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Old 08-01-2003, 02:34 PM   #1
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Skimmer stops skimming after 2-3 days!

Hello! Today I joined aquariumadvice.com and I have never used a forum or chatted on line, so I hope this is posted correctly. I have a new 75-gallon reef tank that has been set up for about 5 weeks. We bought this aquarium from a previous owner and have about 40 lbs of live rock, sand, 1 powder blue tang, one psuedochromis, one sea urchin, 3 coral, snails and hermit crabs. I am about to add decorative rock and change my lighting to metal halide w/ 2 VHO bulbs. But....I am having issues with my skimmer. I have a Red Sea Berlin protein skimmer (in-sump) and it works about 2-3 days producing white/clear foam, and then it stops working completely. Although there is thick green skimmate in the collection area, it is not draining down the tube into the collection area. I don't understand what is going on. I do feel it is working a little or else there would be no thick green stuff on the black disk like thing, but is it normal for it to produce white foam and then quit working? Is it normal to have to clean the skimmer every 2-3 days? What is this all about? Any advice would be helpful. I have called the experts @ the fish store and have looked all over the net and cannot find out what is going on! Thanks!
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Old 08-01-2003, 02:54 PM   #2
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You should not have to physically clean the skimmer body every few days. It would be normal to have to empty the collection cup every few days.

Im not sure why its not running down the drain line into a larger collection container unless the drain line is plugged up somehow.

The darker and thicker the skim is in the collection cup the better. Many times people refer to skim as being ideal when its the color of tea.

When you say its not producing foam are you saying the skimmer itself is not injecting air in with the water in the reaction chamber? Could be your airpump/ventri is getting clogged.
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Old 08-01-2003, 03:48 PM   #3
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Thank you for your quick reply. While awaiting a reply, I checked out the skimmer and must have done something right b/c it is foaming again. I think it may have disconnected from the airpump tubing although I check this quite often. I will just watch it. The foam is mostly white with tiny green particles. What will make it tea-colored? Does the food or biological load effect the color? Thanks again!
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Old 08-01-2003, 08:37 PM   #4
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Okay! I just did a thorough scrubbing of the algae off of the rocks, a 50% water change, and added Kalkwasser to the top off water. Now (of course) my skimmer is not producing foam @ the top. It is connected to the pump, I can see the white foam on the inside of the skimmer, but nothing is rising to the top. I did not do anything w/ the skimmer. Is this because of the water change and maybe b/c the specific gravity has changed a little? It is becoming quite irritating! Thanks.
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Old 08-01-2003, 08:58 PM   #5
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Anytime you add anything to the water that will change the surface tension of the bubbles/water, it will cause your skimmer to shut down. Even placing your hand in your tank should cause a drop off in foam production, it is perfectly normal.

You say the skimmer is a Berlin skimmer, is it a turbo,, or a classic? What pump are you using to feed the skimmer?
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Old 08-01-2003, 09:54 PM   #6
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As stated earlier, we purchased the entire set up from a previous owner, so I am unsure if the skimmer is a turbo/classic. It says 25-250 gallons, triple pass Berlin. I am using a Rio 2500 pump to feed the skimmer. So the skimmer should start working again once everything has normalized i.e. specific gravity, water quality, etc...? Should it be foaming by tomorrow morning? Will a 50% water change have enough protein in it to cause tea colored skimmate or will that take a couple of days? This forum has already been a help. Thanks again.
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Old 08-01-2003, 10:38 PM   #7
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The color of the skim is dependant upon the amount of disolved proteins in the water. The fact your not getting any skim production yet your skimmer is physically running and your getting a good storm of bubbles in the reaction chamber implys there is only a small amount of disolved proteins in the water at this point. This is not uncommon for a new tank.

If the reaction chamber has is loaded with micro bubbles then the skim will come. Dont expect to get so much skim production that you will be able to physially watch it fill the chamber. It should slowly build one large bursting bubble at a time.
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