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 > Reef Discussion
Register Blogs FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools
Old 06/18/2009, 07:30 AM   #1
SeriouslyTicked
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 10
Protein Skimmer Constantly Overflowing

...Ok so we're using the RSA 135 Protein Skimmer from Euro-Reef Aquarium Systems. It's been running fine until about four or five months ago it started overflowing on almost a regular basis. It seems to happen about once a month, and always during the night between when I go to bed (10-11pm) to when I get up (6am).

Tank Specs:
110 gallon (high) 48 7/8 x 19 x 30 3/4 H
~50 Gallon Sump
RSA 135 Protein Skimmer from Euro-Reef


I'm trying to think back to what we changed when this started happening but nothing has change on our part. My wife and I spend a lot of time watching the tank, especially before we go to bed each night. I'm always adding Calcium and Alk supplements each night and every time I spot check the skimmer. I try and keep the top of the bubbles about 3"-4" from the top of the skimmer and it works out great. Every week I dump a good amount of waste to keep the cup clean. After the first overflow "event" I thought maybe I was waiting too long to empty the cup as I was letting it get about 4" full of waste before dumping. After these overflows started happening I would dump the cup a lot more often, not letting more than about 1" of waste collect in the cup. But that's not making a difference at all, it still overflows each month, and always in the middle of the night!!

This is usually how it goes down:
I wake up check on the tank the skimmer is overflowing again, dumping the waste that was collected back into the sump. When this happens it seems as though there are no bubbles at all and water is just flowing up and out the top. This makes a complete mess and the cleanup makes me late for work every time it happens. I empty/rinse the cup mount it back on the skimmer, power skimmer back on and pull the bubbles back down for about 24-48 hours before adjusting up again. Skimmer works beautifully, collecting waste, and humming along. I empty the cup about once or twice a week, which is usually about 1" of waste. But about a month later (during the night) the skimmer overflows again.

We do water tests about once or twice a week and we ALWAYS get the same good results. The only thing that really changes is the CA and ALK since I continue struggling to try and find a dosage that will keep the levels at what I want. But I can't find a correlation between those levels and the overflowing "events." Nothing really changes inside the tank itself, coral continue to grow, fish seem happy and continue to grow, no signs of parasites ...etc. I'm at my wits end with this. Is the skimmer malfunctioning? Am I doing something wrong? I searched the forums on Euro-Reef's site, Reef Central, and Google, but the only thing I can come up with is people saying "...the skimmer is producing too much wet skimmate..." but I honestly don't know what that means. (sorry). When things are working fine, the skimmer produces good black waste that I dump on a regular basis, and everytime I think it's not going to happen again because of how well it's working but.... it still happens!!!


What else do I need to try?


SeriouslyTicked is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/18/2009, 08:05 AM   #2
patsfan1130
Premium Member
 
patsfan1130's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Woburn, Ma
Posts: 2,021
Have you cleaned the air intake on the pump? often times they get clogged and unless they are cleaned regularly, the skimmer will go nuts or not perform at all.


__________________
My cat's breath smells like cat food

Member of the Boston Reefers Society

Current Tank Info: 75g lps, 90g sps, 120g mixed, 180 nem tank, 300g reef, 600g up & coming reef
patsfan1130 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/18/2009, 08:20 AM   #3
Imzadi
Registered Member
 
Imzadi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 1,038
When I pull my airhose, it stops all the bubble from being produced, but the flow then charges out the output, and has a much lower level in the skimmer itself. The fact that there is no bubbles in the skimmer housing would point at either the venturi inlet or the hose itself, but still the level of water would be... wait, have you got one of those gate valve mods on it?


__________________
If you don't agree with me, that's fine... just go, think about it some more, and come back when you do.

Current Tank Info: 120g Freshie, 55g salty with a 2/3 BeanAnimal. BA METHOD - TESTIFY! I am a DIY Disaster, but I am saving money! Damsel FREE since 07/08/09!
Imzadi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/18/2009, 10:06 AM   #4
SeriouslyTicked
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 10
...It's funny, I had just cleaned the Air intake on Monday of this week, just days before it overflowed again.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong though. I usually grab some freshwater with a cup out of the bucket we make water in, put it in the microwave to heat it up a little bit, then just stick the hose in the cup and let it suck in some water. I do this until it's [the skimmer cup] about to overflow, then back off and let it settle back down. Rinse and repeat until freshwater cup is empty. I can actually hear the air sucking through the hose a lot better after I do this.

This practice isn't really done on a regular occasion though. I just do it when I don't hear the hose sucking as much air in.

I can try doing this on a more regular basis to see if it helps I guess.


SeriouslyTicked is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/18/2009, 10:07 AM   #5
SeriouslyTicked
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 10
oh sorry Imzadi, I didn't answer your question. The skimmer did come with a valve, but we have never used it. The intake hose is wide open.


