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FAQs about Skimmer Selection for Marine Systems 2

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, Skimmer Selection 13, Skimmer Selection 14, Skimmer Selection 15, Skimmer Selection 16, & DIY Skimmers, Skimmers for Refugiums/Sumps, 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 SkimmersSkimmers 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, and FAQs

Anthony Calfo and an RK2 skimmer at Pacific Aqua Farms in L.A., California.

Protein Skimmers Hello Bob! <Steven this morning.> I've got a quick question about skimmers. Have read your article regarding skimmers. Is there one brand that is better than the others? <There are always several brands of anything (skimmers, pumps, heaters, powerheads, etc.) that rise to the top.> Have to buy one, but am confused. Want to get the best that I can afford. Do you have any suggestions? Kat <Do look through the various skimmer FAQ files. There are differences in recommendations due to individual tanks; hang-on vs. in sump models, a 10 gallon mini-reef vs. a 500 gallon system, etc. I would place Euro-Reef, Aqua-C, Tunze, and Precision Marine in the top. -Steven Pro>

Yet Another Protein Skimmer Question Bob, I now have a new system set up: 120 Gallon FOWLR + some mushrooms. I have a protein skimmer called The Eliminator that The Fish Doctor (in Ypsilanti, MI) sells (not sure who makes it) and it's iffy whether or not it can handle this size tank with large fish (lunare wrasse, harlequin Tuskfish, a yet to be determined large angel, and possibly another large fish, along with 2 tomato clowns). So, to be safe, I decided I need to upgrade before I put all these fish in (currently only the lunare wrasse and the tomato clowns live there). I know from reading your FAQs that you really like the Aqua Medic Turboflotor T1000. Is this enough for this size tank? <Yes> I was also looking at the AquaC EV150 spray induction skimmer (which is considerably more expensive! $170 vs. $350). What is your opinion on this one? <A very good unit> Which skimmer would you recommend for this application or is there another one altogether you'd recommend? <A tough call... for the size of the system either, or maybe even the "Eliminator" might do with cured live rock, otherwise regular, careful maintenance... With larger fishes... the Turboflotor would be nice... and if you thought for sure you might end up getting a larger, more reef system, the extra investment in the Aqua C product would be warranted. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, and have a great Thanksgiving! Holly <Thank you my friend.>

Skimmer Bob, I am brand new to salt, bought a 90 gal. reef 1 month ago and so far all is well. Within a few weeks of owning the reef tank. I converted my 55 fresh to a fish only salt. My question pertains to it and is what skimmer to get for it. It's been set up for about two weeks with three damsels to cycle. I have a sea life 60 wet-dry filter, about 45-50 lbs. live rock and am leaning towards an AquaC Urchin. (measured room in sump next to mag 5 at 4x8" clearance, footprint on AquaC website for urchin 2.75 x 6"). The LFS where I bought my reef tank is willing to let me have an unused open box CPR BakPak for 80 bucks. So a Urchin for 160 or a open box BakPak for 80.  <Tough choice... both units are worthy, would do...> Also am considering a custom sea life 9 watt helix UV for this tank. Do you think it's necessary?  <Not necessary... of benefit to a small degree.> Thanks and by the way I've been addicted to your site spending 4-6 hrs. a day.  <Yikes! More than I!> It's awesome someone with your experience is willing to do this for our benefit. Many deserved thanks and praise. Kevin <Thank you for the acknowledgement. Bob Fenner>

Emperor aquatics skimmers Good evening. I am looking for opinions on Emperor aquatics Aquafoam master #1 skimmer. I have searched every forum I know of and cannot find much info on them, I am looking at getting one, or is there another similar skimmer that is better With my 65 gallon setup I have no room in the cabinet do to my sump/refugium taking all the space and there is no room for an in sump skimmer, so I have to have the skimmer along side the stand and I want to have it hard plumbed so it would be nice to have the in and out on the same side like the Emperor skimmer. Thank you very much, Trevor <Do know of the company, and their products. Due to artifacts of distribution, cost issues in the trade, their skimmers don't receive much sales/use... My general suggestions re skimmers, selection can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/moreskimselfaqs.htm and related, linked files... Don't have any direct experience with the Emperor line of skimmers, but have seen them about used on larger systems. I would check with hobby bulletin boards, chatforums with actual users for more input here. Ours: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ Bob Fenner>

Skimmer and light choices Bob, I am setting up a 100 gal reef tank (60X19X18) and need some advice. I will be putting 90lbs of live rock in the tank along with live sand. I plan to put some soft corals, maybe some Acropora and a few fish (small reef fish, Naso). At least three strong powerheads for water movement. Lighting will be VHO powered by Ice Cap 660 ballast. I will have three 5' lamps at 140 watts each for a total of 420 watts. Two questions. In your opinion, will a Berlin HO skimmer with Rio 2100 be adequate for this setup?  <Probably so... you might want to look into (via the chatrooms, bulletin boards) re other types of pumps, perhaps a larger Rio series> I had considered the Remora Pro but wasn't sure it would be as efficient. <This is a better choice> Also, I have been able to find three brands of VHO lamps (URI, Coralife, Reeflite) in 5' lengths. Do you favor any brand and what combination?  <The URI are superior here. One an actinic 003 class> I will only have three (an odd number) so I'm not sure of the best combination. Thanks in advance for your help. Tony <Much to do, learn, enjoy. Bob Fenner>

Nano-reef skimmers Hello Mr. Fenner, Seeing as you know all about skimmers  <Mmm, I wouldn't say "all about"...> I thought I'd ask you a burning question of mine. I am setting up a 10 gallon nano-reef (livestock is cheap, I live in Hawaii next to a beach). Originally it wasn't going to have a skimmer because I wanted lots of copepods and amphipods, but it seems like one is needed. So which is the best skimmer to use? I'm deciding between a Prizm, a BakPak I (fits on ten-gal), a BakPak II (doesn't fit on 10-gal), or the miniature in-tank CC. What skimmer of these, or any, do you recommend? <The Prizm... have seen this unit on ten gallon systems that have a surprising mix of organisms, crowded... doing very well... a bit noisy and tricky to initially adjust... but the better choice here. Bob Fenner>

Protein skimmers? Hi Mr. Fenner, Today, I ask of you one thing. Please give me your opinion on these two particular models. The first is the Red Sea Berlin XL model skimmer, and the second is the Pro-6500 Air stone powered model with the optional waste collector by MTC. I've heard both are good skimmers, and the fact that they are different in the way they work, is what is making it hard to decide which one to get.  <Get the Red Sea unit... much easier to maintain> I want to buy one for my tank, (100G, with a 50G sump, and 30G refugium with Caulerpa, and miracle mud as the filter system). Presently only LR and reef safe fish, (will be slowly changing over to reef tank, which is why I recently changed my filter system to the mud, and macro algae). The MTC brand is 3 times the cost, but is a much better quality in terms of material, and construction, although it is an older technology being air stones. I am told by everybody I ask that the MTC is still the way to go. Is the price difference really worth it, or am I just hearing a sales pitch to buy something more expensive? <I am surprised that folks are encouraging the use of an air-stone driven foam fractionator for such a size, type system...> Keep in mind that I want to buy a skimmer only once, and I am willing to pay the price for quality if it means actual better results from it's use, but to a point. I also live in Canada where you are well aware there is a big exchange rate on the dollar, which means a skimmer is a very expensive investment, and I cannot afford a venturi type from MTC. <The term "venturi" means nothing in terms of functionality... there are absolutely junk venturi skimmers.> Please give me your unbiased opinion, or comments on the two models, as your answer will help me weigh the pros, and cons of each to decide. I've already read the manufacturers sites for each, and your site about skimmers, and although your site is very informative about these devices, there is no comparison of actual models. <I would get the Berlin model, hands down. You don't want to be replacing airstones, fooling with adjusting the other unit. Bob Fenner> I anxiously await your response. Greg N.

