Better than ReefGlass AIO tank Nano Skimmer, complete build under $45.

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (DIY)' started by InspectorGadget, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. InspectorGadget

    InspectorGadget Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Due to recent events, my 40 gallon sps tank had to shrink to a 20 gallon Inovative Marine Nuvo tank. I love the tank but I have every square inch covered with a piece of equipment (in the back). Apex probes, Doser lines, ATO, Cobalt heater, refuge on one side and ceramic media on the other with a filter sock. I have about 3” by 2” of space to place a skimmer. I did not want to have one in the display side due to micro bubbles and it’s ugly. I looked at the reefglass skimmer but I didn’t want to drop $110 for it with an air pump (mainly bc my wife was already ****** with the recent events regarding this tank). My goal was to design a skimmer that was cheap but worked and somehow get my C02 scrubber to work with it. This skimmer is designed for Nuvo tanks but can also work for other tanks in need of a nano skimmer, I will place recommendations for other tanks below. I purchased as much as I could from Amazon bc I love prime and it had the best deals. So here it goes:

    Parts list:
    1) Clear Polycarbonate tube 1 1/8” ID, 1 1/4” OD, 4’ length (smallest length on amazon) $10.00 Prime shipped. Clear Polycarbonate Tubing, 1-1/8" ID, 1-1/4" OD, 1/16" Wall, 4' Length https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000OMFLE4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_1-JBAbYXK2S2H

    2) #6 two hole rubber stopper with 5mm holes (3/16”) $5.75 shipped https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01318SOBO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_naKBAbBPMFY3C

    3) Uniclife UL-40 4-LPM adjustable air pump $14.98 Prime shipping. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EBXI7PG/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_udKBAb5HCB98A

    4) LEE 2” wood air stone $6.85 Prime shipping.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002APUP8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_GfKBAbP2BDMHV

    5) Standard airline, the link is what I purchased for another project but you don’t need $50 worth. Amazon has standard airline for $2.99. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TVNL9YI/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_EhKBAbMCME8TM

    6) zip ties at least 6” length. $2-$3.

    7) 1/2” ID vinyl tubing, 1’ ***not silicon, need it stiff. Usually around $1 from any hardware store. Home Depot, Lowe’s, ACE hardware, etc..

    8) **Optional 1/4” acrylic tube, $2.49 from BRS. https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/1-4-clear-acrylic-tube-16-long.html

    9) scrap piece of acrylic at least 2-3” by 3-4”.

    10) Plastic container, I used a Bia drink bottle but soda bottle with a large base are perfect.

    11) Aquarium safe silicone $3.99 from Lowe’s or Home Depot.

    Tools needed or recommended:
    1) preferred a table saw but if you don’t have one, go to a friends house or use a Dremel saw.
    2) drill bits or dremel tool
    3) something to cut zip ties
    4) propane torch or butane torch or grill style lighter
    5) oven mit
    6) needle nose pliers preferably

    I recommend everyone to be safe around power tools and torches or lighters. I won’t be healed liable for your use of the tools listed above.

    Step #1:
    As previously mentioned, I designed this for a Nuvo tank but, some changes can be made on this step for other tanks. For Nuvo tanks, cut a piece of the Polycarbonate tubing to a length of 14” (reefglass has theirs at 11.5”, more contact the better). The goal is to have 5” of tube above the water line. This Nuvo 20 has a depth 8.5” of water in the area where the Skimmer will be placed. After you have cut a piece of Polycarbonate tubing, make another cut on the bottom at about a 45-30 degree angle but do not but across the whole tube. See the picture. The goal was to set the bottom of the tube on the bottom of the area where the Skimmer would be placed. The angle cut allows water to enter the Skimmer and the flat corner allows it to sit flat. 33719A60-6470-45B9-8A15-2F9D8967B490.jpeg

    Step 2:
    Cut a small piece of 1/2” ID vinyl tubing about 5-6” in length. Now, use a pair of pliers to hold one end of the tubing. Take a torch or other heating equipment and heat the tip of the tubing slowly, about 1.5” inches worth. You will start to see the tube becoming limp. When it is limp, using an oven mit on your hands, bend the tip of the tube at a 90 degree angle and hold it in place. Make sure that the tube does not pinch. When it cooled enough for me to handle it, I use my fingers to pinch the bend slightly to make sure I could allow as much water through as possible. Another trick I did is, while holding the 90 degree angle in place and pinching the bend, place it under cold water and this will quickly hold its shape. Once you the 90 degree bend, proceed to heat the shaft up to the bend. Once it is limp, make it as straight as you can. See pictures. 38618FF6-49C2-4487-A2F0-C86A44E236F8.jpeg

