Is your protein skimmer working like it should? How do you know?

BRS

What do you look for when making sure your skimmer is working correctly?

  • Amount of skimmate

    Votes: 244 45.9%
  • Dark Skimmate

    Votes: 336 63.2%
  • Light Skimmate

    Votes: 18 3.4%
  • Dry Skimmate

    Votes: 60 11.3%
  • Wet Skimmate

    Votes: 53 10.0%
  • Low Nutrient Levels

    Votes: 72 13.5%
  • Low Nuisance Algae

    Votes: 49 9.2%
  • Algae on the glass

    Votes: 28 5.3%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 12 2.3%
  • I don't run a skimmer

    Votes: 60 11.3%

  • Total voters
    532

revhtree

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One of the most important pieces of saltwater aquarium equipment is the protein skimmer! Questions about "what the best skimmers are," "what size do I need" and "what are the best ones" abound on the forums! Included in these popular questions are questions about "tweaking" our skimmers or figuring out the way to make sure they are producing at optimal levels! There are some tell tale signs and evidence that can be observed to know for sure. Let's talk about those today and what they are for you!

1. What's the first thing you check for to make sure your skimmer is working properly? What else do you tick off the list?

2. What skimmer are you currently running and on what size aquarium is it running?



image via @Butuz
skimmer.jpeg
 

stanleo

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The thicker and darker the better. I also like to make sure that there are just enough bubbles to be seen in the skimmate chamber and they aren't running freely. I test my nutrient levels every week and if those don't change and the skimmate looks right, I know I don't have to do anything but clean the cup every 5 days or so.

Oh and I do like when the smell makes me gag a little.
 

LRT

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Hahaha you guys are sick and twisted.
Glad I'm not the only one.
Same as others have said. Thick, nasty and stinky. I try to clean my cups at least once a weeks or when I get build up at top of cup that impedes making the nasties.
That being said idk if im doing it right or the exact science behind what all its actually doing but I'm going to keep doing it anyway.
I run a mushroom dominant system and they keep it dirty.
 

CMMorgan

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I have a hose to drain mine into a jug. I pull it out every couple of weeks when it starts getting gross. Is it dialed in the best and most efficient? Doubt it but I really don't want to invest any more effort into it until I break down the sump for the new build.
 

Ippyroy

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If my coffee is darker than the skimmate, I have to adjust it. I love my Skimz Mini Monzter and am sad that they have gone under. I currently run it on a 32g DT, but will be adding an 80g tank to the system. I have no doubt it will be able to keep up.
 

guylaga

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1. What's the first thing you check for to make sure your skimmer is working properly? What else do you tick off the list?

Dark Brown/Greenish smelly and thick/sludgy skimate in the collection cup.

2. What skimmer are you currently running and on what size aquarium is it running?


Reef Octopus Diablo 160, had it for about 7 years and it is a beast. Works great for my 125g + 29g sump.

To bad its not made anymore. Replaced the Sicce pump last year luckily since it is still in circulation.
 

dbowman5

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1. Is foam or liquid pouring out of the top of the cup?
then:
2. Are there bubbles in the neck?
3. Is the cup full?
4. How dark, wet is the skimmate?
these are what i am using and they are too efficient for my current set ups but i will grow into them.
90 gal volume system in a 75 DT/55 Sump with a Bubble Magus curve 5
40 gal volume system in a 30 gal bowfront DT/20 gal sump with a Coralife cone skimmer 75 g
 

Midrats

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Is black thick effluent really better than the lighter wetter variety? Here's what RHF has to say about it:

Wet vs. Dry Skimming
Foam draining is a critical stage for most skimmers. One problem with drainage is that some organics are washed away with the draining water. There is always an equilibrium between organics in solution, and those actually attached to the interface. As water continues to drain, some of the organics are lost. Further, as some bubbles pop and their organics are redistributed into the nearby water, the local concentration of organics in the water between the bubbles in the foam can rise to concentrations far higher than are present in the aquarium. For this reason, the most effective skimming, in terms of total organic removal, comes from removing somewhat wet foam, rather than waiting for this same wet foam to drain prior to removal. The primary difference between wet foam, and drained dry foam, is that additional water and some organics have drained away. A dry form is more efficient in terms of the amount of organic removed in relation to the water volume, and all skimmers and their potential adjustments strike some balance between removing more water and slightly more organics, or less water and slightly fewer organics. Perhaps a careful analysis of different types of skimming will, in the future, show this expected result experimentally.


__________________
Randy Holmes-Farley
 
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stanleo

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The thicker and darker the better. I also like to make sure that there are just enough bubbles to be seen in the skimmate chamber and they aren't running freely. I test my nutrient levels every week and if those don't change and the skimmate looks right, I know I don't have to do anything but clean the cup every 5 days or so.

Oh and I do like when the smell makes me gag a little.
I guess I should have mentioned it's on a 120 gallon with a 55 gallon sump and it's an Octo skimmer but I don't remember the model.
 

weamdog

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Depends on skimmer. My aquamaxx hanging on my 55 gets a calcification clog on the airline every 10 days or so which causes no bubbles and if I'm not careful, overflow.

My Regal 200s on my 220g will stop sucking and producing when the wheel gets something in it.

The Regal 150s on my 125g has stopped producing but there is no real bio load. It probably does need looked at, but I'm too lazy.
 

TN_Huskymama

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1. What's the first thing you check for to make sure your skimmer is working properly? What else do you tick off the list?

Always checking that it isn't running too wet. What I want to see is thick, dark, and stinky. Man the stuff is so nasty sometimes the stink will fill up the room when I empty it! lol

2. What skimmer are you currently running and on what size aquarium is it running?

Aquatop Xyclone on a 75 gallon display tank with a 20 gallon sump. It's a little loud and a little touchy sometimes, but it works great!
 

ReeferCrabness

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I am hating my Reef Octopus right now. Cleaned the hell
out of the intake and pump, but cannot keep the skim level
constant. Runs good for a few days, then overflows. Has
sharpened my cursing skills though....
 

newportreefey

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If my coffee is darker than the skimmate, I have to adjust it. I love my Skimz Mini Monzter and am sad that they have gone under. I currently run it on a 32g DT, but will be adding an 80g tank to the system. I have no doubt it will be able to keep up.
To get it darker do you add more air or turn it down ?
 
BRS

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