Reef Central Online Community

Home Forum Here you can view your subscribed threads, work with private messages and edit your profile and preferences View New Posts View Today's Posts

Find other members Frequently Asked Questions Search Reefkeeping ...an online magazine for marine aquarists Support our sponsors and mention Reef Central

Go Back   Reef Central Online Community > General Interest Forums > Do It Yourself
Register Blogs FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools
Old 11/09/2017, 01:42 PM   #1
wertoiuy
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 20
DIY Protein Skimmer help

So I was wondering how one would go about DIYing a protein skimmer for a 75 gallon DT with 40 gallon sump.

I am a massive cheapskate, and I feel like available protein skimmers are so expensive for what they really are. Other things like this in the hobby I understand and could make myself. Additionally, I wouldn't want to buy a protein skimmer and then just set it up, as I wouldn't know how it works well enough. I would if I built one myself.

I like the design of this skimmer:

http://www.reefworkshop.com/DIY_proteinskimmer1.htm

What I mainly don't understand is how the foam is generated: beckett, venturi, etc.


wertoiuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/09/2017, 02:51 PM   #2
mcgyvr
Registered Member
 
mcgyvr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 12,588
Maybe try reading this to start...
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-0...ture/index.php


__________________
Being blunt and having fun
mcgyvr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/09/2017, 04:18 PM   #3
outy
Registered Member
 
outy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: auburn CA
Posts: 3,268
I consider myself a mvgyver when it comes to homemade acrylics and plastic, not much I cannot do with a heat gun and this material.

I would buy one


__________________
215g DT, 100g basement sump. 3 X ocean revive leds. 2 X mp40qd.
GEO 618, avast kalk rector, iwaki m55. SWC 250 recirc needlewheel.
outy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11/09/2017, 07:02 PM   #4
wertoiuy
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 20
Thanks.
Read through the article; it was very interesting. It looks like the air-driven would be best for me. I always thought that they were now considered ineffective, but it seems much easier to DIY than others. Please let me know if I interpreted this incorrectly.

Why wouldn't you build your own? I wasn't planning on using acrylics or a heat gun anyways. I figured I could make one out of PVC and polyetylene containers, like on the blog I linked.


wertoiuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/09/2017, 07:15 PM   #5
Smokey Stover
Registered Member
 
Smokey Stover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Largo, Florida
Posts: 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by outy View Post
I consider myself a mvgyver when it comes to homemade acrylics and plastic, not much I cannot do with a heat gun and this material.

I would buy one
I do a lot of DIY also and if I had to I would buy a good used one off of a member here. You can tune it up with a new pump, gaskets etc...You just wont get the performance out of a hacked together skimmer. These companys spend a lot on engineering and testing that a regular guy just can't.


Smokey Stover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/09/2017, 10:25 PM   #6
outy
Registered Member
 
outy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: auburn CA
Posts: 3,268
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokey Stover View Post
I do a lot of DIY also and if I had to I would buy a good used one off of a member here. You can tune it up with a new pump, gaskets etc...You just wont get the performance out of a hacked together skimmer. These companys spend a lot on engineering and testing that a regular guy just can't.
Same thing I was thinking.

I monkeyed around with a skimmer once extending it thinking I would get better production, nope same output.

I did add better pumps to my current skimmer that worked, but it really needs a divider to slow down the current in the body, and after my last experience, 10 plus years with this one, it still is running stock.


__________________
215g DT, 100g basement sump. 3 X ocean revive leds. 2 X mp40qd.
GEO 618, avast kalk rector, iwaki m55. SWC 250 recirc needlewheel.
outy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11/10/2017, 12:33 AM   #7
zachrabbit15
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 54
Cost in trial and error add up fast with most of the materials needing to build a skimmer. I agree with the above statements, look at buying a nice used skimmer and save yourself the head ache. If your dead set on diy buy a Avast Skimmer . Save the money by putting the sweet equity in, but leave the engineering to the engineers.


zachrabbit15 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/10/2017, 05:44 AM   #8
mcgyvr
Registered Member
 
mcgyvr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 12,588
Go for it IMO..
A skimmer is a very simple device and one can certainly DIY their own to perform just as well as a professional one..


__________________
Being blunt and having fun
mcgyvr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/10/2017, 07:50 AM   #9
EMeyer
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 99
I've DIYed a few skimmers. Professionally made skimmers are amazingly overpriced for what they do. If you enjoy DIY you should absolutely DIY a skimmer. Its probably the best cost savings you can get in reefkeeping. e.g. DIY LEDs its hard to beat the cost of a standard black box. Skimmers you can easily spend 4-5x less than a storebought one.

