Showing posts with label Quick Tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quick Tips. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

AquaMaxx HOB-1 Protein Skimmer: How to Get Rid of Microbubbles

Microbubbles often go hand-in-hand with protein skimmers when they are first added to saltwater aquariums, especially hang on back style skimmers.

Microbubbles usually stop forming after running a new protein skimmer for 1-3 weeks. This is generally referred to as a protein skimmer’s “break-in” period where organic slime is built up inside the skimmer body. Normally the break-in period is 1-3 weeks, although in some instances it may take 4-8 weeks.

Before installing a new protein skimmer, rinse it thoroughly inside and out with lukewarm water to remove any dust or residue left from manufacturing. If you’re using a hang on or external skimmer, you only need to rinse the parts that will have water in them.

If you’ve had your new protein skimmer running for 1-3 weeks and it is still producing a lot of microbubbles, here are some tips that should help you eliminate them from forming:

  1. While tee fittings work well for many aquarium hobbyists, others have noted they sometimes increase the amount of bubbles being released into the tank. Tee fittings allow you to fully submerge the return line without worrying about a siphoning effect of the water inside the skimmer. For people with limited space in the back of their tank—like nano cubes with built-in filtration—this comes in quite handy. But if you aren't limited on space and can angle your return line, you might try replacing the tee fitting with an elbow fitting (this was actually the original design, the tee was added later on). For some hobbyists, using an elbow helps reduce microbubbles. A tee fitting will sometimes pull air in with the water exiting the skimmer causing extra bubbles to be mixed in. Try swapping out the tee fitting with an elbow fitting and angle the return so it is not submerged and that may do the trick.
  2. Some aquarium additives and supplements can create a “soapy” effect that causes protein skimmer bubbles not to pop as quickly as they should. Common two-part calcium/alkalinity supplements rarely have any effect, although other supplements can. If possible, limit dosing specific additives/supplements for a few days to see if that has any effect on the amount of bubbles being released into your aquarium.

    Water treatments and conditioners can also create the soapy bubble effect, as well as two-part epoxy, red slime (cyanobacteria) remover and some medication formulas. For best results, always use RO or RO/DI water to mix saltwater and top off your aquarium. If you’ve recently used two-part epoxy to attach coral to rock or treated your tank for red slime, we recommend performing several water changes to reduce the presence of these products in your tank water.
  3. As a last resort, try placing an air control valve on the air intake to reduce the amount of bubbles being pulled into your protein skimmer. While not an ideal solution, an air control valve will allow you to scale back the amount of bubbles that enter the skimmer. You may find this reduces the number of bubbles that flow back into your aquarium. You can usually find air control valves for sale at your local pet store for only a couple of dollars.
If you have an AquaMaxx HOB-1 Protein Skimmer and have followed these troubleshooting tips but are still experiencing microbubble issues, please contact us directly for additional support.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quick Tips: Clogging calcium reactor or inconsistent drip rate? Try two Flow Control Pinch Valves!

Is your calcium reactor, DIY dosing pump, or drip system clogging frequently or dripping at an inconsistent rate? I recommend upgrading with two Flow Control Pinch Valves (Item Code: FT0002).
One pinch valve is good, Two pinch valves are better! With micro-ball valves or just one pinch valve, you are choking the output line too much allowing sediment to build eventually clogging the effluent line. 
Two pinch valves solves this issue by reducing the flow rate at two points and allowing the effluent to flow freely through larger choke points.
Add one Flow Control Pinch Valve at the output of the reactor or pump. Dial this valve down to reduce the output tubing to a trickle flow.
Add a second Flow Control Pinch Valve at the end of the output tubing and adjust to the desired drip rate.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Quick Tips: Foam Overflow Box Cover

Cover your overflow box to protect your fish and invertebrates from entering your overflow, while preventing algae growth by blocking aquarium lighting.

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Rena Filstar xP 20 ppi Filtration Foam (Item Code:AP7331) is perfect for this application. The black foam squares are approximately 6" x 6", and they blend in well with the overflow box for a very clean look.
Item Code: AP7331. Two 6 inch black foam squares are included.
Cut to size with scissors. Leave about a 1/4" or a little more around the edge for a snug fit. The foam is just above the water line. Do not submerge the foam as it is not intended to block or restrict water flow.
The edges are concealed when placed side-by-side. Installed a overflow box with a 1.5" drain and dual 3/4" returns.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quick Tips: How to Mount Your ReefKeeper

Shortly after customers purchase a ReefKeeper aquarium controller, they'll usually call or email us back a week later and ask us how to mount it.

Many hobbyists keep it simple and use good old-fashion screws to mount the controller to their stand. If you don't mount the controller in the perfect spot, you are, in a word, screwed. You can always remove it, but then you'll have to cover up or disguise the screw holes.

We prefer something a little less permanent in case we change our minds--or tanks, for that matter.

Using Velcro to stick the controller to the side of your aquarium stand is another popular choice. We actually have a RKL here in the office mounted that way. Velcro is nice because you can easily remove the controller to fiddle with it. Of course, you'll always have pieces of Velcro affixed to your controller and stand.

We came up with another solution here in the office: using a suction cup holder designed to hold portable devices in automobiles. Turns out those inexpensive cell phone and GPS holders work great for cradling your RKL or RKE.

The following photographs were shot with, you guessed it, our mobile devices, so we apologize for the meh quality. The model used in these photographs is the
Fosmon Windshield Car Mount Holder available at for $9.99.