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Avast Marine Works CS-1 Pegleg Cone Skimmer Kit


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#1
disaster999

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Ive been using Bubble Magus' NAC6A since ive started up my 100gal tank and upgraded to the NAC7 because the deal was too good to pass up. After 2 years of using those skimmers, I stumbled upon what I thought would be a good upgrade for my system.

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.

http://www.avastmari...one-Skimmer-Kit
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They even include Video instructions on how to put the skimmer together
http://www.avastmari...S1_Assembly.mov
http://www.avastmari...eg_Assembly.mp4

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
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Partially assembled shots
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I got a little excited and didnt take any finished product shots or any side by side comparison of the old skimmers
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Here it is after a few days. Its already skimming something
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Heres a short video of it in action


Initial impressions.
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.

Conclusion
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.

#2
disaster999

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I got a reply from Avast Marine regarding the overflowing silencer, not through email but on RC. I was browsing their sponsored page to see if people are having the same problems im having. One guy had a similar issue so I posted to share my experiences as well.

Their fix for problem isnt a fix at all but a patch to stop it from getting any worse. They advised me to drill a hole at the bottom of the silencer to drain the water as it enters. Pretty disappointed at their reply as I expected them to have thoroughly checked out any potential problems at first.

#3
disaster999

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well i thought ill do a follow up on this review for those who are interested (which isnt many since this is a nano tank forum)

after 4 months of owning this skimmer and the problems i have with the noise, i turned it back into a regular skimmer and all the noise went away. all i can hear is just a slight hum from the motor.

another problem i have with the skimmer are the nylon screws they used to hold the body together. either the acrylic or nylon or both expanded with the present of water and tightening the screws has became an impossible feat. i feel like i will shear the heads off the screws with every turn.

all in all. i am very happy with the performance of the skimmer, but i feel like avast have not done enough R&D with their products and are relying on their customers to do that for them.

until they have improved their recirculation mod, stick with the regular skimmer.

#4
wrx1908

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so did you miss your BM NAC6 or 7 was it worth the buy thanks

#5
Deckoz2302

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Hmmm I may take some of this into consideration as I'm likely to purchase the cs2 black pearl soon :/

OceanariumProject_zpsdcf024fc.jpg

#6
disaster999

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so did you miss your BM NAC6 or 7 was it worth the buy thanks

for the price the nac6 or 7 is hard to beat. it performed pretty well produced some decent skimmate. the only problem i have with it is the pumps and the impeller. they require frequent cleaning to get it to draw enough air. i got an needle wheel replacement but the pump wasnt strong enough to start on its own. eventually i got fed up and decided to get myself a christmas present.

the CS1 is worth the buy for me. ive stated before, i like to tinker with things and i like to DIY. this kit is like the best of both worlds since i can build this skimmer and trouble shoot. some people might not appreciate it. they expect to plug and play, not help a company do R&D.

also the PSK1000 pump is a beast of a pump. much better quality than the ones BM came with

Hmmm I may take some of this into consideration as I'm likely to purchase the cs2 black pearl soon :/


you do realize that your buying a $700 skimmer that performs slightly better better than the $380 cs1 skimmer with the swabbie right?

also im skeptical about their recirculation design for the CS2. im not sure if it has the same problem as i was facing

#7
Deckoz2302

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I know. I know. I've read many good reviews of the cs1. And this makes me second guess the cs2 as I was going to run it externally

OceanariumProject_zpsdcf024fc.jpg

#8
disaster999

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have you read reviews on the CS2 or know anyone that has it? i can only find blogs that talk about this skimmer but no real review on how this thing performs. im not really surprised as how expensive it is for just an external skimmer. no swabbie, no locker and still cost 700 for something they built?

im sure you can find an equivalent reef octopus skimmer for much less

#9
i<3nanotanks

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Bubble king mini 180 I had one a 125 it was the best skimmer I've ever owned!

