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View Full Version : My DIY nano skimmer cost me $3.. and probably works better than yours..


jrsydevi1
07/25/2012, 06:25 PM
Hey guys,

This thread is about how I made a perfectly serviceable Protein Skimmer for $3 for my 8g nano...

I was gonna post it in the DIY section.. but it really is strictly for nanos..

..and when I say nanos.. i mean nanos... like tanks under 15g.. I dont know when the heck ppl started calling 29g tanks nanos.. but.. whatever..

So.. I was looking around for a skimmer for my 8g Evolve.. and I didnt like what I was seeing and hearing... so I decided to make my own...

On a whim.. I grabbed my old gravel vac.. to see if it would fit in a Poland Spring water bottle... it did...

http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss318/gropin/DSCN1091.jpg

Not only did it fit.. it fit tight...

http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss318/gropin/DSCN1092.jpg

Believe it or not.. it makes a perfect watertight seal...

http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss318/gropin/DSCN1095.jpg

OMG.. i apologize for the sheer size of these pics... but its too late now...

Havin probs with photobucket.. posting this as part one.. brb..

hackney
07/25/2012, 06:30 PM
i made one of these... it was an epic fail

jrsydevi1
07/25/2012, 06:42 PM
So.. next.. you trim your tubing to whatever length you want to have... this creates your collection cup... be sure to leave a half-inch at the bottom to attatch to the reaction chamber...

http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss318/gropin/DSCN1096.jpg


Next.. cut a tiny hole near the top of another bottle to thread your airline through.. and of course cut off the bottom of the bottle...

http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss318/gropin/DSCN1100.jpg

And just attach your airstone.. be sure to use a wooden diffuser for super tiny bubbles...

Gently slip the collection cup stem into the top of the reaction chamber bottle for easy removal... and you're done!!

http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss318/gropin/DSCN1101.jpg

Cut another bottle where it tapers to make a top for your skimmer...

http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss318/gropin/DSCN1106.jpg

It makes a nice finished look.. and prevents foam from spilling over the side...

http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss318/gropin/DSCN1104.jpg

jrsydevi1
07/25/2012, 07:01 PM
Here's mine...

http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss318/gropin/DSCN1090.jpg



And in action...

http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss318/gropin/DSCN1087.jpg



http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss318/gropin/DSCN1086.jpg


Anyone who pays good money for a plastic cylinder with bubbles is crazy, imho... I know I never will again...

jrsydevi1
07/25/2012, 07:04 PM
i made one of these... it was an epic fail

Sorry to hear that, Hack.. mine's an epic win..

The beauty of this design... in my tank anyway.. is that the bottle is slightly larger than the chamber on the back of my tank.. but flexible with the bottom cut off.. so it stays at whatever height I put it... making adjustment a breeze...

If I see it skimming too wet.. I just raise it a tad.. and vice-versa..

The Tubing and bottles I had.. as well as the air pump (who DOESNT have an old air pump).. no fancy Tunze high pressure pump either... just an old $9 pump from walmart I had layin around... the Wood diffuser cost me $3... for a grand total of... $3....

NemusMaximus
07/25/2012, 07:14 PM
Nice job, glad to hear its working so well!

TundraGuy
07/26/2012, 06:09 AM
You could also improve the design by adding another pipe glued to the inside of the skimmer body that travels up about ¾ the skimmer body and comes out under the body. By doing this you’ll make a path for the water in the PS body to travel up then out of the body effectively bringing in more water. Make sure this pipe is small or the water will travel through the body so fast that the dwell time of the bubble/water mix will be to short. Good DIYing there partner.

KafudaFish
07/26/2012, 07:52 AM
I made a DIY PVC $3 skimmer too and am using it on my 37 non-nano tank and have used it on my 5.5 zoa tank.

It was a clone of the mame style and calm's pretty skimmer.

The only things I did not have were a 2 inch pipe coupling and a plastic drain cover that I spent the money on. Nothing is glued together so I can change the chamber height depending on how high my water. Also even though the skimmer is pvc the top is clear so I can see the amount of bubbles being produced.

jrsydevi1
07/27/2012, 07:59 PM
You could also improve the design by adding another pipe glued to the inside of the skimmer body that travels up about ¾ the skimmer body and comes out under the body. By doing this you’ll make a path for the water in the PS body to travel up then out of the body effectively bringing in more water. Make sure this pipe is small or the water will travel through the body so fast that the dwell time of the bubble/water mix will be to short. Good DIYing there partner.



Hmm.. I dont quite follow you.. is this pipe just attached to the inside side-wall.. or...?

jrsydevi1
07/29/2012, 06:31 PM
Hmm.. I dont quite follow you.. is this pipe just attached to the inside side-wall.. or...?


