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FAQs about Skimmer Operation/Maintenance 6

Related FAQs: Best Skimmer Op./Maint. FAQs, Skimmer Op/Maint. 1, Skimmer Op/Maint. 2, Skimmer Op/Maint. 3, Skimmer Op/Maint. 4, Skimmer Op/Maint. 5, Skimmer Op/Maint 7, Skimmer Op/Maint. 8, Skimmer Op/Maint 9Skimmer Op/Maint 10, Skimmer Op/Maint 11, Skimmer Op/Maint 12, Skimmer Op/Maint 13, Skimmer Op/Maint 14, Skimmer Op/Maint 15, Skimmer Op/Maint 16, Skimmer Op/Maint 17, Skimmer Op/Maint 18, Skimmer Op/Maint 19, & Best Skimmer FAQs, Skimmers in General, Best Skimmer Selection FAQs, Skimmer Selection, DIY Skimmers, CPR Skimmers, Deltec Skimmers, ETSS Skimmers, Euro-Reef Skimmers, Prizm Skimmers, SeaClone Skimmers Skimmers for Eclipse Systems, Skimmers for Small SystemsSkilter Skimmers, Tunze Skimmers, Algae Control

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

- Skimmer Questions - Hi. <Hi, JasonC here...> I have a 110 gallon reef tank that has been up and running for a little over a year and seems to be thriving.  I am, however, inclined to replace my skimmer.  Currently I am using the Excalibur in-sump skimmer that is rated for a 150 gallon tank.  The performance of the skimmer seems to be good, but the RIO 1700 that runs it is horrible (very, very noisy - louder than the Gen X pump running my system - and often not restarting unless I pull apart the impeller assembly and reassemble it.   My questions are as follows:  Is there another pump I can replace the RIO with? <Sounds like you just need to replace the impeller - if you look at the center hole, on the magnet end, I would be willing to bet that the round hole is no longer round but oval shaped, hence the noise. Perhaps a new Eheim pump would treat you a little better, but then again... all pumps need maintenance.> Am I better off upgrading skimmers? <I would, but that's also because I'm not a fan of the Excalibur skimmers.> I am, unfortunately, limited by a small sump and cannot fit anything with a footprint larger than 9" x 7". <You might want to look at the Aqua-C Urchin models which have a very small footprint.>  What about a HO unit to hang on the sump? <Likewise, the Aqua-C Remora is an excellent hang-on skimmer.> Thank you for your anticipated response. Michael Jacobs <Cheers, J -- >

Skimmer and Copper Med Question Hi Bob, Questions are: If I use a skimmer on a tank running copper can it be used for a reef tank in the future?    <Yes> If so, are there any steps I need to take to "prep" the skimmer & cleanse it of copper for use on a reef tank. <Really just a scrub and rinse under the sink> Would this apply to other equipment like overflow boxes, specimen containers etc.   <Yes, all dense plastics (styrene, high-density polyethylene, PVC...) can be exposed, cleaned, used again. What little residual copper remains is of no consequence (there's likely more in your foods, salt mixes...) Bob Fenner> Your help is greatly appreciated. Penny Harkins

Diatoms/lighting/Ca/skimming Hello again!  My thanks for your excellent responses to my previous few questions, you've earned another couple of questions since you have proven so valuable :) Tank: 150g FOWLR, 3 wks old, cycled & stable, pH 8.0.  Had copepods appear last week and am now getting some diatoms (making a few of the upper rocks brown/rust and spotting the substrate to a good deal), seems to be under control though since adding carbon and reducing light to 8 hrs which is almost 2watts/gal. <Get that skimmer in high gear!> Is that a good idea or not, I've read on your site both ways, to increase light and turn it off completely to avoid diatoms or algae problems.   <Everyone has an opinion. I would turn them down, tweak the skimmer, add some detritivores, and slowly increase the lighting over a month or two until you get it were you want it> Also, after I get fish is it ok to stay to a shorter light period --I know the fish don't need that intensity of light all the time. <Most fish don't care. Just don't put them in a dark tank and suddenly turn on 400 watt halides after a month or two!> I have some coralline algae as well which may be starting to fade (bleach). <Probably they are adjusting to the lighting and tank conditions in general. Be sure your alk and CA are correct> Ca is always about 310 (alk between 10-12) and it doesn't want to get any higher.  I've been adding the 2 part liquids and also TurboCalcium every day.  Should I keep adding it or increase the amount I'm adding or could there be some other problem? <You're not that far off the mark. High levels of CA and alk are mutually exclusive. You might consider dropping the TurboCalcium and use Kalkwasser instead. It's very effective. There is a great article about calcium and alkalinity at WetWebMedia. Check on the home page under "new articles."> I am only getting about a cup per day of yellow liquid from my skimmer, but what I've read from your site suggests I should get more, and it should be very dark. <Doesn't sound too bad to me. Tune it up so that it takes less water into the cup. If you are curing rock you should be getting more skimmate than this (and darker)> Is this inefficient skimming or is there just not much to be skimmed at this point? <If you have new live rock there is plenty to be skimmed. If not then there probably isn't a lot to skim. I would play with the skimmer and test it at different water levels (most important aspect of getting a skimmer to run efficiently) and adjust the riser/venturi at various levels> Thanks again for the site and faq's I've learned so much from reading them! <Fantastically great! This is why we exist...to help hobbyists! David Dowless> Mike

Sump / Skimmer question. Bob and team, <Hi there> Thanks so much for the help, now I have a new dilemma concerning the Nautilus TE Skimmer: I have had this oversized champagne bubble maker running for 24 hours and it hasn't made the first bubble of "goop" to be caught in the collection cup.  I needed to put a needle valve on the end of the air intake line because the pump ViaAqua 2600 rated at 570 gal/hr) was getting too much air and was not moving enough water. The separation chamber is completely filled with bubbles and I cannot see into it at all. I have tried the water in the skimmer at different levels with no luck.  There is definitely a good "head" on the top of the water in the skimmer and I cannot understand why I am not seeing any progress. My questions are: 1.  At what height do I keep the water level in the reaction chamber for best performance? <Near the very top of the contact chamber, right below the collection cup... maybe a half inch below.> 2.  What are some possible explanations for this situation and what do I need to do to fix it? <You might not have much to skim/remove.> 3.  At least my Seaclone 150 was functioning, is the fact that the skimmer is pulling water after it passes though the wet/dry rocker affecting this? <Only to a small degree> Definitely frustrated now... Thanks for the help in advance, Mike <... this line of skimmers is not "top rated" by any of us here... You might want to return it, trade it in on a better make. Bob Fenner>

Sump / Skimmer question Great website and thanks for all the excellent information.   I've done a great bit of reading and wish I knew about this site before I purchased vast amount of "junk" recommended by my LFS. My question is in regards to some points made in your FAQ's concerning the necessity of a Protein Skimmer and the proper placement of it before any other filter devices.   My question to you is I have the Kent Marine Bio-Rocker and am planning on purchasing the Nautilus TE Skimmer which from what I understand runs in the sump containing the Bio-Rocker which does not follow your recommended flow. <Actually... there is only a few to several percentage points "difference" (improvement) in an ideal arrangement of gear here... much less than simply doing ones best in keeping the skimmer clean, otherwise maintained. Considering Looking below at the upgrade you're planning... you'll be much better off period>   Do you have any advice on this setup? <Dang the torpedoes... full speed ahead> Do you recommend a different solution?   Currently my little Seaclone 150 hanging off the back isn't cutting the mustard in my 90 gallon FOWLR. <Uh, no> Thank again for all the great help!!    <Thank you for your participation. Bob Fenner> Mike Schneider

