To skim or not to skim

Discussion in 'Protein Skimmers, Mechanical Filtration' started by Nsteyn, 9 Mar 2010.

  1. Nsteyn

    Nsteyn

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    Have been doing a lot of reading, and found a lot of conflicting views, so lets hear from the MASA experts :p

    We all know skimming is nescesary, and most of us know that the skimmer also removes a lot of good stuff (trace elements etc) from the water.

    I did a bit of reading, and found that most people say run the skimmer 24hours, other say a lot less.. even some stating for no more that 4hours a day.

    Then others believe the added value of oxinating(spelling?) water is a huge benifit, while others say it is negligent.

    Some remove the cup from the skimmer to allow it to oxinate the water but not remove the trace elements.

    What is your opinions on some of the above - how long do you run your skimmer, if you switch it of, when - during feeding during dosing etc?

    Do you think the skimmer contribute to oxinating the water - what about ATS then?

    Sorry if it seems a bit confusing :p - thats just my mind on the way out.

    Niel
     
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  3. vatso

    vatso

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    Gets popcorn & sees the can or worms open!
     
  4. Nsteyn

    Nsteyn Thread Starter

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    LOL vatso, that is definately not the intention - just out to get some more information - you know me :p ... always learning.
     
  5. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb

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    there are many different ways to run a reef tank steyn, Most of the GREAT tanks that i have seen run skimmers 24/7 there are a few tanks that are awesome as well without skimmers. It all depends on how you run your tank.
     
  6. vatso

    vatso

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    from Feature Article: Elemental Analysis of Skimmate: What Does a Protein Skimmer Actually Remove from Aquarium Water? | Advanced Aquarist's Online Magazine


     
    Last edited: 9 Mar 2010
  7. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb

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    oh yes please go and have a look at all the tank of the months on Reef central, ultimate reef, etc etc and see how many do not run skimmers 24/7
     
  8. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    I believe in running my skimmer 24/7 - it is also a back up if something goes wrong ;)
     
  9. Neil H

    Neil H Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Wow lekker contraversial topic this one !!!

    Niel, i think you need to look into things a bit deeper .....

    Do skimmers oxygenate the water, well IMO yes definately, a skimmer (or foam fractionater as they were / are sometimes called) basically injects air and water into a chamber ... so there is a huge amount of air in contact with water, oxygen diffusion therefore takes place efficiently !

    to run a skimmer or not... perhaps what you should be asking is what sort of filtration are you going to choose? lets take examples from this forum ......

    Mudshark does not skim, and has a spectacular tank, but he uses a very effective ATS,

    Midasblenny skims heavily, and hac a huge amount of live rock, a shallow DSB and a fuge and has an awesome tank.

    Reef maniac, skims and runs a DSB and also has an amazing tank!

    I stand under correction but if i remember correctly Mekaeel runs a LNS system with heavy skimming, minimal live rock and a zeolith reactor again with a fantastic tank

    All have fantastic tanks, all have been TOTM on this forum .... all have achieved fantastic water conditions in VERY diffferent ways ........

    so to skim or not? or asked in another way, "how long is a piece of string?"
     
  10. vatso

    vatso

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    the answer "equally distant from the center"
     
  11. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb

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    Bwahahaha
     
  12. Neil H

    Neil H Moderator MASA Contributor

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    does that mean we should skim or not :p
     
  13. Nsteyn

    Nsteyn Thread Starter

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    LOL
    Ok, it was definately not meant to be a controversial topic, just a question by a nuub :p , But I understand what you are saying, and I will take all things in account.

    Thanks a lot for the feedback guys, much apreciated.

    Kind Regards,

    Niel
     
  14. vatso

    vatso

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    As long as you skim in equal amounts Bwhahaha :peroni:
     
  15. crispin

    crispin

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    Sorry Niel there seem to be a number of silly comments and few people answering the question.

    I would suggest not stressing so much about whats in the skimmer cup that might be beneficial, but rather the effect of a skimmer as your first line of defense against built up waste in your tank. A few guys have pointed out that you can get away without skimming, so long as you have additional filtration to help break down any waste products from the system. However a skimmer is designed to remove DOC (dissolved organic compounds) which basically are proteins before they break down, from your system.

    If you are unsure of how every aspect of the filtration fits together then take a Conservative approach and go with convention. I recommend using a skimmer that is rated for around double the tanks water volume, especially to start with. Thus will remove the majority of the unwanted proteins (yes a few trace elements but these are easily replaced with water changes which you should do as a husbandry practice anyway,) before they start polluting the water. At the same time the bacterial populations will handle anything the skimmer misses.

    If in time you grow in confidence and the biological aspects of your filtration systems have matured and can handle a greater bio load, then by all means turn your skimmer off at night, ot fora period in the day, or turn it off totally. BUT only do that once you are confident you have an alternative filtration (most likely biological) that can take over the role from the skimmer.

    personally an integrated approach to filtration makes the most sense to me, having a good skimmer, a mature sand bed (both DSB and SSB), LR, scrubber and chemical filtration. But to start i would go with heave mechanical filtration (skimmer) and let the biological systems catch up.
     
  16. vatso

    vatso

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    Has anybody read the very large post I put in this thread? It is very clear that the skimmer does not remove as much DOC as we think!

    Maybe we should do some of our own test like that large post i put up & then we can decide how effective our skimmers are
     
  17. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    one very important item is not mentioned here and that is 'what water changes are being done on your system? it is easy to say skimmer or not but the reality is that a good quality skimmer removes serious stuff from your tank , if you have any doubt take the skimmate and smell or swallow it! i will garantee that if it smells or tastes that bad you want it out of your tank! ps if you dont want to drink it dont make your fishes live in it.
     
  18. vatso

    vatso

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    would you drink any of the things you dose in your tank?? except the vodka :)

    Maybe Hennie & mates can run some tests on what is in the skimmate?
     
  19. seank

    seank

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    My argument has always been: Why do big aquariums all run skimmers?? If they do it (and the aquariums are obviously run by well qualified people), then surely a skimmer is definitely a must have
     
  20. Nsteyn

    Nsteyn Thread Starter

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    Hell no, I do not want to taste it !
    But Mandarinman and Crispin, thank you very much.

    Crispin, Tnx, your answer makes a lot of sense and I think I got what I wanted.

    Tnx guys.
     
  21. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    OK - I have not yet posted in this thread. With my tank breaking loose at the seams and all - I have not really been in the mood, nor had the energy. Wine is FANTASTIC diuretic. Don't you think?

    Now - to answer the question (according to my twisted and wined mind):

    A skimmer is there (according to my non-expert opinion) - to ASSIST your filtration system. And to be there, for IN CASE OF EMERGENCY....

    This "EMERGENCY", can be any one of the following:
    - overfeeding
    - overstocking
    - a fish dying
    - an anemone dying
    - bacteria dying off.....

    I agree 100% with what Tobes has said. A skimmer is NOT A MUST - unless you are really prepared to do the following:
    - DO BIG WATERCHANGES OFTEN
    - WATERCHANGES
    - WATERCHANGES

    A Skimmer is not a replacement for water changes, BUT, only waterchanges done VERY often, can take the place of the "safety-net" a skimmer gives....

    So - if you WANT to go skimmerless - do so by all means. Please just don't come cry here when your fish die, or your water parameters are out of "whack" - or your whole system crashes - BECAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE A SUITABLY RATED SKIMMER.....
     
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