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FAQs about Skimmer Operation/Maintenance 3

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

Small Prizm Skimmer

Turboflotor1000 I have the Turboflotor1000 for my 75gal reef tank. It is placed in a 30gal sump. The rio2100 it came with is used to just aerate the water in the skimmer. What pump brand, size, and model do you suggest to pump water into the skimmer and what size tubing to attach the pump to the water intake on the T1000? Thanks <small maxi-jet or Rio fountain pumps are commonly used for this application. Some experimentation will be necessary for your specific tank. Kindly, Anthony>

Re: Skimmer Question Anthony, A fine good morning from your easily confused friend in CT.  <and a good afternoon to you from your generally manic friend in PA> Well, I just my I am waiting for the mail as my protein skimmer is due to arrive today. (I know, it's about &!@# time!) I ordered a T-1000 after reading your FAQs, you swell people seemed to approve every time one of us knuckleheads asked about one. Since then, I have heard from 2 T-1000 owners that it is gravity fed, and adjusting the flow can be a nightmare.  <specifically, the instructions leave something to be desired... but admittedly, most skimmers are quite tricky at first to adjust to your specific system... but once tweaked, it is smooth sailing if you are consistent and diligent with general aquarium husbandry> I intend to sit this in my new sump area, a 50gal Tupperware tub with as of yet nothing in it but water. My question is, am I required to "T" off the overflow tube for a gravity feed? Or can I just buy another submersible pump and feed it that way?  <the latter is a very popular and effective solution... a small maxi-jet PH or the like will be fine> If I can use a pump, which size Rio would you recommend?  <hmmm... I'd have to double check... but the consensus is one of the smaller fountain pumps. More is not better in this case. I'm a dedicated Tunze skimmer aquarist personally. They are expensive but idiot-proof <wink>...just my style> And, can I pump water from the sump AND return it to the sump, provided that I chamber off a return area where the pump sits to return water to the tank? <yes... and more specifically, it is helpful to have a dam/reservoir to act as a skimmer chamber that all unrestricted overflow water falls into... in here you will place the skimmer and pump... and even return water back in before it overflows into the sump proper> Now, I am slowly converting to reef. My sump is downstream from my wet-dry, which I will slowly be phasing out,  <excellent> or filling it with mechanical media.  <excellent only if serviced frequently...weekly or more> I have in the past month added the sump area, 25lbs of BEAUTIFUL cured live Fiji rock, 25 more lbs of cured live rock, and as of today the skimmer. (obviously, the rock comes in in small quantities as do my paychecks)  <as do all of ours <G>> In talking to the only two reputable reef stores around, I get 2 different opinions on the sump. On guy says, fill it up with live rock and it will be your filter. He then takes me to his store basement where he has these two swimming pool size bins full of rock that filter all of the water in his store. Very cool.  <Hmmmm... better for a commercial set up with massive water flow. Can collect detritus and is not necessary for the light bio-load of most reef tanks that are already rock-scaped> Then, the next guy says..."Why the hell would you fill the sump with rock when you can put it in your tank and enjoy it?" <I think I like this guy> Well, it goes without saying that I am first going to fill the tank, but it is my understanding from your website that additionally, you should fill your sump and go with the bigger IS better theory.  <generally true... but there is a point of diminishing returns> (despite what women will tell you) <hehe... thank goodness. Because I have a joke that ends with the phrase "...like a tic-tac." that is apropos...Ha!> WWM is also filled with varying sump theories and opinions.  <yes...many ways to conduct successfully, and partly dependant on your needs. A heavy fish population may indeed benefit by extra rock, but a lighter system would be better served with money spent on a calcium reactor or ozonizer and controller, for example with limited resources> If you were me, what would you put in this sump besides the skimmer?  <A hydroponics system for growing "medicinal" plants...hehe. Actually, I prefer an empty sump acting as a settling chamber and leave my rock upstream in display and in refugia> And, if I throw my old coral pieces in there as they are replaced by rock in the tank, will they eventually become live rock too?  <yes... but will take some time and un-colonized they run the risk of being algae magnets if you do not bury them deep in the rockwork and/or skim aggressively> Got to go, as my typing hand is cramping as bad as my brain. Have a sparkling day and as always, thanks for your very valuable time.-Pat <with pleasure, Anthony>

