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More FAQs about Skimmer Selection for Sumps and Refugiums

Related FAQs: 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, Skimmer Selection 8, Skimmer Selection 9, Skimmer Selection 10, Skimmer Selection 11, Skimmer Selection 12, DIY Skimmers, Hang-On Models, Best Skimmer Op./Maint. FAQs, Skimmer MaintenanceSkimmer Operation/Maintenance 2, Algae Control, Corallife Skimmers, CPR Skimmers, Deltec Skimmers, ETSS Skimmers, Euro-Reef Skimmers, Prizm Skimmers, SeaClone Skimmers Skimmers for Eclipse Systems, Skimmers for Small SystemsSkilter Skimmers, Tunze Skimmers, Algae Control

Related Articles: Skimmers by Steven Pro, Protein Skimmer Impressions By Steven Pro, Marine Filtration, Mechanical, Physical & Chemical Get Thee To A Refugium by Bob Fenner, Refugia: What They're For And How To Build Them by Forrest Phillips,

Keep those intakes screened!

Return Pump & Skimmer Placement     5/22/12
Hi! Im having a 34 gallon main tank & 7 gallon sump. The sump has 2 columns, the overflow comes in on right & flows to 2nd column to the left.
I can't fit in the skimmer in the 1st column (due to flaw in design).In the 2nd column, Im having a 1920 lph return pump and I'm planning to install a AquaC EV-120 skimmer with Rio 10H (700 gph) in the same column. Can I do this?
<Yes... you'll have to be a bit careful re keeping the water level about the same in this second chamber... as the skimmer works best when it's adjusted for one height.>
I'm upgrading the skimmer because the existing one (Resun 300lph) one failed to clear off the oily surface of my main tank and no skimmates for weeks. I feel like the Resun skimmer's pump is losing to the return pump hence the water bypassing the skimmer. Would you think it would work?
<Mmm, well, the AquaC product/line is superior; but your system may just not have much to skim>
 Can you please suggest anything?
<A hang-on skimmer (e.g. Remora?) perhaps>
Many thanks for your help
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
<As many welcomes. Sama sama. Bob Fenner>
Re: Return Pump & Skimmer Placement – 5/22/12

Hi! Thanks for the prompt reply. when you said 'but your system may just not have much to skim',
 is it normal to have an oily surface?
<Not unusual, and quite a common cause of troubles in captive aquatic systems. Do search, read re:
 Thank you in advance.
<Welcome. B>

Re: Sump skimmers    3/14/12
Thanks again Bob.  I think I was out thinking myself.  I couldn't find anything on the internet about running a skimmer with a pump that was bigger than the return pump.  Everything was about running a bigger return pumps vs. a smaller skimmer pump.  Finally it occurred to me. (The skimmer is in its own section of the sump and its water level is controlled by the baffle.  So long as the skimmers return isn't pushing all of its water directly into the next section of the sump, the skimmer section wont pump itself dry).
 So I suppose I could run as little as a couple hundred gph return pump with no worries related to the reef octopus skimmer with a 550gph pump.  I do wonder though if this will greatly affect skimmer efficiency?
<Nominally... i.e., not much. B>

re: Sump skimmers    3/14/12
Thanks again Bob.  I think I was out thinking myself.  I couldn't find anything on the internet about running a skimmer with a pump that was bigger than the return pump.  Everything was about running a bigger return pumps vs. a smaller skimmer pump.  Finally it occurred to me. (The skimmer is in its own section of the sump and its water level is controlled by the baffle.  So long as the skimmers return isn't pushing all of its water directly into the next section of the sump, the skimmer section wont pump itself dry).
 So I suppose I could run as little as a couple hundred gph return pump with no worries related to the reef octopus skimmer with a 550gph pump.  I do wonder though if this will greatly affect skimmer efficiency?
<Nominally... i.e., not much. B>