Any advice on this mod?

TundraGuy
07/30/2012, 07:38 AM
Sorry I was not able to get input on this all weekend.
The bubbles will make an up draft. But with no place for the water to go it will swirl around in the body. By adding an exit for the water new water will be drawn in to the body of the skimmer. So in the drawing note the blue arrow this is the water coming in to the body. The pink arrow is the water flowing into the added pipe and back down out of the body allowing more water to come into the body. Does that make since? Your skimmer is working and working well from the pix of the skim mate I am just wondering if allowing more water to come through will it pull more? I will warn you that it may be hard to find the right size of pipe to allow the right amount of flow through without having the water rush through and not pull any skim mate.

alexmduffy
07/30/2012, 08:48 AM
I was thinking about doing this in my tank, how often do you need to change out the wooden diffuser??

jrsydevi1
07/30/2012, 11:24 AM
I was thinking about doing this in my tank, how often do you need to change out the wooden diffuser??

Not sure.. mine has been running about 6 weeks so far.. no noticeable decrease in bubble volume. The wood has turned pretty black though.. I'm hoping that's normal.. :strange:

jrsydevi1
07/30/2012, 02:20 PM
Your skimmer is working and working well from the pix of the skim mate I am just wondering if allowing more water to come through will it pull more? I will warn you that it may be hard to find the right size of pipe to allow the right amount of flow through without having the water rush through and not pull any skim mate.

Going to try out this mod.. will post pics and results as they become available...

Ripperj
07/31/2012, 06:56 AM
Im going to give it a shot too. I have a Biocube skimmer in my 8gal IM Nuvo and it is completely useless. I have spent about 4 weeks messing with air and water level, and all it does is eith pump clear water into the cup or nothing :)

wabooth555
07/31/2012, 10:04 AM
I have a BioCube 29 with no skimmer. I am curious to see if this works for others. Please keep us posted...

thebanker
07/31/2012, 03:11 PM
Sorry I was not able to get input on this all weekend.
The bubbles will make an up draft. But with no place for the water to go it will swirl around in the body. By adding an exit for the water new water will be drawn in to the body of the skimmer. So in the drawing note the blue arrow this is the water coming in to the body. The pink arrow is the water flowing into the added pipe and back down out of the body allowing more water to come into the body. Does that make since? Your skimmer is working and working well from the pix of the skim mate I am just wondering if allowing more water to come through will it pull more? I will warn you that it may be hard to find the right size of pipe to allow the right amount of flow through without having the water rush through and not pull any skim mate.
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=198196&d=1343655171


I read this and understand your drawing. I don't think the addition of a separate tube will do anything. The water that is not directly in the upflow, or being pulled into the upflow, will flow down and out of the "skimmer body" where the added tube is, and where the tube isn't. Adding that tube will not do anything different.

spicytuna
07/31/2012, 11:02 PM
I used to run the bio cube skimmer on my 29g years ago, when the wood gets all gunked up, just sand it with some sand paper. Make sure to follow the original grain. Soaking in vinegar would probably help too.

TundraGuy
08/01/2012, 07:44 AM
Banker the idea is to allow the air flow to create an up draft pulling water into the skimmer. This up draft works for the air due to it having an escape i.e. the neck into the collection cup. But for this updraft to pull new water in efficiently the old water must have a place to go into a lower pressure zone so that new water can enter. The nature of having an updraft from the air will cause a positive pressure in the body of the skimmer (however slight this pressure is) providing a location in the body that connects to this positive pressure will allow for water to move back to a lower pressure state un impeded by the uprising bubbles. I have made this type of skimmer before and can tell you that yes infect water will travel down this pipe. I think I need to make a video for you put it in a 10 gallon tank and add dye below the body, without this pipe you will see very little dye pulled in. After adding this “exit pipe” you will see a much larger amount of died water pulled up the body by the updraft then travel down the “exit pipe” and back to the lower pressure zone. If you wished you can even direct this exiting water back up the side of the skimmer body and away from the skimmers intake. I have built and have used these before and found this to work so it was not just a shot in the dark when I suggested the addition. But thank you for challenging the design suggestion. I hope I described the dynamics correctly. Now for my perpetual motion machine all you’ll need is a tooth pick rubber band and a 6 pack……………….

thebanker
08/01/2012, 01:21 PM
Hm. Well I understand the dynamics you're describing. I guess if the output tube's exit point is below the point of educted suction on the water, it could work...