Skimmer Question I'm using a Aqua Medic TF1000 for my 100G aquarium. It's located in my 40G Rubbermaid sump. Tank inhabitants are puffers and triggers, so the bio load is definitely there. The skimming performance of the TF is okay, but I honestly expected a bit more.  <yes a good skimmer, but notoriously tricky/sensitive to adjust. I'm just lazy enough <wink> that I invest in a Euroreef or Tunze...just a personal preference> I got very little air mixed in with my water, so I recently added a small air pump to "force" in air through the tube. I get much better foam now and more skimmate. <yes... good idea> I've been reading on your site and Anthony often refers to how the protein skimmer should produce 4oz. or more each day from a heavily loaded system. My TF does produce skimmate, but not 4 oz a day. <just an average number for typically overstocked/overfed tanks or in this case...yes, for your tank with messy feeding predatory fishes> I could tweak the settings to get more skimmate, but that would require me to force the water line up about 2" into the collection cup... beyond what manufacturer recommends. <no matter... so long as the quality of the skimmate isn't thinned> I was thinking that keeping the water level lower in the collection cup's tube would be better because there is considerably more surface area (wider bottom) for the "reaction" to occur than if it were occurring up the narrowing tube. Does this make sense? <not accurate though my friend... the goal is to channel/narrow proteinaceous matter. The best homemade skimmers have very tall necks to facilitate the formation of dry/dark foam... anything you can do to get this is fine> So should I basically follow manufacturers settings recommendations and settle for the 1/2" of skimmate produced or tweak to get more skimmate? <I'm sure that you can do much better> I purchased the TF1000 after reading through the articles and FAQs on this site, but it seems as if the current skimmer of choice is the EV120. Is this that much better of a skimmer? I don't mind spending the $$$ if it's worth the difference in efficiency over the TF1000. <do try to improve your TF first... may work better with help. The path/delivery of water is also quite critical. Water drawn from a reservoir of directly overflowing water is best. Adding a second pump on the influent is a popular modification> I appreciate your thoughts. <very welcome. Kindly, Anthony>

Skimmers I have a Berlin reef system with LR and protein skimmer. If say, a skimmer stops working, how long can I reasonably expect my water quality to be within safe parameters? <Hard to quantify. Your water quality will begin to degrade immediately, as all the crud that is usually being removed, is staying in the water. I guess your question is, when will this degradation become critical. Probably over the course of several weeks to months, with first noticing increases in nuisance algae, slower growth, poor polyp extension, etc. Basically, your corals and fish will begin to tell you if you know what to look for. -Steven Pro>

Protein Skimmers... Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro taking his turn answering questions this morning.> I have a 125 gallon all-glass that was originally a freshwater tank. As such, it was not reef ready and has no sump. I am currently running a Fluval 404 and undergravel filtration, along with so far about 30 lbs of live rock (although this will continuously be increasing as more funds become available). <Always be absolutely positive you are adding fully cured liverock. You will probably only be able to get this from your LFS. All other sources should be allowed to recur in a separate vessel.> I do not have room on the back of the tank for any of the hang-on models of protein skimmers, save the Prizm that's for smaller tanks. Can I hook the outflow of the Fluval into the inflow of a Berlin Turbo, then have the outflow of the Berlin feed back to the tank? <The Fluval will not be able to run the Berlin properly, not enough pressure. If you can hang the Berlin off of the tank, just use the pump it comes with.> Would there be too much pressure in the skimmer? <Quite the opposite, see above.> What do you suggest? <Do you intend to place this skimmer in your stand and have the Fluval pump down to it and then plumb the returns off of the skimmer back up to the tank? If that is so, stop all plans as this will drain your tank in short order.> Many thanks, Robert A. Nardizzi <I hope I have been helpful. -Steven Pro>

