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FAQs about Skimmer Operation/Maintenance 14

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CSS125 (skimmer) crazy for clam   6/11/06 Hello again oh wise Wet Ones, <Ahh, Grasshoppahfish> Another query for you:  I have a 75 gallon FOWLR that I occasionally feed cherrystone clams. I buy them at the supermarket, freeze them for 3 days, thaw them in the fridge and then feed the tank by cracking open the shell and dropping the whole thing in. I later remove the empty shell.  Every time I do this (feed the tank with the clam) my skimmer (Coralife Super Skimmer 125) goes nuts. <Yep. To be expected...> The collection cup fills up in less than an hour and if I don't empty it it will proceed to overflow.  The skimmate is a watery green as opposed to the usual brown muck it pulls out.  Am I doing something wrong or is this normal? Thanks again, Eric <Is "normal"... from added surfactant with the clam... I'd just empty the cup in time... Bob Fenner> Skimmer upgrading problems   6/11/06 Hello, <Hi there> I just tried to retro fit my Top Fathom skimmer model 100. It's originally a venturi type that ran w/ a Mag 7. It only works okay in my opinion so I decided to try "modernizing" it w/ the Aquamedic Ocean Runner 2700 using it's needle wheel design and going away from the old venturi type skimmer. Upon finishing all of my plumbing and tapping the input fitting for the airline to the needle wheel pump and set-up, didn't really work very well at all!? <Not too surprising, considering the "engineering" involved to have about a/the "right" amount of pressure, flow rate... may not be able to be done with the height of water in the TF contactor column at all... There's more than "cutting, gluing whatever size/shape of parts" to making a functioning skimmer for sure> It didn't really suck up many air bubbles and I'm very disappointed and wonder what I may have done wrong? <Mmm, if you can "bench test" the unit, try changing a static/set amount of head/height of water in the contactor (the tall tube)... at some amount of water here the given pump, impeller will push a goodly amount of bubbly water... you might be able to modify the contactor (by cutting it, re-solventing it to the lower height... to make it work...> I lightly blew into the tubing to see if more air would help but it just bubbled out of the input (w/out it's sponge pre-filter installed at this point). <Ahh, telling> Are needle-wheel pumps all alike? <Mmm, no> Should I have tried to use a Sedra pump instead as recommended by my LFS? <This should generate a bit more head, might work, or work better...> I didn't think there to be any real difference between them? <Oh yes> Is there something I may have missed in my conversion that I'm not aware of and/or it's compatibility w/ my Top Fathom skimmer? It seems very close to the Euro skimmer to me but??? <... not that similar... the Euro Reef skimmers are well-engineered...> So until I can figure this out, I configured everything back to the way it was (w/ the venturi input but left the Aquamedic Ocean Runner pump in place at this time). So now I suppose that I need a regular Aquamedic Ocean Runner 2500 impeller unless the only difference between the 2500 and 3500 is the impeller (same body and magnet) and not the housing (like Mag pumps). Could you please tell me if the 2500 and 3500 model pump housings are the same size? <Don't know... but appear to be. I'd write the manufacturer re> If this is the case, then I could use the larger 3500's impeller for increased flow rate. I would get more flow out of the pump than using the standard 2500 impeller. <Not this simple... Think about what you're considering here... What might be the consequence of just increasing flow rate? Pressure? The amount of "bubbliness" of the flow water? How might you have to/want to change the height, diameter of the contactor column, the overflow of water from here... to get you what you seek?> Please help and thanks in advance, Joe <Keep scheming, devising here Joe... and consider the time "savings" from just buying a better unit. Bob Fenner>

Better Pump for Turboflotor Skimmer? - 06/11/06 Hello Crew <<WS>> I couldn't find any answers to this question on your site.  So I hope you can give me some help. <<Let's see>> I have a 120 FOWLR with some softies, and a 40 gal refugium.  I use RODI water, ppms are '0'.  Right now, I only have a Lionfish 7", Snowflake eel 8", and a damsel.  Despite doing weekly 15 gal water changes and thorough siphoning, that tank started to develop what I believe is Blue Green Algae. <<Happens to many/all of us, one time or another>> I'm pointing to my skimmer as the culprit.  I have a Turboflotor 1000 Multi that came with the Aquabee pump. <<Generally considered a quite satisfactory skimmer>> Do you think replacing the pump with an Ocean Runner 2700 would be better? <<Your disappointment in the pump might be due to the design of the needle wheel impeller.  It might be worthwhile to see if you can get one of the impellers Deltec uses in the Aquabee pumps on their skimmers.  Else, give the Ocean Runner a try>> I'm not looking to "Mod" the skimmer, I've just seen more current versions of the Turboflotor 1000 Multi being sold with the OR 2700. <<Maybe a worthy upgrade then>> The skimmer puts out about 1/3 cup (8oz) of black sludge daily.  Considering I only have 3 fish, is this production about right?  Too low?  Too High? <<Sounds fine to me>> Please help.  Thanks a ton!  You folks are great! WS <<Regards, EricR>>

TurboFlotor mod.s  5/31/06 I am new to the sump world of reefkeeping as I went sumpless for 4 years.  I bought a tank used and with it came a TurboFlotor T1000 in sump skimmer.  I have done research and it seems like a decent skimmer for a tank of my size 120 w/ 40 gallon sump. <It is> When setting up this skimmer, I plan on using a mag 5 pump for circulation via flex tubing and a maxi jet feeding water via flex tubing.  It was originally set up to receive water directly from the overflow but due to some issues I could not do this.   <Better to situate it in a constant level portion of your sump> I already have the mag 5 from my Aqua C Remora pro. There are several posts on WWM media about this, but being a newbie to sumps and in-sump skimmers I am having my difficulties taking it all in. Will this set up work or will the mag 5 have to be replaced for another pump? <Should be able to do the job of adequate flow and pressure here. Bob Fenner> MIKE USCIO Replacement Pump for Coralife Skimmer - 05/24/2006 Hello there, <Hi!  Sabrina here, with Bob's input/assistance.> I have been searching your site for a replacement needle wheel pump to fit a Coralife super skimmer 125.  I am not sure the make or model of the pump that came with the skimmer, I believe it may be a MaxiJet from the looks of it. The pump has not been running properly, for some reason if pump is not sitting just right,  it will not produce foam like it should.  I took the skimmer and pump apart for a thorough cleaning, which did not solve the problem. I did notice when cleaning the pump, after removing the back cover and the numerous feather dusters that called the pump home a bit of corrosion. Looks to me like a piece of stainless steel is protruding from the plastic seal around the windings of the motor.   <I suspect cavitation from blockage on the intake side has caused the impeller drive shaft to extend.  Not uncommon.> At the base of the metal was quite a bit of corrosion, that was cleaned off as well. <This motor/pump should be removed....  not really possible to repair.> I placed the pump back in service hoping that it will cause no ill effects until  I can find a good replacement pump.  The Coralife super skimmer 125 was working well producing dark, stinky skimmate in the sump of 90 gallon reef tank. I am satisfied with skimmer and it works much better than the SeaClown that was previously used on another tank. I would like to try to salvage the skimmer and just replace the pump, be a lot cheaper than buying a new skimmer. I see that WWM highly recommends the Eheim pump. I searched the Eheim site and found the Eheim compact pump 1001(150-600gpm) and the Eheim universal 1048 pump (600gpm) are comparable to the 500 gpm needle wheel pump for the Coralife super skimmer.  Will either of these pumps work as a needle wheel pump?   <The latter, the universal, can be more easily modified....  There are some after market options available, so do please look into this and perhaps contact Eheim for ideas as well.  Another high-end option would be a Sedra pump, and a cheap option would be a Rio 2100.> The Eheim compact pump can be throttled back to reduce flow if needed? <The compact really isn't as good an option as the universal.> Are there any modifications that need to be made to the pumps impeller make it a needle wheel? <Bingo.  You can try it with the "regular" impeller, but you should try to locate a needle wheel for it.  Problem is, modifying it to use a needle wheel instead will reduce its efficiency....  Might want to look to a Sedra for this application instead of using the Eheim.  Or, again, the "cheap" option, a Rio 2100.> I understand that air needs to be introduced to the suction side of the pump, and another modification may be needed here.  Could you recommend another pump that will work  as  a 500 gpm needle wheel if Eheim is not right for the application? <Again, Sedra for a high-end option, Rio for the less expensive route.> Thanks for your time. <Glad to be of service.> Peter <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina and Bob>

