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Vertex Alpha Protein Skimmer Review

  • Model being reviewed: Vertex Alpha 200 skimmer
    Claimed skimming capacity: 1200lt
    Air-draw capacity:

    Ok guys and girls
    So I got my hands on one of these puppies a little while ago and only recently got the opportunity to build a new sump to get it running.
    I have been asked a million times why pay so much for a skimmer such as this when there are other equivalents that will (“supposedly”) do just as good a job. Have a look on the following and perhaps you will understand why!
    My personal criterion for a skimmer seeing as it is my only form of “mechanical” filtration I felt I needed to put some good cash into it, and this is based on the following reasons:

    Skimmer body Construction
    This is a extremely well constructed skimmer out of acrylic not plastic which makes it compatable for use with Ozone, I was at first put off by the “cheap” look of certain components of the skimmer when I first saw it, sighting things like no union attaching the pump to the skimmer body but a piece of silicone pipe instead, upon further investigation I learnt simpler was better, and reaslised the extreme effort that has gone into making this skimmer vibration free and silent when in operation.

    Pump construction setting versatility and air-draw capacity
    The pump is the heart of any skimmer and without it being reliable and capable of working 24/7 effortlessly, the skimmer body is purely and ornament. I have always believed the pump to be 80% of the skimmers ability to perform, the body would perform to some extent either way, the combination of this body and pump are just a bonus!



    Owing to Red Dragon being one of the more sought after pumps in the overseas market, I decided to give it a go, and I am extremely happy I did, the machining of the volute is precise and the design is very well thought out allowing a massive mix section to suck in air and versatility when wanting to set air-draw with the threaded pipe which screws into the volute section. The impellor is impressive and pin wheel in design adding to some of the finest bubbles I have ever seen produced.
    Operating Silence
    Is it really that silent? The answer is YES, you cannot hear this pump draw air, yet it pulls air like a beast, it is completely vibration free owing to the rubber grommets placed under the baseplate on both the skimmer and the pump to subdue any noise against the glass. It is fitted with a silencer on the venturi, and when I first switched it on I was amazed by the air-draw vs noise which was non existent.

    Metal Screws in saltwater????
    Ok so I was a little sceptical when I saw these screws, as I’m sure anyone who keeps a reef would be… upon further investigation I found that these were infact titanium and will have no ill effect on the system. Knowing this just makes me a little more confident of the overall quality of the skimmer and the thought that has gone into it and each of its components.
    Draw backs
    Practically none but one thing I found is the inner of the cup stained easier if not washed out frequently, I’m sure with the use of a little jik it could be restored to its white look again, but this is purely cosmetic and does not affect the skimmers performance in any way.
    Threaded neck instead of bayonet:
    I’m still a little undecided on this point. It’s also not necessarily a bad point and is a design feature implemented for extremely compact cabinets where lifting the skimmer cup can be a problem, but I feel it’s neither here nor there. It’s a bit of a mission to use with the Vectra fitted, as the cables do get in the way and twisted with the taking off and putting back on of the skimmer cup, perhaps considering a plug in instead of a fixed wire into the motor could be considered for ease of use in future??
    First impressions 1 to 20 minutes into operation!
    · Wow amazing?
    · Huh is it on?
    · It’s pulling air!
    · Ah it is on….
    · Its sooo quiet….
    · Impossible!
    · Pulling skimmate on the lowest setting without even being run in!
    · Happy..


    Added Extra:
    Something I decided to add to my skimmer is a Vectra skimmer neck cleaner.
    Again the parcel arrived and was fantastically packaged, I read up on the care instructions and got the tools to modify my existing skimmer lid to take the Vectra, if I may make a suggestion I would advise the Vertex boys to put a template in as an extra for those who want to modify their own lids to fit the Vectra, for those who don’t spare predrilled lids are available. Again Titanium screws were supplied.. Awesome…
    It took me about 30 minutes to drill and fix the Vectra and whala it’s on the lid and working.
    So what now and does it work
    Well on the Vectra I’m still manually switching it on for approx. 30 seconds morning and night but I intent to add a timer to automate this process, the instructions say not to let it run more than once for every 4 hours and its supposed to run for about a minute when it does.. Is it really necessary? Maybe not but for me I have always wanted one and I love this little gadget… I have also cut so many extras out of my system so I reckoned keeping my skimmer working at peak performance at all times was a must (as it should be anyway).
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2burA3zACs"]VERTEX AQUARISTIK VECTRA SKIMMER CLEANER - YouTube[/ame]
    Would I buy another one for a future set up?
    Definatley…… but owing to the quality of this one it should last me a lifetime

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