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Old 07-19-2004, 03:49 AM   #1
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Help setting up skimmer

I bought a used 75 gal salt tank almost a week ago. It was in serious need of rehabing due to a complete infestation of bristle worms. I'm sure I've made some rookie mistakes, but hope that I'm not totally destroying everything.

One of the small tidbits that I'm not quite sure how to handle is the protein skimmer. The tank came with a wet/dry sump system. 1 Rio is pumping prefiltered water into the skimmer and another Rio is pumping back into the main tank.

The skimmer itself has a valve that allows me to adjust the height of the water column in the skimmer. I'm not sure where to set this at. If it's too low, no foam exits the system into the overflow cup, if it's too high, the cup is full of water. Do I just find a happy medium, or is there a 'perfect' setting that I need to be aiming for?

Also, I currently have the return line on the same side of the tank as the overflow. Is this ok, or would I be better off moving the return line to the opposite side?

I sure hope this tank is worth all of the work I am going to to get it back up to snuff. The guy that I bought it from hadn't cleaned it in months and months, and had allowed bristle worms to completely infest the tank. I had worms 3 inches deep in the overflow, and they were absolutely huge. 4 to 5 inches long in some cases. I've killed almost everything in the tank trying to get rid of the nasty buggers, but I think I finally may have done it.

TIA for the help.
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Old 07-19-2004, 06:16 AM   #2
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The settings for the skimmer are somewhere in the middle. it may take a few days to get it set right. I would separate the overflow and return, so you arn't processing the same water over and over.
one more question, who told you that bristle worms are bad?
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Old 07-19-2004, 12:22 PM   #3
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bristleworms are generally helpful.

skimmers usually take a LOT of tweaking in the first couple of weeks as they 'break in'. It's not so much that the mechanics of the skimmer are breaking in, its that the water in the tank has to mature enough to have anything in it to skim out.
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Old 07-20-2004, 02:24 AM   #4
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iv heard that bristle worms can be helpful in a moderate number, but I had thousands and thousands of them and many were 4 and 5 inches long. They had infested the LR and substrate and killed all of the soft corals and snails that the previous owner had put in the tank. It was truly amazing to see some of the worms that were living in the tank and especially in the overflow.

It's one thing to have a small colony of worms to eat the detritus and turn over the substrate, it's another to have a worm farm in your tank.

I think I have the skimmer set for the most part now. At least until some of the live rock that I kept alive seeds the tank and gets the biosphere back up and running. I'm sure that I'll have to readjust it several times between now and then.

I sure wish I would have had more time to read up on salt before I bought this tank. If it wouldn't have been such an incredible deal: 75 gal tank with walnut stand and hood, 2 48" VHO bulbs and ballast, 120 lbs of live rock, wet/dry ballast, protein skimmer, 3 RIO's, 2 power heads, a ton of reef keeping supplies, as well as several fish, shrimp, and brittle stars. All for $300 US. I added up the parts, and figured it was well over 1500 to buy new. LR goes for 8-10/lb here, so just that alone would have been 1000.

Ahh the price we pay for being cheap. Heh ... the irony of it all.

Thanks for the help. I'm sure I'm going to run into lots of problems over the next few months, so I'll probably be an avid poster until I manage to learn the ropes.
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Old 07-20-2004, 05:22 AM   #5
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Glad to have you here. Be patient and enjoy the fun times of setting up your tank and ignore the rest.

You did get a good deal on your tank, let that be the inspiration to spending freely.

Take things slow and they won't be overwhelming. There is a ton of good advice here and well-worth the value in reviewing it often.

Anticipate the cool stuff and not the problems and you'll have more fun.
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Old 07-20-2004, 12:51 PM   #6
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that IS a good price!
sounds like you did have a few too many worms. wish i had a few in my tank.
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