SKIMMER CONFIDENCE: How much difference does the RIGHT SKIMMER make?

How confident are you that your skimmer is the right skimmer for your tank?

  • Very Confident

    Votes: 225 41.5%
  • Somewhat Confident

    Votes: 184 33.9%
  • Not Too Confident

    Votes: 55 10.1%
  • Not Confident At All

    Votes: 23 4.2%
  • I Don't Use A Skimmer

    Votes: 48 8.9%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 7 1.3%

  • Total voters
    542

revhtree

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Today's question of the day comes to you inspired by a thread I saw here on R2R yesterday where someone asked the question of "how much difference will a protein skimmer make on my tank." Well the follow up questions are the keys to the answer. What brand of skimmer do you have? How big is your tank? What is the bio-load in your aquarium? Do you have the skimmer "dialed in" correctly? And so on.. So let's talk about it today!


1. How do you know if your skimmer is making a difference in your saltwater aquarium?

2. How much do you trust a protein skimmer as the main exporter of nutrients from your aquarium?



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andrewey

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1. How do you know if your skimmer is making a difference in your saltwater aquarium?
I've tested various skimmers on my tanks to compare their effect on nutrient reduction to determine the skimmer that works best with my WC schedule and feeding habits so my nutrient levels are in line with I'm shooting for.

2. How much do you trust a protein skimmer as the main exporter of nutrients from your aquarium?
100%. On certain setups, my refugium has been my main exporter and on others, a skimmer (with or without carbon dosing) has been my main exporter. Right now, I run both. Independently, both can work well as tools for nutrient reduction if properly sized/tuned.
 

ReefGeezer

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1. How do you know if your skimmer is making a difference in your saltwater aquarium?

I don't have a clue anymore. Really. I'd have to leave it off for quite a while to see any effect. I'm not inclined to turn it off for that long though. I'm afraid that by the time I see a change that I could attribute to lack of skimming, something bad may already be happening that is hard to turn around.
2. How much do you trust a protein skimmer as the main exporter of nutrients from your aquarium?


I think the corals, rock, and Cheato do more of that removal. The skimmer just helps keep the lid on DOC levels that might otherwise rise too high and eventually overwhelm the system due to my "generous" feeding habit.
 

MikeYasin

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I've had several skimmers over the years - mostly mid end. I knew that I didn't have the level control and customization that other skimmers were capable of, but I was OK with that. When I embarked on my upper-end build, I planned around compatibility and control with Apex, so I chose a Reef Octo with variable speed that was Apex ready. I have it hooked up to a C02 reactor, and can rev it up and down depending on the pH of the tank and/or turn it off completely if the solenoid bypass isn't pulling enough ambient air to bring pH down, etc.
 

Mattynorth

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Due to ill heath I was a way from my tank for six months. Nobody even looked at it over that period. To my surprise I came back to a thriving sps tank. With only one fish lost. I had not cleaned or empty the skimmer. The fuge was over grown and all but my calcium kh and mg was good. My kh was very low 6.1 slowly brought this back up cleaned everything but now have a very happy tank but only skim and turn the fuge on 4 hrs a night. Still have to lower nitrates even with excessive feeding to get them back over 5. I will never threat over a skimmer again.
 

MikeYasin

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Due to ill heath I was a way from my tank for six months. Nobody even looked at it over that period. To my surprise I came back to a thriving sps tank. With only one fish lost. I had not cleaned or empty the skimmer. The fuge was over grown and all but my calcium kh and mg was good. My kh was very low 6.1 slowly brought this back up cleaned everything but now have a very happy tank but only skim and turn the fuge on 4 hrs a night. Still have to lower nitrates even with excessive feeding to get them back over 5. I will never threat over a skimmer again.
Glad you're back and healthy! (the tank, too!)
 

aqua_code

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The only skimmer I had that lasted 10 years was a reef octopus space saver. I decided to purchase the 110 EXT and is amazing. Never going back after using an external. So much more space and control imo. Easy to find replacement parts for the Reef Octopus skimmers also.

All my other skimmers have broke or had a tiny collection chamber that was annoying to maintain. I've had a HOB snap off the tank from over-tightening screws.
 
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rknott

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Have had my 75 with 30g sump for 2 years with a $200+ skimmer that is still sitting in the box I bought on sale. I read everywhere about how great skimmers are and everyone needs one. Not yet for me. Chaeto growing like mad and nitrates at 0. I spoke to someone that is an actually knows what they are doing in this space and she said she doesn't run a skimmer in any of her tanks. She has everything from nanos to 475g tanks. I mention this not because I am saying you don't need them. More so new people reading this thread don't go out an buy one immediately. Need depends on your unique situation.
 

