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FAQs about Skimmer Operation/Maintenance 19

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 18, & 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 Skimmers Skimmers for Eclipse Systems, Skimmers for Small SystemsSkilter Skimmers, Tunze Skimmers, Algae Control

Skimmer Articles:
Protein Skimming: An Important Tool For a Successful Reef Aquarium by James Gasta
Protein Skimmers: A Myriad of Choices
by Steven Pro
Protein Skimmer Impressions by Steven Pro
Tunze 9002 DOC Skimmer Product Review by Justin Norman,
Vertex Aquaristik, A promising line of skimmers from Germany, by James Gasta
AquaC Auto-Shutoff Waste Container, Product Review by James Gasta

Tiny Bubbles (not the Don Ho classic) and Larger Ones & Bubble Troubles 1, Bubble Troubles 2,

Big, dirty fish? Big, efficient skimming

ASM G-1 Protein Skimmer w/ G-500 Pump      9/21/17
I am having problems with my skimmer as I moved it to a different reef tank.
I can’t seem to get it tuned. It keeps taking on water and it is not skimming at all.
What height should the water be with it be sitting in the sump?
<Mmm; well, about "mid way" up the contactor column is about right. From there it's a matter of adjust flow and percentage air mix. You may not have much/anything to skim. One way to check this last is to try another skimmer here. I encourage you to read this FAQs file on WWM re ASM skimmers:
And contact the Chuas at All Seas, the manufacturers (info listed on the FAQs site) if you can't get it to go otherwise>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Two Curiosities (Cycle and Skimmer/evaporation)    3/27/17
Hello WWM Crew,
I am about a month into the set up of my new tank, and I have several curiosities that I am puzzling over. As you all are always here for me (and I REALLY appreciate that) I thought I would send them your way in the hopes that not only can you answer my inquiries, but also that they might perhaps help someone else as well.
First a little background. I have a 75 gallon tank with a 30 gallon sump. I filled the tank in late February, and on March 8 got 42 lbs. of really good live rock at a LFS that is about an hour and a half away. This stuff was well cured, large but light (very pours), and full of all kinds of life: sea stars, brittle stars, all kinds of pods and Mysis, sponges, worms, snails, clams, feather dusters galore. I took it home and stuck in the tank. The original plan was to put an additional 35 lbs. or so of (formerly) live rock (now dead) that I had in my tank four years ago that has been sitting in my basement dry in a 5 gallon bucket since. The plan was to let the old rock “feed” the new rock through the cycle period, and the new rock to fill the old rock with bacteria. However, I didn’t have time to put all the dead rock in and aquascape that day, so I just stuck the new rock in the tank for a few days until I was going to have time to do the rest. Having seen all the life on the new rock, I’m glad that I didn’t have time. Especially since on one of the rocks was a hitchhiking Kenya Tree Coral (it’s about an inch tall closed up).I didn’t even notice it until I was home. I had hoped to start the tank as a FOWLR, and eventually (maybe) move on to some soft corals. But I ended up getting thrust into the world of corals already. I didn’t want to go ahead with the original plan for fear that
it would kill the coral and a lot of the other cool life on the live rock. So, on the advice of a friend (who owns the LFS store where I got the rock) instead of going ahead and putting in all the dead rock, I am adding instead one or two of the rocks per week so that the bacteria can build slowly and handle all the dead stuff on the old rock. I have also washed them off really well—spraying them with a hose and also immersing them in water several times. All of the dead rocks except one are less than 5lbs. each and a few are really small. I’ve added four this way (less than 10 lbs. so far), and so far all is well.
<This is a good, workable plan; though I most often suggest and use old/dead rock under the new>
So now for the first curiosity. When I put the new live rock in the tank originally and left it for several days, I expected a brief cycle—it was well cured, but out of the water for almost two hours on the way home. But I never got one. For the few days that I left it in the tank by itself, I did “feed” it a small pinch of fish food every other day. In fact, I have had no evidence of a cycle at all—even putting in the four dead rocks so far (over the last two weeks).I’m not getting any ammonia or nitrite (which I didn’t expect to get), but I’m not getting any Nitrate either (and I have a brand new Nitrate test, and an older one too).It is just a standard Nitrate test (not a low level one), but it keeps reading 0—certainly not 5ppm (the next step up on the color chart).I would have thought that after having been in there three weeks that I would be getting some kind of Nitrate reading.
<Mmm; nope. You have a classic "balanced" aerobic/anaerobic setting currently>
I am getting some algae this week—some diatoms and a little bit of hair algae. I’ve had to use my lights more because of the coral. I did set up my skimmer (Aqua C EV-180) a few days after I put in the new rock. This is the first time I’ve used a skimmer (I didn’t have one before), but it was easy to follow the directions and install it. It didn’t skim anything at first (during break-in).It just churned the water, but after I put in the first of the old rocks it started skimming some dark gray water. It will slow down after a day or so, but then when I put another old rock in, it will produce some more.
<Par for the course>
So here are my theories on why I am not getting any Nitrates.1. The live rock is substantial enough (and the waste is still small enough even with the four old rocks) that the denitrifying bacteria in the live rock is removing the Nitrates as they are being produced.2.The Nitrates are being used up by the algae in the tank. In addition to the diatoms and hair algae, there are lots of coralline algae that seem to be growing before my eyes.3.The skimmer is removing a lot of the dead stuff from the old rocks before it can go through the cycle.4.All of the above. Thoughts?
<All three; but mostly 1)>
The other curiosity is mostly more of an observation. My skimmer, when it is producing foam greatly increases the rate of evaporation in the tank. In the period of time before I installed the skimmer, I thought I had the rate of evaporation roughly figured. This remained fairly constant while it was breaking in as well. But when it started producing foam and skimming the evaporation really increased. I'm losing a little over a half gallon a day. When I empty the cup and clean the tower, it loses the head of foam and takes several hours to build it back
up. During this time the rate of evaporation slows way down. I'm not losing that much liquid in the collection cup itself. It's evaporating more rapidly. I guess I was curious as to why this is the case?
<More surface area; more rapid evaporation>
Is it normal? And is this something that is common with all skimmers or just
the EV-180?
<Normal for all>
Again, thank you for always being there for me (and all of us).I have learned so much from your site and from the inquiries that I have sent in.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

New To Marine keeping       8/31/15
Hi we have just bought a 47 gallon tank ,
it's been set up for 3 weeks, but we are having loads of micro bubbles coming from the protein Skimmer, in the tank, what can we do to help reduce these bubbles ,
<Mmm; really; best to be "just patient". They'll soon be gone on their own. This "bubble ness" is part of some "new" set up occurrences. You could just turn the skimmer off for right now... turn it back on once the system is cycling (nitrate accumulation observed)>
and with the wave maker blowing the other direction it's cycling the bubble around. Please help
Many thanks
<Again, best to just wait. There are surfactants, products that will coalesce bubbles, but this will only delay your system becoming "cycled"...
Try not to worry re. Bob Fenner>
Re: New To Marine keeping       8/31/15

Oh thanks bob will keep in contact join up site
<? Okay! BobF>

Horrible Protein Skimmer; sel., op. f's      8/29/15
I am writing today with questions regarding a reef octopus (1000) protein skimmer, it is a hang on back, and currently I hate it. Contrary to many online reviews, excluding yours, it seemed to be an appropriate option for my 65 gallon mixed reef. I have given it the time that the customer service support agent recommended when I contacted them about the issues I am and continue to encounter. It has been running for almost six months now. The tank has 0 ammonia and nitrite but nitrate is 10-20ppm. I have two clownfish, who are starving because I don't want to add food and nitrates, some xenia, mushrooms, and my live rock.
<Mmm; do feed the Clowns, in fact all life here.... better by far... >
This is bothersome and not ideal for adding livestock. The problem is that the skimmer consistently produces, well, water? No smell or nastiness or even foam to speak of, and so far has overflowed the collection cup in the middle of the night with no obvious reason multiple times. So, is there a hob protein skimmer that addresses the overflow vulnerability, at this point I would be happy if it just ran straight back into the tank. Also budget, I seem to have failed with the reef octopus, unless there is some unforeseen solution you might suggest?
<Yes; there are other makes, models... these are addressed on WWM>
I could probably spend $200 more on a different skimmer at this sad point, but not the $2000 for the deltec that seems to be the only one that specifically addresses the overflow concern. Does the aqua c have a design that might cause an overflow to be funneled back into the tank, or another with a more modest cost?
<Their Remora line, middle or largest size would work; or the Urchins>
And I guess it wouldn't hurt if the equipment actually produced foam, the reef octopus is either incapable or I am vastly confused.
<Mmm; well; the issue might be "your water/system".... sometimes some don't produce much skimmate>
Finally while I am expressing my discontent, I can't put my hand in the tank without an immediate overflow by this stupid machine.
<Mmm; do you have test kits for alkalinity and Calcium, Magnesium? Am curious what your general water quality is here>
I use ro/di water, 0 tds with a meter, I don't add any chemicals and I do thoroughly rinse my hands before inserting them, but I can't have this overflow every time I try to smother that vermetid snail, chuckle. He constantly irritates with his mucous web but as long as he doesn't reproduce. Thank you in advance. Your time is so appreciated.
<Let's keep chatting for now. Bob Fenner>
re: Horrible Protein Skimmer; sel.        8/31/15

I appreciate your response and I have been pouring over your website. I am writing back because I can't seem to find a clear answer to my question and I am being asked by the Deltec representative for my choice of protein skimmer (and credit card number).
<Deltec units are nice, just pricey>
I am concerned over the quality of the unit, the reef octopus produces huge water laden bubbles and overflows more often than not. I want to know if there is a hob protein skimmer that specifically addresses the issue of potential overflow?
<... none that I'm aware; however; they span a range of utility and adjustability...>
I think the Deltec mce600 is designed for any overflow to fall, flow, back in to the tank, but the model I am being offered is the Deltec mce400, information, in English, about it is scant at best. Do you know anything about this model, whether it has the overflow protection?
<It does not as far as I'm aware... again, w/o a sump.... for hang on/s I've already given you my (AquaC) rec.s>
It seems sketchy that there seems to be a lack of knowledge or even vendors of these Deltec products, and it is $400. I also am including api test results as suggested. My 65 gallon is only 6 months old so I just started testing for carbonate hardness 8 dKH, 500 ppm calcium,
<Too high by a hundred ppm. Please, READ on WWM before writing us>
I don't yet dose or use any chemicals, though I may have to find some help with testing. My calcium appears high for not having added anything? This can be so confusing.
<Then keep reading, questioning and NOT buying.

Skimmer issue      6/9/15
Hey good. morning Bob,
My girlfriend and I were looking at houses this weekend. When I came back my skimmer collection cup became full of skimmate and started pouring back into sump.
<No fun.... I'd retrofit an overflow line to dump this outside the system (like into a milk jug)>
My water was very dusky, and there giant foam heads in the sump. Much of the foam has dissipated , and the water is starting to clear up.
The only think I did was thrown in prime to control ammonia.
<Hopefully will help>
My fish are all alive. Is there something I should still do to protect then, or is this something that just needs time to clear up. I didn't have any rodi water made up upon discovery.
Thank u
<When, where in doubt, water change/s! Am a huge fan of keeping goodly volumes of pre-made water on hand.
Bob Fenner>

Skimmer, op.       5/13/15
Hey Bob,
I have a Super Reef Octopus 1000 skimmer in my 72 that will be going into my new 150 very soon. Sometimes it works great but it just randomly overflows most of the time.
<Yikes... I hope some where, how that it doesn't make a mess, stink>
I cleaned it out a couple of months ago, and it is in the filter sock area of my sump fyi.
Should it be there or somewhere else?
<Mmm; somewhere the water is of a constant level; not too much turbulence... There are MANY differing sump designs>
I have mud in my middle chamber along with Chaeto and then the pumps and some rock rubble in the final chamber... Maybe it doesn't have enough waste to skim?
<Mmm; not the/a cause of overflow>
Should I put it on a 12hr on/off schedule?
<I might... >
It's really getting to me. Right now there is a black dogface puffer, teardrop butterfly, comet, Flagtail Blanquillo
<Neat animals; DO keep the top covered!>
and a long nosed hawk. I feed Omega flakes in the morning and Mysis at night. Also the puffer gets a meaty meal every other day. Is that too much feeding?
<Shouldn't be... use NO3 measures to gauge>
Thanks as always,
<Have you written the manuf. re the skimmer? I would. Bob Fenner>
Re: Skimmer      5/13/15

Hmm, the Coral Vue website says this...
"There are several common reasons a protein skimmer will overflow but the most common is a chemical within the water itself.
Chemical Reaction - Some chemicals react with the air that the skimmer produces and causes the skimmer to over produce foamate. Chemicals known to cause skimmers to overflow are, red slime remover, medications, reef/frag putties (epoxy Putty) frag glues, water conditioners, dechlorinators, stress coat, NEW filter socks, newly mixed salt, bacteria (seeding)
additives as well as other dosing medias. In order to remove these chemicals from the water column we suggest that you do several 20% water changes over the period of a month and add a good amount of fresh activated carbon to the system and change out every week till the skimmer has returned to normal operation."
What do you think?
<These are factual statements; causes of overflow... but you did not mention any of these possibilities. Is there a correlation twixt what and when you feed (mostly the puffer) foods?>
I do put in newly washed filter socks every night. They are rarely ever too dirty unless after I clean the tank and move around the sand and shake out rocks one a week. That's the only thing I can think of.
<I don't like this sort of mystery... thankfully I take it your skimmer overflows back into your sump.... I'd try cleaning the skimmer thoroughly, esp. the contact chamber and collecting cup... clean and dry. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer placement     ‏            11/10/14
Hello again, Mr. F.
Just to let you know, my comet seems to be doing all right in my DT.
<Ah, good>
I released in there some very small cichlids and it ate at least 2 which I witnessed. And until now my fire shrimp and 5 cleaner shrimps are untouched.
I need your advice on another thing now: as I have described in other occasions my system is composed of a 1000 l DT with a 200 l sump with live rock, skimmer ( aqua medic aCone 3.0 ) with ozone, calcium reactor and UV right under the DT. From this sump, the water goes in my basement where I have a 250 l RDSB with Chaetomorpha and another 150 l sump under the RDSB with live rock. I would like to move my skimmer in an intermediate small tank in the basement, just before the RDSB. Reasons: noise ( I know it is supposed to be silent but is very efficient so I like it the way it is) and the mess walking around with cup in the living area.
Problem: the flow that goes in the basement is lower than the one exchanged between the upper sump and DT - about half - so there will be lesser water circulating around the skimmer which will be placed in a sort of remote position. But we are still talking about 2000-2500 l/h that goes through the basement. Do you think the skimmer will be less efficient in the new position, or will continue to do it's job, even if is more remote?
<I think it will be fine in the basement. IF the water level issue becomes a concern, I would move the skimmer to an intermediate position (not the first), where water level is maintained at a greater and steady height. BobF>
Thank you,
Andrei from Romania

skimmer overflowing   2/3/14
Hello Mr. F,
The lighting issue is taking care of, I really hope that I will be able to make the transition smooth enough for my corals.
I have another question maybe you can help me :
I have a AquaMedic aCone 3.0 with a ozone 100 connected to it. The system is functioning for over a year but I still have some very annoying problem: randomly the skimmer overflows.
<Some of AM's skimmers are touchy in their settings... hopefully you have yours set up where if/when it overflows there isn't a mess or too much loss of water>
I also have a Apex Neptune controller with all the probes so I measure the salinity, ph, ORP and they are all stable. The level of the skimmer is 17.5 cm so it is in the range of they`r recommendation, and it doesn't happen after feeding or in any other particular moment. It can go very well  producing nice and lots of skimmate for about a week or 10 days and then out of nowhere it overflows.
<... usually such events are related to foods/feeding, water changes, supplement use>
 I know is not precipitation either,  because I don`t use balling method, I have a calcium reactor so the Ca and alk inflow is constant.
When it overflows, if I rotate a little the air injection nozzle on the venturi pump it can calm down and it can last one hour, one day or 10 days, then it starts the problems again.
<Ah yes; the sensitivity/touchiness I alluded to>
The pump is cleaned regularly, I also cleaned the entire skimmer and now I don`t know what to do. Usually these problems are associated with cheaper and bad skimmers, but I refuse to think that a 900 euro brand new skimmer from AquaMedic is bad.. For now the problem is quite annoying and I would really appreciate some advice from you, before I go and change this skimmer.
thank you
Andrei from Romania
<You might try the hobbyist bulletin boards, even write AquaMedic for their input. IF you can't deal easily with the probable overflow eventualities, I would switch skimmers/brands. Bob Fenner>
Re: skimmer overflowing. Aqua Medic and skim. op. f's        2/4/13