Aqua C skimmer IN the sump 10/21/11
<Hello Sara>
I have consulted the archives of WWM many, many times in the process of setting up and maintaining my aquarium, and I have appreciated it very much.
Thank you for taking the time to help fellow hobbyists!
<You're welcome.>
I searched the archives but didn't find what I was looking for. if it's in there, please point me in the right direction.
I recently upgraded from a stock 55 with a Remora Aqua C HOB skimmer (no sump), to a 50 breeder with a 50 gallon sump and I would like to use my Remora in the sump. I have it hanging on the back of the display right now, but it's making a lot of micro bubbles and I would like to get it out of the display for aesthetic reasons as well. However, there are issues with putting it on the sump that have been covered here (waterfall noise, etc) and I have another issue, which is that I'm not sure if I have the head space needed to remove the skimmer cup if it's hanging on the sump since the sump is quite tall in the stand. I was wondering if I might be able to put the skimmer totally inside the sump. I measured the skimmer body and the water level in my sump and the numbers work out. It seems like the water level is just about perfect for just setting the skimmer body in the sump instead of hanging it on the outside. Is there some reason I can't do this?
If I were to try it, how would I ensure the skimmer body doesn't tip over?
<It's worth a try, I do not see any reason why it would not work. The Remora is basically the hang on version of the Urchin. The Urchin has an acrylic stabilizing leg to keep it upright in the sump. Take a look here. http://www.proteinskimmer.com/Product%20Pages/Urchin%20Series.htm>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Aqua C skimmer IN the sump/Follow up 2/15/12
Happy Mid-February Day, Crew!
<And to you Sara>
I know it's been quite a while since my original question, but I wanted to report back after giving it a good test period.  After getting the green light, I went ahead and put the skimmer right in the sump and it works wonderfully!  The water level in the sump is the perfect height.  It comes up to about the lip of the outlet on the skimmer, as it would if it was hanging on the back of the tank as it is meant to.  The skimmer seems to be functioning totally normally and I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary with it.
<Good, didn't think you would see any difference in operation.>
I just wanted to let you know in case anyone else out there is thinking of doing this.
Thanks again for the encouragement to try it!
<You're welcome Sara and thank you for the follow up.  James (Salty Dog)>

New system equipment - question... Sump skimmer sel., ozone use    1/22/12
Mr. Fenner,
     I am newbie to marine aquariums and reef systems. In an attempt to get educated before purchasing and setting up a system I am reading your book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist 2nd Ed. in preparation for building my first marine reef aquarium system.
<Ahh; I know you will gain from its perusal>
 I plan to keep fish, invertebrates and soft corals. I wanted to get your opinion on the best in sump protein skimmer I can get for around $300 - $400?
<Mmm, for a 75 gallon mixed reef now and who knows what down the line...
There are quite a few choices; as you can read re here:
For ease of maintenance... I am still a fan of Aqua-C's line>
My display tank is going to be 75 gallons. I plan to have a 29 Gallon sump - refugium with live rock.
<Mmm, anyway to fit something larger?>
I was looking at the Super Reef Octopus 1000 internal.
<Also a good unit, make>
 However I did want to get a skimmer that is compatible with ozone use. As you mention in your book that ozone increases a skimmer's efficiency.
<And has many other substantial benefits>
 I was told by the CoralVue people that in their opinion it would not be best to couple ozone use within that skimmer as the chamber was too small for anything significant to occur to increase the efficiency and they recommended first of all waiting till I had more experience and then using a totally separate ozone reactor.
<Good advice>
Also, in their opinion using ozone will not increase the efficiency of the skimmer.
<This is non-factual>
I am confused. What do you think about this?  Also what type of ozone system do you recommend?
<There are a few variations to be considered... Please review here re an overview: http://wetwebmedia.com/redoxinst.htm
and the linked files above and on sites like ReefBuilders.com re recent events>
Thanks for your book and your advice,
David LaRocca
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner

Plumbing and Placement of Refugium, skimmer placement in sumps    1/20/12
Hi Crew
 where s Bob
<A common appellation>
One crew member said;
Ideally' the drains from the tank would flow to a compartment on one end from which the skimmer would draw'¦water would then flow through the refugium compartments and in to the chamber where it is returned to the tank
....allows the skimmer to process raw tank water with a minimum impact on the biota in the refugium compartments (due to the flow of water coming 'from' the skimmer compartment to the refugium
<Ideally, yes... but this arrangement/placement of skimmer and newest water isn't really a big deal... nominally will result in a percent or two greater efficiency... vs. locating the skimmer more distal to new water>
Duh! what does that mean? If the drains flow first to skimmer <area> then to the refugium then how exactly does the refugium receive raw from the display tank?
<The skimmer will not "take up" all new water... Again, the difference in your understanding is a matter of degree, not absolutes... the universe is more like calculus than arithmetic>
I note the from is parenthesized so does it mean that not all of the water draining from the display travels via the skimmer but "overflows" or by-passes the skimmer?
<Good; yes>
 Also does it mean that the skimmer refugium and sump are all in the one compartment? 
<Mmm, well, the sump is the whole kit and caboodle... the refugium just the area w/ the biota, substrate... and the skimmer simply a tool that can/may be located in or near an area/portion of the sump>
 Would the tee off the drain + gate valve to refugium then to sump by pump idea not be better ?
<Nah; not in actual practice IMO/E>
<And. BF>

Euro-Reef Integration, sump   1/29/11
Hello Crew,
I have just upgraded my old reef devil skimmer to an RC-180 Euro-Reef.
Yeah...it's pretty cool. But, I will have to modify my plumbing considerably to get this guy oriented into my setup. Because of it's size, it will not fit inside the stand below my 130 gallon half cylinder tank.
The show tank has one overflow in the back of the tank. There is a standpipe inside which drains out of the bottom of the tank. This drain is about 28" above the floor. For filtration, currently, I have the overflow emptying through a series of sponges as the water travels into the sump currently in the cabinet beneath the tank. The skimmer resides in the sump, and is currently driven with a mag7 pump. There is a Mag 9 return to the display, also located in the sump.
<Ok; with you so-far>
As a refugium I have an AquaPod tank that is converted to use an overflow. The refugium is fed from a Maxijet 1200 out of the sump. I think it is a 3/4 inch overflow mod on the back of the AquaPod, if it matters. The refugium has a good six inch DSB and some Chaeto in it. The flow through here is pretty slow, and I am not sure that the current overflow mod can take much more.
<Me neither; not advised to increase>
Now, the conundrum is how to get this Euro-Reef integrated...hopefully without the need to introduce an additional pump into the system. The skimmer has a good size Eheim circulation pump on it that I clearly cannot live without, so I am hoping to find a way to eliminate the mag7 (or the 9). I would welcome any input on how to go about achieving this.
<Mmmm, w/o modifying the current stand/tank I take it>
It seems to me, that the only way to go about this, is to gravity feed the skimmer. As I see it, this would eliminate the sponge filtration and allow the tank overflow to drain directly into the skimmer. Is this optimal?
<No, is not>
Do you think that elimination of a few filter pads will reduce the efficiency of the system?
Do you think it would be more advantageous to maintain the current sponge filtration and just live with the addition of yet another pump to feed the skimmer?
<If necessary, yes. Is there no possibility of remoting the current sumps?
as in off to the side of the tank/stand (which might have to be relocated)?>
Having moved the sump outside of the cabinet, next to the tank will certainly need to be done.
I plan to continue to feed the refugium with the 1200 pump, but gravity feed directly into the skimmer would eliminate one of the Mag pumps. I have also considered the possibility of replacing all the pumps with one Blueline 40 HD external pump.
<Mmm, do retain the current pumps for back-up>
Any advice on the subject is much appreciated before I start tearing my plumbing apart. :-)
<I do think moving the sump outside the stand, placing the skimmer distal from the intake from the tank area, using its Eheim pump is best. Bob Fenner>
Re: Euro-Reef Integration   1/30/11