Cyanobacteria and Poor Skimmer Performance <Greetings... Anthony Calfo in your service> I have an 85 gallon salt water tank with a Remora Pro skimmer and an undergravel filter covered with crushed coral. Water passes through the filter, exits through three holes drilled in the bottom of the tank, through a 15W UV light and is pumped back into the tank by a Little Giant. The lighting is a 47" JBJ "Formosa", which uses two Mitsubishi/Osram 6500K Daylight compacts (36 W each) and two Osram DULUXL 7100K Blue (36 W each) compacts. There are also two powerheads for circulation. Livestock: 2 clown fish, 1 large yellow tang, 1 med blue tang, 1 blenny and 1 shrimp; 6 pieces of live rock, 1 devil's hand coral, 1 brain coral, 1 anemone, some polyps and a torch coral. The tank worked fine for about two years. But for the past several months, Cyanobacteria is covering everything and I can't get rid of it!  <has nothing to do with lighting...everything to do with nutrient export processes (skimmers, water changes, etc)> I scrape it off the surfaces, vacuum and change 10 gals every other week, sometimes every week. The replacement water is high quality RO. Nitrate tests indicate a level of 10-20. Salinity 24. <all fine> I feed the fish every other day with a pea sized piece of frozen food and a 1 x 2" square of dried algae. The skimmer cup needs to be emptied about every week and a half.  <whoa! awful skimmer performance... should be collecting daily...4-8 oz on a tank this size. What you have is algae food in dissolved organics that have accumulated from poor skimmer performance> Notwithstanding the skimmer, I can see bits of a "slick" floating on the surface and getting pushed around. <ughhh!> The guy at the local fish store says the undergravel filter has super saturated the system with nutrients. He says the only way to solve the problem is to plug up the holes in the bottom of the tank, remove the undergravel filter and replace it with live sand to complement the live rock already there. <an interesting idea...but has nothing to do with your algae problem> Changing the setup would be very problematic. To plug up the holes in the bottom of the tank I would have to empty out all the water and store the fish. This would be extremely difficult. The tank is set up ("unofficially") in an office building. I carry the RO water from home in 5 gal. jugs past a security guard. Besides the tank, I have a 15 gal plastic trash can in my office for mixing salt water. I don't know what I would do with the livestock. There's no hospital tank. Do you have any suggestions on solving the Cyanobacteria problem without changing the set up? Do you agree that I need to remove the undergravel filter? If so, how would I do it? Many thanks for your assistance. <the problem is easily cured... tweak the skimmer or add a second/better model. Daily skimming for 2-3 weeks will eradicate the algae without you lifting a finger. Stop stirring it please, it spreads it. Straight siphoning is fine. You do not need to remove the UG yet unless you are ready to tackle the nitrate issue, in which case you will need more than 3" of sugar fine sand in a static bed. Kindly, Anthony>

Protein skimmer Hello Mr. Fenner,  <Greetings Andrew... friend/author Anthony Calfo in your service> I am pleased to "meet" you. First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Andrew Robertson, I am 15 years old and a complete fish/reef fanatic. Now to the point. I was wondering exactly how much waste material should be present in the collection cup.  <quite variable per system and the bio-load put upon it, but 4-oz per 50-75 gallon tank daily would be a reasonable minimum for an average marine aquarium> I used to barely have any until I found a clog in the venturi line. But even after that there is not that much(~1").  <if you have fish in this tank that are fed daily, there really should be a lot more> And to add to that I also had an algae problem until just recently.  <indeed...the dissolved organics accumulate when the skimmer doesn't perform well and often end up feeding algae> Most is gone but some still remains (Cyanobacteria). The hair algae is gone thanks to a diligent little banded goby. Just a small suggestion here. I also have a few other questions. I would like to purchase some OceanRider seahorses at some point and I needed to know if it would be possible to keep a mated pair in an eclipse and please give me a few pointers on caring for them if possible.  <really one of the most challenging marine species to keep... please do a lot of research before considering it seriously. Make sure that you can provide a good source of live supplemental food by establishing a fish-less refugium in addition to the display tank first. Establishing a bed of seagrass in the main display first would be a great idea too. Honestly, I'm inclined to advice most aquarists against keeping this species> But besides the algae everything else has been extremely successful (coral and fish sexual reproduction).  <excellent! Anthony>

Euroreef 6/2 I did buy a Euroreef skimmer with a noisy Sedra 5000 pump, want to upgrade to the best pump on the market for my skimmer. Please advise. <The first thing I would do is contact customer service at Euro-Reef. You can find some contact info on their webpage at http://www.euro-reef.com/> Thanks Tom <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Protein Skimmer Bob, <Steven Pro here answering a few queries this morning.> I read a couple of article concerning the unwanted Aiptasia and purchased to Mexican peppermint shrimp. I never seen them eat the Aiptasia, but in a matter of eight days I only have (2) when before I had approx. 20. Do the peppermint shrimp only eat at night? I hardly seem them during the day. <They do tend to hide a lot. Glad to see they are working for you.> I also have a question about green algae and protein skimming. I have a Red Sea Fish Pharm protein skimmer, it hangs inside of the tank using the wood block. If you know what I mean. <I know the type you are speaking of, but not the exact model (size).> I did as you said about leaving the lights on longer(12 hrs.) and a lot of my algae problem went away. I still get some algae on the substrate and I am thinking maybe my protein skimmer is inefficient. I could probably get a lawnmower blenny. Would a better protein skimmer take the rest of the algae? My LFS has a similar setup as I do however, they have a Godzilla looking protein skimmer and I don't. <Does you skimmer fill its collection cup several times weekly with skimmate the color of tea to coffee? If not, you may need to try a couple of things. Clean or replace your airstones more frequently, get a larger air pump, or replace the skimmer. I like counter-current, air-driven models. They can be run efficiently, but require more attention (daily). Getting your skimmer to perform better or getting a better performing skimmer will definitely help with nutrient export and should help reduce unwanted algae. -Steven Pro>

Skimmer <Hello. My name is Steven Pro. Anthony Calfo and I are helping Bob out for awhile answering some of the daily questions.> I just got a G2 skimmer for my 180 gallon mix SPS and soft coral and was wondering if this is big enough of a unit. <My catalog rates the G2 up to 200 gallons.> I had a Turboflotor before. Also, its been in my system for two days and no skimmate yet, is this normal for a new unit. <I would not say normal. If this persists for a few more days, something is not right. Are you getting an accumulation in the neck of the skimmer?> Also what is the difference between the G2 and the Euroreef models, because they look alike? <My understanding is that Euro-Reef was subcontracting parts out to another company. That company decided to make their own skimmers from the Euro-Reef design and call them the G-Series. You can read Euro-Reef's statement here http://www.euro-reef.com/G-Series.htm> Thanks Bob. <You are welcome and happy skimming. -Steven Pro>

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

Protein Skimmer Hook-up Hello Again, I am helping a friend get her 90G Acrylic (I believe Acrylium is the manufacture) tank setup properly after a spur of the moment purchase. The tank includes a built-in overflow that drains into a pre-filter, bio-balls and than sump. I am looking at adding an Aqua Medic Turboflotor 1000 protein skimmer if it will work in this system. I have been trying to read-up on this system prior to purchasing it but have been unable to determine if it will work properly with this setup. In my reading I found that this skimmer is to be hooked directly to the overflow box. Is this correct or can you draw water from the sump into the skimmer? <Either, the latter requiring an additional pump.> If you draw the water from the overflow how do you get it back to the bio material in this kind of tank. <The water that is expelled from the skimmer maybe diverted to the bioballs depending on the dimensions or you could just place it in the sump with the added pump.> Thanks for you help again. Stacey Hippen <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Carbon Dioxide Would it help to run a line from the air input of a venturi protein skimmer to outside air to lower carbon dioxide. RGibson <Yes, or to place your air pump outside to deliver fresh air from outside to your tank. -Steven Pro>

Turboflotor Lubrication? Gentlemen, <Okay> I have a problem with my 3 month old Aqua Medic Turboflotor 1000 skimmer (Aqua Bee pump). The problem with its performance is that it produces too much water flow and not enough air. The level in the collection cup cannot be controlled (the two dials are set at max flow out of it) and as a result too much wet skimmate.  <Mmm, something is either caught in the Venturi (a grain of sand will even be enough) or else there is an adjustment that is way off...> Saturday it filled the collection cup to the top in just a few hours. What I have figured out after cleaning the pump several times without any improvement,  and listening to the irregular air flow on the suction, that the rotation of the impeller/needle wheel is hampered. I experimented by putting Vaseline (I know, probably a contaminant)  <Not a big deal> around the impeller spindle and magnet. It returned to original performance for only a day. Is there another (safer) lubricant that I can use?  <Yes, silicone lubricant, like that used for pump gaskets, O-rings, underwater camera gear.> Is the impeller/magnet failed just after 3 months? <Yes... some brands are worse than others. Send this pump back through the supply chain, to the manufacturer... it should be warranted for a year (has to be in the U.S.)> I notice sometimes in other pumps that the magnet coating leaks, magnet corrodes, and diameter increases hampering rotation. Is this the problem? <Not the magnet corroding or a coating leaking... more likely a loss of integrity in the spindle/shaft or the fitting at either end in the volute... allowing wobbling of a sort...> Until I figure it out I am without a skimmer (:( <Go on the chatforums and ask what other people would use for a better pump here: Ours: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/> Thanks again for all your help and wisdom. David <Let us know what turns out please. Bob Fenner>

Aqua-C Skimmer Troubles II Yes is hard to believe this part sticks. It is so hard to remove my wife could not do it . The gasket on the top is not the same as the one on the bottom of collection cup. Jason Kim has used the wrong gasket on the top. RGibson <Aqua-C has a reputation for incredible customer service. I would contact them again concerning your problem for their support and assistance. -Steven Pro>

