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FAQs about Skimmer Selection for Marine Systems 1

Related FAQs: Best Skimmer Selection FAQs, 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, Skimmer Selection 13, Skimmer Selection 14, Skimmer Selection 15, Skimmer Selection 16, & Skimmers for Refugiums/Sumps, Best Skimmer FAQs, DIY Skimmers, Skimmers in General, AquaC Skimmers, Corallife Skimmers, CPR Skimmers, Deltec Skimmers, SeaClone Skimmers, Turboflotor Skimmer, Hang-On Models, Skimmers for Eclipse Systems, Skimmers for Small Systems, Best Skimmer Op./Maint. FAQs, Skimmer Maintenance, Algae Control

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

A "down-draft" skimmer install.

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Sump and Beast Skimmer <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob prepares himself for mentally for his trip to set the world free dive record in Australia... naked> Hi, I need your help again.  The beast skimmer I have is powered by a 1060 pump which is fed by a compartment just to house skimmer.  The skimmer outputs through the trickle tower, at the end of the sump is another 1060 which will run too fast and run sump dry so how am I best at slowing this down or getting this balanced. <I'm sorry but I don't follow the path of flow... perhaps this will help. The skimmer will work best and easiest if it has its pump run on a dedicated loop within the skimmer box. This skimmer box is to be fed overflowing water (gravity flow) that comes from the display that is fed by the sump pump (in this case another 1060). If your overflow holes are sufficient above and this loop is not tapped. The water should be able to travel easily from the sump to the display then overflowing down to the skimmer box, then overflowing to the trickle filter and then back to the sump. If you feel that you must have a fluidized bed as well (this sounds like gross overkill in my opinion unless you have an enormous fish load on the tank... else, you are just asking for high nitrates) then put the sand filter on another loop with another dedicated pump (like the skimmer) or possibly tee off of the sump pump on the outflow and return through the bed back to the sump.> Also I've got a fluidized bed which I was going to run from the skimmer chamber into trickle tower will this help balance it and is it good to use fluidized bed before trickle tower. < A very high demand for oxygen with these sand filters...are you sure that you need it? kindly, Anthony>

Protein Skimmer Hello!! <Anthony Calfo in your service> I am in the market of the best protein skimmers for my needs. I have narrowed the search down to two skimmers and would like some persuasion as to which would have the upper hand. The two skimmers are the EUROREEF CS6-1 and the AquaC EV120. As you would have more experience with the two products is there one you would recommend more? I appreciate your help! Jeremy Bailey <both excellent skimmers, my friend. My purely biased opinion is for the Euroreef skimmers. One of the very best with regard for ease of maintenance and consistent skimmate production. Anthony>

Protein Skimmers <<JasonC here filling in for Bob while he heads out diving.>> I have a 280 FOWLR tank (72x30x30) that consist of a 9" Goldentail eel about as thick as a pencil), 8" Vlamingi Tang, 6" Red Coris Wrasse, 5"Twinspot Coris Wrasse, and a 5" Pink Tail Trigger. I currently have a Turbo-flotor 1000 running in the sump and another one that has just arrived that I was going to place right beside it.  Seems to me I have made the wrong purchase however).  <<why is that?>>  I was wondering if I should even hook this one up or send it back and get a Euro-Reef CS8-2 protein skimmer.  <<a very nice, albeit pricey skimmer>>  If I decided to keep the Turbo-flotor 1000 I was going to construct a 30 gallon refugium. If I decided to send the turbo-flotor back I was going to buy the CS8-2 and wait on the refugium. Which solution would be best to maintain the highest water quality with the occupants that I have.  <<well, it seems to me that you've got two separate questions there, mixed into one. First, the skimmer - you've confused me: you have one AquaMedic Turboflotor 1000, and now you have a second. Given that a single Turboflotor 1000 is rated for 120-250 gallons, the fact that you have two should be a good skimmer arrangement. Did you want me to commit and say a single Euro-Reef would be better than the two Turboflotors? I'm not sure it's a safe bet for me to take - seems that either choice would be a good one. As for the refugium, regardless of your skimmer choice, a refugium will enhance your reef system, but not necessarily create "cleaner" water. A refugium will help with natural nitrate reduction, etc, but can also create a lot of mulm and silt so...>> Also my LFS has a 8" Yellow Moon Wrasse that they have had for about 2 weeks now (nice big fat thick guy). He comes out to eat when they place food in the tank but most of the time he just kind of hangs around the floor of the tank under a rock. I don't know if he is kind of stressed out a little because they do not have enough gravel in the tank for him to bury himself or if he is one of those guys that do not bury themselves. Would he be an okay addition to my tank?  <<Might be, although you already have a good number of wrasses in there - could create competition for similar food groups with the low man on the totem pole losing out. Do check the following WWM link for more info on wrasses and their habits: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wrasses.htm >> I been trying to find out if anyone has used the Sedra pumps with the impeller used on the Euro-Reef skimmers to work on any other skimmers on the market to see what results they had but had no luck. I was thinking about giving this a try to see what happens. couldn't hurt could it? <<wouldn't hurt, Sedra is an imported pump and as such, you'd probably have a hard time getting any data on it from anyone other than a Euro-Reef skimmer-owner. Cheers, J -- >>