Aqua-C Urchin Pro This may be an odd way to ask a question about skimmers, but... I've already done my homework and the Urchin Pro with the Mag3 pump upgrade is on it's way - Jason Kim is just a great guy for helping out and providing info BTW - so what I want to know is this: 1.) I've run a soft-coral reef since 1996 - 50G with 65 # LR, no DSB or substrate at all, 3 small fish, corner overflow into 20 G sump. It is currently skimmed via a DIY 3' tall air-stone CC skimmer, which although not bad for a first skimmer, well, it is a first skimmer - need I say more. Should I overlap the old skimmer until the new skimmer "kicks it's butt" or should I yank it 1st & just go solo with the Urchin Pro, in spite of the break-in time for a new skimmer that many report? <Mmm, as the tank has been up, going for so long, there is likely little advantage in overlapping these skimmers operation... but no harm either... I'd run them both for a week or so> and 2.) Anybody out there running the Urchin Pro with the Mag 3 pump upgrade (or Bob) got any feedback/comments? I'm glad to see Jason is offering an alternative to the "RIO" so-called pump. (can you tell what I think of Rio's ?) <The Mag 3 is a great alternate pump. Though Rios get quite a bad rap in the trade, some of it is deserved. Too many percentage-wise of them go "bad"... not worth the few dollars saved. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Bob. Geoff in Red Deer, Canada

In need of skimmer. Sorry for all the emails today, and thank you for your quick replies. Can you point me in the direction for what kind of skimmer I need, this will be place in my surface skim box, I believe? Thank you, Lori <Ah, well... I'd use a hang-on type. Either an Aqua-C or Aqua Medic (Turboflotor) product. Please see our site re Skimmer Selection, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> Equipment 72 gallon bow with overflow, (beautiful) Visi Therm 250W heater Lifeguard Quiet One pump 1140 GPH-full flow, set on about 3/4 2-automatic self rotating power heads, (power sweep 228) Compact aquarium fluorescent reflector, (not sure on the bulbs, looked this am and said 700 on bulbs looks like they are bent in half) Nice lighting but would like more of a purple color in my aquarium. Aqua Clear Aquatics prefilter w/bio balls, & surface skim box. (hope this makes sense to you) 90lbs. live rock live sand crushed coral

In need of a skimmer! Hello Mr. Fenner; I am new to the hobby and loving it! My aquarium has been up and running since June 22, 2001. LFS suggested waiting to get a skimmer, I believe I need one now, especially after reading your daily Faq's, very helpful. Thank you for all the time and consideration you put into this hobby. I thought I was a busy person with family, job and all but WOW I am impressed! The following is my setup, any advise you could give would be very much appreciated. Equipment 72 gallon bow with overflow, (beautiful) Visi Therm 250W heater Lifeguard Quiet Once pump 1140 GPH-full flow, set on about 3/4 2-automatic self rotating power heads, (power sweep 228) Compact aquarium fluorescent reflector, (not sure on the bulbs, looked this am and said 700 on bulbs looks like they are bent in half) Nice lighting but would like more of a purple color in my aquarium. Aqua Clear Aquatics prefilter w/bio balls, & surface skim box. (hope this makes sense to you) <Yes, good descriptions, clear> In habitants 1-foxface Rabbitfish 1-maroon clownfish/male 2-four stripe damsels 1-lawnmower blenny 1-green Chromis 1-cleaner shrimp, (never comes out of hiding) 1-long spined urchin, (very cool but rarely comes out of rocks-getting very big, afraid he will get stuck in the rocks) <This animal is very capable of extricating itself. No worries> 3-feather dusters, 2 of which I purchased and one I spotted two weeks ago in my live rock, (very cool)! I would like to get a cleanup crew, but now sure what I need eventually I want to get into corals. Thank you very much in advance. Lori <I would definitely place a skimmer on this system... The differences in your water clarity, animal vitality will be obvious. Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Is this protein skimmer ok? Bob, This is a great site! I'm really impressed with how quickly you respond. I have an Amiracle skimmer and it is a pain to keep adjusted correctly. I've heard good things about a skimmer called "The Beast Skimmer". Is this any good? I have a 100 gal fish only tank. Thanks, Gary <Better... but there are better ones still... Mentioned on the Skimmer Selection FAQs pages... starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Skimmers again Hi, its Bill Hammond again.. regarding a new skimmer... I have a 75 gallon aggressive fish only tank, with fifty pounds of live rock, 40 lbs coral sand, and 40 lbs live Fiji coral sand... my inhabitants are a Scopas tang, porcupine puffer, domino damsel, Tasmanian damsel, an orange tailed-blue damsel, a panther grouper, and a Niger trigger. <Wowzah, quite an assemblage.> regarding a decent skimmer.. my current one (a Prizm) is noisy, as you said, hard to adjust, but the thing that bugs me about it MOST is that it fills my tank with micro bubbles.. I can't even see half of it, and it's really getting to me. I want to buy a new skimmer, but do not want to spend more money until I know it won't bubble up my tank.. is there a skimmer that you think would make my tank look most clear while still being efficient? Thanks in advance, Bill Hammond <Yes, quite a few choices... Do see my comments re the Aqua C and Aqua Media lines posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm and the FAQs beyond. The manufacturers links can be found on the WWM Links Pages. Bob Fenner>

AZOO Tri-Super Skimmer Hello again Mr. Fenner. <Salutem dicit> My name is Luis Santos, I live in Portugal, and I'm contacting you again because I'm not sure if my AZOO Tri-Super Skimmer (connected to an AZOO Water-pump 1800 (1720Lt./h) and a RENA -Air pump 300) is doing the "right thing"... It's installed in this 230Lt.(65 US Gal.) fish only marine tank incept date 7th July 2001) occupied by one Amphiprion Ocellaris plus a Zebrasoma Flavescens. The thing is the collection cup is filled every 2 days with a "yellowish water" (some days darker then others). and looking closely it seems a result of a condensation process inside the cup and not from a foam forming process as (I think) it should. Am I doing something wrong here ? <This unit sounds like it needs to be adjusted, tuned... you are collecting "too-wet" a fraction. Maybe more air need to be introduced, or the level of the water in the contactor column reduced. I would try manipulating the valves to lower the water level here and kicking up the bubbliness of the water> Also tried to search your "site" and even the Web to try and find someone else that uses this kind of Skimmer but... no results... <It's very new on the market here in the United States. I have yet to actually see one. Bob Fenner> Hope you can help me here. Thank you. LS

Protein skimmer Mr. Fenner, I have a 90 gallon tank that contains 100 pd.s+ of live rock, a 5" Blue Angel, a Maroon Clown and anemone, two cleaner shrimps, 40 hermits and snails together. It has a Eheim Professional Canister with a surface extractor and a 8 watt U.V. hooked up to it and two power heads for circulation. I recently bought a Prizm Skimmer and can't seem to get it to produce much, just a little every now and then.  What is your opinion on this product?  <Mmm, there might not be much to remove... but this is a puny product, good only for small systems... not well designed, engineered... noisy, difficult to adjust. My further ranting, ratings on skimmer selection are posted on our WetWebMedia.com site>  At the moment I don't really think it very efficient, although I really don't know much about skimmers and what kind of waste they should produce. I've been considering getting a Euro-reef skimmer, would this be too efficient? <A light year jump... very good products, but do consider an "intermediate" line before deciding. Again, you are referred to WWM> Or is the Prizm Skimmer fine (suggestions please). <I wouldn't use on anything more than forty gallons, maximum> Another Question I have is do You think that my filtration is adequate? I use to have a Eheim wet dry but I took it off because I thought it might be the reason why my Nitrates have been high. I do regular water changes every two weeks although I plan to start doing weekly until the Nitrates drop. Thank you for your time. Tim <Mmm, much to state here. I would put the Eheim W/D back on... look into more filtration... perhaps a sump/refugium is in your near future. These are chatted up on our site as well. And talking re, be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

First tank-species and capacity Hi Bob - your "house" is incredible - thanks for this site. <You are welcomed to come into it> Plus the effort you make to educate both the beginner like myself and assistance for the experienced user. <An honor and pleasure my friend> I'm trying and do it right the first time and pick fish of interest first, then tank size, etc. Am looking at the following fish for FO tank. Porcupine Puffer (or Dogface) Dwarf Lionfish Picasso Trigger (or Sohal Tang) Bird Wrasse Zebra eel <Quite an assortment of potentially "medium aggressive fishes".> Am contemplating Oceanic 75 rect. (reef ready), wet/dry with either T1000 or AquaC EV90. Which skimmer will be the QUIETEST? <The AquaMedic product, Turboflotor T1000> And do you have a skimmer preference for a FO tank? (This tank will be in my bedroom). <This is a very good choice... for quiet, efficiency, workability> I wondered if an oversized wet/dry would be beneficial but suspect the sump wouldn't be that much bigger than one sized for the tank. Was thinking maybe it would give some extra breathing space in case of a mishap - even if no more fish capacity. Or is my reasoning way off here? <No, right on. But a bit more noise if can't be sequestered in a cabinet> I am concerned about the number of fish I have picked and have listed them in order of interest. Too much? <Ultimately yes... the Trigger may harass the Puffer and/or Lion, the Puffer might at least prevent the Lion from eating if not nibble on it itself... the Eel may be harassed too much as well... You'll have to keep an eye on all to make sure they're getting food, not being chewed> I know this is long winded. If you have time your opinion will be greatly appreciated. Again, thanks much for the wealth of information. It has helped me decide to take the step from freshwater to marine. <No worries. Take your time, enjoy the planning, anticipation. Bob Fenner> Thank-you