Ok. I get it now. Thanks for the calm scientific debate on an internet forum. :thumbsup:

jrsydevi1
08/01/2012, 04:22 PM
Thanks for the calm scientific debate on an internet forum. :thumbsup:

+1

Amen to that! Well handled you two... :beer:

thebanker
08/01/2012, 04:29 PM
+1

Amen to that! Well handled you two... :beer:

Thanks. For our next debate: Ford F150 vs. Toyota Tundra annnnnnd go.

TundraGuy
08/02/2012, 05:41 PM
Hehehe one is built in the usa by people in my paygrade. One puts americans to work. One uses 100% american domestic product. One produces 381 hp and 401 lbs trq at the fly. One has a better resale value. One has had less then 14 recalls as opposed to 48. One is a personal choice. The other is a Ford. Hehehehehehe.
J/k Also I really did go drive all 6 different trucks in 07 when I bought this one. It was just right for me. I am not a brand loyal buyer. I buy based on what makes me happy. Being that I mod everything I own to suit my needs I know own a drag race ready half ton.

jrsydevi1
08/03/2012, 06:56 PM
I used to run the bio cube skimmer on my 29g years ago, when the wood gets all gunked up, just sand it with some sand paper. Make sure to follow the original grain. Soaking in vinegar would probably help too.

Do you have to dry the wood out before sanding?

jrsydevi1
08/03/2012, 08:17 PM
Your skimmer is working and working well from the pix of the skim mate I am just wondering if allowing more water to come through will it pull more? .

Well.. I havent had time yet to make this mod..

But.. I'm thinking.. and I could be totally mistaken... But.. If it takes longer for a quantity of water to escape the reaction chamber.. doesnt that give it more exposure to the bubble column?

I mean.. if it gets cycled through the bubbles 2 or 3 times before it egresses... wouldnt that make the skimmer actually MORE efficient?

My tank is 8g.. with probably a realistic actual quantity of water in the 5-6g range... and this skimmer tends to accumulate maybe 2 oz or less of golden brown skimmate per day... depending on how much im feeding...

I'm no math wiz.. but that amounts to more than a quart of high quality skimmate per day on a 100g tank... provided the skimmer was comparably sized..

Is my logic/math flawed? Seems to me that this little bugger is doing a perfect job as is..

acbaro
08/04/2012, 04:39 PM
what a great idea!

jrsydevi1
08/04/2012, 07:46 PM
Lol nice! $3, well worth the investment.

Thanks.. lol.. it definitely was... :D

jrsydevi1
08/10/2012, 06:55 PM
Tried the extra 'egress' tube for 3 days... didnt seem to make any difference in the function.. used 1/4 ID vinyl tubing.. gonna try 3/8 tubing this weekend...

Gibbnal
08/11/2012, 11:06 PM
You inspired me to to make one of these today for my IM Nuvo 16. After a few minutes, it was pulling thick foam. Can't wait to see what it produces in the next few days.

codyreef29
08/12/2012, 03:31 PM
I made one on time I put it in a hob and drilled a horizontal hole about 3/4 in size the trick was to get water to travel thru the skimmer part while leaving enough room above the water for it to work properly and without microbubbles getting into the tank but it worked well. I bought a protein skimmer afterwards the larger the container and deeper the airstone the better the flow. I made one for a sump and used a 2 littler powerhead and airstone as well as a water release. both working good but not as good as the one i paid for>.

jrsydevi1
08/12/2012, 07:21 PM
both working good but not as good as the one i paid for>.

Is that Seaclone the one you paid for, by chance?

joshmathis706
08/17/2012, 06:29 AM
I am going to Lowes this weekend and making this for my Nuvo 8

zoolover
08/17/2012, 07:56 AM
Going to try this on my 14g biocube today...fingers crossed.

byeung
08/18/2012, 01:01 AM
So simple. Going to try this on the 5 gal. thanks

duckmeat
08/18/2012, 06:59 AM
thats why i hate being at work on a saturday, i saw this and i am already in the process of making it now i just gotta wait to go home and put it together...

jrsydevi1
08/18/2012, 02:55 PM
You guys that are making your own... post some pics! :lol2:

KafudaFish
08/22/2012, 11:31 AM
Here are 5,000 words:

http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af197/KafudaFish/nano%20build/skimmer005.jpg

http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af197/KafudaFish/nano%20build/skimmer009.jpg

http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af197/KafudaFish/nano%20build/skimmer008.jpg

http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af197/KafudaFish/nano%20build/skimmer007.jpg

http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af197/KafudaFish/nano%20build/skimmer006.jpg

reefdude135
02/07/2013, 06:32 PM
A quick bump...are people still using these skimmers? Currently helping a friend find an internal skimmer for his nano.....

Fish are friend
02/07/2013, 10:19 PM
Good job, in to read later