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FAQs about Skimmer Operation/Maintenance 18

Related FAQs: Best Skimmer Op./Maint. FAQs, Skimmer MaintenanceSkimmer Operation/Maintenance 2, Skimmer Op/Maint. 3, Skimmer Op/Maint. 4, Skimmer Op/Maint. 5, Skimmer Op/Maint. 6, Skimmer Op/Maint 7, Skimmer Op/Maint. 8, Skimmer Selection 9, Skimmer Op/Maint 10, Skimmer Op/Maint 11Skimmer 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 19, & Best Skimmer FAQs, Skimmers 2, To Skim or Not to Skim, Best Skimmer Selection FAQs, Skimmer Selection, Skimmer Selection 2, Skimmer Selection 3, Skimmer Selection 4, Skimmer Selection 5, Skimmer Selection 6, Skimmer Selection 7, DIY Skimmers, Hang-On Models, Algae Control, CPR Skimmers, Deltec Skimmers, ETSS Skimmers, Euro-Reef Skimmers, Prizm Skimmers, SeaClone SkimmersSkimmers for Eclipse Systems, Skimmers for Small SystemsSkilter Skimmers, Tunze Skimmers, Algae Control

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Neat, yuck!

Uniquarium Skimmer Upgrade 05/31/08 I just wanted to say thank you for the great advice. <<Were happy to help>> I placed an AquaC Remora-Pro skimmer in my 100 gallon FOWLR tank with awesome results. <<Ah!...excellent>> I have a Clear for Life Uniquarium so it took some work to modify the rear of the tank to accommodate the Mag-3 pump. (A coping saw and about 1 hour of work) <<Very good>> I struggled with finding the best skimmer that would fit in the space available for many months. <<Sounds like your research paid off>> Please let your readers know that if they own this particular aquarium that it is possible to retro fit a much better protein skimmer to the rear of the tank. <<You just did>> Again thanks for the great advice. <<Always welcome. EricR>>

Skimmate Production - Is this amount sufficient? 05/30/2008 The picture below shows what the skimmer has removed in 3 days. The skimmer is a ASM G-4 and it's running on a 120G reef with 40 gal sump. With so much talk about skimmer performance being based on amount of skimmate produced in a period of time, I wanted you all to comment on this particular skimmer's performance. I think it's doing a good job! <<Yes, that's sufficient. The amount of skimmate will depend on factors like how much you feed, the stocking level of the tank etc etc>> Thanks, Steve <<Thanks for the questions Steve. Regards, A Nixon>>

Neat, yuck!

Re: Skimmer Operation  5/27/2008 Rich, I've read over your suggestions and I'm afraid I don't quite follow. I'm looking at my skimmer, pump, and user's manual, and can't help but think "What venturi?" I was under the impression that the AquaC skimmer's didn't need a venturi of any kind because of the spray injection method they employ. As far as I can tell, the EV-150 doesn't use any sort of additional air intake. The newer EV-180's have an air valve, but I don't believe there's any such mechanism utilized by the EV-150. <You are correct and I was mistakenly thinking of a different skimmer.> In my reading I have seen suggested that it's possible for a skimmer, for various reasons, to stop functioning efficiently for a period of time. Do you think it's likely to be one of those cases that just needs some time to sit and sort itself out, or is there something truly wrong with the skimmer? <This is sometimes possible as skimmers break in over a few days.> Perhaps a clogged or damaged injector? < As with any type skimmer, long-term efficiency is tied to its cleanliness. Although the spray induction injector does not require regular maintenance, it can become clogged by a piece of coral, snail shell, etc. If you notice a drastic reduction in skimming or water flow for no apparent reason, check to see if an obstruction has become lodged in the spray injector. Turn off the water pump, unscrew the black inlet fitting, and simply remove the obstruction. Once clear, you can thread the fitting back into the top of the skimmer and turn the pump back on to resume normal performance. However, you have thoroughly cleaned the unit and the special design of the injector has large holes so it may just need time. Also, this skimmer was rated for approximately a 300gph pump, the Mag 7 pump you are using is twice that and is the new recommended pump and should be actually making more bubbles because of the increased velocity thru the injector.> Some aspect of the impromptu installation in the Rubbermaid bin that was preventing efficient operation?<If the pump is running wide open and the gate valve is open enough for the water level inside the skimmer to be maintained just below the base of the neck, and the injector is clean, then there is very little else you can do but wait with this skimmer. I say this because Aqua c says in their manual QUOTE: "Do not be surprised if your skimmer requires a few days to begin skimming effectively. Trace quantities of oils within the skimmer will initially prevent foam from building properly. Even though the unit may not be removing proteinaceous waste, it will vigorously oxygenate your aquarium water and benefit the health of the system immediately. After approximately one week your skimmer should be functioning near maximum efficiency. In some cases, this period may be reduced or extended." end Quote. What I noticed from the pic was larger bubbles which usually indicates water flow too slow and/or too much air. Which would cause turbulence and larger air bubbles. Hence why the new EV Series have the adjustable air ports). After reviewing the manual I also found this trouble shooting guide... QUOTE"1. Skimmer isn't producing very much foam A. Give the skimmer at least two full weeks of continuous operation to reach its maximum potential. If the unit still fails to produce foam, check the water pump for problems. A faulty or underpowered pump will not drive the air-induction injector properly, which will lead to low levels of foam production. B. Check the water level inside the skimmer's main chamber. An incorrect water level will prevent proper foam production. Adjust the exit valve so that the interior water level is near the top of the main chamber (fig. 5). C. AquaC protein skimmers feature an intense air flow-thru rate, which means that they are highly influenced by oils, fats, and other chemicals dissolved in the aquarium water or air source. You will notice a drastic, temporary reduction of foam production after fish feedings or other events which introduce chemicals into the water. Foam production should resume within several minutes to a few hours, depending on the nature of the chemical disturbance. This should not be any cause for concern since your high performance skimmer will rapidly make up for any time lost due to the disturbance. D. Wipe away any salt creep that might have accumulated around the base of the foam tower. There is a very thin air gap between the foam tower and skimmer box if this air gap becomes clogged with salt build-up the skimmer will stop foaming. Salt can be removed by dribbling hot water through the gap and scraping it away with a piece of wire or plastic." End Quote. Aqua C EV-150 Manual) HTH, a bit more than my last response. Rich> Thanks again for any and all ideas, appreciate the help and feedback! -Tyler As for the errors; I'm not perfect, but at least it's readable! ;) <LOL>