Poor Skimmer Design Woes/Fromia Sea Star - 05/24/06 Hello, <<Hi Josh!>> I am pretty new to the marine environment. <<Much reading/researching ahead of you then>> Right now I have a nice 20 gallon tank set up and everything is doing fine.  My ammonia level is at zero and everything else checks out too.  Today I just installed my Sea Clone 100 protein skimmer, and I tried adjusting the venturi valve and I get massive amounts of tiny bubbles.  I read their tech documents and they mention that some de-chlorinators are gel like and also serve as a protective slime coating for fish and that to run the skimmer for 1 day or up to 3 weeks with the venturi valve off. <<Mmm, defeats the purpose of having the skimmer doesn't it?>> The de-chlorinator I use is TetraAqua AquaSafe Water Conditioner. I am wondering if anyone has had experience with this product and how long it should be until the AquaSafe is broke down enough that when I adjust the air intake I don't have any micro bubbles flowing into the tank. <<Though it is true that some water conditioners will cause a skimmer to "foam" excessively, "micro-bubbles" entering your tank does not sound like this is the problem.  It seems to me this is more an issue with trying to tune a poorly designed skimmer.  You will likely need to contrive some sort of bubble trap...or better yet...get a better skimmer>> Normally I would not mind but I am afraid of too much oxygen in the take may harm or kill my starfish. <<Too much oxygen is not an issue...but excessive micro-bubbles can be problematic to some organisms>> I am not sure of the type of star it is.  It's red with black tips; I think it's a Red & Black Sea Star (Fromia milleporella). <<Hmm...these are "all red" in my experience.  Perhaps a geographic variant...or a different specie altogether>> The guy at the fish store told me this star does not so well with salinity changes, too much air and other stuff. <<Mmm, can be said of many things>> Also any advice on feeding this star and caring for it would be great. <<Please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fromiastarfaqs.htm >> The fish store told me to feed it some zucchini.  It will go to it and lay on it but after removing the zucchini after 30 minutes there is no evidence that the star is feeding on it.  I also purchased some frozen food the recommended Formula One.  Any suggestions on these topics would be much appreciated. <<The Fromia sp. sea stars are generally considered detritivores but will benefit greatly from supplemental feedings of marine based "meaty" foods (shrimp, krill, mussel, clam, etc.).   Thank You Josh <<Regards, EricR>>

Some Useful 'Skimmer Tuning' Info - 05/23/06 Hey Eric! (Hopefully!), <<Hiya Ross...tis me!>> You might remember all the problems I was having with ozone in my Deltec MCE 600 skimmer that I was running in sump (specifically it was producing no skimmate at all after the addition of ozone). <<Indeed yes, I do recall>> Well, I lowered the sump water level (accidentally!) by an inch, and hey presto, skimmate galore. <<Ahh...okay...for some reason I was under the impression this was a "hang-on" skimmer...must not have been paying attention <grin>.  But what you say makes good sense.  My Euro-Reef skimmer is "designed" for in-sump use and will work at a broad range of water depths but performs "best" within a very narrow range.  No reason to think other sump employed skimmers would not be affected similarly...quite the lucky discovery for you, eh?>> It seems that although the Deltec manual for the MCE 600 states that it can be used in the sump, and is unaffected by changes in water level, that isn't strictly true. <<So it would seem...>> It can be used in the sump, very well, but it IS affected by changes in water level.  If anyone has a similar problem I recommend experimenting with the effective water level (either by placing the skimmer on top of something or altering the water level itself).  Just thought I'd share in case anybody ever has a similar issue. <<Indeed my friend...and thank you for the memory jog>> Many thanks for all your help, Ross. <<And for your contribution as well...Eric Russell>>

Skimmers/Operation..."Tiny Bubbles"   5/21/06 Hi there!  <Hello> I have a small 20 gallon tank with an Aqua C Remora skimmer.   Just got the skimmer up and running.  It creates A LOT of bubbles in my tank.   Bubbles are just floating everywhere throughout my tank.  From the lowest part of my tank to the surface.  Is this dangerous to the corals and fish? <A typical trait of new skimmers, should be fine in a week.> Thank you <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Aqua-C Remora Pro Skimmer Modification? - 05/11/06 Good afternoon, <<Hello>> I have been using a fantastic hang-on skimmer over the past 8 months. <<The Aqua-C Remora mentioned in the title line...I agree>> I'm getting close to two full cups a week of nasty scum.  I've recently converted my tank to a sump system and attempted to convert my skimmer to accommodate. <<I see>> The skimmer comes with about 2" of hosing which connects the Mag3 pump to the intake piping.  It wouldn't be safe for me to fill my sump that full of water in order to use just that 2" hosing because if my sump pump failed, my tank would be overflowed. <<Indeed>> So, I matched the hosing and added about 12" of hosing and have the Mag3 pump sitting in the same chamber as the sump pump. <<Mmm...think I know where this is headed>> In theory, I figured this would work... but it seems as though my bubbly froth does not quite reach the chamber of my overflow container. <<The pump is working against too much head pressure for its size>> I'm assuming it's because the pump needs to shoot the water at an appropriate velocity up the 12" instead of the 2"??? <<More like an appropriate "volume", but you're on the right tract>> Was curious if anyone else has attempted to convert an Aqua-C Remora Pro skimmer for sump use? <<I'm sure someone has>> Am I doing something wrong? <<As you've guessed...not using a large enough pump>> Do I need to get a more powerful pump to handle the extra 10" of hosing? <<I would...a Mag5 "might" do the job, but I would be inclined to go with a MAG7...and install a gate-valve between it and the skimmer for adjustment of flow as/if needed>> Regards, Dave Brynlund <<Cheers, Eric Russell>>

