I bought a used Coralife 65 skimmer from the LPS
a few days ago for $90. This is for my 75g FOWLR
, with about 10g in the sump. I'd been told I didn't need one until the tank was at least 3 months old.
I (and the clerk) thought it was a bigger 220 model. I didn't have a way of checking, so I took his word and jumped on the deal. After I got the thing hooked up and running, I realized it was only the 65 model, and have already made arrangements to return it, and I've ordered the 125 model.
I mounted this as a hang-on, in my sump.
Being used, this didn't have the difuser box to eliminate bubbles. I've taken care of that by putting some filter baffles between the sump and the return (this is a very basic sump, LR
, no bubble baffles yet, etc).
Even though its much smaller than what I need, after some tweaking, its pulling some really nice, medium-thickess gunk out. The first few cups were watery and tea-colored, but over the last 24 hours (which is the unit running for about 48 hours total) I'm getting much thicher stuff. Still not a dry sludge like some people prefer, but much darker than before, and it just keeps getting thicker, with very little tweaking.
My water clarity has improved drastically - a HUGE difference. I've posted before about cloudy, milky, smoky looking water. That's all gone. Except for the microbubbles which do manage to reach the return pump in my sump, the water is nearly crystal clear, and isn't embarassing to show people who stop by.
Previously, if you looked through one end of the tank to the other, you couldn't even see the opposite end. Now I think you could read a newspaper (with binoculars!)
Night and day difference in water clarity in just 48 hours. I'd been blaming the tap water I'm using for dissolved matter in the water (no RO
filter yet). Even if that is where its coming from, the skimmer is taking care of it.
I assume with all that bio-gunk being removed, that nitrate production will drop some, since all that stuff isn't getting handled by the biological filtration.
I've ordered a new one, the 125 version, for $119 from one of the bigger online stores. I'm sure it will perform even better.
The skimmer is probably one of the best decisions I've made, and should have picked up one much sooner.
Here's a shot of today's skimmate - 48 hours in use: