What is a protien skimmer, and what types are commonly used?

Discussion in 'Equipment, Lighting, Hardware, Aquarium Filtration' started by skinz78, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. skinz78

    skinz78 Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member

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    What is a protien skimmer, and what types are commonly used?

    Well you may know what a protein skimmer does by now but if not I will briefly explain a little.

    Pretty much your fish, inverts, and corals all .... well poo right? Algae also puts off organic waste. This poo and organic waste is referred to as detritus. So the most efficient way to remove the detritus from your system "tank" is to employ the use of a protein skimmer.

    How does a protein skimmer do this?

    Simple it mixes micro bubbles of air with the water inside the skimmer. The micro bubbles then bond with the detritus that is suspended in the water causing the detritus to rise to the collection cup and later be dumped out by you.

    Here are some of the main things that you need to consider when choosing a skimmer:

    1. For the best skimming, the water flow through the skimmer should be pretty slow as to allow interactions of the micro bubbles and the detritus. The best designs for this are skimmers that employ water moving against the flow of bubbles. Such skimmers are called counter-current skimmers.

    2. Make the skimmer reaction chamber as tall as possible to maximize the contact time that the water has with the air in the skimmer. If you are using a hang on or external skimmer you height is not limited as much as an in sump skimmer would limit you. Pump as much air into the reaction chamber as possible.
    The key to injecting air is twofold: a) maintaining the smallest sized air bubbles, and b) reducing any potential turbulence of the air bubbles in the skimmer reaction chamber.

    3. The diameter of the skimmer can also be increased in proportion to the amount of water being skimmed. The larger the amount of water to skim, the wider the diameter of the skimmer should be.

    Types of skimmers

    Needle Wheel / Mesh Wheel: Also known as an aspirating skimmer, low to moderate water flow, good foam production, good bubble size, excellent contact time, cost-efficient, requires specialized impeller or needle wheel.

    Air driven counter-current: low water flow, good foam production (with new air stones), good bubble size, maximum contact times (with taller units), frequent maintenance and requires frequent water height adjustments (called tuning).

    Venturi: good water flow, good foam production, moderate contact time, requires a powerful pump, valve tends to clog.

    Beckett-head skimmer: high water flow, maximum bubble production, moderate contact time (swirling patterns will increase this), requires a very powerful pump, Beckett-head requires cleaning.

    Downdraftâ„¢: good water flow, excellent bubble production, excellent contact time. Units tend to be tall and bulky and require powerful pumps to create air bubbles.

    Recirculating: Recirculation can be added to the venturi and aspirating style skimmer design. The recirculation continues to fractionate the water inside the skimmer body to increase contact time and improve performance. These skimmers usually require an external feed pump to supply water to the skimmer, or they can be direct fed from the tank drain.

    For now this is just a basic description, we'll get into a more in depth discussion about skimmers as the thread progresses. Please feel free to ask questions or include any input you may have.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
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  2. skinz78

    skinz78 Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member

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    Feel free to add any info or ask any questions you may have!
     
  3. Reefwizard

    Reefwizard Active Member

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    LoL Hmmm looks familiar Chris, Dint know you were here. How ya been bud?
     
  4. mojo

    mojo Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    There are actually two types organics that are in the water that are removed from protein skimming. THose that are attracted to the air and water mixture and those that are repelled by it. I cant remember off hand the scientific names of each. But the gentle upward motion of the air water mixture helps remove the one repelled by the microbubbles and so on.
     
  5. skinz78

    skinz78 Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member

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    Been doing good now Bob! How are you these days, is the tank salty yet?
     
  6. SlackTide

    SlackTide Well-Known Member

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    Escobal's flow chart? it's still relevant but many newer skimmers use brute force
     

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  7. dougers31

    dougers31 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    So what is the theory behind cone skimmers and why they are supposedly better than the standard skimmers.
     
  8. skinz78

    skinz78 Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member

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    From what I understand the bubbles have a smooth unobstructed surface to ride up to the collection cup and it makes it more efficient.
     
  9. REEFKEEPER10

    REEFKEEPER10 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    what is your opinion on corallife super skimmers.
     
  10. skinz78

    skinz78 Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member

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    They work but there are better options out there.
     
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  11. REEFKEEPER10

    REEFKEEPER10 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    so I just got through researching aquac ev 240 and I am going to save and get one for my 150 gallon when I set it up.
     
  12. redtop03

    redtop03 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsors

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    nice basic description skinz

    I'd like to add my experience with recirculating skimmers,it's the only type of skimmer that I've had (except for the seaclown),although feeding the skimmer directly from the overflow works fine,it does cause some problems with tuning and sometime it take a few minutes for the flow to stabilize during a return pump restart,it can also flood the skimmer if you're not careful,using a feed pump makes tuning so much easier and actually increased skimmate production with my skimmers....

    I used the Aqua-Medic T1000 for a few years on my smaller tanks and now I'm using the ReeFlo Orca 250 on my big tank...the T1000 is a good cheap skimmer,rated for up to 240g but more suited for 120g,kinda aggravating to clean though...the Orca may be a bit power hungry but it works great and it's huge...ReeFlo pumps are about bulletproof,adding a needle wheel impeller to a dart pump seems like a crazy idea to me but when you plug it in,the water in the reaction chamber instantly turns whiter than the 2% milk the wife and kids drink :tongue:
     
  13. REEFKEEPER10

    REEFKEEPER10 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I have a corallife 125 on my 75 gallon. It worked good for about a year and now it does ok but i need to upgrade.
     
  14. Connie

    Connie Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Probably a dumb question to most but.....What is a JG fitting?
     
  15. redtop03

    redtop03 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsors

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    not dumb at all,John Guest fitting are quick push to connect fittings commonly used for RO/DI filters
     
  16. Connie

    Connie Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Thanks Willie! I just bit the bullet and bought the Aqua C EV240 with Mag 18 for my 180g build. After all the recommendations from the pros on here and looking at customer reviews, this was the best skimmer by far for the money.
     
  17. 3Twinklets

    3Twinklets Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    I would love to know from fellow reefers, not just suppliers that are selling the product, which skimmer that they consider to be the best?
     
  18. redtop03

    redtop03 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsors

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    you are very welcome....Aqua C EV skimmers have a wonderful name,though I've never personally owned one,I'm sure you'll love it's performance and I'm basing that solely on reviews :D
     
  19. redtop03

    redtop03 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsors

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    you could ask that to a hundred different people and get a hundred different answers,bottom line is,if it is working properly,it is doing what it's supposed to do.....though most good named skimmers are built really well,build quality doesn't always dictate how well a skimmer performs,though it does plays a major roll in what is deemed best in that it is easily disassembled and reassembled for cleaning without some piece breaking...

    my advice is to read reviews and select accordingly to what seems to fit your needs best.....it ain't always the $3000 skimmer that is best for you LOL
     
  20. luisgo

    luisgo Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award

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    Detritus is non-living particulate organic material (as opposed to dissolved organic material).

    A protein skimmer removes both particulate (detritus) and dissolved organic compounds (DOC). There are a number of organic and inorganic molecules that are typically removed. These include fats, fatty acids, carbohydrates, metals and trace elements such as iodine. Particulates and other detritus is also removed, along with phytoplankton and bacteria.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012

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