Hello Mr. F.
Quoting you <Mmm> . I tried contacting them and they told me , quote : " the skimmer is not bad, is sensitive and the problem is in your water "
Well, I don't think I really have a problem in the water because the parameters I monitor are stable in a reasonable amount for a reef aquarium .The skimmer is placed in the mid sump and when it overflows is not a problem because the water just spills back in the sump, but the idea is that if the cup contains skimmate it will spill back in the tank polluting it, and this makes the skimmer pretty useless .
<I suggest you look into drilling the collection cup (half inch maybe ID) and fitting it with a thread to barb ending that you can attach some flexible poly tubing to; diverting/directing the skimmate to a larger container (perhaps a one gallon plastic jug)>
And a good skimmer is the centerpiece of a tank filtration, so...
I am just mad because I paid 1000$ + for this and is not reliable.
Any suggestions as for a brand or option?
<The above... take your time drilling the plastic... Get the fitting first. BobF>
Thank you once again,

overflowing skimmer, ETTS, foods     7/23/13
I am on vacation and spending my time reading about skimmers and trying to decide if I need  a new one.
I have a 90 gallon reef with refugium and an ETSS  skimmer (I think).  It is powered by a Mag drive 5.
<Mmm, a good match... Don't like the ETSS design as it "takes so much pump/ing"; but do work; nice for large/r, variably loaded/stocked systems>
 The problem is that every time I turn off the system's pumps  and filtration to feed the fish ( usually about 5 -10 min) the water level in the sump where the skimmer lives rises  from the unpowered tank overflow and if the skimmer immediately comes back on when everything  is turned back on,  it puts up way to o much bubbles/water  through the column and
then into the collection cup and  it all overflows back into the sump.
<Yes; common surfactant action w/ the food/s... I'd experiment w/ other makes/models of... Am a huge fan of Spectrum pellets as a staple... this could likely be supplemented w/ quality frozen (defrosted) foods, greatly decreasing foaming>
 Also , even though I have taken apart and cleaned the Mag drive pump , most of the time it does not immediately start up and has to be physically taken out of the pump and "kicked" to restart.
With regards to the skimmer itself, it is probably 7-10 yrs old. Does it have the latest/best needle/spray injection technology?
<Don't use needles, and there's really not much different, better on the market (would add at a reasonable cost, but even then, less than 10% diff...); so, other than saving on electricity (considerable) to run this unit (which I would do)... I'd leave it as is>
Thanks for your help ,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: overflowing skimmer    7/23/13
I had assumed the bubbling /overflow was due to the protein skimmer working in temporarily much deeper water as opposed to the food being added as the reason.  not true?
<Very secondary... depth is a minor issue, influence here. Try this operating w/o adding foods. BobF>

Coralife Luft Pump... quitting against a skimmer...     3/4/13
I have a question about the Corallife Luft Pump,
<I too am a huge fan of this product... have toured where it used to be made in Germany (by Tetra) and in Blacksburg, VA where the company moved its manufacture...>
 but didn't see this query in your FAQ's.  Here's my set-up:  In my classroom, I have a 100 gallon, cold, salt water tank.  The Luft Pump is attached to an ozonizer which is attached to my protein skimmer.  I've been a fan of the Luft Pump for years because they last so much longer than any other air pump I've used....until now.  Recently, my old Luft Pump had lost its zip so I ordered a repair kit and a new pump, just to be safe.  I replaced the diaphragm and it worked well, briefly.  I thought, "Wow, that's a bummer.
I can't believe it wore out so quickly, but it happens."  So I replaced it with the new pump.  The exact same thing happened.  It worked great for a day, and then it barely seemed to push air. 
<Mmm... I suspect some sort of back-pressure issue here... the skimmer... is this a wooden airstone type? I'd ask that you try blowing through the 3/16" ID airline tubing... can you produce bubbles? These "stones" need to be replaced every few months... sometimes more often>
Since I was out of pumps, I decided to run both a the same time and use a splitter thinking that maybe two weak pumps would be equivalent to one good one. 
<Uhh, no... either can/will produce near 9 psi... will produced more air volume together w/o resistance... but the discharge has to not be higher resistance than the 9 psi>
Here's the weird thing:  I found out, by accident,  that if I unplugged the pumps, just for a minute, they would work perfectly for hours after.  So clearly, nothing is wrong with the diaphragm.  Are they over heating?
<Again, the airstone/s... overheating, yes>
 If so, it seems unlikely that a minute would cause it to cool off significantly.  If over heating is the case, what could I do to prevent it?  Could it be something else?
<Ah yes>
 My routine now, when I come into class, is to unplug the pumps, let them sit for a minute and then plug them back in.  Clearly, I can't do this indefinitely.  Any suggestions?
<Look into replacing the limewood airstones w/ fused glass bead types... A few folks make these, but you may have to order... If all else fails, http://www.aquaticeco.com/
is a good source.>
Ross Henderson
Re: Corallife Luft Pump     3/6/13

I replaced the air stones and that seemed to help.  Thanks.
<Ahh! Let's hope the back pressure didn't harm any components in the pump itself. Cheers, BobF>

Skimmer Placement 1/21/13
I have had my 125 gal mixed reef with a 40L sump with three chambers, the first being a crypt <-ic zone> chamber, second a return chamber, and third being a recirculating chamber that has a overflow wall back to the return pump section. I currently have been running my pm bullet 2 skimmer in the crypt chamber with an overall water flow of around 525-575 gal/hr. Also in this chamber is a NPX bio-pellet reactor only treating a 100g amount (to preserve food for my macro Chaeto in the recirculating/refugium chamber) and a PhosBan reactor, as well as a sponge filter for sponges and copes to breed and grow. The recirculation chamber has about a 175-150 gal/hr. water flow rate through it. For the past 6 months or so my skimmate production has been minimal to null. I was considering moving my skimmer from the higher flow crypt chamber to the lower flow refugium chamber. My concern is will i lose skimming filtration at a lower flow, am i overreacting and should be glad I'm not producing an abundance of skimmate.
<I wouldn't move the skimmer, as moving it won't change the functionality here... the use of chemical filtrants (the Phosban) and carbon addition are likely reducing the skimmate production period. IF your skimmer reaction chamber is being kept clean, I wouldn't be concerned (but then again, I am not a fan of using the chemicals you mention). Bob Fenner>
- Seth
re: Skimmer Placement 1/21/13

<Oops; didn't see the rest/below...>
My display has appx. 3800 gph flow rate between closed loop circulation pumps and a surface breaking power head. All water parameters are in very good ranges nitrates - 0 -1 at max , phosphates - 0 - .03 pH.. - 8.4 salinity - 1.023 temp - 79.1- 79.6 night/day. My water clarity is excellent, coral growth and extension is good there are not any problems with the system other than the concern from lack of skimmate.
Any insight to these ?'s would be much appreciated.
Stock  consists of :
2- swallowtail angels male and female
a Pair of clowns 1 ocellaris and 1 snowflake ocellaris ( lay eggs )
pistol shrimp/ watchman goby pair
orange-back fairy wrasse
yellow eye Kole tang
red sea sailfin tang
strawberry crab
assorted reef hermits (x25)
Astrea snails (x18)
Turbo snails (x2 a little smaller than billiard balls)
scooter blenny
green clown goby
citron clown goby
coral banded shrimp
skunk-back cleaner shrimp
fire shrimp
rose urchin
and mixed corals all doing well !
this is fully stocked and additions of coral have been my only additions in 2 years now , fish are approaching adolescent to adult sizes i would assume there should be plenty of bio waste available for skimmate production, there just isn't any anymore !
Would you keep the skimmer in the higher flow chamber or the Recirc Chamber?
<Really makes too little difference to move at this point>
Will this effect water quality negatively or at worst stay the same ?
<Not appreciable. Won't change>
Also very little Cyano in display but refugium walls are another story ?
would the skimmer in this chamber combat that ?
<Not likely>
Overall Thoughts ?
Thank you for your time reading this and responding ! love wwm !
- Seth
<Cheers, BobF>
re: Skimmer Placement 1/21/13

I unfortunately i am in the position that i am forced to use tap water.
This is why i run gfo.  To my understanding the npx is a biodegradable plastic that feeds bacteria for nitrate control  beyond that gfo has been my only way to keep phosphates at a lower level. What would you recommend instead other than an R/O unit because this is not practical in my situation.
<The RO is the best, cheapest means... even if you have low pressure issues, need to buy, run a pump... BobF>

Overflowing Skimmer – 12/02/12
Dear WetWebMedia,
<<Hey Michele>>
I have had an Aqua-C Urchin Pro Skimmer running on my 75 gallon aquarium for 5 years.
<<I know these guys (Jason and Steve)…good skimmers, good people>>
It has always worked great.
<<No doubt>>
I have it set up to drain the skimmate to a collection container outside of the aquarium.  This week the skimmer went crazy!  It produced gallons of clear "skimmate" in one day.
I keep my tank lightly stocked and don't over feed, so it would normally take months to produce a gallon of skimmate.  Unfortunately, I didn't notice there was a problem until it had flooded my living room floor.
<<Yikes…been there>>
Fortunately, the skimmer was the problem.  I'm sure my blood pressure was quite high until I figured out the tank itself wasn't leaking.
The loss of saltwater was replaced by my auto top off system.  Enough freshwater was added to lower the specific gravity from 1.025 to 1.024.  The only recent change to the aquarium was the addition of a brain coral a week ago.  Other than that, nothing has been added, removed, changed, etc. in over 6 months.  Any guesses as to what would cause the skimmer to suddenly do this?
<<Some change/addition to water chemistry…hard for me to say>>
I doubt it's the brain.
<<Me too>>
I searched the skimmer FAQs.  I apologize if I overlooked the answer.  I found similar problems described with "cheap" skimmers and it was thought to be a design problem.  That's not the case with mine.
Is this problem typically fixable or is it time for a new skimmer?
<<Likely an isolated incident.  It’s impossible for me to say what happened with any certainty, but…perhaps airflow became restricted by debris causing the skimmer to overflow…or perhaps cleaning products were inadvertently introduced to the system causing the excess in skimmate.  It’s not likely the skimmer requires replacement, but should it continue do contact AquaC for their take on it (858-689-1121 or info@proteinskimmer.com)>>
Thank you for your help and the help you've given in the past.
<<Always welcome>>
I have a very healthy tank and I owe the credit to WWM.
<<Is redeeming to know>>
Thank you,
<<Happy to share…  EricR>>

SSA CS1 not producing much skimmate   10/17/12
Hello, I have a 54g corner tank with 10g sump that are both about two years old. The tank is stocked with about 100lbs of live rock, three small fish (maroon clown, six line wrasse, damsel), a handful or crabs and snails, and a coral banded shrimp. I have a yellow Fiji leather,
<Note this>
a dozen small polyp colonies, and a few small mushroom colonies. I'd classify this as lightly stocked but you might not agree. Anyway, I've been having a green hair algae problem for the better part of a year and finally decided to invest in a protein skimmer. I use R/O water and have numerous Hydro Koralia pumps for circulation but the hair algae has become a huge
<This too>
I decided on the SeaSide Aquatics CS1 after doing a lot of research. I've read great things about this skimmer and the Sicce 600 pump. Anyway, after and two and half weeks of operation, it's producing only about 1/8" of light-medium brown/green skimmate a day. The skimmate has no smell, but does have a fair amount of solid dark particles. The skimmer is sitting in
about 10" of water, the manufacturer recommends 25-27cm which is 9.8 to 10.6". I'm running it wide open (maximum air) thus far. Sump turnover is about 200gph. My question is whether this seems like reasonable production or does it sound like something isn't working right/tuned properly?
<Likely is about right for the conditions of your system presently... "light stocking" and the two notes above>
Is this too much skimmer for my tank? Maybe my biolode is too low?
<Not too much and there's no such thing as too low bioload>
I have read about people who get dark, stinky skimmate and I'm not getting anything close to that yet.
<You' don't want it, really... DOC removal in such quality and good quantity are indicative of undesirable conditions>
 Maybe the new skimmer needs longer to break in?
The skimmer is generating a lot of foam within the skimmer body (about half the chamber is full of foam), but very little is getting into the collection cup.
Many thanks in advance for your help.
<As you're "getting some skimmate" I would not worry, be concerned here...
IF you had the means to measure RedOx, and had a good value... I would not further obsess. Bob Fenner>

Protein Skimmer (possible problems/replacement options) – 09/19/12
Hey crew,
For some reason my Bubble Magus NAC-6 is no longer producing any skim/waste into my collection cup.
<<Mmm, could be a couple of things. While unlikely I think, maybe your system is at a point where there’s not much to produce. Or… Maybe, there’s something ailing with the skimmer>>
I’ve adjusted the intake valve and cleaned the skimmer. Still no luck.
So my question is could the pump inside be weakening?
<<It could…through possible “swelling” of the impeller magnet and the subsequent drag created (and a very damaging condition if so). Or perhaps the mesh-wheel has become damaged/worn. If this last, a simple replacement may take care of the issue>>
Do you hear of Bubble Magus giving people trouble?
<<I can’t say just off hand…>>
Also part two of this email is, I've done quite a bit of research on your site, and still can’t come to the conclusion of what type of skimmer I should buy?
<<My recommendation..? Get the best needle-wheel skimmer you can afford>>
Need an in sump skimmer (in case the Bubble Magus has given me all it's got). My specs are 75g mixed reef, low-medium waste.
<<Check out the in-sump offerings from Reef-Dynamics, Bubble King, and yes, Reef-Octopus…follow the manufacturer’s recommendation re size>>
<<Happy to share… EricR>>

Protein Skimmers/Operation 4/22/12
Hello gang,
<Hello Jamie>
Love the site. Have a general question this time, in regards to protein skimmers and the amount of skimmate. I'm wondering if there's a "general" amount of production to look for from whatever brand of protein skimmer you happen to be using? Meaning, assuming a moderate to heavy bio load, should one expect a certain amount of production on a daily or weekly basis as a "marker" for determining weather or not that particular skimmer is functioning appropriately? I ask because I wonder about my own and am considering upgrading to a better model. Probably a Reef Octopus if I decide to do so. In my case, my current skimmer will produce a full cup "at times".
<Daily, weekly?>
 However it's also pretty touchy from the standpoint of having to be adjusted perfectly and have the perfect water level in the sump to do so.
<Required for most skimmers.  ATO devices are great for maintaining a constant water level in the sump. >
In addition to that, there's no markings on it anywhere so I'm unsure of what kind it is...came as part of the complete setup I purchased from someone else. I would classify my bio load as a moderate, leaning towards heavy. A 155 gallon FOWLR setup with several tangs, blue ring angel, percula clown and harlequin tusk. Realizing it's probably difficult to impossible to say for sure, if it were your tank would you expect a cup full of skimmate on a daily basis? Or, if utilizing your preferred skimmer, would you then expect a cup full of skimmate on a daily basis? My apologies for the somewhat vague question.
<The true test is to monitor nitrate levels in the system.  An efficient skimmer, properly sized, should reduce nitrate levels.  With the species of fish you have, keeping nitrate levels at 10ppm would be ideal.  If you decide to upgrade, do get a skimmer rated for a 300 gallon system.  This should be enough skimmer to handle your heavy bioload.  James (Salty Dog)>

Air Pump, Skimmer use, reg. maint.  4/12/12
Hello gang.
<Hello Jamie>
Have another question. This time in regards to air pumps, for use with a protein skimmer in my case. My question is, do the internal parts/membranes in all of them need to be replaced fairly regularly, regardless of brand?
<Generally, yes.>
I've tried two different brands, first a Whisper and currently a Hagen Marina, and they've both needed their inner parts replaced within 6-12 months.
<Not unusual.>
I was thinking of buying a Luft pump, since I know they are supposed to be of higher quality. Just wondering if I should expect similar results regardless of brand?
<The Luft Pumps have a heavier membrane and should last about a year before it needs replacing.  I've used this pump years ago and was pretty happy with it.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

What a stink!/Protein Skimmers    3/27/12
<Hi Pam>
Is there any reason that  the protein skimmer (Remora) needs  to stink all the time?
Every time I walk past the tank it's like low tide! UGH!
I empty and rinse it once a day and sometimes twice, (on my 75gallon, 6week old reef )... as it is quite the prolific skimmer!
Maybe this is because it hasn't cycled yet??
<Would have nothing to do with the smell from the skimmer.>
This is difficult to determine, as I added one large 8lb. chunk of LR at 3 weeks ,...got tons of brown diatom algae, then put in 35lbs of dry rock.
The dry rock is developing bits of purple algae and a film of brown algae.
At present, it's just starting to show  20 ppm for nitrates., 0 nitrites,   180 KH,   8.4 pH,   Ca 320
So, any suggestions for the stink?
<Next time you clean the skimmer cup, unplug the skimmer and on the following day see if the smell is still there.  Is possible something may be decaying/rotting in your tank or sump.  Also perform an ammonia test.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
<<Mmm, and there are possibilities of placing a carbon contactor on top of the collector cup, or even carbon in the cup to alleviate some of the smell. More can be found by contacting Jason at AquaC (.com), the manufacturer. Bob Fenner>>
Re: More re: what a stink! Skimmer, AquaC...     3/27/12

Thanks for your input Bob.   I wanted to see if the smell was still there after not running the skimmer for a day.  Then I was going to refer her to Jason.
<Ahh, minds like ours stink alike! B>
What a stink!/Protein Skimmers 3/27/12

Carbon in the cup? Hmmm, good idea!  :)
<I'd still make sure the smell isn't coming from the tank or sump.  Just shut the skimmer off after you clean the cup and wait a day and take a whiff.  James (Salty Dog)>
Fw: Remora Query

See below Roberto.
Hi Jason,
 I received a Remora query from a gal today.  Other than what I replied to, is there anything she should look at?
James Gasta
Re: Remora Query    3/27/12
Hmm, sounds like the skimmer is working well and as a result, collecting lots of stinky stuff (a good thing).  Skimmate is a nasty liquid, indeed.
It might be possible to place a very loosely-filled bag of large grain activated carbon on top of the skimmer's collection cup.  The air that runs through the skimmer escapes from a little hole up there, and that's where the smell is coming from, no doubt.  That might help filter out some of the
Thanks to you both. Will post/share. BobF
Re What a stink!/Protein Skimmers    3/28/12

