for the Ebo-Jager heaters and everything was very positive! Thanks!  <excellent, and quite welcome> One last question and I promise I will not bother you guys... well for at least a couple of months.  <no worries at all> I purchased a good quality DAS BX-1 Skimmer for my 180 gallon fish tank. Is it ok for me to run the skimmer in the sump now... even during the early stage of cycling my filter?  <certainly.. a benefit in fact> I am at day 3 in the beginning part of the cycle and I was wondering if the skimmer would hinder the cycling process.  <unrelated... if anything, the skimmer will reduce the extent of nuisance algae that you get in the early months> I would think not since it is just removing organic waste and not ammonia. I am using household ammonia to cycle the tank since I am apposed to the use of livestock for cycling a tank. <yes...this used to be a popular method... a fine idea not to stress the "test animals"... glad to hear it. Kindly, Anthony>

Plumbing in the Turboflotor <<JasonC here, filling in while Bob heads out diving.>> I am currently in the planning stages of a FO 90 gallon tank. I would like to plumb a Turboflotor 1000/RIO 2100 combo directly from a continuous siphon overflow with no by-pass. My question is, is there a recommended flow range/limit for the Turboflotor?  <<you should really check with Aquamedic on this.>>  I am planning to use my Little Giant 3MDQ-SC as my return pump from a sump/plenum so my flow rate through my overflow/skimmer would likely be 500+ gph. Do you think that this flow rate is acceptable for the Turboflotor or should I plan on plumbing in a by-pass?  <<bypass would be wise, if only so you could take the skimmer out of circuit for cleaning, etc.>>  Also, are there any good tank mates for an Undulatus Trigger in a 90 gallon tank or am I nuts. I would like to add a puffer (Dog face or Long-spined).  <<a puffer if a good choice, can endure most of this triggers bullying>>  If an Undulatus is too aggressive, is there any trigger/puffer combo you could recommend?  <<I am a huge fan of the Huma Trigger - Rhinecanthus aculeatus, myself - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rhinecanthus.htm >>  Last question....Are all triggers bad tank mates for P. volitans or is there a workable combo out there?  <<check out those Humas>>  Thanks much, gr <<my pleasure. Cheers, J -- >>

Making a Loud Skimmer Quiet Bob, <<Lorenzo here, standing in for Jason, who's standing in for Bob...>> First of all. Awesome web site, I can feel my brain swelling from the knowledge gained. <<We love to hear it's helping, thanks for the kudos>> 1) I have a 40 gallon fish only for now), salt water setup. It's in our babies room and I would like your opinion on a high quality/performance HANG-ON skimmer that is quiet. Quiet is the key factor, as long as it works well. I've read through all the FAQ's on the subject, whew!, but didn't find a question that asked for the quietest. <<I can heartily recommend the AquaC Remora, though it's by no means QUIET, quiet, it's probably the best compromise of performance/noise that I've used. The newest ones reportedly have a rubber o-ring that helps even more.>> 2) I actually have a Venturi style skimmer now and am unhappy with it. If I can get it to work better, I won't need the above "quiet" skimmer. I bought it about 5 years ago before I knew ANYTHING about this hobby. It is made by US Aquarium, model 20. Ever heard of it? It utilizes a RIO 600 with the airline adaptor. It's a tube model somewhere around 20" high, and is a hang on style. My problems are this. 1) A lot of bubbles are going back into the tank. They are not the micro sized bubbles I've seen in other skimmers either, but slightly larger. Is this normal? 2) The bubbles seem too large in the skimmer, can I adjust anything to help this?  << It's classically hard to adjust the venturi's, it may also be worn, munged, leaking somewhere - you won't have this problem with the direct-injection technique of AquaC. Will note that the quietest possible skimmer setup is probably an old-school air-lift model with a really high quality air pump driving it. >> Thanks in advance, Dan << always our pleasure... -Zo >>