Skimmer for 50 Gallon Hi Bob. I have been using the info on your site for some time - great information IMO. I currently have a 50 gallon tank with a 10 gallon sump, set up as a FOWLR tank (for over 2 years now). Current inhabitants include 1 med red sea Sailfin, 1 large lemon peel angel, 1 med true Perc, 2 large cleaner shrimp, and a few hermits. The plan for this system is to slowly turn it into a reef, but I have not decided on specific animals for the reef yet. Some time ago my skimmer broke (Knop) and I have not yet replaced it. I am fighting many kinds of algae in the tank, including very green/brown water, and it is quite apparent that I am in dire need of a skimmer. I have researched skimmers and narrowed my choice to 2 - the Turboflotor 1000 and the EV-90. Would you recommend one over the other? Why? Thanks for your help. - Rob <Hmm, have made this close choice a few times... likely the EV-90 for this size, age system cum reef... doesn't quite remove as much of the "small life" as the Turboflotor product... Both good products. Bob Fenner>

Re: Skimmer Choice, improving WWM navigation One more question: are the Euro-Reef skimmers worth considering? I was thinking of a CS6-1 (?). <About the best if not best products of their kind, most efficient technology available. My opinions on skimmer selection: http://wetwebmedia.com/moreskimselfaqs.htm> I've heard that either the Turboflotor is a knockoff of the Euro-Reef or vice versa; what's the true story? <These product lines are not related... there are knock-offs of both by other makers though. All inferior to "the real thing"> Thanks for your help. I'll give your question about organization some thought - but that what I said as a compliment: paraphrasing... you have an excellent, eccentric website. <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner> Ben

Re: Skimmer Choice If you would, please clarify what you mean by "These product lines are not related" in reference to the Euro-Reef versus the Turboflotor.  <They are not "knock offs", copies of each other. Different companies, distinct products> I was under the impression that both were needle-wheel skimmers. Any deeper info into their engineering?  <As? Different pump use, configuration of injection...> Why the big price difference, too? The Euro is about $150 more (about twice the price of a T1000). The only explanation I see is that Euro-Reefs are hand-made in the USA? <You are very close here... the Deutschmark is beaten down relative to the dollar... Additionally, the Euro-Reef products are almost one-at-a-time hand-crafted, whereas the much larger Turboflotor line have many machine-formed components... the Sedra pumps on the Euro-Reef are more expensive... There are substantive reasons for the price differential, but with concurrent difference in value as well. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Ben

Best skimmer, and plumbing? Hi Mr. Fenner, I'm new to the reef hobby, and I'll let you know my plan. I'm going to be running a 55 gallon aquarium, with 90 gallons of Walt Smith "cured" Fiji live rock. (great prices at Fishsupply.com) I want to run an in tank overflow into a Rubbermaid sump. Lighting will be 440 watts of VHO (1 daylight, 1 50/50, 2 super actinic?). <Okay on the latter or just one lamp in actinic...> I'm looking for a way to set up a sump/refugium combo. Is this possible? If so, how would you go about chambering it? <Sure... partitions can be siliconed in made of... acrylic, PVC sheet... even glass...> Can I run an out of sump skimmer, and should it be before or after the sump?  <Before is easiest... to assure consistent water level...> I'm worried if it's after the sump it will remove a lot of pods that could feed the tank. Can you recommend a good skimmer that will allow me to upgrade to a 120 gallon in the future?  <These are gone over and stored here on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/moreskimselfaqs.htm Please follow the links> I like the idea of having one which doesn't require its own pump, since I'll already be running two oscillating powerheads for in-tank circulation, and a return pump from the sump. I just wanted a suggestion for the protein skimmer for the money. The Emperor AquaFoam series seems reasonably priced, but I haven't seen too many opinions on how much tweaking they require, or how effective they are. <The Aqua-C and Turboflotor choices listed are better... for you now and later> I'm not dead set against anything. I just need an opinion I can respect. After 6 months of research, I'm very close to getting the live rock and starting the cycling period. <Good to hear of your thorough planning... anticipation, scheming is a very important, big part of the enjoyment of this hobby/diversion> Thanks for any time you can give this lengthy email. With reverence, Noah White <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer Choice I need to choose a skimmer to use both now on my 29 gallon reef and in the future on my 125 gallon fish-only with live rock tank. I work in a pet store, and we stock CPR skimmers. However, I have gathered that they aren't so hot compared to other products on the market. <Good products in my estimation, better for smaller systems> I am choosing between three skimmers - a CPR SR6, a Aqua Medic Turboflotor T-1000, or a AquaC EV 150. I have read your FAQ's, and you seem to fluctuate between recommending the T1000 and the AquaC. Which do you think is a better solution in my case? <Let's see what more you have to offer about the actual application, below> Both are, or will be, what I supposed you could call "Berlin" systems. My 29 has a 100 GPH Eheim canister filter, several powerheads in the tank, 55 pounds of Fiji reef rock, and 20 pounds of Fiji pink live sand. I've got 2 gobies and a pistol shrimp, a mandarin, lots of Turbos and blue legs, bubble and scroll coral, and feather dusters. The 125, which has been purchased but has yet to be set up, will be a fish-only tank with all those great fish that you just can't put in a reef.  <Seems strange that they likely do hail from an actual reef.> Expect a heavy bio-load there, although that tank will have live rock in it (At $2.25 a pound for premium live Fiji reef rock, who can resist?). The 125 will probably have a 40 gallon homemade sump and possibly either a little Eheim canister or a big AquaClear power filter. Basically, my question is - which skimmer? The SR6, T1000, or EV150? Thanks, Ben <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

SeaClone skimmer Dear Bob, I have read the FAQs on skimmers and your opinions on the SeaClone skimmers. I was shopping for one for a skimmer for my 20g and someone just offered to sell me a used SeaClone for 50 bucks. I was wondering if I should get it since you say there good for small systems? <Maybe... fifty dollars seems a bit steep though> if not can you recommend another? <Most any of the smaller types will do... or even a larger one run on a tied-in sump> if I do get it what are the pros and cons?? <Of usage? Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm Skimmers are covered there. Bob Fenner>

Protein Skimmer Questions Bob, By now, you have brainwashed me into realizing the importance of skimmers. <Ah, another job opportunity looms large: cerebral scrubber!> I know you are a BIG fan of them. I was looking at the ETSS skimmers because they have several models with small footprints that would fit under my tank stand (that and I haven't heard back from EuroReef yet). <Euro-Reef technology is far superior> Anyway, I was looking at their sizing chart and expected results for given tank turnover rates. This is a quote of what they represent at 5x/hr. "Five Tank Turnovers per hour is ideal for fish only tanks and low organic level loving corals. The aquarium water has a sparkling look about it caused by its very high oxygen saturation. Nuisance algae can be eliminated totally, especially if you maintain proper calcium and alkalinity (This is also very important to a great looking fish only tank). Phosphate removal is very high. Very good tank water parameter stability. Very low PH fluctuation. Mechanical filtration not necessary and would degrade water quality if not maintained meticulously. This is also the best turnover rate for fish only aquariums." <Good spiel> So, I have a couple of questions in relation to my 500 gallon tank whose primary occupant is a Bonnet head shark. 1. With a super duper skimmer at 5x turns/hr., could I truly eliminate my canister filters and run the tank EFFECTIVELY just off the skimmer and my Ecowheel? <I would run both... but you could try "experimenting" with their removal... drain the canisters, leave tops off during trial.> 2. Do you have any experience with ETSS or their Model 1800 skimmer? If so, how would that compare to a EuroReef CS8-1 or CS8-2 (other than the fact that the ETSS1800 is ridiculously priced)? <Do have extensive experience with both... the ETSS takes a lot more energy/pumping pressure and volume, removes a small fraction of what the Euro-Reef does per pass, requires more "adjustment", maintenance... Down-draft technology is a "dinosaur" compared with "needle wheel".> 3. Did the guy from Euro Reef call and talk to you about Eheim vs. Sedra pumps? If so, what did he say about them? <No... but do know "Jeff and his dad" pretty well... They very likely went with the Sedras out of price point sensitivity.> Thanks once again, J.D. Hill <And to you for your pointed, intelligent questions. Bob Fenner>