Seriously, the tank is still a fairly new set up. No animals yet, unless you want to count the copepods!
The liquid in the skimmer is very dark and scummy! And stinks in itself.
Haven't tested for ammonia yet cause I don't have the kit for that.
However, the other numbers look ok for now.
I think I just have to be patient, as I've already spent OVER $1000 in the six weeks. Now I think I need an RO unit. Ahhh. Damn costly hobby. I should have set up fresh water,...oh well. Kind of stuck with it now. I'm not feeling "the love" today, so please excuse my lethargy.
<Did you put uncured rock in the system?   If so, is likely why the skimmer stinks, will have a nasty smell until the waste/decaying matter is removed by the skimmer.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re What a stink!/Protein Skimmers 3/28/12

 Jim,... I put dry rock, from Bulk Reef Supplies in the tank.
 I actually dunked each piece of dry rock ( up and down like a washing  machine!) in salt water from my tank, to remove any loose debris.
 I love the rock and the quality that they packed for me, so I am not  dissing  Bulk Reef Supplies . They really "rock" ha, ha. Little joke.
 I'm going to send you some pictures so you see what I am facing. It's just  depressing, you know? Lots of hair algae, at least that's what I believe  it is.
I went through this algae problem 6 years ago. I believe it's because of  the water here on Cape Cod Mass.
Would you say that distilled water is the next best thing to RO?
<Yes but expensive for the amount you use monthly.  Be better to buy an RO unit.
I found a nice one for 100.00 and it has a Dow membrane.  Works great.  Have a look here.
Thanks Salty!
<You're welcome Pam.  James (Salty Dog)>
 Pam Anderson

Aquarium Question; skimmer sel., placement    1/8/12
Hi Crew,
I have a question regarding my filtration.
I have a drilled 150 gallon tank with 2 Tidepool 2 sump filters, an Eheim 1260 return pump and powerhead inside the tank. It houses fish, inverts, anemones and live rock with a sand substrate. I need a skimmer, but am not sure how to hook it up with these filters,
<Mmm, an in-sump model could be situated in one of the Tidepool sumps>
 as they are not sectioned off except for the bio wheel.
<Not really a big deal>
 Should the bio wheel be left in?
<Yes I would>
( Right now I use a filter pad and carbon.) If you could help advise me on this, and maybe a
good model  I would appreciate it. Thanks
<There are many. Please read here:
and the linked files above in the series. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer Gone Mad -- 09/27/11
Hello Crew,
<<Hiya Dave>>
I've had a curious problem crop up recently with my protein skimmer and was curious if you might have some insight as to why it's occurring.
<<Let's see>>
The tank is a 125 gallon FOWLR with a CPR wet-dry filter that has an internal protein skimmer in the first chamber powered by a Rio 2100 pump.
I've converted this to more of a sump/refugium by removing the Bio-Bale and adding live rock and live sand. Anyway, I've had several occurrences over the past month where I think I've got the skimmer set at a perfect water level/skimming level only to come back later and find it suddenly skimming like crazy, almost as if some kind of water parameter had suddenly changed. In several cases, it pulled off gallons (or more) of liquid and overflowed the drain tube/bucket.
I haven't been able to correlate it to tank lights coming on or off - or any other in-tank conditions for that matter. What would suddenly cause a skimmer to start overproducing skimmate?
<<Any number of factors really, even changes in barometric pressure'¦but aside from the latter, this is most often brought upon by additions to the tank (food, additives, medicines, etc.)'¦most anything that affects water chemistry/makeup. Another cause can be skimmer design. Any skimmer can overflow'¦but in my experience, what are considered to be the 'better' ones (e.g. -- Euro-Reef/Reef Dynamics, H&S, Bubble King, others'¦) 'hold' their settings better and are less prone to overflow conditions. In your case, the problem may well be just the skimmer itself>>
Thanks for any insight you might be able to provide. I sincerely appreciate it.
<<Happy to share, Dave'¦ EricR>>

Protein Skimmers/Skimmer Operation 9/13/11
Hey crew!
So I just recently bought a 75gallon rimless overflow tank (will be used as a reef aquarium) While I am not new to the hobby, I am new to having a sump, sump sock, protein skimmer, and pump (700 gph). The protein skimmer I have is a Bubble Magus NAC6, did research on it and read it is one of the best skimmer available for this tank size. Just giving you the background details, but here come the questions. On the first night of turning on the protein skimmer, within a few hours it started overflowing with bubbles. I read a few reasons as to why it might be overflowing, because the tank is so new, the sock causes micro bubbles if not rinsed thoroughly enough. But I also spoke to a very knowledgeable friend who said I shouldn't even turn on the skimmer for at least 2 weeks to let the tank cycle properly. What do you think? Also can you tell me something I need to look out for, so I can be a somewhat prepared for problems that may arise in the future.
<Your friend is correct in a sense. In new systems, the skimmer won't pull much of anything out unless you are curing live rock in the system. New skimmers take time to break in due to manufacturing oils, newness of the acrylic, etc. It is best to allow it to run to break-in/age so it will be ready to perform once waste is being produced. All that you need to do is close off the air supply to the venturi until you get to a point where overflowing does not occur. After about a week or two, you can gradually allow more air into the venturi following the above guidelines.
There should be some set up procedure in the skimmer manual for you to follow.>
Thanks WWM, you make this hobby just that much more enjoyable.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Pump Flow Questions/Skimmer Operation/Maintenance 7/30/11
Hello Crew,
<Hello David>
Hope everyone is having a good day.
<So far, so good.>
I have a Remora pro. I recently just changed out my very noisy Mag 3 for a Sicce Syncra 1.5. It has a flow of 357 gph so I thought it would be comparable. It's has lived up the silent billing so far. Very quiet which is great because the tank is in my room. The problem is it has been on there two days and still nothing has reached the cup, and the pump is on full blast. I can see that it is producing foam, but the foam isn't making it up to the collection cup. The cup is all the way down. The only thing I can think of is that the hose adapter reduces down to 1/2" from 3/4", but I don't know if that could restrict flow enough to cause the issue.
<Could, but more than likely is the newness of the plastic on the pump causing a reaction which breaks up the protein film the skimmer is trying to develop. A few days of operation should take care of the problem.>
Should I upgrade to the Syncra 2.0 (568 gph)? I can always turn the flow on that one down.
<I'd wait/see re above.>
I am nervous about the Rio 1400 because of all the horror stories, but I want to keep a pump with that type of cover over the intake. I lost a blenny to the mag's open end style, and the screen I put over the teeth of the pre-skimmer box clogs up. Thanks for the help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

PM Bullet 2 Skimmer Sudden Drain  7/28/11
Hello, I have a Precision Marine Bullet 2 skimmer with a Mag18 pump, and lately I've been trying to dial it in better because I had it off for 2 weeks while I was away because I didn't trust my parents with it, anyway, when I got back it overflowed way fast (like in 30 seconds it was at the top spilling into the collection cup) and I used the manual to set it up from scratch, gate open, air valve shut, get water to proper height, open air valve to 5 o'clock. It worked for about 20 seconds then in the base where it gets sucked up by the exit pipe back to the sump just completely drains and doesn't rise again until I close it more, then it does the same thing.
<Needs finer adjustment... of the water flow/diversion into the mixing chamber, perhaps with addition of (some) air>
I have checked and cleaned everything with vinegar and a saltwater scrub to try and get rid of fluctuations in the skimmer, but it still has the problem. Any help would be great thanks!
<I'd try adjusting again... with both valves as mentioned. The overflowing should slow down w/ the removal of material from the water. IF you can't adjust to running, a very large water change might solve this issue. Bob Fenner>

skimmer splashing   5/18/11
Hello all,
<Hello Tom.>
I have been reading all over Google and your site and have found many questions about splashing but none about my skimmer and how to resolve.
I have a <Kent> nautilus TE skimmer and the return into the sump is noisy and has been splashing all over the inside of my stand. I tried adjust the sponge but that only creates less outtake and is causes the dry "gunk" (chamber) to get water filled. Is there something I can do to decrease or perhaps add on an adjustment to bring this outtake closer to the water to reduce noise/splashing?
<Sure there is! First you could simply add PVC piping to the out take of the skimmer to plumb the return water back into the sump rather than letting it simply fall. Also, many like to add a gate valve to this. It allows you to keep the pipe as low as it can go and then control flow with the gate valve. Either way be sure to allow air into the line right where you will connect the aftermarket piping. Otherwise you can create a siphon inside the line that will make your skimmer fluctuate in water level.
There are many detailed instructions and pictures in the online forums.
Just Google ASM skimmer mod. A few years back this particular modification was all the rage with the ASM skimmers, even whole websites dedicated to it!>
Thanks for your help.
BTW I love this site. You guys have probably saved me on more than several occasions!
<Thank you, happy to hear! Scott V.>

Aqua C EV120 skimmer/Skimmer Operation 3/28/2011
Hi all at WWM.
<Hello Nicole>
Just ã quick question about this skimmer, is it possible to run this without ã sump?
<Yes, I run my EV180 outside the sump but there are some cautions you must be aware of. I've attached a PDF containing the EV120 instruction manual that will guide you in doing this.>
Could I position it behind my dt on ã stand level to the top of the tank (gate valve) and put the Mag 5 in the display, plumbed to the skimmer and add an extension on to the output to make sure it gets to the dt. Too risky? I have an opportunity to buy ã used EV120 for 50 dollars.
<Good buy.>
My Tank is 108 gallon mixed reef (mostly softies). Currently using Coralife 120, not happy with it, adjusted all the way down and still threatens to over flow collection cup. Its been running for 1 year plus. Any comments?
<I'm not familiar with the Coralife unit but generally the problem lies with excessive pump output and/or a clogged venturi tube. There should be a molded air line connection on the pump inlet, remove the air line a get a drill bit close to the same size as the air inlet and clean this tube out by rotating the drill bit with your fingers. If this doesn't help, you may want to install an air control valve in this line and throttle it down until the actual water level is below the collection cup of the skimmer. James (Salty Dog)>
Nicole Clark
Re Aqua C EV120 skimmer/Skimmer Operation 3/28/2011

Hi Bob,
Made a mental error in my reply. Disregard using the air valve to throttle down the air flow. If the venturi isn't clogged, this will just make matters worse.
<Mmm, actually, I like/use this idea myself. Best to have a mechanism to adjust the air/water mix. BobF>
Re Aqua C EV120 skimmer/Skimmer Operation 3/28/2011
Sounds good to me Roberto.
<Ah, bueno.>

Skimmers And Carbon/Marine Filtration 2/17/11
Hey I just had a quick question about protein skimming and the use of carbon.
I've been reading about how carbon shouldn't be used in reef tanks if you employ a protein skimmer.
So can you avoid using carbon if you have a protein skimmer going or would carbon be good to use as well.
<Unless you have a very efficient skimmer rated for twice the volume of your tank,
I would use carbon but would much prefer Chemipure or FilterEez.>
Also I was wondering if you could use carbon and not a protein skimmer.<You could get away with it in a lightly stocked tank but the use of a protein skimmer is always a big plus.>
I assume protein skimming is far more effective that just using carbon in a filter.
<If I had to choose between the two, it would definitely be a protein skimmer.
May want to read here and related articles found in the header.
As always thanks for your advice and time.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Skimmer Modification Question   1/21/11
Hey crew,
I recently bought a Aqua Euro USA Nano skimmer II. It's a hang on the back type for Nano tanks. It's a venturi driven model, and I was wondering if I could hook up an air pump into the air hose where air is being sucked in to get better performance. Thanks in advance.
<Hmmm, this can be done, but you are likely asking for a headache.
Sometimes you can make mods like this and really help a skimmer out. Many times it just kills the dynamics within the skimmer either in the pump or the reaction chamber and get zilch for the effort. I have never personally worked with this skimmer. But I have modified many similar skimmers over the years and have come to much prefer the "old school" limewood air diffusers set in the reaction chamber. Scott V.>

Aqua C Remora Pro HOT Skimmer- Still Wet Foam  1/7/11
I have a 75 gallon reef tank that has been running for about 6 years with the following parameters:
Ph: 8.3
Salinity: 1.023
<A bit low... I'd raise to 1.025-6>
<Borderline high>
<Too low for chemoautotrophs>
<Mg, NO3?>
I purchased an Aqua C Remora Pro HOT skimmer about 2 months ago. The micro bubbles are gone, but the foam is still wet. It is a light green tea color.
My previous skimmer was a BakPak and I always got a nice dark green skimmate. I'm trying to figure out what I may be doing wrong.
<Mmm, might not be you...>
The skimmer is level. I have the rubber ring as far down on the collection cup as possible.
I do have a hang on the tank refugium. The livestock are as follows:
1 yellow tang
1 maroon clownfish
1 true percula
1 flame angel
1 yellow watchman goby
3 peppermint shrimp
Various snails & hermit crabs
1 green emerald crab
1 Torch coral
1 long tentacle anemone
Button polyps
encrusting gorgonian
Plus about 70lbs. of live rock. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You for your time,
<Well... I might refer you to Jason Kim and folk over at Aqua C... but I suspect your unit is doing about what it should be... given (thank you for being so complete) the data you present. The fact that you have no measurable HPO4 leads me to believe that there isn't much food/feeding going on in this system... and hence not much skimmate likely. Do raise your SgG... and peruse WWM re foods/feeding of the livestock you keep. Bob Fenner>
Re: Aqua C Remora Pro HOT Skimmer- Still Wet Foam  1/8/11
Thanks Bob for the advice. I had some testing kits that were outdated and thought everything was in order until I had hair algae growing & couldn't quite figure out why.
A new batch of testing kits gave me a clue! I did some water changes and held back a bit on food, probably too much. I typically feed them a variety of frozen food, plus some phytoplankton.
<Umm, nothing you list as livestock eats/uses this. I'd leave out>
The fish are all healthy and the anemone is finally looking happy again. I will raise the salinity as suggested and get back to normal feedings.
<Real good>
Thank you for your help!
<Glad to share w/ you Angie. BobF>

kimmer maintenance  12/26/10
Merry Xmas Guys!
<And to you and yours Sal>
How often should I take out my skimmer and clean it. I do it once every few months right now and I'm starting to think that is too long between cleanings. Any advice?
<About once a month is a good interval for most folks... easy to remember to do the beginning of each month. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Protein Skimmer/Skimmer Maintenance 12/15/10
Hello gang,
<Hello Jamie>
need a little more advice. My protein skimmer doesn't seem to produce much skimmate on a daily basis, sometimes next to nothing at all. I have a 150 gallon Oceanic FOWLR setup with a wet dry in the lower cabinet.
Liverock wise I probably have between 175 - 200 lbs, some in the tank and some in the sump. I feed every other day on a regular basis and the tank currently hosts a Percula Clown, Blue Tang, Annularis Angel, Powder Brown Tang and a Humu Humu Trigger. They make quite the mess when it's feeding
time. As far as the protein skimmer goes, I'm not exactly sure what model it is because it came with the setup when I purchased it from another person and there are no "brand" markings on it anywhere. It's definitely adequate size wise and there are copious amounts of the bubbles you would expect to find swirling around within the Skimmer body. Overall the tank is in great shape with no real problems, some slight red algae from time to time. I'm wondering if I should invest in a different skimmer, or is it possible that there's just not that much protein to be skimmed, so to speak?
<First thing that comes to mind is, do you clean the skimmer on a regular basis?
Build up of skimmate on the walls of the reaction chamber and/or neck leading to the collection
cup will drastically reduce the efficiency of your skimmer. Another item to check is calcium build up
in the air venturi usually attached to the pump inlet. Excess calcium build up here will reduce air flow going
into the skimmer. Is it possible to send a pic of your skimmer? May lead to a better answer.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Protein Skimmer/Skimmer Maintenance 12/15/10

<You're welcome.>
I check and maintain the items you mentioned regularly.
The calcium buildup especially as it definitely does have a major impact on airflow.
<Yes it does, and can change the water level depending on the type of skimmer used.>
I do have a Whisper Air Pump hooked up to it as well. I'm also wondering if the water flow through the skimmer is too fast, if that's even possible. Doesn't seem to be and adequate current and bubble production is present. Here are a few pictures...
<The pics didn't do too much for me. Did the skimmer always behave like that, or did the problem just start recently? If always is the case, you likely do not have an efficient skimmer.
With your fish load, you should get a good amount of skimmate every couple of days. James (Salty Dog)>

Best Placement of Skimmer Pump in First Stage of Sump -- 11/16/10
I have an AquaC EV-180 skimmer driven by a Mag 7 pump.
<<A fine skimmer choice>>
Currently raw tank water enters the first stage of the sump. In the first stage I also have the Mag7 pump and the skimmer exit.
<<Not an atypical setup>>
The pump is on the bottom of the sump. The water level in the first stage of the sump is 10 inches deep and contains 6.5 gallons of water.
<<Okay -- and I'm assuming you have the skimmer body elevated so as to sit in no more than 8' of water, as recommended by the manufacturer>>
I am wondering if it would be advisable to either move the pump to just below the water level or to build a box to sit the pump in the first stage of the sump to feed the pump water directly from the surface of the water in the first stage sump.
<<Not needed'¦ The incoming rush of water keeps everything 'mixed' -- little or nothing to be gained by repositioning the pump here re its height in the water column, in my estimation>>
From an organic richness perspective to feed the protein skimmer does it even matter in this setup?
<<Not really>>
Right now with the main tank exit, the protein skimmer exit, and the protein skimmer pump all in the first stage of the sump the water is very well mixed anyway.
Any recommendations?
<<I would leave things as they are'¦ EricR>>