Re: Skimmer Operation  5/27/2008Rich, Thanks again for the response. I spent the better part of the weekend working on the new tank and have finished setting up the plumbing and completed a leak/flow test. In a few days it should be ready for saltwater, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it runs. -Tyler <Do let us know. My friend has an EV-150 and he said it took 2 days for it to foam, so now I am curious as I use Beckett type skimmers that foam in minutes. Rich>

Re: Skimmer Operation  - 6/3/08 Hey Rich, Got the system up and running in its permanent home a couple of days ago, added salt, got the SG to 1.026, and set the skimmer running. Well, guess what I found this morning when I got up to head to work; a tower of foam about halfway up the riser. I don't know if it just needed a couple of days to run or if it's somehow related to the mess I made adding sand last night. <Good to hear it is working out!> Thanks a lot for all of your advice on the matter...you'll probably be receiving an e-mail from me the first time I get some skimmate out of it. When you do, be sure to read it in your best excited school girl voice, as I'll probably be bouncing around the apartment out of pure joy. <Will do!> It's amazing how the simplest aspects of this hobby can be so incredibly exciting. <Once your system stabilizes and begins to mature and you start adding more and more corals your excitement will be compounded! Now to start reading up on all the WWM articles about Ozone and calcium reactors! Cheers~Rich> -Tyler

When Your Pump Hates Your Skimmer! 5/17/08 Hello WWM Crew-- <Joe.> Been reading your fantastic site for a while, as well as every book I can find (the first I found? The Conscientious Marine Aquarist). <Me too!> Thank you all for the work you're sharing with the world. <Thank you, a pleasure to help out.> Now my problem. I cleaned out my protein skimmer (Remora Pro) a few days ago. While doing so, I removed the Rio pump attached to it to check inside. Since then, I have not been able to get the pump to stay attached to the skimmer consistently...it's always loose. I've loosened & retightened the plastic rings that hold it to the skimmer, but it just won't stay attached for more than 5-6 hours at most. <Yikes!> Today, one of the rings was missing when I found the pump dangling pointlessly. I'm sure it's buried amid the rock somewhere in the back of the tank. I still have the other plastic ring, but no matter how much I tighten the ring with pliers, the pump only stays on until I plug the it back in. Half a second after starting it up, and the pump is dangling by its cord in the water. <Not good.> I've been messing with it for the better part of an hour tonight, and I'm really not sure what the course of action is for this sort of problem. Any ideas on getting the pump to stay attached on the skimmer? <Hmmm, possibly a few culprits here. First, do consider replacing the short length of tubing used to connect the pump to the skimmer. A piece of appropriate inner diameter vinyl will be fine. In time the supplied tubing will become stretched out, offering little to no friction to make the pump stay put. Also, the plastic ring, clip, may need replacing. My Remora now uses zip ties due to the same issue. The zip ties are cheap to replace and offer superior holding power in most situations due to the smaller click increments when compared to the supplied plastic rings.> --Joe T. <I hope this helps, Scott V.>