Protein Skimmers What would be the best type of protein skimmer: "Counter Current or Venturi"?  I'm thinking of getting a SeaClone Protein Skimmer. What are your thoughts on this model of skimmer? <Actually this designation (counter current, venturi) has little to do with the "efficiency" or practical functionality of a given make/model... the SeaClone is a puny unit, only advised for very small systems (a few tens of gallons). Please read through the "Skimmer FAQs" section on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com under "Selecting Skimmers" for better types. Bob Fenner>

Lights, camera, action or rather lights protein skimmer action ... Hi Bob, Again - thank - you for your advice .. I am learning more everyday .. but still have questions. ..  <Then you are learning my friend, and becoming yourself.> which I think is still a good thing. One should never think one knows enough to not have the need to ask questions. Anyway, to recap - I have a 30 gallon eclipse 3, glass tank, about 20 lbs of live rock ( hope to get more ) .. would like eventually (when I research more) some polyps and maybe anemone. But at present, just have the rock, a slight algae problem, 3 snail and only one fish (due to the demise of two firefish ) a prawn goby. One of my lights broke and I went to a closer fish store than the original one - the man showed me a custom sea life SmartLite 55 watt retro fit kit for the eclipse .. power compact with smart lamp (10,000k premium daylight & ultra actinic?, sound right?)  Have you any opinions on whether this is a good product ? <Yes, a very good product, the whole line... they are re-fit and sold/distributed by an acquaintance here in San Diego (Dennis at Custom Sea Life)> I have  searched the WetWebMedia archives and could not find much reference to  this. <I am wont to direct business to friends...> I am also looking at retro fitting a protein skimmer when I find out how (again searching the web pages .. ) I have found a method outlined using a bak-pac2 http://www.cprusa.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000298.html What are your thoughts on this product? or do you think just replacing the whole lid would be a better way to go ? <Another very good choice for this system/application... and again friends/associates of mine in Arcata (CPR)> Again, mucho gracias, Jane <Por nada, senorita. My efforts are nothing> Protein Skimmer for Eclipse3 System I need any recommendations you might have in finding a good protein skimmer to add to my Eclipse3 System by Marineland. (37g with integrated mechanical/chemical filter and BioWheel setup.) <As far as I know, there really is no easy way to add a protein skimmer to an eclipse system. There are people who have modified their hoods to fit a Bak-Pak skimmer, but I would think that this would require eliminating the built-in filtration of the eclipse. If you are going to do this, you might as well use a different canopy that allows for lights that are better suited for saltwater tanks (i.e. VHO or PowerCompact).  If you would like some ideas on the modification please let me know.  Tom Mitchell  General manager  CPR Aquatic, INC  CPR@cprusa.com  **************************************** Hi, I also have an eclipse3 hood. I was able to add a Bak Pak2 skimmer to it by making 2 small cuts to the hood...there is just enough space to fit the eclipse powerhead between the intake and return of the skimmer using part of the opening that is already there. Its a close fit, but now it works and looks great. I also added power compact lighting to the hoods, they are available from pet warehouse. Item# 518542 for 56.95. Hope this helps. BTW, The return goes underneath the filtration part of your eclipse hood. This mod does not effect the operation of the hood. Unless the hood slides down around the outside of the tank instead of sitting on top. Jane Gotts .

Skimmer selection  Hi Bob,  I'm needing some help from you about skimmers. Is there a brand or style  of skimmer out there that is more efficient than other systems? Do I go  with a venturi, air powered, or impeller type of skimming? Which is the  choice brand to go with?  <There is a large difference in efficiency of different brands, models and modes of skimmers but not by the variables you list...> All the books & reading I've been doing lately on maintaining water quality  for a reef system, it seems the skimmer is A-number 1 in keeping a reef  system healthy. I would like to make my skimmer choice wisely!!!  All the brands & styles to choose from is a little confusing to me, could  you narrow my choices down to a few systems to go with for my 55 gallon  D.A.S. retro-fit.  Thanks, Lee Harris  <Please read through the sections on "Physical Filtration", "Skimmer FAQs", "Skimmer Selection FAQs" posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com for specifics and general background here... you will find links to the better lines on the site as well. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer Choices/Models for a 100 Gallon Reef Do you have any opinions between these two protein skimmers: -Turboflotor T1000 (venturi) -AquaC Urchin Pro (induction) for a 100g reef? <Both are fine products for the job...> The Urchin is rated at 75+ gallons but this new design seems a bit more efficient since it uses the Rio1400 compared to T1000's Rio2100. However, T1000 seems to react a bit quicker. I'm not sure how to weigh the advantages and disadvantages between the two... I was hoping you had some insight which will steer me one way or another. Thanks in advance for your time. Jack <The Turboflotor will/would remove more "gunk", more quickly than the Urchin... but very few systems call for the small differences here in "efficiency"... Bob Fenner>