Euro-Reef Pump Issue 7/28/10
Hello good folks.
<Hello Jason>
I have been using my Euro-Reef skimmer for a few years now and it's been great. But now it doesn't seem to want to work. I have tried taking it apart and cleaning it.
<Have you cleaned out the air inlet on the manifold? Usually this will clog up with calcium.
A drill bit the same size works well for this.>
When I put in back in the water for a try, it might work or it might not. When it doesn't work, you can feel that it is "live", but it's not sucking in water like it should. Sometimes if I cover the intake hole with my hand or tap it a few times, it will take off and run. 
After playing with it a few minutes ago, I got it running full strength after it had been out of the water for a few days. Then when I pulled the plug on that test in a barrel of water and transferred it back to my tank, I plugged it in and it wasn't working right again.
I either need a solution to fix or a compatible replacement. It is model KSP-3500 (350 gph).
I seem to remember hearing something about soaking the whole thing in vinegar for these issues. Would that work maybe?
<Could try, may help. As of Dec 31st, 2009, Euro-Reef, Inc. has ceased doing business.
Former CEO and Vice President Jeff Macaré has started a new company called Reef Dynamics which produces a line of protein skimmers.
Reef Dynamics will also provide product support to existing Euro-Reef customers as well as limited warranty support for Euro-Reef products currently under warranty.
You may want to contact them and explain your problem if the above suggestions do not resolve the problem.
Go here. http://www.reefdynamics.com/aboutus.asp>
Thanks for all of your ongoing help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

UV sterilizer use with Ozone Generator - Sure, just realize that they do two different things. 7/26/2010
<Hi Jeff.>
I've been searching the internet for the last couple hours trying to find an answer to my question with no avail. I do believe I've found the answer before, but I don't remember.
Anyway, I started using an Ozone Generator a few months ago. It's made by Supreme Aqua. I noticed a few weeks ago that the JG fitting on my AquaC EV-180 Skimmer had disintegrated .
<Not uncommon with ozone, it is a very strong oxidizer, and can destroy most plastics within a very short period of time. You really want fittings made out of a material called "Kynar" as it is ozone resistant>
I talked to Steve with AquaC and he promptly sent me out two replacement fittings. However, after cleaning off the skimmer, I saw the body of the skimmer was cracked across the spot where the JG fitting screws in and all
the way across the body and down the side. It was not cracked all the way through, however it looked like it might not be far from splitting in half.
<Hmm... may be a function of the JG fitting being tightened too much rather than ozone.>
I was greatly alarmed. I contacted Jason at AquaC and he gave me his cell number and sent me a replacement skimmer. Great Customer Service!
<Aqua-C is known for their excellent customer service. I'm pleased to say I'm not in the least surprised that you got such an excellent response.>
After hooking up the new skimmer, I decided not to take a chance with my current ORP controller and Ozonizer .
I ordered a Ozotech Poseidon along with a Neptune Apex controller.
<Good brands, but I don't see the point, obviously the one you had was producing ozone very well. The JG fitting failed because it was exposed to ozone, not because your ozone generator was an off brand.>
My current controller is off brand and was shipped from overseas.
<Most of them are made and shipped from overseas.>
I'm not sure it's the culprit , but I don't see anyone else using that brand or the off brand ozone generator so I'm not taking any more chances with cheap equipment.
<I use an Enley ozone generator I picked up on EBay over a year ago for less than $100 USD. Still going strong running 24 hours a day.>
My question is do I need to run my UV sterilizer along with the Ozone generator or is it redundant.
<They do two different things really. Ozone is used to burn off additional organic compounds in the water. UV is used to kill off bacteria, viruses, and the like. UV lamps DO produce ozone, but in a very small amount.>
Thank you,
<My pleasure.>

Protein skimmer collector cup location 7/12/10
<Hi Sal>
Are you saying that you let your collector cup overflow into the sump?
<I let it overflow into a separate container which overflows into the sump, so yes. It rarely makes it into the separate container. But, as a safety measure I do.>
I could set it up so the overflow from the cup goes back into the display.
It would avoid losing 15g of water onto the floor. Also would avoid replacing a burned out needle wheel (my only casualty thus far).
<That is my practice. I can't say that I'm a perfect reef keeper, but it works for me.>
I don't think it would kill anything if some skimmate made its way back in the system for a day. I mean, you check it at least once a day, right?
<Exactly my logic.>
After the skimmer is tuned, this doesn't or shouldn't happen anymore.
<Agreed. However it does seem to happen when one is on vacation, or at work, randomly. Whenever the timing is worst.>
<Scott T.>
Re: Protein skimmer collector cup location, RMF, confused... as usual...  7/13/10
Apparently, Murphy was a great reef keeper who vacationed frequently ;)
So, um, tell me again why counter-current is bad...?
<Mmm, bad? Counter-current as a mechanism as opposed to what? Look to our renal and hepatic systems, the path/flow of blood in the "gills" of fishes... Indeed, counter-current is "not bad" eh? B>
Re: Protein skimmer collector cup location - 7-14-10

Apparently, Murphy was a great reef keeper who vacationed frequently ;)
So, um, tell me again why counter-current is bad...?
<I agree with Bob. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/proskimrart2.htm
<Scott T.> 

Skimmer Maintenance   6/8/10
Dear Crew,
Thanks again for your time and passion!
<You're welcome.>
This is a very quick question. Do you recommend cleaning the entire skimmer unit on a regular basis for reef systems? I have a Bak-Pak 2 with no bio media for my small reef which is growing an assortment of wonderful life (I have not researched them individually yet but am quite sure they are beneficial filter feeders). The unit receives indirect light from the system and in many ways, is turning into a type of refugium. I clean the collection cup often but wondered what would be best for the reef. Clean the entire unit regularly or keep the life contained within it? Any thoughts?
<The area where the bubbles rise to the collection cup should be cleaned at least weekly along with the collection cup as you are presently doing. Not doing so greatly affects the efficiency of the unit. Would be better to have a small hang-on refugium that would improve water quality rather than to allow life to grow in your skimmer.>
As always, thank you so much!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Protein Skimmer question, install    4/10/10
Hello WWM,
<Hello John.>
I am trying to set up an 80 gallon saltwater fish only aquarium with no hang-ons or tubing visible around the tank. The tank will be on display on all 4 sides. I have no overflow, but I do have two holes drilled for a canister filter. Here are my questions:
1: Can I attach an in-line sumpless protein skimmer between the canister and the tank?
<There are a few skimmers that claim to do this out on the market. They are junk and will end up with water on your floor! You really need to either hang on the back or have an overflow and true sump.>
2: Is there a preferable place for the skimmer, (before the canister or after)?
3: Is the Fluval FX5 canister filter powerful enough to pump the water through the skimmer, or will I need an additional pump?
4: Can I also attach an inline UV sterilizer or is this too much?
<I would not, no real benefit IMO.>
5: Is there a sumpless protein skimmer that you can recommend?
<Nope, getting a true sump setup is far and away the route to go here.>
Thanks for the help!
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Oceanic Bio Cube Protein Skimmer 3/10/10
Yes I know its terrible, but I have heard that most of the time it does do something. So I recently bought it. Yet I am having trouble getting it to work. I made sure the stock pump and airline tubing, including the air stone was free of clogs. It is placed half way in my aquarium as this was recommended. The issue is it is not producing enough bubbles to even reach the collection cup. Is there a break-in time?
<Break-in time has nothing to do with bubble production. Sounds like you may have a tight grained Limewood air stone. Try placing the stone in boiling water for a few minutes and see if that improves bubble production. If not, I'd replace the Limewood air stone and/or ensure your air pump is working properly.>
Please give me a hand or lead me to a FAQ about this skimmer.
Thanks a bunch,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Cheap Skimmer vs. Quality Skimmer with Miracle Mud Ecosystem.. Skimmer maint., AquaC...  3/8/2010
Great, sounds good. One last question I can't seem to find an answer to.
The Urchin can be ordered with or without the drain fitting collection cup.
What is this fitting for? Extended periods without emptying cup?
<Yes, exactly.>
Where would the drain run to?
<Into any container. Used milk jugs work well. The issue with these is that the collection cup should be cleaned every day or two anyhow, so the drain fitting would ideally never come into play.>
Thanks again,
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Now I've Seen It All... skimmer maint. por los ricos  3/5/10
Bob and crew,
I received an email flyer from Premium Aquatics today. When I looked at this pricey (600.00+ depending on model) I really didn't know what the heck it was. After searching on the net, I finally found a review of this gizmo. Unbelievable, and I do not believe people will be standing in line to get one. It is neat though, watch the video.
<These automated wash-down systems for commercial skimmer collection "cups" are very useful... not too surprising to find there may be some sort of "high end" market segment for such with hobbyist units. BobF> 
Re: Now I've Seen It All 3/5/10
Mmmm, James wishing his mother and father were rich. Have you heard any feedback re the new Red Sea skimmer with the built in cleaning feature?
<I have not>
On another note, I've often thought about writing a short marine article titled "If Money Were No Object, The Ultimate Reef System", what I would buy if money was not an issue.
<A great idea for a topic/subject... for an article AND pet-fish group presentations>
I have quite a bit of Jing tied up in my Home Theater/Music system and I just love to demo it and see the jaws drop. With that being said, I would just consider my system at the high end of the audiophile entry level range when compared to systems where one pair of speakers can run well over 10K with compatible amplification equaling that figure......pretty much akin to my reef system.
<If wishes were fishes, we'd all have full tanks. Cheers my friend. BobF>

05/02/10 Nitrates, skimmer use, capitalisations   2/6/10
<I need somebody!>
I <I> have a 125 reef system with a 100 gallon sump with plenty of live rock. I <I> do a 50 gallon water change every 10 days with ro water. all <All of> my tests are in range except my nitrates they never get below 80.
<Very high and will cause you problems. Read here:
I <I> do have about 20 fish
<a lot>
which I <I> feed very little twice a day. I <I> run my skimmer 18 hours as it is overkill for the system.
<Really? You have 20 fish and nitrates at 80ppm. I would be running this skimmer 24hrs as well as looking at the whole system, top to bottom, starting with the stocking>
any suggestions ?
<As above plus reading, there is much to learn here:
thank <Thank> you for your help.
<No problem at all. There is a shift key on the keypad, and if it is pressed it will allow the use of capital letters, Simon>

Skimmer Problems/Skimmer Maintenance 1/27/10
<Hello Gary>
Just want to say thanks for answering all my previous posts.
<You're welcome.>
Here goes again, my FOWLR system has been running for about a month now (no livestock yet). The problem is my needle wheel venturi skimmer was running ok and the bubbles in the chamber were micro and very dense as in the chamber looked white with all the bubbles.
Then I came home from work the other day and the chamber was probably only half as dense with bubbles. I fiddled about with it a bit and seemed to get it going better by blowing down the airline/venturi. Could this be
the problem, blocked airline/venturi, if so what blocks it, surely its not the pump its only been running a month. Can you give me some tips on keeping this performing as before.
<The most likely cause of this is blockage of the air line with calcium deposits, and likely is in the plastic barb the hose connects to at the pump intake. The best way I've found to clean out this area is by using a drill bit close in diameter to the inside diameter of the intake barb. Insert the bit into the barb while turning the bit by hand. The job is a little easier if you remove the intake cap and perform the operation over the sink or similar area. Also do the same with the air regulator but do remove the adjustment screw before doing this. I'm betting this will take care of your problem.>
Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Skimmer Problems/Skimmer Maintenance... and lighting issue/smell 1/28/10
I did this, I got a syringe and filled it with distilled water and squirted it down the venturi airline, it made it slightly better, so to make sure I got some water out of the kettle and let it cool a bit then repeated.
<This procedure isn't going to do too much for removing calcium deposits.
Need to be physically removed re the drill bit. Once the lines are clean of deposits, the distilled water method is a good way to extend the time between cleaning the venturi and related components providing it is done weekly.>
After a couple of hours there is a strange smell when I open the lid,
<The lid on what, the light fixture? I'll assume so.>
I can't pinpoint the exact smell but its like plastic burning, is the nearest I can put it to. The only other difference is I ran my lights for the first time yesterday for about 6 hours. I am a bit worried about it can you shed some light on this, is it the cycle!
Not the cycle, if the lighting system is a new plastic housing type unit, it may just be the newness of the plastic reacting with the heat given off by the lamps.
I would still continue to be cautious/observe here for the possibility of a defective unit.>
Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

UV and filter sock affecting skimming? 1/25/2009
Hello there WWM
<Hello Julio.>
First off I would like to thank WWM crew for educating us who are in much need of direction in this highly addicting hobby. I read through most of your answers hoping to find a solution to my problem and figured I would
email you guys in the hopes to receive some feedback and suggestions.
I have a 90 gallon reef tech tank that has 2 drains and 2 returns plumbed to a 30 gallon sump/refugium containing an AquaC Ev 180 skimmer, 6" sand bed, macro algae and some live rock. The main display has a 4" deep sand
bed with about 120 pounds of live rock. the system has been up and running for 2 years and is heavily stocked with approximately 37 corals consisting of softies, lps and sps. there are also 12 fishes living harmoniously, 3 tangs, 3 dwarf angels, 1 royal gramma, 4 clowns, and a Foxface.
<In a 90? Whoa my friend.>
The water parameters are all normal for a reef, aside from the nitrates which are reading 10 ppm and I believe this to be due to my heavy feeding.
Last week, I was looking through some old aquarium equipment and stumbled upon a 25 watt Aqua UV Sterilizer that I purchased a few years back but never used. I decided to add it to the system by installing it before the chiller intake being fed by a Mag 7. The pump is located in the last stage of the sump, and returning the water right back to the last stage, before being sent up to the main display via 2 more Mag 7's. After adding he UV, I noticed that my skimmer had slowed down foam production significantly. I was baffled by this because if the UV is supposedly killing all free floating algae and bacteria flowing through it, wont it make the skimmer more effective due to the higher death rate?
<It can, but adding unused equipment also means adding manufacturing residues that can effect skimming for a short time.>
I was also having a problem with the dual drain hoses going into the first stage which were splashing water and creating massive amounts of water spills and micro bubbles which bothered me. To fix this I ordered 2 CPR
inlet holders with 8" PVC pipe and 2 filter socks to diminish the splashing and micro bubbles. by adding this to the sump it greatly reduced the bubbles and splashing but now my skimmer wont skim at all for the past few days. The skimmer pump is a Mag 9.5 located on the first stage and feeds the skimmer that is on the refugium stage on top of the 6" deep sand bed.
Before adding the UV and socks, the skimmer was foaming nonstop and now no foam at all. Is the UV and Filter sock addition affecting the skimmers performance and Is this something I should be concerned with? Do I have too
much filtration going on or am I on the right track?
<You are doing fine here, give it a bit of time. New plastics in the water are notorious for diminishing skimming. Wait and see. Scott V.>

Skimmer operating depths: Skimmer configuration & Skimmate production  1/6/10
Hey Crew,
<Hi Matt.>
I'll try to stick to the short story - not my strength. I ran through various skimmer FAQs like "to skim or not to skim" and whatever else turned up on the searches I tried.
I recently upgraded so to speak to a modified Solana from a JBJ - turned into an empty cube with external overflow and custom sump - 44g total system volume. I'm in love with this tank. One of my goals was to set it up to
handle a mixed reef of some LPS and SPS. Knowing I'd need great water quality for SPS, I built a custom sump, and got a skimmer - Reef Octopus NWB 110.
<A nice skimmer>
While I was curing base rock for this new setup, I ran the skimmer to try and get it to break in a bit before setting the system up. When it was running with the curing rock, this thing was fantastic. Had to empty the cup every day or two, nice dark skimmate - wet, but dark, couldn't see through the stuff. At one point it was actually pushing foam out of the holes in the cover of the collection cup! I was very excited about the possibilities of being able to keep pristine water with this thing.
<Sounds like it was doing what it was supposed to do.>
Well, system has been running for a few weeks now and I'm barely getting anything.
Sometimes the foam gets to the cup and I get a clear liquid with chunks of stuff in it. The neck gets consistently covered in gunk though - cleaned it once or twice to see if that'd help, didn't seem to do much.
<You could be running the foam a bit too dry.>
I've been trying setting it to varying heights, and adjusting the "valve" so to speak on the outlet to adjust the water level in the skimmer body. Get the same result all the time, not much skimmate.
<Well, that isn't exactly true - you are getting solids - that is the gunk, just not dissolved in water.>
So, to the questions:
1 - Is this lack of production due to light stocking and just plain lack of things to skim? I do feed a fair amount, love to spot feed my LPS and keep my fish fat and happy. This theory is the only one that makes sense to me since I saw this thing working it's tail off while the rock was curing and the water was chock full of nutrients.
<I'm certain that there was plenty to skim while you were curing rock, so I would expect production to drop once everything is cured.>
I'm planning on adding a light and macro to my fuge, maybe that's is all I need for nutrient control until I get
more heavily stocked?
<I would still keep the skimmer..>
Current stock:
Black Ocellaris Clowns (pair)
Bicolor Blenny
Neon Goby
Duncan (6-7 heads)
Blasto (8-10 heads)
2 morphs of a Euphyllia (Branching Hammers)
Dendrophyllia (3 heads)
Acan (4 heads)
Various Zoanthids
More corals coming this week.
<So you are moderately stocked for a 44 gallon.>
2 - Do you have any clues on why depth of water a skimmer sits in effects it's production?
<Yes. For a venturi skimmer, the lower pressure around the impeller allows air to get sucked in through the air tube. The deeper the pump is in the water, the higher the pressure, so less air gets sucked in. Most skimmers have a recommended depth for the pump. This can be offset either by putting the pump in shallower water or use a bigger pump>
Is it just a matter of more water means the foam starts higher and is a wetter skimmate and fills the cup faster, or is there a water to air ratio thing going on?
<Two separate issues - higher water in the sump will result in less air being sucked into the skimmer and less foam. The water height in the skimmer controls how 'wet' the foam will be. A lower water level will result in a drier foam that give a darker skimmate or even solids. Wet skimmate will be lighter, and you will go through water at a slightly faster rate.
<In theory, drier foam is more efficient because it 'wastes' less water, but I have never seen anything definitive that one is really better than the other as far as pulling nutrients out of the water was concerned. For what it is worth, I tend to keep my skimmer on the drier side.>
<So in short, you will need to place the pump at the height that produces the best amount of foam - this is usually anywhere between 1 and 4 inches below the surface, but again, consult your manual. Once you have that set, then adjust the water height in the skimmer to where it produces the type of foam you are looking for. It may take some time, but you will in time, find the 'sweet spot' for both. Once you do, mark your sump level and adjustment valve with permanent marker >
I'd like to understand this, the better I understand the workings the better I'll be to adjust it and really dial it in.
Oh, and the skimmer is set in the sump, with a chamber sectioned off for consistent water depth, it's in the same chamber as the inlet from the overflow.
<The only trick is to keep the water level in the sump as consistent as possible.>
If you're curious, last time I tested my water (yesterday):
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 5-10ppm
Phosphate - 0
<Looks good.>
Appreciate any info and insight.