Euro-Reef Skimmers.. Bob, Just wanted to drop a note and say hi and thanks for all the support you provide for our product!! MANY people e-mail us and refer to you as the source of reference and we truly appreciate it! <Outstanding! Your products definitely deserve the promotion, recognition. Glad to see you're still about, and me not begging for tickets to get into your rock concerts!> One note though for your thoughts. We discontinued using the EHEIM 1060 because of an extremely high failure rate and an utter lack of support from EHEIM. The SEDRA pumps are far superior! Out of nearly 2000 pumps only 2 legitimate failures!!!!!! That is quality!! <Really!? Will post this note. Thank you> Please pass the word about SEDRA. You rock... hope we can talk sometime soon!! Sincerely, Jeff Macar?br>Euro-reef Sales & Marketing www.euro-reef.com <Hope to see you and your father at InterZoo in May. And to try and interest your company in advertising on our site (it's unbelievably inexpensive for the exposure: http://wetwebmedia.com/sponsors.htm Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Sea Clone Protein Skimmer First I have a 45 gal tank. I just brought a Sea Clone Protein Skimmer.  It is a little noisy, what is wrong with this skimmer? Should I use it? Tell me more about this skimmer, and what you don't like about it. <Be design, lack of engineering this product is more of a gimmick than functional... What is the sense of having a contactor column that is only partially filled with air/water mixed together? To look "neat"?  Please read through the "Skimmer Selection FAQs" on our site, starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm> After a forty five is set up and operating "properly", with live rock... for a few to several months this puny skimmer should be fine nonetheless. Bob Fenner>

Protein skimmers (for small systems) Mr. Fenner, I have an Marineland eclipse 3 system its a 37gal saltwater tank, and I would like to know what brand and type of protein skimmer you suggest for this size of tank your vast knowledge of this subject matter would greatly be appreciated thank you. Michael Camacho <Hmm, to some degree matters what sorts of livestock, how much of it, what you hope to do... but likely one of the smaller, lower-efficiency type skimmers will do/would be what I used here: the newer Prizm, even a modified Skilter (see: http://wetwebmedia.com/hang-onskimfaqs.htm and beyond), or a CPR BakPak. Do read through the WWM site re modification to the top/Eclipse that others have suggested for fitting such a device (skimmer). Bob Fenner>

Re: Foam Fractionator  If you don't mind, can you tell me what you dislike about the RL UV? <Very poor design, no engineering (the water flow through-path is about the worst you could come up with)... terrible history of ballast failures (we returned all, ALL at Petcos CASCO installs over the first year of use... most within weeks...). Like too many of their products, poorly thought out... Should stop spending money on advertising and go back and make real products first. Really. Their repackaged swimming pool gear (pumps, filters) are okay... the little chotchky aquarium filters, relabeled German pumps made for constant hot water home use... a very bad joke> From the sound of your response, sounds like it might not just be useless, but harmful. Any UV preference for sterilization of pests?  <Yes... Read the site: TMC's...: http://wetwebmedia.com/UVFAQs.htm> Have a cleaner shrimp. Bought some gobies this weekend, which got slurped by the goatfish. <Sure... what did you think?> Wife's screaming... I'm chasing the goatfish around with a net... "Hey, let go of him, you $^#&@ goatfish!!" You can imagine the scene. <Goatfish are delicious btw...> Don't keep a 'journal' as you suggest in the book, but I do keep a pretty slick spreadsheet to record water parameters, filter and water changes. At worst, I let the nitrate tests go a week or two between tests. So far, so good. Practically no nitrates, and am motivated to keep it that way. Regarding the EuroReef skimmer... I won't be able to fit a twin pump model (like the CS12 series), as I don't have 19"x19" floor space available. I CAN, however, squeeze in a CS8-2 or perhaps even a CS8-3. That still the best way to go skimmer-wise? <Yes, by far> Everywhere I see them listed with Sedra pumps, <Yes, unfortunate they abandoned the Eheims. Contact them, mention my name, ask for credit toward the Eheims... believe me, you should> not Eheim. Any advise on where to pick them up with an Eheim pump? <From them, their site. Bob Fenner> J.D. Hill

Skimmer for 125 Dear Mr. Fenner, I am planning a 125 gallon Jaubert-style reef tank. While I have read through much of the information available on this site, I am unsure as to what would be your choice for a protein skimmer on said system.  <Wouldn't necessarily use a protein skimmer on such a tank... perhaps a smaller, inefficient model at first... or one that is cycled on/off for a few hours a day...> It will contain a mix of soft and hard corals and a school of green Chromis. Price is a factor, but I also want to serve the animals well.  <Then invest your time in study now... books, time, discourse with other hobbyists... not gear> Thank you for your time and efforts. <And you for yours. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Pam Shriver

Skimmer advice Please could you help me? I have just set up a Rio 180 40(imp)gallon tank and need advice on a skimmer. I am planning for it to be fish only and need the skimmer to be in-tank, not hang-on or in sump. I am thinking about either a Berlin air-lift 60 or an aqua sander maxi-skim 400. Which would do the better job, or is there a better skimmer for that sort of price? <Both are good units... I prefer the Sanders product. Bob Fenner> Your help would be much appreciated.

Skimmerless... (in Seattle?) Hello Mr. Fenner! <Howdy> I hope you are enjoying the summer so far! (It's hot out here in CT!) <And in San Diego... but not quite as humid I'd warrant> I happen to be in a bit of an aquarium-related predicament and I was wondering if you might have some advice for me? I currently have a 65-gallon high hex. with liverock, a fine sand bed, fish (5 damsels), a Sally Lightfoot and some hermits and Astreas. Although, I would love to incorporate some star polyps and maybe an anemone with a clown, I'm not sure if I can. You see, I've had the tank for about 3 years, but after a catastrophe, I had to re-start it all last November (even though I saved about 7 gallons of the original water and substrate.) Everything seems to be living o.k., but I only have a wet/dry as my filtration. I have no protein skimmer. That's the problem. <Hmm, you could get one> Well, actually, I have one, but it isn't hooked up because I cannot fit it into the hex-shaped stand. It's a shame because I never had a skimmer and I finally got one (my wife bought one for my birthday in March), but it's just sitting in my basement. And I've tried everything to get it to fit, but to no avail. There's just not enough room with my sump in there and since the tank is in my living room, I really can't start drilling holes into the stand and having the skimmer as an eyesore on the outside of it.  <Hmm, could you fit the skimmer onto your wet-dry or add a sump somewhere below... and rig an overflow box and lines to/from the tank and the sump? Then you could place the skimmer on the sump> (Although I prefer a standard shaped tank and stand, I got this one for free, so I guess I shouldn't complain). I do 20% water changes every 2-3 weeks and only add CombiSan, Kent's Calcium and Buffer. Any advice/insight? Will things slowly die over time without the skimmer? <Not necessarily... with enough live rock... regular checking and maintenance, you could get by... I would start by trying some live polyps after your live rock settles in> FYI - I also have a couple strong powerheads for water movement and a 250w/10,000k Pendant for light. <Wow! Enough light for sure.> Thanks so much for any help you could be! Declan Procaccini <As I state, please read through the Live Rock sections and FAQs on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com and place more/as much as you feel prudent.... then the Polyps... Bob Fenner>

