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Old 09/07/2018, 12:01 PM   #1
aravindk
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Why is my skimmer overflowing?

I use a Royal Exclusiv Vertex Alpha 200 skimmer. It gave a flawless performance for almost eight years. In between I had to change the pump but other than that, it never failed on me. Water changes, complete sump draining and cleaning, power outages etc etc, Skimmer was always stable always maintained the water level. But then last two months, it is a completely different story. I adjusted the water depth many times, raised and lowered the skimmer and tinkered around the skimmer settings etc and no matter I do, the skimmer overflows sooner or later.

So here is my question. What makes the skimmer overflow? Other than water changes, the only things I dose in the water is BRS brand calc & alk. I even stopped dosing for couple of weeks to see if it makes a difference. Nope. I also have been dosing the same brand for several years.

I use a Reef Octopus Bio Pellet reactor. It has been working fine. It does throw out a lot of effluent (bacteria) in the water. I suspect because the skimmer is not working efficiently, the effluent ends in the water. Or is this effluent causing the skimmer to overflow?

So, I want to find out what is causing skimmer overflow. What water chemistry parameters could cause this and how can I get to the bottom of this?


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Old 09/07/2018, 12:10 PM   #2
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A skimmer overflows for a few reasons..
1-Something has changed the surface tension of the water (coral glues/soaps/cyano chemicals,etc... and can certainly happen with carbon dosing/biopellet "effluent").. not fully rinsing filter socks,etc.. and many more things that do that..
2-Its sitting in too high of a water level..
3-Its exhaust valve is closed too far..
4-Blockage at venturi air inlet or air intake tube
5-blockage/dirt in air intake muffler..
6-Blockage/debris in needle wheel,etc...
7-other..

Taking it completely apart and giving all parts a good water/vinegar cleaning is a good start when they start to act "funky".. clean/inspect all parts..
Some of those reasons above will just cause consistently elevated water levels/overflowing.. Inconsistent overflowing (works good for a few days then overflows all of a sudden) is a bit more difficult to track down but usually follows some addition to the tank..


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Old 09/07/2018, 12:23 PM   #3
aravindk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgyvr View Post
A skimmer overflows for a few reasons..
1-Something has changed the surface tension of the water (coral glues/soaps/cyano chemicals,etc... and can certainly happen with carbon dosing/biopellet "effluent").. not fully rinsing filter socks,etc.. and many more things that do that..
2-Its sitting in too high of a water level..
3-Its exhaust valve is closed too far..
4-Blockage at venturi air inlet or air intake tube
5-blockage/dirt in air intake muffler..
6-Blockage/debris in needle wheel,etc...
7-other..

Taking it completely apart and giving all parts a good water/vinegar cleaning is a good start when they start to act "funky".. clean/inspect all parts..
Some of those reasons above will just cause consistently elevated water levels/overflowing.. Inconsistent overflowing (works good for a few days then overflows all of a sudden) is a bit more difficult to track down but usually follows some addition to the tank..
I can check off few items in your list as I have already ruled out those. I did a vinegar bath a month ago but I can try that one more time. I do have a filter sock that I added two weeks ago which I can remove it for now.

The effluent from the Bio Pellet reactor, if that causes overflow, it should subside sooner or later right?


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Old 09/07/2018, 01:34 PM   #4
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My usual guess is that some sort of surfactant (detergent, etc) got into the water column. That or a spawning event. Is there any chance you could put some skimmate under a microscope easily?


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Old 09/07/2018, 01:54 PM   #5
aravindk
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My usual guess is that some sort of surfactant (detergent, etc) got into the water column. That or a spawning event. Is there any chance you could put some skimmate under a microscope easily?
No, i can't do that. But just so you know this overflow situation has been happening almost two months and I do a waterchange every two weeks. Even if it is a detergent situation, it shouldnt last this long right?


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Old 09/07/2018, 07:12 PM   #6
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How would characterize an overflowing skimmer?


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Old 09/07/2018, 09:25 PM   #7
bertoni
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If the detergent got into the tank as a one-shot event, it'd be gone by now. If there's some contamination, it's still getting into the system somehow.

Dan has a point. Maybe a video of the skimmer misbehaving would help.


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Old 09/07/2018, 09:46 PM   #8
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It should have passed after 2 months if it was something new in the water. You have not changed anything in the last 2 months ? Since you cleaned everything and inspected for clogs and cracks its going to be a hard one to figure out. The alpha will be hard to replace if its gone bad.


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Old 09/08/2018, 06:43 AM   #9
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How would characterize an overflowing skimmer?
This was yesterday:


I gave the skimmer a vinegar bath and let it run overnight and put it back this morning:



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Old 09/08/2018, 08:10 AM   #10
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I had a coral that made my skimmer overflow when it was not happy. The first time it happen something fell into the coral and I didn't think twice about the skimmer overflowing. 2nd time it happen I realized it was the coral releasing full blown chemical warfare. I have since removed the coral it was 2 risky to keep it in the tank. A coral that can generate that much chemicals could wipe a tank out.


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Old 09/08/2018, 08:31 AM   #11
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I run my skimmer wet and the foam flow looks good in the video :-)

Your foam seems strong or persistent for such a flow rate. I have seen stiff foam with a quick production rate when I fed my fish clams without rinsing the clams to remove the clam juice.

Unless wet skimming is an issue, let the skimmer produce large volumes of foam. If you need to change the skimmer flow rate adjust the skimmer operating parameters. The notion that there is something in the water persisting or being produced for weeks is a tough one to explain.


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Old 09/08/2018, 09:22 AM   #12
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Just raise it some


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Old 09/15/2018, 12:04 AM   #13
Percula9
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Maybe try a different salt for your water changes.If you have an old skimmer hook it up and see if it also has the same problem.If it does,then it something in your water.If it doesn’t then it’s the skimmer.At least this will tell you whether it’s the skimmer or not.


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Old 09/16/2018, 09:17 PM   #14
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I had a problem like that on my old tank found out i had to much flow in the tank causing the overflows to gargle. The gargling cause the water lvl in my sump to raise and lower ever so slightly and cause an overflow. I toned back the flow and fixed the problem. to me there is a lot of rippling going on at the surface of your sump because there is no separated chamber from your returns to your skimmer making lots of surface movement which could be causing it. I know when dialed in you dont want any water lvl rippling or you can cause the overflow problems.


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Old 09/17/2018, 08:56 AM   #15
aravindk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramracer32 View Post
I had a problem like that on my old tank found out i had to much flow in the tank causing the overflows to gargle. The gargling cause the water lvl in my sump to raise and lower ever so slightly and cause an overflow. I toned back the flow and fixed the problem. to me there is a lot of rippling going on at the surface of your sump because there is no separated chamber from your returns to your skimmer making lots of surface movement which could be causing it. I know when dialed in you dont want any water lvl rippling or you can cause the overflow problems.
Good point. This is a basement sump and the velocity at which the water reaches the basement from first floor. I have now added a pipe to get it below water level. This is probably part of the problem. We'll see.

BTW I also noticed a lot of organic matter floating in the display tank. I haven't been using activated carbon for over a year since I added Uv to the system. Decided to add it back again. If there is "something" in the water as many here seem to speculate, the carbon should address it, I hope.


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Old Yesterday, 06:42 AM   #16
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Good idea to add carbon at least for a week. If there is something in the water, the carbon may remove it. And you'll notice how clear your water gets! :0) You could also try to replace your air intake line with a new one. It's possible that it's getting pinched a bit. I've had this happen before. If those don't work, then try to move your skimmer a bit higher (1/2") and see what happens.


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