Protein skimmers Mr. Fenner, I am looking for an under the cabinet protein skimmer for a 75 gallon tank which will house many corals and anemones. Do you have any suggestions?  Thank you. <My opinions on various makes, models are posted under the "Physical Marine Filtration" parts of the site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: Question about Skimmer and RO system Everyone says the Turboflotor is a good skimmer but I want to do a little better than good. When you say do I need this on the Euro do you think its too much? Is it possible to overskim? <Yes, exactly... there is a possibility to overskim...>> And if you have to chose, as the best removal from water which unit would it be? <The "best possible" is more a function of your diligence in use than the small variation in the quality of water these units can/will produce. Bob Fenner> Please explain what you mean by this. <<Gladly. The small difference in ultimate (delivered) quality of product (freshwater) produced by any of these manufacturers "water purifiers" is negligible COMPARED with the diligence of the user (you, the aquarist) utilizing such tools... They all produce very clean water... the person using that water is a far greater factor in their regularly implementing water changes, make-up... Does "throwing away" the by-pass RO. water bug you? Look to the Kold-Steril unit... do you perceive a need to make more volume/faster? Look to the bigger RO. units... Perhaps with a float switch mechanism, nice storage tanks (one for new water, the other for pre-mixed synthetic...)>> Also, I seem to be having a problem with my water temp. In my canopy I have 4x96w PC Retro from CSL. And I installed a fan through the hole on the side of the tank. It is helping a lot, but the temp still stays at 81-82 degrees. What are some options to help keep my temp down? <Another discharge fan, and two intake ones (on the side...) this will do it> I have pieces of acrylic between the lights and the water. The lights sit 2 inches over the acrylic and the water, 1 inch from that. My LFS told me a chiller but they're expensive. Are there any other options as when summer comes this could be fatal to my critters and corals. <<Many. Please see the heat/chilling sections/FAQs about this on the... www.WetWebMedia.com site>> Thanks, John <Keep studying my friend. Bob Fenner>

Question about Skimmer and RO system I have a 125 gallon reef tank and I need to upgrade my protein skimmer from a SeaClone to something bigger. <I agree> The 3 skimmers I am looking at are as follows: EuroReef GX2 Berlin Turbo Turboflotor T1000 <All very good products. The Euro is the zenith here in the way of efficiency, removal per pass, time... but do you need this? The Turboflotor second... and adequate for most any system of this size, mix of livestock...> Could you list the skimmers for me from best to worse and tell me which one you would suggest me using on my tank? Also I have a question about RO systems. Which name brand would be the best? <Any, really... please read over my comments on this issue posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com... under the Marine Index... I buy/use the cheapy units from warehouse stores... they are 99.9% as good/useful as anything (most of the units sold in the trade ARE these, just with "fishy" labels on them...). The principal exception (there are others) are the PolyBioMarine products like "Kold Steril"... great as usual from this co.> Aqua FX Kent Marine Spectra Pure <Look into the PBM product... These others are fine as well...> Money is no problem just want the BEST POSSIBLE for my tank. Thanks, John <The "best possible" is more a function of your diligence in use than the small variation in the quality of water these units can/will produce. Bob Fenner>

Berlin XL Hello Bob; I came across your site doing a search on skimmers. <Ah good> I just set up a 175 gallon bow front marine fish only system with a 300 wet/dry sump, my question is the skimmer I set up. I am using a Berlin XL run by a Supreme Mag-Drive 700. Berlin specs recommended the Eheim 1060 however the Mag specs more than met the requirements. <Should be fine with the Mag> I want to make sure the results are sufficient, I am getting about 110 gph coming out of the returns, about 1/5 of the flow rate. I was told that was accurate but need more advise, it seems like it is not enough to me, I want to make sure I am skimming enough volume per hour for the best results for my system. <Hmm, will go a little bit out on a limb here... the flow/pressure specifications for most hobby gear are best regarded as general guidelines... considering plumbing arrangements, restrictions on the pumps intakes, induced drag... most arrangements for skimmers could use a bit over sizing on both the pressure and volume... But all this is or can be academic... I will state that as long as you're getting "something" in the way of "gunk" out of this unit with the current pump, flow/level through the skimmer you're likely fine...> Thank you for your time, I look forward to your reply.  Sincerely, Mark Little <If the Mag goes out though... I would replace it with an Eheim... Bob Fenner>

Upgrade Skimmer? Lately I have been searching for a more effective skimmer than my regular Red Sea Berlin, using an Iwaki that does about 500 gph. I don't have a huge of a budget (around $300). I have a 55 gal tank, Berlin reef style (so I need powerful skimming). I have about 15" of fish total and I was wondering what your favorite skimmer of these three is: Aqua-medic Turbo floater, Top Fathom, or that new Evolution Downdraft skimmers. Oh, and just out of curiosity, what is your favorite skimmer overall? Regardless of size, price, style, etc...Thanks! <Thank you for writing... and If I had to choose, I would take the Turboflotor, but not so fast.... I would not actually switch from what you currently have... What's wrong with the Berlin Style (is this a Red Sea product?)... it should be fine for a fifty five with fifteen inches of fish life in it... Maybe you just don't have much to remove... Maybe it needs to be cleaned (to remove organics... under the freshwater... with a brush, paper towels...). Do have a fellow aquarist come over and check your skimmer and set-up with you... I'd spend the money on more, better live rock, maybe lighting, books... instead. Bob, the pauper Fishman>