Help! Protein Skimmer Bob, As a gift, I recently (about 3 weeks ago) got a 40 gal SeaClear (I think) with the built-in wet/dry and chambers in the back for mechanical filtration, the heater and a chamber for the protein skimmer, along with the sump area. The tank is in the middle of cycling right now, so I trying to get some reliable info on a skimmer. I plan on having only a few fish, mostly live rock and maybe some corals. I was told (by LFS) not to bother with the Sea Clone unit that fits in to the chamber in the back, I won't be happy with it. <Agreed> I should look at a Prizm or Berlin. The Sea Clone was around $80 and the Prizm about $120. The cost isn't a big factor. I was wondering if there I can install any in-sump model into that space (approx. 5x5 or so), or should I go with a HO unit? With the HO, I will have to custom cut my canopy to make room? Any suggestions? Thanks in advance, Jeff <Well-written... and sorry to state, though I consider myself good friends with the four partners who own/operate SeaClear, their built-in filtration units stink... they're almost non-functional, not trustworthy, and a pain in the keester to try to clean, work on... If it's not too late, trade the tank/system back in for just one of their tanks... and/or look into either a hang on skimmer et al., or better, look into (see the mass of marine aquarium filtration articles and FAQs stored here on our site starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm an under tank sump/refugium arrangement. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

RE: Help! Protein Skimmer Bob, Man, thanks for the quick response! I was afraid you were going to say something like that. Unfortunately, I can't return the tank (it's already setup & cycling). <Rats!> I figured that I could use this small tank as a learning experience (tank was free), and once I get more familiar with everything, and find space, I would go for a larger tank with a separate sump setup. <Hard to beat free> Any issues or problems I run into with this one will be considered a "learning experience" and valuable knowledge gained for future use. <A wise stance> I've heard/read about people removing the bio media for the wet/dry and using it as a sump or refugium. Would using this approach make any improvements? <Not much here... the shape, size, accessibility of the "compartments" behind/part of these system tanks really makes for some operational difficulties... As previously stated, I would augment what is there, treat the area behind the tank ostensibly as dead space, build real filtration in another space/area> Is there a benefit to having a HO skimmer over a sump model, such as a Berlin Turbo? <Yes... real benefits to having "real" skimming. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm Bob Fenner> Jeff

Foods and skimmer performance Gentlemen of the WWM Crew: I have a 165gal tank with approx 100lbs of live rock. A 8" Sohal Tang, 6" Harlequin tusk, 5" Picasso trigger, and a 4" Clown trigger. I am running an ETSS Evolution 750 skimmer with an Iwaki 40rlt pump but can not seem to get the dark coffee skimmate that I thought I should.  <that overpriced skimmer doesn't know it's supposed to be working harder :)> I have read the FAQs and other chat forums and a possible reason that the skimmer performance is not what I thought it should be is because of the foods that I feed. It has been stated that oily foods can decrease the skimmer performance. Is this possible? <yes...partly true. But you have a high fish load and a heavy feeding load... you should be able to easily get daily dark skimmate> I feed Mysis shrimp and silversides in the AM and feed a cube of Bob's mash from CMA (shrimp, clams, mussels) in the PM. Are these too oily for the skimmer?  <only the silversides and not to the extent that they would make a skimmer fail. Still... experiment by leaving this out for a week> Or is the too oily theory a crutch for a bad skimmer? <not a bad skimmer... just an overpriced one that has not been adjusted or installed properly. All sump model skimmers should draw water directly from the overflow or from a special skimmer box with a fixed/standing overflow (a well of collected surface water that is always at the same level... kind of a box within the sump). If the skimmer is fed by a pump sitting in the open sump with a turbulent and fluctuating water level... there is a huge part of your problem>  One of the other posts on various forums mentioned a product called Foamex to help alleviate this problem. Any experience with this product or is it just a snake "oil" to spend money on. <"colloids" would be more like it. Actually... such a product can be useful to test a skimmers performance in new seawater, but you don't need it> Thank you again for any help you might be able to give. Steve Morvay <best regards, Anthony>

Skimmers, when is enough - enough! Hello again, you have answered my questions before and I thank you. Also for the great site. It is habit forming. Just one quick question, is it possible to have a skimmer that is too big or efficient for a tank? <Yes> If it is what are the drawbacks? <Skimmers remove both good and bad things. IMO, skimmers are far more valuable by removing the bad and whatever good things they remove are outweighed by their positive aspects. Generally, if you follow the manufacturer's ratings you will never even come close to over skimming. Many manufacturers overstate their skimmers performance and capacity. Stick to a good brand and its ratings and you should be fine.> OK, that was two questions... <That is ok. They were good, valuable questions that I am sure others will like to read. -Steven Pro>