Skimmers/SeaClone 100 and 150 Help? Here's an Answer!   5/9/06 Hey Everyone! <Hello> I don't really have a question for you guys this time but instead am offering some helpful advice.  I see a lot of posts all over the Internet from people who cannot get there Sea Clone protein skimmer to skim properly.  Well, I was shown a method over this last weekend that worked so great that I had to share the info. So here goes, first, ignore the instruction that come with the skimmer pertaining to adjusting the air valve.  Instead, remove the air valve completely, let the skimmer run for at least 30 seconds with full air flow, minimum water flow (about 50gph).  Then slowly screw the air valve back into place until first resistance is felt.  From here on its a matter of making 1/4 turns at a time, pausing for a moment to let the skimmer adjust.  When you first start to notice micro-bubbles entering the tank stop the 1/4 turns and make fine, minuscule adjustments.  It take some practice to get it working just right but I tried this out on my new 55 gallon Reef tank, added 4 inch sand bed, 60 - 70 lbs L/R, water, let sit for a week, then added the Sea Clone and within 24 hours I already had 1/2 the collection cup full of nasty, stinky, green sludge.  I tried once before to get a sea clone 100 to work and finally returned it back to the store, frustrated as all get at, but after having someone come over and show me how to set it up, I've been nothing but impressed.   Hope this helps many of you out! P.S. This website Rocks! <Thank you for sharing.  Your information will be posted and I'm sure many SeaClone owners will benefit from this. James (Salty Dog)> Skimming a closed top tank - 5/2/2006 Hello Guys and Gals. <<Hello James!>> I just tried and disposed of the Fission skimmer. I kept (the supplied) small power head (now moving 'small quantities' of water in my 24gallon tank) but despite numerous adjustments of raising and lowering, adjusting the output and cutting the air line to a shorter length I only managed to end up with poor skim material and a tank full of very tiny bubbles with a very, very upset fish. This protein skimmer was a piece of garbage. <<Sorry to hear you've had a rough go!>> I am now contemplating getting something new and trying to decide just what, as the integral design of close fitting hood with PCs does not allow much without alteration of the hood itself. Add to this that the hood swings back and the lights take up most of the available room aside from the swivel open front and the 'good options' seem limited. Has anyone had any real luck with these systems and an efficient protein skimmer? <<I'm not quite sure what you mean by your description; perhaps a skimmer needing little clearance is what you mean.>> The other idea is to leave this as a coral/fish/LR QT tank, as it has somewhat similar lighting to my main tank. Even so'¦ a protein skimmer is just so very important a piece of equipment and I feel I do any tank a disservice by not having one hooked up. <<I do agree.>> Any thoughts on this are very welcome. I also hope as many people stay away from this particular PS and put your good money elsewhere. <<Do look at the AquaC line of HOB skimmers.  Very little clearance needed to run them.  Alternatively, you could look into adding a sump, which would afford you much more room to incorporate a skimmer.>> Sincerely, James Zimmer Garfield, NJ <<Good luck my friend! Lisa.>> Ozone/Skimmate Reduction - 05/02/06 Hey guys (and gals, I remembered this time!) <<Yea!>> I recently started running ozone through my Deltec MCE 600 skimmer, and I'm using it to keep redox around 350mV (the difference it's made to the tank is huge, it's great).  The problem is that my MCE 600 is now hardly producing any skimmate at all, it produces a little for the first hour or so after cleaning the cup but after that there's nothing. <<Hmm...>> I'm also putting a bit much ozone through the skimmer for its design limit, I reckon about 40-50mg/h. <<Doesn't seem excessive to me>> This has led me to think about getting a bigger skimmer. <<Is an option>> My tank is roughly 180 US gallons and contains the following: 260 lbs of live rock 1 Powder blue tang 1 Naso tang (they get along quite well, feed from the same clip etc..) 1 Klein's butterflyfish 1 Bicolour angel 2 Maroon clowns 1 False percula clown 1 Bicolour blenny 1 convict worm goby Will upgrading to a bigger skimmer help the issue? <<Possibly, yes...or "retuning" your current skimmer (if you haven't tried already)>> I'm used to seeing lots of skimmate and it worries me when I see none! <<A reduction is not uncommon, but you should still be collecting skimmate>> I've made sure the air intakes to the skimmer aren't restricted in any way. <<An air dryer will cause a restriction...or using tubing smaller in diameter than what was supplied with the skimmer pump>> My redox was LOW before I added the ozone, around 170mV.  All other levels are immeasurable, besides nitrate which has been dropping since the addition of ozone (was ~20ppm). <<Excellent...burning up the nitrogenous waste>> The skimmers I'm considering (I have limited height under my tank) are the Deltec APF 600 that apparently uses 600 litres of air an hour, and the Tunze DOC 9020, which uses 1300 litres of air an hour, which, in your opinion, would be best suited to my tank? <<Both manufacturers enjoy excellent reputations.  The Deltec is probably the closest "fit" between the two>> I only keep soft corals at the moment, but want to start keeping hard corals too. <<Don't discount the need for a skimmer with "soft" corals...most release very noxious elements in to the water>> Oh, and the ozone seems to build up in my room and causes the odd headache, will running the air from the skimmer through activated carbon help that? <<Mmm, surprising the small amount you say you're using would cause this...but yes, carbon will help with residual ozone...you can also place it in the path of the water exiting the skimmer.>> Thanks again, Ross <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Sharing a Perspective - re Ozone, skimmer op.  05/04/06 Hi Eric, <<Hello Andy>> I read your reply to Ross, about ozone use, on 2nd May.  I had a similar sized tank, was running ozone and upgraded from the Deltec MCE600 to the APF600, and feel I may be able to add to the good advice you offered Ross. <<Ahh, excellent!>> I hope you don't mind. <<Not at all...will post for all to see/share...and hope you don't mind in kind if I throw in a comment where I get the urge...>> The use of Ozone is highly beneficial, but often delivered at too high a rate.  When ozone is first introduced to a tank it may take a few days or weeks to break down the waste products that have accumulated in the tank environment. <<Mmm, in their entirety maybe (though new "waste" is being generated all the time), but ozone is highly reactive/its effect is immediate...as I'm sure you are aware>> However, once that initial spring clean is complete the rate of ozone should be reduced - especially if the owner has a strong maintenance schedule (water changes, not over stocked, not over-feeding, etc, etc).  The lack of skimmate (and nitrate) is an indicator that the ozone is being over-applied (organics being burned up long before they can get to the skimmer cup).  I would recommend reducing the ozone rate to 10mg/h, allowing the water to get a slight yellow colour once again (best to assess this at water change time); at each water change assess the tank water colour - if yellow: increase the ozone rate by 5mg/h, if blue: (associated with a tank aerated with ozone) you have reached a nice compromise between getting the benefits of the ozone, while minimizing the unwanted effects (smell and risk of overdose). <<With most units available to hobbyists here in the states, overdose is of small concern on all but the smallest of tanks>> I suspect Ross may only need to deliver ozone at half the current rate. <<Is a possibility...though I don't consider 40-50 mg/h to be "excessive" on a 180 gallon tank...>> In terms of the MCE600 to APF600 upgrade, it is an improvement but only a small one.  I got perhaps a 20% increase in skimmate from one to the other.  For me, the major benefits included a much bigger collect cup, and hiding away the skimmer with a sump (the hang-on MCE couldn't fit in the gap above the sump, but the APF just sat outside the sump cupboard).  From a chemistry perspective, the amount of ozone being generated by these units cannot accumulate in an average home room. <<Agreed...and my point/surprise at Ross's comment re>> Ozone is so reactive that it will always quickly (seconds) find something to react with, preventing build-up.  The smell is actually a by-product of the ozone reaction with various materials.  Reducing the amount of ozone to the minimum necessary to achieve the desire results will minimize the smell - but not remove it completely.  The headaches Ross is suffering could be the irritation of the ozone by-product (not in itself harmful, just unpleasant).  I tried to reduce this smell by placing carbon on the air vents of the skimmer, but found it stopped removing the smell after a few days due to humidity saturating the carbon surface. <<Indeed, many folks don't realize how quickly carbon can/will become "saturated" with impurities...can be from minutes to days depending on quality...the same holding true for the carbon used for our water/tank filtration>> I never could find a satisfactory way to add carbon to these skimmers. <<A few manufacturers have tried to incorporate "chambers" for such...but most, including these so called "top of the line" skimmers (Deltec, Euro Reef, etc.) don't bother.  But I haven't really found a need for it either...in my experience>> There are a few skimmers on the market with large carbon cups that sit on top of the skimmer cup - these may reduce the smell for longer, but many are not top rated skimmers. <<Mmm...guess I should be reading ahead <grin> >> One solution would be continuing to use the MCE600 as his primary skimmer (it has a fabulous performance for its size), and install a new skimmer, with a built-in carbon cup, as a dedicated ozone delivery device.  Best of both worlds, and I suspect the carbon cup skimmer may be cheaper than the APF600. <<The ones I've seen are!>> That said, even with a large carbon cup, my own experience says, the carbon surface will become saturated from the humidity, and the ozone by-product smell will return. <<I wouldn't think the moisture alone in the air (humidity) would have a "saturation" effect on the carbon, else placing it in our tanks would render it useless immediately...but I do agree the impurities in the air exiting the skimmer would have a very rapid effect>> There is no substitute for minimizing ozone delivery to the minimum necessary to achieve your results.  I hope this helps.  I wrestled with the same issues for months, tried everything my LFS and I could think of, and ultimately couldn't find a perfect answer. <<Is there such a thing? <G> >> Eventually I was seduced by the "natural side" (rather than the dark side) replacing pretty much all the technology (except the skimmer) with a natural system (refugium the same size as the display, deep sand bed, micro algae, lots of live rock and Tunze stream circulation on the display) - the result was a level of filtration, stability and simplicity that technology (ozone included) could not provide. <<Am much in agreement with this/your approach and use something very similar myself...but still I believe most any system can benefit from the application of ozone>> It is ironic that I wasted thousands of pounds on technology, before coming to realize that nature already provides the best available solution (and for half the ultimate cost)! All the best, Andy <<Andy, thank you for sharing.  Kind regards, Eric Russell>> Water Depth for In-Sump Skimmer - 05/02/06 I can't find what depth is optimal for this skimmer to work best.  The skimmer is the ASM G4.  Is there a standard depth that all skimmers work best at? <<This particular skimmer is similar to the Euro Reef skimmers..."optimum" water depth for the chamber in which the skimmers sits is about 8-inches>> Or maybe does the depth of the water that it is in, in the sump not matter much? <<Can make a difference in backpressure/skimmer performance>> Thank so much <<Welcome, Eric Russell>>

