2 months ago, I was browsing around ReefBuilders.com, this black skimmer caught my eye. Never heard of them before so my curiosity took the better of me and I started looking up Avast Marine Works. I was confused at first when I went to the skimmer page, wondering why is the skimmer all in pieces. Further reading and I realized that this is a DIY skimmer that they machine all the parts for you, and you assemble it yourself. It helps reduce the cost on both the manufacturing side and the consumer side. Less labor for them put the skimmer together, cheaper for us since labor cost of putting the skimmer together is excluded.
They even include Video instructions on how to put the skimmer together
I my interest in this skimmer went from moderate to love at first sight. I love building things on my own but dont have the resources to do so, so this skimmer is perfect. I contacted Justin from Avast Marine and got to know the skimmer better, He was very helpful in answering my questions and gave me his opinion on what i should order. The only problem is this skimmer is only available in the states. Shipping to Hong Kong would be too expensive to make this skimmer a real deal to get. Coincidentally, a friend is going back to the states for Christmas so I had the skimmer shipped to him and he brought it back for me. I went and picked it up the same day he came back
I ordered the Pegleg skimmer with the pump and recirculation mod. This is whats included in the package
Partially assembled shots
I got a little excited and didnt take any finished product shots or any side by side comparison of the old skimmers
Here it is after a few days. Its already skimming something
Heres a short video of it in action
Building the skimmer was pretty straight forward and simple. The video instructions really helped with the process, but since the video, they updated the neck design and was different from the video. I got ahead of myself started assembling the skimmer without reading the instructions regarding the neck since I remember what the video said. Good thing I went back and double checked to realized Im missing a part in there. The uniseals are a real ##### to slide anything through. I thought i was going to crack the bottom plate pushing the pump through. The collection cup was a paint to put on as well. The O-ring is a bit thick and it wont stay in the grove as I shove the cup down the neck, causing the cup not sitting flush with the neck.The PSK1000 pump is a beast of a pump and pulls in so much air.
After putting the skimmer in the tank and running it, I quickly realized some flaws.
1.) The compartment i have the skimmer in has 12" of water. I emailed Justin and he recommended me to go with the recirculation mod since the skimmer will not be affected by the water level and will give me a better control with adjustments. But he failed to mention the silencer is also at around 12" tall. The silencer was filled with water when i put the skimmer in the sump.
2.) The silencer didnt really help with quieting down the gurgling and churning sound of the pump. I did get as much water as i can out of the silencer before installing it back to the skimmer so that wasnt the problem. I had to stick another hose over the tip of the silencer to quiet down the gurgling and churning sound. I think a larger silencer will need to be made.
3.) Probably the biggest problem of all. Since the silencer sits so low on the skimmer. If you turn off the feed pump and skimmer pump, water level inside the skimmer is higher than the silencer, causing the water to shoot back out through the air intake tube into the silencer and out the top. water will continuously flow out if you just turn off the skimmer and leave the feed pump running. If any maintenance is needed, you have to remember to turn off the feed pump first, wait for the water level inside the skimmer drops, place finger over the silencer and turn off the skimmer pump to minimize the amount of water flowing back into the silencer. A relocation of the silencer is a must. I was truly disappointed by this. I have emailed Justin regarding the matter, but I guess it's the holidays and he havent have a chance to reply.
Im pretty impressed by the performance of the skimmer. Just one week after running the skimmer, it was able to produce a lot of skimmate and its not really fully broken in yet. It was pretty easy to put the skimmer together. The parts fits easily together and it was fun to build.
The placement and design of the silencer was pretty disappointing. Not only did it not quiet down the air flow but its floods easily. Im awaiting Justin's reply on the matter and see what suggestions he comes up with. I have another friend brink back some 1" PVC tubing to raise the silencer higher. hopefully solving some of the problems.
Compared to other skimmer with the same pump, for the price I think its worth it...if you dont mind trouble shooting the problems and find it fun to enhance on the design.