    Step 3:
    Carefully drill a hole in the side of the Polycarbonate tubing for the 1/2” ID vinyl tubing you bent or use a Dremel to make the hole. Go about 6” up from the base of the Skimmer (angle cut end). This tube will allow water to circulate as the air stone pulls the water in instead of the air stone working against itself. After you drill the hole, fit the vinyl tubing to check the placement. Make sure that the tube doesn’t protrude into the Polycarbonate tube past about 1/4”. Once the vinyl tube fits nice into the Polycarbonate tube, use two zip ties to hold the tube in place. Then use the silicone to seal around the vinyl tube going into the Polycarbonate tube. 2A075F02-DB14-4CEC-AE63-3F1A69FD1E97.jpeg
    8FDEB853-B9F6-4994-8735-91D1ECC82564.jpeg

    Step 4:
    The acrylic tube is optional for this step but is preferred. Now take the rubber stopper and push the 1/4” acrylic tub into the base of the stopper (only need about 1/4” pushed into the stopper). Then place the stopper in the top of the Polycarbonate tube. Now get an idea on how long you want the acrylic rod to be when it has the air stone on the end. Should be around 11-12” long. I attached the air stone to the acrylic rod for this step. I used a 3/8” piece of tube to attach the air stone to the acrylic rod. You don’t want the air stone sticking out the bottom of the tube. I placed mine right above the slit I cut into the Polycarbonate tube. The air stone should be below the hole you drilled into the Polycarbonate tube. If you chose to not use an acrylic tube, you can use your standard airline tubing. Just take note the air stone floats so you will need to make the tubing longer than you would the acrlic rod.

    Step 5:
    The mount. I had a scrap piece of black acrylic I used for this. Considering the Polycarbonate tube will be sitting on the bottom of the tank baffle area, you just need to hold the Skimmer in place and prevent it from moving. Using the same technique as bending the vinyl tubing, I bent the top of the piece of acrylic so that it held onto the top of the glass lip of the tank. I then drilled two holes in the side of the acrylic where I then wrapped a zip tie around the Skimmer and through the holes, holding it into place. If you do not have a piece of acrylic, you might have to get creative or find a way to zip tie it to something that won’t move. 22365CAF-5688-46F1-9CBB-48C659147C72.jpeg

    Step 6:
    Drill a hole in the soda bottle lid to fit the standard airline tubing (drill in center of the lid). Now drill 4-5 other holes around the center airline hole to allow the air to escape.

    Step 7:
    Put the Skimmer together by placing the stopper in the top of the Skimmer with the air stone attached. Now push a 6” piece of airline tubing into the top of the stopper at the same hole that the acrylic rod with the air stone is connected. Now attach one of the airline check valves that came with the pump to the airline you just pushed into the top of the stopper. Now attach a piece of airline tubing to the other hole on the top of the stopper. This line will run to the waste bottle where you drilled all the holes a few minutes ago. Make sure the bottle is below where the Skimmer will be placed. Now mount the Skimmer into place. Hook up the Skimmer to the air pump. Make sure you use both airline outs for the Skimmer. I then turn it on with the output adjusted at its lowest. Slowly increase until the bubbles are about 2” below the stopper. It will take a few days to break in and get everything adjusted correctly. I will tag a separate post where I will include how I made a C02 scrubber work with this. Enjoy!
    563B41D7-BD86-4718-97F0-8D6E61137CBF.jpeg
    9E3F0A48-30CB-4CAF-9D3B-9C2C6FCCF755.jpeg
     

  2. Kmore1219

    Kmore1219 Active Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    282
    Location:
    Weston, FL
    Wicked cool!
     
    InspectorGadget likes this.
  3. Johniejumbo

    Johniejumbo Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    102
    Location:
    San Angelo Texas
    Nice. I’m gonna try this! Thanks!
     
    InspectorGadget likes this.
  4. InspectorGadget

    InspectorGadget Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Let me know if you have any questions. I have another Nuvo 20 that the left over materials made a Skimmer for $20. Just needed another rubber stopper and air pump. So 2 skimmers for about $65. Win!
     
    Johniejumbo likes this.
  5. Johniejumbo

    Johniejumbo Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    102
    Location:
    San Angelo Texas
    I’ve gotta replace one I made out of pvc with this. Mine is way too bulky. And a pita to clean.
     
