Skimmer Operation

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Hi There

Firstly, an introduction. I have been keeping tropicals my whole life, and moved to Discus two years ago. Struggled for a bit, and got it right in the end!

Registered on MASA a month or so ago, just keeping quiet, and learning from this excellent website.

I set up a reef tank 11 days ago - tank 200l, sump 80l, DSB 15 cm (crushed coral), 15kg Fiji live rock.

Yesterday, I noticed my skimmer (Reef Octopus) not producing anything. While there is a lot of activity inside the skimmer, very little bubbles gets pushed up into the top chamber. When I added some RO water to the system, the water level increased inside the sump, which seems to increase the activity in the skimmer.

Is this normal operation? If not, what is wrong, and what can I do to improve skimmer operation?

Thanks!
 

Kanga

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Welcome to MASA glad you like the info.:wave2:

There is everal things that could affect your skimmer, water temp, salinity water level.

Post pics of the skimmer in the sump ( i assume its an in sump model)

They also do take some time to run in;)

11 days ago wow, we need pics:)
 
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This is the info I have at the moment:

pH 8.5, Salinity 1.024

We used RO water, mixed with Tropic Marine Sea Salt - nothing else added.

So this might have more to do with the water, than the level inside the sump and inside the skimmer?
 

Kanga

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Salinity is fine, which Reef Octo do you have?
 
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Ok, some more answers to questions

Temp 25 deg C.

Skimmer is in line before the sump, not in sump. No fish, no corals, lights off - just LR with 6cm crushed coral in the tank, 15cm DSB.

Although I am very excited about adding fish and softies, I will leave this until mid January.

Will take some photos, and post them tomorrow.
 

jacquesb

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Hi Chris - as Kanga said - water level can DEFINITELY impact the skimmer's operation. That is: if it is a in-sump skimmer model, your sump water-level, and also the water-level on the INSIDE of the skimmer.

I know with evaporation, the water levels drop - so the skimmer's production usually drops as well....
 

Kanga

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are you running it in sump?
How are you feeding the water in?

I think Hill might have 2 of these running
 
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Jacques, I played around with the level in the sump a bit (which seems to influence the level in the skimmer directly). As the level increased in the sump, I got more activity in the top portion of the skimmer.

My problem is that I want to use the sump as a refugium as well, with caulerpa. At the moment the sump water level is higher than the "overflow" into the pump chamber, which means that the algae will drift into the pump chamber. Am I correct in then saying that I migh need to rise the overflow into the pump chamber?
 

Kanga

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Ideally you should have a chamber in the sump that stays constant.

But like Thalion said from pics we would be able to help much better
 
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Hi Chris, welcome to MASA.

A skimmer normally takes anything from 4 days to 2 weeks to "Break In" properly.
The breaking in has do do with oils and residue that is left over from the plastic extrusion process when the skimmers are manufactured. This can be short circuited by washing the skimmer in luke warm water and running the pump in fresh water for a couple of hours. The oils affect surface tension which in turn affects the way the skimmer performs.
Not too worry though it will come right on it's own. Setting a skimmer can take a couple of days to get right, or as we say to hit the sweet spot. It has to do with the water level inside the reaction chamber as well as the rate at which the water is being fed through the skimmer.
Have you got a ball valve between the overflow and skimmer to regulate flow ?

On the outlet of your skimmer you should also have a ball valve. This is to control the water level in the skimmer. Closing it rasies the level and opening it drops the level.
This is something you need to adjust while at the skimmer and then keeping an eye on it for a couple of hours. Don't do it 5 minutes before you leave for work. If the level is too high you will get a very wet / watery skimmate that will flood your cup. If the level is too low, nothing will come into the cup.
The sweet spot would be when you get a dark coffee like substance forming in the cup.
HTH
 

viper357

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Hi Chris, welcome to the forum.

You also need to try and make sure that the water level in the sump, where your skimmer feed pump is, remains at a constant level, with a fluctuating water level above the feed pump it will affect the skimmer.
 
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Thanks, Thalio, DragonReef - your last posts will help a lot!

Caulerpa not in yet, so I will definately use your advice when I get to that point.

The system was installed by a third party, so I will get answers to your questions, and respond tomorrow
 

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