#10
disaster999

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bubble king is like the ferrari of skimmers

#11
21093r53

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avast is the best it comes in one day :)
25 cube
250wt Radium 20k, 4 x 24w giesemann actinic+, 16 x 6wt 420nm leds
asm g1-x
50wt ebo heater
SP 3000 powered by JBJ ATO
Deltec GFO reactor
Deltec carbon reactor
Aquamedic triple reef doser
RKL, sl1, net

any questions?


Baltimore Area Reef Hobbyists

feedback can be seen here...http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=302303

#12
tinctorus

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I sent you a PM about the CS1, The only thing I forgot to mention in the list of items I am adding to my RSM130 was I also plan on ordering the SWABBIE for my CS1
Do you think the swabbie is worth it? I personally think it is since a clean skimmer kneck dramatically improves skimmer performance, Plus I can run the swabbie off one of the channels on my RKE
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#13
Smity

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Wow good write up, good info to know about the recirculation issue. Thanks for the follow up replys also!

*Back when I was building my tank I was taking a look at this but decided to go with a SWC BMK instead.
10 gallon build (retired)
29 gallon (retired)
40 Breeder build

#14
disaster999

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I sent you a PM about the CS1, The only thing I forgot to mention in the list of items I am adding to my RSM130 was I also plan on ordering the SWABBIE for my CS1
Do you think the swabbie is worth it? I personally think it is since a clean skimmer kneck dramatically improves skimmer performance, Plus I can run the swabbie off one of the channels on my RKE

if you can afford it and have the hardware to program when to turn it on and off, go for it. i dont have a controller and think its a little pricy @100+.

Wow good write up, good info to know about the recirculation issue. Thanks for the follow up replys also!

*Back when I was building my tank I was taking a look at this but decided to go with a SWC BMK instead.

thanks,

i got another update on the skimmer, i mentioned before how the screws and holes have swelled up making it near impossible to thread the screws in. i asked avast about this and they suggest me to get a 1/4-20 tap and retap the holes bigger. they suggested a tapering tap, but i can only get my hands on a regular straight tap. i retapped all the threaded holes and it did help. i was able to thread most of the screws by hand, but the screws that holds the peg legs were still pretty tough, i till have to use pliers to help thread it in.

#15
disaster999

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guess its time for me to update this.
 
avast "listened" or all our suggestions and made some changes to the skimmer. they improved the collar so its easier to slip on and solved the silencer issue where it fills up with water when you turn the pump off. they offered the silencer mod as a kit for people who have the older model. its basically some extra t fittings and pipes to elevate the silencer and a larger silencer for better sound deadening. for 33 bucks+ shipping it does seem a bit expensive. but to me, since i cant get PVC in inches, only have metric sizes in hong kong, so i decided to buy it.
 
once i got the package, i immediately thought of another design which was a lot simpler and, in my opinion, performed better. this is what the skimmer looks like with their lately design
cs1-blackpearl_md.png
 
notice how the water exits at the bottom through 2 90 degree elbows and into the "gate valve" where the water exits. the silencer is elevated by attaching another T fitting and a tube. i was looking at this and thought this is pretty bulky and takes up a lot of space. also it is pretty hard to adjust water level inside the skimmer since the exit is half way up the skimmer. i had to run the valve at 95% open inorder for my skimmer to run normally, so i came up with this
IMG_20121229_155348.jpg
 
i just found a length of PVC pipe and attached it to my old valve, lowered the valve to near the bottom of the skimmer and used a length of acrylic rod to lengthen the knob on the valve.
IMG_20121229_172712.jpg
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IMG_20121229_173551.jpg
 
i have a lot more control on the water level and the skimmer itself is less bulky without those extra pipes and fittings.
 
one thing about this kit that i feel like avast missed was a longer piece of tubing. with the silencer elevated higher, its only logical that a longer tubing should be included, but it wasnt.
 
all in all, i paid 33+ shipping for the silencer body. and i have to redesign pretty much the whole valve assembly. it was run tinkering with it, but i feel like avast should of know better before releasing this.