Skimmer Adjustments <<JasonC here...>> Please disregard my email from yesterday. I stated that I was looking for a quiet hang on skimmer for my 40 gallon in my babies room. The tank has 36 pounds of live rock and six 1" damsels. It's been up and running for 4 years, but I neglected it the last year or so, and am now ready to kind of start over and REALLY do it right. I'm focusing mainly on fish, but maybe a coral later. <<ok>> I fixed my US Aquarium Model 20 Venturi style hang on skimmer. It uses a RIO600 pump. It was putting too many bubbles in my tank. I realized that by trying to make it quieter turning down the air allowed into the Venturi), I was speeding up the water in the skimmer, and this resulted in too much air exiting the skimmer. To solve it, I opened the air valve all the way, and closed the discharge valve of the skimmer to compensate for the loss of water height. This resulted in a much slower water flow, and MUCH less bubbles exiting the skimmer. The only drawback is the increase in air noise in the air inlet hose to the Venturi. Do you have any good recommendations on how to silence the air hose more, but not restrict air flow?  <<sounds like no matter what, you are making trade-offs between noise, skimmer performance, and bubbles mostly as a result from the type/design skimmer you are using. How about a different skimmer that doesn't require an air pump?>> Also, there are still some micro bubbles making their way into the tank. I have heard that this can be a problem. Is this a major issue? They are confined mostly to the left half of my 40 gallon FOWLR tank.  <<I don't think this is a problem when the bubbles are caused by a skimmer.>> Thanks in advance. Love Your site. Dan <<You are welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Protein skimmer I have a protein skimmer that was given to me. I assume it is a Venturi type as it has a propeller to pump water through it. It was working well when a few weeks ago it stopped producing foam. I used to have fish in the tank and now it just invertebrates. I noticed the pump was leaking more bubbles than it normally does. Any info. would be greatly appreciated. I do not want to have to invest in a new skimmer. Thanks! <I do not know what you mean by "leaking more bubbles than it normally does." Do you have a model name for the skimmer? Pump? Perhaps you could send in a picture to help us help you. -Steven Pro>

Need help! (skimmer operation) Hi, this morning I noticed something and I believe that maybe you can help me. For a month, my protein skimmer has run beautifully. Lately, however, I've noticed that the "grunge" is clearer and clearer until this morning it was basically as clear as tap water.  <Ahh!> I made sure that the bottom of the skimmer tube was far enough from the bottom of the back of the tank so that it could pick up water, and it could have been a bit higher. So I made that change by raising it a bit. Hopefully this will remedy the situation but I wanted to know if you were aware of problems like this occurring, and what one should do in this case -- if I haven't done the correct thing already. <You have... the adjustment of "contact chamber", "air and water mixing space" above water level servicing the unit, "overflow line/s" if any, "height of collector cup" in relation to all is very important> Also, I slid the o-ring down on the canister so that the collection cup sits a bit higher. I did that this morning and will go home to check it during lunch today. But, maybe there's something terribly wrong. Thanks for any advice you can give. I really appreciate it. Ari <Mmm, there is at least one other important component to mention here... changes in the nature of a captive system's water over time... As systems become established (depauperate species wish concomitantly), there is almost always "less" to remove via skimming. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimmaintfaqs.htm and the links beyond. Bob Fenner>

RE: need help! (more on skimmers, adjustment... screening) Thanks, I just needed to make some adjustments -- basically I just raised the height of the collection cup. IT WORKED! And I was happy (well, relieved ... not happy) that others on the FAQ page had experienced similar issues. So, with that one solved, I had another ... and as of this morning it, too, is solved. (This hobby certainly makes each day interesting!). I recently purchased a very small yellow watchman goby. I love this fish and waited until I could find the smallest specimen possible. Good news is that the fish is in good health and doing fine, the bad news is/was that this morning I couldn't find him. When I looked behind the tank, there he was sitting on the bottom near the intake of the protein skimmer! He is so small that he must have gone through the little slots where the water gets filtered. No problem, I carefully removed him from back there although by the time I got him he had been all throughout the filters! He's back in the tank and doing fine. Other inhabitants are a Pseudochromis (all magenta) and a flame angel. All levels are in check and all fish are getting along. The emerald crab may have molted b/c he hasn't come out of a hole in about 36 hours but I can see him moving. My boss suggested using a piece of fiberglass screening behind the filter so that the goby cannot escape into Mechanical World again. Do you agree?  <Yes. A good idea> Again, thanks for all of your help and expertise. PS ... was wondering if I purchased your book for the guy who helps me out at the aquarium (I have your book and you've authored his favorite book) if you would sign it so that I could give it to him as a gift of gratitude. <Absolutely. Di's Aquatics (www.disaquatics.com) has some of the few remaining hardcovers and many soft... and is literally "next door"> He is truly an asset to the store and spends much time with me teaching me about the hobby. <Outstanding! I do wish (as in "if fishes were wishes we'd all have full tanks") that there was are "ready network" (linked, identified over the Net?) of such "gurus" in all fields... Do believe we could rid the world of much misery, misunderstanding through such a web> Have a good day, and thanks again. Ari <You as well my friend. Bob Fenner>