Skimmer operation Hello Mr. Anthony <Cheers, Kostas... you are our friend from Greece, yes?> It gets so confusing sometimes, ( all this reef keeping hobby), but when I talk to experts like yourself everything sounds so simple (and logical!!!!!!). <ahhh, yes... that's because we have nothing to sell you :) So our advice is fairly objective <G>> Well just one last question, since I have never seen a Protein skimmer at work where should the right water level be ? <the optimum water level varies by skimmer brand and individual system to some extent. You need to experiment for some days or weeks to fine the right spot... but once you find it, it is smooth sailing from there!> I own a LifeReef protein venturi skimmer. It has it's own pump little giant 3mc. I have a ball valve at the inlet of the pump, and a gate valve at the return line to the sump. <excellent... the gate valve on the outflow is critical!> How should the bubbles be ? <very fine and identical in size (like white sea foam)... not large bubbles mixed in> and what's a right flow rate. <not too many worries about water flow rate... this can be somewhat variable. Maximum air bubbles and control of water level in the skimmer is more important. The pump for the skimmer should be in a well/reservoir with a static water level (like a box in the sump that is filled with raw water from above and over flows into the sump that fluctuates> I know everything changes from one set up to the other but the basics more or less.? I should mention for the last e-mail that I had some brown stuff collected from the skimmer, not much about half a cap over 4 weeks period. ( That should be the amount of algae I had on the rocks anyway. ) <wow... much more should have been collected... metabolites from all of the biotic activity on and IN the rock too> Once again I would like to thank you for your time. Your Help is greatly appreciated. Kostas <You are quite welcome. kind regards, Anthony>

This HOT Skimmer is Even Hotter! Hi Scott, <Hi there!> Just noticed your response to Kerrie reference a HOT skimmer for a 125G tank. I have been corresponding with Jason Kim of Aqua C about higher capacity pumps on the Remora Pro. I don't think he would mind my sharing. Jason said: Using the Mag 5 or Mag 7 will result in a significant performance  upgrade. We actually sell a larger collection cup for our customers who want to make such a change (the standard cup should work fine with the Mag 5, but if you  go with the 7 you will likely need to switch to the larger "high rise" cup). There aren't any downsides with using the larger pump (except for the extra electricity it would use) and the increased pressure should yield a 30% increase in performance with the Mag 5, and as much as 50-75% with the Mag 7.  If your tank is heavily stocked, you should definitely benefit from the increased power. <That's really great news- I was not aware that these skimmers are "upgradeable" in that manner! I think all of our readers who use or are considering the purchase of this excellent skimmer will be very interested in this! Thanks to you and to Jason for providing this information to our readers!>   This may be the answer for Kerrie, although your suggestion for a Tunze 220/3 would be excellent as well. <Absolutely, the upgraded Remora Pro opens up a whole new set of applications for this skimmer!> Happy New Year to the crew! Paul E. Proue St. Joe Beach, FL <And a very happy New Year to you, too Paul! It's this kind of sharing of information that makes WetWebMedia a great site for all hobbyists! Regards, Scott F>

- Skimmer Placement - Crew, <Jason C here...> Happy days to you! <And to you as well.> Tomorrow I'm off to purchase the Aqua C EV-120 for my 75g FO drilled tank with a Marineland Tidepool2 sump with BioWheel. <Ahh... a good mix, have run this exact combination myself.> However, after reading the below article on your site, I'm very confused on skimmer placement.  Your advice basically says, don't put it in the sump after the filtration process. <As I mentioned, I've run this exact setup myself and it will work fine for you. In the ideal world it would be best for the skimmer to get the dirtiest water possible, but then again, if the pump is sucking up chunks, then you're going to spend more time cleaning the pump rather than the skimmer.> However, the Aqua C people (the president) said that in the sump, post-BioWheel filtration, is very acceptable because the two filtration systems actually are performing different processes (which I understand it true). <Indeed.> It would be a MAJOR pain to put this pre-filtration. <In your current arrangement, that is an understatement.> I mean if you put it in a sump, how can you do it otherwise? <Don't worry about it, that skimmer will produce plenty of motor-oil-like substances sitting in the open portion of the sump.> Is there new thinking here on your part. <Not on my part.> What's up? <Nothing... Anthony likes to push for the ideal set up, which sometimes precludes purchases already made, and is sometimes not really practical. We still love him, though... and in your case, putting the skimmer in the sump will work just fine.> Thanks, Steve

Protein Skimmer Good Day crew, <Hi!> I just brought a protein skimmer at the LFS today, I installed it and towards the end of the day two of my fish were dying. I took out the skimmer but had no clue what happened? <I can't imagine the skimmer had anything to do with this problem. I would run a complete set of water tests> Thank You
<No problem! David Dowless>

Skimmer adjustments Hello WWM Crew, Quick question re: skimmer adjustments when you have time.   While reading the Skimmer FAQ's  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimmaintfaqs.htm  I ran across this response, which is one of the items I was searching for.   Re: Tweaking A Biozome Skimmer! I have a ball valve on in output of the pump that goes into the venturi. It is on full blast. I have no valve on the air intake for the venturi and a gate valve on the output of the skimmer. I have it adjusted to take the water column in the skimmer up about 2/3 of the way. Seems like 2/3 was the magic number on the column, but I'm not sure and also seems like you turn the airflow down on the venturi to decrease bubble size, just don't remember. Thanks, Bill Eddings <Ah, good explanations... Do adjust the outflow to about a half inch below the collector cup... Two-thirds up is way too low... You can, but don't think it's necessary, get an all plastic air-valve and put it on the air intake to the venturi... I'd adjust raise the water level.... this will likely reduce the size of the bubbles as the water column is increased... along with the use of seawater (instead of the fresh you may be running in it now, remember?), and the "aging" of the water with livestock in your system. Bob Fenner, who welcomes you back "into the fold"> Now the question: I have a DIY CC Skimmer, the foam tube runs into the collection cup (Tupperware 64 oz clear container) about 4" into the container. Do I ideally want the foam 1/2 inch below the bottom of the cup or 1/2 below the rim of the tube? <You want the "standing water level" (i.e. w/o the skimmer turned on) to be an inch or so below the collector cup. The foam level will vary with conditions in the system, your interaction.> Thanks once again for all the wonderful information and help you guys provide. I hope 2003 is a banner year for you all. Dave <Thank you my friend. I believe it will be. Bob Fenner>
Re: Skimmer adjustments Thank you for the rapid response. I'm sorry for the additional follow up here, but I'm a bit confused now. If you have a skimmer like the one on the faq : http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diyskimmer.htm , your saying the standing water level water pump off, air pump off) should be just below the collection cup? With a skimmer so tall, the skimmer would need to be well into the floor of the house to have the collection cup slightly above your standard store bought tank & stand water level. (this assumes the pump for the skimmer is pulling from the outflow and the inflow is siphoned into the skimmer) <So sorry for the confusion... sheesh, was thinking about types/designs that have "resting" water levels near to the collector cup> I must be completely confused by all this. I've attached pictures of my skimmer so we can both "see" what I'm talking about. Boy the learning never stops. Just when you think you have something figured out, you find out your wrong. :-) Thanks again for being here and sharing your knowledge. Dave <Mmm, not wrong... there are a few general types of skimmers is all... I want to relate that your "foam" level should be about right in being "on average" somewhere in the mid of your collector cup riser... Not too high/low... such that too much spills over, or no collectant at all. Is this clear/er? Bob F, who needs more java>
Re: Skimmer adjustments Whew! Ok, yes much clearer. Thank you. <Ah, good. Be chatting, Bob F>

