Thursday, May 08, 2014

Product Review: Innovative Marine Ghost Protein Skimmer (FullSize), Part 1


Innovative Marine Ghost Protein Skimmer - FullSize rated up to 120 gallons (Item #: 0I10452) 

This skimmer is now available for pre-order, reserve yours today! Expected to be in stock 5/19!

Features
  • Recirculating Design – Passively recirculates bubbles for maximum dwell time
  • Drop-In Convenience – Preset to optimal water level and eliminates the need for extra accessories.
  • Enlarged Air Silencer Box– integrated into the skimmer’s body for a seamless look while reducing noise.
  • Bubble Plate Diffuser – Reduces turbulence inside skimmer to improve skimmate production
  • Adjustable Air Valve – Provides air intake control
  • Needle Wheel Impeller – Produces dense micro bubbles
  • Cup Drain Elbow – Prevents overflows
  • Airline Management – Keeps airline organized and “kink free”
  • Suspended Pump Design – Reduces vibration by suspension
  • Self-Draining – Eliminate messy maintenance
  • Low Profile Cup Design – Keeps your skimmer hidden from view
Specifications
  • Dimensions: 5.39” x 3.74” x 14.57”
  • Tank Capacity: 60-120 gallon
  • Designed For: SR-60, 80 & 120
  • 110-120V/60HZ
  • 24 watts
  • Flow Rate: 370 GPH
The great guys at Innovative Marine were generous to pull this skimmer directly out of their running SR-120 aquarium for us to test and review! They literally took it out, put it in a bucket and was like, here you go! Please excuse the skimmate residue in these pictures as I wiped down as much as I could.

This is a pre-production model so there will be some changes when the retail version ships (the pump will have a ceramic shaft, for example). I often get asked many questions about these skimmers that isn't printed in the user manual or anywhere else online. My goal is to gather as much information as I can and share it with you all.

We all know that these are designed for Innovative Marine Fusion and SR Series aquariums, but many hobbyists want to know if it will work for their tank, too? Questions such as what the minimum and maximum water level depth is required, and what is the ideal water height that works best? Will the fluctuations of water evaporation greatly effect its performance? How easy is it to adjust and does it skim well? How much clearance do I need to remove the cup and is it quiet?

All of these will be answered in Part 2.

In Part 1, we will be going over the physical part of the design and components. So let's get started!


Rated up to 120 gallons and designed for the SR-60, SR-80 and SR-120 aquariums. The dimensions of 5.39" L x 3.74" W x 14.57" H listed by the manufacturer does not include the skimmer cup. They are the measurements of the white body only. My first impressions is that the skimmer felt solid and looked pretty good.  The built-in silencer and airline management is unique and a nice touch.

Measurement of the overall height of the skimmer with the cup pushed in as far as it will go for a wet skim.

Approximately 16.0625 inches tall

One thing to note for skimmers with this design, it is normal for the skimmer cup to be smaller than the hole in the body as the red rubber o-ring holds the cup in place. 

Pro-Tip: If water is leaking from the sides of the cup where the o-ring is at and it is making a big mess, then you have the cup too low!

Measurement of the overall height of the skimmer with the cup at its highest point for a dry skim or to prevent the cup from filling up too quickly.

Approximately 18.625 inches tall

Skimmer collection cup with drain fitting elbow. The total height of the skimmer cup with lid is approximately 4.5 inches. Clearance needed to remove the cup from the body would be approximately 19.07 inches. This would be a great little skimmer for a sump in a short cabinet stand.

Inside the body of the skimmer with the pump removed is pretty hollow

Needle wheel impeller installed with the cover removed

Another view of just the needle wheel impeller with a metal shaft. We have confirmed that the production model will have a ceramic shaft.

370 GPH, 24 watt pump with the bubble plate, and volute/venturi connected

Performing maintenance on the pump will be easy with this design. The pump is held by the bubble plate diffuser.  Place the pump underneath the body and screw on the bubble plate diffuser to secure it into place.  As you can see the bubble plate takes very little space maximizing the entire body for microbubbles.  There are no supports or braces inside the body allowing you to reach all the way to the bottom.

Read Part 2 to find out how the skimmer has been performing in a controlled testing environment!