Eel, and protein Skimmer selection I recently wrote you about upgrading my 180 gal FOWLR to a 300 gal, but I will not be able to get this 96x3024 tank into my home so I will have to settle for a 72x30x30 (280 gal) to accommodate my: 6" Vlamingi Tang 5" Pink Tail Trigger 5" Twinspot Wrasse 6" Red Coris Wrasse 15" Cortez Dragon Eel I hope this system will not be overcrowding my fish once they reach full size. <Should be okay> The only thing that I would like to change to the system is the eel. I would like to get a small Tessalata Eel or a Gold Scribbled Eel (15 inches). I was told this is a variant of the Golden Tail Eel. I was told that both eels would be a real threat to my wrasses, is this true?  <Both what you have now and these species are piscivorous. Yes> I would assume that the Tessalata would be, but not the Golden Scribbled Eel because of its max size. Will either of these work in the Dragon Eels place? There will be no more additions to the tank. <Both are possible wrasse eaters... even eaters of your tangs at night if they're hungry> Currently I have 2 Merlin sand bed filters, 200 lbs. of LR, Dolphin Amp Master pump (3000 gph) and a Turboflotor 1000 going into the system. I'm still debating on adding another Turboflotor 1000 or getting a Euro-Reef or G2 (are they the same co.?) <No, the latter are a knock-off by All-Seas Marine... and not a very good copy. If you're spending the money, get the real thing, Euro-Reef.> to take care of the whole system. Some dealers are telling me that the 2 Turboflotors 1000 will work, others are telling me that I will be okay with the 1 Turboflotor 1000 by adding another 100 lbs. of LR to the system along with a refugium. Others are telling me that the Euro-Reef protein skimmers are the only consideration for a system containing these types of fish. I'm not sure if they are just trying to make a sale $$$. Any information regarding my dilemma here would be greatly appreciated. <All statements are useful, tend toward some truth... the Euro-Reef is the most efficient, most likely choice here to get you high water quality. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer Selection Dear Mr. Fenner: I noticed you receive a lot of email regarding skimmer selection. I think this attests to how little we really know about these devices and how many there are to choose from. I myself have been running a small ETS clone downdraft with little success. I run it with a Mag 700, but am constantly adjusting and readjusting it. <A problem with so-called downdraft type skimmers in general> I only have a 58b gallon reef (with a bubble algae problem, exacerbated by lack of skimming I'm sure!), however, I am desperate to find a skimmer that works without constant adjustment. <I can imagine> I noted your recommendation of the Turboflotor 1000 (in sump) and have found a good deal on one (<$150). I am very close to placing my order. Any last minute advice, I need skimming and fast! Tim <You will not be disappointed with this unit. More skimmer than you likely need for now... but better than too little. Bob Fenner>

55 Gallon Saltwater Setup (Seaclone opinion justification) Hi Bob, First, I want to thank you for answering my question earlier regarding the confusion I was in regarding what I need or should have for a saltwater setup. I have been thoroughly reading WetWebMedia.com website tonight and have to say that I am very impressed with all of the information that is available on one website. I really like how you post all of the Q & A's. Great idea! It helps to see everyone else's problems, and how they can possibly be solved. I was reading and found your articles on protein skimmers. I was disappointed to read that you feel that my new Seaclone skimmer is not a good piece of equipment. <About the worst product of the fine company that sells it> Should I take it back and get something else? UGHHH!!! <Yes, and no worries... if it's new, in the box, your dealer should give you credit... No problem> Please explain briefly if you would, why this is not a good skimmer. <Hmm, the contact chamber and pump design is engineered to produce a "cyclone" effect... with not much mixing of air and water together... and consequently not much skimmate produced per pass...> I am trying to learn this stuff, buy the right things, and I would prefer to hear it from someone like yourself who is knowledgeable than from someone just trying to sell me something else. The LFS's around here suck.  <Try the listservs... there are several listed on WetWebMedia.com link pages including our own Chatforum.> There all just pet stores, not fish stores. What skimmer model and brand would you suggest for a 55 gallon tank? Your professional opinion would be sincerely appreciated. <My opinions on such an application is on the site. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Jim Stawiarski

Protein skimmer Hi Bob Fenner, I had originally designed my flow of water from my main tank to my sump to be as such: water goes from main tank, into overflow box, into top of protein skimmer (sitting in the sump), water gets skimmed, skimmed, skimmed, goes out the bottom of the skimmer into the sump, through various baffles, refugium within sump, another baffle, to pump, back to main tank. My question is this: Does it matter that the water from the overflow is going directly into the protein skimmer, or should it go directly into the sump, then have a separate pump to feed the protein skimmer water?  <Hmm, good question... it does matter... by and large I am a bigger fan of the second arrangement... Though the first may appear "more efficient" in terms of skimming per pass, most skimmers actually do better with their own designated pump/flow...> I didn't think that it mattered when I first planned it all in my head, but the more I think about it, and the more I research it, I see no record of anyone doing it this way. Everyone ALWAYS has a pump feeding water into the skimmer. I don't know if the specifics of my tank and size of the protein skimmer matter. I know you are busy and me too, so if you need this info just let me know. Thanks, Bob, I am sure you know how much everyone appreciates all you help. Jana <There are situations where engineered skimming devices (mostly very large units) do the flow path you first describe... but it is very easy to have flow, pressure problems with small consumer fractionators. I would use the dedicated pump. Bob Fenner>

Wet Dry Biomedia, nitrates, skimmer plan Hi, have been reading WetWebMedia and find it a lifesaver. <As designed, engineered and built with alls help.> I have a 75 gal reef. I have nothing running mechanically except a wet dry with a hand full of bio balls. Things seem fine, except I always a little white bacteria bloom. I have been doing weekly water changes about 5%, but will know do bi-weekly. <Hmm, do consider pulling the plastic media...> My question to you is, how important is a protein skimmer, if I do weekly or bi-weekly water changes? <Oh! Very much so... > I hear so many pros and cons. I just don't know what to do. <Here's my usual "challenge" re such statements... If a person will install a working skimmer and be willing to drink the muck it removes I'll gladly (yuck!) pay for it... Do get, use a skimmer. You'll be amazed. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Sandy Levy

Clearing up some questions (skimmer selection) Bob, I have been reading WWM for a while now. I still have a couple things to clear up before I start my new aquarium. I'll give you a list of what I was considering and perhaps you could clear up any places you see concerns. <I'll try> 90gal aquarium (drilled) 55gal Rubbermaid sump/refugium  <Nice size> aragonite sand in both 40 lbs live rock in both Red Sea Prizm Skimmer off Sump/refugium  <You'll want to upgrade here> 48" Power Compact on display tank ???light on Refugium  <I would for sure> return pump of approx 900gph canister filter off display tank - chem filtration @ 350gph canister filter off display tank - mech filtration @ 350gph 2 802 powerheads for movement this tank will be primarily fish only, with live rock of course) and possibly some corals. Thanks very much, I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. Mike <Do look for a more serious skimmer... The Prizm is only good for a forty-sixty or so gallon system. And do place a small (40-80 watt) regular to compact fluorescent fixture above the sump... and leave on either 24/7 or alternate on a timer with your main system lighting. Bob Fenner>

Aging water/Skimmer, WWForum Hi Bob, Hope this message finds you in good spirits/health. Well, I'm back to pick your brain again. My question: would there be any benefits (pet-fish wise, not speaking of drinking, cooking, etc.) in getting an RO unit if I plan on aging my premixed saltwater at least a week in advance?  <Yes> I know you state that gases such as chloramine would be removed, and metals would settle, what about any phosphate in the water? <Most soluble phosphate removed by R.O., not by settling/aging> Sorry, I'm not much of a chemist. Also, I was planning on upgrading to a Turboflotor, but after reading through the skimmer selection FAQs, I got a little confused. Sometimes you stated that the Turboflotor needed to be plumbed to the overflow to work properly and that the powerhead was only for mixing air/water. Other times, you mentioned that the Turboflotor only needed the Rio2100 or equiv to work properly.  <Sorry to be confusing. The latter is the case... Aqua-Medic does make skimmers (Turboflotors) that are hang-on and in sump models... there are applications where connecting these to overflows make sense... not many though. And of course the hang ons operate AS overflows back into either main systems or auxiliary sumps/tanks.> If plumbing to the overflow is required, I think I would go with the Aqua-C Urchin Pro instead for ease of setup (little more money, less efficient?).  <A bit less efficient in most settings> Any clarification would be appreciated. By the way, the WetWeb forum is looking good. I hope everybody logs in and contributes! Thanks, and have a good week. <Me too. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