Re: Help with SPS- Question About Installing My New AquaC Skimmer 05/08/08 Hey Eric, <<Hi Andy>> Sorry to bug you yet again, but I have a follow up question. <<Not a problemask away>> My AquaC EV-180 arrived today and I have a question about it. <<Okay And dont misunderstand this as Im more than happy to help but I know Jason and Steve of AquaC personally, and I can assure you they are more than happy to assist with ANY questions concerning their skimmers. And lets face it, they are the subject-matter experts in this case [grin]>> Currently, my Coralife Super Skimmer sits in my sump--which means it is basically skimming water that it has already skimmed. <<Mmm, to a degree maybe My Euro-Reef skimmer too sits in the sumpin a skimmer chamber designed/located at one end. This chamber receives the water from the gravity drains in the display tank and is then picked-up by the submersible pumps feeding the skimmer. With the return pump in the pump chamber situated at the opposite end of the sump, positive water flow pulls the skimmed water away from the skimmer thereby reducing the amount of reprocessed water. I wont sit here and tell you that some already skimmed water doesnt get reprocessedbut the success of these skimmers (assuming a quality design and manufacture such as that offered Euro-Reef, and of course your AquaC product) speaks for itself>> When I install my EV-180, I was thinking of sitting in my sump but feeding it directly from the tank by using a short, screened "U" shaped piece of PVC that hangs on the back of my tank, connected to a piece of flexible hosing that ultimately connects to the Mag 7 pump. The skimmed water would then dump into the sump. <<Hmm Could be done but if what I am envisioning is accurate, this will be less effective than letting your overflows simply feed surface water to the skimmer chamber. Also... Skimmer operation and efficiency will be effected if/when the screen on the U-tube becomes clogged and water flow is reduced>> Someone on Reef Central stated that they didn't think this would work. The response was: "I could be wrong but putting a siphon tube into your DT to feed the skimmer defeats the purpose of your overflow. The overflow is supposed to skim-off the very top surface of the tank's water (where all the organics will float to). This then drains to the sump where the skimmer separates the organics (via foam fractionation). If you have reasonable flow through your sump your skimmer won't be re-skimming the same water. Yes some is re-skimmed and some gets by the skimmer w/o having been skimmed but by and large the system will work. Your siphon would be taking water from below the surface and would presumably be missing most of the organics." Is this guy right? <<Indeed he is. No need to make the installation of your new skimmer any more complex/difficult than necessary. Simply position the skimmer in the sump near the outlets of the overflow drains, and install according to Jasons and Steves recommendations as outlined in the manual>> Thanks! <<Always welcome. Eric Russell>> Re: Help with SPS- Question About Installing My New AquaC Skimmer - 05/09/08 Thanks Eric. <<Welcome Andy>> My problem is I have an old sump that does not have a chamber for a skimmer. <<Oh?>> The first chamber is bioballs, then to chemical filtration boxes, then to return outlet. <<Ahhsounds like a wet/dry filter. Not the best for a reef tank as you probably know>> Eventually I will remove the bioballs and move the skimmer. <<Was just about to suggest this In the interim I would just place the skimmer in the last chamber (or wherever it fits)Ill bet you will still see an improvement over the previous model. Regards, EricR>> R2: Help With SPSQuestion About Installing My New AquaC Skimmer - 05/10/08 Hey Eric, <<Hi Andy>> Oy! What an adventure. <<Oh?!>> Perfect timing on the delivery of my skimmer--I got home last night to find my Coralife Super Skimmer had gone haywire, had overflowed the collection cup, and was dumping foam into the return compartment of my sump--nothing like getting my fish drunk on concentrated organics! <<Mmmactually, this can happen with the best of skimmers under the right conditions>> It took me 3 hours, a Dremel tool to remove some acrylic flanges in the return chamber of the sump (which I didn't take into account when measuring for space) <<Ruh-roh>> to make room for the EV-180, the use of a hacksaw blade (with my hands!) to remove another acrylic flange (I didn't think using a Dremel tool to cut away a submerged flange was the best idea for long-term health and happiness), <<Indeed>> and trips to 2 Home Depots, but I finally shoe-horned the skimmer and the pump in my sump, and the skimmer was producing a nice amount of foam this morning and there was already some skimmate in the collection cup. <<Excellent>> What a nice piece of gear! <<YesJason and Steve have done very well with the design>> I am really happy with it and I can already tell that it is going to be a huge improvement over the Coralifethe difference in the volume/amount of foam produced alone is incredible. <<An important aspect>> This weekend, I intend to start the bio-ball removal process and will do 1/3 per week so as not to shock the system. Actually, though, I noticed that the Mag 7 pump gets pretty warm, <<Ah, wellif this is a critical consideration you may want to upgrade to the cooler, quieter, and longer running Eheim 1262. This pump will probably over-drive the skimmer a bit which can increase its efficiencyjust be sure to plumb a valve on the output side of the pump to temper the flow if needed, if you go this route>> and the way I was able to fit it in my sump worked out nicely because it keeps the pump body out of the water--I was able to rest it on two baffles with the intake pointing down. <<Mmmbut hopefully submerged enough so fluctuating water levels dont cause any problems with the skimmers performance (or damage to the pump)>> Unfortunately, the skimmed water dumps in close proximity to the skimmer pump, so I'm sure I'm getting some re-skimming. <<A small concern herereally>> So, I think I really do need to get the bio-balls out and move the pump to the first compartment. <<Will be betteragreed>> Yes, I do have an old (20 years old, to be exact!) wet-dry filter. A Pisces 500--I can't even find the company anymore. <<Many such have come and gone>> At the time I bought it, it was top of the line. When I got back into this hobby last year, I really thought the only difference between a "wet-dry" filter and "sump" was the presence of bio-balls. <<Hee-hee! Not soa good (or bad) design can make all the difference. But even so, a good workable sump (or refugium!) can be easily configured from a plain simple aquarium and a few cleverly positioned baffles. Or even with no baffles at all!>> Eventually, I will probably end up replacing my current filter with an up-to-date sump, but I hate to throw good money away if I can make my existing equipment work. <<Nothing wrong with that>> Same with the bio-balls--I know, and have read, that they are not the best for a reef tank, but it is my understanding that this is because they are so efficient that they tend to generate a lot of nitrates. <<Yesand then cant process it any further like live rock/sand does>> I am very diligent about monitoring water quality and doing weekly water changes, and I have always had 0 nitrates so, until I needed the space in my sump, I really felt that removing them wasn't a good idea because I was getting efficient filtration without the nitrates--as Scott V once told me "If it's not broke . . . " <<Maybe so But do also consider the possibilities if this tank was not having to deal with the extra burden re>> Take care and thanks again (and again) for all of your time/help. Andy <<Always happy to share. Eric Russell>>


Beckett skimmer problems  4/7/08 Good morning, afternoon, or whatever time you have ladies and gents. I only try to query this site as a last resort after researching as much as is prudent before taking up your time, as it is much appreciated. I have a Precision Marine bullet skimmer that I just can't get to skim anymore and I am pulling my hair out trying to get it to work. I've had the unit for about a year now and it has worked great until recently. <Mmmm... you may not actually have "much to skim"... there are a few tests... the easiest being to use another (known working) skimmer here... or move water to a system to test with same, the present skimmer to another tank...> About 2 1/2 months ago after adding a new fish I added some API stress coat to the water to help with the slime coat on a new flame angel. the skimmer didn't work right ever since. <Yes... a usual phenomenon...> It just sits there and boils the water in the reaction chamber and makes a nasty brown layer at the top of the water. after 2 months and a gazillion water changes to remove whatever i put in there to cause this, it still didn't foam or would foam for a very short period of time (15 min) and stop. I removed the skimmer, cleaned it from top to bottom ( injector, air lines skimmer body, everything). I called the manf. Precision Marine and told them what was going on and they said there shouldn't be any reason it won't work. agreed! <... Mmm, am interested to know the RedOx reading here...> So after 6-7, 10%-15% water changes cleaning the skimmer top to bottom, verifying the pump is working properly- it is, reading WWM FAQ's I concluded that the system is at equilibrium and the bio filter is keeping up with the load. Fish seem happy, corals seem OK, not happy just OK. fine! <Likely so> Now 2 weeks ago I add another fish from quarantine, a tang that eats voraciously every scrap of food that it can get, the bio load must go up accordingly, therefore there should be something there to skim. <Mmm, not necessarily. Could be the micro-biota in the same are having an influence here> After a week in the tank I am doing some maintenance and feeding the frogspawn and mushrooms some chopped up scallops the skimmer starts working and boy did it start working. OK great skimmer works now, fantastic! <Ahh!> 3 days later I change the micron bags in the sump( I use them to catch bubbles from the skimmer and to keep noise down from the overflow water entering the sump. These bags are changed weekly, hosed off, soaked in bleach, then the stress coat <This also will stall skimming> dechlorinator for 24 hrs, and dried out for next week) and add some top off water that I had buffered with Seachem reef buffer. Turned everything back on- skimmer hasn't worked since! I know that some buffers will cause skimmers to stop temporarily but a week, or 2 months ? Is it a bad batch of buffer that causes this ? <Mmm, no> Is it the stress coat dechlorinator or this combined with the buffer? <The first by itself and the "aging" of your system... Not the buffer> I have been cleaning the bags like this for almost a year now but I think i used the Kordon brand before. I have been using the Seachem products for almost as long. I buffer the top off water with the reef buffer or some times magnesium or reef builder from Seachem. The reef buffer is a newer bottle but the skimmer hasn't worked in so long I can't remember when I started using what . Any ideas? If its the buffer is there any way to counter act this. I did a bunch of water changes before and that did nothing. Here are the tank parameters if this helps. salinity 1.024 hardness 10dkh Ca 400 Ph 8.1 to 8.2 ammonia .25 (ouch!) this is my main concern with the skimmer nitrate an nitrite 0 Tank is a 75 g. with 100# + of live rock and 100# of sand residents include a Yellow Tang, Tomato Clown, Fairy Wrasse, Royal Gramma, and a Flame Angel a Frogspawn a bunch of Mushrooms a Leather Coral <Could be a bunch of terpenoid activity from...> a pulsing Xenia and now some BGA I see as becoming a problem Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated. the residents seem unaffected by the ammonia for now but they won't be for long I fear. Thank you very much for any insight, I look forward to your response John P. <I might test as suggested above... otherwise, I would not be concerned. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Beckett skimmer problems  4/7/08 Thank you Mr. Fenner for your response. You seem inclined to believe it is the stress coat dechlorinator causing the skimmer problems. <At least partly, yes> Is there a better product you would recommend to dechlorinate the filter bags or should I just spay them off with tap water and let them dry? <Yes... I would buy, mix up and store (in small... quantities... a few months use at a time), simple sodium thiosulfate (hyposulfite)... can be gotten through photo outlets... one pound to a gallon or so clean freshwater... This is the old DeChlor product...> I did some reading about RedOx in Mr. Calfo's book Reef Invertebrates and Mr. Sprung's reef books and that points to weak water flow and low gas turnover as well as low oxygen levels if I am correct? <In part, yes... there is much more> I am using an Iwaki MD55RLT return pump into a manifold in the tank so I think flow is pretty good ( I'm guessing 800-900 gph after head loss). The skimmer is fed air through a 3/8 inch tubing that runs to the outside because of some cabinet refinishing I did a few weeks back so I believe the tank is getting a good supply of fresh air if this relates to RedOx in a positive manner. I don't have any way to test RedOx so I try to rely on good husbandry. I have had a consistently low PH problem <This is indicative...> since I have had this system and dose Kalk daily <... am not a fan...> to keep PH elevated <... doesn't really do this...> and my Ca. and Alk seem fairly balanced. You mentioned terpenoid activity is this referring to the corals reacting to one another? <Can but there is a larger/separate issue of Alcyoniid production, its effects...> the leather and the frogspawn sit in opposite sides of the tank with the mushrooms about 8 inches from the frogspawn and the Xenia about the same from the leather. <The leathers activity goes all through the system water... almost instantaneously> I'm just concerned about the rising ammonia level, I've had 0 ammonia since the rock has cured. One would think if there is ammonia then there should be something to skim. <Ah, no...> if the system is in equilibrium then so be it - something to be thankful for. Thanks so much for you response, much appreciated. John P <Unfortunately... there are too many "if this, then that" stmt.s to be made here... Are you "into" chemistry, physics... part. as they relate to biology? Got some time? BobF>

