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Old 12-29-2010, 11:27 AM   #1
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Protein Skimmer Problems

I have replaced the Seaclone Protein Skimmer that I originally bought with a Coralife Super Skimmer 65G. I am having problems producing foam in the skimmer. There appears to be plenty of microbubbles. It has exceeded the period of time that it needs to break in - about 72 hours. It has been running for a week now. I'm getting frustrated because I can't determine if I bought another bad skimmer or if I have it adjusted incorrectly or if the lack of foam is due to a very light bio load that I have in my system. I also am having a big hair algae problem that I'm struggling with. Here are some quick stats:

Tank was set up in October and has completed cycling.
60 Gallon tank
2 250W Metal Halide bulbs
Coralife SS 65G protein skimmer HOB of DT
About 40 lbs of LR
5 blue legged hermit crabs
1 emerald crab
1 peppermint shrimp
1 margarite snail
1 small hitchiker snail that I haven't ID'd yet
A handful of small hitchikers like feather dusters, bristle worms, sponges and amphipods

The refugium is small - about 14 Gallons
Red Gracilaria Macro Algae
3 small hitchiker starfish - one small blue and one sandy colored brittle type and I believe an asterina - need to ID still.
about 15 mysis shrimp

I tested some basic water parameters this morning.
Ph is 8.0
Ammonia is 0
Nitrites is 0
Nitrates is 0
Salinity is 1.022 (which is on the low side and I need to adjust)

I've been keeping the tank on the cool side - 74 F

For the hair algae problem, I think that adding a larger clean up crew would handle the brunt of it? For now, I'm netting and siphoning it out manually. I've cut back lighting to 4 or 5 hours a day. I'm wondering if my lighting is just too bright. I'd like to eventually have mushroom coral and I don't know if my lighting is too strong. When I bought everything, I wanted sps coral - and I still do - but I really like some of the corals with lower lighting requirements.

Any advice about the protein skimmer? For those familiar with this type, I completely removed the sponge and tray portion of it because it seemed cheesy and annoying. Removing the tray didn't appear to have any effect on how the skimmer performed. I would rather deal with the microbubbles in the tank for some reason. Eventually, I would like to put some sort of elbow on it and direct the output but I don't want to modify this until I know that it works. I don't like how the return is in such close proximity to the intake. I'm totally new to the SW hobby but it would make more sense to me to have a greater distance between these two. But, this is my second skimmer and I really need this to be workable, if possible.

Any ideas?
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Old 12-29-2010, 03:47 PM   #2
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I think you went from worst to bad in protein skimmers.
The Octopus skimmers get very marks and are a good value for the money.

For the HA you can get some Mexican turbo snails to mow it down, but then find them a home or they will knock over corals. The same is true for a Lawnmower blenny.

You should also check out the 10 Step Plan for Nuisance Algae Control
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:00 AM   #3
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Yay, another craptastic piece of equipment.

I got some snails today. I specifically looked for the Mexican turbo snails but they were sold out. This is not my week.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:53 PM   #4
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Hey, it's a NEW YEAR. It will only get better
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:32 PM   #5
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Hope so!
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:02 PM   #6
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sadial, here are some helpful ideas-
Modifing the Coralife Super Skimmer CSS | Tyler Merrick
*Coralife Super Skimmer Modifications List* - Reef Central Online Community
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:18 PM   #7
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Thanks. The problem is solved. I cut off the silencer from the airline tubing and discovered that if I blew into the airline, it would work. It wasn't drawing in enough air and water was partially backing up that tube. Took the motor apart, put it back together and voila, it is now foaming like a rabid dog. I'm crunching on a candycane and watching the foam overflow into the cup. I think I'll have some tea.

I like the look of some of the mods you linked. I'm terrified to touch the skimmer at this moment but once I get brave, I want to redirect the output and try out the foam bubble diffuser idea. That sponge tray is pretty crappy.
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