#16
psidriven

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Any updates on this skimmer?  I'm interested in getting it for the recirculating pump feature to help prevent skimmer overflow due to the sump level rising when the return pump is shut off.



#17
disaster999

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still running this skimmer, I havent got the time to tinker with the recirculating mod again, I just left it off. 

 

If you look at my initial review on the recirculating mod, i highly do not recommend it because it adds extra noise and vibration and increased sucking sound the air hose. Adding foam did not help one bit. 

 

its probably just my skimmer, since ive found very few review with the same problem as me. It could be problem with my pump since i do feel like it vibrates a little but too much. I thought about upgrading my pump with something else.



#18
HALLZOO

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I just recently put together a CS-1, including the recirc mod.  I haven't compared it to the noise level with the recirc mod uninstalled, but I can say that the skimmer is more quiet than the last three skimmers I have owned (BM NAC 3.5+, Tunze DOC, Skimz SM-121).  With my head under the stand all I can hear is a low hum and a little air noise.  With the door shut I hear no noise.  My CS-1 is running the Sicce PSK 1000 pump.  The uniseals seem to absorb much of the noise, and the silencer is a "two-pass" design.

 

IMHO the skimmer is about as silent as you can get and still draw 800-900 lph of air!



#19
disaster999

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Im starting to guess my pump is the culprit here. I too have the sicce psk1000 pump that i bought together with my skimmer from Avast. Out of the box my skimmer with the recirc mod was driving my crazy with the amount of vibration and noise it produces. I might try and put the recirc mod back together again and see if the problem still exists...

 

Did you glue all the plumbing to the pump or left them on friction fitted?



#20
HALLZOO

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I used friction fit for all the plumbing. I could be an impeller issue, if you cant resolve it I bet the guys at Avast will help you out.  You should give them a call and describe the problem.



#21
psidriven

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thx for the info.  i had the atb multiuse and currently using the skimz sk181.  the skimz is louder than i thought it would be so thinking of the cs1.

 

hallzoo, when the water level in the sump increases, does the skimmer bubble over in recirculating mode?  this is one of the benefits on the avast website that interested me the most.



#22
HALLZOO

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thx for the info.  i had the atb multiuse and currently using the skimz sk181.  the skimz is louder than i thought it would be so thinking of the cs1.

 

hallzoo, when the water level in the sump increases, does the skimmer bubble over in recirculating mode?  this is one of the benefits on the avast website that interested me the most.

The skimmer level stays rock solid even when I change my sump level +/-5" (during water changes).  This is the most consistent skimmer I have ever owned, been in the hobby for 4 years.



#23
psidriven

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sweet, i'll order one soon.  any advice on must have options?  i'm thinking swappie.



#24
disaster999

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sweet, i'll order one soon.  any advice on must have options?  i'm thinking swappie.

the swabbie is a nice add-on

 

I used friction fit for all the plumbing. I could be an impeller issue, if you cant resolve it I bet the guys at Avast will help you out.  You should give them a call and describe the problem.

 

well since im located in hong kong theres very little they can help me with. even if they can, i dont think i would want to pay for the shipping. Im pleased with the skimmer as is right now in the non recirc mode...ill mess with it some more if i have the time



#25
disaster999

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So over the weekend without anything better to do, I decided to put the recirculating mod back on and see if I could work out the noise and vibration I was experiencing before. I made sure all my plumbing is square and my pump isnt all jacked up in the union connection. I had to re-tap all the 1/4-20 threads since the acrylic and nylon bolts all swelled up in the water and the holes werent lining up properly.

 

I plugged her in and, to my surprise, it wasnt loud at all. I would say its the same as not having the recirc mod. The Newjet 1200 (basically the utility version of the MJ1200) doesnt seem strong enough tho. The water pressure inside the skimmer seem to be slowing down the flow and my pellets arent tumbling as much. I might have to remove the 4" platform from the skimmer to reduce the pressure head, or get a stronger pump.

 

 

Anyways, heres a video I shot last night