Tunze Skimmer not staying on: Skimmer troubleshooting 1/1/2010 
Hi Crew.
<Hi Lynette>
I have recently upgraded skimmers from my Aqua C pro skimmer to a Tunze 9010 for my 120 gal reef. It was working amazingly until a few days ago. I e-mailed Tunze with no response yet.
I stopped the skimmer for a red slime treatment for about 48 hours.
<Red Slime treatments will kill the slime, but not correct the root cause for it being there. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >
When I turned it back on it will not run for more than about 1/2 to 1 minute then shuts off for about 10-15 minutes. It repeats this pattern all day. I have collected no skimmate at all.
<Sounds like the pump is overheating or is clogged\stuck>
I have taken it apart to be sure it was clean and operational. Not much build up - it is only about 5-6 weeks old.
My tank is about 2 years old - upgraded from a 24 gal to 55 gal now to 120 gal.
Any suggestions?
<I would suspect a bad pump at this point. I would take it apart again and make sure there is nothing anywhere that may interfere with the impeller, failing that, contact Tunze or return to the store where you purchased it.>
Thanks for your help!
<My pleasure, and happy new year>

Protein skimmer placement 12/1/09
Hello crew,
<Hello Ed.>
My question is directed to the placement of my skimmer in regards to mechanical and biological filtration. I have a 30 gallon Euro-Fil sump for a 125 gallon tank. The two 1-1/2" overflows drain straight to my filter sock (mechanical) in the first chamber then goes through my Aqua C ev-180 skimmer in the center chamber which is ran by a Mag 7 submersible pump. The skimmer outflow dumps into that same chamber as I eliminated the last
baffle and sponge to accommodate a Sen 700 GA that runs my chiller with it's own return to the tank and of course I have an external Poseidon PS4 return pump also with it's own return. What are your thoughts on this ? Is it ok
to run the skimmer after the filter sock?
<It is fine, just be sure to clean or change the sock every few days to keep detritus from building up in it.>
and where would I place carbon with this setup?
<Between the skimmer and return pumps.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Protein Skimmer overflowing -- 11/23/2009
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hey Alex! JustinN here>
I recently upgraded my protein skimmer from a Remora to a Vertex unit.
<Am not familiar with this brand, but they do appear decent at a glance.>
This is a large needle wheel skimmer, which performed nicely for me or a couple of months. Over the last few months, however, I have observed episodic extreme foaming, such that the skimmer, which is set up to produce a fairly dry skimmate, will foam uncontrollably, ejecting gallons of tank water out the drain tube. This has continued to happen, despite the fact that I have opened the output valve on the skimmer to maximum - most of the time it skims a very dry foam; but occasionally the overflow occurs.
<It does happen -- most often, its related to dosing the tank with some item, typically medications... I also note this occurring to a lesser extent than this when a storm is rolling into town and the barometric pressure shifts..>
I am thinking that some exudate from one of the tank inhabitants may be causing this - mucus shedding, or spawning.
<Is quite possible -- not having familiarity with the specific skimmer model, I unfortunately don't have much in the ways of recommendations for adjusting the problem away.>
I'm wondering if others have observed this phenomenon, and if so how has it been dealt with?
<Usually dealt with the same way you have -- adjust the skimmer as necessary.>
I am worried that I cannot leave the tank alone for a vacation unless I turn off the skimmer,
lest the top-off circuit over dilute it and harm my corals.
<What about a circuit similar to the top-off circuit, for your skimmer effluent? If it drains a certain level past, the skimmer no longer runs until the system is drained..>
Basic tank specs:
50 gallon main tank (2 years old), densely overgrown with Montipora, Acropora, Acanthastrea, Favia, various polyps, and two large leather corals. 60 gallons of sump split between DSB and fuge.
<Sounds nice! I would possibly contact the manufacturer and see if they have any prior complaints/experience with a solution. A float switch would be a down-and-dirty way to ensure that you won't over-drain your tank during a vacation though.. Good luck! -JustinN>

Aqua C ev-180 skimmer, sump inst.   -- 10/21/2009
Hello crew,
<Hello, Ed and/ or Lisa>
I have a quick one for you. I have my skimmer sitting in my sump, is there any way i can quite down the splashing of water coming out of the gate valve without affecting the performance? My gate valve opening sits about 1" above my water line.
<2 common ways: zip tie some filter wool or a filter sock to the opening, or make a platform out of something like eggcrate and place a sponge on top. I'm sure there are other ways; you can probably think of a few creative ways. You'll find that this cuts down on evaporation, too.>
Thanks again
<No problemo. Will N.>

Protein Skimmer Help: Skimmer adjustment After moving from HOB to Sump 10/7/2009
Hi WWM crew!
<Hi Mark.>
I moved my protein skimmer from the hang on position in the back of my tank to in my sump yesterday.
I removed the hard plastic tubing and put the pump directly on the bottom attachment of the protein skimmer then submerged the pump, and about 1/4-1/3 of the protein skimmer, in my sump.
<Is this a SeaClone? If so, please read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacloneskimfaqs.htm >
Since then I can not get a great bubble cyclone in the cylindrical part of the protein skimmer. I must have spent 2-3 hours adjusting the valve on the end on the air tube line but no success. I can get a tiny, not well formed, semi chaotic cyclone but not what it used to be when it was hanging on the back of the tank.
<That sounds more and more like a SeaClone.>
I checked everything is tight, no leaks. Any trouble shooting suggestions?
<How deep is the pump? If it is a SeaClone, and it is more than about 3" below the surface of the water, it will not 'suck air' very well at all.
One issue with venturi skimmers is their performance is dependent upon the depth of the water in the sump. Each pump\skimmer combination has a 'sweet spot' that works the best. You really have four options. First, you can live with it, or put the skimmer back where it was. Secondly, you can try a bigger pump, which may or may not work. Third, you can connect an air pump to the air line and force air in. Finally, you could get a better skimmer. There are several good ones out there. The linked page I gave you earlier has links to several articles on different skimmers.>
Thank you,
<My pleasure>

Re: Protein Skimmer Help: Skimmer adjustment After moving from HOB to Sump 10/25/2009
Hi again WWM crew,
<Hi Mark.>
Your advice about my protein skimmer worked last time! I needed to raise the skimmer up toward the water line so it can suck in more air. Well anyway, I bought a new protein skimmer online because it was cheap and I wanted two skimmers for more filtration. I got it on eBay for $50 and well...it looks cheap..
<Insert obligatory statement on getting what you pay for here.>
This new skimmer is set HOB, the other (old one) is in the sump. This new one is giving me trouble because I can not adjust it properly so the bubbles reach the top and no matter how much air I let in, or not, I
always get micro air bubbles out of the return..and I was told this is not good for the corals.
<It isn't, but a new skimmer can take a few days to break in. or you can route the discharge of the skimmer through some sort of bubble trap.>
The new skimmer is designed just like a SeaClone....any suggestions??
<Without knowing what kind of skimmer it is, it will be hard to give more than generalized advice. - a bigger pump, perhaps an air pump to force more air,
<Have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacloneskimfaqs.htm >
Thank you!
<My pleasure, >

Vacation Nightmare 8/24/09
Hello Crew! Hope all is well.
<All is well here.>
I just returned from a wonderful vacation in Alaska where I was lucky enough to closely observe humpbacks and orcas.
<Sounds great.>
However, upon my return, I learned that my skimmer had overflowed onto my MH ballast causing it to "fry" (3 fire engines responded). There was also water damage to the floor and ceiling in the finished basement below. The tank's heater also shorted out.
<Yikes, a guess a real nightmare for sure. You don't live on Elm street by chance, do you?>
My system is a 46 bowfront with a BTA hosting 2 clowns, a Coral Beauty, a damsel, cc starfish and Pencil Urchin that have been living in harmony for over one year. It also has a 4 in. DSB and 60 lbs.+ live rock. Luckily everyone survived. My daughter was caring for the tank but must have forgotten about the skimmer (Bak Pak 2). The skimmer also overflowed earlier this year when I was unexpectedly hospitalized. Can I safely turn off the skimmer next time I am away from home without risk to the tank? I have no other equipment due to space issues, just keep Chaeto in return chamber of skimmer.
<Yes, you should be fine doing this on a temporary basis.>
Thanks for all of your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Vacation Nightmare 8/25/09
Thanks. You are all so dedicated and inspirational.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Orange Skimmate 05/21/09
Hello people.
<Hello Jason.>
I have a Euro-Reef in sump skimmer that works well as expected. I usually get the usual dark green tea colored skimmate but the last few days it has been an orange tang color, as in the drink, not the fish.
<Good description>
I'm not sure why this is.  The food for the fish has been primarily Spirulina. But I have from time to time given a bit of Cyclop-eeze food for the corals, which is orange. If this is what is causing the orange skimmate does this also mean I am using too much? Or does the color of the skimmate always indicate the color of the food?
<As long as most of the food is being consumed and you are not having nutrient problems in the tank, your feeding is likely fine. Some foods can tint the color of skimmate, especially if there is coloring added to the food.  However the only time I have heard of truly bright orange skimmate has been following the use of flatworm medication, have you used anything of the sort recently?>
Thanks for your ongoing help.
<Your welcome, and do experiment a little with changes of the food to determine if it is in fact from a particular item.
Josh Solomon>

Protein Skimmer Question, op.  3/19/09
Hi crew,
<Hello Marc>
I have a question regarding my protein skimmer. I've had a Remora Pro running on my 75 gallon for about 15 months now. It was giving me about a cup of dark skim-mate every week. I gave it a vinegar bath about two months ago and about a month ago, I added an Emperor 400, that I'm only running charcoal out of. Since I've put that on, I've had no skim-mate.
I'm wondering, if because of frequent water changes, and a relatively low bio-load, can I get away without using the Remora if I do frequent maintenance on the Emperor (clean the housing bi-weekly, even though I'm not running filter pads, it still collects debris on the bottom of the housing)? And how about if I replace it with a hang-on refugium, I was planning on replacing the Emperor with one anyway, now I'm considering
replacing the Remora. Mainly because it makes so much noise, and is in the bedroom. Also, after every water change, it produces substantial amount of bubbles in the tank.
<Do you shut the skimmer off during water changes?>
My tank has 80lbs of live rock, two Hydor stage 4 powerheads and I do weekly 15 gallon water changes. For livestock I have a Yellow Tang, a Chalk Bass, a Royal Gramma, a Lawnmower Blenny, a Lyretail Anthias, three Green Chromis,
<I wouldn't call that a "relatively low bio-load".>
various snails and hermit crabs, Mushrooms, a Torch and hammer coral. My specific gravity is a little high ( 1.026), calcium 400, dKH 11, temp. 76, nitrates 0 and ph 8.1.
Any advise on how to proceed, or tips on how to quiet the skimmer would be greatly appreciated.
<Marc, if it were me, I'd use the skimmer along with a HOB refugium. The Emperor could be used periodically to polish the water and remove nutrients the skimmer cannot remove. Once seeded with pods, the refugium will also provide a source of nutritional food. The noise level would not be a problem in my bedroom, the decibel level of my wife's snoring would drown out any skimmer noise. Do consider wearing foam ear plugs. And yes, you could get away without the skimmer if it affects your sleep and providing your bio-load (fish) is not increased. And if you should do this, I would use Chemi Pure instead of the activated carbon, will be much more effective for you in your situation.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Protein Skimmer Question 3/20/09
Thanks again,
<You're welcome.>
I do turn off everything when I do a water change, should I not?
<Yes, is a good idea to turn off.>
Also, I have been considering purchasing the Remora overflow box, but have heard mixed reviews. Do you have any experience with this product?
<No experience with the overflow box itself, but I've read negative comments about them in customer reviews at the Premium Aquatics web site.
See here.
If you decide to order one, make sure you get the model for your pump as they do make three different styles geared to specific pumps. James (Salty Dog)>

EuroReef Modification and the best way to break up an old tank 2/23/09 Hello WWM folks, <Chris.> I am interested in modifying my EuroReef skimmer for an auto waste collection area. Do you know of an established method of making this modification to the skimmer? <Basically just drilling, then tapping/threading the cup for a hose barb.> It's an older CS series rated for a 135gal tank with a Sedra 5000. I searched the website, but it doesn't appear that anyone may have attempted this before, although it would seem like an easy mod. <It is easy, $5-10 in tooling and it is done.> In addition, I have an old 125 gal glass tank with a broken bottom, that I am looking to break up and take to the curb to be hauled off. I would prefer to recycle if I can. Do you know of a good way to do this? I'm not looking to shatter the glass, and have a nasty cleanup. Any advice would be appreciated. <I would call whatever municipality you live in to see if there is some sort of bulk pickup day or where you can drop the tank off for recycling. Otherwise, and hammer and a broom my friend!><<Thick Levis, long-sleeve shirt and jacket, eye-glass protection... and cardboard around/between you/hammer... and the tank. RMF>> Again, thanks for your help. <Welcome, Scott V.> Best Regards, Chris

Aeration And Filtration Question 2/10/09 Problem With Leaking Skimmer Hi, <Hello Glenn> I appreciate your time. I have a 55 gallon aquarium with an Emperor 400 hob filter . I also have a hob needle wheel skimmer . It was skimming great but the pump seems to be acting up . I had been trying to get it to run continuously & got the fish shop I had purchased it from to give me another impeller. It still cuts off. <What exactly do you mean, "cuts off"?> Anyhow I noticed that it was making a mess behind my aquarium. Lots of splashing & loose water was on the back wall & on the floor. What I want to know is I really don't need to get anymore fish. Is my HOB Emperor 400 enough filtration & aeration for 3 green chromis & a long-nosed Hawkfish. <Should be, the bio wheel should take care of the nitrogen cycle.> Right now with this economy I really don't want to put much money in my aquarium & I'm concerned about the water that was behind it . I have a plastic runner below the aquarium so its hard to now how much water has been splashing or seeping out. I am bothered by it though so I don't know if I really want to run it even if I get the pump working. Any advice would be appreciated. <You need to pinpoint where the water leak is coming from. Without seeing it, I cannot offer too much help here. You do not mention the brand name of the skimmer, so I can not even visualize where the problem may lie in that regard. Have you check "O" rings, if any, and hose connections if present outside the tank, and possibly a crack in the skimmer body? Is the collection cup seal leaking/overflowing?> Thank You, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Glenn

Re: Aeration And Filter Question 2/11/09 Problem With Leaking Skimmer When I say the pump is cutting off , It will run for about two minutes & shut off entirely . After about ten minutes it will start running again & couple minutes later shut off entirely again . The pet shop tested it & thought the impeller was bad . They exchanged impellers with one they had & had me try it at home . It didn't work or help . <If the impeller assembly was bad you would likely hear noise.> If I were a betting man I would say it probably has an electric short but I could be wrong. <I believe you won the bet here. I'm thinking the winding in the pump may be shorted causing a thermal trip to activate or the winding expands slightly from the resulting heat and loss of electrical contact occurs and once the pump cools, restart occurs.> I mean it just stops working entirely & then out of the blue starts pumping again . As far as the leak I really can't fully investigate without getting the skimmer to run longer than two or so minutes at a time . There was a lot of calcium & streaks on the back wall. <And your wife does not like the mural?> But if I get enough filtration & aeration from an Emperor 400 hob I won't sweat it. <Should have no problems here.> I just won't run my skimmer. I have an Aqua Euro USA HOB needle wheel skimmer . The pump would push water up into a chamber with a collection cup . Bubbles would go up toward the cup & the water would flow sideways into another chamber with a plastic pipe which lead the water back into the aquarium. <Have you checked the warranty on the skimmer? Your LFS may replace the pump, or contact Aqua Euro USA directly. They may be able to assist you in getting your pump replaced at no or minimal cost.> Thanks for your time James . <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