First Time Salt Water I've had a freshwater aquarium for 12 years. I just ordered a 75g Oceanic Systems non reef ready tank with stand and canopy. I'm now venturing into saltwater. I plan on 2-3" sand bed and live rock...small fish such as clowns, pigmy angels etc......maybe about 10 fish in all, no corals now but maybe a polyp or anemone once I get the hang of this. <Good apparent attitude> I've been reading and researching for about 4-5 months now...accidentally came across this website but I've heard of you through a message board I go to periodically so I know of your book, it's mentioned a lot on the message boards. I was going to use an AquaClear 500 for chemical filtration i.e. Chemipure, Purigen etc. My concern is for a skimmer. I saw some talking in your q&a about an HOT 1. Who makes that skimmer?  <Will have to peruse the hobby magazines, FAMA/Freshwater and Marie Aquarium best... for their extensive ads... don't recall off-hand... Sure the listserv folks have much more valid, first hand experience with this product> I've been leaning toward the Remora Pro. Even though I have a canopy, it shouldn't stick out at the top that far.  <Agreed... likely your canopy can be easily modified to accommodate the space to fit this hang on the tank unit> Is the Remora Pro a good choice? What might you recommend based on the setup I plan on doing? Thanks, Don <This is a good choice for the size, type system you describe... Others might press you for putting on a sump, situating the skimmer there... but both locations would/will work. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer choice Hi Bob, I have been searching all over the internet for information on wet/dry and protein skimmer set up. I stumbled across your website and found the information very informative.  <Sounds reasonable> I would like your advice on skimmer and pump selection for my 55gal saltwater tank with an overflow pre-filter. The wet dry I have running has a sump area or 6" (width), 8", 6" (height)--(is this too small?)  <No, should accommodate adequate flow...> I would like to purchase a protein skimmer and new pumps for both the skimmer and the return to the tank. I fairly new to this hobby and am unsure how exactly this all works together and what items I need to make my system run smoothly. Cost is not so much the issue-ease of use and efficiency is most important. Can you help me out? Thanks, Carrie <Hmm, depends on the make/model and application of the given skimmer... they're designed/engineered for a given range of flow/pressure... I'm a big fan of Eheim's pumps for several (given on the WWM site) reasons, and their (as manufacturer) link and a few e-tailers (as sources to end-users) links are posted on the WWM links pages... Do read through the manufacturer's materials on your skimmer... or if buying a new one, equivalent flow rate, pressure for their pumps (likely Rio/TAAM, whose link is also...) and the Eheim product. For my money, most types of set-ups, organism mixes... for a fifty five... maybe a Aqua-C or CPR product (see the links, where?...) Bob Fenner>

Protein skimmer question Have you ever heard of a company called Proline aquatics? I found a venturi, 3 ft, made by Proline aquatics, selling for 125.00. Is this a good a skimmer/price? <Yes, a good price for an okay skimmer. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer and filter  Thanks for the reply on the ozone questions I had. To refresh you, I am going to be setting up a 55ga with fish and inverts. (No corals) I am going to buy everything all at once (not livestock of course) and want to get the best filtration system I possibly can. I do move every two or three years or so my tank can not be chock full of live rock and a ton of decor. I also do not want to have a plenum in tank or sump either. Easy and mobile is key. I moved my 75ga reef once. WOW!!! That was a massive chore and a mess. NEVER AGAIN. I'll wait till I have a house of my own before doing that again. Sorry, I digressed a bit.  <No worries, I understand... two-three years is still a good long time...> I have come down to two sump skimmers that seem (I think) to be the best choice. The Red Sea Turbo Skimmer and the Turboflotor 1000. In your opinion which of these two are the better scum sucker?  <Both are excellent products IMO... well engineered/designed, constructed... I favor the Turboflotor...> Are there any other units that will clean the water better? How about the SeaClone? (just kidding!)  <Not really, and you almost raised my blood pressure there....> I want squeaky clean water and will buy any filter (within reason) it takes to aid me in my quest. Any help here too would be enormously appreciated!  I have kept fish most of my life and am in total agreement with you about partial water changes and not overfeeding. Buffers, additives,  do-this-ers, do-that-ers in a bottle are usually pure s#!t and are designed to do nothing more than rip people off. I have always believed that you need an excellent filtration system, do not over feed and make frequent "proper" partial water changes. It has always worked for me.  I used to have hang on filters and skimmers. I want to use a sump now and for me, I am in uncharted waters and am over my head.  I need the best sump filter and the best skimmer I can get for this fish and invert system. I have only one shot at this and I want to make it good. Brad Zimmerman  <Thank you for your frank testimonial. Do read over the archived FAQ's on this gear on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com ... A sump is a sump... and many makes will do... I like the simple gear of CPR (link on WWM) as reasonable in cost and operability... but there are many other "chemically inert boxes" and gear for getting the water into/out of them that will do... more important (to me...) is the size (maximized) and accessibility for where the unit will be located... Bob Fenner>