To Skim, Or Not To Skim...You Know The Rest Good day, and thank goodness for experts like you! I have been keeping reef aquariums off and on for the last ten or so years and have tried systems with/without skimmers, experiencing about equal success in each. After a brief venture into the world of freshwater, I'm back at the old reef trade. Currently I'm running a 46 gallon flat-back tank (up for 6 months) with about 50 pounds of LR and a 3 1/2" DSB. I'm using a 4X55W PC set-up (added 2 months ago) with 10k/actinic in a 1:1 ratio. This runs for a total of 14 hours, with a 1 hour dawn/dusk setting. For circulation I'm using 2 powerheads, aimed diagonally top to bottom, left to right. Livestock is 1 striped damsel, 1 small Atlantic Blue Tang, 1 cleaner shrimp (skunk), and several hermits/snails (snails decrease as crabs grow!).  <Yes>  I have a variety of mushroom and polyp colonies and all are doing quite well. Unfortunately, so is the unwanted algae. I'm having a heck of a time with Diatom and hair algae. I've read the FAQ relating to these issues but am having a hard time prioritizing my solutions.  <Good way to put this> I've been using tap water (bad boy) and know I should have a purifier, but I'm currently not skimming so I think I need one of those too.  <Maybe> I've been researching the Remora, and the CPR Bak Pak (I need a H.O.T. style). In your opinion (I know it's honest) which should come first, skimmer or H2O RO/DI? <If you have time, patience, the RO device (start from the source...), if in a hurry, the skimmer> I can't afford both at once :-( My NO3 level is barely traceable, but I haven't tested for phosphate. I do regular H2O changes but I suppose that this may be adding to my phosphate issues since I use tap water. <Perhaps... there are other important sources and recycling> I do age my water, usually for 2 weeks or so prior to changing, as I have heard that this helps to neutralize some of the free phosphates etc. that are feeding the algae. <You are correct> Your help is appreciated. Oh yeah, Remora vs. Bak Pak? Similar price at my LFS, which is the best bang for buck wise? <The Remora> My livestock, and sanity are forever in your debt! <You have more than repaid by sharing your experiences and friendship. Bob Fenner> Jason

Skimmer and pump size Hi Bob, Please allow me another question. I have bought a 150 gallon to replace my 75. My current skimmer is a Top Fathom 110 driven by a Mag 500. Does this need upgrading? If so what would you suggest? <In an established tank of this size, shape this should be fine. I would not change it out. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Marty

Thanks for having me over (and skimmer selection) Thanks Bob, for having me over for the wonderful presentation and hospitality. Oh Yeah, my wife thanks you for the Chili as well. *laughs* <"How 'bout some more beans, Mr. Taggert?"> I look forward to going with you on one of your dive trips sometime in the future. <Ah, good... me too!> We've got to get the crustaceans next time and maybe talk about the symbiotic relationships that exist in the wild and what you have witnessed. I think that would make a fascinating topic. <Yes, a good idea to start there...> I remember once you told me the Turboflotor would be great for a 120g, do you still stand by this statement? Last night you had mentioned you thought the Euroreef skimmer was near 100%... <The Turboflotor (1000) is fine here... the EuroReef is a great unit... but more size, removal than you need for a 120) If you find hotmail slow sometimes, give yahoo a try. <I believe you.> Thanks again and look forward to next month, Jackson <I as well. Bob Fenner>

Slides, chili, skimmer Hello, Robert, what's up? This is George. Just want to thank you for doing this event. I had a great time.  <Okay!> Anyway. Keep in touch. Oh, right now I have a ETS Revolution 500 model skimmer, run with Sedra 9000. I assume you know a thing or two about it. <Yes> I upgraded from hang on the back Berlin skimmer. So I do see the big difference in performance. BUT since it is partially submerged in the sump. So the back pressure might kept it from doing the best job it should of be doing. I am not sure, just a guess. Since like most people, I don't have extra money to throw around at this point. And the performance of the skimmer is good enough at this point. I only have a 50gal tank, so that skimmer is more than enough at this point. I am going to stay with this skimmer for a while. What do you think? <Sounds good (enough) at this point> Well, thank you again for having me over. I need to go take a shower and get ready for bed. <Looking forward to showing more slides, and getting the underwater videographers to show their edited work...> I will email you some more when my brain is working. Too tired to think at this point. Almost 2am. <Yikes, chat with you soon. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, George

Skimmer Selection, crowded Tangs, warm water cool-water shark Hello Bob, Hope all is well.  I would like to know if you can help me out here first by guiding me to a good skimmer for my tank what is about the most efficient for big messy eating fish my tank is 125 gallons? <The EuroReef if you're investing... though a Turboflotor will do> Do you think this new filter setup sounds like enough for my tank I will have 2 overflows that will come down to my 55 gallon sump then go through the U.V sterilizer <The UV should be the last item to be passed through... on the waters return to the main/display system> and protein skimmer is there any thing else I should add to that? I'm not sure what else to use? Will this be efficient enough for my 7 inch stars and stripes puffer 8 inch leopard shark and 3 inch honeycomb grouper? <Do add a bunch of carbonaceous material somewhere here... these fishes are going to drive your pH, alkalinity down with their advanced growth...> and after I get my sump running and everything,  I would like to add a tang, possibly a sohal, Achilles, or orange shoulder tang.  Which would you rate the best for my tank?  <All this going into a 125? No room... as far as suitability period, the Sohal, then olivaceus, last the Achilles> I know how you say the leopard shark is a cool water species but my LFS says every time they get them in they are in warm water <Define "warm"... most all are collected in waters that rarely go to seventy degrees F.... most in the fifties and sixties Fahrenheit... Research this elsewhere... Plug "Triakis semifasciata" or just Leopard Shark into... fishbase.org, elsewhere... this is a subtropical animal, living between 45 and 20 degrees North latitude. That's a fact, Jack.> and they live long every time so is it that if they acclimate good and long they will do better.  I'm not sure but I don't see no problems with mine and he eats good. Sorry for the so long message but just wanted to make sure I got everything and thanks for any info you can give me. Pam Reinsmith <Good luck to you my friend. Believe what you will till experience changes your mind. This shark lives for more than 24 years in the wild, almost never 24 days in tropical tanks. Bob Fenner>

Help with equipment choice (Euroreef Skimmer) Hi Bob, I am setting up a new reef system using a 100 gallon tank and I am asking for your opinion of the equipment I have in mind. I am looking at the Euroreef Skimmer CS6-1, its rated to be able to cover up to a 200 gallon tank, producing 3500 gph of flow using a Eheim pump. <This is a great product. Am friends with the manufacturers... know them (Jeff's dad as an engineer especially) to be "squared away" all the way around> I have had the tank drilled and I'm planning on using a lot of live rock in the tank, about 2/3 of the back wall will be covered. What do you think? Also, can you direct me on the size of a UV sterilizer to use. Dan <Thirty six watts will be fine, irregardless (really) of how much water you run through it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Aqua Medic help Hi Bob, Thanks for passing my email onto AquaMedic. I got responses from AquaMedic in Germany, US and Australia concerning my questions. <A pleasure, and my self-designated role (among others) in my "place" twixt the hobby, business, and sciences...> I just wanted to say that AquaMedic products are second to no one, the quality is exceptional! My problem was purely a customer service issue. I believe it was simply put into the to hard basket and that's why I got no where. <Or simply misplaced, misunderstood... a number of possibilities. Do agree with you re Aqua Medic, AB Aqua Lines products... good value, engineering, manufacture.> I will contact the Australian AquaMedic distributor that emailed me and place my order. I will let you know what happens. <Very well> Again, thank you for all your help :) <You're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner> Warmest regards, Lucien Cinc

Protein Skimmer selection Bob, I am putting a protein skimmer on my 50 gal. fish only tank and have narrowed it down between the Bak Pak II protein skimmer/bio filter combo (for tanks up to 60 gal.) or the Red Sea Prizm (protein skimmer only, rated for 90 gal.) Any suggestions? <Skip the Prizm... too much trouble adjusting, working with. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Rich Aylward

Re: advice on skimmer and pump Welcome back to the rat races.... <Ah, yes... not so annoying... for a few days...> Thanks for the info...One detail though :) Would you recommend the AquaC skimmer or another type? <For many applications this is a superior product. Tanks to about a hundred gallons that don't call for "super" skimming...> Have you heard of J&L Aquatics in BC Canada? <Yes, indirectly only> I am hesitant to order online but they have much better prices than I could get at my LFS. <Solicit other hobbyist's opinions of this outfit... They've been around quite a while, and I've only heard positive things...> Kind regards, Robert Jackson PS. I sent you an email about saving my Mandarin Goby while you were away.... Turns out he was eaten by a Hitch hiker CRAB from the LR :( <Yeeikes, sorry to hear about the expensive meal... perhaps a small pot of boiling salty water for that crab? Bob Fenner>

