How would you know you have reached the Limit of your skimmer?

Discussion in 'Protein Skimmers, Mechanical Filtration' started by ziyaadb, 21 May 2010.

  1. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb

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    After the conversation on the Reefocto thread i would like your opinions on when do you think you have reached the limit of your skimmer?
    I will add my input once i have seen your ideas?
     
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  3. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Ziyaad - many thanks for starting this thread. I think that this could potentially be a VERY interesting discussion.

    I too would love to see other people's input on this. Especially the reefkeepers that have been around for a long time.

    Here's my personal opinion (a duplicate of what I wrote/responded to you):
    Personally, I feel that one's skimmer needs to fit for it's role, as YOU need it to be:
    1) as a "fail safe" backup filtration system that can quickly remove POCs from the water, due to dead or dying animals, corals, plant material
    2) a skimmer should be "rated" for it's purpose in YOUR individual tank:
    ie. = if you want to keep SPS corals, and strive for a ULNS tank/system, then your skimmer SHOULD never "reach it's limit" - and should be grossly over-rated for your tank size and amount of lifestock you are keeping
    = if you intend on keeping fish only, and don't mind slightly higher nutrient levels (even though it's not an excuse to keep fish in substandard conditions, which can lead to illnesses - fish can and do tend to "get used to" higher nutrient water conditions), then you can probably get away with a slightly lower/less rated skimmer
    = if you intend on keeping only soft-corals and/or LPS corals, the slightly higher nutrient levels (higher nitrates) seems to ensure better growth in these corals, meaning that in this case, you can also most likely get away with a slightly lower rated skimmer.

    All of this said - the above (in my humble opinion) is what determines whether you have "reached your skimmer's limit" or not.

    In my case, I have recently experienced the following:
    I have a Bubble Magus BM-260 external recirculating skimmer. The skimmer is rated for 1500 liters. I don't keep a LOT of SPS, and am by NO means a SPS guru. I am just starting to try my luck with some SPS corals now.

    Recently (in November 2009) I moved house, and used this opportunity to expand the total water volume of my tank, from a +-800 liter system, to a +-1500 liter system. In December, my wonderful skimmer decided to let me down, by having both the recirculating pumps' impeller break...

    SOOOoooo - I tried finding new impellers - and had major issues finding new impellers for my 2 x AquaBee 2000/1 recirculating pumps.

    I was stuck "without a skimmer" for 2 months.... I nearly panicked, thinking that I would have MAJOR issues.

    Taken into account that my skimmer was "slightly underrated" for my total volume size to start off with, and now all of a sudden I don't have a skimmer at all.

    What I experienced, was that my system ran 100% fine still, my corals grew, my fish was still as happy as can be. I still had my DSB's running, I still have +-120kg's of live rock, and I still have a huge amount of chaetomorpha......
    I also acquired goldies/anthias, so I changed my feeding regime from once per day, to 4 / 5 times per day.....

    What I did indeed see, is that my tank's water was very much more hazy/murky now - not as clear as it was with the skimmer running.

    I then got a needlewheel impeller for the 1 pump of my skimmer - making my skimmer run, but at a MUCH MUCH lower "rating level" (only one recirculating pump running, with only a needlewheel, where it originally had 2 pumps running each with a pin-wheel impeller).....

    I have been running my tank now like this, for the past 4 months, without ANY nuisance algae growing, with my fish growing and being as fat as can be - and my corals growing (a few SPS corals - still small), and a few soft-corals.....

    The moral of my LONG story:
    I think that once you really start understanding the concept of skimming, and filtration as a whole, that you also start realizing what the real place/function of the skimmer is, in your individual filtration system and tank system.

    And I think that one also start realizing how far you can push both your tank, (in stocking levels) as well as your skimmer, in it's use.
     
    Last edited: 21 May 2010
  4. Boegie

    Boegie

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    Very helpfull thanks.
     
  5. MistaOrange

    MistaOrange

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    :thumbup: Well said Jacques & thanx you've actually soved my problem, well I hope & going to just try something with my skimmer & if it works then I post it in this thread. BTW I recon this thread will help many of us here on masa shot for the thread:yeahdude:
     
  6. vatso

    vatso

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    I think Jacque makes some very good points & the idea of just thinking a skimmer will do all the work in keeping ones tank clean seems far from the truth. In fact how big does a skimmer need to be? if your bio system is in balance do we even need a skimmer?

    it's a great safety feature to have but is it really needed? Again the amount of "effort" one puts in will be how well your tank runs.

    Now for a fun comment if you were so take all the sea water & then take the "Skimmer" one would see how under rated it is :)
     
  7. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Vatso - I personally DO believe strongly in skimmers, and the use for them. I do also believe that a skimmer indeed has it's place in a marine aquarium setup.

    IF you take into account that even the sea does protein skimming, at least once to twice a month! BUT, due to the water volume in the sea, it is NOT needed for the sea to "protein skim" constantly.....

    That said - I think that it is EXTREMELY important that my post is not taken out of context. And I think that I will make the important bit dark black, in bold.

    It is EXTREMELY important that one should have gained enough experience, to KNOW your system inside out, to know when there's something wrong, before you can say that your skimmer is sufficient or not.

