Skimmate Locker DIY:
So I'm on the road 3-4 nights a week and wanted something more reliable than just a 1 gallon jug that can still overflow. So I decided to make an automated Skimmate Locker. Skimmate goes into the 2.5 gallon container (Sam's Club Animal Crackers). When the level goes up high enough it trips the float valve which signals the Reef Keeper. The Reef Keeper then turns both skimmers off until it is emptied. It also sounds an alarm and sends me an email. Once I add the throat cleaners, it will be a fairly hands off skimmer set up. Pill bottle of charcoal added to avoid stinking up the house as skimmate enters the locker and air escapes. Total cost about $10. Had everything except the float valve which was $4.95 shipped on Amazon.
Note: I run 2 skimmers on this tank. For most set ups you would only need one drain line, barb fitting, RO cut off valve and elbow.
1. Parts needed. 1 large container with screw on lid. One float valve. 2x 5/8" hose barbs. 2 90* elbows (TLF). 2 RO valves. 5/8" ID Hose. (With one skimmer only one of each). Rigid airline tubing.
2. Drill holes in cap for float valve and hose barbs. Hole should be a very tight fit so barbs click in place as you slide them in.
3. Add elbows, valves, and hose. I heated the hose ends to push over RO valve ends, then cooled quickly in cold water for a tight seal. Other end of RO valve slides into flexible elbow snugly, yet pulls out for emptying the locker.
4. Drill small hole in Pill bottle, cap and lid. Glue in 3/4" piece of rigid airline to lid, and cap. The slide bottom of pill bottle over rigid airline in lid and glue down.
5. Place filter floss in bottom of pill bottom, fill with charcoal, then another piece of floss.
6. Hook up float leads to ReefKeeper or Apex.
I'm pulling about 2 gallons of skimmate a week, so this works great for the 3-4 nights a week I am not home. When I put the 450g in this spring, I will upgrade to a 5 gallon locker since I will have more space under the stand. I'll add a small pump in the bottom to empty it to the sink drain once a week using RO macro line, or set up a low level float and have it automated to empty when full.
And in action. Pulling about 2.5 gallons of dark skimmate a week.
I was worried about the float valve failing if it cut scummed up, but in actuality the fatty acids in the skimmate keeps the shaft lubricated and the float works flawlessly after a year. I have had zero maintenance on the system other than blowing out the R/O cut off valves every 4 months or so, which take a minute. Combined with my Avast Swabby throat cleaners, my skimmers are just about maintenance free.