Over skimming since mid December 2017

Discussion in 'General Equipment, Hardware, Filtration' started by Sashaka, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. Sashaka

    Sashaka Active Member Catskill Reef Member

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    I have an AquaMaxx Cone S-CO3 in sump skimmer, which sits in a 40 gal sump filled with about 20-25 gallons of water. The skimmer is overkill for my newly set up 180 gal FOWLR tank but the skimmer size was suggested by the sales rep because of my messy puffer; however, I no longer have the puffer, and I have yet to get the skimmer to settle down. I started stocking the tank two weeks ago, even though the skimmer would not stop overflowing. It continues to overflow back into the sump so much so that the water in my sump looks like a skimmer cup with a head of dirty foam about an inch thick! The skimmer is still running wide open and it's been running wide open since mid December. I have raised and lowered the height of the skimmer multiple times to no avail. Supposedly, the sweet spot or height is 7-8", but not in my case. I'm not supposed to run the skimmer in less than 7" of water or risk damage to the pump, yet the skimmer only stops over skimming when I lift it to about 5" in the water. How do I get the skimmer to stop overflowing? BTW, the skimmer was purchased new but is the older version with the pump attached by hose outside the unit, not in the belly of the unit.

    I know water changes can help, and I have tried that fix. I know additives such as water conditioners and medicines can cause excessive skimming, but after adding chemicals, the skimmer should settle down in a few days to several weeks. It's been two months, and I have seen no slowing down. Am I too impatient, or is there something else I can try? I read good things about this skimmer...researching quite a bit before buying. I'm very frustrated with this skimmer so far. None of my other tanks have this problem and I have different brand skimmers on each of my tanks-all purchased new. Suggestions? PLEASE...if anyone has tried anything different that I haven't tried yet...please share! I'm desperate. I can't afford to buy another skimmer and I can't send this one back. I've had it too long.

    I don't know if stocking makes a difference, but in case you need the info to help, my stock in the 180g tank is a hoeven's wrasse, cleaner wrasse, dragon wrasse, ruby head wrasse, yellow tang, kole tang, vagabond butterfly, mystery goby, two engineer gobys, and a flame hawkfish. All fish are under 3-1/2" except the hoeven, vagabond, and yellow tang, which are all about 4". I also have 7 tubo and 7 cerith snails in the tank (though I may have a few less cerith snails today as I saw the baby dragon wrasse trying to eat one of them a few days ago, but I expected this wrasse behavior).
     

  2. UCF Alum

    UCF Alum Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    First off, you can’t “over skim” a tank, per se. So the size of your skimmer vs tank size vs bioload would not matter if it’s big enough for your tank, and in your case it is.

    Second, I’ll start with the first thing that comes to mind when skimming the tank and the word “over flow” is brought up. Have you adjusted the needle to turn down the the airflow into the pump!

    Start there!
     
  3. jduong916

    jduong916 Active Member

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    The skimmer is definitely not oversized for your tank. I have the Aquamaxx q-3 and i fill about 2/3 of the collection cup every week on a 120 gallon with 40 gallon breeder sump.

    I think I have mine in 8.5" of water with the valve almost closed. I've never had over flow issues, It's been my most consistent and stable skimmer to date. Your skimmer actually gets better reviews compared to mine (internal pump). Is your skimmer newly setup?
     
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  4. Sashaka

    Sashaka Active Member Catskill Reef Member

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    I have also heard that over skimming is not possible unless corals are placed in the tank that like higher nutrient conditions, so I went for the bigger skimmer. I have the "needle" as mentioned, wide open to allow for the lowest height of bubbles in the body of the skimmer as possible. Is there a "needle" on the pump itself that I am unaware of? Thank you, David, for your quick response. I appreciate your help.
     
  5. Sashaka

    Sashaka Active Member Catskill Reef Member

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    jduong,
    Yes, I set the tank up mid December. It finished cycling after about four weeks. I continued to monitor for a few more weeks before I began stocking the tank to make sure it was stable...or as stable as a new tank can be.
    David Drew, who also responded to my post asked if I had adjusted the needle. I assumed he meant the valve. Is there another "needle" other than the valve that I can check? I't's great to hear from an owner of this skimmer brand! Thank you for responding. :)
     
  6. UCF Alum

    UCF Alum Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Maybe I’m not understanding. If you have the needle wide open, that sounds to me as if you were letting the maximum amount of air into the skimmer pump which would undeniably cause overflow. Try closing the needle all the way and let us know how that goes. And no, there is no needle on your pump itself
     
  7. Sashaka

    Sashaka Active Member Catskill Reef Member

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    I have tried closing the valve, multiple times. It foams more. :(
     
  8. Sashaka

    Sashaka Active Member Catskill Reef Member

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    Marine Depot, the seller I bought the skimmer from has a video on youtube that explains why the valve needs to be wide open when first set up:
    I have not been able to close it at all, at any water level that I've put the skimmer at.
     