Skimmer and starfish Hey, hope the surfs up where ever you maybe! <I'm in the Carolinas for the holidays. It's a little cool right now!> I've got 2 questions.  1.) I've got 2 skimmers (SeaClone 100 and red sea Prizm) <If they work, keep using them> working on my 65gal which I am curing 45lbs of live rock in; on week 3.  I'm not sure if its "tweaking" they need, but they don't seem to be pulling much "waste" out of the water.  Some days they do, and other days not.  Just curious if maybe I should take one off or what?   <No way! Leave both of these working and tweak as often as necessary to keep these things in tip-top shape> I've had the SeaClone on my 18gal reef and it fills the cup full of black crud but doesn't really seem to be working at full capacity on my 65g.  Any ideas?   <SeaClones aren't know for their quality> Question 2.) my girlfriend wants me to get a chocolate chip star fish once my tank is stable for plans on naming it "chips ahoy".. (haha...she's a cute one.)  anyways, just wondering if this thing is worth getting?   <I love the chocolate chips. They are ravenous eaters of almost anything and will grow quickly> I'm not to excited about getting one and kind of leery on purchasing one. <As long as you don't have a reek tank a chip will do. If you are starting a new tank, please be sure the tank has been cycled AND stable for SEVERAL months before adding ANY inverts. Dead critters are no fun!> thanks, Jason PS.  Can't thank you guys enough for the endless FAQs!! <Our honor and pleasure! Thanks for writing! David Dowless>

Bubbles Hi! <Hello!> I have a real quick question - In our 38 (or 37) gallon tank, we have a Marineland Emperor 280 powerfilter (using the cartridges and bio-wheel, no media added yet) and a Penguin power sponge filter (170 GPH). The sponge filter has a venturi valve on it, and when it's open it puts out plenty of air bubbles as well as a current. Is this what I want? <I wouldn't want the little bubbles in the display tank. Could be bad for fish and certainly won't look attractive> Or do I want the venturi valve shut off and just have a current going? <Bubbles in the tank is the deciding factor. No bubbles or not many bubbles, open the venturi. Lots of bubbles, no venturi> Oh, and there's 18 lbs. Fiji live rock and 40 lbs. of live sand in the tank. Thanks. <No Problem. I wish all questions were this easy! David Dowless> Alex Mills

- Skimmer Questions - Hello Crew: <Hello, JasonC here...> I currently have a 90 ga. AGA w/corner overflow. It has the sponge pre-filter at top of tank. After review on your site, you indicate that the skimmer should have as much raw tank water as possible.  I am in the process of removing the sponge pre-filter. The mag 7 that will be running the Aqua-C EV180 has a pre-filter sponge.  Should I remove that as well? <Yes, but I would consider leaving the prefilter on the overflow. It is true that the skimmer will work better with water as 'raw' as possible, but at the same time, you don't need chunks flowing into the pump.> Can I over skim my tank with this skimmer? <The short answer is yes... but that may not be a bad thing if you are leaning towards a bunch of messy fishes.> The skimmed water will then flow into a filter pad and then back into the tank. <No need for the filter pad after that...> Anything else you can suggest would be appreciated. <Sounds good so far.> Regards, Mendy1220 <Cheers, J -- >

Protein skimmer and ozone Hi, Merry Christmas. <and the same to you my friend> Just a short question.  When I started to inject ozone into my Tunze skimmer. I found that the foam was weakening and in half-hour or so, it didn't accumulate in the cup.  Is this normal? Regards, TFChow <patience good sir. Any disruption will cause a delay in skimmate production... 12-18 hours is no surprise. Even without the ozone, often just your hand in the tank disruption the proteins at the water surface is enough to delay skimmate. All in good time. Tunzes once tuned correctly are generally very good skimmers. Best regards, Anthony>

Ozonizers Holiday Greetings: <and to you in kind> Thanks for your previous advice on set-up and stocking as I convert from freshwater to marine. I have set up an 80G FOWLR system with 1 Emperor 400 and 2 Fluval 404s left over from the freshwater. I also have a Remora Pro skimmer. I would like to add an ozonizer for its various benefits. I see from the Conscientious Marine Aquarist and your site's FAQs that you recommend injecting the ozone into the skimmer.  I contacted AquaC and received the following answer: >Steve, >Thanks for the message, the only way you can use ozone with the Remora Pro is to add a venturi attachment to the pump and use that to suck the ozone in.  This doesn't work very well, however, and I don't recommend it since it will take away from the available pump pressure and the skimmer's performance will fall as a result. Please let me know if you have any other questions and I can help out! >Jason Kim >President, AquaC, Inc. My question for you is then: So where can I put ozone into the system as currently plumbed? Thank you for your input. Steve Allen <No worries here Steve. Injecting ozone has many benefits. It should always be done with good carbon on the effluent/excurrent air and water sides and it simply must be controlled by a Redox meter. If yo do this you will enjoy some great benefits well worth the dear price of the equipment. In your case, you can simply buy another small skimmer like the cheap Sanders models to use as an ozone reactor (they are only about $30)... to be mounted in the sump or refugium. If you don't have a refugium... an upstream 10 gallon tank might be wonderful here for you for many reasons. Do be sure to use a Redox (ORP) controller with your ozonizer... if not it is just plain dangerous or weakly effective at best dosing blindly. Best regards, Anthony>

Protein Skimmers ????? Hi Guys, First I want to thank you for a wonderful web site. It gives new comers like me hope! As we speak I am unpacking my 135 gallon reef ready tank. My sump is 30 gallons. This is my question? How many times should a skimmer turn over a tank of water? <About 3-5 times per hour.> Would a Euro-Reef CS8-2 be able to do a good job on my tank? <That seems fine.> I thought since it was only rated at 500 gallons an hour it might not be enough. I only read good things about there systems. Keep up the good work guys. Charlie  S. <Have a lovely holiday! -Steven Pro>

In Sump vs. External Euro-Reef Response Steven Pro, There is a big benefit to using a external model of a Euro-Reef skimmer. A Euro-Reef in the sump can raise the water temperature 4 degrees in a 180 gallon reef tank. RGibson <Thanks for the information. -Steven Pro>

