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please explain my protein skimmer

Posted by dustyfeet none (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 13, 12 at 11:44

I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank with seven small fish and coral. My filter is marineland and can filter a 110 gallon tank. The other day I added coral and rearranged the live rock etc. My protein skimmer started acting strange in that the little tornado in it looked more like a really dirty sand storm and the output poured a fog of tiny bubbles.
I took it out, took it apart and cleaned it and put it back. Now I can get the tornado back but it is not bubbling into the upper chamber (discharge cup) at all. If I turn the air intake up, I get the sand storm effect again. At this point, I have a small tornado and my output is releasing clear water with intersperced larger bubbles. It is doing what it did initially on installation for about 2 months. then one day, somehow it started to bubble up to the upper cup and I was happy that it was working.
I read that unless I want to do lots of water changes, I need a protein filter. I am happy to keep it but do not understand it at all. Do you think it is working from my description?
Thanks in advance!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: please explain my protein skimmer

A skimmer is absolutely essential Does more for water quality that all the other equipment combined Now we could argue all day about sizing and flow rates. Another method is to use "Ozone" rather than air which adds a sterilizing effect to the mechanics.
They won't elinate water changes since you need to replace elements consumed by the inabitants as well as stripped out by the skimmer.
All one needs to do is look at the smelly nasty looking stuff that is deposited in the cup lol
They are doing a LOT !! gary

RE: please explain my protein skimmer

The skimmer basically went crazy because you put your hands/arms into the tank. The oils from you skin disrupt the functioning of the skimmer. you also added corals which cause th bioload of the tank to increase. It should settle down in a few days.

RE: please explain my protein skimmer

Protein skimmers are great, but yet a bit of trial and error to adjust. Many reasons why it would do that, as already said.

If you have not already found the site, I believe the best information you can find is at reefcentral. Many very experienced water keepers. You also never said what skimmer you have, that sorta makes a difference. My Reeflo Orca goes crazy with any little difference. Hands in the tank, goes crazy. I just don't recommend cleaning the main chamber as it needs to build up a "scum" layer. Well, depending on the skimmer. Check out the site, loads of info there.

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