Can turning your skimmer off benefit your reef?

BRS

Do you think there are benefits to turning your skimmer off for periods of time?

  • YES (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 126 28.0%
  • NO

    Votes: 128 28.4%
  • Maybe but not sure

    Votes: 183 40.7%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 13 2.9%

  • Total voters
    450

Double monti 61

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I do not use a skimmer
 

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wangi

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Today let's talk about the benefits, if you believe there are some, to turning your skimmer off for a certain period of time. I have always been pro-skimmer and I still am but I have to be honest with you. I took my skimmer off my 400g over 6 months ago or so and my reef has not missed a beat. It's actually doing better algae wise. Oh and I've not changed the water either but that's for another discussion. So let me here from you!

1. Do you think there are benefits to turning your skimmer off for periods of time? What?

2. What's the longest you've ever been without a skimmer on a reef tank?


No skimmer reef image via @CoralAddict645
48365192_271099800258275_6798431375524364288_n.jpg
Run 3 of my nanos without skimmer for more than a year and all LPS doing better but SPS struggled. Anemone and NPS loves a bit of Nitrate
 

ilawis

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When I was a kid I would walk to the beach and catch little fish in the sand pools and put them in a tank with water and sand I got from the beach. The first few times I did it I only had a air stone in the water with no filtration and no lights, later tanks I would use a air stone and a small circulating pump with a course sponge in it and I would run the tank for over a year with 1 water change and feeding them plony (a heavily processed meat from the supermarket) I also had starfish I would hand feed in this tank. I never had a algie problem I never cycled the tank it just worked I did have Ghost shrimp in there so they might have sorted any algie problem I might have had?

Now I have a big tank (1500ltr system) that I've been running since February done lots of water changes with water from the ocean without filtering the water from there I've had a struggle with algie my tank was started on day 1 with a heavy bio load (unfortunate cermstances) and I have a skimmer (set to pull dark skim) that's tied to my lights so runs 12 hours on and 12 off (off at night) I have a small refugem on the same cycle and I have a home made roller matt that my wife is ment to turn one a day (I don't know if she does tho because the roll should have run out by now and she has not said anything... I haven't touched my system at all in 5 weeks (been locked out of state because of covid) so no water changes. I added some copiods before I left home and for some reason these last few weeks the algie is slowly disappearing my bio load has dropped a massive amount since I started the tank and I have no corals. Because I'm not there I don't know what my prams are but it's all looking healthy.
So really I look at my skimmer (which is oversized btw) and I think it's pulling out some nasty stuff so I feel that's good it's not stripping the system because it's not on all the time so that's also good so to sum it up I don't feel it's appropriate to swing hard on saying no never or to say can't live without it is a tool that serves a purpose like a rumba.
Sorry for the long post!
 

NowGlazeIT

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Today let's talk about the benefits, if you believe there are some, to turning your skimmer off for a certain period of time. I have always been pro-skimmer and I still am but I have to be honest with you. I took my skimmer off my 400g over 6 months ago or so and my reef has not missed a beat. It's actually doing better algae wise. Oh and I've not changed the water either but that's for another discussion. So let me here from you!

1. Do you think there are benefits to turning your skimmer off for periods of time? What?

2. What's the longest you've ever been without a skimmer on a reef tank?


No skimmer reef image via @CoralAddict645
48365192_271099800258275_6798431375524364288_n.jpg
That tank is gorgeous
 

NowGlazeIT

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I think the skimmer stays on unless you need to clean it. I got sick and couldn’t care for my tank for two weeks. I’m used to cleaning the skimmer 1-2 times a week. It pulls out a lot of dark skimmate. So in two weeks with just draining and not cleaning the neck I saw a whole different side to skimmate. 1/2inch Thick chunky nasty stuff all around. Some fell back in the tank and shot my phosphates way up. I couldn’t dream about not having one after seeing that haha.
 

CanuckReefer

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That is fine for those of you that use a sump or refugium but what about those of us that do not have either. can you still run without a skimmer. All I have on my tank (125 gallon) is a skimmer
No sump, no fuge, no scrubber, no skimmer,or cannister. Somebody asked about bioload which is a fair question. 90 gallon, 75 lbs live rock, Tellow Tang, 2 pygmy angels, Damsel, clown...large and varied CUC of inverts. Long Tent Nem, A few SPS, and LPS, quite a few softies.

I attribute current success to plenty of flow, good LR, large CUC and softies munching on nitrates...
 
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fryman

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I'm surprised at all the yes votes and particularly people running skimmerless. Times have changed, this would be sacrilege ~10 years ago.

I think if you have a high fish load compared to coral/filter feeders then skimmers are very helpful. If you have a coral-filled tank and/or relatively few fish then the skimmer is not as useful.

Also I turn off the skimmer when dosing certain things.
 

G Santana

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I have had to dial back my fuge lights and my skimmer use. They basically were too efficient and were dropping nitrates and phosphates to zero.
So I am now playing with a schedule to regulate both.
 