Lack of skimmate from protein skimmer 4/7/08 How is everyone today, <Getting by.> I have noticed that you suggest that a cup a day of dark skimmate from your skimmer should be had, but I have a difficult time getting three cups per week, and it is not all that dark. <Not necessarily a big deal if water quality is ok and algae is under control.> I am currently using a Coralife Super Skimmer 125 on my 75 gallon mainly reef tank set inside a 30 gallon refugium. The only fish I have are 1 Maroon Clown and 1 Lawnmower Blenny. I also have two Cleaner Shrimp, a Sally Lightfoot an Emerald Crab, about a dozen Hermit Crabs and a couple of Snails. The coral is a wide variety of Leather and Sps corals. Should I expect more from my skimmer or with the load I have in my tank is what I am getting sufficient. <I would guess that the skimmer is doing ok, how does your tank look?> Thanks in advance, Shawn <Welcome> <Chris>

Re: Lack of skimmate from protein skimmer. 4/7/08 Hello again Chris, <Hi> My tank looks great. The only problem I am having is with algae growth on the front glass. It has to be cleaned 2 to 3 times a week. <That's pretty normal to be honest.> I also do 15% water changes every other week. Perhaps my algae growth is do to the fact I recently went to a six light T-5 HO system. I did reduce the daylight cycle from 12 to 10. Perhaps I will drop it down some more and see what that does. <I would not really worry about it, algae will always try to colonize "virgin" territory, aka your front glass.> My phosphates read 0 so I don't think that is a problem. <Good> Thanks again for your help, Shawn <Sounds like your nutrient control methods, including the skimmer, are doing fine and I would not worry too much about the skimmer production.> <Chris>

Coralife Super Skimmer Flooding On To Floor! 03/22/08 Dear Crew, <<Morning, Andy>> I was hoping you may have heard of a solution for my problem (other than "buy a AquaC or EuroReef" ;-) ). <<Mmmbut is good advice [grin]>> I have a Coralife Super Skimmer that actually does a pretty good job at collecting dark green skimmate daily. However, one thing about this skimmer that I absolutely HATE is that it is prone to spontaneously go nuts and overflow the collection cup, with water all over my floor. <<I would hate that too>> There is no rhyme or reason to this. It will operate great for months and then one day I will come home to find 4 gallons of water on my floor. <<Yeeikes! Troublesome indeed!>>>> Tuesday night, I thoroughly cleaned every part of my skimmer. It worked great until last night, when my wife says "Why is there water all over the floor?" <<Uh-oh>> I searched WWM and found a post from someone that had the same problem, and Crew directed that he contact the manufacturer. So, I did this but haven't heard back yet. <<Likely of little help in this situation, as you explain it>> I'm sure I will hear "refer to page X of the manual. Make sure the bubble diffuser isn't clogged, blah blah blah." <<Yesor something even less useful>> I know that additives can impact the operation of this skimmer, <<Indeedespecially caustic elements (Kalkwasser) that cause saponification of fatty Esters in the water. And though this can/will increase a skimmers efficiency/skimmate output, it ordinarily wont cause it to flood 4-gallons of water on to the floor. On the other hand, some liquid coral foods contain so much of these fatty components and the like that ANY skimmer will go nuts for a time.>> but the only thing I add to my system other than top-off water is ESV B-Ionic 2-part calcium buffer. <<Hmmwouldnt think this to be the problem here>> I have checked everything, so I know it's this skimmer and not me or the other elements of my system. I was hoping that the Crew might have gotten some updated information about this skimmer in respect of this problem. Maybe it just is the skimmer design and my only real solution is to bite the bullet and get an AquaC. <<I think it is as you have statedthat the design and engineering of the skimmer are likely the problem here. The best skimmers in the world can flood under the right circumstancesbut a quality product of good design wouldnt be giving you the headaches you seem to be experiencingbased on the information you have provided. Aside from replacing the skimmeryou could try setting it to produce a less-wet skimmate which may reduce its potential for accidents. Another option would be to live with the skimmers quirks and modify the skimmer cup for the addition of a drain line to a larger container, if feasible>> Thanks for any input/thoughts. Andy <<Not sure Ive done any more than maybe confirm what you already knew [grin]. Regards, EricR>>