It'll never be pretty. Storebought skimmers are way prettier.

Buying a used skimmer is in principle a nice idea except they are mostly way overpriced. Used equipment should be sold for at most 1/2 the cost of new, and realistically far less (1/4 is my ideal). I regularly see used skimmers sold for 90% of the cost of new... no thanks

I find Venturi type skimmers are easiest to build and work well, but my next will be a beckett downdraft style like whats linked in the OP. Looks like inherently a superior design.


EMeyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/10/2017, 09:05 PM   #10
jrhupp
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Lincoln, NE
Posts: 301
If you have access to a 3D printer, you should be able to build the skimmer I designed for 150$ or so with the pump. That puts total cost on the order of the one the OP linked. You just end up with something much nicer looking that is very serviceable and very tunable.

The skimmer when first installed and breaking in:


Here are the source files:
Sketchup model
STL files

Mode details and some videos from testing are in the thread linked in my signature.


__________________
Current build thread : http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2547305

I ate a jellyfish... tasted like soy sauce.

Current Tank Info: 180 gallon system in progress
jrhupp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/11/2017, 05:49 AM   #11
der_wille_zur_macht
Team RC Member
 
der_wille_zur_macht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NY
Posts: 17,418
DIY because you want to DIY. Do not DIY to save money, it won't work. You'll either end up spending more right off the bat, or you'll end up wanting to tweak/replace over time and spend more in the long run, or you'll need to buy tools, and so on.

DIY is super fun, and it's a great hobby in and of itself, but it's rarely the cheapest way to get equipment, unless you really know exactly what you want and exactly how to build it and you have all the tools and access to materials. I'm guessing that's not you, if you're starting such a broad thread (no offense).

The skimmer in the blog you linked uses a beckett to generate foam. By the time you bought the beckett and a pump powerful enough to run it, you could have bought a used, quality skimmer appropriate for your 75g.


__________________
Inconveniencing marine life since 1992

"It is my personal belief that reef aquaria should be thriving communities of biodiversity, representative of their wild counterparts, and not merely collections of pretty specimens growing on tidy clean rock shelves covered in purple coralline algae." (Eric Borneman)
der_wille_zur_macht is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/13/2017, 03:17 PM   #12
clevername2000
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Kirkwood, MO
Posts: 637
Quote:
Originally Posted by der_wille_zur_macht View Post
DIY because you want to DIY. Do not DIY to save money, it won't work. You'll either end up spending more right off the bat, or you'll end up wanting to tweak/replace over time and spend more in the long run, or you'll need to buy tools, and so on.

DIY is super fun, and it's a great hobby in and of itself, but it's rarely the cheapest way to get equipment, unless you really know exactly what you want and exactly how to build it and you have all the tools and access to materials. I'm guessing that's not you, if you're starting such a broad thread (no offense).

The skimmer in the blog you linked uses a beckett to generate foam. By the time you bought the beckett and a pump powerful enough to run it, you could have bought a used, quality skimmer appropriate for your 75g.
This cannot be stressed more.


clevername2000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/13/2017, 04:20 PM   #13
EMeyer
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 99
I 100% agree on the motivation part (DIY because you enjoy it, not to save money), but you can also save money. Especially on high dollar items like a skimmer.

Doser, ATO, LEDs... you'll probably break even more or less. But some of these skimmers sell for >$400. You can beat that no problem.

Again, I agree overall but lets not overstate it. Its also possible to save money in some cases.


EMeyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/13/2017, 06:15 PM   #14
DreadCapn
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 19
Agreed on DIYing because you want to and enjoy it. And for that I would very much recommend the Avast skimmers. The kit is a real joy to assemble, and it is beautifully designed from a maker's perspective. It's the only skimmer I've ever owned, but it runs quietly, has an easy to adjust re-circulation feature and water height adjustment, and skims amazing well. Everything is substantial and looks nice to boot.

I can also recommend the swabbie kit and their media reactors.

https://www.avastmarine.com/collections/you-built


__________________
92g corner, 40b sump, 40b refugium

Avast Pegleg Skimmer
DreadCapn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/13/2017, 06:32 PM   #15
der_wille_zur_macht
Team RC Member
 
der_wille_zur_macht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NY
Posts: 17,418
Absolutely. A cheap, well designed DIY skimmer will definitely beat a high-priced, high end brand name skimmer - at least, in terms of cost. But if your objective is saving money, you're probably not cross-shopping DIY versus the most expensive name brands, bought new. If you're really trying to pinch pennies, you'd probably be comparing a DIY skimmer to a used mid or low end model. And at that point, the argument becomes a lot harder to make.