BillFish Coral Lover

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Depends on your bills
Skimmer is part of a redundancy of filtration process. Use it if you don't have a fug or filter socks to help with nutrients levels. Its an added benefit in my opinion also as I am using a co2 scrubber for pH management. Skimmer is not a must have but a good to have.
I agree. Though I am not running a Skimmer at this time I have one to use of needed. I wouldn't feel comfortable without one on hand.
 

reefomatix

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I appreciate your data! You and I could have some interesting discussions!

The one thing I miss about skimmers is the ability to carbon dose. I used biopellets instead of vodka, but a hefty skimmer is an absolute must-have for carbon dosing. Nothing else worked for me while carbon dosing.
I carbon dose (Tropic Marin: NP-Bacto-Balance) my 20 gallon QT coral tank without a skimmer, but also grow algae, and have essentially no nitrates or phosphates. Not sure a skimmer is necessary (the product works for me without one), I just use a hang-on-back filter for surface skimming and mechanical filtration.. Corals should be able to uptake the carbon-bacteria process byproducts.
 

mattdg

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Now that I am three years in with my setup, I find myself turning the skimmer off for a variety of reasons. The coral (lots of SPS, but a mixed reef) no longer seems to suffer when it is off for a few days. I currently turn off for about half the week, intermittently, but think I may put it back on a timer so it is on a few hours a day, for oxygen exchange and heavy feeding nutrient removal. I occasionally treat with fluconazole, if / when the HA starts to pick up. I usually lower my Lifereef skimmer setting about 50%, when I do. If NO3 or PO4 are running low, skimmer goes off for a week. PH is running low, skimmer goes on. Tank is running too hot on a summer day, skimmer goes off (I really need to change out that Magdrive). I can see myself automating skimmer function, as the monitoring / reef computer tech gets better.

I know a lot of reefers are removing their skimmers, but I think that is silly. There are dozens of reasons to have one primed and ready to go at a moments notice, even if you aren't running it all that often. This is true, especially for a setup a few months to a year in, especially when just starting to add fish, before the coral grow big enough to become filters themselves. Good topic.
 

radiata

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OK, I skim. (My Tunze 9410 (with a 9020.140 Foam Extraction Unit) is the best skimmer I have ever owned. And, over the years I've owned many more different skimmers than you have.

I'm currently leaning toward the daily periodic dosing of either (1) live phytoplankton (which I'm too incompetent to successfully and repeatedly culture) or (2) spirulina powder. If I were to go with the dosing of the latter (which would require I buy another really great Avast Plank feeder) I'd programmatically turn off the skimmer for 10 hours after the daily spirulina dose.
 

Russell Casey

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I've seen that one as well... and spoken to Dr. Tim on several occasions. Nice guy, by the way... I recently had excellent results using his Re-Fresh and Waste-A-Way products to wipe out a cyano bloom.
I've seen that one as well... and spoken to Dr. Tim on several occasions. Nice guy, by the way... I recently had excellent results using his Re-Fresh and Waste-A-Way products to wipe out a cyano bloom.
Hi,
I did waste away and it might have been anecdotal but I lost my wrasse a day after dosing it.
 

90's reefer

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Im the opposite.
I run a heavy in heavy out system that requires a skimmer.
Had a Tunze 9410dc on my 120 and its now on my 45 frag system as it could not keep up.
I now run an oversized skimmer, Tunze 9430dc, and its a beast.
7" filter sock and a bag of carbon is all I use for nutrient control.
Tanks heavy sps and 25 months old.
With sps I can not see running a system without one.
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cmross13

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i thought i had to have a skimmer for a saltwater tank. bought a reef octopus 202-S, but lost the rubber feet. cant buy those from Reef octopus apparently, so i bought a Red Sea RK-300 . immediately had overflow problems, threw it in a rubbermaid tote about a year ago, never looked back. i have a thriving Red Sea Reefer 350 with the V1 sump, two socks(sometimes 100 micron, sometimes 200, in a revolving rotation), and an Innovative Marine "sump" reactor running chemi-pure elite
 

ClownWrangler

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IMO if you find yourself turning off the skimmer for feeding you might as well get rid of it. Without a skimmer you get more free food for your corals from all the microscopic critters that take over its job. The only exception would be if you have a lot of fish and no macro algae. But why would you do that? A balanced ecosystem means less equipment.
 

manolius148

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I do it everyday when I turn the lights on. Phyto can spread through the tank for some hours. Then, at night, when the skimmer resumes its work, excessive phyto, proteins as well as dinos that become pelagic at night are removed. I think it's the best option.
 

aidil257

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I run my skimmer on a timer running only 6 hours on different timings during the day. I would then switched on my refugium light from 9.30pm till 6am. Helps to generate oxygen and perhaps maintain my PH level at night. And I've not changed my water and cleaned the filter for 6 months now.
 

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BRS

When is the last time you purchased cleanup crew critters?

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