Skimmers, are they really necessary?

BRS

hawk82

Active Member
View Badges
Marketplace Rating
View Shop
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
386
Reaction score
209
Location
South Carolina
You know some people have said when they dont use a skimmer or turn it off, the tank goes to S...T. Well I had the opposite effect. When I turned my skimmer on, its been going for 2 weeks now, and my tank has gone to S...T! Well not really, but I do notice a difference. My leathers are not as "fluffy" and my gsp its not as flowing. I just turned it off today, Ill see if they bounce back.
 
https://www.youtube.com/c/ReefStache

Belgian Anthias

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
1,118
Reaction score
534
Location
Aarschot Belgium
I

Unfortunately, the trend to start tanks with dry/dead rock has increased the time required for organisms that use carbon compounds to propagate and may actually be making skimming more valuable for a longer period of time. I do think skimming needs to be managed and kept to the minimum required to keep DOCs in check until they are needed. That's a trial & error thing though and constantly changing. Limiting skimming time and changing the level inside the skimmer to increase/decrease efficiency can make skimming somewhat controllable. I don't have any pictures to share. My new tank is very immature right now. It was started with dry rock less than 6 months ago. I wouldn't anticipate turning my skimmer completely off for probably another year. It will run less and less as the tank matures though.
The difference between "cured live rock" and "cured base rock"? 5000 km !?
Although I do not agree with everything written down, this article shows what it is all about. The article starts as follows:"Besides acting as a major component of our filtration, Live rock, Base rock and sand also provides our tanks with some diversity of life forms." I would delete the word "major" notwithstanding "alive rock" brings in everything necessary for remineralization. ref: MB Anthias 2018-2019

Because real alive rock produces a lot of DOC it is not advisable to introduce a lot of it in systems which where not conditioned for what is coming. In the case time and a skimmer to control DOC are needed . Having a high DOC content is not the best situation for introducing corals. As most starters do NOT condition the tank to what is coming the skimmer plays an essential roll in trying to control DOC constantly produced on the "live rock". Although not complementary GAC may also play an important role in controlling DOC.
Heterotrophs producing and using DOC are able to grow very fast producing a lot of ammonia within a short period of time. Autotrophs transforming ammonia into a safely stored nitrogen reserve need a lot more time. Without a skimmer a lot more time will be needed to find the balance between producers and reducers and to install the proper carrying capacity supporting the amount of " live rock"
Because to much ammonia is also toxic for AOB and NOB ( nitrifiers) and other essential live forms introducing a lot of "live rock" the same time may not be favorable or beneficial at all.
One must be aware the moment real alive rock is harvested the deterioration and decay is started.

I do NOT follow your line of thinking about the use of base rock and, i'm in favor of trends to limit the use of so called "live rock" Every piece of coral will introduce it's own holobiont. Each introduced animal will bring in its own personal community.

If one has room for a sump, a refuge, it is not that difficult to condition the system for what is coming, eliminating the need for a skimmer.
If it is the intention to start up an LNS or VLNS I would not use so called "live rock " at all and I would use the benefits of a skimmer and ignore the draw backs as they will be less noticeable.
 

Belgian Anthias

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
1,118
Reaction score
534
Location
Aarschot Belgium
How's the planted tank working out for you? I tried multiple types of macro algae and the only thing I can get to grow is chaeto. I have tried skimming, not skimming, high nitrates, low nitrates, high light, low light. Flame algae is not growing at 6 months, but still healthy and ogo has disintegrated completely. The sally light foot ate the bottle brush and mermaids fan, but they were dying anyway. Frags are growing fine in the same tank.
In a normal reef tank the nutrients are out of balance and some limited available. The filter is not able to compete with other growth present. One may start a culture of macro algae in a seperated tank and learn how to manage growth using an F2 medium in combination with your light source. This way one may learn how much feed must be added to be able to harvest the desired amount of algae weekly, installing the growth rate needed for your tank. Then the refuge is connected to the main system supporting the growth by feeding it as before. if the nutrient levels in the system must be lowered less feed is added. Such a filter is able to compeet with other growth. This way the presence of any nutrient can be managed as desired. see AAM, active algae management. ref: MB CMF de Haes 2017-2021
 

zoa what

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Marketplace Rating
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
6,169
Reaction score
10,233
Location
Cincinnati Ohio
I mean.... Tanks? Are they really necessary as well?

Seems like a major investment is buying a tank. But are tanks really necessary?

I'm thinking of just buying a Rubbermaid tote and filling it with glass mason jars.

This way anytime I want to look at a particular coral I could just pull out thst mason jar and pass it around the dinner table so the entire family can look at the specimen. when done, back in the tote. Easy peasey.

Hours of family fun.... and teachable lessons for the kiddies

Plus Johnnie can take a Mason jar to school for show n tell and not have to lug a 40-breeder strapped to his back on and off the school bus.

.
 
Last edited:

Sdot

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
Messages
1,349
Reaction score
1,896
Location
Houston
This has already been said in a multitude of ways.... ill add my flavor to the mix. A skimmer is not a necessity, but as many mentioned i wouldn't run a tank without one. I consider the skimmer the lungs of the tank...beyond the nutrient export, it has the highest amount of surface area, more so than any amount of tank surface turbulence.
 
