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Protein skimmer adjustments


chrisfowler99

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I've got a Reef Octopus NW-150 protein skimmer. It seems to be working. It's pulling some stuff. I have almost no bio load, so I don't know how much it should be actually pulling.

It's a needle wheel skimmer. There's an adjustment on the air intake and there's a height adjustment on the output.

I see all sorts of mods that can be done to it.

But what I don't understand is what the adjustments/mods actually do.

Do you guys just fiddle with the adjustments until it looks like it's doing something "better"?

Or are there certain things to look for as the input and/or output are adjusted?

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First of all, you want to make sure the skimmer is sitting in a consistent level of water (usually 8"-10").

The height adjustment will dictate the water level inside the skimmer.

I'm pretty sure the air intake will affect the bubble sizes and, as a result, the type of foam created (wet/dry).

You can modify the needle wheel into a mesh wheel to increase the air pull, but you'll have to do some research on how to do that properly. If you mess-up, you'll need to buy a new impeller.

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I've got a Reef Octopus NW-150 protein skimmer. It seems to be working. It's pulling some stuff. I have almost no bio load, so I don't know how much it should be actually pulling.

It's a needle wheel skimmer. There's an adjustment on the air intake and there's a height adjustment on the output.

I see all sorts of mods that can be done to it.

But what I don't understand is what the adjustments/mods actually do.

Do you guys just fiddle with the adjustments until it looks like it's doing something "better"?

Or are there certain things to look for as the input and/or output are adjusted?

I was really hoping to see more answers on this subject myself Chris. The one thing I never heard initially, which is critical for most standard skimmers (I believe), is you must have an auto top off, otherwise the skimmer is constantly being adjusted and seldom working as you intend. Now what 'as you intend' means is the $500 question. Once I finally got my ATO I tried to adjust mine so the bubbles were just barely visible at the bottom of the collection chamber. Then once it 'breaks in' the bubbles get larger and some make their way up and over the top. If none do after a day or so then I edge them up just a pinch, and repeat.

AFter that, it becomes less clear to me. On my PM 100 it seems I only get those larger frothy bubbles after a while when the neck is starting to get dirty with skimmate - they still are much smaller than I see pictures of on big mama skimmers. Anyways, once I clean the collection piece up, the process starts over again and I have smaller bubbles for a while - now that I have the air adjusted where 'I think' it should be I do not compensate for bubble size. I am not really sure how dirty I should let the neck get before I wash it out. The way I have mine adjusted it seems to take a week or so before the collection cup starts getting fuller with liquid, which is not particularly thick, by in large. Every time I dump the liquid I clean it up of the skimmate film in the neck and top. The Mannings have a big recirculating skimmer (Octopus also I think). It produces a disgusting sludge in the collection cup. I never have anything like that in mine. I get a film on the inside of the neck and where the bubbles pop on the lid. I suspect they have so much better results largely because they have that big mama skimmer and partially because they have a big tank heavily stocked with corals and fish.

I think it is important that you have the water level in your sump at the correct height. I imagine this increases with the size of the skimmer. Mine is 6-8 inches. pbnj just suggested 8-10" which sounds reasonable for a larger skimmer. I would make sure you use the correct height for your skimmer per your manual or manufacturer.

So that's my story. I don't know if I am doing anything correct or not - just thought I would give you some feed back and perhaps a case story that someone else could say "No you should be......". I'm definitely not trying to hijack this thread to be about my skimmer. I just have the impression that there may be a number of newer people out there who also have the same questions as us. Automatic Top Off is the only good advice I have and there are probably notations on this I don't know about.

Bill

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On my 75g, my ASM G3 pulls out about a full collection cup per week, although I clean it about halfway. I have 9 fish (2-3 inches) and quite a few corals. I also feed generously.

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On my 75g, my ASM G3 pulls out about a full collection cup per week, although I clean it about halfway. I have 9 fish (2-3 inches) and quite a few corals. I also feed generously.

Just curious about the consistency of 'a full collection cup'. That's about what I get but it is primarily tea colored stinky water. It seems as most of the solids are adhearing to the plastic coming out and over, the lid and a little actually settling in the collection cup itself. It sounds like you have about twice the load as me, with the same size tank and at least twice the skimmer.

Bill

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Coupla thoughts to add to the mix... First, double-check the owner's manual or the manufacturer's web site for the ideal water depth. My old Euro-Reef said anything from 6" to 10" was ok, but my new Precision Marine is fairly emphatic about the water being a steady 6". Knowing the manufacturer's ideal water depth will help maximize its production. Second, if your skimmate is "tea colored," you might be skimming too "wet." I can adjust both of my skimmers by turning the riser on the output tube until the bubble column comes halfway up the neck inside the collection cup. The skimmate produced when I get it dialed in right is still watery (not sludge) and a VERY dark greenish-black. However, with "almost no bioload" in a cycling tank as stated by the OP, it's hard to tell how much the skimmer should be pulling right now. It'll come down to what kind of die-off you're still getting from your rock, and how much food you're giving your existing livestock.

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Just curious about the consistency of 'a full collection cup'. That's about what I get but it is primarily tea colored stinky water. It seems as most of the solids are adhearing to the plastic coming out and over, the lid and a little actually settling in the collection cup itself. It sounds like you have about twice the load as me, with the same size tank and at least twice the skimmer.

Bill

I'd say my collection cup holds more "Guinness beer" liquid skimmate than "tea colored water", but yes, most of the actual sludge collects on the neck and lid too. The sludge is very thick.

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Coupla thoughts to add to the mix... First, double-check the owner's manual or the manufacturer's web site for the ideal water depth. My old Euro-Reef said anything from 6" to 10" was ok, but my new Precision Marine is fairly emphatic about the water being a steady 6". Knowing the manufacturer's ideal water depth will help maximize its production. Second, if your skimmate is "tea colored," you might be skimming too "wet." I can adjust both of my skimmers by turning the riser on the output tube until the bubble column comes halfway up the neck inside the collection cup. The skimmate produced when I get it dialed in right is still watery (not sludge) and a VERY dark greenish-black. However, with "almost no bioload" in a cycling tank as stated by the OP, it's hard to tell how much the skimmer should be pulling right now. It'll come down to what kind of die-off you're still getting from your rock, and how much food you're giving your existing livestock.

Guess I can play with the output and see how it affects the level of the bubbles.

My skimmate seems very wet right now...

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Coupla thoughts to add to the mix... First, double-check the owner's manual or the manufacturer's web site for the ideal water depth. My old Euro-Reef said anything from 6" to 10" was ok, but my new Precision Marine is fairly emphatic about the water being a steady 6". Knowing the manufacturer's ideal water depth will help maximize its production. Second, if your skimmate is "tea colored," you might be skimming too "wet." I can adjust both of my skimmers by turning the riser on the output tube until the bubble column comes halfway up the neck inside the collection cup. The skimmate produced when I get it dialed in right is still watery (not sludge) and a VERY dark greenish-black. However, with "almost no bioload" in a cycling tank as stated by the OP, it's hard to tell how much the skimmer should be pulling right now. It'll come down to what kind of die-off you're still getting from your rock, and how much food you're giving your existing livestock.

This is very helpful info. Thank you. I bought my Precision Marine RL100 from Ric in near new condition, but I did not find any instructions. When I called New Braunfels they said between 6 and 8" for the sump line. Mine is much closer to the 8" right now. I might try the 6" your instruction suggest and see if the results are different.

Bill

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