Adding an airpump to pump driven skimmer intake?

Discussion in 'Protein Skimmers, Mechanical Filtration' started by Megalodon, 30 May 2010.

  1. Megalodon

    Megalodon

    Joined:
    6 Jan 2008
    Posts:
    94
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone has experience with this.

    As a bit of an experiement on a boring sunday afternoon I decided to try this. I plugged an airpump into the intake of my new TS1 skimmer instead of letting the TS1 pump draw air in from the atmosphere.

    The reasoning? Most skimmers are over-supplied with water & under-supplied with air using the venturi/ waterpump method of producing bubbles...at least that is what I have heard. However old-school airstone driven skimmers have proven to be inefficient & hard to clean.

    Sooo plugging an airpump into the intake of a pump-driven skimmer may perhaps give the best of both worlds. I used the idea as the same as a turbocharger on a car - an engine is basically a giant airpump - so if you increase the pressure of the air entering the engine using a turbo (or in the case of a skimmer using an airpump) you make it run more efficiently for it's size.

    Results: I have observed that post plugging in the airpump to the intake the skimmer bubbles seem to fill the reaction chamber more & go deeper into the chamber - which obviously is a good thing - more bubbles & more contact time = more skimmate.

    Too early to determine if there is an increase in the quantity of skimmate produced. Given more bubbles & more contact time there should be - HOWEVER there are possible threats to this being more efficient:

    Cavitation on the pump - if the amount of bubbles is increased too much the pump may cavitate & loose performance & reliability - this may be ameliorated by sizing a pump correctly, using a t-piece with a tuneable release valve & the like.

    Bubbles may be numerous, but too big - lots of big bubbles make crappy skimmate - Time will tell. I think due to the design of the pump - the bubbles being chopped up by the needle wheel impeller it shouldn't make a quantitative difference to the size of the bubbles whether they are introduced at atmospheric pressure or above. Mesh wheel pumps may benefit even more from this?

    All in all a fun little experiement - had a spare quiet airpump around & thought what the hell? The skimmer actually runs quieter with the pump on the intake than with just an open tube to atmosphere - however the silence valve supplied with the skimmer makes it run slightly quieter than the airpump.. very close though.

    So has anyone got experience with this?
     
  2. AdS Guest




    to hide all adverts.
  3. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Wouter

    Joined:
    19 Jul 2009
    Posts:
    1,506
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Gordons bay
    hmmmm, very interesting idea, looking forward to hearing about the performance.
    My 2 cents though, if there are too many bubbles in the chamber, i think there will be loads of micro bubbles in the 'output' water, if you have a good bubble trap then thats fine but yea, was just thinking, brain hurts now :)
     
  4. Megalodon

    Megalodon Thread Starter

    Joined:
    6 Jan 2008
    Posts:
    94
    Likes Received:
    2
    yeah increased microbubbles could be a problem - with my sump setup it isn't though luckily for me. Time & hopefully some debate/ discussion will tell whether this is a way forward or just a fun way to pass some time while getting no-where ;-)
     
  5. Annoying

    Annoying

    Joined:
    14 Jun 2009
    Posts:
    2,107
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Port Elizabeth
    Actually just a few months back I did the same experiment on my TS3 but just like you the bubbles started filling up the reaction chamber before I turned the air pump on. I have found that by decreasing the intake of air,the more air is taken in.
    My theory:
    Because the venturi only works if there is a vacuum of air, the larger the vacuum the stronger the venturi...right? Well because most of our skimmer come out with large holles for venturi we think the moe air can get through...wrong. The more air the skimmer sucks the less water is passed through the impeller. This causes a smaller vacuum for the air and thus less air is actually sucked in and less water. Now what I did was just to use a normal air clamp, and clamp the air intake of the skimmer until I saw that the bubbles in the chamber was getting more. The more I decreased the intake of air the more air and water came into the skimmer. At a certain stage the outflow of the skimmer was double that of usual. I'm currently running my skimmer with the air clamp and I must say I have noticed a big difference in the amount of skimmate I recieve. You could also try just taking out the air pump and only closing the tube a little with your finger and see what happens.
     
