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Old 08-16-2007, 02:02 AM   #1
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Surface Skimmer for Remora Pro

OK... I was starting to have an issue with surface scum on my tank. Powerheads toward the surface just weren't cutting it. Not sure if it was the increased bioload, old lights, or just a combo of everything. But... I found something that nipped it in the butt great.

I've got a Remora Pro skimmer with a Mag3 pump on my 46g tank. I originally bought the surface skimmer that AquaC makes, but it was too big and had several flaws that I didn't like, so it never went in the tank. I tried replumbing the inlet of the Mag3 pump with an elbow coming out of the pump inlet and sending the intake strainer up towards the surface. No luck. But here's the cat's meow...

Get yourself a Tom Aquatics surface skimmer, like this:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...m?pcatid=12703

... and plumb it into your Mag3 like this:



To do this, go to wherever you can buy underground sprinkler supplies (I went to Lowe's) and get yourself an elbow that's 1/2 male NPT on one end, and 1/2" barbed nipple for sprinkler flex pipe on the other. It's a black plastic fitting.

Screw that fitting into the outlet of the Mag3 pump. Point the barbed outlet of the fitting down. Now take the little elbow thingy that came with the Surface Skimmer and push the smaller end of it onto the barbed fitting. Point the larger end of the elbow thingy away from your Mag3 pump. (See picture above.) Now attach the inlet of the Surface Skimmer to the larger end of the elbow thingy, and voila - nice, compact surface skimmer.

You don't end up using the suction cup clip for the Surface Skimmer as it's supported just fine by the rigid elbows. And assuming you keep your water level pretty close to the top of your tank, the "float" within the surface skimmer should be right about in the right place.

The only tricky thing to this is adjusting the flow. The little "rod" that sticks out the top of the surface skimmer rotates, to raise or lower a little "shelf" that adjusts the intake flow between the surface portion and the lower intake. Play with it a little before it goes into your tank and you'll understand what it's doing. When you start your Mag3 pump back up, have the flow so that the lower intake is totally opened. (Screw the little rod clockwise until it's almost falling out the bottom.) Slowly turn the rod so that you raise the little shelf. You'll start to see the "float" part of the surface skimmer start to go down as water starts to come into it. Keep adjusting until you get the flow coming down from the top float fairly consistently. If you turn it to much, and divert too much flow coming from the surface, the surface skimmer won't be able to keep up with the Mag3 pump and it will cavitate the pump. Not good. Don't do that. You'll know it when it happens as it will make a bad noise. Doing that for more than a second could damage your pump, so be careful.

After a bit of tweaking, you'll figure out where the flow needs to be set at. You don't need much being pulled in from the surface. I had what I considered a "trickle" coming from the surface, but within 5 minutes, every bit of surface scum was gone. Completely.

I'm a happy camper.
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Old 08-16-2007, 02:06 PM   #2
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Excellent! Has it slowed the flow any? That is an awesome idea for getting surface skimming in your tank!
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Old 08-16-2007, 04:14 PM   #3
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I think it has reduced the flow rate a little, but so far it doesn't seem to be a problem. I'm still pulling skimmate, and the rate at which I was getting it before wasn't consistent. I'll be watching it close for the next week or so, and report back.

I know flow rate is really important with this skimmer, and I knew I'd lose some flow with this configuration. So that would reduce the skimmer efficiency some. BUT, surface skimming should increase the efficiency of the skimmer (or so AquaC says as they try to sell their surface skimmer box) so I'm thinking that as far as efficiency goes, it might all be a wash.
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Old 08-17-2007, 12:05 PM   #4
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KN, where does the pump send it to, your sump?
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Old 08-17-2007, 02:27 PM   #5
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The outlet of the pump goes directly to the skimmer. The Remora is a hang-on-back unit.
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Old 08-22-2007, 11:55 AM   #6
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Just an update...

It's been a week now, and I can say I haven't really noticed any decrease in the amount of skimmate I'm getting with this setup. The only thing I've had an issue with is the flow intake adjuster. The little rod coming out the top of the surface skimmer adjusts a threaded plug in the bottom of the surface skimmer tube. By turning the rod, it adjusts the plug up or down and determines how much flow comes from the surface and how much comes from the bottom of the tube.

Well, what I think it happening is that since I have the surface skimmer attached directly to the Mag3 pump, the vibration of the pump is slowly turning that rod and "readjusting" the flow for me. After about 3 days of operation, I noticed a "sucking sound" coming from the surface skimmer and found that it had adjusted itself so that it was pulling too much from the surface. (Too much flow from the surface cavitates the Mag3 pump. Not good.) Once readjusted, everything was back to normal. I'm sure that once the threads of the plug get gunked up with salt/coralline/etc they won't turn as free and the problem will go away. Until then, I just double check the level of the surface skimmer "teeth" on the surface of the water each day, and make sure they're more or less at the same level.

Other than that, no issues and can't believe I waited so long to do it.
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Old 08-24-2007, 04:42 AM   #7
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Hmmm.. what about a little loc-tite of some tank-safe type on the threads, or a little teflon tape perhaps?
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:30 PM   #8
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It's been two weeks now, and I haven't had to adjust that threaded part I mentioned since the first time I did it. I'm guessing it's "gunked up" enough now to not move on its own.

No other problems have come up. Surface still scum free.
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:45 AM   #9
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Someone just let me know the image in my original post disappeared. I'm guessing something vaporized during the forum transition, so here's what's missing...



Not sure why that link disappeared...

Oh... also should add that the skimmer setup is still working great. The intake tube is now covered in a nice layer of coraline and a red leafy macroalgae of some sort.
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