Ozone/skimmer question Hello again, A week ago, I asked about in-tank model protein skimmers. I picked up a Tunze 3115. <Very nice. Same thing I have.> It has a port for ozone. I happen to have a ozone pump from a water purification system. It is an APOLLO model M5, 5watt. I do not have any other information on it. I have hooked it up with a timer and have it going on every other day for 4 hours during the night (pump quite noisy). Without the cost of expensive monitors do you think this is OK. <No, I think it is dangerous to dose ozone unmonitored.> Too much or too little? <No way of telling without an ORP tester/controller.> The tank setup is, 55 gallon, Tunze 3115 skimmer, fluidized bed filter, canister for chemical media, UV light, (4) 65watt power compact 50/50 smart bulbs and (3) power heads for circulation & lots of rock. If all goes well next step is coral. <You may want to consider removing the fluidized bed filter is you have a sufficient amount of liverock.> I have picked up some great tips from your site. Many thanks for all your help. It is greatly appreciated. John <Good luck to you. -Steven Pro>

Red Sea Berlin Skimmer Hi, how are you? <very well, thank you!> My problem is that I can't make my Red Sea Berlin work properly.  <this brand of skimmer has some notorious challenges... I prefer other brands and styles myself like Aqua C and Euroreef> Is running in my sump for 13 days now. I fallowed everything that the instruction and customer support told me to do: pump magdrive-7 ok, straight pipe 8 in., 1-4 in. of water over the pump... For the days 6 to 9 it was looking good.. there was a little something coming up that had left dirt on the "tube" where the foam suppose to go up to the c-cup. But since that I've had some tap water to keep my level of water normal, everything stopped (I don't think that was the source of the problem because know the level is back as it were then). Know from the day 9 to 13 there is absolutely nothing that's coming up, even if I'm turning the valve for the maximum flow.  <A good skimmer should be able to produce DAILY dark skimmate especially on a young otherwise unskimmed tank> The break in period is only like 2 days or so, not 13 days?  <absolutely... "break in" periods are excuses for poorly designed skimmers. There is no such thing as a break in period. All skimmers have a slight learning curve while you learn to make any adjustments if necessary, but home free after that!> What's happening, I'm just so tired to go in my sump room every 15 min. to go trying to adjust it, and to see that absolutely nothing is working.. Do you have a list of troubleshooting that would help me?  <please read through our skimmer FAQ sections on wetwebmedia.com You may be very disappointed by what you read about this skimmer from many folks like you writing in> I've wrote 4 times, emails to Red Sea customer support, about their not really helping me very much so I hope you can. Charles  <I hate to say it my friend... but I suspect that you need a better skimmer. And I say this without any bias. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Skimmers: Amiracle SR150 and Turboflotor 1000 Hello Again, <<And hello to you.>> I have recently purchased an Amiracle SR150 W/D filter and an Aqua Medics Turboflotor 1000 protein skimmer. Unfortunately the skimmer does not quite fit into the sump. I have read that the skimmer must be placed in the sump to function. Would the skimmer work properly if I were to put the reaction chamber in the sump and the Rio 2100 on the outside? I envision drilling 2 holes and adding a bulkhead to each. I would use these bulkheads to make the connection between the reaction chamber and pump. I am a little concerned that lengthening the connection pipes may affect the function of the unit.  <<Hmmm... I'm not sure. By the sound of your description, I think that functionally, this will work just fine. As to whether or not this will affect the skimming of the TF1000, I just don't know. You might want to ask Aqua Medic this question.>> The second question pertains to the Amiracle overflow box connection to the Turboflotor 1000. It appears that there will not be enough room to add a second pre-filter for the skimmer drain. The pre-filter box is divided in half. On the side the water is siphon to from the skimmer box there is a hole in the bottom for manufacturing purposes. Could I add a second foam filter on that side that would feed the skimmer or will reduce the water flow to the other side too much? Any other suggestions for making this hookup would be appreciated.  <<Hmmm... not sure I follow. I wouldn't worry to much about pre-filtering a skimmer, you really want some of the things that would get caught by a prefilter to end up in the skimmer. You would have to clean the skimmer pump more often, but you'd probably get better skimming without the prefilter.>> Lastly, I have a 12" Snowflake eel. I am concerned that the eel is going to venture into the skimmer box and work his way into the pre-filter box via the siphon tube. Any suggestions on preventing this from happening?  <<A valid concern. I would perhaps try fiberglass bug screen, although this will need to be swapped-out and cleaned pretty regularly.>>  Stacey Hippen <<Cheers, J -- >>

