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jsousa
05/30/2016, 08:06 PM
I've had my new skimmer running in my brand new setup for about 6 or 7 days now. For 5 of them, it was just freshwater. I was checking to see that there were no leaks in my plumbing before adding salt. Today, I added as much salt as I had on hand which wasn't quite enough to get to full salinity.

Anyway, at this point, I am getting an unacceptable amount of microbubbles coming from the skimmer. Any ideas as too how long it will take to calm down? Should I assume that after the break-in period (which may last a couple of weeks) I should see these bubbles dissipate? Or is there something else I need to check?

Thanks
John

ReefClownMIA
05/30/2016, 08:34 PM
John - what is your setup depth and wattage set to?
Generally speaking, once broken in, microbubbles should be next to non-existent. If you're blowing microbubbles out, it's generally a sign that the flow is too fast, or inside water level too low. A picture of your setup may be helpful.

slief
05/30/2016, 09:28 PM
No real need for pictures. What you are seeing is 100% expectable right now. I've been running the same skimmer for years and I am not the least bit surprised since you just added your salt. Aside from the fact that the waters surface tension is all screwed up from the new salt mix being added, as Macro said, your skimmer needs to break in. Also, you NEED some load for the skimmer to work right. In the absence of fish in your system, there won't be dissolved organics/proteins in the water to help the bubbles stick together. As a result, you will have some bubbles going back down the skimmer body and out the effluent line instead of making foam and rising to the top. Normal break in takes a week (running in salt water) or so after which some if not most of the microbubbles will subside but if you don't have a decent load of fish, microbubbles are expectable as the waste the fish generate help the bubbles bond together and rise to the surface instead of churning in the skimmer and making there way out through the effluent line. Also, with a Supermarin 250, I would set the pump speed to 36 or 38 watts and start with a sump depth of 8.5 - 9". Given your lack of load, 9" would be a good starting depth and 36 watts. Any more speed on the pump and you will have much faster flow through the skimmer than needed which will result in more microbubbles, less dense foam and not as good skimmer performance. BUT, until you get your load up, that skimmer isn't going to make good foam and you WILL have microbubbles. It's 100% expectable. A protein skimmer depends on proteins/dissolved organics for proper foam fractioning. Key word being foam. No proteins = little to no foam which will result in microbubbles. There is no way around that short of shutting the skimmer off until you get some reasonable load in your tank.

slief
05/30/2016, 09:41 PM
One last thing.. Not enough salt for "full salinity"... That won't do a skimmer let alone microbubbles any good either. Protein skimmers depend in part on water density which means you need decent salinity for the foam fractioning (in addition to the dissolved organics).. Skimmers don't work in low salinity environments and the bubbles will go right out the drain line. Get the salinity up, let the skimmer break in and add a bunch of fish and it will settle down. If in the mean time, the bubbles bother you, then shut the skimmer off until your tank is close to the end of cycling. The turn it on and let it break in.

jsousa
05/30/2016, 10:35 PM
Thanks for all your help. That confirms what I was thinking.

BTW, would I ever want the water in my sump to be anything but 9" in height?

Also, as far as water level in the neck, where should I be? At the base of the cup?


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slief
05/30/2016, 10:57 PM
Thanks for all your help. That confirms what I was thinking.

BTW, would I ever want the water in my sump to be anything but 9" in height?

Also, as far as water level in the neck, where should I be? At the base of the cup?


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The sump level in the sump kind of depends on the load in the tank. The higher the load, the lower the sump level. That said, 8.5 - 9" should be fine. 9" should be fine under most situations except a very heavy load. As for the level in the skimmer, I usually suggest setting the transition from bubbles to foam (a very obvious line) at the top of the collar where the neck threads to the skimmer. Set it there with the wedge pipe wide open by adjusting the sump level. That should be between 8.5 & 9" of sump depth after your skimmer is broken in and assuming you have some load in the tank. That will be your driest skim. Then close the wedge pipe to adjust from dry to wet as needed. If you get your sump level right (based on load), you should only have to close the wedge pipe a tiny bit to adjust from dry to wet.