AquaC Remora Skimmer, op.   02/06/09 Good afternoon all, <Hello Matt. Minh at your service.> I have a quick question for you. I have had my AquaC Remora skimmer on my 55gal tank for about a year now and for some reason it just does not want to work correctly. I have about 50lbs of live rock, two common clownfish, and a couple mushroom corals. I do have a slight aiptasia problem that I am trying to correct. The only chemical I have used in the tank was about 6 - 8 months ago to get rid of my red slime algae. Since then I have obviously done numerous water changes. Now to the problem with the skimmer. I cannot leave it on when I am not there because it fills up with water in about 10 minutes constantly. <Have you made any changes to the skimmer? Is it still using the factory pump? Are you using the pre-skimmer box?> I have the cup set up as high as possible as well and have also played around with the height of the white screw. <These are the actions I would have suggested as well.> I am at a loss as to what I can do about this. it basically started happening when I added the red slime remover, but that was 6 - 8 months ago so I cannot imagine that this is still the problem. Oh yeah, I also use my own RO/DI water and it reads 0ppm. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Here are some more suggestions that you can try to remedy the problem. First, give the entire skimmer a thorough cleaning in warm freshwater to remove any chemicals that could possibly still remain on the reaction chamber. Second, run a small amount of granular activated carbon in your display tank to remove any chemicals that could interfere with the protein skimming process. Lastly, if the two aforementioned suggestions do not work, try raising the entire skimmer assembly an inch or two higher.> Thanks Matt <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

AquaC EV-120 vs. Tap Water Conditioner - Round 1 1/23/09 Hi All, <Thomas.> I am just looking for a quick suggestion from you, if you would be so kind. <Sure.> My setup is a 135 gal mixed reef, mainly softies, some fish, and a 40 gal sump/refugium. I have a brand new EV-120 skimmer, and I've always used Tetra Aqua AquaSafe Tap Water conditioner with BioExtract to condition my 5 gal of make up water I add every 3 days or so. Apparently, this water conditioner causes the EV series skimmers to foam like crazy. I would really appreciate it if you could suggest for me: 1. The best method for removing the conditioner that currently remains in the tank. <Carbon or just time.> 2. A quality product for conditioning my make up water that won't cause the skimmer to foam like crazy. <I personally always used Kordon AmQuel in my pre RO days. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/treath2o.htm for even cheaper/better options.> Thank you very much for your expertise and time. Thomas Bolton <Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: AquaC EV-120 vs. Tap Water Conditioner- Round 2    2/2/09 Thank you! <Happy to help.> I just wanted to follow up to let you know that I have switched to AmQuel+ and have been able to slowly increase the output of the pump going to the skimmer as the days pass and the amount of BioExtract in the water disappears. <Great! Many of these bio mumbo jumbo concoctions are great for making a skimmer go nuts!> The EV-120 skimmer is pretty awesome, and I would recommend it to anyone. :) <Definitely.> Thanks for your help! Thomas Bolton <Welcome, Scott V.>

Protein skimmers/Balancing pump flows 1/20/09 Hello. I just discovered your site and what a site it is. I've been on it all afternoon reading readers questions, suggestions, and more importantly your suggestions. I definitely learned a lot. Thank you. <Happy you found us!> I concentrated my reading in the area of protein skimmers. Yes the dreaded protein skimmer. I've had mine running for about 5 1/2 years now and it never seemed to run correctly for more than a few days at a time. Because of this, I'm on the verge of just giving up on a hobby that I used to long for. <Don't lose heart, you can figure this out.> It really is frustrating. I love reading, researching, and seeing all the fish and inverts that are a part of the hobby, but when I think of that skimmer I just want to quit. Maybe you can help me. A little about my set up. It's a 150 gallon salt water glass aquarium. My fish consist of; 2 Scats, 2 Yellow Tailed Damsels, 1 Rabbit Fish, 1 Light Blue Powder Tang, 1 Humu Trigger, 1 Flame Hawk Fish, 1 Maroon Clown, 1 Coral Beauty Dwarf Angel, and 1 Flame Dwarf Angel for a total of 11 fish. There is no live rock, just "dead" type if you will and about 120 pounds of Florida crushed coral, (approx. 2.5 inches), for a substrate. The tank it self is a "reef ready" type with two built in overflow boxes in each rear corner skimming the water off of the top down into a perforated pipe wrapped with a foam filter. The water from both of these comes together in the cabinet under the tank via a "t" then drains into a ten gallon glass rectangle tank used as a sump. The sump houses my Red Sea Berlin Turbo Skimmer with associated pump that came with it; (both are junk). From there the outputs of the skimmer run at a slight downward angle, (as per the set up directions), into the top of a Tidepool 2 Wet Dry filter. In the sump of the wet dry is the heater. A Quiet One pump is plumbed through the bulk head of the filter so it is outside of the sump, runs through a check valve, then up to the outputs back into the tank. I could never get the skimmer pump and filter pump to operate in unison for more than a week or so. <And it will never happen. Balancing flow between pumps can happen for a period of time, but one will always change.> Either the skimmer sump would run dry and suck air into the pump or the wet/dry filter would run dry and it would suck air into the pump. I do have a ball valve after the quiet one pump and before the check valve. I use it to help regulate the water flow. However this is usually approximately 90% closed. If I open it more, the wet/dry would cavitate-if I were to close it a bit more, the skimmer sump would cavitate. If this isn't enough, the skimmer never seemed to operate to it's advertised potential. It would collect a very watery solution which much would just drip from the drain in the collection cup back into the skimmer sump. As I was reading on your site, a few things did stand out in my mind. One was the fact that an individual said they had their overflow boxes filled with bio balls. Interesting I thought. Inside of the wet/dry the only bio-filtration I have is what ever the bio-wheel is contributing. Should I fill these boxes with some type of bio media and if so what type. <Doubtful, the BioWheels are fairly effective at what they do. What do your water tests tell you?> Also I noticed that in the sump where the skimmer is you recommend that there be a weir of some sort boxing in the skimmer from the rest of the sump. How is this done? <A simple baffle, see here later today (the link needs some love first) on how to do this cheap and easy: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i1/Baffles/baffles.htm.> Should I keep the skimmer in its own sump, or am I going overboard? <You can, but a few things need changing, this is the source of your trouble here.> How do I get both pumps synchronized and working together at the proper flow rates? <These separate vessels need to be linked with some piping below the water line on the lowest of the two. Balancing pump flows will never happen, you need to allow the level in the tanks to move back and forth. This does mean you will need one larger sump or you will have to drill the ten gallon and the tidepool. See here for drilling the glass: http://reefercentral.com/Videos.html.> Finally, I've had an outbreak of marine ick two time since my tank has been operating which is 5 1/2 years. What's your take on ultra violate sterilizers? <Can be useful, but unnecessary in an otherwise healthy system IMO.> I don't want to give up on this wonderful hobby. <Please don't!> When my tank is working well and clean it's absolutely beautiful! <Hmmm, perhaps ask yourself what is done different when the tank is like this?> I hope you have the time to read this all and write back. Thank you in advance for any advice you can render. Sincerely Ted Pergolizzi <Welcome, Scott V.> P.S.- Live rock or not? It's beautiful, but I'm afraid of losing it all if I need to medicate. <Yes live rock all the way! If you go this route do be sure to read about curing the rock first. As for medicating, this really needs to be done in a quarantine tank to treat the fish properly and not crash your system. A few more links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm

Elevated Skimmer. No, elevated higher than that! 1/4/08 Hi there, I am plumbing my Precision Marine Skimmer (venturi style) into my sump. I would like to sit the skimmer on a table next to my tank (which is about 28� above the bottom of the sump), as there is not enough room under the tank in the stand or in the sump. I will be using a Mag 9.5 and will have approx 2� of rise restricted by 1 - 90 elbow and two unions and a ¾ ball valve with all ¾ inch flexible PVC. <This is the recommended pump for this skimmer, but with the head height you will add I would step this up to the next larger Mag to ensure the skimmer operates properly.> The return from the skimmer is 1� PVC with a 1� gate valve. I know the gate valve will narrow the inside diameter some here. Can you advise me'¦ will this work? <It will, but for the trouble an insurance I would go ahead and step this up to 1.5" line after the valve. The 1" valve will flow more than the typical 1" gravity line due to the pressure from the water column inside the skimmer. Stepping up the size of the drain line will ensure this can keep up too.> I know there are issues with a skimmer being too low in relation to the water level'¦ but could not find anything on WWM with the skimmer sitting at an elevation comparable to this. <It does diminish the flow available from the pump, hence the recommendation above.> I am sure it is covered somewhere on the site. There is an awesome volume of info here. Thank all of you for that! This site is my primary resource tool for all things aquatic. Scott <Good the hear, happy to help! Scott V.>

Salinity Stability in a Reef Tank ~ 12/30/08 Hi There, <<Hello>> I am wondering the importance of absolute salinity stability. My conductivity can vary from 50 to 53 (using Neptune controller) due to various factors from inputting more Kalkwasser than is evaporating, skimmer overproduction, water changes, etc. I am working towards stabilizing this # but I am wondering if I should worry and care to try to stabilize this? <<A good question'¦ Depending on a coral's origin many do experience such fluctuations in the wild, seemingly without harm. I've heard tell of Xeniids growing on freshwater waste pipes. And corals living in lagoons often experience wide fluctuations in salinity due to the tides and the effects of evaporation and rainfall. But as far as captive care goes and the induced stresses re, it is likely best to keep such fluctuations to a minimum in the aquarium. To put your specific situation in better perspective and to maybe make it more understandable to a wider audience, the Conductivity readings of 50 to 53 (mS/cm) equate to readings of about 33 to35 ppt for Salinity and 1,024 to 1.026 for Specific Gravity (depending on exact water temperature and which conversion chart/calculator you use). Though I prefer to see reef tanks stabilized more towards the upper end of this scale, I think these readings/fluctuations are acceptable>> Speaking of skimmer overproduction, when I do a water change for several hours after my skimmer produces a lot of wet skim (almost water) <<Many systems experience just the opposite (a loss of skimmate production)'¦ You may be stirring up detritus and releasing colloidal compounds that increase the foam production>> and my ORP drops by 75-100. <<This would also seem to support my theory>> As always thanks for all of the info. <<Quite welcome>> Best, Bryan <<Regards, EricR>>

Skimmer help, op., Vertex     12/25/08 <Hello Jack. Minh at your service> I've had my Vertex IN 250 skimmer running for 4 day now on my 150 gal. Right now I have a light bioload with only 4 small fish, 1 small coral, some hermits and snails. I seem to be having trouble getting a consistent skimmate out of it. Its not pulling out anything really dark or nasty yet, just some lighter colored foam. Then every once in a while it will overflow into the cup and I have to empty water out of it. Do I need to keep the foam head set a little lower and just let it alone for a few days? <This is the course of action I would suggest.> Does it take a while to break in or am I doing something wrong? Skimmer is in my 55 gal sump in 8 inches of water. This is my first skimmer so I'm not really sure what to expect from it or how to fine tune the adjustment. Lots of ?'s here but I'd appreciate any feedback.... <If you are getting foam in your skimmer's collection cup, then it appears that your set up and installation of the skimmer is correct. It will take some time for the skimmer to break-in fully and start to collect consistent skimmate.> Thanks! <You're welcome and happy holidays, Minh.>

Yet Another Skimmer Question (inefficient design?) � 12/23/08 Hi.... <<Hello Gretchen>> My tank was set up 3 months ago, fish weren't added until 2 weeks ago, live rocks are over 2 years old, <<Hmm, you might want to consider swapping out some of the rock for new'¦ For the benefit of renewed alkaline/bio-mineral content, and a fresh injection of beneficial biota>> everything else just purchased (used and new): - 45g Tall - live rocks and live sand - 20 gallon sump under the tank - separated into 3 sections: intake on the left which holds a Red Sea Berlin Classic skimmer, then a triple baffle bubble trap, return section, and lastly, the refugium, separated from the return area with a baffle w/ teeth on top for water to pour through...the fuge is receiving 25% water from the intake and one of the outlets for the skimmer is pouring into the fuge. <<Very good>> - Skimmer is powered by a Rio 2500, one outlet is pouring into its own compartment (intake area), and the 2nd is routed to the fuge, using pvc for both outlets. - Lighting is just enough for non-coral life (tank to be a FOWLR tank) -- 1 - 40 watt actinic and 1 regular white fluorescent to offset the blue) - currently housing just around 10 various hermits, and around 10 various snails, and 2 false Perculas. - At first, levels were: ammonia & nitrites 0ppm, pH 8.2-8.4, but nitrates were 160+ ppm. <<Yikes!>> I fixed this by using ro/di water and making a 75% change (this was before I had inhabitants!). <<Ahh'¦>> Now, I'm constantly at ammonia & nitrites 0ppm, pH 8.2-8.4, and nitrates between 5-20ppm. <<Okay>> I've done so much searching for specifically my brand of skimmer (and no doubt you guys all have your opinions on it). <<Hee-hee! Indeed this is true!>> I got it used, and the pump is brand new. It works perfectly...I *think*.... <<You are in the best position to know>> I'm getting wonderful bubble action (after figuring out that the baffle needed to be in the inner tube! Prior to this I was getting the cyclone, and not a lot of bubbles)...the bubbles are filling up the inner tube, and pouring over halfway down the middle area, but not passing the skirt. I've Googled around like mad for 2 months and am still confused. <<Mmm, you may be running *too dry*, but with this model skimmer getting it set is not always easy. I've used this model skimmer before myself, as well a seen it used by others, and I always found it to be a real pain to get and keep adjusted. One thing I did fine that seemed to help was to oversize the pump. I always found that the venturi/skimmer design worked better with the bigger pump. So'¦ You may want to consider trying a RIO 3100 with this skimmer and see if it performs any better>> When I fixed the bubble issue, I thought it was working...I was getting dry foam intermittently, but it never gushed over. <<This is typical with this skimmer>> The neck and lid were thick with sludge. That lasted a week...it stopped foaming as much, so I cleaned the neck off with just tap and ro/di yesterday. <<Good'¦ The skimmer should be cleaned every few days to keep it working (as well as it will/does, anyway)>> And now, I don't see any foam. I figured it was because it needs to re-prime itself, and I had just done a water change. <<Maybe'¦ But it also probably needs a new round of *fiddling with it* to get it going again>> I'd like to understand, how the foaming action starts to build up and overflow...will it only overflow if there's enough dirty particles attached to them? <<Simply put, yes'¦ The *dirty* foam is a result of the attraction of hydrophobic organic molecules to the air/water interface of the bubbles. It *is* possible for an aquarist's system water to be clean enough to not allow the expected skimming action. This may be the case here, but I doubt it. Though the large swing in your Nitrate readings may well indicate a like swing in skimmate production>> I've got zillions of bubbles in the membrane just bouncing around...will they stay in there until there's enough particles to make them work their way up the neck? <<They won't *stay* (the bubbles will eventually rise and burst), but your skimmer's venturi should be injecting a constant stream of bubbles so in essence, yes, there will be bubbles present when organics become present>> Or should I increase the pressure somehow to raise the water level, so it is higher up the neck? <<You can do this'¦ A skimmer requires the correct combination of water flow vs. air injection/bubbles. Better skimmers, in my experience, make finding and holding these settings easier'¦ And also seem to work better over a wider range of water/air combinations. Readjusting this skimmer is likely what is needed here (remember the *fiddly* comments I made about this skimmer). And then checking/re-checking to make further adjustment as necessary>> It seems the gunky bubbles barely overflowed, but rather, stuck to the neck. In which case, it is working to get stuff out...but does it sound like its working as well as it should? <<In a word'¦ No'¦ The skimmer needs to be adjusted to overflow skimmate in to the skimmer cup. Just how wet or dry to make the foam is a matter of debate, but you should at least be making *some* skimmate>> Is it right for me to assume that since I don't have a lot of bioload that this may be why I'm not getting the overflow of dry foam that a lot of other people I've spoken to? <<This is a possibility, yes. Though I would simply adjust the skimmer to produce a wetter foam (best to try to remove what dissolved organics you can)>> I just want to be sure that I can continue to stick with this skimmer, because a lot of people who've gotten it to work really love it. <<Then give it some more time and experiment with the skimmer settings a bit>> They just can't explain to me why mine isn't overflowing with dry foam like theirs. <<It may be a matter of adjustment as indicated'¦ Or it may be a matter of inefficient design, as also indicated. This model skimmer seems to vary in efficacy from unit to unit, but overall is a modest/marginal performer in my experience>> Everything else *seems* like it's working (like I said...lots and lots of micro-bubbles inside-- can't even see through the acrylic), and I'm not ready to trade this in for a more expensive one (we will be upgrading to a 125g next year, and want to save for that; this 45g is our first "experimental" tank) Thanks! Gretchen <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Re: Yet Another Skimmer Question (inefficient design?) � 12/23/08 ATTN: Eric R... <<Hiya Gretchen!>> Thanks for all the tips!! <<Quite welcome>> I guess I will stick it out with the skimmer and its adjustments since I will be upgrading to a 125g sometime next year anyway. <<Okay'¦ These skimmers can be made to *make do* for a small system such as you have now. But jeez'¦ What a pain they are'¦>> Unless I find a good used skimmer, I don't see an immediate reason for me to shell out for a better that might not be big enough for a 125g, especially if I can put up with this one. <<Okay>> I'll just be diligent about my water changes. <<Very good>> I forgot to mention my refugium uses Miracle Mud, so hopefully that will help keep my tank healthy. <<Ah yes'¦ A very useful adjunct>> And since I brought this up, I'm going by information I read that the water entering the refugium shouldn't be too strong so pods can flourish, so the result in my sump is that there is just a little bit of the fuge water entering my return. <<The *pods* can actually *flourish* under a wide range of flow conditions. But in your case, I would follow the instructions/flow requirements for the Miracle Mud>> Too bad the pods get crushed after going through the return pump. <<Ah, not true! Many/most do make it through just fine. And even the ones that don't are still providing benefit/nutrition>> Next tank design will have the fuge on top of the tank. <<Cool!>> As for the live rocks...I am guessing I have 30lbs of rock in there, not enough for my 45g. <<This too is a matter of debate. I think many hobbyists use *too much* rock thus hindering water movement/swimming space for fishes, and facilitating detritus accumulation>> Would the older live rock be bad to keep instead of replacing? <<Mmm, no'¦ Is not bad to keep'¦ Just not as useful/beneficial as swapping out for some *new*>> Here's the live rock's history: My brother had it for a couple of years, but in the last year, after his tang died off (yes, he kept a tang in a 45g, shame on him!) <<Hee-hee! You tell'm sister!>> he just maintained the tank's salinity over the next year until I took over. In that last year he didn't do much water changing, if any, and just kept topping off. I always thought the older the rock the better, since it would have been well established. <<In the overall scheme of things a mature/established/stable system is best, yes. But swapping out some of the old rock will not jeopardize this and will provide the benefits mentioned in our previous exchange>> Or is it that old rocks might be excreting bad things? <<Mmm, no'¦ Not unless bad things were previously introduced/absorbed>> There wasn't much coralline growth to the rocks to begin with, but I've noticed more coralline now that I've taken over. So given that history, I don't know if the old rocks are any good now. What do you guys think about it? <<Yes, they are still *good*>> I am slowly adding more live rock, but haven't removed any old ones. <<This too is fine as outlined previously re>>>> And of course, when I upgrade to a 125, I would have wanted to keep my existing rocks and just add. <<Not a problem>> I've seen a bunch of your articles/responses to people with "old" live rock, and a couple responses say they were fine, and a couple suggested what you just did, which is to replace. <<Ah, but not to replace *all*'¦ Merely a few pounds at a time'¦ Every year or so>> I don't hear many people talking about replacing some of their live rock every couple of years. <<A good point'¦ On mature systems with lots of coral growth this may well not be practical with causing unwanted damage>> Again, thanks in advance, and I agree that you guys deserve proper emails (for your readers' sakes, as well!), and hopefully I've remained clear and to the point. <<You have indeed>> Happy holidays to the awesome WetWebMedia Crew! Gretchen <<And to you in kind my friend. Cheers, Eric Russell>>