Feeding skimmer from overflow WHUZZZZZZ UPPPPP GUYS!!! Just wanted to see if my idea is feasible.  I have a huge overflow built into my tank, and a lot of it is wasted space.  I was thinking about putting the feed pump for my skimmer in the overflow and running the flexible tubing down the back of the tank into the skimmer which is in my sump.  I know this will make sure that I skim the water that I want to be skimming, but are there any problems I could run into?? I would be pumping a Mag 18 into an AquaC EV240 or 400.  My circulation consists of a AM3000 on a closed loop, and a AM2700 for a return pump.  It's a 180 predator tank. Thanks for any and all wisdom! Ken <Hi Ken, Most skimmers want to sit in a specific depth water to work properly. Feeding directly from the overflow could cause a problem with controlling the height of the water. For installations using Aqua-C products, write to Jason Kim at < info@proteinskimmer.com>  Craig

Hair Algae Monster Hey Guys !!!! Just wanted to thank you for encouraging me not to give up on fighting the "Green Hair Algae Beast"! ... and to give you an update so that others may learn and not resort to chemicals: My battle with the green hair algae monster is starting to shift in my favor after 3 months of agony. I think that the new Aerofoamer 848 (vs. old ETSS 1400 skimmer) that was put into service a month ago is helping me win the battle. But, I also think that the ETSS would have been just fine had I removed the old bio-balls and replaced them every six months. Nowhere in the manual does it say to do this, but it does say this on their website...YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO THIS with this skimmer! I also am continuously running PolyFilter (for the last month per your recommendations) in a canister filter which has reduced phosphates to undetectable using Salifert test. Another thing I did was vacuum, vacuum, and more vacuuming with a toothbrush connected to a rigid manual plastic siphon which was connected to an input to a Marineland 350 canister filter (again on your recommendation). The manual siphon was used to prime the pump when the flow into the canister was interrupted from sucking algae close to the surface of the tank. The manual siphon also has a nice long rigid tube that helped me reach to the bottom of my tank. I also vacuumed the bottom of my sump after removing all of the bioballs that were put in to minimize bubbles back into the tank. The new skimmer does not create any bubbles in my tank so I figured it would be easier to clean a bare sump in the future. FYI: I found a Shop Vac Wet vacuum cleaner that is all plastic and includes a built in pump to pump water from the vacuum's water container to the sink or back to the tank. I just covered the vacuum's filter with an aquarium grade filter material to trap particulate matter. I love this thing and plan to only use it for aquarium maintenance ($99.00 at Lowe's!). Also, I have been doing water changes every day (~ 6 gallons a day for my 300 gallon reef tank over the last two weeks). Lastly, I replaced a lot of cleaners as well, more Trochus snails and margarita snails mostly, mixed with some small red-legged hermit crabs. I actually started feeding my fish and corals a little more aggressively since the hair algae is dying off so rapidly. It is turning brown and giving off copious amounts of air bubbles! The last thing I will do is to put my calcium reactor back on-line as soon as there is very little sign of any hair algae left. In the meantime I am resorting to my Kalkreactor and Kent SuperBuffer for calcium and alkalinity control, although this is expensive for a large tank. Again, thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow. And algae problem sufferers do not despair. If I got rid of my hair algae problem without chemicals, you can do it to! Just take Anthony's, Bob's, Steve's, et al's advice. Thanks again for all your help! Chuck Spyropulos <You are quite welcome. Thank you for the update. I am sure other aquarists will find your report enlightening and inspirational. -Steven Pro>

Sump Configuration Question... making skimmers work better Hey guys, Was reading your Daily FAQs (as always  :-)) and had a question. In regards to a statement that was made by Anthony, "noisy and/or have mechanical prefilters that all but ruin protein skimmer performance (never pre-filter water before a skimmer)" (Overflow designs for sumps), can you tell me if I have my sump configured in the manner that you recommend? <Okey Dokey...> The current water flow "path" is as follows: overflow > filter media >(standard blue media) > BioWheel > sump. The protein skimmer sits in the >sump, pulling water from the sump (after the BioWheel) and returning it to >the sump. <you essentially couldn't have the skimmer in a worse position. Guess what... you don't get a full cup of daily dark skimmate either (not a question <G>). This is a very common problem my friend. The goal of your skimmer is to process organic matter BEFORE it degrades into nitrogenous by-products. The rule is... "Always feed raw unfiltered water to a skimmer". It IS your prefilter. Else, you are just fueling pollution in the tank by letting any prefilter or filter proper handle waste first (stays in the system rather than exported to the skimmer cup)> I have included a simple diagram of the configuration. In the diagram, the filter media is in the overflow so it doesn't muck up the BioWheel with debris. <understood... but still a common design flaw. If the tank is running fine... no nitrates, no nuisance algae... and weekly water changes to delay the accumulation of dissolved organics. I say no worries... enjoy as is. Else, make a skimmer box (small just big enough to hold skimmer) to catch raw overflowing water (remove overflow prefilter here) before flowing on to the bio-wheel and sump> There is a 2nd plumbing (closed system) that services the tank with the Ocean Clear canister filter and chiller. <wow... you have a lot of mechanical filtration. Its nice... but is it necessary? Do you have a heavy load or very large fishes? Else... less man-made filters and more live rock/skimming and you will enjoy a healthier aquarium in the long run> I hope this all makes sense. Sincerely, Craig <clearly my friend. Anthony>

RE: Sump Configuration and Skimmer basin Anthony, Thank you for the response. You are correct, I get maybe 1/2 cup of semi-clear liquid in the skimmer a week. I've always thought that was low. <indeed my friend... some other reasons here too: fluctuating sump level (even 1/2 daily is too much... a skimmer box inline will stabilize this)... and perhaps skimmer design> By changing to the configuration you mentioned, would the system be healthier / more stable? <tremendous long term benefits... many aesthetic ones too (very little maintenance of nuisance algae, water clarity)> Don't have any LR to use (too expensive right now), but the tank is well established (over 2 years). I do have a loaded tank w/messy fishes (2 triggers, panther, eel, large clown, hamlet, hawk, wrasse). Thanks, Craig <understood and agreed... do keep the heavy mechanical filtration as well. Just tweak the skimmer and be amazed by its performance. Assuming its an efficient model (much written in the archives here about feedback on brand performances). Lets start with installation issues first (we'll worry later if you have a Red Sea or Kent skimmer <G>). The simplest modification here is to take a small aquarium or acrylic box (say 5-10 gallons) and place it under the stand set just slightly higher than the sump with a drilled overflow to catch the water from above and let it carry on down to the sump. Take heed that the hole(s) for this skimmer basin are drilled to allow a height consistent with the skimmer manufacturers recommendations for optimum running level of sump water. This basin will catch raw water and overflow it at a dead level consistency... this alone will improve skimmer performance. Best regards! Anthony>