  6. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2017
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    160
    Location:
    SoFlo
    Is this pretty quiet?
     
  7. InspectorGadget

    InspectorGadget Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Yes it is. If you want it to be really quiet, make the tube 13” instead of 14”. That makes it 4” of tube above the water compared to 5”. I did this for the second Skimmer that is in the tank literally next to my bed. Uses less air to skim. That tank however does have a lower bioload. My sps tank where the Skimmer is 14” long has the air pump cranked maybe 2/3 of the way to pump as much C02 skimmed air and draw a large amount of waste. The air pump for that Skimmer is as loud as the return pump for the Nuvo 20.
     
  8. InspectorGadget

    InspectorGadget Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Understandable. I had to make one with a small footprint too. I would think with pvc it would be hard to see where the Skimmer would be set at.
     
  9. Johniejumbo

    Johniejumbo Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    102
    Location:
    San Angelo Texas
    It is. Took a bit of figeting to get it right. But it was all stuff I had in the garage and slightly better than nothing lol. Like yours a lot better. I look forward to making it.
     
  10. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2017
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    160
    Location:
    SoFlo
    How did you cut the angle in the polycarp? dremel? Im curious how easy it would be to crack.

    Im going to make this sometime this weekend. Looks sweet.

    Edit: Im also curious to see how much this impacts salinity on your 20
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
  11. InspectorGadget

    InspectorGadget Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I used a drill bit and did not apply much pressure. I let the bit more or less “melt through.” My Dremel was broken or I would have used it.
     
    Justfebreezeit likes this.
  12. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2017
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    160
    Location:
    SoFlo
    Roger that, Just ordered it all up from amazon. Hows yours working out?
     
  13. InspectorGadget

    InspectorGadget Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    North Carolina
    DA2D43E5-07B6-4B24-A614-061FB1C05D4E.jpeg

    Going well! With my Nuvo, I can tell when my filter sock is getting clogged when the foam is slightly lower than usual due to the slightly slower flow lowering the water level a hair. Helps me know when it’s time to change it out. Once I got it tuned in (took a few days of breaking in and tweaking), I haven’t had to touch it. One tip is to make sure you turn it off if you have to turn your return pump off (if that area you have it in fills up with water) so that you aren’t super wet skimming and wasting good water. When I turn it back on, I place the skim out line back into my tank for about a minute until the foam stabilizes back to normal. Just saves from a super wet skim. I don’t need to do this with the system I have on my apex considering it waits 5 minutes to turn the Skimmer back on.
     
  14. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2017
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    160
    Location:
    SoFlo
    Nice good color skimmate to. I'm pumped to try this out. Thanks for the post and update!
     
  15. joshua1316

    joshua1316 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    7
    Not gunna like looked like a crack pipe I first haha. Looks good tho, great diy.
     
  16. InspectorGadget

    InspectorGadget Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Lol that’s funny
     
  17. Sully32

    Sully32 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    22
    This is a great writeup. There will be a lot of people that find this useful.
     
  18. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2017
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    160
    Location:
    SoFlo
    When I turn the airpump higher power my bubble level drops. I think because the bubbles are bigger and less surface tension. Do you have this problem?
     
  19. InspectorGadget

    InspectorGadget Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    North Carolina
    How many holes do you have in the lid of the skim bottle? I didn’t have enough holes to let the air out the first time so the pressure would push the air bubbles down. You can test this by just unscrewing the skim lid off the bottle to let it breathe and seeing if the bubbles rise. Also, it took a day or two for my wood air stone to break in. Once it broke in the bubbles got smaller. I would get it up to 2”-3” off the stopper and wait. You should see it start making skim soon after that. Since it started making skim, it hasn’t stopped for me on both my tanks with very different bioloads. As I noted in a few posts above, on my low bioload tank (2 clowns and a very small anemone) I made the Skimmer 13” opposed to 14”. The higher load tank has 2 clowns and around 20 sps corals that I feed on a constant basis. Both are Nuvo 20’s. Let me know if that works. How long has it been hooked up?
     
    Justfebreezeit likes this.
  20. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2017
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    160
    Location:
    SoFlo
    I ran it for about 3 hours and turned it off before I left for the night just in case. I've been tinkering with it and i'll get it to work I was just curious if you had a similar problem. I did try unscrewing the lid on my skim catch.

    Thanks for answering. My bioload should be pretty decent so it should get some skim going. Ill play with it more tomorrow.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

Loading...