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Skimming


cMidd

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Skimming, just how much "a necessity" is it?

Skim 24/7?

Skim lights on (say 12 hour on/12 off?)

For my personal use, specs are::

75g mixed lps/sps reef, 1.024sg, 440ppm ca, 8.2-8.3 ph, 0/0/0 ammonia/nitrate/nitrite (at least Nitrate is undetectable), how much do you truly NEED a skimmer??

Opinions everyone, please.

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To Skim or Not To Skim? You can do either, it is up to you and how you have your tank setup, your bio load and what types of corals you keep or don't keep. The answers like Ian said will be very wide in variation of opinions. I have run my 180g without skimming for 18 months and just added a skimmer 1 month ago (running 24/7 now) as I have a large bioload from more fish. But others go years without a skimmer as they have their tank setup to be higher nutrients. It depends on your goals and reef keeping methods...

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Yeah, I know it's a "hot topic" haha, I am just curious as to what some think. I am thinking of going no skimmer (i have one on hand though), I don't plan on having any more than 3 fish tops, just a lot of coral. It will be "low nutrient", as the fish will just be part of the CUC when I add them. Not really sure.

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I skim heavily on my predator tank and the mixed reef in my bedroom, because both have very heavy bioloads. I don't skim on my frag tanks very much, because I have all lps and softies now, and they just love the dirtier water.

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I stopped using skimming in the 90's. Look up Steve Tyree's acropora dominate coral tanks. His "Zonal" system does not use skimming. Here are two skimmerless (and one filterless) systems I maintain:

I would also point out the terms LPS and SPS are not valid scientific terms and do not have any correlation to a corals husbandry requirements. Also contrary to popular perception reef systems in the wild are high nutrient systems.

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It really all comes down to what you want in your tank. If your goal is to get the pastel sticks of acropora and have a totally algae free, ultra low nutrient tank, a skimmer will probably be part of your toolkit. If you're just going to have zoas, and other soft corals, skimmer isn't as much of a necessity. I certainly won't make the claim that it's a necessity, I just view it as another piece of the puzzle for me. Other methods to get you where you need to go are, biopellets, macroalgae, carbon dosing, low stocking, large water changes, deep sand beds, etc. Anyone who uses a single one of these as a panacea is probably in for a bad time.

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I turned on my skimmer in the new system and every coral got mad. I then put 50 lb of amazing live sand in the sump and everything is better. Live sand had some die off from shipping but lots of live stars and crabs. I'm thinking it dirtied the tank to where I needed it.

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Good points, really enjoy everyone chiming in here.

All of my other tanks have ran with skimmers. I would really like to try the "other way" and run no skimmer.

Since I am going BB, I will do probably 5g waterchange / week for awhile just to keep the bottom clean until I can get some coraline growth on it. This is already going to be an ultra-low nutrient system just by design (rocks are off bottom, away from back, flow throughout tank is even.) Fish stocking will be very light, I may just go with "janitorial" fish, like Ctenochaetus tangs, etc.

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i was going to go in and edit mine to say that the second that I posted, and got sidetracked. but good point. however, IMO 5g water changes are going to be insufficient to get you into that "ULNS" bracket.

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PO4 wasnt listed, so I won't put the ULNS crown on it yet. In addition, lots of the nitrate kits out there suck. badly. by suck I mean that if you are above a certain threshold, your readings will show zero. you have to do a dilution and then multiply your results to get a true reading. it takes quite a bit of work and some serious export to get in that 0-1 ppm nitrate range.

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I've been very happy with my red sea combo kit (PO4 and NO3) in terms of accuracy and precision. I double checked my zero readings with RichardL's elos (or salifert?) and API kits to confirm my readings because I didn't believe them. I also picked up a hanna PO4 checker that I like a lot. Thread successfully derailed.

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Yeah I use Red Sea lot as well, maybe I said that incorrectly, and I meant every couple of days not weeks. Don't get me wrong, the rocks cured and everything is great. The sump will house all other filtration, sock, carbon, possibly gfo, and dosing.

The question I'm asking though is about skimming, with the goals in mind does a skimmer become a "necessity"? I am not so much interested in acro's, I like chalices zoas montis then some softies. It's not so much "ULNS" I suppose as I would like it to be "clean". I'm not expecting algae problems. I don't think I will have detritus problem with an adequate CUC and regular water changes (as needed once I figure it out).

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If you're using biopellets or another form of carbon dosing it becomes a necessity. Otherwise if there is sufficient nutrient removal by other means, it shouldn't be "required". The coral you are planning on, with the exception of the monti's, will probably do better in a higher nutrient tank than an ultra low one.

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