Hi Bob,
Always nice to talk to the man himself. Thanks for the quick reply, and all your great advice as always.
<Certainly welcome Jonny>
Yes, you are right, I would very much like to keep the current tank and stand in place, as I have just gotten the display the way I like it, and I just cannot imagine tearing it apart right now.
Okay, filters stay, and I don't drain from the tank directly into the skimmer.
Sump certainly needs to come out from under the display tank. I am clear on those.
Not sure I understand this completely though...Apologies for my density.
<I do think moving the sump outside the stand, placing the skimmer distal from the intake from the tank area, using its Eheim pump is best.>
I believe you are suggesting that the discharge of the skimmer should be as far from the return pump as possible. Correct?
I am still unclear what you feel is the best way to feed water into the skimmer. Keeping the Mag 7 in the system as a feed to the skimmer as well as the Eheim for circulation and the nine for return?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/skimrs4sumpsf.htm
for various input re pros, cons, places>
I had also considered connecting the overflow of the refugium to the skimmer, but I didn't expect that the flow would be fast enough to get the best use of the skimmer. Thus, I shelved that plan.
<Life is a series of compromises... A good lesson fo' sho'. Cheers, BobF>

Hard white worms 1/24/11
<Hello Paul>
I have hard white worms in my sump, on the glass, on the pumps..... Would adding a 4 line wrasse to the sump be a good way of getting rid of the worms....
<These are beneficial filter feeding/ plankton generating organisms.. good to have>
I have plenty of room for it to roam.
<I would not.. this sump is acting as a refugium.. adding a predator negates this benefit>
Also.... I have read many things about Refugiums.... People say no skimmer with them, others say always use a skimmer even with a refugium... May I ask your opinion and others you have talked to about this question.
<I use a skimmer and would advocate using one on most all marine systems..
the best set up for such is utilised before the refugium, not in it as shown here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm>
Thank you,
<No problem>

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>>

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.

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>

Freshwater to Saltwater Sump 4/11/09
Hi guys, and girls, I'm back with another quick question.
<Hello! I hope I can be of some help.>
I found online the Marineland model 4 new sump that a guy had been using for 6 months in his freshwater tank. What do I need to do, as far as the bio wheels having freshwater bacteria compared to saltwater bacteria, to make it work in my 125 gallon reef ready saltwater tank that has been going for 3 years. Can I rinse off the bio wheels in saltwater and let them sit in my sump for a month and let new saltwater bacteria grow on them.
Plus what do you think of the new Marineland acrylic sump model 4, and also the Marineland pro 300 skimmer...??
Thanks for all your past, present and future help.
<Aaron, I would not reuse the bio wheels. They are fairly inexpensive so I see no reason to expose your tank to possible contamination. Especially since you do not know the current owner and have no clue as to what he/she may have dosed.(medications, additives, etc.....) The model 4 looks a bit expensive to me considering the price of a glass aquarium with a similar footprint. Building your own with a new or used aquarium, acrylic and some time could save you a nice bit of those hard earned dollars. It would also
give you a bit of room for a refugium. Here are a couple of links with good refugium DIY info and ideas.
After doing a bit of research on the Marineland skimmer it seems to be pretty good bang for your buck. You should also consider The Reef Octopus Extreme 200. Very nice skimmer for the price. I think you should be fine either way. Adam Jenkins>