Also, that shiny new brand name skimmer has an obvious price, it's the sticker on the box. By contrast, it's hard to even talk about cost for DIY. Personally, I don't think it's accurate to just add up material costs for a given end product. Back when the Typhon LED controller project was active, I had probably invested a grand or so into prototypes, mockups, tests, getting PCBs cut, and so on - not to mention new tools I bought, or the hundred or two hours of my time designing, testing, building, and posting abou the project, then working on the software, publishing the design, documenting, and so on. Meanwhile, once the project was published, an average DIY electronics hobbyist could download the instructions, buy the parts for maybe $20 if they were careful, assemble it in half an hour, and have a working LED controller comparable to $150 commercial units. What does it cost to DIY an LED controller? The two grand I spent (plus maybe a couple grand for my development time), or the $20 plus half an hour the hobbyist spent?

Even if you look at skimmers, a scaled down version of that comparison applies. I've built a lot of skimmers, that was a big part of why I got in to DIY'ing for fish tanks years ago. Most only ran for a few months, or even a few minutes or hours - before I tore them apart, replaced them, upgraded them, tweaked them, and so on. Eventually I had one I ran for maybe 2 years. It worked great. It probably had $20 of acrylic in it and a $50 pump. I don't think it would be meaningful to say that I can make a DIY skimmer for $70 though, because if it hadn't been for the prior investment (or copying someone who made the investment) then that would be off by several orders of magnitude.

Then there's the cost of support. If the Kessil on my nano stops working, I have a phone number to call and someone to get mad at. When the DIY LED rig on my old 360g stopped working, well... it was my job to fix it. Sometimes, it can be priceless to have a neck to wring!

I don't mean to monopolize the conversation with my rambling, but I will say that I've done a lot of DIY and put a lot of thought into why I DIY and whether or not my motivations were honest. There were definitely periods where I DIY'd something specifically because I could save money, and it's definitely possible. In some cases, it's even possible to factor in time and effort and still win on cost, once you have the workshop and general DIY skills down, and once you understand the operating concepts behind the thing you're building. But it's a lousy and unfulfilling motivation to DIY. It's kinda like saying that the only reason to have sex is because you want a baby. Sure, some people do legitimately feel that way, and you (might) get a baby once it's all over with, but man, there are definitely other reasons to do that!


__________________
Inconveniencing marine life since 1992

"It is my personal belief that reef aquaria should be thriving communities of biodiversity, representative of their wild counterparts, and not merely collections of pretty specimens growing on tidy clean rock shelves covered in purple coralline algae." (Eric Borneman)
der_wille_zur_macht is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/13/2017, 08:34 PM   #16
Twinfallz
Registered Member
 
Twinfallz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 184
I made my own skimmer



The collection cup is a DVD disc container.

The cylindrical body is from the original skimmer I bought many years ago.
It's the only original part left. I even fabricated the reduction throat to skimmer neck.
I would have bought new acrylic tubing but the mininmum was something like 3 meter length & was a bit expensive when I only needed about a foot length.

If you have the know how, and you'll either save money, or, just like makin your own stuff, go for it.

I no longer use a skimmer, not for a couple of years.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg skimmer.jpg (91.3 KB, 81 views)
Twinfallz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11/15/2017, 11:27 PM   #17
orcafood
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Raleigh
Posts: 863
The real trick is that you need the right size neck. I'd recommend making it a recirculating skimmer too, fed by the tank drains. Why not right?








__________________
Acros, Zoas, Lps and Acros

Kevin

Current Tank Info: 200 gallon sps
orcafood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/17/2017, 01:20 AM   #18
orcafood
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Raleigh
Posts: 863
Make sure to base your skimmer off an existing design! As was stated, much effort goes into the development and research of a skimmer design. Abuse the fact that you can utilize the dimensions of commercial skimmers.

I based mine around the SRO-5000 external skimmer. In the end my bucket skimmer cost less than a used SRO-5000: I consider that a successful DIY. Overall I spent about $180 on the parts plus the pump equal to a $900 skimmer. It works like a champion. That said, you have to do it right or else it is not worth it. I used uniseals for much of the design. Pulls a black sludge from the tank, almost makes me vomit when I clean it.


__________________
Acros, Zoas, Lps and Acros

Kevin

Current Tank Info: 200 gallon sps
orcafood is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:05 AM.


TapaTalk Enabled

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Powered by Searchlight © 2017 Axivo Inc.
Use of this web site is subject to the terms and conditions described in the user agreement.
Reef CentralTM Reef Central, LLC. Copyright 1999-2014