Gracilaria/Propagation  4/29/06 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Andrew> Just a quick question about Protein skimmer discharge. I was wondering if there is a practical use for the skimmed liquid from my protein skimmer. Specifically, I am curious if this would make a good fertilizer for Macro Algae. <<Mmm, no. RMF>> I am cultivating Gracilaria verrucosa in a separate 15 gallon tank with a submerged spray bar to keep it tumbling over itself. Would a small dosage of the skimmate from the skimmer act as a fertilizer for the Gracilaria, or would the potential for toxic build up of other compounds/chemicals make this more trouble than it's worth? I'm a big fan of recycling nutrients as opposed to outright removal, but I thought I would ask and see if anyone else a little more qualified then myself (a whopping 1 year of hobbyist experience - WooHoo!) had any thoughts. I searched for discussions on this for quite a while to no avail. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.  <The best place to recycle skimmate is in the toilet.  In using the skimmate as a fertilizer, you may/will have a nuisance algae explosion.  Not worth experimenting with.  I suggest recycling your discarded water from water changes into the 15 gallon tank.  This should give your grace all the nutrients it needs.> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Andy Change in Skimmate from Ozone Use - 04/28/06 Hi guys! <<and gals!>> Hope all is well! <<Yes, thank you>> I emailed a while back when I was moving from a 50 gal tank to a 180, glad to say it all went far better than expected (besides my Powder Blue stressing himself out and getting a tiny amount of white spot... I was expecting that and it cleared up by itself, close on to a year I've had him now). <<Mmm, difficult specie to keep long term...I wish you continued good luck>> Anyhow, enough of my ramblings and to the point!  I recently added a Sanders 100 ozonizer. <<Good product>> At the moment it's putting around 25mg/h of ozone into my skimmer (Deltec MCE600 - which seems to be handling the large tank quite well, although I'm considering an upgrade if I get more stock in the future). <<Indeed>> I run the overflow of the skimmer into a gallon glass container, otherwise I'm emptying it twice a day (or I was, until I added the ozone).  Therein lies the question... since adding the ozone I was expecting a small decrease in the concentration of skimmate (slightly less dark) but in the same quantities.  I hardly get any skimmate during the day now, but overnight I seem to get a lot, though nowhere near as much as I used to.  The only other change to the tank has been the addition of four assorted soft corals over a period of a couple of months. <<Should not have an affect on what you are seeing here>> My skimmer's clean and running as well as it ever has, is this simply down to some of the organics the skimmer would normally remove being oxidized? <<Is due to this (in part at least), yes.  Another contributor may be the addition of the ozonizer is restricting air flow to the skimmer pump...perhaps larger diameter tubing will help...or a larger skimmer>> I wasn't expecting such a difference with such a small amount of ozone. <<The ozone itself would likely have less "obvious" affect on a skimmer with a larger reaction chamber, but I wouldn't be concerned.  Just try to readjust the skimmer for optimum skimmate>> Thanks again guys, Ross Cranford <<Happy to help, Eric Russell>> P.S. I have a pair of maroon clownfish, the female has taken to a bubble anemone that I added just a day ago and she won't let the male near it, is that normal? <<Yes, will likely "ease up" in a while>> P.P.S. Is Bob's book published in the UK?  I'm after a copy but can't seem to find it! <<Mmm, would think so...Bob?  You can also order it from Amazon.com.  EricR>> <Think it can be had via Amazon UK, yes. RMF>

Skimmers/Operation  - 04/23/2006 Hi WWM crew,  <Hi Steve> Thank for your wonderful website and help!!  <You're welcome> I am using a Precision Marine Skimmer, the Bullet-1, since 2 month on my new tank and I can't get it to skim more than 1 cup per week... I am driving the skimmer with a Mag 12. It is one of the pump recommended by PM. The Mag 12 pumps water in a sump compartment where there is the overflow return from the main tank. It is also the compartment where the water exits from the skimmer. The water volume is stable in that compartment. What should I look for to increase the effectiveness of my skimmer?? <One thing you have to keep in mind is that skimmer output is reflective on tank conditions.  If your tank is not overstocked, overfed and water changes are done on a regular basis, you can't expect a quart of skimmate per week.  Sounds to me like you are doing your maintenance on a regular basis.  If using carbon, Chemi-Pure, or other waste removing media, skimmer output will decrease also.  You must ensure that the skimmer is cleaned on a weekly basis, especially the riser tube to the waste collection cup.  Not doing so drastically reduces the skimmers efficiency.> Thank you very much!! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Via Aqua Multi Skimmer?    4/20/06 Hello, I have a Via Aqua Multi Skimmer. I haven't used it for over a year, but now I have setup a 55 gallon tank that is going to be a fish only tank (saltwater) My main question is the feed back you have had on this particular brand and what can I do to lower the noise of the motor. I have tried to stuff the chamber where the motor is with toilet paper to muffle the sound a bit. I'm even going to purchase a sheet of cork to pad the plastic cover over the motor, someone told me that might help. I would appreciate it if you could give me the most info on the skimmer and anything I can do to maximize its performance. <Do check the FAQ's posted here re your skimmer.  What we would know about it would be posted here.   http://www.google.com/custom?q=via+aqua&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com> Thank You,  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Orlando New skimmer gone crazy?    4/14/06 <Hello Josef - Tim answering your question today!> I am setting up my new 75 reef ready tank, and ordered an AquaC EV-120.  It arrived broken (thanks UPS...) and after a month and a half, I finally have a new, working skimmer.  The whole time I was waiting, the tank had been set up and was running fine.  It had 15lbs of semi-cured Tonga deepwater rock and a 2-3 inch bed of sugar size sand.  I did not wash the sand, I should note. After just a day, the skimmer started skimming like crazy.  However, it was skimming out fairly clear water. <This is typical for new skimmers - it has to do with the chemicals used in the production process. You should find that this will stop within the first 2-3 days of operating the skimmer. If not, give the skimmer a good rinse with warm soapy water and ensure that you subsequently wash away all the soap - then give it another day or two to settle down.> The water in the tank is a bit cloudy from the silt that has settled out and occasionally gets kicked back into the water column by my Maxi Jet powerheads and the return from the sump. <This will not be helping your skimmer - the 'cloudiness' will prevent foam from forming properly and thereby lead to your thin skimmate.> I turned the skimmer back as far as I could, but still it's producing a gallon of slightly cloudy but otherwise normal water every 10-15 minutes.  I am baffled by this, so I'm wondering what your thoughts are. Is the sand terribly dirty with organics, and that is why the skimmer is going insane? <I do not think that an overload of organics is the problem as this should still result in thick smelly foam, not the watery substance that you are obtaining.> Even if this is the case, would it be so dirty that the skimmer goes crazy no matter how far back I try to turn it?  I know the skimmer's not defective; it's doing a dang good job.  Too good of a job as I am observing. I will be adding 65 pounds of uncured branch rock soon and need to remedy my situation before the rock comes.  What actions would you support me taking? <Stir the cloudiness up a bit and then do a partial water change to start removing some of these particles from the system. Also, if your skimmer does not settle down, give it a good clean as suggested above.> Should I try a massive water change, assuming it's the dirty sand that's causing my overactive skimmer? <Not massive but considerable - maybe 25% I would recommend> Should I try running Poly Filter or carbon to try and get the water a little clearer and maybe pull some of the stuff from it? <I do not think that would be necessary. Though carbon may help remove some of the cloudiness that is to fine for your filter pads.> Or should I just run the drain line into a bucket a couple hours a day and just keep adding newly made saltwater until the skimmer stops freaking out? <I would actually allow the water to run back into the aquarium for a day or two - true, you will not be removing any DOCs from the system, but that should not be a problem in the short run. Then keep an eye on the skimmer and once it settles down, start collecting and removing the skimmate from the system. That will save you the hassle and costs of unnecessarily replacing water in the aquarium.> Or should I just add the new live rock and see if the rock can help filter out whatever's gotten into the water? <Well, given that the rock is uncured, I would wait until the skimmer is working. Adding uncured rock to your established rock could cause ammonia and nitrite spikes as the rock cures/cycles that can be very detrimental to the life on your established rocks - the effects of which would be reduced if your skimmer was pulling out DOCs.> It's just really perplexing to me the way the skimmer is acting.  I mean, for it to be skimming clear water tells me I must have a pretty bad nutrient problem in there right now or something.  But maybe that's not it and you have a better idea.  I don't know, I'm just perplexed right now! <Just hang in there - the problem may very well just be the result of your skimmer being new. If things don't improve, follow the above suggestions and I am sure you will have your skimmer functioning properly in no time - allowing you to then focus on the more enjoyable aspects of reefkeeping!> Thank you for your help.  Your site never fails to help when I have a problem! <Hopefully this will not be the exception to the rule! Best of Luck!> Joe Schneider

