View Full Version : skimmers

01/10/2000, 08:48 PM
Starting a reef tank, (sort of has been for about 8 months), do not have a skimmer but everyone says I NEED 1, my tank has no problems but I'm giving in and getting a skimmer. Do the airstone skimmers work as good as the pumps or are they a waste of $?
Ive noticed a lot of store tanks using the wooden are stone skimmers. Thanks in advance

01/10/2000, 10:23 PM
In my experience, nothing foams as finely as a good wooden airblock. However, they do need replacing about once every two months, and this can be a bother.

"Skimmers" working on the principle of a venturi (the velocity of the water being pumped through the pump outlet lowers pressure so that air from outside the outlet gets sucked in, producing an air-water mix), use powerheads that themselves need maintenance every few months.

Either way, get a foam fractionator (aka skimmer), and you will not regret it.

If you are not sure about committing the cash, I would love to show you a cheap way to make your own, using just an air pump, air hose, wooden airblock, a mineral-water bottle, 1/2" plastic hose, and less than a foot of PVC pipe and two elbows. I can even show you a similar layout using a venturi powerhead.

...this would be only to try out the principle, and with the caveat that mass-produced skimmers are often far more efficient. If you like the results, then buy!

01/12/2000, 10:51 PM
Thanks horge, Forgot to mention i have a 50gal tank. lots of live rock & sand. @ powerheads & a aquaclear 300 filter, I only use the carbon filter 2-3 days a month.
DO I need a skimmer & what are the advantages?

01/13/2000, 12:43 AM
Here you go taz (http://www.actwin.com/fish/reefkeeper1.html#2.2)

01/13/2000, 01:05 AM
Taz: This is my personal opinion but starting a tank with a skimmer is a good idea, it is also something which I feel will limit you in the end, but that is a ways away. I started my tank with a small skimmer made by ETS, it is a good skimmer, it is a touchy skimmer but it is good. I then bought an HSA 1000 skimmer, it towers over my original ETS.

The price of the HSA was almost 2x the price of the ETS. When I was sure I was going to make the switch I unhooked my ETS and boxed it up to sell... the tank improved so much over the 4 weeks I waited for the new skimmer I haven't even turned the HSA on.

I guess I have a nice backup in case something goes wrong, but I don't think it is absolutely necessary for survival.

I never recommend that anyone run a skimmerless tank as they may not be prepared for the extra work it might require. I will just say I run skimmerless and I like it a lot.

Right now the only equipment on my tank are the lights, sump, and main pump... I am debating on adding a surge and Ca reactor... but that is a diff. discussion.

Oh yeah and I have a fairly heavy bioload.

Rambling as ever...

01/13/2000, 02:17 AM

Bish is talking about an established, semi-stabilized reef tank (did I get that right, o Mighty Moderator?). All aquariums are attempts at modelling what is in nature, yes? Problems arise when we scale something as big and complex as nature down to a 50 gallon tank: a lot of vital pieces to the puzzle get left out. Waste that would normally get eaten or converted, isn't.

A skimmer is an export machine, designed to take a good part of what might decay in the aquarium OUT. Unfortunately, some of that stuff taken out can be useful to certain organisms in the tank. This suppresses the populations of those organisms, and suppresses diversity and complexity.

Food and chemical interrelationships can be and should be complex. We know nature is relatively balanced; for lack of completeness, our reef tanks simply aren't.
That is why we need to import (by feeding, adding calcium, fresh water, etc.) and that is why we may need to export (filtering, skimming, etc.)

A skimmer can allow you to maintain a very nutrient-poor environment, the sort that is supposedly native to many corals. A nutrient-poor environment holds fewer nasty surprises (less to go foul), in theory.

It's cheap to make a homemade skimmer, and easy to dismantle if the results aren't to your liking. Even a tank like Bishop's may not be immune to an emergency that requires fast, efficient removal of dissolved, fouling material, and that alone is reason enough to own a skimmer.

If you have an overflow-fed sump, I gave Larry M. a diagram and instructions for making a skimmer that may be applicable to your set-up. It is NOT as (over?)efficient as a commercially-made one, and you may need to read-up/ask-around some, to understand how the depicted skimmer should be placed and used.

Again, don't hesitate to ask me, Bishop (hehe), or any other members of this fine board for any help. I think that's what we're here for.

...or was it the free anemone-fritters and beer every Saturday?

01/13/2000, 07:52 PM
I dunno 'bout you guys but it was the anemone -fritters that got me, the beer helps wash them down though. :D

Horge has it pretty much correct, basically all I was really pointing out was that a skimmer is not absolutely required for a nice aquarium though they do make things easier when starting out.

If it were me and I know what I think I know. :) I would build a DIY model with a beckett injector similar to an ETS/HSA/Areofoamer design. I think the areofoamers are the best skimmers on the market and they are rater easy to duplicate I might add... if you like working with acrylic.

On the other hand for a 50g tank, I think the RSB would do very well, using a Sen7 or Mag7 pump. Lots of people use them and the increased pump really makes them rock. U have to clean the venturi once a month but that's no worse than washing bioballs or changing the airstones.

Rambling as usual...

01/13/2000, 10:31 PM
Thanks Guys. Thats all I need to hear, im getting a skimmer.My tank has been up for about 2 years, (just went to the 50gal last week, used all of my water & topped up 12gal
The only diff now that i can figure out is im adding coral? This is a great site & a wealth of knowledge. Thanks again for the link, Better than any Ive found! Ill keep you posted as to how things go in the next few weeks. Thanks again