Tuesday, February 24, 2009

AquaticLife’s New Principal SKIMMER!

Flipping through television channels recently I stumbled upon an episode of The Simpsons called “Homer and Lisa Exchange Crosswords.”

At one point in the episode, Superintendent Chalmers shouts “skimmer!” and Principal Skinner leans out a window. Since this gag was probably only funny to aquarium hobbyists (I was ROTFLMAO), I immediately texted Jeff (who was, of course, already watching the episode); we had been calling him Principal “Skimmer” ever since we got into reefkeeping a year and a half ago.

Somehow this all got me thinking about my own tank. “I need a better protein skimmer,” I thought.

Confession time: I have, admittedly, cut corners (or tried to) many times by buying or building aquarium componentry with the cheapest supplies possible.

After buying several inexpensive protein skimmers (the TAAM Rio, AquaC Remora Nano and Current USA Fission Nano-Skimmer), I realized I was going to have to reach into my pockets again in order to get that thick, brown skimmate I truly desired.

My buying criterion was as follows: it’s gotta be compact, efficient … and I don’t want to pony up $150 for Tunze’s Nano DOC.

That is when the aquatic gods spoke to me. They whispered, “Stop wasting so much time watching cartoons. Oh, and check out AquaticLife’s new mini skimmer.”

The AquaticLife Internal Mini Protein Skimmer is a jewel; perfect for my nano tank in every way, namely affordability, efficiency and it’s compact and near-silent.

Setup was easy. An instructional CD is included so after watching that it only took about 10 minutes out of my Friday to get the sucker up and running. If you’ve ever tried to fine-tune a protein skimmer, you know what a hassle setup can sometimes be. Not the case here.

Although I must remark regulating the skimming power with the difficult-to-grasp knob was a challenge, especially since the settings are so sensitive. But I found this to be a positive because once I discovered the perfect amount of bubbles and skimmate, I was done. The see-through body of the AquaticLife Mini allows you to see the amount of bubbles it is producing while you are twisting the knob, which is helpful.

If you’re just skimming (hardy har) this article, I’ve pulled out a few highlights and observations:

  • Can be used with aquariums up to 30 gallon tanks
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 3 x 3 inches (the body is just a little taller than a US dollar)
  • Compact size
  • Effective in eliminating organic waste
  • Needle wheel impeller (helps increases air-to-water contact)
  • Tool-less clean up (remove two brackets to open)
  • Power cord length: 4.5 ft (conveniently tucked away inside the unit)
  • Pump wattage: 8W
  • Min. Clearance Above Water Line: 3.75 inches
  • Price: $59.99

And, for the sake of objectivity, the cons:

  • No drain fitting (If you are good a drilling you can make one with an elbow fitting)
  • Small collection cup volume: 3.4 oz
  • Collection cup dimensions: 2 x 2 x 3 inches
  • You need to put your hand in the tank to replace the cup after emptying it out
  • Lots of micro bubbles (can be solved by adding a course sponge in the return section)
  • If you fill water above the venturi hole, an awful sound emerges

So in conclusion, kiddies, I recommend this skimmer to anyone searching for a compact, inexpensive and efficient protein skimmer. AquaticLife, you have done your research!

I give it 9 out of 10, 4.5 Stars and two thumbs up. OK, I’m done now.


“Homer and Lisa Exchange Crosswords”

Chalmers: SIMPSON, what in the blue blazes are you doing to my hop-scotching grids?

Lisa: [a bit worried] I made them into a crossword.

Chalmers: Oh, well ha ha, I'm a bit of a puzzlehead myself. They help me wind down after a day of dealing with SKINNER!!

Skinner: [appears in the school window] You called?

Chalmers: Made a reference.

Skinner: My mistake. [disappears back in the window]

Chalmers: Lisa, I think you may be ready for this. [gives her a flier]

Lisa: Citywide Crossword Tournament? Oh thank you!

Chalmers: Ah, you're welcome, now uh, I have to go home and make sure my pool boy is using his SKIMMER!!

Skinner: [appears in the window again] You called?

Chalmers: You misheard.

Skinner: My mistake. [disappears back in the school window]