ASM G2 Or AquaC Remora Pro? 2/12/09 A HOB Skimmer Or A Sump With Skimmer Hi guys! <Hello David> First, and always, thanks for all of your help--you guys do a tremendous service and I truly appreciate it. <You're welcome.> I'm in the process of setting up a 92 gallon corner tank for the living room. The current plan is FOWLR, and I doubt I'll be going reef any time in the next year or two. The current set-up (all bought used but in fine working condition): 1. 92 gallon All-Glass tank, not pre-drilled 2. Odyssea PC lights, 4x65 3. Rena Filstar XP-2 4. 40lb of Live Sand (looking to add another 40lb) 5. 60lb of Live Rock 6. 29 gallon quarantine tank with BioWheel 200, and 3-4 inch layer of sand/crushed coral. The tank is currently cycling, and the livestock consists of a six hermits, six snails, and a shy peppermint shrimp. Next on my agenda and before any fish is choosing the right protein skimmer. <Yes.> Because the tank is not pre-drilled, I was not originally planning on using a sump. Instead I was going to invest in the pricey, but highly touted AquaC Remora Pro to do my skimming. I had some good skimmate with a CPR BakPak with an Acella pump on an earlier 75 FOWLR, but always found that my nitrates were high. So I did some research at your site and others and AquaC looks like a very good company. <It is and very good customer service.> I asked some friends what they thought, though, and they said I'd be better off with a sump than an HOB. One guy I know is downgrading and selling a CPR overflow, 30 gallon sump, and ASM G2 for about $100 less than the Remora Pro. (It's been used, obviously.) I like the idea of the sump because of the possibility of having a refugium, and although the tank is a corner unit, it's already off one wall 5 inches because my original plan was to have a HOB skimmer. What are your thoughts on the ASM G2--is it comparable with the Remora Pro (better/worse)? What do you recommend? <If it were me, I'd take the used package with the sump, overflow and the ASM G2. A sump offers increased gas exchange and a place to put your heater and protein skimmer. The HOB Remora has no external drain connection on the collection cup. That scares me, there is always the chance the cup may overflow getting the nice brown skimmate on your floor or carpet. If you go the HOB route, I'd suggest installing an external drain to the collection cup. As to which skimmer is better, I've never used an ASM skimmer so my first hand knowledge is nil, but from what I've learned about them, I'd say the G2 would have an edge over the Remora Pro due to your tank size. The ASM G2 is advertised to handle up to a 200 gallon tank where the Remora claims 75+. How far does + go, I don't know. I've also heard the ASM's are overrated as to the tank size they will handle. Just hearsay mind you, I have no facts. The ASM G2 also comes with a Sedra pump which in my opinion is a much better pump than the Rio 1400 that is included with the basic Remora  Pro package. You will be much happier with a sump and an in-sump skimmer.> Thanks always! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> -David

Good short skimmer, sel.  1/21/09 Hola Crew. <Como estas John?> I have a 75 gallon tank with a 30 gallon sump refugium combination. The skimmer chamber is approximately 12 by 14 and currently holds an ASM G2. While I like this skimmer I have a quandary. <OK> The cabinet is only about 23-24 inches tall and the cabinet trim and the sump height make it difficult to do cleaning and maintenance. <All too common my friend.> In addition, when I set the sump water level at 8-9 inches I have a lot of microbubbles. When I elevate the water level, the bubbles subside but the skimmer doesn't function well. I cannot elevate the skimmer within the tight height of the cabinet. I have decided to rebuild the sump with a shorter longer sump tank to maintain capacity but make maintenance easier. I would like to replace my skimmer with a shorter model, making maintenance, and perhaps elevation, easier. However I know that in general tower height increases efficiency. <Yes, but it is just one factor.> Do you have any recommendations on skimmers which support a 150 gallon capacity with SPS coral standards but which fit in a shorter environment? <Quite a few out there. Many of the Becket type skimmers are shorter and will serve you well. For my money in this situation it is time to look either the AquaC EV line or the ATI Bubblemasters. Both are great skimmers in short packages.> Thanks in advance. John / Fishnu <Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Good short skimmer, sel. 1/28/09 Thanks Scott. <Welcome.> Any recommendation under 20"? <The Aqua C EV120.> What do you hear about Turboflotor 5000 Shorty? <It works fine, a descent skimmer. But for my money the AquaC is the way to go. Scott V.>

Re: Good short skimmer, sel. 1/28/09 Thanks Scott. Hadn't looked at the 120. I like the cup drain and the ball valve.... I had to mod my own ASM G2. This will give me SPS quality skimming for < 100 gallons? <Oh yes, definitely. A fine choice for your setup.>