Skilter modification? Good Morning To All- I was reading about Tom Walsh's 20 gal tanks and I was wondering about the modification that he made with his Skilter. The article says he uses a wooden airstone in the contact chamber, powered by a Whisper air pump. I was wondering...what size airstone (any size that fits in the 'tube')?, what size air pump (to power only 1 Skilter) and finally, do you still use the 'air flow adjuster' on the Skilter itself or just the wooden airstone? <I was there, wrote the piece. It was a "regular" small wooden (Ash?) airstone (need to be air-dried, switched out quite regularly... maybe weekly... Best tested with "bio-assay" of your trying to blow through line instead of air pump... if you can't do easily, than time to switch)... and a "II" equivalent diaphragm type air pump (Tetra's/ESU's Luft Pump is ideal here)... and the regular aspiration line was still employed on the Skilter> Any insight would be greatly appreciated! In case you were wondering...I have a 20 gal tank myself (running for almost 4 years now) and I've always just used the Skimmer part of the Skilter on an "as needed basis" (usually 2-3 nights per week, I don't usually run it during the day because I really hate all the bubbles it generates and sends into the tank...it just looks bad, in my opinion)...will the airstone modification help to reduce the number of bubbles that get into the tank?  <Yes, should> It seems to me like it might...??? Thanks for your help (again)! Ann <Bob Fenner>

Protein Skimming Bob, I have a question about skimming. I recently upgraded my protein skimmer. I bought a Remora C (the water injection type). I have had it for a week and it has collected 4 times more nasty stuff than my old skimmer. I have had a little trouble with hair, green and red and algae. With this new skimmer I seem to be collecting allot of green stuff. Will there be change in color of junk in my collection cup eventually? <Interesting question. Yes, likely> When I go to my LFS usually what is in there collection cup is brown thick stuff. I wondering if there is a cycle where all of the green algae disappears then the red algae will disappear. <There is, are... but there are definite different "skimmable make-ups" of different systems... much has to do with the types of life kept, foods/feeding, lighting, other filtration, type of seawater used, type/make of skimmer/technology...> I know I made the right move in purchasing this skimmer because of what it is producing and my water seems to be a lot clearer. I was told the best way to get rid of red algae is to lower the nutrient levels and skim it out. The hair algae I can deal with. Thanks for all of your help. One more question is it OK to have one green Chromis or do you absolutely need 2 or more? <More is better... social animals. Bob Fenner>

Protein skimmer cup cleaning... Okay, now that my TF1000 is working better (due to some minor change in setup), I have a question for you. If I'm dumping the collection cup every 2 - 3 days,  <I wish it was daily> should I scrub down the riser tube like I'm currently doing?  <yes at least once weekly or every time you clean cup> I use a baby bottle bristle brush cleaner to get out all the gunk that has collected on the inner part of the tube. Reason I ask is that I think that I may be limiting the efficiency of the skimmer if I get rid of the gunk too often?  <not exactly...only temporarily do you inhibit it (mere hours). The "gunk" on the inside of the neck severely impedes foam production in as little a 2 days if produced thickly!> The TF1000 manual says that there is a 48 hour "break in" period on a clean protein skimmer for some reaction to occur between the skimmer chamber and air bubbles... and I'm wondering if it's maybe the same for the riser tube. <I disagree with 48 hours... but there is a break in period of a few hours. Most skimmers properly adjusted resume collecting skimmate within six hours> Thanks in advance. <kindly, Anthony>