Continuing skimmer woes...   4/18/06 I wrote a few days ago about my skimmer foaming like crazy and producing almost clear skimmate.  Unfortunately, I have to write again. It was recommended that I do a partial water change to remove some of the silt that was in the water column.  I changed 20 gallons of water out (approx. 90 gal total in the system), emptied the sump, and cleaned all of the silt out, as this is where most had settled out.  Finally, I gave the skimmer a good bath in warm water and thoroughly rinsed it out. <Better to use a light vinegar/acetic acid wash and bottle brushing, freshwater rinsing...> For two days, all was well, but today it started skimming like crazy again.  The water has never been clearer, and the skimmate is virtually crystal clear. <... Your skimmer is mis-adjusted... too much bubbling and/or high flow, and/or too high in the contact column...> I can't imagine it's a silt problem anymore, given the tank is just as clear as my RO/DI water that I mix with.  So once again I'm baffled at what would be causing my skimmer to foam like crazy. <Presence of phobic molecules in the water... fatty foods?> So, back to all of you for some advice.  What else might be causing an EV-120 to go crazy in tank without any life it it? <Adjustment and the polar molecules...> And what would you recommend as a next course of action to take?  Short of tearing the whole tank apart, I can't imagine what else I can do here...  The water is great (all tests show zero or are at normal levels) and the system is just screaming for the box of branch rock I'm waiting to order. <I'd order and place it/this...> All that's left to do is figure out why the skimmer is acting up.  As soon as I can get the skimmer under control the tank is ready to start the cycle. Loving skimmers but hating them sometimes :-) Joe Schneider <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bestskmopfaqs.htm and the linked files above... or maybe just the ones on Aqua-C's line... contact Jason Kim there... Bob Fenner>

Refugium Plumbing/Critter Transfer -  - 04/10/2006 WWM gang, <<"Gang" member EricR here>> I am in the process of setting up my 265 tank (i.e. - still designing and have nothing set up). <<Ah yes...good times...>> I have 4 overflow drains, 2 going in to a 30gal refugium that then flows into the reservoir where the other two also drain.  This then holds the skimmer and is pumped back into the tank. <<Mmm...I would plumb things so the refugium empties in the pump chamber, thus circumventing the skimmer as this will remove many "desirable elements" coming from the 'fuge>> I'll have a closed-loop system also but that's not important (I think) to this.  My hope is to have tons of copepods so I can have my favorite fish (hopefully male and female pair of) Mandarin Dragonets. <<Very "cool" little fish...but as much as a year or more down the road I guess you know>> I will have a good amount of live rock and crushed coral (fine grade) in the tank, but I am trying to figure out if the copepods will get up to the tank from the Refugium w/this set up? <<In deed they will, if you don't suck them all up in the skimmer...>> I can still change the plumbing if I need to... Did I not think this through just right? <<Consider my suggesting about avoiding the skimmer with the refugium effluent and you'll be fine.  The "best" configuration if you wish to tackle...would be to place the 'fuge "above" the display and allow it to gravity feed to the tank>> Can I trap the copepods and set them free in the tank above? <<Hmm...not sure how you would accomplish this just offhand...but not necessary in my opinion...they will get there.>> Thanks, <<Welcome, EricR>>

Protein Skimming/Operation    4/6/06 Hey guys - I recently installed a sump on my 55 gallon, and moved my AquaC Remora to the sump.  The sump is simply an 18 gallon Rubbermaid container.  My problem is the protein skimmer is no longer producing foam.  I tried forming a "skimmer compartment" by placing the skimmer intake into another perforated (6 small holes) container inside the sump.  This eliminates the current in the sump, but the skimmer is still not producing foam. The only other modification I made was lengthening the tube that connects the powerhead to the intake of the skimmer to about 3" so it can reach the water level in the sump (still skims off top of water level).  This hasn't cut down on the power of the pump as far as I can tell, so I don't think that would be the culprit.  Any idea why my skimmer is behaving this way? should I move it back to the main tank?  <Chris, this reaction is due to the newness of the Rubbermaid container, needs to age a bit.  This should pass in a week or two.> Thanks  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Algae Control/Ongoing Query    4/6/06 Someone else told me that regarding the Prizm Skimmer, I should not be cleaning the "neck" of the skimmer.  I am a bit confused now, when I empty the collection cup I clean the cup completely before placing it back on the skimmer.  this includes the outside, the inside, and the "neck" or "riser" part of the collection cup.  I am not sure now whether I should be doing this, or whether the "neck" referred to just the "riser" part on the skimmer itself and not the collection cup. <In the Prizm skimmer, the neck/riser tube is all part of the collection cup.  Cleaning the entire cup as you have been is all that is necessary. James (Salty Dog)>     Patrick Algae Control BGA?  I don't know what BGA is but I will search the WetWebMedia site for it.  So in the mean time while I search - the bubbles are something common? <Any excess nutrients will cause some type of algae growth.>    I don't know that I "need" the phosphate removal - I know I did right after the hurricane when I got power back - but I am sure it can't hurt to do it every other week. can it??<Can't hurt, but in my opinion, nutrient control is your problem now.> As for the Prizm... I do need to empty the cup every couple weeks so yeah, it is doing something...<The entire cup needs to be cleaned on a weekly basis or the efficiency of skimmer is dramatically reduced.  The brown sludge must be removed.> Algae Control I have a 29g, reef tank, lots of live rock, and only 2 Gobies and a few snails right now. I have a 65w compact fluorescent (SP?) and 2 24w fluorescents. I have a Prizm skimmer and a Marineland-200-filter (w/bio wheel). That said, I have a constant problem with algae. I did have bad red-slime (hurricane and no power for 3weeks) that is about gone now, I seem to have a constant problem with "bubble-algae". I don't think it is "true" bubble algae though, I am getting it as small clear 1/16" to 1/8" bubbles forming on the very tops of my live rock, about 3-5 inches from water top, in patches of 3-5" around and usually under a thin green or red film. I wipe the bubbles away with my feeder stick and within a couple days they are back in exact same spots... I don't over-feed the 2 fish and I run a bag of phosphate removal material in the filter every other week. <Are 10% weekly water changes being done?> Any and all suggestions are welcome.  <I suggest you read here, Patrick.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm  James (Salty Dog)> Patrick

Re: Skimmer Set-Ups Ok here is my setup. <Alright.> I have a 90gal bowfront tank, Fluval 404 setup with (biomedia, foam inserts, 2 packs carbon,2 packs Purigen) <Make sure to clear these of detritus regularly, or you'll surely suffer nutri-quences'¦.I mean consequences.> 2 aqua clear powerheads 400gph, prism skimmer pro, 4" to 5"inches of crush coral/live sand. 70lbs live rock, flowerpot coral, green brain, leather, 7 small fishes. I don't think the Prizm is enough, <Nor do I.> getting some foam but it should be better. I wanted a stand alone skimmer that would fit in the tank stand. As long as it's less than 3 1/2ft tall it should fit. So I was hoping I could find one that works like a canister filter. I.e.. 1 hose from tank to skimmer mounted under the tank, and one hose return. <Hmm, an interesting idea'¦most protein skimmers are stand alone units but usually, you, have to find some way to deliver water to the, Skimmers that sit under the tank can be fed via a pump, overflow or sit directly in the sump, other skimmers hand on the tank (which sounds like the best bet in your situation if you have the room)  To be honest I'm not aware of a skimmer that comes in an all on one package that allows water to be delivered to the protein skimmer from another location and returned'¦and of course still skim, hehe.  Are you opposed to the addition of a sump or overflow box?> Here is a picture attached if it helps. <Your description was enough but thank you.> Thanks,
<Adam J.>

Protein Skimmers/Cleaning    3/29/06 I've just bought a second hand Deltec MCE600 skimmer. It could do with a good scrubbing! Any tips on cleaning this baby down?  <Vinegar works well in removing lime/calcium deposits, may have to soak awhile to loosen up. Do rinse well when finished. James (Salty Dog)> Johnny