Re: Coralife Super Skimmer Flooding On To Floor! - 03/23/08 As I expected, Eric. Darn!! <<Ah yesfigured you already knew>> Attaching an outlet hose to the collection cup wouldn't work here. When this thing goes crazy, it GOES crazy--if I didn't have a Tunze auto top-off system running, it would drain my sump in no time. <<I see>> Ironic that the top-off system actually contributes to my wet floor issues here, although the alternative would be a fried pump . . . <<Indeedbit of a Catch-22>> It's funny--all the money I've spent on lighting, livestock, etc.--I just bought 2 IceCap 250W MH ballasts to replace my stock Odyssea ballasts. $281, but I hesitate spending that same amount for a quality skimmer . . . Priorities, priorities. <<Perhaps being more than just priority, its normal to try to save a buck here and therethe trick (obviously) is learning where to pinch those pennies. Its not always easy considering manufacturers often outlandish claims and even those of individuals trying to justify their own poor judgment/choices>> Thanks again for your help. Andy <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Current Fission Skimmer Problems 3/12/08 Hi crew! Hope all is well with everyone. <Hello James, it is, I wish the same to you!.> First I'll give an overview of my setup. I have recently decided that I wanted to try my hand at reef keeping. <Great!> I decided to use a 36 gallon AGA corner tank that I have had empty for some time. The tank has been up for about 3 months with about 50 pounds of live rock from Lalo and some from Fiji. I have just recently gotten a test kit and while my water parameters aren't perfect I think they are acceptable for now. ( I should mention that I am using straight tap water.) Salinity - 1.023, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 0, PH - 8.2, Calcium is between 380-400, Phosphate - 0ppm to .25ppm, KH 12-13dKH. <Yes, I would work on raising the salinity to 1.026 and lowering the KH a bit.> I am going through a brown algae bloom and have been for about 2 weeks. Within the last few days I have started to get some neon green slime algae? Not sure about that but I figure it's normal. <This is a phase many new systems go through.> As for equipment I have a Marineland 660 Powerhead for flow(170gph), Marineland Penguin 200 BioWheel HOB for more flow(200gph) and it doubles as a chamber for carbon, I use no filter cartridge with this. Lighting is provided by Corallife Lunar Aqualight 130 Watt Power Compact 1/2 03 true actinic and 1/2 10,000k. I plan to supplement this with a 150 Watt Metal Halide Pendant. <OK> And finally my problem. A Current Fission Skimmer rated for 110 gallons. It has been running for a week now turned all the way down. It starts overflowing the collection cup in seconds if it is turned up even slightly. At the lowest setting it will overflow in less than two minutes. <Not good.> To solve this I have ran a piece of airline tubing from the collection cup back into the tank that continually siphons. <Innovative solution!> It has actually started to collect a thick slimy brown skimmate in the very bottom of the collection cup. This unit comes with a sponge bubble diffuser that if left off the skimmer will not overflow, <A telling sign.> however it covers the tank with microbubbles so thick you cant see thru the tank clearly. I thought of adding a sump and not using the diffuser but I have read about a lot of cases where skimmers' in sumps still sent bubbles into the main tank. <They can, but a sump gives you more bubble fighting options via baffles.> I don't know if it matters but my skimmer pump is approximately 10 inches underwater and has a flow rate of 300gph. The return is approximately 2-3 inches underwater. <Sounds fine.> The skimmer seems to do very well without the bubble diffuser, but you cannot see the tank. Did I buy a bad skimmer? <It sounds like a restricted diffuser causing the level in the skimmer to rise too high. Do check the diffuser and make sure all is unrestricted and clean through the unit. Otherwise I would contact the manufacturer regarding this problem.> I would have thought the skimmer should have broken in by now. I have pictures but they are all a few megs in size even when saved as a jpeg or bmp. <They are not necessary in this case.> Thanks for any input! You guys do a great job! <Welcome James, thank you!> Sincerely, James Mercer <Regards, Scott V.>

Skimmer suddenly runs clear. Skimmer Trouble 3/10/08 Hi Folks! <Hello.> As always, thanks for your fine site and all of your help. <Very welcome, thank you.> We have a 75g reef with a 20g Eco-Systems refugium. System has been up and running for almost 2 years. Water parameters are as follows: Temp.: 77.5 f, SG: 1.026, Ph: 8.3, Ca: 425ppm, Mg: 1325, NO3: 5ppm, dKH: 6.7 <Keep an eye on the KH, it is on the low end.> We test the water and perform a 15% (12g) water change every week. When doing the water change we typically add calcium & magnesium to the new water as it mixes to maintain the levels above. Water parameters have remained very stable almost since the very beginning. <Sounds good.> I have the skimmer adjusted so that I need to clean the cup about every 5 days or so. The skimmate has been appropriately dark & smelly. <OK> Suddenly, however, the skimmer has started to run clear and fills the cup in about 1 minute!! <Somethings amiss.> We have made no changes to our regimen whatsoever. No new food or additives of any kind. <Anything else new to the tank, decor, equipment?> At the present time, I'm letting the skimmer run without the cup on in hopes that this symptom will work itself out. But I have no idea what has caused this or how long it will last. Any ideas? <If this has continued past an hour or two there is likely something wrong with the skimmer itself. The two items to check are the air intake (line, injector, venturi, whatever your particular skimmer uses) and the pump impeller, especially on needle wheel skimmers. Obstructions on either will cause the pump to push less air and more water into your skimmer, potentially causing the overflow. Also double check your skimmer adjustments to make sure nothing was inadvertently bumped. Something has changed, it is just a process of elimination to figure out what.> Thanks in advance! Jan & Ellen <Welcome, I hope this helps, Scott V.>