Anchor

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As the main export of a skimmer is to take out "not yet broken down" things in your tank... ,Like protein oils and small particles of food and such... I find that if my Nitrates and phosphates rise tht it cant be getting it all. I put it in filtration line after a roller mat filter for effectively taking out detritus and preventing chemical buildup of those 2 things. Does it work? I take out about a cup of black liquid every 2 days on a 75, so I know it is working but I dont really know how well. I dont have a filter roller... and my nitrates and phosphates increase from month to month without water changes.
 

Mark Bradley

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Please educate me - what do you get if you buy a higher end skimmer? I bought one recommended by my LFS (well known UK brand) which, at just over £200 (plus cost of pump) which I now know is not high end. However, other threads seem to suggest they all have minds of their own or am I mistaken?
 

syrinx

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Different systems I do different things. I was an early proponent of Lee chin Eng and fully understand how the balance of the system is the ideal to strive for. In most of my home systems over the years as the tanks achieve balance- the skimmer does less and less work. At this point I usually take the skimmer offline. I do use skimmers for customer tanks and public installations as those are beyond my control as far as care and livestock considerations are concerned.
 

wolfthefallen

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1. How do you know if your skimmer is making a difference in your saltwater aquarium?
It pulls out nice dark poop. Its not running Wet, nor is it running dry. But its dark not see through and still a fluid. In addition it provides Gas exchange for the system. Since it I got my current one and tuned it, my pH has been more stable.


2. How much do you trust a protein skimmer as the main exporter of nutrients from your aquarium?

Psshh nothing i do is the main, or Primary, but first of many. I also have a refugium to catch anything that stays in the take long enough to break down. Battle it from both ends I say, Corals and Fish are happy, so I must be doing something right.
 
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Phillips/reef

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I have a NYOS skimmer now and it seems to pull waste out good. I liked my previous better but the company isn't in business any more So no parts to repair. Im going to order a live reef next time so i can just buy a pump of my preference. So able to always repair and use quality pump. Plus saving money long term is nice to.
 

DaddyFish

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I don't use skimmers. I use HOB filters that serve both as skimmer and multi-function filtration (mostly final stage mechanical, carbon when required to remove meds, nitrate pads etc. as needed).
 

churchill753

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Please educate me - what do you get if you buy a higher end skimmer? I bought one recommended by my LFS (well known UK brand) which, at just over £200 (plus cost of pump) which I now know is not high end. However, other threads seem to suggest they all have minds of their own or am I mistaken?
I have a Octo HOB 100 and is seems to run great. Pricey at ~$200. Quiet motor, simple design. Well fitted components that come apart easily for cleaning but are still tight fitting when reassembled. Simplicity in operation. Relatively easy to clean. Higher grade plastic than some of the lower end models. For me, it's all about reliability and simplicity.
 

joekool

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A good skimmer is one that doesn't always make foam. If it's always making foam then it's not getting everything out of the water. If you can go bigger do it. Here is my RK5AC it's rated for 1000 to 2000 gallons. I have 687 gallons of water.
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syrinx

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One of the more interesting things in watching this hobby from the start until now is seeing how things change and how tech moves often to help tech rather than the balance of the tank. For example, when the berlin system was started and skimmers began to be widely used-there was a arms race for the biggest and most efficient skimmers. I even got into it with both feet ending up with a 7 ft tall ETS downdraft. As skimmer efficiency became the most important aspect of the system-other parts of the aquarium were optimized for its use. In some cases this was good-in others it wasnt so much. At the peak of skimmers development-people started to find hair algae and other problems in tanks. Refugiums became more popular- and helped to a point-but systems that had been designed with skimmers in mind-had too long of a dwell time in sump to help skimmer efficiency. This is why you would see tanks with no measurable nutrients in water tests- yet algae in display. By increasing sump flow- the refugiums could out compete tank algae-but at expense of skimmer. Never put all eggs in one basket!
 

TOP 3 Ingredients for an AMAZING Reef Tank? (pick 3)

  • Proper Lighting

    Votes: 437 69.5%
  • Substrate

    Votes: 3 0.5%
  • Aquascape

    Votes: 39 6.2%
  • Filtration

    Votes: 101 16.1%
  • Livestock

    Votes: 43 6.8%
  • Water Chemistry

    Votes: 334 53.1%
  • Patience & Time

    Votes: 205 32.6%
  • Maintenance & Testing

    Votes: 106 16.9%
  • Water Flow

    Votes: 219 34.8%
  • Stability

    Votes: 362 57.6%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 9 1.4%

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