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DIY Protein Skimmer


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#1
Wizzy

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I know about the DIY Skimmers where you take a bottle and use an airstone to run it.

However, is it possible to make a bottle skimmer that runs on a pump?


----

Bonus Points- Anyone have a good link that explains how protein skimmers work?

#2
Manaz101

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I was thinking the very same thing earlier today.....

#3
Wizzy

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I was thinking the very same thing earlier today.....


Bump

#4
disaster999

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Posted Image

simply put, pump sucks in air and water, the impeller is equiped with a mesh or needles that chop the air very finely into tiny bubbles. the bubbles cling on to the dissolved organic compound in the water and its risen into the neck of the skimmer and spills out into the collection cup.

Edited by disaster999, 03 July 2012 - 05:20 PM.


#5
Wizzy

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Posted Image

simply put, pump sucks in air and water, the impeller is equiped with a mesh or needles that chop the air very finely into tiny bubbles. the bubbles cling on to the dissolved organic compound in the water and its risen into the neck of the skimmer and spills out into the collection cup.


That's awesome disaster- thanks.

The only part I don't understand is the grey pvc on the right side.

Where does the airline tubing connect and what is its purpose.

Also, did you DIY a needle wheel impeller or buy one?

Any construction tips/what materials is the skimmer made of?

Finally, what kind of results did you get with this skimmer?

Thanks- Wizzy :happy:

#6
disaster999

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i cant take credit for this skimmer, i found it online as i was researching my own DIY skimmer. this design was simple and thought ill give it a try, but never did. i can explain how it works tho

that grey pipe controls the water level inside the skimmer, the long pipe is a wedge pipe. you turn it to open up or close up the hole.

the airline that goes into the grey pipe is for the venturi. the airline just goes into the pipe and stop. if you look closely you will see a cap on top of the pipe with a little nib on top thats where the air is being sucked. the whole idea is using the grey pipe as an integrated silence for the pump.

you might be able to find a small enough pump thats made for skimmers with a needle wheel/mesh wheel included, but if you do a search, there are tones of info on how to make your own mesh wheel. you want to have a mesh/needle wheel for the skimmer as it gives a lot better performance.

the bottle is just your typical water/soda bottle. he was lucky enough to find one with a cone shape. if you have some asian market around you, look for this in their juice/soda isle
Posted Image

basically he cut off the bottom to make the collection cup. use a piece of acrylic for the base, some acrylic tubing for the bubble chamber and 1/2" pcv pipes for the wedge pipe. he probably used epoxy glue to glue everything together. the venturi is made from a pcv, pipe,filled with epoxy putty, and shaped, then drilled a hole for the air hose nipple

#7
Wizzy

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i cant take credit for this skimmer, i found it online as i was researching my own DIY skimmer. this design was simple and thought ill give it a try, but never did. i can explain how it works tho

that grey pipe controls the water level inside the skimmer, the long pipe is a wedge pipe. you turn it to open up or close up the hole.

the airline that goes into the grey pipe is for the venturi. the airline just goes into the pipe and stop. if you look closely you will see a cap on top of the pipe with a little nib on top thats where the air is being sucked. the whole idea is using the grey pipe as an integrated silence for the pump.

you might be able to find a small enough pump thats made for skimmers with a needle wheel/mesh wheel included, but if you do a search, there are tones of info on how to make your own mesh wheel. you want to have a mesh/needle wheel for the skimmer as it gives a lot better performance.

the bottle is just your typical water/soda bottle. he was lucky enough to find one with a cone shape. if you have some asian market around you, look for this in their juice/soda isle
Posted Image

basically he cut off the bottom to make the collection cup. use a piece of acrylic for the base, some acrylic tubing for the bubble chamber and 1/2" pcv pipes for the wedge pipe. he probably used epoxy glue to glue everything together. the venturi is made from a pcv, pipe,filled with epoxy putty, and shaped, then drilled a hole for the air hose nipple


Thanks for the explanation :D

However, what is the venturi?

How do you make the bubble plate/what is its purpose?

Finally, could I do the bottom part like this/is this what it is supposed to look like?

__KGrHqYOKokE3E1V_EpMBNy_TnY_Z____3.JPG

I am trying to make something that will fit in the back chamber of my nanocube 12 dx (hoodless).

#8
disaster999

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Thanks for the explanation :D

However, what is the venturi?

How do you make the bubble plate/what is its purpose?

Finally, could I do the bottom part like this/is this what it is supposed to look like?