Re: when to turn on skimmer Bob, <Steven Pro this morning.> What do you think of the AquaC remora pro protein skimmer. Do you think this would suffice for my setup. <A much better choice. Get the upgraded pump option.> Thanks once again for your help. Frank <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Skimmer Question Anthony, Thanks for the skimmer advice.  <very welcome indeed> I am blown away by this thing. My water quality has improved vastly in just two days.  <indeed but will get ever so much better with such good daily skimming in time> As you said though, the instructions leave a little to the imagination, so I have a couple of questions. Originally, I did a gravity feed. (a simple siphon from the old wet-dry sump which I elevated slightly) This worked ok, yielding about 1" of dark yellow gunky water in the cup in about a day. Problem was the line didn't feed with enough pressure,  <exactly... needs some pressurization for this model> so during the day, air from the skimmer would work it's way into the siphon line and eventually the pocket got big enough to kill the siphon flow. Additionally, I was concerned that the water never built up enough to return any water through the two 1" tubes that return water to the tank. My deduction from these 2 facts were that there was not enough feed pressure, even though it did produce a small amount of foam/gunk. I then switched to a power head for a feed. <way to go> (AquaClear 402-appx 200 gph.) This appeared to be far more effective, utilizing the return lines, producing foam & gunk into the cup. Question is, how do I know if this is the correct amount of feed? and how long should it take to fill your collection cup when your doing it correctly?  <with all skimmers there is definitely a several week learning curve, but after a couple of months... the average tank with fish and/or corals that do get fed at least a couple times weekly should produce 4-8 oz of dark skimmate per tanks up to 100 gall (ballpark)> As of this current set-up, it looks like I'm going to be emptying it once a day. Is this correct, too much or too little? <sounds very good!> Some strange dudes have started emerging from a large chuck of LR. About 55 of them ranging in size from 1/2" to about 2.5". They are translucent light-medium brown and resemble small anemones with a trunk flowering out to a ring of tentacles of the same color, make-up and translucency as the trunk. These I have observed catch food (mainly Mysis shrimp) and draw it into the trunk for digestion I don't know if I've provided enough info, but any thoughts on what they might be?  <many wonderful anemones/inverts to discover.. do check that it is not an Aiptasia species (glass anemones)... they proliferate to plague levels when fed regularly. If not Aiptasia, do enjoy... likely safe> What a strange new world. Anyway, you totally rock, and my red serpent star sends it's love and appreciation. <do shake all of its arms for me in thanks> Thanks a zillion. -Pat <kindly, Anthony>

Re: Skimmer Question continued Anthony, As I finished writing and reporting various degrees of success, I return to observe my skimmer and now I get no foam whatsoever rising up the cone in the center of the cup.  <no worries... part of the early learning curve with a new model skimmer... could also be change in barometric pressure, or you just fed the tank or otherwise had your hands in the display (which breaks the proteinaceous film at surface and disrupts skimming... don't puts too much in the tank... bad for many such reasons> I adjust the feed flow valve slowly from all to nothing and back to all, and all that happens is that more, then less, then more water is running down the return tubes, but still NOTHING rising up the foam spout. Why all of the sudden, when it was working so well. AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!?!?!?!?! -Pat <skimmers are sensitive... and good and bad things should happen slow with them... once you find an adjustment that produces dark skimmate.. resist changing it and ride out the weak skimming cycles (6-12 hours before adjusting again). You cannot make frequent adjustments and hope to stay sane or have it work <smile> Anthony>

When to turn on skimmer I was wondering if you can help me, I have just setup my 110 marine about 2 weeks ago, with an ecosystem sump filter--I just added some Caulerpa, I have 60 lbs live rock, 60lbs live sand and 2 blue damsels cycling the tank. At what point do I turn on my skimmer? <I would fire it up as soon as the Caulerpa gets a foothold and begins to grow.> I know ecosystem says that a skimmer is not necessary with there filter, but I figured it couldn't hurt. <Good idea.> So I got the Prism skimmer. (is this Skimmer any good?) I know it's not the best out there, but since ecosystem said I really didn't need one I figured I would save a little money and get one that is adequate. <Not a good idea.> Should I invest in a better skimmer later down the line? <Red Sea claims these skimmers are good for up to 100 gallons, so even using their numbers, your skimmer is too small. Personally, I would not use it on anything over 35 gallons. It is a competent little skimmer, but their are better choices on the market for your size tank.> Thanks, for your help. Frank <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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