Refugium <skimmer use f'), (Red Slime Algae) and ODD Blue/Green   12/17/08 Chromis behavior, Hi Guys, <Howsit Chris?> I have a 1.5 year old 110 gal reef tank with a 30 gal sump and have just added a 30 gal refugium that is cycled off of the sump via a pump that operates my UV sterilizer and gravity flows back into my sump. The problem is that I have followed many other peoples advise <advice> and taken my skimmer OFF my tank after adding the refugium and this has caused some huge NITRATE problems. <Even my friend Leng Sy, owner/operator of EcoSystem Aquarium, the originator of (Miracle) Mud filtration endorses skimmer use nowadays...> Really Bad Idea. I went from 10 ppm to >50PPM ! I know. So I researched more on your site and saw Bob's great advise is to KEEP IT ON (the skimmer that is). <Ah yes> I can verify this, keep skimming! So I added my Aqua-C EV120 back and am skimming like a madman, still high on NitrAtes though. In seven days I have changed out 45 gal of water and still have high NitrAtes though! I added a NitrAte reactor to try and reduce the nitrates will take a week or 2 to get working correctly will let you know if/how it works out. <Takes a while...> Anyway Tank Param.s are: 110 Gal 1.023 sal 78.5 degrees F 0 NitrIte >50ppm NitrAte 8.2PH 3meq/l Alk 480 Calcium 0 Ammonia <.10 PO4 4" live sand 130 lb live rock "Vanuatu" and "Fiji" mix Livestock: 7 blue/green chromis 1 maroon clown 1 scopas tang 1 yellow tang 1 chevron tang 1 powder blue tang 1 coral banded shrimp 2 blood/fire shrimp 1 serpent star 10 turbo snails various snails and hermits Corals: 1 red bubble tip anemone 1 huge hammer coral various mushrooms and Zoanthids Question #1 Anyway about 9 months ago I battled a problem with RED SLIME algae and took a long time to get rid of, using some mix product ( I don't recall the brand) that didn't seem to work but after a month it finally did eradicate the red slime algae from the display tank. So to my question. After adding the Refugium (25 lbs miracle mud) and Gracilaria and Halimeda algae with good water flow, I started getting the dreaded RED SLIME algae in my refugium only and on the macro algae. What's the deal with that? Main tank is fine. Other than stated high NitrAtes. <Cycling in a word... succession... opportunistic Cyano... Again, mostly time going by will solve this> Question #2 Also, I have 1 of the 7 blue/green chromis that is the largest of them all (about 3") he has started to get a really blue tail that is markedly darker in blue than his body, this is new. Also he swims into a vertical position (head up) in a specific area of the tank and scares off all other intruders. <Dominance...> Including a blood shrimp that walks over to his hang out and the Chromis nips his legs and pincers and he tries to use a mock spine in his tail to strike the shrimp (does not hurt or even intimidate the shrimp). My Chromis have learned this behavior from mimic-ing the aggressive tang behavior, <Interesting> its kind of funny watching the chromis try and strike each other with their tails like the tangs do. I would normally think that this chromis is a pregnant female or egg watching but I have yet to see any eggs or anything like that. What's the deal? <Summat as you say... this is reproductive behavior...> Chris Edwards <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Refugium skimmer use/ Bluethroat Trigger feeding   12/14/08 Hi again guys and gals <Hello again Si!> Just to let you know after a long debate I finally got myself a refugium built to fit my tank <Great.> after lots of research and chatting to the people who know, I have been told with the refugium on the tank that I wouldn't need to use a skimmer on the tank? <Hmm, I do not subscribe to this. A skimmer and refugium are both tools for increasing your water quality, using both makes it just that much better.> Oh well there goes the idea of skimmer as the overflow inlet, but as you previously said Co2 problems makes sense to. I'm going to let the refugium establish (once it arrives) and keep a check on the parameters of my tank to see if it works out (fingers crossed and toes), got miracle mud at the ready and a nice bloom of feather Caulerpa and red grape algae to put in. <These macros will generally compete, with the former likely to win out in time.> Oh well see how it all pans out. Just hope the new pair of Bluethroat triggers appreciate it :) Any ideas on feeding these pair? <Many!> Been in only two days, they've come out from hiding but haven't touched a scrap as yet, the female is definitely the brave one, is it just persistence and different food trials :(. <Part of it. Do read here, much useful information re feeding triggers, Sufflamen albicaudatus in particular: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trigfdgfaqs.htm. They are fairly timid for a trigger, give it time.> Thanks for the feedback once again, ever grateful Si <Welcome, Scott V.>