  6. Annoying

    Annoying

    Joined:
    14 Jun 2009
    Posts:
    2,107
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Port Elizabeth
  7. mandarinman

    mandarinman

    Joined:
    18 Oct 2007
    Posts:
    6,377
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    capetown,durbanville
    the finer the bubble the longer the contact time better quality skimmate, the pull or power of the motor dictates the ability to draw in correct amount of air for that specific pump. by pushing air into the pump you are reducing its ability to push correct amount of water through(maintaining water pressure ). i found a better way to increase performance on skimmer is to fit an angle to the intake on the inside of the skimmer so that the water entering skimmer is channeled down increasing the contact time of the bubbles and water resulting in approx 20 percent improvement on skimmer output without straining pump
     
  8. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

    Joined:
    7 May 2007
    Posts:
    1,779
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Joburg
    I will be using this method but only because I have an odd situation. Todays pumps are not designed to suck air down a great distance. We use less powerful pumps, that can still draw plenty air per watt, and just use fatter and shorter skimmers as a result.

    I have a bloody great skimmer that has a 1.6m water level so it needs a powerful pump to get the air in using an old style venturi. But too much electricity.;)

    So, I've ordered a 4000+ liter per hour (air) skimmer pump that is designed for the short style modern skimmer and will add an air pump to counter the head it will fight. Thus getting a huge skimmer that will still use very little electricity.:)

    I hope.:p
     
  9. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    23,142
    Likes Received:
    1,228
    Location:
    Centurion
    If you want to increase the air intake, why not make the air pipe thicker. so that it can really pull the air down. No need for adding air pumps.

    While at it, make the intake pipe a 20mm flexible hose, long enough to either go out of sump area, or even out the window. So your skimmer do not suck CO2 from your sump area back inside.
     
  10. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    29 May 2007
    Posts:
    17,868
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Cape Town
    Megalondon - I too used this method on my ReefTek TS2 skimmer. I used a pond air-pump, which pumped 17 litres per minute....

    I was extremely pleased with the output.......My 1 x TS2 skimmer was FAR better than the other TS2 skimmer (I had / used 2 x TS2 skimmers at the time)....
     
  11. Megalodon

    Megalodon Thread Starter

    Joined:
    6 Jan 2008
    Posts:
    94
    Likes Received:
    2
    I have been fiddling about and can conclude that if you are going to try this method you need a powerful air pump - a weak one will actually hinder the process. I think that a powerful pump able to produce high pressure & air throughput may work very well...

    However perhaps it may be a good idea to the water supply pump allowed to breathe freely(to maximise water throughput through the skimmer) and have a separate recirc pump that is fed pressurised air.

    The restricting air intake somewhat using a valve on the intake line works well I've just tested it - outperforms the amount & depth of bubbles that I got with a very small 2w regent airpump feeding my skimmer intake air.


    So in short, unless you have access to a powerful pump which can put in tons of extra air per minute, stick to a normal intake with a valve to tune the amount of air coming in.
     
  12. Annoying

    Annoying

    Joined:
    14 Jun 2009
    Posts:
    2,107
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Port Elizabeth
    Woohoo so it's not just my skimmer that does the opposite when you close the air line:)

    PS. Like your name, did you get it from that prehistoric preditors tv show? Thats one massive shark!!!
     
  13. Megalodon

    Megalodon Thread Starter

    Joined:
    6 Jan 2008
    Posts:
    94
    Likes Received:
    2
    No your restricting air intake size seems to work...perhaps it enables the tube line following the intake to be bigger than the intake...thus helping to enhance the vaccum effect and pull more air & water through the pump?

    Yeah man, got the idea through watching that prehistoric predators show... king of the seas man! Pretty glad we don't get them today or the closest I would get to the sea would be chilling in little rockpools
     
  14. Annoying

    Annoying

    Joined:
    14 Jun 2009
    Posts:
    2,107
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Port Elizabeth
    Ya those stuff are mean!!! Eating whales for breakfast... yum:p.

    Woohoo so I can finally say my theory has been proven and is correct... Now to sell it to reeftek and tell them how to mod their skimmers and make millions!!!:slayer::slayer::slayer::lol:
     
Recent Posts

Loading...
Similar Threads - Adding airpump pump Forum Date
Adding doors to my stand. Anything DIY Related 17 Sep 2016
Does adding a water pump slow the heating process? General Discussions and Advice 16 Jun 2016
Adding of new fish to aquarium General Discussions and Advice 28 May 2016
Adding more wrasses Marine Fish Discussions 21 May 2016
Adding some fish to my reeftank General Discussions and Advice 10 Aug 2015
Adding a sump to a tl 550-questions Boyu TL450 and TL550 advice 1 Jun 2015
Tank cladding/panels fo stand Anything DIY Related 7 Apr 2015