    So - as per Mudshark - YES, if you have gained enough experience - YES, you can most likely run your system without a skimmer. BUT, you do need to really understand the intricacies of how your whole filtration system works, inside/out - before you can decide that you do not need a skimmer.

    So - this is NOT for beginners / newbies in marines. Please bear with me - it does take QUITE a few years of making mistakes before you can say that your system does not require a skimmer.
     
  8. Adee

    Adee

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    Well....I suppose if u had to borrow a bigger one and it took more gunk out than your current....time for upgrade?
     
  9. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    LOL Adee! This could indeed be an idea to try! ;)

    And you stop getting new skimmers once your biggest skimmer does not pull out any gunk anymore? ;)
     
  10. Adee

    Adee

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    I would rather then upgrade the size of my tank.
     
  11. vatso

    vatso

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    What about working out what type of filters we would need if we did not run a skimmer? & size of said filters?

    IE: 1000 ltr System
    Live Rock - How much
    ATS - How Much
    DSB - How Much
    Algea - How Much

    I am sure there is going to be the question it depends on the type of system & amount of SPS & & &. Now remember our Skimmers are ratted per size & not type of tank. so that question then should also be asked if we buy a skimmer.

    Let's take a mixed reef what would the answer to the above be? if we don't get an answer for this question we don't have an answer for the size skimmer either
     
  12. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    What about working out what type of filters we would need if we did not run a skimmer? & size of said filters?

    IE: 1000 ltr System
    Live Rock - How much
    [JB] Live rock = as much as you can fit into your filtration system, but, preferably the highest quality you can get
    ATS - How Much
    [JB] I only have macro algae (and not a dedicated ATS) - but, as big as you can go
    DSB - How Much
    [JB] as big as you can afford (space wise) to go
    Algea - How Much
    [JB] as much as you can
     
  13. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Sorry for being so vague - but, the actual answer to your question, would really be:
    As big as you CAN. Because the bigger the ATS, the DSB, the macro algae amount and the amount of live rock, the better would your filtration be!
     
  14. vatso

    vatso

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    So does that then also work for skimmers? "Bigger is better" that's the debate - we rate skimmers can we rate the other things as well?
     
  15. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Jip Vatso - indeed also works for skimmers. I would think that it actually works ESPECIALLY for skimmers. BUT, as I said - it is all relative to what you want to do, and what you want to keep.

    Bigger is always better (w.r.t a skimmer), BUT, if you realize that your soft-corals does not want to grow, then your skimmer might be removing "too much" nutrients from the water.

    That said - having a nice huge oversized skimmer makes it FAR MORE forgiving, when you overfeed. Meaning that you can now increase the nutrient level yourself, within your control - without worrying that you are really causing major "Damage" to your whole aquarium system.
     
  16. vatso

    vatso

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    I find this hobby so interesting there are so many thing we still don't understand & think we have only scratched the surface of how all the systems work together.

    The idea of how much will the average KG of live rock clean our system & the Macro algea how much & what it all removes!

    There are eco systems in eco systems! if we remove to much how does that affect the eco systems
     
  17. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    DITTO!

    Definitely! Everything in a marine aquarium eco-system, is based upon BALANCE. Once things go out of balance, then there is bound to be a certain effect of the lifestock (corals, fish and invertebrates)....

    BUT, taken into account that we are trying to replicate the oceans and coral reefs in a small glass box, EVERYTHING that we do, has a bigger impact on the lifestock, than what it would have had, if these "lives" would still have been in the sea. Due to the constraint on size and water volume!

    Just to get back to ZiyaadB's original question: I think that once one has gained enough experience, and have started to learn to know your own lifestock (pets) very well, you should be able to determine when your skimmer is not sufficient anymore, due to the accumulation of "bad stuff" (coming from POC's and DOC's in the water) in your tank/s..... this also means that the lifestock will be a wee bit less healthy than what you want them to be....... (valid for corals, fish and invertebrates).....
     
  18. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb Thread Starter

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    erm guys Depends on how much you spend in regards to skimmers as bigger will not always be better. I am selling my Blaster 5000 because it will be too big for my tank as i have read of guys who cant get a proper skim due to the neck of the skimmer being too big and the bioload too small. the older reefteks/octopus (otp pump based) were crazy overated and hence you could use them in small tanks with no issues(the necks were small and the pumps did not have crazy air pull) the newer bubble blasters are properly rated and I will be more then happy to lend somone with a small tank +-450L or less to try my skimmer to prove this(provided they have a big enough sump)
     
  19. Singularity

    Singularity Hmmm amper!

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    Ziyaad, did you see the pics i posted in your for sale thread of the BB5000 ?
     
  20. vatso

    vatso

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    So if we trying to make our glass box the same as the ocean can we pee in our tanks? we know every diver does or lies about it. :lol:
     
  21. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    LOL Vatso - you are welcome to do ANYTHING you want in your tank - as long as you don't tell us about EVERYTHING you do! ;)

    LOL! That said - remember what "pee" consists of! A HUGE amount of ammonia.

    So - if you have a way to "get rid of it" - then yes. Else - you going to have a dead stinking glass box! ;)
     
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