Running Protein Skimmer Outside Sump 2/28/08 Hello <Hello.> I have a new 65 gallon reef ready all glass set up. I also have a 11.5 gallon refugium. <Great! A refugium is a nice addition to any tank.> My problem is that my skimmer is too wide to fit into the compartments... how can I plumb the skimmer outside the refugium or use a container to place it into? I have a 38 gal reef set up I am moving to the new 65 gallon. Thanks <As far as externally plumbing the skimmer, it will depend on which skimmer you have. Some simply cannot be run like this. You can easily get a container (tank, plastic bin, 5 gal bucket if it will fit into it) to run it in. You will need to have your overflow feeding the skimmer container and then have the container overflow into the rest of your sump/refugium system via a bulkhead (Uniseals are nice if you use the 5 gal bucket) and PVC. There are many ways to do this, all different for each situation. It all just requires a little innovation. Good luck, Scott V.>

Re: Running Protein Skimmer Outside Sump 2/29/08 Okay the skimmer type is a aquatic life support systems by optimum aquarium mtg. already has a place for the inlet to screw into and a outlet. <I am not familiar with this particular skimmer. You may be able to externally plumb it if the skimmer is a quality recirculation model (does not leak). If you have questions about its suitability to run externally I would contact the manufacturer.> Not sure what a Uniseal is? can you explain? <It is a flexible bulkhead; more accurately a pipe grommet. They are handy for running pipe through irregular or round shapes such as a bucket. A simple Google search will show you exactly what they are.> I read I should cut two holes in the return pipe in the overflow.. is this correct? <You mean your sump return line? You can drill two small (1/8 or so) holes just below the waterline to act as a siphon break in the event of a power outage. > Thanks <Welcome, Scott V.>

Skimmer Operation Question 2/24/08 I have some questions about my sump setup for my reef tank as I don't think it is set up properly to allow optimum performance for my skimmer as it does not produce very much skimmate. <OK> We paid someone to setup our system for us as we have little knowledge about these things. However, I have been doing a lot of reading on your site and in the skimmer's manual and this has raised many questions. Unfortunately the manual does not advise on the best placement for setup, probably because so many systems are different, but does give instructions on placement of the components. We have a Corallife Super Skimmer that has a venturi air system with a needle-wheel pump that is mounted as a hang-on system. The only thing I see that differs from the manual setup is that the output line that goes into the bubble diffuser cup overflows into the tank with about a 6 inch waterfall drop as opposed to being set into the water to allow only a .25 overflow drop per the manual. <This alone can have a decided impact on skimmer performance. The pump is designed to have water level higher up in relation to the skimmer. By making it pump the extra 5+ you are taking away from the pumps ability to feed the skimmer water and air, quite likely significantly.> I've read on your site, and I quote Anthony, "Proteins accumulate in the very top most layer of water (like sea foam on the sea). Our goal is to skim (via overflow) and concentrate them for handling by a skimmer. Ideally this means that they should overflow or be carried raw into the skimmer feed/pump If instead we allow them to crash into a primary vessel (chamber one)  before overflowing to a secondary chamber with the skimmer (number two) then the proteinaceous matter can migrate to the surface of chamber one and get partly bypassed. Essentially... we are looking for a direct path of raw overflowing water to the skimmer." <All this is very true and can drastically affect skimmer performance.> I do believe that my setup is exactly what Anthony is saying that we should not do. It is very difficult to get a good picture of my setup so I have attached a crude drawing that I did. <It gets the point across!> I am thinking that the skimmer should be in the chamber after the first intake chamber. <Or the first chamber if it will fit, at least the feed pump.> I am also thinking that since the proteins accumulate in the top layer of water, the chiller pump along with the waterfall from the diffuser box may be mixing the water too much for the skimmer to get the proteins out of the water. <It will dilute the compounds, making each pass through the skimmer less efficient. This mixing is going to happen on its way through the overflow lines anyhow. Mr. Calfos statement above is alluding to the option of feeding overflow water directly into the skimmer or having the overflow water as close to the skimmer intake as possible to minimize the bypass of the raw water. This goes in conjunction with the overflow providing a true surface skimming, something that not all overflow designs do.> What do you think? Is my setup fine and am I over-analyzing this or should I make some changes? <The changes mentioned above will certainly help; you must run this skimmer in the chambers with a higher water level to have a chance for any of the other factors come into play.> The bottom line is: my skimmer does not produce much output and I believe that I have it adjusted correctly. Also, are both my chiller and UV sterilizer working to their best efficiency with have both the input/output lines so close to each other? <No, they are not. You will be recirculation the same water in the chiller and UV doing this. I would try to plumb them to run off your return pump and into your display if you can. Do pay attention to the manufacturers recommended flow rates through each unit if you do so.> Should they be in separate chambers of the sump or would that be detrimental to my skimmer operation? <However you end up situating them, I would try to plumb their intakes/outputs after the skimmer.> Thank you for any comments or advice you can provide. Deb <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