Skimmer Troubles - 03/29/06 Skimming out of my mind with bubbles Dear WetWebMedia: <<Hello Pam>> Hi, I have been reading your site for almost a year and recently decided I was ready for an aquarium. <<Cool!>> I purchased a complete set up from Oceanic.  The Tank, canopy, stand, sump, plumbing, and lights.  It is a 60 gallon reef-ready tank that has been cycling for 2 months.  It was set up with 60 pounds of live Fuji <<Fiji?>> sand, 60 pounds of live rock, and RO saltwater from the LFS.  It has cycled, but I haven't put fish or coral in the tank as of yet, just 4 hermit crabs. <<Ok>> I am still working underneath on the sump and deciding on what lights would be best for what I wish to keep in the tank. <<Ah!  Excellent to hear you are gearing towards your livestock rather than the other way 'round.>> Here is my problem:  I have a 20 gallon sump and in this sump is a Berlin hang on sock at one end (which I added) next (right before the return pump) a baffle with a sponge and then there is Rio 3100 that pumps the water back into the display tank.   Everything ran smooth until I purchased and installed the AquaC EV-90 Skimmer. <<Hmm...generally a pretty good choice of skimmer brand.>> The skimmer was purchased used but looks brand new.  It came with a Rio 2100 pump (I researched and found out it was originally sold with a Rio 1700).  I downloaded the manual for the skimmer and followed the instructions.  The skimmer is placed inside the sump and elevated as the manual described.  I have tried multiple elevations to try and resolve the problem with micron bubbles and overflowing water in the skimmer cup.  My problem is that the collection cup fills with water and the skimmer puts out so many micro-bubbles that it fills the display tank up with bubbles. <<Well...that's not good.>> No matter how I position the skimmer the bubbles get past the baffle with the sponge into the return pump area and up into the display tank.  I  tried the 100 micron sock for the skimmer water to fall in and I still got bubbles in the main tank.  I also tried turning the skimmer in different directions, I put extra sponges in the baffle on top of the sponge that was already there (don't really want to use sponges).  Still micro-bubbles are in the main display in abundance.   I don't have any added chemicals in the tank.  It is very simple and basic. tank set up and cycling for 2 months.. no fish or coral...just water, rock, sand, and 4 hermit crabs.  My questions are:  Is my sump to small for this skimmer (micron bubble problem.. not enough baffles to run thru)?   <<Mmm, may not be a question of size so much as design.  Are your baffles installed to direct water flow in an over/under/over (3 baffles) pattern to allow the bubbles to "escape" to the surface between the first two baffles before exiting the last baffle?>> Is the Rio2100 pump to big for this skimmer (collection cup fills with water)? <<I wouldn't think so, but try putting a valve between the pump and the skimmer and reducing the flow a bit...the skimmer cup should not be filling with "water."  I assume since you downloaded the instruction manual that you have tried adjusting the gate-valve on the skimmer outflow.>> Or am I missing something in my thought pattern on this set up? <<Do try contacting the manufacturer to discuss this problem (support@proteinskimmer.com).  Jason Kim (President) has always offered excellent customer service in my experience and should be able to offer some advice/guidance.>> Thank you, Pam <<Regards, EricR>>

Skimmer Effectiveness - 03/27/2006 Hi, <Hello Rob.> I currently have a 55 gal (FOWLR) with a canister filter and Prizm skimmer. I would like to turn this into a reef tank and was considering upgrading my skimmer, most likely to an Aqua-C Remora. <Good choice.> I've read various articles and FAQ's about skimmers and the effectiveness of the different models. The consensus seems to be that the Prizm is more effective on systems smaller than what I have, but how can I tell if a skimmer is working effectively for my system? Would I look at the amount of waste produced by the skimmer, water parameters, combination? <You've got it. You'll also want to weigh those against your stocking level (less stock, less skimmate).> I appreciate any help you can provide. Thanks, Rob <Hope that helps. - Josh>

Protein Skimmer/Maintenance   3/25/06 WWM crew:  <Erk> I have a 20-gallon reef tank that is located in a somewhat unique space in my house -- in a dormant, unused fireplace. This creates a great visual effect, but it presents a number of maintenance challenges -- there's not much clearance for hang-on filters, fuges, etc. <A bad idea to say the least.> I'd really like to run an external skimmer, but hang on models are tough to place without ruining the view of the aquarium and I don't really want to set up a sump. I have a SeaClone attached to the side, and it's okay but not great -- removing it for cleaning is a real hazard, and I've found the SeaClone to be a little leaky.  <Problem you have here is that if components are hard to get at/clean, they won't be cleaned on a regular basis.> I now have a Red Sea Berlin, which the company claims can be run externally to the tank and without a sump. However, I can't find any postings or literature from anyone who's actually tried this. From the instructions and my plumbing knowledge, it seems I just need to pump water out of the tank into into the skimmer and then run the return tubes directly back to the tank. <Yes.> I plan on placing the sump <Thought you didn't want to employ a sump?> somewhat above the tank to ensure that the return outlets on the skimmer are above the water level of the tank, and I'm installing a float switch to kill the pump in the event the main tank water falls more than an inch or so. I'll also ensure that the return tube isn't submerged. Is this approach crazy? Given the precautions I'm taking, do I run any *major* leak/spill risk <Oh yes.> (obviously, there's always some risk)? Should I drill a siphon break in the tube running from the in-tank pump to the skimmer?  <How are you going to keep water from coming out of this hole?  The problem you may have is with a power outage to the pump.  The water in the skimmer will return to the tank.  A careful set-up will have to be made here.  Personally, I wouldn't run a skimmer outside of a sump.  There is a very good chance of a minor flood in doing so. Have tried and had wife extremely angry, using words I have never heard her say.....didn't appreciate saltwater on her new carpet.  <Good luck.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Erik Skimmer Query    3/19/06 Hello  <Hello Matt>  I have a Turboflotor1000 hang on skimmer with an Oceanrunner 2500 pump. The skimmer sits in the trickle section of a 90 gallon tank. It is the first line of filtration. The pump sits about half an inch from the water surface. Bio load is 2 common clowns, 2 Twinspot gobies, 1 Rainford goby, 1 eibli angel, and 1 flame hawk. Inverts are 1 banded shrimp, 2 cowries, 13 turbo snails, 4 hermit crabs, approximately 10 rock crabs and one coral. The skimmer only produces about 1cm of black sludge in the collection cup per day. Does this seem sufficient to you according to the bioload? If not, what is wrong with this skimmer?   Also, you mention that turning the skimmer pump on and off regularly may damage the pump; but how can you empty the collection cup without switching off the pump? I tried it an water went everywhere. <Turning the pump off to empty the cup wouldn't be considered regularly/often. Pump will be fine.  Your skimmate removal isn't out of line.  Skimmers operate more efficiently if they are cleaned on a weekly basis, especially in the throat where the bubbles are rising.  The brown sludge in this area is where cleaning is necessary.  James (Salty Dog)> Skimmer overflowing   3/15/06 I finally got hold of my TMC v2skim400 to replace the Prizm on my 260l reef tank, however no matter what the skimmer just takes out water at an alarming rate, actually overflowed the other night, I've turned down the flow as low as I can. if it's any help it's running with the 2400lph Rio pump supplied. any suggestions? will <Use your spelling, grammar checker... and adjust the outflow/level valve here such that the water level in the contact chamber stays a bit under the collection cup. Bob Fenner> Skimmers/Operation  - 03/12/2006 I'm looking to buy a used AquaC EV 120 skimmer online. The skimmer has scratches on the inside of the foam tower. Will this effect the performance? <Will not.> Does the performance of a skimmer degrade over time? <Should not, provided proper maintenance is carried out.> Thanks for the help.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>      Mike Skimmer/Operation/Cell phone not included   - 03/05/06 I got a skimmer for my tank a couple of weeks ago and just got to setting it up.  No matter how I adjust the air intake or position the pump skimmer, I can't get any phone <foam> at the top.  Just wondering if you have any troubleshooting tips that I may not have tried yet.  <Give the skimmer time to 'season'.  As a rule, they generally won't produce much foam the first few days of operation.  If your tank has a light bio load you probably won't see too much in the way of foam production.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks <You're welcome.> Ryan