SeriouslyTicked is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/18/2009, 10:13 AM   #6
Jerm77
Registered Member
 
Jerm77's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: NORCAL
Posts: 500
my euro-reef was over flowing too. I can't exactly remember what I did. but, I think it had to do with the air valve on the venturi intake. I've removed it and haven't had flooding in a while. do you get alot of micro bubbles near the venturi intake? - like others have said, may just be salt clogging the intake.

edit:

can we get a pic of your sump / skimmer section?

how much water is the skimmer sitting in? does the water level change at any point, (i.e. from auto top off / evap, ect.)?



Last edited by Jerm77; 06/18/2009 at 10:36 AM.
Jerm77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/18/2009, 12:03 PM   #7
SeriouslyTicked
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 10
I'm not sure I'll have a chance to get a picture posted today, will be at work late, then have plans after, but I'll make an effort.

To describe it:
The skimmer is sitting in a walled off section of the sump in about 7"-8" of water fed by 100% of one overflow and ~30% of the second overflow. The "wall" is made of three pieces staggered at different heights to stop bubbles from entering the return section. The water level ONLY changes in the return section. All other parts of the tank maintain the same water levels when everything is powered on. We try and maintain the water level in the return section with a freshwater I-V drip . It's not perfect, but it works well as long as the freshwater jug is kept full.

One night our cat must have walked behind the tank and dragged the I-V hose on to the floor with his tail and I woke up to ~3 gallons of water all over the floor, but I digress...

Now that I think about it, we did add a small desk fan a couple months ago to blow air on the return in an attempt to keep the water temperature down. The effect is minimal, aside from increasing evaporation, but it does work a bit maybe 1-3 degrees. This wouldn't be related would it?


SeriouslyTicked is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/18/2009, 12:27 PM   #8
Imzadi
Registered Member
 
Imzadi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 1,038
It does sound like something is not being run as intended...

a picture would be helpful...


__________________
If you don't agree with me, that's fine... just go, think about it some more, and come back when you do.

Current Tank Info: 120g Freshie, 55g salty with a 2/3 BeanAnimal. BA METHOD - TESTIFY! I am a DIY Disaster, but I am saving money! Damsel FREE since 07/08/09!
Imzadi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/18/2009, 12:51 PM   #9
Jerm77
Registered Member
 
Jerm77's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: NORCAL
Posts: 500
so, I notice you a two overflows. you estimate about %65 of your total overflow goes into the chamber the skimmer is in. what makes the second overflow 30% ? a valve of some type? does the flow through that chamber of the sump ever change or is constant?


Jerm77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/18/2009, 01:02 PM   #10
SeriouslyTicked
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 10
Yeah, there's a valve that directs some water in to a refugium from the second overflow. (http://bit.ly/g8wTu).

As long as the return pump is running I would think the flow would be at the same rate at all times.


SeriouslyTicked is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/18/2009, 01:34 PM   #11
cabrego
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: McAllen,TX
Posts: 726
I was having a similar issue with my euro reef RS 135, just started over flowing one day.

Infact it would overflow within a minute or two of turning it on, making it quite useless at the time.

I baned my head around trying to figure out what was different. I tried lowering the water level, changing flow, etc.


At the time I was running it without the air valve too.

I finally fixed the problem by attaching the air valve , and closing it all the way. Then just cracking the air valve open to allow air and finding the sweet spot that way. Essentially too much air was causing my skimmer to over flow, very counter intuitive for me to understand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpYpTatXFuk

Here is a video of my troubleshooting. It sould like mine is a bit worse than yours. Although, mine started off like yours.


cabrego is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/18/2009, 01:36 PM   #12
Jerm77
Registered Member
 
Jerm77's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: NORCAL
Posts: 500
Quote:
Originally posted by SeriouslyTicked
Yeah, there's a valve that directs some water in to a refugium from the second overflow. (http://bit.ly/g8wTu).

As long as the return pump is running I would think the flow would be at the same rate at all times.
I guess my point was, is it possible that the water level would change significantly in that section?


also, if you haven't already tried to contact euro-reef directly, you can reach them here:
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...readid=1175483

they take a day or so to reply ,but usually very helpful.


Jerm77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/19/2009, 07:54 AM   #13
SeriouslyTicked
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 10
Jerm77: No it's not possible that the water level would change significantly in that section. The water level only ever changes in the return.

I apologize to everyone. I took a few pictures of the sump this morning, brought my camera in to work, only to realize later that this camera requires specific USB cable, instead of the standard 8pin to 4pin. So I'll have to post the picture when I get home later today.


SeriouslyTicked is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/19/2009, 08:09 AM   #14
Reefbox
Registered Member
 
Reefbox's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Butler, PA
Posts: 1,047
I take my skimmers out and soak them in vinegar a couple times a year now, taking the pump apart, cleaning the shaft and casing and airline. That way it is always at full efficiency and the airline stays clean.

A waste collector could b setup externally to shut it down or you could add a float switch in the skimmer cup if so desired.

I have decided that skimmers run wild on occassion and you just have to plan for it to happen and if you plan well then it's no big deal. When mine runs wild it just circulates water through the skimmer body and an emergency dump drain dumps water back to the sump.


__________________
Jason
Reefbox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/19/2009, 08:47 AM   #15
SeriouslyTicked
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 10
Do you have any suggestions on where I can find/assemble an emergency float switch? I think it would be a great idea to have a float detect the rise in water and just shut it off.