DIY skimmer Anthony, <cheers, bud> I already have your book and two of these skimmers have been in operation for about three months.  I also have one I purchased many years ago that is the same way.  All have the air stone near the bottom.   <Wow... surprising that they get enough air that low... not really necessary either> However, I would like to understand what you are telling me because I don't get the thick black gunk you talk about in my skimmer cups.   <understood my friend. But that would not really be a matter of airstone depth, but rather bubble size/volume which is influenced by depth but can be overcome with the right sized air pump> I usually get a dark green tea.  Correct me if I am wrong, are you are telling me with adequate flow, the water will pull the bubbles down the reaction chamber tube?    <absolutely... and maintain more than adequate contact time while enjoying stronger air flow/volume from the same air pumps that now do not have to operate against such great head> I am using snailman's design and Escobar recommends 2x turnover per day.  I have a mag 1.9 supplying water to my 4' 6" reaction chamber, is this near the correct flow rate?   <certainly seems reasonable and I would defer to Pablo's recommendations and his specialty (aquatics engineering)> I have a Tetra Luft pump supplying air through 2 Lee's 3" air stones located about three inches from the bottom.   <I ran these exact same air pumps on the Nilsen style pumps diagrammed in my book. Two per tank in my greenhouse. Not one below 18" and skimming black coffee like skimmate. And these tanks had little or no fish (and no heavy feeding)> Please, I am not trying to argue, just understand what you are telling me and how I can improve what I have. <no worries my friend... I completely understand. Since you have three of these skimmers, do simply experiment with one. Compare the increased air flow/volume of a shallow airstone at 18" to one of the other ones at over 36". See if there is a difference in skimmate to you. Do share your results if you don't mind either... it will help me with the advice I give by either reinforcing what I already believe or guiding me to reconsider something different. Best regards, my friend. Anthony>

No Skimping With This Skimmer! Hello Everyone: <Good morning! Scott F. here> I currently have an AGA 90 ga. w/overflow in corner. I currently am utilizing the foam pre-filter at the top of the overflow connection in the tank. The water then passes through drain tube and enters filter pad in top of the sump and then drips over some extra live rock.  After reading comments on skimmer placement, I was wondering if you would assist me in setting up my new sump area. I purchased an Aqua C EV-180, and obtained a 29 glass tank. <You chose a fine skimmer for this tank! You really want to make sure that the skimmer receives the most organic-laden water from your tank-no prefiltering required before in reaches the skimmer. You can keep some kind of mechanical media after the overflow to catch gross particulate, if you like, but it absolutely must be changed and/or cleaned several times a week, or it will become a detritus/organic material trap. I'd put the live rock after the skimmer output for similar reasons.> My fish include a clown trigger, Picasso trigger, and Blue Guinea Fowl puffer. I purchased the larger skimmer to accommodate a larger tank in the future, to allow my fish proper room to grow. <Yep! You'll need a BIG tank for this group in the future!> I was given an Imperator Angel a few weeks ago, I placed in my secondary tank. Maintain second tank for few shrimp, crabs, and live rock in case of quarantine. I am aware that I would need to remove the inverts. and live rock for certain meds if necessary. <For that matter, I'd remove these items even if not using for medication- these items are not beneficial in a quarantine tank. You just want inert materials in there, like pvc pipe sections, etc> The Angel was a juvenile when received, and it is starting to look like its blue skin is cracking at the front part of his face. Similar to dry skin on a hand. I am aware that it will change, however I have never seen any pictures of, or descriptions of the change over in the angel.  Everyone presents pictures of a pretty juv. and then the majestic adult.  I have read about HLLE. I feed it several different types of food, including Nori and sponge several times a week. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again for your time and response. Regards,Mendy1220. <Well, it does sound much like HLLE. This particular problem has been linked to dietary deficiencies, poor water quality, and even a protozoan. Other theorists implicate electrical voltage in the water as a factor. It sounds like your food is of good quality. You may want to supplement it with some vitamins, or a good vitamin supplement preparation, such as Vita Chem. Do check your water parameters in this system to verify that everything is up to par. Keep monitoring the fish and tank conditions, perform routine water changes, etc., and you'll be successful with this awesome fish! Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F>

DIY Skimmer set-up Hello all, <And hello to you, JasonC here...> First let me start out with a big THANK YOU for all the help in the past few weeks. While I'm waiting on my FO/LR tank to complete is beginning cycle I decided to build a skimmer.  I currently have a Lee skimmer running and after being educated by the vast amount of FAQ's here I said "what the heck", I'll build one. Now I have some questions when you have time if you please,. (I'll bet no one writes "Just to say hello" ) :-) Spec's of the Diy Skimmer: I used mostly parts from around the house, so I ended up with a 4' x 2", basswood airstone driven by a 2 PSI air pump and a  Mag 5 water pump. Now I say it's 4' tall, then add another 12" of 1" clear tube with a Rubbermaid clear container on top. All and all running for about 6 hours now. Water input on top - 6" below the top of the white 2" PVC,  Output is 4" above the bottom of the tube.   The distance from the water input to the top of the clear tube is 18" (12" being the 1" tube and the remaining 2" white PVC) Water flow is reduce to about 1/4 flow rate until I get the foam happening correctly. Questions: I have the airstone positioned approximately 35" below the top tube rim, which also means it's about 18" below the water inlet. Using the 2 PSI air pump (I tested it with a gauge, it outputting 2 PSI) wide open, is this the most effective depth? I'm getting foam to rise about 10" above the water inlet.  just floaters nothing consistent yet. <Seems to me this is one of the easier items to adjust. Because the dimensions of this skimmer were dependant on available materials, there is no stock answer to where the air stone should go. You must experiment with different heights.> I am getting a good foamy froth within the first 6" above the water inlet, just nothing rising over the top yet. (Boy that was a long question) <Most all skimmers need some time to break in... I'd give it a week or two.> Next question: Total distance from water inlet to top rim is 18" is this too tall for a 2 PSI pump? <Perhaps. Best way to find out is to try another pump.> Again, thanks for all your help, if I had found you guys 3 years ago, my tank would have been up for 5 years by now.. (I feel like a math teacher with all these word problems). Dave <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Air Pump Question for tall skimmer I would like to use 1/4" ID acrylic and flexible tubing to supply air into my 5' skimmer. <yes... but you will not need for the air to go much further than 16 or 18" down a countercurrent body> If I have a 5' skimmer shouldn't the air go all the way to the bottom or very near it?   <nope... not necessary at all in a Nilsen style countercurrent. Too expensive to produce and actually a problem when you have adequate water flow through the skimmer: air near the bottom can get sucked out with the excurrent water and be aesthetically irritating to you and especially irritating to corals (the microbubbles).> Or am I misunderstanding what you are saying? <You understand my friend... just don't have a good diagram or understanding of it yet. It would be obvious after you built the skimmer. This skimmer style is diagramed in my coral propagation book... an old Nilsen style at 4-6 feet tall. Great old design. Best regards, Anthony>

Air Pump Question A question for the experts at WWM. Great site, great people! Can two, three or four Tetra Luft air pumps be tied into a common header to operate a single CC skimmer? <yes... but never with significant back pressure... always with a bleeder (blowing off air and throttled just enough to give the other outlets the necessary flow. To illustrate... imagine a gang valve with four outlets and two inlets. Two pumps (single output) would supply the two inlets... three of the outlets would go to a device (airstone) and the fourth must be left to blow off air. The three outlets will need to be run at the same depth and their valves left full open. Only the bleeder is regulated (throttled back) to get enough flow to other outlets> Or would separate lines for each be necessary? <always better and safer separately> Would each require a check valve? <yes> I would like to use 1/4" ID acrylic and flexible tubing to supply air into my 5' skimmer. <yes... but you will not need for the air to go much further than 16 or 18" down a countercurrent body> Would this combination shorten the life of the pumps? <the first suggestion would a little. There are industrial air pumps instead that are suited for this job (Schego)> Do you have a better setup? Any help would be very much appreciated. <best regards, Anthony>

