Skimmer yes or no?

Garf

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That was a great read, thanks!

The level of detail there is deep and I need to admit I would need more time to absorb it completely to make sure I've taken away the correct conclusions, but my read of it supports my judgement that skimmers are optional components and may also ultimately be causing us to have to purchase and import more things like trace elements than would otherwise need to. The analysis linked above seems to state that skimmers export quite a lot of beneficial elements and potentially alive beneficial biomass alongside things like phosphates.

Super interesting! It backs up my current thoughts that skimmers are a kind of bruteforce way to export a few negative elements and allow more control over the water make up at the expense of having to reimport a lot of beneficial elements at our own cost and (potentially) time.


Thanks I'll have a good read of those!
I don't have a skimmer, just an air stone and lots of flow, with an overflow pipe. My pH does increase during lights on so that would indicate the water is not fully aerated, I'm using kalk in the day. I'm making the assumption that CO2 dissolves into water at a similar rate as oxygen, I'm sure R.H.F can fill us in on that assumption though, probably not right, lol.
 

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I hope this isn't too much of a dive down a different thread, but having read some of these articles around trying to bring an aquarium to normoxic levels during the night when O2 levels dip I'm left wondering if that effect is even wanted. As stated in the data, real world reefs go hypoxic at night as a matter of course. What if some organisms rely on this state to undergo certain actions or behaviors as part of their genetic coding?

Maybe nothing does that, and all is well, or it just doesn't matter one way or another. But I wonder if certain growth or breeding patterns rely on an O2 and temperature dip at night to take place.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Maybe nothing does that, and all is well, or it just doesn't matter one way or another. But I wonder if certain growth or breeding patterns rely on an O2 and temperature dip at night to take place.

I do not know the answer to that question, but my expectation is that low O2 is more likely undesirable than desirable.
 

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I think it is worth mentioning that AFAIK there is absolutely no research to substantiate whether skimmers help oxygenate the water column or not. Certainly not enough to say it helps "a lot". If your goal is to increase O2 levels I think the skimmer may be unhelpful in that regard on its own.
Well AFAYK, buffalo have wings...
 
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I think it is worth mentioning that AFAIK there is absolutely no research to substantiate whether skimmers help oxygenate the water column or not. Certainly not enough to say it helps "a lot". If your goal is to increase O2 levels I think the skimmer may be unhelpful in that regard on its own.
Thanks Strich, I agre with you.
I tested my O2 levels in the water with and without the skimmer, and apparently they are the same. I used a salifert test, maybe non the most avanced test, but if it was a great advantage to have the skimmer for the O2 levels, I guess It would have resulted someway
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Thanks Strich, I agre with you.
I tested my O2 levels in the water with and without the skimmer, and apparently they are the same. I used a salifert test, maybe non the most avanced test, but if it was a great advantage to have the skimmer for the O2 levels, I guess It would have resulted someway



Was it saturated? A skimmer will drive water toward saturation, and may even lower O2 if it is above saturation due to photosynthesis.
 

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Mature liverock, animals that complement each other, and proper feeding is all one needs. There are no skimmers in the ocean. I ran 2 years without a water change and 1 year without a skimmer as I tried to battle dinos. I never had high nutrients. Phosphate never went above .1ppm the whole time.

The odd thing is that when I restarted my tank, I bleached that rock and soaked in vinegar and citric acid. I've been fighting with phosphate bound rock since November. It started at over 2ppm Phosphates but am now down to .11ppm. It never bleached back white despite my best effort. The rock originated from the ocean and had millions of years of algae built up in it. Nature is amazing.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Randy, I do not know, how can I undestand the saturation? is there a method or test? I would like to try

It's a specific level that depends on temperature.

At 25 deg C in 35 ppt seawater, saturation is around 6.7 ppm. If the value is close to 6.7 ppm, one would not expect any type of aeration with normal air and at normal air pressure to raise or lower the O2.

This article has an O2 saturation table:

 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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There are no skimmers in the ocean.

Nature is amazing.

No man made skimmers, but nature is amazing since the whole sea surface acts as a skimmer:

SML is the sea surface microlayer:


The influence of the SML on air-sea exchange and marine aerosol properties is assumed to be a function of its chemical composition, but as yet, the composition of the microlayer has not been fully characterized. Relative to the underlying bulk seawater, the SML has been found to be enriched in a wide range of organic and inorganic compounds and references therein. Rising bubbles collect surface-active organic material from the water column and transfer it to the microlayer, where further enrichment and/or modification (e.g., by photochemical oxidation, (5) or microbial degradation (1, 28)) of some compound classes may occur. Nontargeted high-resolution mass spectrometry has shown a shift toward lower molecular weight compounds in the SML relative to the underlying seawater, thought to be the result of increased degradation.
 