Protein Skimmers Good morning Bob. Thanks again for your input from last time about my 2 Yellow Tailed Damsels. I am here at work, and I am trying to do some research on Protein Skimmers. I have a 65G tank, with a UGF powered by 2 Rio 600 powerheads used in Reverse Flow, and an Emperor 280. My next addition is of course a Protein Skimmer. I was wondering what to look for in a Skimmer, and if at all possible; a recommendation of which brands you like best and why. I am trying to get a good skimmer at a decent price. I plan to have:  3 Yellow Tailed Damsels  1 Maroon Clown  2 Cleaner Shrimp or 1 Long-Nose Hawk  1 Pygmy Midnight Black Angel  1 Yellow Tang.  <Please read over the Skimmer sections and accompanying FAQs stored on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com. These concerns are covered there> Are Cleaner Shrimp real beneficial. I know if I go with the shrimp, I cannot get the hawk, because it might eat them. I am still debating over them. How hardy are the shrimp, and are they easy to maintain. Well Bob, I appreciate you response, and hope your Holidays are as good as my will be.  <Yes, yes, and IMO yes, given a stable environment. And the same wish to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Integrating Euroreef G2 Protein Skimmer Into My Undergravel Filter Dear Mr. Fenner, You have a great site, and I've been learning a lot from it. I was hoping you might be able to provide some advice. I have a 55-gallon that I'm in the process of upgrading. It has an undergravel filter system that I built seven years ago (the tank has not been used since I lived in Okinawa four years ago).  <Hope you did a bunch of diving while there> In building the undergravel filter, I took a piece of Plexiglas the size of the bottom of the tank and drilled literally thousands of holes in it. Under the Plexiglas is a pipe system with an outlet in the middle. I drilled a large hole (big enough for a pvc elbow to connect to the pipe system) in the middle of the Plexiglas. I then ran a piece of pvc from the center to the corner of the tank, where it's connect to another elbow and a hose, which leads to a marine pump mounted to the side of the tank. I then took a bucket and drilled holes in the bottom of it the same size as the holes in the Plexiglas plate and started sifting sand. Anything that was too big to sift through the bucket was too big to go through the holes in the Plexiglas. The pump pulls water (17/20 liters per minute) and detritus down through the sand and Plexiglas, into the pipe system, up to the pump, and then up into a filter box, where it drains back into the tank. I drilled holes in the closed pipe system under the Plexiglas -- more holes the further away from the center where the suction is the strongest -- to try to create a more even pull throughout the entire bottom of the tank. As I mentioned, I'm in the process of upgrading. I was glad to read that you are an undergravel filter advocate (I spent a lot of time building mine and I would have a hard time scrapping it). You're also a big advocate of protein skimmers and specifically mentioned the Euroreef G2 as being a good model. After doing a little more reading I ordered one. It arrived (I'm living in Amman, Jordan) and includes a Sedra powerhead with max flow of 1500 liters per hour. <There's really nada wrong with undergravel filters... where applied and maintained properly. The G2 is a great product... much more of a real skimmer than your size system really needs... Hope you are still diving in the Red Sea now...> My next step is to build a sump for the Euroreef G2. Can I incorporate my current undergravel filter system into this?  <You could... with a constant level device for removing water from the main system... take a look at the images on www.cprusa.com for some idea of what these are> In other words, will the protein skimmer be effective if the water being pumped into the sump is coming from the bottom of the tank -- under the gravel/sand?  <Yes, really doesn't matter where the water comes from> If so, do I have to find a return pump with the exact same rating (17/20 liters per minute)?  <Don't get involved with float switches, magical balancing acts here... Believe in gravity... and the propensity for things to go wrong... and just use a box as stated above> Are there any that you could recommend? Or, am I better off supplying (surface) water to the sump via an overflow box? <Bingo, the latter> If so, what capacity would you recommend, and what return pump would you recommend?  <At least one box, maybe even two... of capable flow... And the recirculating pump? A few volumes per hour... even some power heads will do this... but if it were me, and to discount the evils of waste heat accumulation, I'd spend the money and get some submersible Eheim pumps... the best for this application... quiet, dependable, not hot.> Many thanks in advance and regards -- Brian MacDonald <Be chatting my friend... and maybe dropping by! Get out to the Red Sea about once a year... Bob Fenner>

More skimmer Sorry, I forgot to ask. What is your opinion of the DAS BX-1 and the Turboflotor T-1000? Dave <Both well designed, engineered and built products... the first is a tad expensive, especially with the Eheim pumps... but is a great skimmer for larger (a few hundred gallon) systems... And the Turboflotor by AB, distributed by Red Sea in the US... another very good product, hang-on or in-sump model. Bob Fenner>

Yet Another Skimmer Question Hi Bob: I hate to ask you yet another protein skimmer question but I know you won't mind since I don't believe this one has been covered. I have heard lots of good things about Tunze protein skimmers. The people who own them swear by them and Tunze states that these skimmers cause the lowest losses of plankton. In your opinion would this skimmer be a good idea for a 55 gallon tank stocked with 120 lbs of live rock, lots and lots of coral (soft and hard) and maybe a couple of fish? I also plan to use a crushed coral substrate and a Knop calcium reactor. I'm thinking of setting up a refugium with macro-algae in order to control the nitrate and phosphate levels as well. I know you don't like the ETSS but compared to the Tunze it makes the Tunze look wimpy. I know that neither size nor the gizmo factor should be considered when selecting a good product, but it does seem like the ETSS is doing more. <Hmm, much to state here. First off, the Tunze line is not infinitely better designed, engineered and manufactured than the ETSS, but it's close... They do have great skimmers, but I would not "go with" either one of these manufacturers products for a fifty five myself... the one is too efficient IMO (Tunze) and the other an energy hog-inefficient, unnecessary device for such a size system. ETSS skimmers as downdraft technology do have their place... for very large systems (hundreds to thousands of gallons) Almost any decent skimmer, even a hang-on will do fine with your using an algae/sump-refugium in the 55.> Also, what kind of substrate do you recommend that one should use in a calcium reactor? I believed that aragonite was the best but now manufacturers of other media are saying that aragonite contains phosphates and nitrates whereas their media contains lower or extremely small amounts in comparison. <We use either the Home Depot "Florida" play box sand (mainly carbonaceous) or whatever's on sale at the LA wholesalers... mainly CaribSea products... and change it out when about half is melted down, or it's obvious to us that the rate of dissolution has slowed significantly... yes, not very scientific... but it works> Thanks in advance, Bob. Aldo :-) <Be chatting my friend, Bob Fenner>

Skimmer City Hi Bob, It's nice to read your helpful answers to others on the site. You are a huge help to us lost in search of "real world" answers. <Glad to toss in my dos centavos>  I am looking for a new skimmer to replace my Seaclone (aka Sea"clown") on my 29 gallon reef with about 20+ lbs of rock. I am planning to replace my eclipse 3 hood with a 175w 10K MH hood I am building myself with a retro kit from Champion lighting. I have been looking (and looking) at different HOT style skimmers with everyone giving me different opinions on each. Here is what I have found so far: CPR heard it is NOT very productive and lots of bubbles in tank. Knop, heard it is better, but very cheaply made and lots of bubbles. HOT-1 This is the one I am considering, they seem to be improved and very good Remora Have not seen this one, keep reading it is good though. What are your thoughts for a productive skimmer that doesn't have to be adjusted all the time and is a little more quiet than the Seaclone. Are there other good choices for a hang on model besides the ones listed above? I like the feature of a collection cup drain that the HOT-1 has. I am confused and I just want to buy one that works better than my Seaclone, (which doesn't work half the time). <Hmm, well all the above are better than what you have.... I would go with them in the following order of preference: Hot1, CPR, Remora, Knop... for value, functionality...> Also, if you can, let me know your thoughts on a 10,000K 175w MH for my 29 gallon tank. Is that the right Kelvin rating or do I need 12K or supplemental actinic? Is this too much light for my tank with some rock, mushrooms and anemones? I would like to keep some of the SPS or LPS corals, some xenia and star polyps and maybe even a blue clam. What would you suggest for lighting this tank? <Too much waste heat and the problems going along with it for my tastes... Look into a compact fluorescent retrofit kit...> Lastly, I have been using Seachem Reef builder and Reef Buffer, and have been looking into the C-balance product. Any thoughts as to the benefits of this product? <Hmm, well, these all will/can do... the C-balance is a bit easier to use/regulate...> Thanks for any help or recommendations you can give :) I know I have asked a lot of questions. Bob Swisher <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Skimmers!  Mr. Fenner, I was the person how just asked you if I should buy a Red Sea Berlin or Top Fathom the other day! I just want to say thanks for the advice because you saved me a lot of money. But, I have 2 more small questions. The first is what indicates the temp. on a LCD thermometer outside the tank? Brown, green, or blue? <Hmm, a trick question? The average kinetic energy... Oh, do you mean the color in relation to relative temp.? Don't know... on your device, which is "higher" or "more to the right"? This indicates upper levels...> The other one starts like this: yesterday I was trying to solve the problem of my tank's water being a few degrees high. I finally came up with a totally ingenious idea! Because a protein skimmer incorporates massive amounts of air into the water in the skimmer, I thought," why not chill the air in the skimmer rather than buy a big expensive chiller!" You see, I have a refrigerator almost directly below my tank in the basement. My plan is to run the air tube the venturi uses down so it sucks cold almost 40 degree air to the skimmer! Of course, I would insulate the tube until it got to the skimmer, and it probably wouldn't be so cold it would make the heater over work. I would just like to know your opinion and any other ideas you might have.  <Gosh, sounds like a worthwhile idea/experiment... hopefully no "odor" problems...Bob Fenner>

Skimmer, plus input I'm currently upgrading my 125 fish only tank with 150 lbs. of live rock to an 180 gal. My question has to do with my filtration system. Right now I have a nuclear canister filter, Turboflotor 1000,25 watt U.V and a MAK 4 pump for circulation. I just purchased an Lifegard FB600 since the tank is going to be heavily stocked and full of messy feeders. Now would it be better if I add another Turboflotor 1000 or break down and get the ETS 750?  <For me? I'd either upgrade to a larger needle wheel type (like a Euro-Reef or knock off of same), or add another Turboflotor...> Am I putting to much of a strain on my MAK 4 pump by using the canister filter if so what kind of mechanical filtration would you recommend)?  <Probably not... but you can easily divert some of the flow, pressure to another discharge... even back to a/the sump> My goal is to have an 180 FOWL tank with good water quality and the need for minimal glass cleaning and disturbance of the aquarium fish except for routine maintenance. Please be honest and give me some suggestions here. I fully understand that it takes more than just water with fish in it to call it an aquarium.  <Agreed... and/but need more input to be more specific... types of fishes, distance of gear from system... configuration of same... look into a Dolphin pump IMO.... for all pumping purposes. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer won't skim Dear Bob,  My 75gallon has a canister filter and a sump with a CPR in sump skimmer. It hasn't been skimming.  I also had this problem with a sanders ah400 skimmer is their any reason why a skimmer won't skim? Water chemistry is good this is a fish only tank all fish appear healthy. Can you give me a review on a Berlin skimmer?  <No worries on the skimmer slowdown... this happens with age, balancing in a system. And I would go ahead with the try of mixing the two Centropyge argi with all others in the 75. The Berlin skimmer as in the Red Sea Phishfarm line? It's a fine product. The Berlin method? Please see the skimmer printed materials on our site: Home Page . Bob Fenner, who is from North Kingston, R.I. and his parents from Providence >

