Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (DIY)' started by SB Reef Lights, Sep 29, 2015.

DIY Skimmate locker for Apex or Reef Keeper for under $10

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...
  1. SB Reef Lights

    SB Reef Lights Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    582
    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.

    [​IMG]


    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    5. Place filter floss in bottom of pill bottom, fill with charcoal, then another piece of floss.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    6. Hook up float leads to ReefKeeper or Apex.
    [​IMG]

    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.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2017
    DSmithZ28 and 3lusive like this.

  2. SB Reef Lights

    SB Reef Lights Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    582
    Where this gets fun is programming my Archon Reef Keeper to turn off the skimmers when the locker is full, then to send me a text message to empty it. As soon as it's empty the Archon turns the skimmers back on.
     
  3. MTWiley

    MTWiley Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2012
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Could you put a delay after the float is down to wait 15 minutes before starting your skimmers up again?
     
    Mohd Salleh likes this.
  4. GnarleyMarley

    GnarleyMarley Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award Build Thread Contributor

    Joined:
    May 23, 2010
    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    271
    Location:
    Charoltte N.C.
    I did the same thing with an small trashcan, after coming home to 10g of water on the floor due to a skimmer gone crazy. I roughed it up a bit and stained it to match my tank. It works great :)


    [​IMG]
     
    3lusive and SB Reef Lights like this.
  5. SB Reef Lights

    SB Reef Lights Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    582
    MTWhiley easily program in a delay like that.
     
  6. SB Reef Lights

    SB Reef Lights Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    582
    Update, the Sam's Club animal cracker tub is now gone, replaced with a proper acrylic unit. :)

    Skimate locker arrived today! Thanks to Ryan at ReefCreators. No More DIY Sam's club animal cracker tub. lol..

    Made to match the ATO and Sumps.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Jay OR

    Jay OR Active Member Gold Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2015
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    242
  8. SB Reef Lights

    SB Reef Lights Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    582
    Yes, just like that. order a couple. They ten to wear out when they are about a year old. Nice having a spare ahead of time.
     
  9. Frankyrivera

    Frankyrivera Active Member CTARS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    183
    Location:
    Hartford CT
    Where's the charcoal trap for the smell
     
  10. SB Reef Lights

    SB Reef Lights Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    582
    It's in the pill bottle on top.
     
  11. Frankyrivera

    Frankyrivera Active Member CTARS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    183
    Location:
    Hartford CT
    Yes in the old one but I don't see it on the new acrylic box
     
  12. SB Reef Lights

    SB Reef Lights Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    582
    Oh gotcha, the new one doesn't have one. No smell yet. It fills about every 3 days.
     
  13. aquaman30k

    aquaman30k Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Messages:
    308
    Likes Received:
    180
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Love the pill bottle use on top of the animal cracker container. Lol Does the new box have a vent hole?
     
  14. mdbannister

    mdbannister Ahh...the Reef Life Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2012
    Messages:
    24,328
    Likes Received:
    21,899
    Location:
    Ontario, California
    Very cool, Mike! I'm thinking about doing something like this. Might use a media reactor I have on hand.
     
    SB Reef Lights likes this.
  15. SB Reef Lights

    SB Reef Lights Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    582
    Funny the DIY worked better than the nice Acrylic one. :)
     
    mdbannister likes this.
  16. Volcmreefer

    Volcmreefer Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Milton, FL
    Great idea Mike!! BTW, I was at the shop about an hour ago and the main display is looking amazing!!
     
  17. dede

    dede Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2017
    Messages:
    419
    Likes Received:
    494
    Location:
    North Dakota
    Going to try this diy, can't get my new skimmer dialed in right and of course it goes nuts when I am not around and is dumping water on the floor. Thanks for the idea.
     
  18. Volcmreefer

    Volcmreefer Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Milton, FL
    I use one of those BRS slim containers for mine. Earlier this year I went on vacation and, of course, my skimmer freaked out and dumped all my skimmate into the tank. Well, yesterday my skimmer decided to freak again and the collection container (a.k.a. BRS slim container) contained the overflow and the tank was spared of skimmate, thanks to my float valve that turned the skimmer off. Glad for the redundancy! Happy Reefing!
     
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page