AquaC EV240 Producing Microbubbles 2/16/08 Hello Gents - and thanks again for the fantastic resource. If only we all followed all the advice you give us! <Heeeand if gas were back to $1 a gallon!> Here's my dilemma - I have a 150XH fish only tank with a large wet dry and a Living Color coral insert. I run an Aqua C EV 240 on my reef and have one for this tank as well. I installed a new wet dry this week. Problem is that the skimmer is putting a tone of micro bubbles back into the display. <Was it doing this before the new wet/dry? The same manufacturing residues/oils that can cause a new skimmer to spit out microbubbles are present in the new sump. You may just need some time.> The sump is as follows - 40" long. From right to left, the tank drains into a 26" area of bio balls. I dont have enough room in the cabinet, so I use a submersible Mag9 as the return pump. Due to the fact that the last area of the sump is the only 'open' area, its crowded. I have the Mag 9 tank return pump, the Ev240 and the Mag 18 that feeds the 240. <According to the AquaC website this pump overdrives this skimmer and may need to be throttled down a bit. This could be playing a factor in bubble return.> The skimmer water returns right to the area where the tank return pump is. <Tough situation, even the slightest amount of bubbles will be returned to the tank.> Unfortunately, I have VERY little space in that open area so I'm hoping to solve this problem. Any ideas? I can call Jason Kim on Monday as well. Thanks J <I would definitely contact Jason Kim for his input. In the meantime, you may want to try either some filter foam or filter sock types of materials between the skimmer output and the return pump to help catch the bubbles. Welcome and good luck, Scott V.>

Protein Skimmers And Water Turbulence 01-31/08 Hello, <<Howdy>> Quick question. <<Okay>> I have an AquaC Remora w/MJ 1200 and prefilter box on my tank. The skimmer is able to produce a cup of dark skimmate a day. <<Excellent>> I recently added two additional powerheads to my tank and the skimmer stopped producing skimmate. <<Ahh>> I had noticed this in the past when I readjusted the return outlet to change circulation pattern. Is it possible that I am creating a circulation pattern that does not allow the skimmer to take in raw DOCs? <<The evidence would seem to bear this out>> I don't think it is just filtering the same water over and over, but I can't be sure. <<Likely what is happening is the sub-surface and surface turbulence is reducing the concentration of DOCs at the surface of the water, as well a channeling raw water away from the skimmer box, thus reducing the efficiency of the skimmer. Some authors recommend not directing pump outlets toward the surface of the water for this reason>> I tried to check the site, but I couldn't find anything about circulation affecting skimmers. <<There will be one now [grin]>> Thank You, Sean <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Protein Skimmer, op.  1/24/08 Hello all, <Hello.> First time with a question on your site (which is great by the way, have learned so much). <Excellent!> I have just set up my new 55 gal FOWLR tank about 3 weeks ago. I have an AquaClear 110 power filter, two AquaClear 30 powerheads, and a pro clear aquatics 75 protein skimmer. There is about 25 lbs of aragonite sand and I just have about 5 lbs of live rock just for something to look at for now (has been in there for about half a week). <OK> My question is, my skimmer is not collecting anything. My ammonia is about 0.5 still. Is this normal for a new tank, or should it be collecting a lot of dark stuff? <It should collect some, but with only 5lbs of rock and no fish at this point (I hope), there is not much of a bioload. Raise the water level higher in the skimmer if you can and give it some time. Also check the airline and water intake for any obstructions.> Also, I have 130W PC lighting that has been on from about 7am until 10pm (because I am at work between then and have not put it on a timer yet), and the live rock that I do have is a bit brown and white. <Yes, get the timer and cut back to 10-12 hours a day.> There is still some light green and maroon sports on it though. There is none of these colors anywhere else in the tank though. Should I worry about this, or is my live rock just doing what it is supposed to be doing? <It is going through the normal curing/tank cycling process.> I also want to get more live rock now and finish off the last 40 lbs or so. <The sooner the better, your rock can cure together. Otherwise you will go through the whole process again. Once you get more rock you should see some skimmate out of your skimmer. If you dont, consider upgrading to an AquaC, EuroReef or ASM.> Thanks so much for your help. You guys (and gals) are great!!! Matthew Diethorn <Thank you for the kind words, good luck, Scott V.>

Re: Protein Skimmer, op.  1/25/08 Thanks for getting back to me so fast, but I just have one more thing. <No problem.> I got the live rock from my LFS and it is said to be already cured. <Even if it is truly cured, it can need to go through the process again to some extent after moving to your tank.> I got home from work yesterday (timer is now set up to run from noon till 10pm) and it is very brown, even the white that I was talking about is turning brown and the color that was on it is also turning brown. <Common with new tanks.> There is no other brown stuff on the sand or glass at all. <Good.> Should I be doing water changes without any bioload? <I would. It will certainly lower your ammonia level, as well as any nitrite/nitrate that may have accumulated thus far (have you tested for these?). Also, starting water changes now starts good habits.> All I do now is top off my evaporation. Also, my specific gravity is at about 1.029, a bit high I know. <Yes, lower to 1.025-1.026. Do be sure you are topping off with freshwater.> I don't really know how soon I can get more live rock. Is my lighting maybe a bit too bright? (doubtful). <No.> I hope this is normal for cured live rock and will turn for the better. <It will get better with proper maintenance, i.e. water changes for now.> Thanks for anymore help you can give me. Matthew Diethorn <Welcome. Good luck, Scott V.>

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