Protein skimmer Hi Bob, I'm looking for a hang on skimmer for a 55 gal fish and live rock tank. I'm just getting started with the whole salt experience. I'm expecting my live rock to show up tomorrow night. I presently have a Fluval 304 Canister and a couple of powerheads. I want to add a protein skimmer but since I don't have a sump I need a HOT unit. I have a little less than 4 inches of clearance in the back of my tank. I'd like to go with the Turboflotor by don't know the needed clearance. I also saw the AquaC Remora which I know will fit. Do you know the clearance specs of the Turboflotor? What are your thoughts on the Remora? Should I take the hit on the Fluval and buy a wet dry? (please keep in mind that my wife is about to strangle me.) Any other ideas are certainly welcome. I appreciate your time and your work, ( I read Q+A everyday) Craig Douai <Actually, if it were my 55 I'd just go with the Remora hang on... less money to acquire, run... and sufficient for your size, type of set-up... Bob Fenner, who knows the Aqua-C/Remora co. pretty well... they're made a couple of miles from where we live, and the owner/operator Jason Kim is a friend.>

Skimmer question Hi Bob, I'm going to order my rock for delivery this Saturday. I have an old 55 gal setup for curing it. For skimming the tank, I have two Skilter filters and a Turboflotor. I'd like to use the Skilters simply because they're easy to maintain for the curing process (skimming and mechanical). The Turbo is hooked to my show tank now. This wouldn't be a major undertaking to move it to the curing tank, but if I could get away with the Skilters, it would make life easier.  Would the Skilters (2) provide enough skimming for the curing process? <Only way to tell is to try them out... if the rock's in good shape... probably so> Also, should I use carbon right from the start in the curing tank? <I wouldn't... might slow down the curing process... maybe add it if there is much of a "spike" in ammonia, nitrite> Thanks again, Tony <You're welcome again, Bob Fenner>

Natural? Your outlook on the marine aquarium hobby, if I understand you correctly, is to try and duplicate nature as close as possible .  <Hmm, not really... perhaps I would state "It is my hope that people who keep aquariums will gain an appreciation for the natural world"... but captive systems are very poor replicates of the wild... More like little sewers than slices of the ocean...> In trying to do this , in your opinion, is the Berlin method about the closest to natural process?  <Which "natural process" are you referring to? Nitrogen cycling? I do like the live rock/Berlin approach over other methodologies... but it is not "natural"... The wild is quite different... variable and changing light, tremendous dilution effects, enormously more circulated than the vast majority of aquariums, with influx of substantial plankton, sex products as foods, rarely any of the gas solubility anomalies of captive systems... Much, much more dynamic and diverse...> Do you feel that a person could effectively set up this system to work well in a 120 . If so , care to recommend a protein skimmer? Any other recommendations (besides leave you alone that is ) would be welcome. Thanks. Jim Bell <No need ever to "leave me alone"... I like our species! A Berlin system can be made to work fine in a 120, or a 1,200 or 12,000... gallon system. Depending on the livestock to be kept and your intentions with it... some minimalist skimming, even timed on/off a few hours a day, might do. For function's sake, a needle wheel type in a sump is my favorite... Like the Turboflotor, G-2, EuroReef... Bob Fenner>

Needle-wheel type Skimmers Thanks for the info. I visited the website and started looking at some of the other subjects. In one of the Q & A's for protein skimmers you stated that the best skimmers are "needle wheel types such as the Berlin, Turboflotor, EuroReef..." Was this a misprint or is the Berlin a true needle wheel type skimmer? I am looking to set up a 125 gallon tank FOWLR and would like to get a good skimmer. I was going to purchase the Berlin HO model but don't know if this product is flexible enough. Down the road I might want to get into some inverts so I would want to have a versatile skimmer to handle this type of conversion. Since I won't be using a sump, I need a hang on model and the difference between the Berlin and Turboflotor is about $100? Is the extra money really worth it? Please help. <The Berlin is unfortunately... out of context, a "brand" or "trademark" of a given maker... rather then a type... In other words, look for the "needle wheel" type of skimmer, not a particular maker. The Berlin HO is a very good product... for your 125 as it is, and will become. I'd stick with it as a hang on model. Bob Fenner>

Protein skimmers Hello Mr. Fenner, I'd first like to say thank you for your q&a section, I have found it to be an invaluable source of information. I have written to you before about my 55 gal. fish only tank. My question today is about protein skimmers. If you would give me your opinion of the best skimmer for my tank, I have had my tank set up for about a month now, still cycling, but ultimately I plan to have my tank stocked fairly lightly with about three damsels, and one or two triggers, and a tang of some sort. I was wanting your opinion on the most efficient skimmer for my tank, at the least cost, I've heard about a skimmer called a "Seaclone" is this a good skimmer? If not, please give me some advice of one that would be better.  Thanks very much, Reade Phillips <The SeaClone is, as new (it can be modified), is not a very efficient or "strong" skimmer... that is, per pass, and in comparison, it doesn't remove that much compared with other skimmer types and brands. In my opinion it is a marginal product for a system of your size UNLESS your particular set-up is one that intentionally is planned to be under-skimmed. Hear me out here: some folks have more of a "balanced" approach to marine/reef keeping, with live rock, live sand (intentional or no), and maybe a mud/algae filter or refugium too... They don't need, and often don't want too much skimming... some folks get about the same effect by utilizing a timer, or simply turning their skimmer on manually from time to time... Anyhow, thanks for letting me spout off on the subject. If it were my tank, and considering the organisms you think you might go with for now... I'd look into a CPR BakPak or Hang On Turboflotor (www.cprusa.com for the former, and www.ffexpress.com for one as the latter) Bob Fenner>