Prizm Skimmer Hi Bob, I have a 55 gallon reef system (with sump) that has been working well for the past year and a half. I recently moved and when I did all of my equipment and livestock survived the move except for my Prizm Skimmer. The skimmer when re-attached would fill the receptacle with water in about 10 minutes. In addition, the main tank would fill with small air bubbles. Turning down the flow rate was not successful and I then took the skimmer apart and cleaned everything. I then replaced all of the tubing and the problem still persists. Any possible solutions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Brion Pechin <Brion... I cannot believe the device ever worked in the first place...seriously. Most every aquarist has tremendous difficulty getting these units to produce daily dark skimmate if even at all! Skimmate needs to be collected DAILY. I'd strongly suggest that you look into a skimmer upgrade. Many great brands to be had... an you generally will get what you pay for. If you find an Aqua C, Euroreef or CPR that you like... you likely will be very satisfied. A good skimmer is the single most important device for marine aquaria IMO. Best regards, Anthony>

Skimmer/Circulation Questions Good Afternoon, May I borrow some of your precious time for a couple of questions? <"Precious time" wow! If I were not answering questions now, I would probably be watching the local news telling me that it is still going to be incredibly hot today.> I have a 75G corner aquarium (pentagon shaped) and have taken the my first steps into reef keeping. I am in the process of dismantling my wet/dry (AquaClear 150 series) filter by removing the bio-balls and using the box as an overpriced sump. It does have an integrated skimmer that has been somewhat efficient which leads me to my first question. I purchased an AquaC EV-120 skimmer to put in the sump and was wondering whether I should maintain the other skimmer as well or is my skimmate return not worth the extra heat/electricity of running the additional pump? <I would let both run for the time being. If the integrated one does not remove anything after a month or so, then I would remove.> The tank is drilled for the standard overflow and return. I was using a RIO 2100 with the W/D for the return and am now considering changing the pump to a Mag 7 to increase circulation. I have two Maxi-Jet 900 PH in the tank to boost water movement and it still seems to not be adequate as there are some dead spots in the tank. Since the W/D is no longer serving as a biological filter can I increase the velocity of the pump significantly or will I risk creating a noisy overflow as it attempts to keep up with the return? <It may become noisy. The only way to know for sure is to hook up the new pump and see. Even then a Durso-style standpipe may help increase flow while reducing noise.> I have one another question as it relates to the overflow. Is it in my best interest to keep the prefilters on the overflow pipe. <Yes, if rinsed regularly. Daily would be best.> It is difficult to access those filters, to rinse, any more than once a week during my water change. I will keep some filter pad in the sump to catch detritus/waste that slips by the skimmer. I believe I have used up my questions. Thank you very much for your time. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Glue Hello there.  <<Greetings...>>  I need to glue together a piece of plastic that broke off of my protein skimmer which sits in my sump. Could you please tell me what kind of glue I can use that will not be toxic to my reef water?  <<Well, I would repair it with silicone adhesive, the type used for putting fish tanks together. You would still need to dry off the skimmer and remove from the system while the silicone cures.>>  Thanks for your time and thank you for having such an informative website. I'd like to give a shout out to my peep, Randy, who reads this site all the time and has taught me so much about reef tanks!  <<so be it.>>  Bryan <<Cheers, J -- >>

Continuously injecting ozone Thanks for the previous responses. I have a question now about injecting ozone into my skimmer. I have a fairly large Beckett skimmer (40"), that has a lot of swirling/agitation/etc, so the ozone should all be worked off. <Not necessarily.> Right now its connected to an ORP controller for 350mV. There is carbon in a chamber post skimmer, so that helps as well. <These two do more than help, they work very hard to ensure that no residual ozone makes its way into your tank.> I'd like to continuously inject ozone into the skimmer chamber, rather than off/on which it is doing now. Even if the ORP is at 350 right now, is it feasible/safe to constantly inject a low amount of ozone into the skimmer (like 60-75mg)? <No> Will this raise the ORP too high? <Yes, and then burn/melt/oxidize your fish.> How can you consistently shoot ozone into a system when the ORP is already high? <Not a good idea.> Is my water quality/ORP staying high which is a good thing? <Yes> and injecting more just isn't worth it? <Isn't worth the risk.> Thanks, Jim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Noisy Prizm Skimmer Bob, I recently purchased a Prizm skimmer to be used on a 12 gallon fish tank in my bedroom. The noise that this "compact" skimmer emits is anything but compact! It makes it difficult to watch TV. in my bedroom at night and darn near impossible to get a good nights rest. Along with the skimmer, I have an Eheim Liberty 150 filter with supposedly 3 stage filtration (mechanical, chemical, and biological). Would it be possible/effective to run the skimmer on 12 hour shifts? <You could elect to do this. If you do, please plug your skimmer into a timer device, so that you do not have to keep manually plugging and unplugging (and forgetting to plug it back in). Use the simple timers they sell at hardware stores for cycling lights on and off while you are away on vacation.> (Allowing me quiet time at night and a good nights sleep). Would running the skimmer only twelve hours a day have a negative impact on my aquarium? <Yes, but probably minor.> Please explain any effects. Very truly yours, Sleepless in Covina <Have a nice night, tonight. -Steven Pro>