  9. jduong916

    jduong916 Active Member

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    Are you talking about the internal water level valve? you have this open all the way and it still overflows? Your skimmer may be operating in too deep of water, but you said only 7 inches. Just sounds kind of odd that it would over flow with the gate valve fully open
     
  10. Robin Haselden

    Robin Haselden Turtle R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    A trick I've had to do in the past on a skimmer that would not calm down, was to raise the whole thing up until it stopped overflowing. 24 hours later it had a very thin skimmate in the cup and the level of bubbles had gone way down. I returned the skimmer to it's normal height and it worked fine from there.

    Try running it at the 5" height and keep a close eye on it. When you see the level of bubbles fall, move it back to 7".
     
  11. Sashaka

    Sashaka Active Member Catskill Reef Member

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    jduong916 asks: "Are you talking about the internal water level valve?"
    The only valve I know of on the unit is the "Quick-Precise adjustment valve (which) allows fast precision tuning of the skimmer water level to control wet/dry foam production" or so their specs claim. It's the tube that you screw up or down to open or close the valve. Is there another one?

    I agree. I can't figure out what's wrong.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  12. Sashaka

    Sashaka Active Member Catskill Reef Member

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    I tried this, too. The skimmer did calm down at 5"; however, as soon as I moved the skimmer back down to the recommended height, it over flowed again. I left it running for about 5 days at 5". I also tried turning off the skimmer for several minutes...I read somewhere that turning a skimmer off and then back on will sometimes get it to skim properly. It did not work either.

    I'm stumped.

    On hindsight, I do remember several years back when I had to use a longer hose connecting a pump to a skimmer in my BioCube because I had drilled and bonded two small sumps together to make one larger one, and I wanted the pump to be near the water entering the sump and the skimmer in the back of the sump to provide circulation. I remember playing with the length of the hose until I got the skimmer working the way I needed it to. I guess I could try that trick, though I really don't want a loop of extra hose sticking out of the 40 gal sump. Still, it did work on the DIY sump for the BioCube. What do you think? Will adding the extra hose cause undue stress on the pump and shorten it's life?
    Thanks for your feedback!
     
  13. Reefer40b

    Reefer40b Active Member

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    I would just run it at 5in of water for a while... there could just be something in the water that it reacting too. And if it still functions properly at 5in just keep it there.
     
  14. UCF Alum

    UCF Alum Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Don’t take this the wrong way, but, did you assemble this properly? When I first got my Reef Octo I remember it coming with no instructions and I had to figure it out myself. It was a pain. I know there’s really only one way of doing it, but are there any leaks? All tubing connections have o-rings in place, etc etc...?
     
  15. Sashaka

    Sashaka Active Member Catskill Reef Member

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    Ops. I made a mistake. The website for the AquaMax Cone3 in sump skimmer's says 8" to 10" is the suggested submersion of the unit, not 7" to 10." That's even worse. The deeper I put the skimmer, the faster the over skimming.
     
  16. Sashaka

    Sashaka Active Member Catskill Reef Member

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    I may do this, too. Two concerns doing this is burning out the pump prematurely and the lost headroom under the tank. I have to put the collection cup in between the studs of the tank stand to raise it up that high, so any overflow causes salt creep on the painted wood under there. I did paint inside the stand with Krylon Fusion paint, but still. I'd rather not have the mess, if you know what I mean.
     
  17. Sashaka

    Sashaka Active Member Catskill Reef Member

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    No offense taken. I know something is wrong or the darn thing would work. I asked for the feedback. :)

    Well, I'm pretty sure I put it together correctly. I mean, there is only one way to connect everything. The directions were a joke, but it's not my first skimmer. I also went online to the Marine Depot site (seller of this brand skimmer) and watched instillation videos for this make of skimmer. In addition, I watched BRS videos, and some personal review videos about this skimmer to make sure I had not assembled it wrong or tuned it in wrong. I could not find any problems with my assembly.

    I am wondering after reading all the responses and getting similar answers to what I've already tried or thought of - that the skimmer is setup correctly, but I have a problem with the viscosity or the thickness of my water. The tank was originally filled with half RODI water and half tap water. It's a big tank and I didn't have enough RODI water to make the initial fill without using some well water and water purifier. I use well water for my quarantine tanks without issues and some of them have skimmers, though they are not Aquamax skimmers. Even with the initial dose of water purifier two months ago, it seems like the skimmer should have calmed down by now. All new water going into the tank - top off and water changes - is RODI. Can viscosity even be tested to confirm this idea?
     
  18. Reefer40b

    Reefer40b Active Member

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    I'm thinking you would have no issue with 5in of water as long as the pump is submerged fully. I think something in the water is triggering it to foam a ton/overflow. If running it at that level for like a few skimmer cups full and it still doesn't settle then u may have some other issues... but cross that bridge when u need to

    As far as salt creep that's only temporary and will easily wipe off once you get it to settle down.
     
  19. UCF Alum

    UCF Alum Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    +1
     
  20. bean2986

    bean2986 Active Member CTARS Member Build Thread Contributor

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    What's the health of your tank like? Algae? Nitrates and Phos? Is it possible that your water is just dirtier than you think and the skimmer is reacting appropriately? I could see this happening in a new FOWLR with uncured dry rock maybe

    I'm guessing you just have a lot in the water you need removed. I would raise the skimmer until you get a reliable skimmate and slowly lower it as the water cleans up. As long as the pump isn't sucking air it shouldn't affect it.
     
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