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The difference between the oceans skimmer and man made skimmer however is that the latter immediately exports all the collected matter out of the tank forever, whereas the former appears to assist in degradation of compounds back into the water column. Does that sound right to you @Randy Holmes-Farley?

Depending entirely on the composition of your tank, a skimmer could very well be a net negative on the health of the ecosystem no?
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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The difference between the oceans skimmer and man made skimmer however is that the latter immediately exports all the collected matter out of the tank forever, whereas the former appears to assist in degradation of compounds back into the water column. Does that sound right to you @Randy Holmes-Farley?

Depending entirely on the composition of your tank, a skimmer could very well be a net negative on the health of the ecosystem no?

How would a skimmer be a net negative?

If you mean by, say, driving nutrients too low, wouldn’t that statement apply to every nutrient export method?

FWIW, there are some similarities and some dissimilarities between the natural and man made skimmers. Again, that same statement applies to everything else we do as well.

Man made skimmers certainly take a lot more organic matter out of the system, per unit of aquarium volume, than does the natural one.

Most husbandry practices we do are natural processes scaled up greatly to allow keeping a lot of organisms in a small space. Use of artificial algaecides and medications are about the only ones that don’t fit that description.
 

strich

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How would a skimmer be a net negative?

If you mean by, say, driving nutrients too low, wouldn’t that statement apply to every nutrient export method?
We'll yes but are there not better alternatives. Although macroalgae also consumes various trace elements your corals might want, it exports a higher ratio of phosphates, nitrates, CO2 etc and imports O2 all without having to wholesale remove a lot of beneficial organic material right?

By that comparison I feel like one could say a skimmer could be net negative in some ecosystems don't you think? That is to say it could very well be pulling out a lot more beneficial material than negative material.
 
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Billyreef-ita

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It's a specific level that depends on temperature.

At 25 deg C in 35 ppt seawater, saturation is around 6.7 ppm. If the value is close to 6.7 ppm, one would not expect any type of aeration with normal air and at normal air pressure to raise or lower the O2.

This article has an O2 saturation table:

Thanks Randy very interesting one! The nice part of this hobby is that you always learn something.
There are two things that I found to be of interest: (i) skimmer certainly ha a role in hoxigenating the tank but it seems similar to an airstone conected to an air pump. The skimmer was faster in getting higher levels but the air pump gets the same results with more time; (ii) an higher role in hoxigination seems to come from lighting, maybe improving the lighting of the tank could get even higher results than the skimmer inself.
Have I understood correctly the graphs? Thanks
 

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all without having to wholesale remove a lot of beneficial organic material right?

Maybe that's the difference of opinion. You are suggesting the organics are desirable and I'm suggesting they are often yellowing, and may contain toxins, hormones and other compounds you do not want accumulating.

I'm all for macroalgae as well. I think both are a plus.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Thanks Randy very interesting one! The nice part of this hobby is that you always learn something.
There are two things that I found to be of interest: (i) skimmer certainly ha a role in hoxigenating the tank but it seems similar to an airstone conected to an air pump. The skimmer was faster in getting higher levels but the air pump gets the same results with more time; (ii) an higher role in hoxigination seems to come from lighting, maybe improving the lighting of the tank could get even higher results than the skimmer inself.
Have I understood correctly the graphs? Thanks

I've got nothing against airstones except the issue of salt creep and spray where the bubbles are popping. If that works out in your system, it's likely also a fine choice.
 

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Mature liverock, animals that complement each other, and proper feeding is all one needs. There are no skimmers in the ocean. I ran 2 years without a water change and 1 year without a skimmer as I tried to battle dinos. I never had high nutrients. Phosphate never went above .1ppm the whole time.
JMO but your wasting your time trying to convince the folks that worship skimmers that they aren't necessary. I swear some of them act like they are in a cult and the skimmer is God and life in our tanks can not survive without one. Had a member the other day say that not running a skimmer was like having my fish living in a septic tank. Gotta love the internet :rolling-on-the-floor-laughing:
 
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I've got nothing against airstones except the issue of salt creep and spray where the bubbles are popping. If that works out in your system, it's likely also a fine choice.
Yes sure it’s a prehistoric tool, but if you have it in the sump I guess you can live with it
 

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