The only thing that might get in the way is the fact sometimes I have large bubbles that don't pop, and it might trip the switch even though it's not overflowing.


SeriouslyTicked is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/19/2009, 09:02 AM   #16
Stanley-Reefer
Registered Member
 
Stanley-Reefer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Stanley, NC
Posts: 2,012
Run carbon, pull the skimmer and pump and Let the pump run in vinegar water for an hour or two then in RO/DI water for an hour--wait till you see the gunk that shoots out.

Make sure your open/closed on the riser pipe is correct--make sure that oring is in good shape on the riser and the collection cup.

The only time my RS 135 and 250 act up is for 20 min afte brand new filter socks or lifeguard filter pads (the felt) are introduced then it goes away. If you've treated with any ABT or phosphate remover etc it could be making it go crazy.

My units are dead solid, but they pull better when they are totally cleaned every 6 mos, I flush the airline twice a week with water changes in both tanks. and empty the collection cup every 3 days. I lube the oring on the collection cup every 3 days and on the riser pipe once a month. 135 is in about 6.5" of water adn the 250 is in 7.5" of water.


Stanley-Reefer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/19/2009, 11:07 AM   #17
szhttm
Registered Member
 
szhttm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Davie, Florida
Posts: 307
Question

Does your skimmer overflow all the time, or does it stop after a while?

If it stops after a while, does it start to overflow after you feed the fish and/or corals in the aquarium? If so, maybe the type of food you are using is causing your skimmer to overflow.

I use the AquaC 400 skimmer on my tank, and it starts to overflow for a few hours after I feed my fish with frozen Ocean Nutrition Fomula 2. It does not happen with any other food (frozen or dry) that I use.

If your skimmer begins to overflow after feeding, try changing the food you use to see if that is the cause.

Good Luck And Have Fun!!!;



szhttm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/19/2009, 11:44 AM   #18
gabbagabbawill
Moved On
 
gabbagabbawill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 252
Something that I find suspect is the way you have the drain lines plumbed. Even with a gate valve on one of the drain lines, my concern would be that the flow could change here, if the pressure on one side of the drain shifted to be different than the other... how about running both drains together first, then T off that into two valves, one going to the sump and the other to the skimmer, then set your flow rate to either location using a combination of these two valves. That is how my skimmer is plumbed and I never have problems with the water level. If the air intake gets clogged or shut off, the water level in the skimmer goes down, not up.


gabbagabbawill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/19/2009, 12:17 PM   #19
SeriouslyTicked
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 10
szhttm: This only happens about once a month, but when it does happen it overflows until I shut it off. It also only seems to happen at night for some reason. Feeding does not seem to have much of an affect on the skimmer at all. If anything the bubbles will go down a bit when I feed, and rise back up to the proper level after an hour or two, but this is not consistent, or really a problem in my mind.

gabbagabbawill: I can't imagine what would make the flow change in this area. The way it plays out in my head is if the return pump is pushing water up at the same flow rate, then the drains would be draining at the same rate. Also, the prospect of re plumbing does not excite me, but if that's what it takes, then that's what will need to be done.


I think I'll start with the easiest suggestion of dismantling/cleaning the skimmer and skimmer pump, run it for a month and see what happens. If it happens again I will have to seriously consider re plumbing.


SeriouslyTicked is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/19/2009, 12:26 PM   #20
produceb
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 61
this is for the experts. Could it have something to do with the PH ? I added buffer to my tank once and the skimmer went crazy for a day or 2. I had no idea what I was doing and added it to where the skimmer was. I had to turn all the way down for a few days. I think I have the same skimmer.


produceb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/19/2009, 12:32 PM   #21
gabbagabbawill
Moved On
 
gabbagabbawill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 252
ticked- look up closed loop plumbing systems. If you have your drains plumbed the way I think you do, then the pressure gradient can be different coming from each drain. I would think something as simple as an air bubble could affect it... or maybe the gravitational pull of the moon, who knows?

I know that it seems like a last resort... I wouldn't want to redo plumbing if I were you either... but it's worth looking into.


gabbagabbawill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/19/2009, 01:14 PM   #22
cabrego
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: McAllen,TX
Posts: 726
The only thing that matters is that the water level in the skimmer section stay constant.


Cleaning the skimmer is a good idea but didnt u do that already?


cabrego is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/19/2009, 02:58 PM   #23
SeriouslyTicked
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 10
I have not cleaned the skimmer itself, only the air intake hose. I do that maybe every other week.


SeriouslyTicked is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06/22/2009, 06:00 AM   #24
SeriouslyTicked
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 10
I finally was able to get a picture posted. Not sure if it's too late or not. What's not visible in the picture is a third drain behind the skimmer. This is where 100% of one of the overflows dumps into. The other overflow goes into the "Y" setup that you see in the picture.

Another person also mentioned to me that there could be something spawning in the tank that would cause the skimmer to overflow.

http://www.tarno.net/gallery2/main.p...12161.jpg.html



SeriouslyTicked 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 03:56 PM.


TapaTalk Enabled

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Powered by Searchlight © 2014 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