Plumbing A Chiller And Skimmer Together - 03/01/06 Hello wet web, <<Hey Mike>> Here is another question for you.  I'm trying to configure my chiller (1/5 JBJ Arctica) and my Skimmer (Bermuda BPS-150) to run on the same pump. <<Not the best of plans...in my opinion.>> The chiller is rated for 480/1320gph and the skimmer is rated for about 700/800gph.  I would be using either the Mag-Drive 9.5 or the Hagen 70 which are both rated at about 950gph. <<Not big enough to run both.  Were this me, I would use one of these pumps for EACH piece of equipment here.>> My question is, would I be able to run these two components on the same pump? <<Not recommended...even if it were large/powerful enough.  Too much trouble to try to "balance" the flow...the skimmer more than the chiller will suffer for this.>> First I would have the pump pumping from the aquarium down to the chiller (4' below) and back up to the skimmer (4' back up). This would bring the gph down to about 750/800gph. Would this configuration work or will the skimmer slow the gph down too much for the chiller? <<Ah, ok...not what I was envisioning.  I still don't think it's a "great" idea, but it would probably work.  You may well find that you need to push more water through your chiller to optimize its performance than your skimmer can handle.  If you find you need to change things around later it shouldn't be a difficult fix so...why not...give it a try.  Do make sure the pump is pulling raw water from where it "enters" the sump from the overflow.>> Thanks for the help Mike <<Regards, EricR>> Skimmers/Operation & Disease/Treatment   2/22/06 Hello, <Hello> I got two quick question I hope you can help me with. First, what is the difference between wet skimming and dry skimming and which is better for nutrient export? <Dry skimming produces dryer foam and exports nutrients more efficiently.  Wet skimming generally produces a tea like color in the collection cup and not as productive as dry skimming.> Second, I have a ten gallon hospital tank and I am treating my blue tang for marine ich using Mardel Coppersafe and I need to make a small water change (2 gallons enough?). <Yes.> After the water change do I reapply more Coppersafe or just leave the 12 ml I added in the beginning?  Thanks and you guys rock. <You should use a copper test kit when using copper to ensure an effective dose is always present and  monitor on a daily basis.  Tangs are sensitive to copper and overdosing can cause more harm than good.  James (Salty Dog)> Walid Medications/Copper/Dosing So when testing copper, what level would be too high when using Copper medication? <You should strive to  maintain 0.20ppm, no higher.  James (Salty Dog)>

Rio 600 Replacement Doesn't Bubble? 02-19-06 Thanks for answering what may be an obvious oversight on my part. I just replaced a Rio 600 on a CPR skimmer and I do not get any bubble action from the venturi. It's the exact setup as before, but now water is getting pumped out of the venturi hose. What am I not getting? <<Your lines are backwards. Switch the venturi line onto the other intake. Travis>> Thanks,

Micro-Bubbles from my skimmer....  2/18/06 Hi it's me again.... sorry <For?> but I put baffles in my sump and the micro-bubbles are still there!! (Argghhh) Attached is a crude drawing of how my skimmer works.  The outlet valve has a tube on the inside of the skimmer that goes to the bottom.  So the skimmer is putting water from the bottom of the skimmer back into the sump.  Now the entire skimmer (tube) is filled with micro-bubbles, so the outlet tube on the inside has no "clean" water to send back into the sump.  Please help!!! Do I need a new skimmer? Bigger skimmer? A pump that does less gph?  The pump that is attached (and came with) to the skimmer does about 300gph. Should there be an area in the skimmer at the bottom where there should be no micro bubbles?  Please help!! This is really aggravating! <... Please read on WWM re "tiny bubbles", Skimmer Operation/Maintenance. Bob Fenner>

Prizm pro deluxe problems... great for constant tinkering    2/17/06 I bid and won a prism pro deluxe skimmer on e-bay for a very  reasonable price knowing their problems. <E-bay's and/or the Red Sea product?> I set it up on my 75 gal  w/60lbs of live rock some fish some inverts. Here's what I've found. keeping the collection cup almost completely down seems to work best with this combination the flow valve should be around the 10:00 position. When adjusting for fine tuning very small movements must be made, very small. The air regulator knob should start in the full open position, meaning receiving maximum draw then start to turn clockwise very slowly with small adjustments again I've found a touch past open produces the best results. speeding the air creates a bubble volume which is not completely chambered and therefore flows through to the return. Take the lid to the collection cup off and watch for slowly rising bubbles. If foam is pouring out like a shaken soda most likely the flow adjustment is to much. If bubbles are rising and bursting and splattering touch down the air regulator. What works constantly for me is a percolating foam which rises and lowers in the neck until its pushed out. This doesn't mean I'm completely happy with the prism I still have a small amount of micro bubbles returning to the tank and i run it tuned all the way down to low basically but a  light steady skim some may argue is the best. I clean the collection neck once a week w/ an old toothbrush while its running .shortly after ,that gunk is skimmed over. The prism Delux does skim wouldn't buy a new one though. If I buy another brand I may try to modify this one I have some ideas to correct some problems. thanks <... have fun constantly adjusting this unit... and learn to use your grammar checker. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer tweaking needed?    2/17/06 Hi, <Hello Derek.> I've had Cyano troubles for a while and although I'm trying to address it in a few ways, I'm thinking that part of the problem is that my skimmer is not performing very well.  I have a 35 gal FOWLR with about 30lbs of live rock and just 3 green Chromis.  I have an Aqua-C Remora Pro running the Rio pump.  A small amount of thick skimmate will attach itself to the inside of the cylinder leading up to the collection bucket, but the bucket itself never has much in it. <Problem lies here.  This cylinder needs to be cleaned at least weekly.  Once the skimmate forms it causes the rising bubbles with nutrients attached to prematurely burst never making it to the promised land.> The small amount that does get to the bucket is very dark but very watery.  I'm wondering if the problem is that the pump is not powerful enough to get the gunk up into the bucket.  Is this possible?  If so, would I be best to go for the Mag pump and see if there's an improvement?  I've tried adjusting the bucket up and down and cleaning it regularly with no improvement. <Try suggestion above.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks in advance, <You're welcome> Derek Skimmer Placement - 02/15/06 Hi!! <<Hello!>> I first off wanted to thank you for the wealth of knowledge and information you provide. <<A collective effort...>> Now to my question.... I recently bought a used 180G tank with a built-in overflow that feeds a 70G Sump.   <<Cool!>> In reading your FAQs I realize it is best to put my protein skimmer in the sump where it gets raw tank water; before any other filtration. <<Yes>> The only chamber (before my refugium) that I can fit the skimmer in is the first one where the overflow water comes in. <<Perfect>> The water level is stable, but I am unsure if the constant flow of water into this chamber down onto the skimmers pump will cause problems. <<Nope.  If it helps...this is how mine is configured.>> The only other option I have is putting the skimmer after the refugium, which I have read is not a good idea. <<No>> Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Robb <<Place the skimmer in the first chamber as you've surmised...all will be fine.  Regards, EricR>>

Micro-Bubbles from my skimmer....   2/14/06 Hey WWM, <Angelo> My tank has just cycled and I'm waiting to add livestock finally (woo hoo!).  50gal, Odyssea skimmer, AMiracle wet/dry sump.  The return pipe from the sump was spitting out micro-bubbles into my tank.  I read page after page on your site about these bubbles, I went through all the steps (turn the skimmer off, check for leaks etc...)  After all the testing it I figured out it's the skimmer doing this bad deed. When I turn the skimmer off and wait an hour all the bubbles are pretty much gone.   <Ah, yes> The outlet on the skimmer already had a sponge on it.  So my question is... how do I use my skimmer without making these bubbles?   <Mmm, a few possibilities... add more "sponge", an area to allow coalescence, dump into a more rear-ward sump area...> Currently the skimmer is in the sump but it could hang on it.  Also I'm not sure if your familiar with AMiracle sumps, but they don't really have baffles. <Yes... I would add them... or go with another container that has these. Have you seen the CA article re?> Any advice would be appreciated.  I was thinking of making baffles in the sump and having the skimmer in the first baffle to allow the bubble to "pop" before it hits the last chamber were the return pump is. -Angelo <Ah, an excellent idea, modification. This is what I would do as well. Bob Fenner> Protein Skimmers/Deltec APF600 Skimmer   2/14/06 Hi WWM. <Hello Paul> I've been running my Deltec apf600 for nearly 2 months now and after the initial bedding in, it started to pull out tones of thick dark smelly skimmate..<Yuk> Over the past month however It's only managing to pull out very 'wet' and light skimmate. <Typical with your fish load.> I have taken the skimmer out of the sump, cleaned it and put back.  I have ensured that the water level in the skimmer without the air is level or slightly above the black joint on the skimmer however the skimmate is not dark and doesn't smell..  for info, the air intake is on full and I have also tried this on half and two thirds open. For info it's running on a 100g tank and I have the following fish.. 1 x Small Regal Tang (1.5 inches) 2 x Clowns (1 inch each) 1 x Bi colour Dottyback (1.5 inches) 1 x Chromis (1.5 inches) 1x flame angel (2 inches) It's fair to say that the tank is lightly stocked however we don't overfeed and we have been battling Cyano bacteria for months and naturally I'm worried about the quality of the skimmate coming from the APF600.. If anyone can help I'd be grateful. <Might want to use Chemi-Pure or a PolyFilter to help remove what the skimmer misses, works well in this regard.  Your skimmer seems to be operating normally, just not as much waste to remove.  James (Salty Dog)> Many thanks, <You're welcome.> Paul