Skimmer Hi, how are you? <Just fine today.> I bought a Red Sea Berlin skimmer that I've just installed in my sump two days ago. Since I've put it in, it doesn't skim anything at all. Even if I open the switch for the maximum air flow, there is absolutely nothing that is going to the level of the collection cup. I'm running the skimmer with a Mag-Drive 700 gph pump, that is supposed to be good enough. I was wondering if it was possible that there is just nothing to skim in my tank. <No, it may just take a few more days for the skimmer to break in and begin to work. If after one week, you still have nothing, I would contact customer support at Red Sea.> I only have a 60 gal. algae free, with 5 little damsels for the moment and the tank is running for 9 months now. Anyways, I hope you will have an answer to my question. I was also wandering if you have a link to a DIY silencer for my overflow box. <Search for Durso style overflows.> Thanks, Charles <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Frozen Food & Skimming Dear WWM Crew, Hope everyone had a good holiday. I have a question about some frozen foods I had ordered. I decided to stock up on some frozen foods from an online retailer and everything had arrived defrosted. Probably not a good idea to order in 95 degree heat. The Formula One, Two, Spirulina and Angel Formulas were still cool, but they were almost like soup. The clams and squid were pretty much thawed as well. The dry ice was completely evaporated also. I have re-froze everything and it looks fine but I called two pet shops and they both told me to dump it. So, valuing your advice more I'm asking: Can this food be salvaged or should I dump it? <Dump it my friend.> One more question if you would. I started using a Polyfilter about a month ago, and ever since my skimmers produce very little skimmate now. Would I be better off not using the Polyfilter and let the skimmers go to work? <This maybe unrelated. Do try cleaning your skimmer and its pump thoroughly, including a run in a hot water and vinegar bath to remove deposits. This usually vastly improves performance on skimmers that have been running for over six months.> The Polyfilter is not necessary so I'm wondering if it would be better to let the skimmers take the crud out before it has a chance to break down. Thanks in advance, Mike <Have a nice evening. -Steven Pro>

Protein Skimmer Just wanted to express my gratitude to everyone at wetwebmedia.com that has helped me to get my tank up and running. After my last question about sumps, I took my system down and replaced the 10 gallon wet-dry with a 30g sump with refugium. Since this change, my tank has never looked better and the Cyano bloom is gone! <Congratulations!> I'm sure with the addition of the new protein skimmer next week, my residents will be in a much better environment for both their and my enjoyment. <Yes> Once again, thanks for all the information and help, you guys maintain a very beneficial service to those of us trying to enjoy this wonderful hobby! <From all of us, you are very welcome. Please tell your fishy friends about us. -Steven Pro>

Carbon Dioxide Would it help to run a line from the air input of a venturi protein skimmer to outside air to lower carbon dioxide. RGibson <Yes, or to place your air pump outside to deliver fresh air from outside to your tank. -Steven Pro>

RE: Protein Skimmer Steven, thank you for the information.  <Anthony Calfo with the follow up> After reading the FAQs on skimmers, I feel much better prepared to purchase a reliable and efficient unit.  <glad to see it used and useful<G>> I will most likely go with the Turboflotor and definitely not the AquaClear after seeing how wet the skimmate was at the LFS (dry foam is preferable, correct?).  <generally drier foam is better> As a result of all this research, I'm also considering moving from a wet-dry to a sump with refugium configuration.  <very fine> I can't fit anything larger than a 10-gallon tank through the doors on my stand, so unless I decide to take my system down, I am trying to work within those limitations. <quite frankly... without an automatic top-off device or you literally being a twice daily slave o evaporation, this will not be possible with a ten gallon sump. In fact, you don't even have a ten gallon sump... the 1st ten gallon acting as a skimmer box (excellent idea!) overflows into the 2nd ten gallon (with refugium) and actually adds volume to the necessary sump size for your 75. And the displacement of water in the 2nd ten gallon by the refugium overflowing into it means that you literally have a 2-5 gallon reservoir. An impossible size. I don't see how this can work my friend without great efforts on your part. You would be much better served by a larger sump> I've worked out a design using 2 10-gallon tanks joined via PVC. I've included a rough schematic of it and was wondering if you thought this was a viable design. As always, your help is greatly appreciated. <the diagram has helped us to help you. Thank you, kindly. Anthony>

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