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Old 05-24-2009, 08:02 PM   #1
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Protein Skimmer Q's from a Newbie

Hi all,

I recently acquired a "seasoned" 55gal aquarium from a friend who was moving...he's had it for about 15 years. It has two fish....a clown and a yellow tang, as well as lots of live rock with what I'm told are watermelon mushrooms on it. When we moved the aquarium, we used approximately 50% of his "old" water, and 50% "new" salt water from my local supply. It's now been about three weeks, and I've just got to ask a couple of things.

I am having concerns about my protein skimmer and whether or not it's operating properly, and just don't want to harm my inhabitants simply because I didn't ask some questions.

The skimmer is a Sealife Systems SeaStorm 75, and is the same unit the previous owner has used for years. The pump (Rio 800) made some noise for a few seconds after it was plugged in, so as a precaution I replaced it....but I could see no change in performance.

Situation is this: The height of the "foam" column is only about 1/2" above the water level line (see pics), and hasn't come close to the top where it falls over into the collection cup. Initially I was told this was because the water was so "clean", but it's now time for a water change and I still have nothing in the skimmer. So....should the foam be constantly flowing over into the collection cup, regardless of the water condition?....or does this only occur when the water gets sufficiently "dirty"?

Thanks for any help, and if more info is needed just ask!

Thanks again,
Jeff
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:32 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

The tank looks very nice.

As for the skimmer, I believe you'll want to raise the water level inside the skimmer to move the foam head up closer to the cup. Most skimmers have a way to do this, I'm not specifically familiar with yours, but in general where the water pours out of the skimmer is some type of adjustment. Some have a valve that you can turn to tighten it down, causing more backpressure and raising the water level. Others have an extendable tube that does the same thing, just without the valve. It's hard to tell from your pics what you have there, and like I said unfortunately I'm not familiar with that one.
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:53 PM   #3
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Welcome to AA!

The tank looks very nice.

As for the skimmer, I believe you'll want to raise the water level inside the skimmer to move the foam head up closer to the cup. Most skimmers have a way to do this, I'm not specifically familiar with yours, but in general where the water pours out of the skimmer is some type of adjustment. Some have a valve that you can turn to tighten it down, causing more backpressure and raising the water level. Others have an extendable tube that does the same thing, just without the valve. It's hard to tell from your pics what you have there, and like I said unfortunately I'm not familiar with that one.

Thanks for the response! The skimmer has a slip fit type fitting on the discharge port...I can raise it up. I adjusted it to put the level at the "level" mark on the tube. Should I just raise it up a lot higher? Any idea how high?...till the foam is at the base of the collection cup?

Thanks for your help.

Jeff
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Old 05-24-2009, 11:39 PM   #4
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Check the impeller on the old pump, it may be designed to make bubbles more than move water.
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Old 05-25-2009, 12:30 AM   #5
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I see a black tube with a blue adjustment knob coming from your pump. I think if you increase the air flow from that knob into your pump you will get allot more foaming action.. Give that a try......
PS: not a bad looking tank..
Happy Reefing,
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:38 AM   #6
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Adjust the tube so that the top of the bubbles is way up in the neck. You'll have to get it adjusted depending on how finely you want to skim (wet or dry) but that will come over time.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:47 AM   #7
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I see a black tube with a blue adjustment knob coming from your pump. I think if you increase the air flow from that knob into your pump you will get allot more foaming action.. Give that a try......
PS: not a bad looking tank..
Happy Reefing,
Yes, that is an adjustable valve that I replaced. I have it wide open.

Thanks!
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:55 AM   #8
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Adjust the tube so that the top of the bubbles is way up in the neck. You'll have to get it adjusted depending on how finely you want to skim (wet or dry) but that will come over time.
I did as you suggested last night. I have my water level as high as the slip-fit fitting will allow. Over night the column of bubbles made it to the top of the small tube in the collection cup....it hasn't rolled over the top of the tube and run down in the cup yet, but it is close. I guess I will watch it and see what happens.

Thanks!

Jeff
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:05 PM   #9
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sometimes wide open is to much. Cut it back a bit and watch the bubble action to get max bubbles out. Wide open has a tendentcy to make large bubbles which tend to burst easyly, you want small bubbles that hold their form and get covered with protein particles that you want to skim out.
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Old 05-26-2009, 03:50 PM   #10
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you need more water in the sump. when the water evaporates and the level is lower in the sump, the bubbles get lower, almost to the point where my max adjustment wont get the bubbles higher. i tend to add mroe water to fill 1/3 of my sump after water changes now.
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