BEST SKIMMER AND POWER COMPACT LITES Hi Bob, Hope you had a good trip! Not sure if you're back. <Me neither... still a bit spaced out> I am in the market for power compact lites and a hang off the back of the tank protein skimmer for my 55 gallon reef tank Any recommendations?  <Shop around for fixtures and lamps for the first (on the Net, many sources listed on the Links Pages on www.WetWebMedia.com) and a CPR unit is my choice for your 55> I previously owned a sea clone that didn't do the job. Also I was using 3 fluorescent lights to keep leather corals. I now would like to keep other corals that will need stronger lights. Any input would be most appreciated. Keep up the good work! Patrick Hynes <Will do so, and encourage your diligence here as well... do read through the manufacturers and e-tailers listed. Bob Fenner>

RE: BEST SKIMMER AND POWER COMPACT LITES CPR unit? is that skimmer? <Sorry re the acronym: Creative Plastics Research: www.cprusa.com. Bob Fenner> Patrick Hynes

SKIMMER (selection) HELP Hi Lorenzo, this is Sascha again. since my last mail I have been researching every night t find the best skimmer for my 125g fish only tank with sloppy eaters. I am stuck between the ETS evolution 750 and the AquaC ev200. In you last mail you mentions you would pick the ev200 and I would really love to know what makes you pick this one, since the ETS seems stronger, at least on paper. I have been looking for comparison charts everywhere, but couldn't find anything. I hope you can tell me what the better choice is, I really want to buy my new skimmer this week, since I can't get my aquarium clean enough with these heavy eaters. I also told my LFS to get me some live rock. please help me, it's 4am and I am still researching. <I will send your message to Zo as well for his input. I have read (and posted) your previous messages re this system... The ETS is a "stronger" type/model skimmer than the Aqua C as you state... runs on more flow/pressure, removes more gunk per pass... is this necessary or desirable? Not really with the size, type of organisms you proposed, along with the use of live rock, good, regular maintenance. Please re-read the "Skimmer Selection" FAQs posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com or re-contact us if this isn't sufficient information. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer selection question Hey Bob what's up? I have a 55 gal tank with 5 fish, 2 snails, spider crab, urchin, and a starfish. I plan on getting 1 or 2 more fish and filling my tank up half way with Fiji live rock and corals. My question is what would be the best skimmer I could get for my tank? <Many choices here... either a CPR hang on unit, Aqua-C hang on or in-sump model... or if you think you might go more "high tech" or larger reef in the future, an Aqua-Medic (Turboflotor) product. Review glimpses of these products and links to their sites can be found on the "Skimmer FAQs" and "Links" areas on the www.WetWebMedia.com site. Bob Fenner>

Urgent! which skimmer I have to choose between the Turboflotor and red sea Berlin skimmer, which one would you recommend? We are setting up a new tank with sump, so the skimmer would work with the sump. <Both are good products, I seem to recall Bob tending to prefer the Turbo... best regards, Lorenzo Gonzalez, for Bob-in-Indonesia> Thank you. Stefi/London

Protein Skimmer Robert, Thanks for the advice, I've checked out a couple of websites about information of this product and it looks very promising. I appreciate your feedback. Would you be kind to recommend a website would be selling this equipment at a discounted price? I've checked the petswarehouse.com which have the lowest price so far. If there is anything lower I would love to save some $ for fish instead. Thanks for your help. Larry, <I bought mine from Flying Fish Express, when they first came out, and were on sale... does look like that Pet's Warehouse has the better price... -Lorenzo>

TF1000 Follow-Up Bob--I realized after my last email that there were several FAQs on the TF1000 skimmer and switching out the pumps.  <Yes>  The Rio pump that came with the unit is rated at 692 gph at 0' head. I was thinking to get the Eheim 1060, rated at 580 gph. The MagDrive 7 is rated at 700 gph. My question is, since I'd be using the paddle impeller with the Eheim, would I actually end up with more flow using the lower-rated Eheim than I would get with the Rio and needle wheel impeller?  <Yes> I know you like Eheim pumps--but would the Mag 7 at 700 gph be "too much" for this application or would it work equally as well as the Eheim? <Not too much with adjustment... not equal> The other question that is coming up is whether the skimmer will work as well with the paddle wheel impeller, and whether the bubble size will be sufficiently small without the needle wheel impeller. Your prior responses to the FAQs seem to imply that there might be a loss of efficiency, but that it shouldn't be all that significant. Am I reading those comments correctly? <Yes> Thanks for your thoughts again--I guess any loss of efficiency would be more desirable than loss of livestock (or aquarist) due to stray current from a failing pump. . <Affirmative. Bob Fenner> James A. Deets

Wet/Dry (actually skimmer selection) Hey Bob, I just wanted to say thank you for your help. I had an additional question to ask. I've gotten a lot of different answers regarding the built in protein skimmer that is in the Sea Life Pro series 150 and the Sea Life with the removable skimmer. Is one protein skimmer more efficient or skim's the water better than the other. I had many people tell me the sea life with the removable was better. I have the Pro series 150. I just want to give my fish the best care. Thank you so much for your help because it is greatly appreciated. Thanks, D <I understand and share your concern. Neither is really more efficient, better... for being removable or not... as stated before, most importantly, both can/will work for you. Bob Fenner>

Protein Skimmer and/or Activated Carbon? I was wondering, since the protein skimmer and activated carbon remove the same thing; <Hmm, not really... some intersection/union...> dissolved organics, it at all necessary to use both in a fully established semi-reef 55 g aquarium?  <Useful, yes> The bio-load is really low and I am lucky to get a cup (real measurement) of watery skimmate a week. I have a Red Sea Berlin skimmer and a magnum 350 that I have about 16oz in, and I wonder if it is necessary to use them both at the same time. I also heard a rumor that activated carbon can cause HLLE and I was wondering if that is true. <Don't agree with any positive correlation between activated carbon use and HLLE... the latter is covered under "Environmental Diseases" FAQs on the Marine Index on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com, Bob Fenner> Thanks, Andrew

Some questions about reef tanks Both Anthias are gone now :( I moved the tank a couple of inches forward today, so I now have about 4 inches of space behind the tank. I did purchase a SeaClone and set it up behind the tank. It has filled the tank with bubbles and I have been told that I will need to fiddle at bit with it to get it right. It has been about 8 hours and the collection cup smells bad. I will try another brand of skimmer if this one proves to be inadequate. <Sounds like a good plan, yes> I will now be able to setup a hang-on-type of overflow going to a sump and I will move all the equipment into the sump. The tank is 6 foot long, so there is enough room to fit a decent size sump under the tank. This will take me a bit of time to set this all up, but at the end of the day, I think the tank will be more successful if I do this, and if nothing else, all the ugly equipment will be hidden out of sight. <Do look into a Turboflotor, Remora skimmer... and a CPR Refugium... to hang on... you will be pleased. More on these on the www.WetWebMedia.com site> Thanks for all the suggestions (in this email and in the previous emails). I look forward to emailing you with some good news shortly. <And I on receiving it> Warmest regards, Lucien Cinc <Press on my friend. You are on the verge of great self-improvement here. Bob Fenner>

One Final Skimmer Email Bob I was going to buy the Turboflotor1000, but then I saw it requires 11x6 inches. I've only got about 10x10 left in the sump of my Amiracle MR100. So I was going to get the Multi 1000, but then it costs a lot more and I'm not sure if I have a 6x6 area outside the sump under my cabinet. I'm building a 65 gallon reef, so the tank is short and tall. So now what to I do? <Keep investigating your choices... till you're sure of where you can either fit a larger sump/in-sump model or a hang-on...> I'm against hanging one off the back of the tank, since I minimized all rear obstructions (cords, plumbing, etc.) so that I could get the tank close to the wall. Then enter the AquaC Urchin Pro. It has a really small footprint (like 6.5x3.5). It would easily fit into my sump and take up less than a third. I tried finding info on this model, but the only reviews were on their website. Can you tell me how this model measures up to the Turboflotor? <Not really, but this is likely a sufficient device for your size, type system... once the live rock is cured...> I read on your website where you are friends with the owners of the company and have visited their facilities. Surely you've tested their products. <Yes, and stop calling me Shirley... sorry...> For lack of review info on the web, I guess what I'm asking here is whether or not the Urchin is worth the money, or should I bite the bullet and re-plumb my system, making room for a T1000 Multi? <Both good products, the T1000 better, but more than you need...> And while I have your attention, do T1000's need water from my overflow (not an option) or does the Rio pump handle supplying water from my sump.  <The latter> Some websites made it seem like they needed water gravity fed from the top. I can only handle a skimmer which is fed by placing a it and/or just a pump in my sump. Thanks yet again.....Live rock comes next week, so I'll be getting out of the set-up questions real soon.....Paul <And on to more meaty matters. Bob Fenner>

