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Old 08-02-2008, 05:58 PM   #1
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My ghetto DIY protein skimmer

I have a 29g FOWLR tank that I've been wanting to get a PS for but haven't had the money. The most affordable one I could find was around $70 and I didn't want to buy a cheap PS and then have to upgrade, so I decided that I'll just make my own out of household items.

I've been doing some research on protein skimmers for the past two weeks now and figured that I would have to make a HOB skimmer since I don't have a sump/fuge. I want to put it next to my tank at the same height, I don't want it above my tank. It would be powered by a small pump I have laying around. I also figured I would go for a counter-current skimmer because I plan to use the same pump to power a DIY phosphate reactor I plan on doing in the next few days and if I chose a venturi style pump, that would also direct air bubbles into the reactor and I'm not sure that's a good idea. I'll use a three way valve splitter. One end goes to the skimmer, one to the reactor, and one back into the tank. This way I could control the flow to each device and redirect water back into the tank if needed. I'm also going to try and make this as cheap as possible. I got most of the materials, I think I just got to go to HD and get the three way splitter and valves.

Well today I started searching for possible skimmer materials and came across a one gallon container (might be less, I forgot to read the label before I peeled it off) where I keep my cricket food, a two liter soda bottle, a small Gatorade bottle, a 1" dia. gravel vac (about 6" long), and some aquarium silicone.

I started off by cutting the bottom off the two liter bottle, then I grabbed two similar caps that fit the one gallon bottle and melted the seems together using a soldering iron. Then I grabbed the all mighty Dremel and cut the top off both caps making a ring. I grinded the threads off one side of the ring, added some silicone to that side and inserted the two liter bottle. I added some extra silicone to the bottom where the bottle meets the cap and some to the outside.

That's all I did today. I plan to use the Gatorade as the collection cup and the 1" gravel vac as the neck. I'll probably cut the top off the bottle cap, cut a hole in the GA bottle cap, insert the tube and silicone it to both caps. I'm trying to figure out where to cut the holes for the intake and return lines. Do you think the pump will be strong enough to push the water back up to the display? I'll measure it's GPH tomorrow. I'll most likely just drill a hole, insert a tube and silicone it into place instead of going out and spending $16 on two bulkheads. Is there a cheaper alternative to bulkheads? Let me know if you think the placement is ok. See the pic below.

I'm going to have a small rigid tube going from the collection cup, through the neck, all the way to the bottom with a splitter and some airstones. I got some random plastic and silica stones. I think I'll just go to Petsmart or DrsFoster&Smith and get one of those large disk like ones or maybe a flexible wand and coil it. These ceramic ones look good, expensive but good. PS and DFS. I might be able to fit two 6" stones or get three or more 2" stones and make this Airstone Manifold. I could try this DIY Airstone as well. Let me know what you think, any ideas of suggestion will be appreciated.

Oh, I almost forgot. How can I remove the glue residue off the outside of the bottles?

Thanks.




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Old 08-02-2008, 08:26 PM   #2
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Well the 1st problem I see is you can not pump water up into the tank. The skimmer must be above the tank...or at least the water level you want to maintain inside the skimmer must be higher than the water line in the tank. Otherwise, the water will just pour out of the top. The place you marked "in" is much too high. Everything below it will be wasted space.
An air driver skimmer just does not cut it. I'll give you credit for the effort, but you are really just wasting your time, IMO.
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
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Well the 1st problem I see is you can not pump water up into the tank. The skimmer must be above the tank...or at least the water level you want to maintain inside the skimmer must be higher than the water line in the tank. Otherwise, the water will just pour out of the top. The place you marked "in" is much too high. Everything below it will be wasted space.
An air driver skimmer just does not cut it. I'll give you credit for the effort, but you are really just wasting your time, IMO.
Yeah I figured that, otherwise the skimmer would overflow. If I fill it so that the 2 liter bottle is half way filled then there would be about 6" plus the collection cup above the height of my display tank.

I'm not sure what you mean by "wasted space". I thought that the higher the skimmer's water level, the more time the waste particles have to attach to the air bubbles?

Would you suggest I do it venturi style instead? Would a Maxi Jet be good, what model? It holds about 1.25gallons.
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