Protein Skimmer Cleaning Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro in this morning.> Is it every necessary to clean ones protein skimmer? Over the last two years since setting up my venturi type skimmer I have notice lots of biological growth inside my skimmer; i.e. algae growth, polyp type matter, feather duster type matter, growing inside the skimmer. Should I be concerned with the growth? Or just let nature do what it does best? <As long as the growth is not interfering with production (a dark cup almost everyday), then you could leave it be. You are going to need to watch and clean the venturi valve, though for performance reasons.> Thank you, Jason <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Marine Lighting, Skimmer Operation Hi Steven Pro <Buon giorno> I received your answers about my problems (the guy from Rome Italy) that I wrote to you yesterday. The concern was about you didn't get from me the precise set of my lights and skimmer: I got two Interpet Triton 40 watt 120 cm and two Marine Glo (Askoll) super actinic 40 watt 120 cm. The distance from the water surface is about 30 cm. <That is way too far away for fluorescent lights. As a frame of reference, I have a 55 gallon tank (48" long x 12" wide x 21" tall or 122 cm long x 30 cm wide x 53 cm tall) with four 40 watt fluorescent lamps and these are about 2" or 5 cm from the water surface. Even with this lighting, there are corals I cannot keep. I am limited to mostly large polyp stony corals, but that is what I like.> The light seem to human eyes too shiny. <That is probably because the lights are so high too much of it is escaping and not being directed into the water.> The tank is 140 cm length - 50 cm width - 60 cm height, about 400 liters/100 gallons. <A very deep tank, you need to lower those lights, but slowly, perhaps 5-6 cm per week, until they are 5 cm off of the surface. Even then, you will need to keep your corals in the top half of the tank.> Two opposite pumps inside the tank for water flow about 1000l/hour, one just below the surface and the other one opposite a little less than half height of the tank (about 20 cm from the surface); two sumps: the first one receiving the water from the surface of the tank by a skimmer comb with overflow system, the water go down into the first sump where is the Red Sea venturi skimmer classic attached with an Eheim 1060 (2800l./h - 3 meters of "head" advised by the Red Sea for better performance). The distance between the Eheim and the skimmer intake is about 5 cm with a small angle tube, so the skimmer is up in front of the pump and for that reason the skimmer is almost out the sump water, only the base is in the water. The water so processed go into the other separated sump where I put a different pump I had before I bought the skimmer and two much strong for the water coming out the skimmer (the pump was an Askoll 3800 l/h). Now for balancing I put another pump whose range is from 600 to 1600 l/h with a valve inside the pump so I did adjust the flow rate so that the water flow from the skimmer is about the same quantity that go into the tank. Obviously the rate is much less than the other one (about 1200l/h) with the Askoll pump. The skimmate from the skimmer is about 1 cm a day in the cup. The air valve of the venturi is full open. <I am not quite sure I properly envisioned your sump set up, but if it works for you, I am fine with it.> Thanks again in advance. Hoping hearing from you soon, Claudio from Rome <Ciao, Steven Pro>

Bubble trap I have an Aqua C Remora skimmer with a tiny bubble problem. I've heard people refer to "bubble traps". What are they? Ana M. Saavedra <They are a small acrylic box that fits on your skimmer discharge and force the bubbles to the surface in the box while the water can escape from the bottom of the bubble trap. You should be able to find a picture of one on an e-tailer site. Marine Depot would be my first guess. -Steven Pro>

Protein Skimmer Only Hello crew again. Thanks for being there. <You are welcome.> I am about to add a protein skimmer (either EV-120 or Euroreef) for my 75 marine tank and working on how to put it in the Marineland Tidepool-2 Biowheel sump. My fish friend (they're also fishy!) told me that I should do away with the BioWheel and put the pump for the in-sump protein skimmer pump in the area where the BioWheel currently resides. <I agree.> Do you think it's wise to get rid of the BioWheel and only go with a skimmer (and perhaps a little carbon filtration)? <If you have a sufficient amount of liverock, you don't need nor want the BioWheel.> Here's what one friend said: "Hey there. I know it sounds crazy but it's true. Any kinda filters, BIOBALLS, and things like this trap nitrates. I had to learn the hard way. I also have a 75 gallon tank. I used to have a wet/dry sump. My nitrates were out of control. I did a lot of research, and posted a lot, just to come to the conclusion that I should have never listened to the local pet store (figure that). Everyone told me to get the bioballs out of my tank and just go with a refugium, so I did it. I chambered it all up so that I could separate all the macros from the skimmer compartment and to my amazement, two weeks later I had absolutely no nitrates. A lot of people say that if you have a refugium you will not need to skim anymore, but I just do not feel secure yet about it, so I'm still skimming." I don't know what a refugium is, but what do you think of this theory? <He is close but not exactly right. The bioballs produce nitrates as the end product of denitrification, not trap. A refugium can be a means of nutrient export. Growing and harvesting certain macroalgae is a very good way of removing nitrates, phosphates, and many other things from your water. Do search through www.WetWebMedia.com regarding additional information on refugiums.> I have a 75 gallon fish only marine tank (someday I'll add a few pounds of live rock and anemones). The tank is drilled and doing well, with a 950 gph pump. <If you do not have any liverock, you will not be able to remove the BioWheel. Also, let me caution you now against adding anemones. They are very challenging and not to be recommended casually.> What do ya think? Steve <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

"SURFACE SPONGING" Wow, whole world of Q&A and pros. & cons. of protein skimming on this site...My question is this...I have a secondary aquarium setup just for some crabs, a few damsels and basically anything that would be considered, or has become, a nuisance in my show setup...Keeping in mind that this is my (redheaded stepchild) tank, I don't wish to spend a whole lot of money on maintenance...Since most skimmers "SKIM" from the surface, would it be possible to sponge-away the surface water and replenish with new... <Yes> If so, could/should I use new, pre mixed saltwater, instead of fresh for absorption instead of evaporation reasons... <Pre-mixed is best> Thanks in advance, MCKENNA <And you for your participation. Bob Fenner>

Re: protein skimmer I would like to know if I should redesign my refugium? It is a converted wet/dry system with a 6" sand bend, 25 pounds of live rock, and hand full of Caulerpa algae with a separate pump chamber, lit with a 96 watt power quad CF. I would like to include a skimmer in my filtration design but the refugium does not have enough space for the skimmer and the tank return pump. <Perhaps try a hang-on unit affixed to the refugium?> I think I can convert the Berlin Red Sea to stand beside but you guys seem to really gun for the Euro Reef skimmer. <The Aqua-C models are excellent, too.> Can this be modified to stand beside? <I believe Euro-Reef has come out with an modification for external use of their skimmers. Do check their webpage, http://www.euro-reef.com/> Should the refugium be larger? <Hard to quantify, generally larger is better, but almost anything is better than nothing.> My tank is a 75 gallon with a plenum sand bed and 40 pounds of live rock. I have five fish, two peppermint shrimp, and an assortment of snails and crabs. I would like to balance the system out between corals and fish when the project is complete. <A difficult line to walk. The more fish, the more waste, the more potential for nuisance algae.> Is the presence of Caulerpa, live rock, and lighting all that defines a refugium? <No, a refugium can be many things. Caulerpa is just the most mass marketed version, but there are many other possibilities. Do search through www.WetWebMedia.com regarding for additional information.> Is there more to the pie that I am not aware of? <Much more> Could you direct me to a site that has some good designs? < http://www.ozreef.org/ is one of the best DIY websites.> Sorry, I just started this hobby four months ago. <No worries> Thanks in advance for your help, Scott <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Skimmer cover Hello all, I have another question if you have time. I hope you don't mind all these questions, I'm reading and learning a lot from you guys and I hope to be successful this time around. <And we hope the same for all our readers.> How important is it to have a lid on your protein skimmer waste cup? <It helps to knock the foam back down into the cup.> The reason I ask is that I'm trying to get my old Lee's skimmer to function correctly and only skim the bad stuff. Currently I have not been able to adjust it properly and end up with a new cup of dirty water. <These models can be difficult. That me suggest the first thing you try is two separate air pumps, one to run the counter current part and the second for the wood airstone. This will allow you greater control over both.> To solve this, I've been reading the FAQ's and DIY plans on skimmers and it seem that the neck length is very important (longer being better), so I added a two inch PVC adapter to the top of the cup which effectively increases the neck length 2 1/2". This is allowing the foam to rise further and "seems" to be providing dryer foam. <Innovative> Anyway, because of this added height, I can not put the lid on. <This may make salt creep worse around the top of the skimmer.> Thanks again and I'll let you know how this little works after a day or two. Daver <Keep us informed. -Steven Pro>

Re: protein skimmer (the query) Hi I just received a AquaC remora pro for my 120gal. I bought it with the mag drive instead of the Rio. The only problem is that the only way I can position the pump is with the prefilter directly under where the water exits the skimmer. The outlet to the pump is positioned closer to one side than the other, not allowing me to turn it around. Any ideas on how to change this as this doesn't seem to be the most efficient way considering a percentage of the water just exited the skimmer. Any help would be appreciated. thanks <Well, let's go straight to the source here... and ask Jason Kim (owner, designer, head mucky muck of Aqua-C) for his input. Jas, what say you? Bob Fenner>

Re: protein skimmer (the response) Hi there, <And there with the speedy reply... It's Jason.K!> Bob F. just forwarded your message to me - you should be able to position the pump so that the input is located towards the left side of the skimmer (i.e. the opposite side from the water return).  I've got one in my hands as we speak and just verified that it will work.  The only problem I foresee is if your tank is somehow unique and prevents you from setting it up in this manner.  If this is the case, you might try adding some simple PVC plumbing fitting to the input side of the pump.  With a length of straight pipe and maybe an elbow or two, you should be able to rig the pump so that it pulls water in from just about anywhere you like. On a side note, I have done some informal tests to see if skimmer performance is influenced by the position of the pump, and our experiments show that there is little, if any noticeable effect.  The only time I would worry about this is if your system has little or no other means of in-tank circulation, in which case the skimmer very likely will continue to recycle the same water over and over.  As long as you have a powerhead or two in the tank, your water motion should be significant enough that it eliminates this issue entirely. Please do let me know if you have any other questions and I can help out... ------------------- Jason Kim President AquaC, Inc. <Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Skimmate & Algae Question Hello all. <cheers, my friend> I hope everyone have a happy Thanksgiving. <and with hope for you as well, bub> I have 2 questions: I'm using a Lee Protein Skimmer ( I know not the best choice, I'm going to build a new one soon (Any DIY help on this would be appreciated also)). <for DIY plans there are many on the big message boards (reefcentral.com, reefs.org, etc... and even better at ozreef.org) Which you choose depends on the load in the tank and space allowed. Many of these DIY plans are for overblown ETS or downdraft style skimmers. Too expensive to build, buy and operate. Good skimmers, but cheaper and easier designs, are to be had. Large Nilsen-style counter currents are very effective and cheap if you don't mind the frequent adjustments. Else, simply invest in a good Aqua C or Euroreef skimmer> I'm getting foam and liquid every 12 hours. (Attached photo).  Is this the quality and quantity I should be expecting on a 2 week old tank? <not on any tank my friend if you have been feeding 3 or more times weekly. A good rule is that skimmate should be dark like coffee, not light like tea. You have a little bit too much air going through this unit or you have the body set too low in the aquarium. Raise the unit a little higher out of the water first if possible... reduce air only if necessary. With these units it is also CRITICAL that the water level in the display not fluctuate by even a half inch daily or skimmate production is reduced. Top off for evaporation daily> Next, I'm now getting algae, my first thought was "Yippee!! I have new life in my tank.", now I'm wondering if I should be concerned? Should I be cleaning it off or let it grow? (Again attached photo of algae). Maybe it was more that 2 questions, sorry about that. <Ha!... no worries... were not counting. Brown algae is the first to develop in all tanks, is common albeit ugly. In healthy systems, it will fall to green species in algal succession within 2- 4 months. If you still grow significant brown algae after 4 months, it is a sign of a nutrient export weakness (poor skimming, overfeeding/overstocking, lack of water changes, lack of chemical filtration, etc).> Thanks Again for ALL the help to me and to everyone else. <best regards, Anthony>

Skimmer Questions Hi, Was reading your FAQ's on skimmers and noticed in many cases you suggest having the skimmer take water directly from the main sump (not run through any filtering material at all). <Good observation. The essential point of this is that you want to draw "raw" water from the surface overflow, because it is generally the "richest" water in the tank, in terms of organic material, and thus will provide the skimmer the most material to work with> I have a FOWLR 200 gallon tank with two overflows in the back corners filled with bioballs and prefilter on top of each to keep the bio-balls from collecting waste.  My sump is in the basement, will have many large relatively messy fish and just bought an EV-240, will my skimmer still work properly with this set-up? <IMO, this will work well> I notice you recommend the Aqua-c and euro-reef skimmers in most cases versus the AquaMedic Turboflotor for a tank my size.  Is your web site in any way associated with Aqua-C and Euro-reef, in other words is your advice independent. <Yes, it is independent. We have all learned from hard experience what does and does not work well for the majority of us. Don't get me wrong: There are many good brands of skimmers out there, but we have found (as have many other hobbyists) that these two manufacturers deliver consistently good products that work with a minimum of fussing and adjusting. Also, the companies provide good service to back up their skimmers.> (Secondly, this small powerhead should sit in a little plastic box or something. This box should sit inside your sump and be fed water straight from the overflow, no prefilters) pulled this out of one of your FAQ's <Yep- this is called a "level flow box", and it's designed to maintain a consistent water level from which a skimmer pump can draw without being hindered by fluctuating water levels and the resulting changes in head pressure. It's a valid concept, and will greatly increase the efficiency of the protein skimmer which it serves. You can find a lot more about skimmer set-ups in Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" (a must-have book for any reef aquarist). Hope this clarified a few things for you! Regards,  Scott F.>