Skimmer Query, AquaC EV180 11/13/08 Hi, <Ranjith.> I just got a new skimmer yesterday - AquaC EV180. <Nice skimmer.> It has been running almost 24 hours and I do not see foam rising into the tower. <You very well may not for a few days.> I have set it up as per the manual (at the base of the grey box).  I do not think this is due to a break-in period as my first skimmer (cut off coke bottle) started skimming almost within a couple of hours. <It is break in.> I also know that my tank HAS plenty of gunk to take out because even my Azoo skimmer was taking out ¼ cup of dark green liquid with particles in it. Can the problem be any of the following? 1. The hose connecting the power head to the skimmer intake is 2 feet long and is coiled (no hard bends) <Little difference.> 2. The pump is underpowered? (I use a 3000 LPH power head) <On the lower end, but still within recommendations for this skimmer.> 3. Skimmer is the one off faulty piece? <Doubtful, give it time.> Also, the dark green output from my previous skimmer is gunk right? <Yes.> The walls of the tower would have a thick slime coat each time I cleaned the skimmer. Tank specs 120gal bow front 4"-5" DSB 80kgs live rock Inverts: 1 mushroom colony, 2 Zoanthid colonies, 2 Palythoa colonies, 1 moon coral, 1 finger leather, 2 feather dusters, snails. Fish: 5" Volitans lion, 4" Skunk Clown Pests: 2" mud crab (not counting legs or claws) Ps: please could you hit the reply all :-) Cheers Ranjith <Scott V.>

New set up, Overactive Skimmer 11/4/08 Ok, giving this a shot. <Fire away.> I really only have one question but a lot of background info to fill you in on. I am absolutely new to reef aquariums although my dad has kept a 55g saltwater tank for over 20 years. I'm trying to set one up from scratch and I'm really trying to do it right (patience is something I'm in surplus of, sometimes to a fault). <Good> I have been fortunate enough to have been given a complete set up for free. Forgive me for not knowing any brand names of the equipment I have at the moment. I've been trying to research this as much as I can. . My equipment is as follows: 30g glass tank w/stand; wet/dry trickle filter; protein skimmer; 2-20" 15w mercury lights; one powerhead; 2-3 airstones; 2 heaters; 30-40lbs of once live rock (been in a dry tub for about a month and a half now); siphon tube; water test kit; and whole box of misc. stuff such as food, vitamins, water treatment stuff, etc. I cleaned the tank, set up the filter, hung the skimmer on the sump, filled it with fresh water (just to test the equip.) and got things running, tweaking it here and there to try and quiet my girlfriend... I mean the tank down slightly being that it's in the corner behind the couch and chair. Now on to my question... I noticed that when I start the skimmer up it immediately fills up to the top to the point that it only takes about 45 minutes to fill the cup at the top with what would be considered in a normal situation as very wet skim. <With fresh water? Skimmers normally don't work in fresh water so you may be headed for trouble when salt water is used.> When I drain the tank and get ready to start my cycling process with the rock that I have and enough pre-mixed (RO/DI) saltwater provided by my LFS, will my skimmer continue to do this, or will the saltwater act differently? <Will most likely produce even more skimate, need to figure out how to adjust this equipment.> Being that I'm relying on the DOM (decayed organic material) on the rock for a cycling agent I anticipate having to empty the cup regularly but I work during the day and really can't afford to have the cup overflowing inside the stand. What do you suggest? With all the appreciation I can muster, Jéan Dodes <Best bet here is to figure out what model of skimmer you have and see how adjustable it is. With most skimmers you can adjust the cup height, air flow, and in some the water level, which all will effect production. Most likely you will just need to tweak one or more of these variables to get your skimmer producing the way you want it too.> <Chris>

New set up, Overactive Skimmer, Reader Input 11/5/08 Hi Crew, <Hello> This is in response to an email posted today on the WWM daily FAQs.  I had a similar problem with my Coralife skimmer. My problem was caused by the wrong dechlorinator added to the water. My skimmer was hyperactive regardless of water level. <Ah yes, thanks, a common cause that I overlooked. Many additives will cause increased bubble production.> The "fix" was to further restrict the air coming into the skimmer. I put a small length of tubing with an air stone on the air intake of the skimmer.  This reduced the airflow enough to make the foam controllable. After two days, the decholorinator had "burned off" enough to remove the air stone and resume normal operation. Regards Mike <Thanks for the input.> <Chris>

Fluctuating Water Level and Skimmer Performance -- 10/31/08 Hi :), <<Hello>> I was reading through the skimmer FAQ and see a common problem. When the tank has a fluctuating water level it hurts skimmer performance. <<Yes'¦and more specifically'¦fluctuating levels within the 'chamber housing the skimmer' effect the water level/pressures within the skimmer itself which can lead to a fluctuating efficiency of the unit>> Have yet to see a solution to this (sorry if I missed the page with the answer). <<Really? Simply place the skimmer in a 'chamber' within the sump that utilizes baffles to stabilize water levels>> I have the same problem. Due to the wavemaker the sump level fluctuates 2-3 inches from day and night modes of the wavemaker. <<I see>> This can be solved by placing the skimmer in the first chamber which has baffles immediately after it right? <<If constructed with this in mind, and if the working water height within the sump is below the top of these baffles'¦yes>> I guess this has a lot to do with the return pump working with constant output while the fluctuating water levels changing input to the sump collection chamber. Thus the change in water level only in the return chamber. <<Indeed'¦and the reason for the baffles>> Placing the skimmer in the first chamber just before the baffles does not have this problem as it is gravity which is flexible in output :). Am I in the neighborhood of being correct here? <<I think so'¦>> Cheers, Ranjith <<Regards, EricR>>

Getting the most out of the skimmer/Sump issues 10/27/08 Hello all. <Jason.> I have a Euro Reef in-sump skimmer that I need help with. <Okay.> My sump, (30 gallon), has three chambers with skimmer on the left, pump in the middle, and 'fuge on the right. All baffled off appropriately but because the water level lowers with evap, the skimmer does not work correctly. <Indeed a problem.> I understand there is a way to maintain a constant level in the skimmer chamber but need further instruction as how to do this. I have returns coming into both the skimmer section and the refugium section. Both have valve adjusters. <The baffle leaving the skimmer chamber should be higher than the level of the water in the pump chamber (and sealed to the bottom!). It should fall, at least a bit, into the pump chamber. This will keep the skimmer chamber level constant, with all the evaporation showing up in the pump chamber. An automated top off will also help/eliminate the problem.> Thanks in advance for the help and for your amazing service. Jason <Welcome, Scott V.>

ViaAqua Skimmer II, op.  10/20/08 Sorry I'm not a good emailer. Here I'll try again. <Ahh, good.> Two days ago I purchased a ViaAqua Multiskimmer II from a local pet store. After installing on to my 46 gallon bow front and plugging in as instructed, I had noticed the collection cup soon filled with water and micro bubbles enter back into tank. Troubleshooting said it may be due to high salinity. <Not unless it is very high, enough to kill your tank.> I had then removed a couple gallons of saltwater and replaced with distilled to bring the level down which it had. <Do check your salinity now!> Can you or you're readers have any other suggestion because there has been no change and now see larger bubbles forming under and around rock. <Do start with your salinity, if you lowered it too much the bubbles in the tank will tend to be larger. As for the skimmer overflowing, try a lower setting if possible. Otherwise, new skimmers can take a while to break in (although the problem is usually the opposite of yours) and any additives to the tank can cause your issue, foods, vitamins, etc. Scott V.>

AquaC Remora Pro, op.  10/17/08 I knew that if I could get great advice anywhere, it would be here so here is my dilemma: after getting disgusted time and time again and having a few overflows with my Prizm Pro skimmer, I decided to listen to the consensus here and purchased an AquaC Remora Pro. <A good move.> I have never read anything but good about this skimmer here. <For good reason.> To get to the point, the problem is that I have been unable to adjust the cup level so that the water bubbles do not constantly come over as a very, very wet foam and spill over into the collection cup and then constantly run out into my external overflow (gallon jug for now). If I let it run like this, it will eventually empty my tank. If I adjust the O-ring at the lower setting (below the drain fitting elbow) than the foam level does not go up the column and into the cup at all. I got it with the drain fitting option, and was a bit dismayed that it did not come with a plug just in case I did not want to use the barbed elbow that it did come with. <This will be a regular plug available at any hardware store, most likely a ¼' or 3/8' pipe thread.> I will be calling AquaC later on today when they open, but any suggestions here will be very greatly appreciated. <A few things come to mind. First, do you use any additives on a regular basis such as Selcon or one of the many magic coral elixirs? Many of these can make a skimmer go out of control. Other point is, new skimmers can take a bit to start producing a good skimmate. It is common to set the collection cup too low to get something, and then it ends up being a very wet foam. The collection cup will need to be set higher, this is what the skimmate is telling you. Be patient, the foam will reach the top of the neck, again if this is a new skimmer it can take a few days.> Thanks for your help, Jeffrey Castaldo <Welcome, Scott V.>

Microbubbles and no skimmate... Mmm, skimmer op. f'  10/1/08 Good Afternoon, <Hi there> First and foremost, I would like to thank you, Mr. Fenner, and the WWM Crew for taking the time to answer all of the questions and for building such an informative site. I will apologize for the length of this letter beforehand. I have a couple problems. First, my skimmer is producing nothing other than a green tea colored liquid; <Mmm... either needs adjustment or is "just" not a very efficient make/model> secondly, I have a large amount of microbubbles or microparticles that are making the tank cloudy. <No fun> I have a 125-gallon tank that I started in January of this year. I added 175 pounds of live rock and a ½-inch of fine aragonite sand. This is where I made the first of several mistakes. I knew the rock needed to cure and had planned to do so in the tank. I placed the rock in the tank with a CPR Bak-Pak 2 Skimmer, three powerheads and an Emperor 400 BIO-Wheel. I obviously did not understand the difference between curing and cycling. <Yikes! What a mess> I failed to do water changes and the ammonia level climbed off the charts. At the highest possible placement of the collection cup, the skimmer failed to produce anything other than the tea colored liquid. I am sure you can imagine what happened, no living creatures on the live rock from the ammonia. The live rock had a lot of coralline (which bleached), but I never experienced the foul odor during curing that I have read about here. <You're fortunate t/here> The tank completed its cycle in about three weeks. I had all the undesirable effects, such as the diatom bloom. I had initially used tap water to fill the tank, which I now realize was another mistake. I eventually developed the dreaded Cyanobacteria. I added an RO system, and it had little effect on the Cyanobacteria. I had my water tested by a water quality firm and found that the tap water contained 600 ppm of total dissolve solids. <We actually have more here in most of San Diego... and call our source water "liquid rock"> The RO water contained 30 ppm <Mmmm> so I added a DI filter to the system and lowered the TDS to 0. The CPR skimmer has never made much skimmate and as earlier mentioned, it was nothing other than a tea color. I finally defeated the Cyanobacteria problem with a great deal of water changes. <You must be getting the ahms of AhnoldS!> I had also read that dripping Kalkwasser with an IV would precipitate the phosphates, which I believe that I have, but have always tested zero. I believed the skimmer was producing the microbubbles, so I upgraded to an AquaC Remora Pro with a bubble trap, <Ah! Very good> but I continue to have little skimmate production. I have even talked with Steve at AquaC; he suggested that maybe the bioload was too light. <A possibility> I have now had another outbreak with Cyanobacteria. I know there is a lot of organic matter in the water, <But... "something" missing> since the Emperor filter cartridges become extremely dirty in a short amount of time. I have also dripped Kalkwasser over several days to raise the pH to 8.6 to precipitate the phosphates. I have now added a poly filter along with Chemi-Pure. <Worth trying> The Cyanobacteria is still present and I siphon it out every few days. I will disappear within an hour of "lights-out" and come back vigorously within an hour of "lights on." I know this is not light dependant and is a result of high organics in the water. I also have a green algae that grows on the back glass (not sure if it is also related to the Cyanobacteria or not) but its texture appears to be more slime-like. The coralline grows well on the rocks but when it forms on the glass, it grows to the size of a dime, then develops a small hole in the middle, and completely disappears within a few days. The microbubbles are not only very aesthetically displeasing but as you are quite aware can be dangerous to the livestock. I have tested the equipment that I have by have shutting everything off for 12 hours, but there continues to be microbubbles or microparticles in the water column, they never settle out or rise to the top. Sometimes it almost appears that they are coming from the substrate and appear to get worse the longer the lights are on. <Yes... I know of the sort of thing you are experiencing... and a safe, easy "cure"> Again, I apologize for the length but I am out of things to try. I also placed a HOB magnum with a micro cartridge and ran this for a month to make sure it was not just particulate matter and it appeared that this made no difference either. Not sure if this matters or not but in the beginning I had to add massive amounts of calcium because it kept dropping into the 250 range, I was also adding Purple up. <Mmmm> After reading on your site, I stopped all the supplements other than Kent Super Buffer for my water. The calcium has remained steady in the 400 range with no additives for several months now. I am just wondering are these microbubbles the bi-product of the Cyanobacteria or some other type of bacterial infection. Up until about two weeks ago, my pH fluctuated to the extremes 8.1 to 8.6 it was as if the BGA was controlling this to its own satisfaction. <Good guess> Calcium and DKH remained at acceptable levels and pH would be 8.1 one day and 8.6 the next with no additives. I first thought it was the pH meter, which is a pinpoint, but after having it checked and calibrated there was no problem with the equipment. 125-gallon aquarium (not drilled) pH 8.1 to 8.3 Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 20 DKH 11 Calcium 400 Temperature 79 (very stable) Phosphates 0 (tank and RO water) Lights PC (4) 96 watt (on for 12 hrs) (3) Powerheads AquaC Skimmer (Rio 1400) UV (used for 1 month with no results so I removed) Emperor BIO-Wheel (change filters weekly) I have added phosphate remover and ChemiPure in the last month I use no additives other than Kent Superbuffer for make-up water I have done 10-gallon water changes weekly. I also only feed Ocean Nutrition flakes and seaweed for the Tangs. I am positive I am not overfeeding. Livestock (1) Yellow Hawaiian Tang (1) Flame Hawkfish (2) True Percula Clowns (3) Green Chromis (1) Watchman Goby (1) Sailfin Blenny (1) Foxface (1) Kole Tang (2) Brittle Stars (3) Firefish Gobies (2) Cleaner Shrimp (1) Flame Scallop (came with cleaner crew) Pulsating Xenia (grown to three separate large colonies) (1) Frogspawn (3 heads) Several mushrooms Several button polyps (1) White Pom Pom Xenia Cleaner crew mixed snails and hermits Thanks for all your assistance, Roger <Now... I am going to try my best at an effort of sleight of hand here... suggesting actions w/o much (or any really) explanation of causative mechanisms. IF you will try adding a bit (abundance of a lacking essential nutrient) of carbon here... in the form of ethanol (Vodka will do) or "simple" sugar (pentoses, hexoses), you will very likely find a "miraculous" turning about of your system... Either a half ounce of the C2H5OH... OR a couple grams of the sugar (dissolved in some water), every other day for three, four treatments... And please do write me back in a week or so and we'll chat re... Not to be or appear disingenuous, I don't want/intend to encourage others carte blanche to try this. Your situation however... is apropos. Bob Fenner>