Skimmer Op. Greetings: <Hi Bob> Thanks for the devotion to the hobby and the website! I have a problem getting my ASM G2 skimmer to foam. This skimmer is replacing a Via Aqua SK-300 which I could never get to foam either. I have about 4 med size fish in my 125 gallon tank along with a couple of damsels. Is this skimmer junky? <No.> why can't I get the dark green waste like I see in the pictures of the manufactures websites. <New skimmer to start with, not a huge waste producing load in the tank.  If you use carbon, Chemi-Pure etc, will reduce load on the skimmer.> Granted, this skimmer has only been on for a day, but it's not behaving much different then my old one. any input would be appreciated.  <James (Salty Dog)> Bob Protein skimmer   2/2/06 Hello, <Hello Amy> I just bought a protein skimmer for my 37 gallon fish tank from Odyssea.  It is a hang on PS75 and for the life of me I cannot figure out the instructions.  How do you set this up and more importantly what goes in the water and what hangs out?  This is my first skimmer and I don't know what to do.  Please help. Thanks Amy <Amy, from what I know about this unit is that it hangs on the back of the tank or sump.  The powerhead/pump would be the part that should be in the water.  If this doesn't help I'd contact Jebo/Odyssea for some help. James (Salty Dog)> Protein skimmers ... op.   1/31/06 Hi, <Hello Shane.> I've been reading through your site and found a wealth of information. <Great, keep reading.> There's so much good stuff, it's kind of mind numbing. Anyway, here's the situation.  I have a 120g tank that I plan on having fish, inverts and live rock.  It's sitting in the living room waiting to come to life once I get the equipment set up.  I am planning to have the protein skimmer plumbed directly from the overflow of the main tank and feed the output of the skimmer to the wet/dry.  I'm not going to use a pre filter (per other WWM questions I've read) on the overflow.  Will I get enough flow through the protein skimmer to effectively run the wet/dry filter?  I was looking at the Turboflotor 1000 but can't find out if the output will be enough.  Will the Turboflotor be sufficient or can you suggest one that will have enough output?  <Best to run a separate return for the skimmer.  Good skimmers efficiently process water for waste removal and the return flow generally isn't high enough to do what you have in mind.> Is this a feasible idea or is there a better way?  The output of the wet/dry filter is going to go back to the main tank but with a tee off to a 20g refugium and that'll return to the main tank.  In case you couldn't tell by the questions, I'm fairly new to the larger aspect of the hobby.  I've been running 2 - 10g (1 with a Pajama Cardinal, Snakehead cowry, and Hawaiian Bobtail squid.  The other has a Hawaiian Dascyllus, and a pair of Banded Coral Shrimp) for about 8 months.  I'm hooked. <No pun intended??>  Thanks for your help and your valuable time. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Aloha, Shane M

Re: Lemonpeel Angel and slime algae - Need more help, Please. Mar. maint. f' - 01/23/2006 Mr. Fenner, Thank you so much for your prompt reply to my questions on Friday. I returned the Lemonpeel angel Saturday morning. He was not looking too good. They said they would try to nurse him back to health, and if he makes a full recovery, will try to re-sell him for me. That is the last time I'll buy without doing my own research first. <Amen as the saying goes> To answer your question about my local water supply - it's not recommended for human consumption (I figure if old people and babies aren't supposed to drink it, neither am I). Everyone says not to put it in an aquarium. <Shades of Deuce Bigelow!> Now for my new crisis: This morning (Sunday) I checked out my tank and noticed little white spots all over my goby (I figured out by looking at the picture on your site that my "green goby" is a rippled coral goby). It looked like he had rolled in the sand. My first thought was "Ich". <Likely so... Crypt> I went straight to your site and looked up what to do about ich, and this evening I went to PetSmart (it was as soon as I could get there, and my fish store is closed on Sunday) to pick up needed supplies and pick the brain of the one guy there who knows anything about marine aquariums. When I got home, much to my confusion, there was not one white spot on my goby. <Read my friend... and quickly... this "point" generation has simply cycled off... is reproducing... off-fish... will be back...> Now I'm thinking maybe he did roll in the sand. But my ocellaris clown's fins were maybe looking a little cramped, so I put in a little stress coat (Mr. Petsmart had recommended it, and I have used it often in freshwater, I put in 1/2 the amount recommended on the bottle). About an hour later we noticed my protein skimmer going crazy! Water was overflowing out the top onto the floor. <A common reaction, yes> I quickly unplugged it, removed it, took it apart and cleaned it (rinsed). I tested and had ph 8.2, 0 (or maybe slightly more) ammonia, 0 nitrites, and around 30 nitrates. I then changed out about 2 gallons of water. I set the skimmer back up, but it continued to foam crazily and pour those little tiny bubbles that you say are dangerous into the tank (this was new, wasn't doing that before I shut it off). I finally got it to run without putting out the tiny bubbles by completely cranking off the air-flow. So basically right now it's just moving water, not skimming. Is it the stress coat that did it? <Yes> Am I going to have to break down my aquarium to get rid of it? <No... will subside (has subsided) in a few hours> Thank you for your help. Karen Garrett <Read... re Crypt... and soon. Bob Fenner>

Coralife 125 Super Skimmer  - 01/23/2006 Dear Crew, <Glen> I have a Coralife 125 Super Skimmer in a 55 gal tank. It seems impossible to set properly. It either super foams and overflows the collection box or if turned down slightly, does nothing. Any suggestions? <Some additives can cause the superfoaming.  I'd contact Coralife at http://www.esuweb.com/ with your problem.> Thank you! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Glen Purdy

Skimmer, Clean Up Crew  - 01/12/2006 Hello.  Thanks to all of you for the invaluable service you provide.  I was reading various FAQ's on your website and realized that my skimmer may not be performing adequately.  I have a 250g fish-only tank, no live rock, with a male and female bird wrasse, a male and female blue throat trigger, a porcupine puffer, a dogface puffer, a sailfin tang and a squirrel fish.  Only the male bird wrasse is more than 6 inches as of yet.  The tank has been running about a year, with the fish added over time during that year.  The skimmer is a venturi type. <Some of these are not that efficient...> The sump has three separate compartments, divided by acrylic walls with 2" holes in the bottom to allow water to flow through the compartments.  The pump returning water into the tank is in the left side compartment, the water return from the tank and the wet/dry filter are in the middle compartment, and the skimmer is in the right side compartment by itself. The skimmer cup only needs to be emptied about every two weeks. <Mmm...> From the FAQ's I read today, this apparently is not nearly enough. <Likely so>   So, I'm wondering what the problem may be with my skimmer.  Being in the right-side compartment of the sump, it is out of the main water flow which is pulled by the pump in the left compartment, mainly from the middle compartment where the return and filter are. <Makes little, appreciable difference...>   This made me think that the skimmer may not be processing enough tank water to be skimming effectively.  I also considered that the skimmer pump may not be performing well enough, although it produces ample foam but just doesn't collect much of the brown gunk. <Perhaps it needs to be "tuned"... the water level in the contact chamber should approach the collection cup area by about an inch... to effectively raise the bubble area...>   I also considered that the bio-load may be low given the tank size and the relative small size of the 8 fish in the tank (though I do get algae growth and the nitrates do go up between water changes).  Any thoughts on why I'm not getting more skim product in the cup? <Most likely it is the inherent functionality of the skimmer itself... next as a guess/input is its adjustment... easy enough to "test"... borrow/use another make/model of skimmer in its place... the Euro Reef, or Aqua C lines...> I plan on moving the skimmer into the left side compartment where the main pump is so that the skimmer will at least process more tank water. <Hotay... but will be surprised if this makes much/any difference. Why you have it out do give it a scrubbing inside the contact chamber...> On a related note, I'm wondering if there are any clean up crew critters that I could coexist with the current occupants - my sense is that the answer is no, but thought I'd check with the experts. Thanks very much.  Mike <Not many... strike that. I would look for a nice goatfish or two (of the same species so they'll associate) in such a size system, livestock mix as you have... They'll really help to keep the bottom turned over, stirred up. Bob Fenner> Cool Beckett Tricks  1/8/06 Bob - Thanks for the status check ... I have not heard from WWM, but I did swap emails back and forth with Jason Kim <AquaC Prez.> and he shared with me his experience with the same experiment. With the same pump, a Beckett gives 30% less skimmate production. If you up the pump, way way up, then you can meet or exceed the skimmate level with the stock EV180....but then, you'd be at the same level of production as a, say, EV 240 with the same wattage usage. So there you go. Thanks and cheers. SLC <Thanks for sharing. Will post, and hope that Antoine gets back to you as well. Cheers, BobF>  

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