Refugium and Skimmer Placement -- 08/04/08 I have a 90gal reef to be tank; first of all I'd like to say I screwed the whole thing up... <<'¦?>> But now for my question; I have a protein skimmer and it hangs on the edge of my tank but you can't even see my tank with all of the bubbles. <<Something is amiss. Either the skimmer requires some adjustment'¦or you need a different/better skimmer>> I am currently constructing a refugium with the help of your web site, here goes: I want to take my overflow hose that is currently hooked up to my sump tank, put a T in it with one side going into the sump and the other side going to my refugium with a valve to limit flow. <<Okay>> This eliminates the need for another overflow box. So now water is going into the sump and into the refugium, at the same time as water passes through the refugium (17in tall) it will then overflow back into the pump chamber of my sump (12in tall) and then be pumped out thus saving me a pump. <<A good methodology>> If you're not totally lost by now, I wanted to put the protein skimmer in the refugium but I'm not sure about the bubbles, will it affect refugium? <<Indeed'¦ Aside from the bubbles (which need to be addressed), it will extract and destroy much of the beneficial life by its proximity re. It would be much better to place the skimmer in the sump where the raw surface water enters from the tank>> And what do you think about my refugium? <<What you have described is fine>> Thanks, I love your web site. <<Happy to share. EricR>>

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

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

Low(er) Cost in-Sump Skimmers and reliability In-Sump Skimmers Of Quality -- 12/07/07 While you review several hang-on skimmers for low-volume systems, I've found myself at a complete loss for a skimmer suitable to my system. <<Hmm'¦with the better manufacturers (Euro-Reef, AquaC, H&S, Schuran, Tunze, others) the manufacturers recommendations are a good guide>> I have a 125 glass system with overflow to a 50 gallon sump, actually my former tank drilled. There's usually at least 30 gallons down there, though I let it fluctuate a bit. I've found a fairly hands-off approach to be immensely successful. I haven't lost a fish or coral in approximately six months. <<Very good'¦but do realize this time-frame is but a fraction of the natural lifespan, for most. True success will be measured in years, even decades>> The skimmer from my old tank, a Coralife rated for a 65 gallon tank, was woefully inept, <<Not surprising>> and in any case broke during the installation. I need a skimmer capable of handling this system. <<Several come to mind>> I need a couple brand names that are reliable, that I could perhaps pick up used. <<Have listed several above'¦will take some work on your part to find the 'used'>> There's a huge number of brands out there with no explanation or history, and most of what's there has conflicting reviews, claims of incredible skimming prowess followed by several scathing denials of its usefulness. <<Ha-ha, indeed! And will tell'¦Euro-Reef skimmers are my current fave. I have an old-model CS12-3 running on my 500g (en toto) reef system>> When I worked in a LFS, which fell apart due to the owner's insanity and Xanax abuse, <<'¦!>> we used large scale "G" skimmers, big effective things that sat in tubs and sump and produced mountains of the foul smelling stuff we all know and love. <<Ah yes'¦for the most part a cheaper version of the ER skimmers>> Enormous collection cups made management easy. I'd like a few recommendations on what's solid, as I'd hate to blow a few hundred bucks on something as trashy as my old Coralife. <<Euro-Reef gets my vote'¦nor do I don't think you would be unhappy with the price/quality of an AquaC either>> Hey, they make good PCs, they must know what they're doing on skimmers right? Wrong. <<Mmm'¦>> While I probably won't pick up new, scouring Craigslist and eBay for a cheap second hand is in my budget, and I'd like to know a worthwhile deal when I see it. Thanks! Eric Jackson

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