__KGrHqYOKokE3E1V_EpMBNy_TnY_Z____3.JPG

I am trying to make something that will fit in the back chamber of my nanocube 12 dx (hoodless).

venturi is the little plastic thing that goes on the intake of the pump. it helps bring in air to the pump. you can make one out pretty easily with tubing, some putty and basic tools

the bubble plate helps even out the turbulent flow from the pump so there is a steady stream of foam rising up. the steady stream helps product better skimmate. its not hard to make, just get a tube and glue a round shape piece of plastic on top with holes drilled in it. you can countersink one side for a better transition.

the orientation of the pump shouldnt matter much you can mount it on the bottom or on the side.

#9
Singlefin

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You basically are just making as much bubbles as you can. On my tunze 9002 the Venturi sits on top of the discharge of the pump and creates a space where an airline allows air to enter that space to create foam and it is forced through a bubble Plate to pulverize the bubbles more. It was explained to me that a skimmer is mimicking the crashing of waves on a reef creating a foamy scum that floats in the surface.

Posted Image


Posted Image


#10
Jessy-Ray

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You basically are just making as much bubbles as you can. On my tunze 9002 the Venturi sits on top of the discharge of the pump and creates a space where an airline allows air to enter that space to create foam and it is forced through a bubble Plate to pulverize the bubbles more. It was explained to me that a skimmer is mimicking the crashing of waves on a reef creating a foamy scum that floats in the surface.

Wow never heard the skimmer explained that way!

#11
tako

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It's true that the crashing of the waves creates a foamy scum, which is caused by the organic compounds giving the water a greater surface tension, but that really has nothing to do with why protein skimmers were created. Here's a somewhat annoying, but good video for beginners to understand the concept of a skimmer:

Protein skimmers work by packing as many bubbles (preferably small ones) into a small space. These bubbles pick up some organic material as they pass through the water. The cleaner bubbles tend to pop earlier than the dirty ones that have picked up the organic material. The dirty bubbles make it further up the head and eventually the organics are pushed to the top of the foam head. It doesn't have to be salt water for this effect to occur, but it's not effective in freshwater on the scale of your typical aquariums.

I'm not sure building a pump driven skimmer is the best idea if you've never used a skimmer before or lack an understanding of the basic components. Even the best skimmers are somewhat finnicky. They need broken in and small changes can have a big effect on your skimmate quality. Furthermore, you're trying to restrict yourself to building something that fits in the back of a nanocube.

If you're still set on building one then I'd suggest trying the airstone design first. It will be easier to fit in the back of your 12g and they work pretty well for nanotanks. If you want a pump, the one in the Hydor Slim Skim Nano should easily fit in the back of your 12g. I'm not sure if there's a way to buy that pump without the skimmer, though.

Edited by tako, 06 July 2012 - 02:10 AM.


#12
disaster999

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i think they got the idea from that, in some parts of the world the the wave causes so much foam it literally just floods the whole beach with it
Posted Image

#13
Quantum

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I am trying to make something that will fit in the back chamber of my nanocube 12 dx (hoodless).


haha sorry bud but the nanocube chambers are so tiny! Creating an effective internal skimmer for the nc12 is near impossible. Just buy a HOB skimmer like the remora or the aquamaxx hob-1 and call it a day.

#14
Monsieur Kam

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I know about the DIY Skimmers where you take a bottle and use an airstone to run it.


Why not do this method? It is just as effect and is simple to set up.

#15
Quantum

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Why not do this method? It is just as effect and is simple to set up.


it is inefficient.

#16
Wizzy

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venturi is the little plastic thing that goes on the intake of the pump. it helps bring in air to the pump. you can make one out pretty easily with tubing, some putty and basic tools

the bubble plate helps even out the turbulent flow from the pump so there is a steady stream of foam rising up. the steady stream helps product better skimmate. its not hard to make, just get a tube and glue a round shape piece of plastic on top with holes drilled in it. you can countersink one side for a better transition.

the orientation of the pump shouldnt matter much you can mount it on the bottom or on the side.


Thanks for explaining everything disaster :D

You basically are just making as much bubbles as you can. On my tunze 9002 the Venturi sits on top of the discharge of the pump and creates a space where an airline allows air to enter that space to create foam and it is forced through a bubble Plate to pulverize the bubbles more. It was explained to me that a skimmer is mimicking the crashing of waves on a reef creating a foamy scum that floats in the surface.


Thanks.

It's true that the crashing of the waves creates a foamy scum, which is caused by the organic compounds giving the water a greater surface tension, but that really has nothing to do with why protein skimmers were created. Here's a somewhat annoying, but good video for beginners to understand the concept of a skimmer:

Protein skimmers work by packing as many bubbles (preferably small ones) into a small space. These bubbles pick up some organic material as they pass through the water. The cleaner bubbles tend to pop earlier than the dirty ones that have picked up the organic material. The dirty bubbles make it further up the head and eventually the organics are pushed to the top of the foam head. It doesn't have to be salt water for this effect to occur, but it's not effective in freshwater on the scale of your typical aquariums.