First Choice

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
44,776
Reaction score
33,628
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
aerator yup quite a bit , i saw that to , trust me kids the tank here has massive gas exchange , no skimmer

Does your pH vary day to night? If so, aeration is not complete.

Very few reef tanks can claim unchanging pH day to night, and thus few can claim complete aeration.
 

LRT

FrankNPeeps;)
View Badges
Joined
Feb 20, 2020
Messages
6,251
Reaction score
26,091
Location
mesa arizona
Interesting discussion following along.
I just set up new tank and have been dealing with PH pretty much pegged at 8.43-8.47 highest after it settled in for few days.
Anyhow I just took my skimmer off line and sure enough it is slowly creeping back down sitting around 8.34 right now.
I believe I experienced precipitation with the higher PH in New tank and hoping getting PH down will help with the cloudiness.
New tank has tons of turnover, top water movement and just tons of movement through the system in general.
 
Last edited:

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
44,776
Reaction score
33,628
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
Interesting discussion following along.
I just set up new tank and have been dealing with PH pretty much pegged at 4.3-4.7 highest after it settled in for few days.
Anyhow I just took my skimmer off line and sure enough it is slowly creeping back down sitting around 8.34 right now.

I presume there are some typos here? pH is the 4's is not possible.
 

Ghost25

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
225
Reaction score
232
I think previously in this thread I said that while a skimmer isn't strictly necessary it's one of the best things to have in a reef tank. I want to take that back, I don't think it's necessary.

I had a dinoflagellate bloom which many people seem to say was related to excessively low nutrients. So I removed the skimmer and started feeding more, slowly the dinoflagellates went away (helped by blowing them off into a filter sock). That was several months ago and I never put the skimmer back, my coral seem happy and I don't have dinoflagellates anymore either.
 
First Choice

JohnMzreef

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
212
Reaction score
117
Location
Bellingham, WA
Does your pH vary day to night? If so, aeration is not complete.
So wait, what exactly is complete? Shouldn't one just need "adequate"? Don't tanks naturally produce co2 at night?

My 2 cents: skimmers are not necessary especially if fish load is light. (If you ask someone who sells skimmers - yeah they are very necessary)
 

fryman

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 28, 2020
Messages
128
Reaction score
126
Location
Belmont
My 2 cents: skimmers are not necessary especially if fish load is light. (If you ask someone who sells skimmers - yeah they are very necessary)

Are skimmers really that necessary on all reef tanks?

I personally don’t think they are. I never run skimmers and I can keep any type of coral you can imagine, to include SPS corals.

I think that as long as you have a strong enough and diverse biological filtration (bacteria) your reef tank is set! I always stress it is key to a successful reef tank.

what are your thoughts on this matter of if skimmers are an absolute necessity or not?
Not an absolute necessity but it's hard to ignore the long history of success using protein skimmers. People have also had success without skimmers but there are alot of reefers who swear by them. The simple answer is that it's not "required" but skimmers are a proven tool that has helped many reefers achieve good results.

That said, I must admit to being something of a "skimmer skeptic" as well. I think the primary reason for this is that I don't understand how we know if what the skimmer takes out is actually "bad". Of course I expect the skimmer removes *ahem* protein... but what type of proteins exactly, and why do I want to remove them in particular?

I cringe every time someone states that the skimmer *MUST* be doing something helpful because the stuff it removes is gross/unappetizing. You are human, not a coral.

I'm not tempted to consume any of the stuff I put in my reef tank. When I used to run a skimmer I was actually struck by how similar my skimmate appeared and smelled to particulate foods (like reef roids mixed with water) that I was dumping right back into the tank. Of course I assumed that the skimmate was waste, while the filter food was food... But not really knowing what's in my skimmate, I'm just not certain.

Is a skimmer removing waste or food? I've been told by many reefkeepers that corals don't need to be fed directly, they eat fish waste. So then, why do we need a skimmer again? Maybe a skimmer is helpful in cases where you have a much higher fish load than the coral/filter feeders can keep up with, but it seems to me that in cases where there's alot of coral or filter feeders, a skimmer may just compete with the livestock for food.

Right now I do not run a skimmer, because I'm struggling to maintain any nitrate reading and I don't think a skimmer will help with the problem. I do have excess phosphate, so if a skimmer removed more phosphorus than nitrogenous waste I would be interested (someone please let me know if this is the case). I expect a skimmer would depress both and if nitrate decreases any more I'm gonna starve my coral. There are other tools I can use to address the imbalance in export like lanthanum chloride or gfo.

Bottom line imho- There are multiple tools in the hobby now to address export and skimmers are just another tool. There are also filter socks/rollers, chaeto/macroalgae refugiums, algae reactors, carbon dosing, gfo, lanthanum chloride, gac? ... and many more.

There are multiple ways to achieve a balance that will lead to good results.
 
Last edited:

zuri

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 11, 2017
Messages
407
Reaction score
230
Skimmers aren't necessary IMO but it's like having the window cracked when you have people over for the game lot's of spicy wings, beans etc. it's just a breath of fresh air
 
Champion Lighting & Supply
BRS

Do you have ONE FISH that excels in all these attributes? Health, looks, temperament & activity.

  • YES (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 28 87.5%
  • NO

    Votes: 4 12.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
NY
Top