The last last skimmer query (this time) Bob This protein skimmer thing really has me beside myself...... I guess I'm hearing too many good things about the Turboflotor to settle for anything else. After careful inspection of all photos on the web, I think I see how these things work. They must be fed by an overflow or through an additional pump. The small Rio everyone ships with it is just for mixing air with the water. Am I almost correct? <Yes> Since my remaining sump is so small (11x10) I would have to go with the T1000 Multi. Before I get my hacksaw out and cut my beautiful plumbing to pieces, help me understand the concept of the T1000 Multi. Can this skimmer go anywhere....in my case, right next to the sump so it could empty directly into it?  <Yes> Do they ship a slightly larger pump with this model which obviously must be mounted in the sump? So I would also get a piece of hose to connect the pump to the skimmer?  <Yes... either one> Does the T1000 Multi require any additional pumps for feeding water or air to the skimmer, or is the single pump they ship all it takes? Photos make it seem like this may be the only pump needed, with two hoses sticking up out of the sump (one for air intake and one to send water/air mix to skimmer. <One decent pump is fine... I would switch out the TAAM/Rio product from the get-go... the best? For an Eheim hobby pump> Sorry for soooo many questions, but all the photos, manuals and discussions I've perused on the web have just confounded me. And I want to make sure I have all the info I need before I order and cut. Live rock comes next week so I've got to be ready. Thanks for all the help. Paul <Umm, I'd get whatever skimmer you're going to use and get it going ASAP with the new live rock. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer Confusion Bob--I'm still designing my new system. I've decided on the Oceanic 180 for the tank. I've already settled on a return pump (GRI 518), but I'm having a terrible time trying to figure out which type of skimmer to go for. I'll have a 30- or 50-gallon sump with refugium--the size will depend on under-cabinet space availability. I'm considering the Turboflotor 1000, ETSS Evolution 500 or 750 and Precision Marine Bullet 2. The Turboflotor is obviously the least expensive (about 1/3 of the total cost of the other two), but I wasn't sure if it would have sufficient capacity. It would also have to go in the sump--I'd rather have it outside of the sump. I also have seen a downdraft skimmer made by Buccoo Reef Systems that is supposed to be good for up to 250 gallons--are you familiar with this product? <Yes> As a final question, among the venturi, downdraft and injection-type skimmers, are there any practical differences in the amount of waste they can remove, provided the selected type and model has the correct capacity? <No, the designations have little to do with functionality... there are good and poor models that incorporate these features...> (By this I mean, hypothetically, if there were three closed test systems that each contained a fixed/known amount of dissolved organics and no additional waste input, and water in the test systems was circulated through each of these three types of skimmers, would the venturi skimmer, for example, leave more dissolved organics in the water once it stopped producing waste than say the injection type skimmer? Not really a question of efficiency so much as efficacy here.) With respect to the efficiency side of the coin, in our hypothetical test, would the most efficient skimmer process be injection, followed by downdraft and then venturi--meaning the injection would remove more waste faster than the other two? Is one of these types superior than the other two with respect to increasing the dissolved oxygen levels in the system? <By brand and model yes... type/designation, no> Since this is a total redesign of how I've been doing things, I want to do it right this time and I don't think the skimmer is an area where I should be trying to skimp. On the other hand, I don't want to throw unnecessary money away, either. <I understand> Your thoughts, as always, are valued and appreciated. <I would just go with the Turboflotor... it's "good enough" for this application... Bob Fenner> James A. Deets

Re: A Few More Questions (skimmer selection/install, LR supplements) Bob, You hedged your bets in answering my last set of questions. Therefore I had to read the entire WWM site. Thank god for DSL. So now I can be much more specific on the two questions I'm still a little confused on...... <Good> Starting with the protein skimmer, I'm going with the Turboflotor 1000. I've gotten conflicting reports that it can be set up outside the sump. One place says it must be in the sump while other say it can be outside with the pump inside.  <Hmm, the company, Aquamedic, that makes these in Germany has both in-sump and out of sump, even hang on models...> My problem is that I only have 12x10 inside my Amiracle Maxi Reef 100 and the MarineDepot site says it has a 13x7 footprint. S it won't fit unless I split the two parts. Can you tell me if you have any experience or heard talk about this type of setup. I saw that there is a Turboflotor 750. Couldn't find any sizes on it though. Again, any experience or talk you could share about the 750. <Please take a look at Aquamedic's website... think it's on the WWM Links pages...> Finally, I will be using additives since I'm not prepared for a reactor at this point in time. My question is when to add. Do I start before I add rock, or wait until the tank has cycled. The WWM site never really mentions when, but it was full of other enthusiasts' horror stories. I suppose I better be very careful with this aspect. <Best to monitor what you will, pH, alkalinity and calcium during the cycling, add during then and regularly check, add, along with water changes, ongoing> Thanks again, Paul <You're welcome in turn. Bob Fenner

Skimmer Selection Good morning Bob!! Say, thank you very much for cluing me in on the Eheim filter!! I got one last week, and it's everything you said it was! I love it!! Nice & quiet, too!  <Ah, yes... very good products, and very fine people for that matter...> Now, could you suggest a good protein skimmer, too??  <Likely, yes> I have a Sea Clone, but I'm not real crazy about it. It needs constant adjustment, and the noise it makes is a distraction. I was thinking about some counter-current type, something under $100.  <Hmm, counter current matters little in the way of a designation, or feature relative to function (or quiet...)... Do see the "Skimmer Selection FAQs" posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com here... and report back to me please, how easily you find it to navigate our site... "on to HP, then Marine Index, then to Set-up, then to Skimmer..."> But the main thing I'm looking for is something that's quiet. I have seen one made by Amiracle, it looks like it makes a lot of foam. <Look at the Aqua-C line here as well...> Thanks for your help Bob!! Pat Marren <You're welcome, Bob Fenner>

Choosing a skimmer Bob, On my 75g reef,  I've been running a Red Sea Berlin style in tank air lift skimmer (rated for 90 gallons). I know it's not much of a skimmer, but even when there were 6 fish, 60 lbs of live rock and a clean up crew from FF Express, I never detected many nitrates! (always below 2 ppm) I clean the skimmer thoroughly at least once a week, and keep the air stone fresh. (Although since I removed the fish and lowered the spg it produces not much waist at all. I assume this is from the reduction/elimination of daily feedings, the lesser bioload and also from the different properties of "fresher" water and the larger bubbles that are produced at lower spg.) Regardless, I know you push for more powerful skimmers, and that leads me to another question. As long as I can keep my nitrates low to nothing, should I be ok with this skimmer.  <Yes> I have two tanks, and have this model in both of them and have always had the same success with nitrates. The 75, is in an office setting, and unfortunately space is at a premium, so moving the tank out 4 inches or so from the wall for a hang on skimmer or a CPR overflow to a sump is not really an option. Unless someone figures out or tells me how I can power a skimmer below the tank from a canister filter return or supply line, I think I'm gonna stick it out with this skimmer. My other tank is at home, and I did try a hang on skimmer a few weeks ago. It was a Red Sea Prism skimmer and while setting it up I was glad to see how the tank looked without the in tank skimmer in the back corner! Unfortunately, the new skimmer was unacceptably loud especially since this tank is in my living room. I was looking to one of the CPR backpack skimmers, but I am afraid they too may be loud. Do you have any experience with the CPR backpack skimmers/filters? <Yes, we have a few on test tanks here the last few years...> If so, would you deem them louder than normal filters (IE most canisters, hang ons and even small air pumps?)  <They're not as quiet as canisters... can be more quiet than many cheap air pumps... > The tank is a 44 corner pent, and the canister filter takes up a good deal of the limited cabinet space. I could go with a small sump for the main purpose of putting the skimmer below the tank, but I want something that won't be too loud. I really liked the look of my home tank without the skimmer in it, but then I also like that between the canister, whisper power filter, powerheads for circulation and air pump, it is almost silent! I see on the Q&A at FF Express you like the Turboflotors. Would one of these with a small sump below the tank be acceptable for noise in your opinion? Any suggestions, comments would be greatly appreciated! Thanking you again, as always! Kris, PA

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