Skimmers and Bubbles-Causing Troubles..? Hi Crew, <Scott F. with you this evening> Recently have set up a 200 gallon FOWLR tank.  Will be keeping triggers, angels, and wrasses.  Have not yet ordered the skimmers.  Originally was going to get the Turboflotor but in reading your FAQ's decided maybe to consider the Aqua-C EV-180 or EV-240.  Would I be able to get by with the EV-180 (even though my tank is 20 gallons bigger) or do I need to upgrade even more to the EV-240 (is there going to really be that much of a difference?). <I'd go for the EV240. IMO, there IS a difference in performance...bigger is better when it comes to skimmers, particularly in a FOWLR tank. Do contact Jason Kim at Aqua C if you have specific sizing-related questions. He's a great guy, and will definitely offer you some good advice.> Next question is I unfortunately have the bubbles in the main tank problem as many others do.  I have a 72 gallon sump in basement, set up the baffles, checked all pvc plumbing lines no leaks.  From my sump back to the main tank I am running 1" pvc and then have it go into 3/4" at the returns into the main tank.  Do you think this may be the problem, would it be worthwhile changing those to 1".  Thanks for the help Joe <Well, Joe, it sounds like you've eliminated the leak idea, created baffles. Hmm- I'd say that the larger diameter return is worth a shot. Perhaps the decreased pressure may help eliminate those bubbles. Good luck to you!>

Re: Skimmate & Algae Question Thanks for the speedy response. <our pleasure> I'll adjust the skimmer up about an inch and try that. <excellent... dry foam will be darker for it. No foam production would indicate that the skimmer is too high. Do clean the inside of the neck at least weekly to prevent a build up of organics there as well as the cup> As to the algae, can I safely scrape it off the tank glass, or is it best to let it be until it fully cycles? <do scrape it off it you like... no harm at all from the front glass> Thanks again!

Please Don't Drink The Skimmate! I have a very small 20 gallon  mini reef (if you could call it that). It has one blue damsel, one yellow tail damsel and one red-leg hermit crab. There is also 25 lbs of Fiji live rock.  I run a penguin 330 Biowheel (which I'm considering removing the wheels one at a time for nitrates) Nitrates are 40ppm, ammonia 0, calcium 500, temp 82-84. salinity 8.4, hardness 2dKH. Phosphates a little high at 1.0. My protein skimmer is a cheapo-VisiJet. When I run the Visijet "aggressively", I can get a cupful of semi-dark tea colored liquid out of it. If I cut the flow of foam  back, I get almost no flow at all in the cup. I know this a limitation of this skimmer but ....here's the question.........Does the skimmate contain salt? In other words, a cup a day runs the water level of a small 20 gallon tank more quickly than my weekly water change regime would account for. Can the tank be topped of with fresh water at any time to makeup for skimmate. Please don't ask me to taste the skimmate to find out!    <Very interesting question. I'd have to say that the skimmate would only contain the smallest trace of salt, certainly not enough to affect the specific gravity of your tank. I'd monitor specific gravity in the tank before, during, and after the cup of skimmate accumulates to verify for yourself if there is a noticeable change. I'd continue regular top offs based on the tank's need. Also, since you're running rather high nitrate levels, I'd employ two smaller water changes twice a week, cleaning the skimmer as well. Also, check your source water for nitrate and phosphate- If you're starting out with, say 10ppm nitrate and .5 phosphate, this cannot be helping your situation! Using RO/DI water may help. Just keep on top of things in this small tank, and you should be fine! And please-don't taste the skimmate! Good luck! Scott F.>

Advice on Prizm skimmer Hi, I'm Dave. <Hello, Steven Pro here.> I've had a Prism skimmer now for over a week. I've set it up the way I was instructed and set the water flow on its lowest or / on 3 o clock. Still it does not accumulate bubbles at the top. At the same time, bubbles are still coming back in my tank. How can I win? <This is not a skimmer we recommend for the reasons you outlined. They tend to work poorly and are difficult to adjust.> Please could you advise me what to do for this skimmer to work properly. <I am not sure there is much I can tell you. I would continue to attempt to adjust it properly and at the same time begin saving up for another model. Our extensive skimmer FAQ files on www.WetWebMedia.com have our recommendations in them.> Thanks, Dave <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Skimmer & UV Sorry to bother you once again but I have a Prizm skimmer and need to know if it would be beneficial to use it with the UV sterilizer, or would they be too powerful together for 100 Litre tank? <First, UV's and protein skimmers do completely different things. Please take a look at the articles and FAQ files concerning both to get an understanding about their respective functions. Secondly, I would never say a Prizm would be too powerful on any size tank.> Thanks once again, Dave <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Plumbing Turboflotor I just stumbled across your site and added it to my favorites. I've read all the posts concerning the Turboflotor 1000 and I guess I'm still at loss what to do. I was very intrigued about the how you removed the pipe and plugged another one. Is there anyway I can get some pictures or drawings showing what you did? <I am not sure what you are referring to. If you could, please cut and paste the reference so that I may read what you have found.> I've read it several times and I still can't picture exactly what was done. I'm pushing water into mine from a magnum 350 and letting it drain through the bio-ball tower into the sump and back into the tank. It's been running like this for about 6 months. I'm still using the Rio and the supplied needle wheel from the skimmer. Any ideas on how to make this thing more efficient would be greatly appreciated. <First off, the Magnum feeding the skimmer is a bad idea because the Magnum is processing the water and competing against the protein skimmer. You can leave your Magnum working, just use a separate small powerhead to feed water into the skimmer. Secondly, this small powerhead should sit in a little plastic box or something. This box should sit inside your sump and be fed water straight from the overflow, no prefilters. Let the excess water from this box drain back into the sump. There is a drawing here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm that shows a sump with a built in skimmer box. -Steven Pro>

Protein Skimmer Hi, I just purchased a used, (what I think is a Euro G-5) skimmer. The unit did not have any inlet fittings but only two 3/4" holes for fittings and an adjustable overflow pipe. My question is, do you have any user manual or information you could email or snail mail to me? <Sorry, but no. You need to try to contact the manufacturer. If it is an actual Euro-Reef, their webpage is here http://www.euro-reef.com/. If it is the imitation Euro-Style G series skimmers, there are made by All Seas Marine.> At this time I have sealed off one the holes and attached a Rio 1700 to the other hole, but cannot get any performance, I also have installed an air stone with little improvement. <These are what are called needle wheel skimmers. They use a special pump, in your case it sounds like two, to mix and inject air and water at the same time.> Should I uncap the other hole and attach a second pump? <You should cap neither hole.> Also, I don't have the original needle valve setup and have installed a venturi instead. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated. <To get optimum performance from this unit you are going to have to attempt to rebuild to specs.> Thanks, Dale <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Question on skimmer Hi  <Hi Jerry> I was on wet web media and it says that if I can get a full cup of black skimmate in my skimmer I can get rid of the algae problem? Only problem is which way do I turn the knob? Right now it produces not even half a cup and it is on slow. Do I want it to go faster thus produce more or turn it down? Thanks JM <You want your skimmer to produce as much thick, black skimmate as possible. If it gets clearer and watery like tea, it isn't removing as much waste. Follow the instructions that came with the skimmer to adjust it for maximum removal of wastes. This will definitely help with algae and water quality problems. This could also have been a problem with the anemone. Make sure you get this resolved. Craig> 

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