Re: fighting conch, algal contr., and wet-dry conv. to live sump... Adjusting skimmer, macroalgae light f'   9/11/08 Mr. Fenner, <Chris> When you mentioned water quality mal-influencing skimmer function and needing adjustment to raise the water level in the contact chamber, does this mean: the water quality is poor, or that the skimmer itself needs adjustment? <Perhaps a bit of both; definitely the latter> I tested the water yesterday...salinity 1.024, ph 8.2, nitrate was high (20ppm), ammonia, nitrite, phosphate were all zero. The pump attached to the skimmer has a water flow dial on it...is this what you meant by adjusting to raise water level in contact chamber? <Yes> I read the skimmer manual section pertaining to the water flow dial, and I'm embarrassed to say I'm still confused whether it will push more froth into the cup by increasing the flow (turning knob counterclockwise), or vice versa. <Just try going both directions... Usually opening the valve is turning left/counter-clockwise...> The last question in my previous email pertained to my keeping macroalgae in the display tank...is the existing light (120W total) sufficient to keep the macroalgae happy in the display tank (72L X 18W X 22H) with 100 lbs or so live rock, and 1-2 inch deep live sand substrate? <Mmm, likely so... there is a huge span of "useful" to optimal quality and quantity of light per species, Division of algae... with much photo-adaptation> They're on a timer, approximately 8 hrs per day. This was my first large marine tank, so I contracted with a local aquarium maintenance company to plan and install the system (equipment, lighting, hard plumbing, etc.), hoping to watch the owner work and ask enough questions so that I'd be more comfortable on my own for future systems. <Good practice> At the time, I saw a Berlin skimmer online review that was consistent with your comment (that it wasn't the best choice), but I relied on this person's expertise, since he said he had personal experience with this brand skimmer. It was also his opinion that since this was not going to be a reef tank, 2 standard fluorescent fixtures (housing two 50/50 bulbs each) was all I needed. <Mmm, short-sighted in my opinion... I urge folks to aim at likely upgrade scenarios... in the hope, knowledge that they may well "graduate" to other types of systems in time> Thanks, Chris S. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Protein Skimmer "upgrade", Modifying Aqua Euro HOB Skimmer 9/2/08 Hello Crew, <Hello Jeremy.> You may or may not find this information of use to your readers, but I thought I would pass in along for your review. When I set-up my first salt tank about a year ago, I knew absolutely nothing about protein skimming. My LFS convinced me to buy an Aqua-Euro HOT skimmer that was light on the pocket book and supposedly had decent performance. In the beginning it worked pretty well, and after reading and studying up a little it seemed to perform up to the general guidelines you guys have laid out for skimmer performance. Needless to say, after the initial break-in period I noticed that the over-all performance and quantity/quality of skimmate started to dwindle, as is often the case in some of the cheaper skimmers on the market. The Aqua-Euro skimmer (for those that aren't familiar with it) utilizes both a needle wheel pump and a non-adjustable aspiration set-up to control the water level in the skimmer itself. I thought and thought and thought some more about how the skimmer actually functioned, and wondered if there was a way that I could modify it to boost it's performance. <There usually is, as you found!> As I tinkered around with it a little, I noticed that if I blocked off the aspiration inlet with my finger, I would actually get MUCH better bubble fractionation and over-all flow through the unit. The downfall though, was that the water level in the outlet chamber would get dangerously close to overflowing the unit. As I thought about it some more, I asked myself if there was any way I could regulate the amount of aspiration to get a happy medium between water level and fractionation. I decided to add an inline gate valve that I had laying around to the air line and see if that would give me adequate control. It worked, and worked well! <Many 'high end' skimmers provide such a device, it does work in some instances.> But I wasn't done yet. At the top of the inlet chamber, there is an angled baffle to help create some turbulence before reaching the collection cup. I wondered if changing the angle of the inlet down-tube would possibly increase or decrease the amount of turbulence in the chamber and increase contact time. I swiveled the tube as far to the inside wall of the chamber containing the baffle as it would go and a really neat thing happened. It created a convection current in the chamber effectively creating and second pass of sorts for the fractionated mixture. I now get more than double the amount of nice dark skimmate from the same inexpensive skimmer for a five dollar upgrade that anyone can do. <Wow, great!> I know Aqua-Euro isn't really widespread in the marketplace, but for someone on a limited budget, this is an inexpensive skimmer that can be easily modified to produce as well as some of the more expensive units out there. I've only had it for a little over a year so I cannot attest to pump longevity, but I can say that it is silent, rarely do I ever have to make any adjustments to it, it doesn't pass micro-bubbles into my tank, and it has never broken down on me in that amount of time. For those needing more visual aid, I've included a simple diagram of the modifications in case you decide to pass this along to your readers. <It will be.> If not, or if you guys are vehemently against Aqua Euro for some other reason feel free to send this straight to the dumpster. <Heee, no!> I have not tried it because I don't own one, but I would imagine a similar modification could be made to their in-sump models as well, though I imagine it would be a little more finicky since it appears that they only use one model of pump, and on their bigger units they simply employ multiple pumps rather than using a more efficient single pump. Sincerely, Jeremy <Thank you for sharing your finds, this will be posted for the benefit of others. Happy reefing, Scott V.>

Skimmer, Omni Life... -- 07/16/08 Hello I am looking for any information on an Omni Life skimmer. I just recently purchased one, It came without a pump. <Can fit most any on, and throttle up/down... does not work well in any case...> I just need to know if anyone knows anything about this company Thanks, Curt <Mmm, is a puny, un-engineered very low use tool... I would put it back on the Net or the garage... whence it came. Bob Fenner> Overskimming? Fact or Fiction? - 6/30/08 Dear Crew -- <Hallo! Benjamin with you today!> A very quick skimmer question. We have a hang-on-the-side BakPak2 skimmer on a 55 gallon tank. We recently cleaned the skimmer (for the first time in almost a year). We followed all the instructions and it seems to be working well. My question is ... is it possible to overskim a tank? <For all practical purposes, no> The skimmer was pulling out about a quarter of the skimming-cup once a week, now it is pulling out that much in every couple of days, maybe even every day. Is it possible to overskim the tank? Could that hurt sponges or other things that are doing in-tank filtration? <No fears, this is by no means out of line- I would consider it a big improvement. The efficiency of a skimmer lowers in a directly proportional relationship to the amount of dissolved polar molecules. In essence, it is a negative feedback; for every 1% DOC the skimmer removes, the next 1% will be slightly harder to fractionate. I digress; all this to say that it would take much, much more than a Bak-Pak II to provide the needed power to overskim a 55 gallon tank- overskimming in hobbyist systems is virtually unheard of, and almost impossible.> If it is overskimming, how can we tune it to skim less? I'd prefer not to cycle it on and off because it provides a nice flow in that corner of the tank. <All is well, and I'd recommend cleaning it at least monthly to keep up good nutrient export. Thanks for all your help <Very welcome.> thanks Dave and Laura <Benjamin>

Euro-Reef Modified Eheim Pumps For Small ER Skimmers (Not Yet!) -- 06/17/08 Hi, <<Hello!>> I have a question about the Euro-Reef RS100. <<I am a huge fan of ER skimmers'¦I own a CS12=3 with ER-modded Eheim 1262 pumps, myself>> I called them up and was hoping I could switch out the Sedra pump for an Eheim. <<Hmmm'¦the RS100 uses a ER-modified Sedra 3500 pump'¦I believe the only ER-modified Eheim pump is the Eheim 1262'¦too much pump for RS100 skimmer>> Since this pump performs much better and is quieter. <<The Eheim pumps 'are' a much better pump than many'¦agreed>> I couldn't get anyone over there. <<Keep trying'¦ I have chatted with these fine folks on several occasions'¦they were likely busy and just couldn't get to the phone>> Is this a possibility? <<I'm skeptical (unless you can get a custom mod on a smaller Eheim model)'¦but you need to speak to the folks at Euro-Reef about it>> Can you recommend an Eheim pump for this size skimmer? <<Not with the required needle-wheel or pin-wheel mod currently offered by Euro-Reef and sized for their RS100 skimmer. You could try looking around the NET to see if anyone offers a smaller needle-wheel modified Eheim pump. H&S skimmers use such modified Eheim pumps'¦1260s I believe (and about $300 a pop)'¦but this is still probably too much pump for the ER RS100 skimmer. A needle-wheel modified Eheim 1250 is what you need to look for'¦good luck. Another option would be to replace the Sedra pump that comes with the skimmer with a needle-wheel modified Ocean Runner pump of comparable size. It will be a fraction of the cost of the Eheim (though I do like those Eheims!) and I find this brand of pump very quiet and reliable as well'¦though they are a bit bulky/large. Be aware, any pump you get that was not modified/designed/intended by Euro-Reef to be used with their skimmers will very probably require some modification/imagination to get it to 'mate-up' with the ER skimmer (and will probably also void any warranties)>> Thank you. <<Good luck with your 'hunt.' EricR>>

Re: Euro-Reef Modified Eheim Pumps For Small ER Skimmers (Not Yet!) -- 06/18/08 Hi Eric, <<Sal>> Thanks for the quick reply. <<Quite welcome>> Do you know if the Sedra pump is very loud? <<They're not 'too' bad'¦no more so than a Mag-Drive pump in my experience. The single Sedra-3500 that comes with the ER RS100 skimmer would not make much noise I would think'¦especially if you take steps to limit vibration by placing the pump and skimmer body on some sort of 'resilient' material like computer mouse pads, a piece of sealed-foam insulation, etc.>> One of the reasons I want an Eheim is because I've read they are very quiet. <<They are indeed'¦there just isn't one available with a needle-wheel sized for the RS100 skimmer>> I don't want to hear the skimmer going throughout my entire condo. <<Understandable>> Any help/ideas are greatly appreciated. <<Provide some vibration dampening under the skimmer/pump and I think you will be fine>> Peace Sent from my iPhone <<Regards, EricR (sent from my work computer'¦shhh!)>>

R2: Euro-Reef Modified Eheim Pumps For Small ER Skimmers (Not Yet!) -- 06/19/08 Thanks Eric, <<Welcome Sal>> Just want to get this straight. <<Okay>> You want me to put a mouse pad in my sump under my skimmer.... underwater? <<Yep'¦ It doesn't have to be a mouse pad per se (though I have heard of folks using these), just some type of non-reactive and resilient material to absorb vibration from the pump and skimmer body. In my system, I have my in-sump skimmer w/pumps and my submersible return pumps all 'cushioned' with bits of closed-cell foam insulation (1/4') like that found at any home center (Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.). This can go a long way towards reducing noise from a vibrating pump. Regards, EricR>>

Protein Skimmer Performance Question 6/18/08 WWM Crew, <Hello.> I have a Turboflotor 1000 Multi currently installed as a hang-on in my sump. Tank overflow feeds directly into the side of the sump that the skimmer is installed on so the water level remains constant with the skimmer pump sitting approximately 4-5' under the water. The problem I'm experiencing is, after I empty and clean the skimmer cup (1-2 X's per week), the skimmer will produce about 1' of nice dark skimmate in the cup but it seems to stop after that (The level of skimmate never rises). It does go from a weak tea color to dark (literally almost black) color but the level of production never seems to increase. <OK> From a clean, dry cup I will have that 1' of weak colored tea within 24 hours; after that, the only 'production' I see is the color of the skimmate getting darker and darker. I think foam is no longer entering the cup because when I remove the cup to clean it, there is very thick, dry foam all the way up the center of the cup and attached to the lid of the cup as well. Could this dry foam be preventing new foam from entering the cup or is this normal production? <Your skimmate production will decrease, in this case go toward the drier end, as the neck of the cup get dirty.> I clean the needle-wheel pump, venturi, & air lines once a month . <All good practice.> I've had other skimmers before this one, most recently a Coralife Super Needle-Wheel 125 and while it didn't produce this dark colored skimmate, the level of production in the cup did slowly rise each day as more foam entered the cup. <The darker the skimmate, the lower in volume it will be, not necessarily a bad thing.> I've read several pages of your skimmer FAQ's and have been unable to find any other symptom similar to this. <Sounds like normal skimmer operation. If you would like a wet foam, raise the water level in the skimmer. Another option is to clean the collection cup daily to get the wet skimmate. Best of luck, Scott V.>

Protein Skimmer Acting Up 6/18/08 Hey, <Hello.> I recently did a water change, 15 gallons on a 55 gallon tank, using a new salt, Tropic Marin, and cleaned the filters (in fresh salt water) and changed out the carbon and Kent Marine Nitrate Sponge from my Fluval 405. I unplugged the whole system for the cleaning, for about 15 minutes at most. I plugged everything back in and when the skimmer (sea clone 100) turned on, it began to spit out more bubbles than typical. Now the collection cup fills up with clean water within 3-5 minutes. <This can happen with water changes, vitamins, some supplements, filter cleaning, all of the above.> Also, if I turn the skimmer onto low it spits out a lot of bubbles and a thin scum starts to build on the top of the water. I have tested the water, and nothing major was out of line. My nitrates were 15ppm (pinpoint monitor just calibrated), and salinity was 1.025. any help would be great, as I have looked all over the internet, and you are the only ones that I know could have a solution for me. <Give it time, a few hours and it should be back to normal. If it is not you will want to clean the pump and airline. Obstructions here can do this also.> I know adding a sump would be ideal, but I have a glass tank and don't know exactly how to do this. <A hang on the back overflow or drilling the tank are the two options. Visit: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ovrflowboxfaq4.htm for more information on overflows; getting water to a sump.> Thank you, Brady <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Re: Protein Skimmer Acting Up 6/19/08 It's been over 5 hours and 2 and a half gallons of water I've removed because of the protein skimmer. It's still not working. I replaced the water I removed with standard RO water. <Do check and watch your salinity, this will be saltwater you are removing in this case. Replacing it with fresh will lower your SPG.> Any other suggestions to help this issue? < If your pump and air intake are clean, give it time, shut the skimmer off for a bit if it is accumulating this much water. Cleaning and water changes in the tank can make a skimmer go nuts for a while, sometimes a day or more. Sit tight, Scott V.>

Protein Skimmer Question 06/02/2008 Good afternoon guys, <<And Gals i hope... Andrew with you today>> First let me say your site is amazing, this is my first question to you b/c I have always been able to find the answers I needed by searching. <<Thanks for the kind words>> However for this one I seem to be having a little trouble (although I'm sure it's here somewhere.) First my set up which has been running for 7 months now and has consistently had the numbers to follow: 45 Gal. (high), custom show tank (reef), 55 lbs of live rock making pinnacles and caves modeled on a site/reef I dived and photographed in the Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi (avid underwater phtog here), 3 - 5 inches of live sand sloping back. My numbers Ammonia, Trite & Trates all 0, Ph 8.3, Calcium 423, Mag 1270, DKH 10.5, Phosphates 0 and strontium 15. Aqua C Remora Pro skimmer and 1 - 150 watt Metal Halide with 14 K bulb and 1 PC dual compact 80 w (1 pure daylight & 1 pure actinic) all in all ~ 6 watts per gallon. Inhabitants are 1 true percula, 2 cardinal fish, a mated pair of Coral Banded Shrimp (she's constantly carrying and laying eggs which are a nice supplemental feedings for the tank and both are gentle with the tank mates - coral not so much), btwn 5 - 10 (of each) blue legged hermits, Nassarius, cone head and margarita snails. Corals are 6 different types of mushroom (orange, blue, red and green, 1 Palythoa polyp, 1 open brain coral (red) and after much reading prior to buying I now have a gorgeous Goniopora sp. (green) the size of a child's basketball (the ones pizza hut used to give away at the final four) and that's just when he does not feel like coming all the way out - he usually does and he's bigger at times and is always out when the lights are on from day 1 (even in the acclimating container.. =). <<Sounds like a wonderful setup you have there>> Well needless to say I love him and have taken it upon myself to read everything I can get my hands on on their care and difficulty of care. Spot feedings of Cyclops-eeze mixed with zoo, brine shrimp shavings and DT's oyster eggs several times per week. OK enough about my tank and on to the real question: <<Ok>> I have always been running the protein skimmer constantly 24 hrs. per day except while feeding when it is off and timed for 1 1/2 hrs. when I first started in reefing I didn't even think about how long may be good or not good to run the skimmer. So I started to do a little research and found out others only run theirs for several hours per day. What would you (the pro's) advise for my situation and tank? <<To be honest, personal preference. I would have to say its about a split 50 / 50 of people i know who run all the time, a nd some on timers. Personally, i don't run one at all. If you can run 24/7, then i don't see any harm in it, this is usually the common advise to give. Some of the people i know who run their skimmer for only part of the day, actually only do this to cut down their electric consumption>> I'm thinking a timer kicking it on during the night-time & off ___________? would be nice so I don't have to see all the micro-bubbles = ), but you...? <<If you have a micro bubble issue with the skimmer, then i would attempt all avenues possible to rectify this. I do know that sometimes, no matter what is done, it cannot be stopped. So, if you do only want to run it for part of the day, then yes, run it through the night while tank viewing is not being done>> Can you advise a time estimate for my skimmer? Or anything I could read upon for the Goni, I have all the common books, but maybe I'm missing one or two. Thanks so much for your time and all you do to help us little guys out. Alex - Manhattan, NYC where I can't SCUBA dive without a shot... <<Please do read more on the Goniopora here including linked articles and FAQ's http://wetwebmedia.com/poritidae.htm >> <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Protein Skimmer Question 06/03/2008 Thanks for the great advise and feedback Andrew. <<No problem at all, glad to be of assistance>> Definitely gal's as well. I'm fortunate enough to live in an apartment building where I don't pay for electricity so that is never a problem. I will take your advise since it has been working since start-up and keep running the skimmer 24-7. Thanks again for the link to more readings on the Goni - heading there right now. Look forward to the next time we get a chance to chat. <<Me too Alex, enjoy reading,>>

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