I'm not sure building a pump driven skimmer is the best idea if you've never used a skimmer before or lack an understanding of the basic components. Even the best skimmers are somewhat finnicky. They need broken in and small changes can have a big effect on your skimmate quality. Furthermore, you're trying to restrict yourself to building something that fits in the back of a nanocube.

If you're still set on building one then I'd suggest trying the airstone design first. It will be easier to fit in the back of your 12g and they work pretty well for nanotanks. If you want a pump, the one in the Hydor Slim Skim Nano should easily fit in the back of your 12g. I'm not sure if there's a way to buy that pump without the skimmer, though.


I watched a few of those videos and they were very helpful.

I was going to do the airstone design, but I don't want to have to constantly replace the airstone.

I like using more permanent equipment.


i think they got the idea from that, in some parts of the world the the wave causes so much foam it literally just floods the whole beach with it
Posted Image


Very cool picture :happy:

haha sorry bud but the nanocube chambers are so tiny! Creating an effective internal skimmer for the nc12 is near impossible. Just buy a HOB skimmer like the remora or the aquamaxx hob-1 and call it a day.


Well, I would buy a Hob skimmer/nano skimmer. But then again this is the DIY forum lol.

The tank I'm putting it on is more for experimenting on so I don't want to put a lot of money into it.

Why not do this method? It is just as effect and is simple to set up.


I was going to do the airstone design, but I don't want to have to constantly replace the airstone.

I like using more permanent equipment.

it is inefficient.


Why?

Thanks-Wizzy :happy:

#17
Wizzy

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I am still confused on what kind of pumps I can use and how I can modify them to make them work.

Also, what would be the problem with not using a wedge pipe and simply having a hole in the side that water can shoot out of?

When I was watching the videos suggested earlier they said that a bubble plate isn't helpful in nano protein skimmers- thoughts?

#18
Monsieur Kam

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it is inefficient.


Not if done right.

#19
tako

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I am still confused on what kind of pumps I can use and how I can modify them to make them work.

Your best bet is to use a pump designed for a protein skimmer with a built in venturi port. You could get one from a used protein skimmer or try to one that's sold without a skimmer, but that may be difficult for a small skimmer.

A more difficult route would be to add a venturi to your pump's plumbing and then you could use any pump you want. However, you may not get consistent bubble sizes or enough bubbles. Somebody has probably done it for a DIY skimmer, but this is typically done to just oxygenate a freshwater tank.

#20
Wizzy

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Your best bet is to use a pump designed for a protein skimmer with a built in venturi port. You could get one from a used protein skimmer or try to one that's sold without a skimmer, but that may be difficult for a small skimmer.

A more difficult route would be to add a venturi to your pump's plumbing and then you could use any pump you want. However, you may not get consistent bubble sizes or enough bubbles. Somebody has probably done it for a DIY skimmer, but this is typically done to just oxygenate a freshwater tank.


What about a Maxi-Jet Pump?

It says that it has a venturi.

Screen_shot_2012_07_08_at_9.00.46_AM.png

#21
JamesHL88

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The penguin powerheads at wallmart even have a venturi.

#22
cpetrosky

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i run the biocube skimmer on the back of my nano cube 24, i elongated the reaction chamber to about a foot long and it works great! i adjust the flow every week with my normal maintenance. best thing i ever put on there.

#23
Wizzy

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The penguin powerheads at wallmart even have a venturi.


i run the biocube skimmer on the back of my nano cube 24, i elongated the reaction chamber to about a foot long and it works great! i adjust the flow every week with my normal maintenance. best thing i ever put on there.



Thanks for the input guys.

I have been working on some diagrams/designs for a skimmer.

I may post them for some critiquing pretty soon.

#24
baldbean

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I did my own take on the bottle skimmer for my cube. It's more for aeration than skimming, but i added a collection bottle just in case. I basically placed an airstone inside of a gravel vacuum by wrapping around the outside of it. Works pretty good.
Posted Image

#25
Wizzy

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I did my own take on the bottle skimmer for my cube. It's more for aeration than skimming, but i added a collection bottle just in case. I basically placed an airstone inside of a gravel vacuum by wrapping around the outside of it. Works pretty good.


Thanks baldbean, however I'm shooting for something that utilizes a venturi pump.
----

I still want to do this, so-

1. How do I drill plastic?

2. How do I attach/weld a piece of something (acrylic, plastic, idk) so as to close the opening on a tube?

That's it for now, but I need to look at costs of a project like this and see if it's worth it.

EDIT-

Here's what I'm thinking of doing... Thoughts? (if something isn't clear in the diagram LMK)

Also, I'm not sure where to connect the other end of the tube that is connected to the venturi.

Screen_shot_2012_07_26_at_10.15.17_PM.png

Edited by Wizzy, 26 July 2012 - 09:17 PM.