Best Skimmer for Tenecor? I have a 90 gal. Tenecor Simplicity Plus Aquarium (built in overflow and wet/dry). I have been using a countercurrent air stone skimmer but would like to use a more efficient venturi type skimmer. The problem is that I only have about  3 1/2" X 3 1/2" opening to drop a submersible skimmer through at my overflow. So far the only model I can locate that might fit is the HOT-1 by Precision Marine. Is this a good skimmer? Can you recommend any others that might fit and work well? (I only have 2 3/4" clearance behind the tank) Thank you <None that I know of that will work AND fit... no way to move that tank out a bit? All the decent HO skimmer units I know of take 4.5 to 6.5 inches... The Precision Marine unit I'm not a big fan of... and would not rely on the built in overflow and wet-dry as the only filter on this unit... Do like the folks and tanks at/from Tenecor, but not their, SeaClear... or anyone else's' similar product for the count... Do consider adding another sump, call it what you want... algae and mud filter, refugium, Bob bilge bucket... and rigging up another pump to return the water, and an in-sump skimmer there... like a Turboflotor... trust me... you can modify the existing overflow to service the moving of water (transit volume) to the lower sump... Bob Fenner, who, geez, is really starting to sound opinionated...>

Which one? Hi Bob, I'm in the final planning stage and I'm about to purchase a skimmer (not hang-on models) for my 92 gal reef tank. I would really appreciate your input. I've narrowed it down to two skimmers. It's either the Turboflotor 1000 or the AquaC EV-90. My questions are...... 1 - Is one more efficient than the other? 2 - Which one is quieter.? 3 - Are there any maintenance issue that makes one better than the other? I'm looking for the most quiet, efficient model for my money. I hate to keep bothering you, but I've found that no matter how many shops I visit, the skimmer that THEY carry is always the "Best Skimmer Available", even though they haven't even tested the equipment. I'm looking for an unbiased opinion and some hand's-on info. Thanks again and hope all is well, Tony <It is never a bother, indeed it is a privilege to share my opinions with other earnest aquarists. Though the owner/manufacturer of the Aqua-C line (Jason Kim) is a friend and makes good products for their application... the Turboflotor is a better product all the way around for your circumstances. It is more efficient, quieter... and doesn't have two real problems of "down draft skimmers"... the noise and fickleness of a large volume pump... and an adjustable "gate valve..." I could say/state a bunch more... but you've set upon about the best (the one I would make!) choice FOR YOUR APPLICATION & CRITERIA. Wow, that's hard to read. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Skimmers Hi Bob- I recently upgraded to a 125 FO and am currently looking for an  efficient skimmer to put in the sump. I am wondering what you think is more efficient for the FO mostly  Triggers tank. Would a downdraft be better than a Venturi model? There is an ETS downdraft on EBay for 109.00. I was also looking at the  Berlin skimmers. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Tom <Cheap for the ETS... but it will require a large volume flow pump of its own... and electrical to power it... do like these downdraft types better than most of the venturi models (too many of the latter are very poorly engineered and constructed... just "cause it says "venturi" doesn't make it worth a hoot). But better than these types total are the needle wheel types like the Berlin, Turboflotor, EuroReef... which is definitely what I'd get... best in the short and the long haul for big, dirty fishes...Bob Fenner>

Skimmers Bob- So should I go with the Berlin or the ETS. Sounded like I should go with the Berlin, I did not know it was a needle wheel design like the Turboflotor though. There is a Berlin on EBay with a Rio 2500 for $82.00.  Should I start to bid? Thanks Tom <I'd choose the Berlin myself... but don't know much about the bidding biz on the Net... (no, didn't make any big money on any of these start-ups...)... What do you do if some part is missing, defective? What is your time, frustration worth? The Rio's are okay, short term (most last about a year and a half)... pumps in these applications... if your old/new one goes, look into an Eheim pump replacement. Bob Fenner>

Quiet Skimmers Hi Bob, I'm just about done with figuring out how I'm going to set up my reef system. Could you recommend an in-sump venturi skimmer that is as quiet as possible. I've had a Skilter in the past on a small tank, and the venturi was so loud, I put an airstone in it instead. I'm looking to spend about $200 on a skimmer. Thanks for your help....again, Tony  <Can do. My number one choice is an Aqua-C... let's see, where's their URL? Oh, http://www.proteinskimmer.com/ And good move on the Skilter modification... Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Skimmer I now have a  Seaclone skimmer for my 50 gal salt tank. It seems to do the  job, but I was interested in your thoughts, what is a GOOD skimmer? <It's a good skimmer for small systems (under forty gallons) who don't have a need or desire for much metabolite removal. For instance, some specialized systems (with carefully chosen, acclimated, and timely placed stinging-celled life) really benefit from being not-too-skimmed water... e.g. Elegance Coral (Catalaphyllia). Bob Fenner, who likes "needle-wheel" type skimmers for the biggest, most variable systems, downdraft types for folks with lots of free water flow, and the venturi type models... with more contact time/less show thirdly.>

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

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