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TO SKIM OR NOT TO SKIM.. is the question


BioReef

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Hello guys and gals...

 

Im thinking of getting a skimmer for my lil 8gBC... I was looking at the Aqua C nano version... I want the best water quality for my livestock...

 

 

YES or NO and why?

 

PLEASE HELP!

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10" Red Devil

Well you will get many opinions on this but for a tank that small honestly water changes are really all you need. However a skimmer will not hurt anything if you can get one to fit on that model (I currently do not know of one that will work). A skimmer will help with gas/carbon exchange maybe get a little more oxygen in the water and yes if it is a good model help with dissolved organic compounds. Were never going to get the water as pure as the ocean but every little thing helps in my opinion. Although ultimately I guess it depends on how much you like to do water changes? On a tank that small doing a gallon water change weekly is no big thing and would be a huge help. Although this depends on how densely stocked the tank is. A skimmer will also help with the chemical warfare that goes on in the tank if you keep softies and hard corals.

 

-Peace and best wishes.

 

Ten

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Well you will get many opinions on this but for a tank that small honestly water changes are really all you need. However a skimmer will not hurt anything if you can get one to fit on that model (I currently do not know of one that will work). A skimmer will help with gas/carbon exchange maybe get a little more oxygen in the water and yes if it is a good model help with dissolved organic compounds. Were never going to get the water as pure as the ocean but every little thing helps in my opinion. Although ultimately I guess it depends on how much you like to do water changes? On a tank that small doing a gallon water change weekly is no big thing and would be a huge help. Although this depends on how densely stocked the tank is. A skimmer will also help with the chemical warfare that goes on in the tank if you keep softies and hard corals.

 

-Peace and best wishes.

 

Ten

 

Cool... eventually I do plan on upgrading to a lil bigger tank... but im pretty happy with this little fellow(8gBC).... So getting this skimmer at $90 is a good investment in my eyes...

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I say don't waste your money on a skimmer for an 8g tank. Wait until you get that bigger tank and get a good skimmer appropriately sized for it.

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I say don't waste your money on a skimmer for an 8g tank. Wait until you get that bigger tank and get a good skimmer appropriately sized for it.

 

thanks for your input!

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All you have to do is see the crap the Remora pulls out of your tank and you will be convinced that your water quality will be better no matter how many WC you do.

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HecticDialectics
All you have to do is see the crap the Remora pulls out of your tank and you will be convinced that your water quality will be better no matter how many WC you do.

 

I agree.

 

That's exactly the reason the whole "it doesn't matter on a smaller tank" statement doesn't make sense. No matter what size tank, people tend to do the same percentage of a water change... 10-20%. That only removes 20% of all the crap in your tank once a week. Using nitrates as an example, let's say your nitrates are at 15ppm. A 20% change lowers your nitrates by 20%. Your nitrates are now 13ppm. WOW! Lot of help the water change did. :lol:

 

That example applies to all of the nasty nasty garbage a skimmer pulls out. Why on earth would tank size affect whether or not a skimmer would be beneficial? Why would people recommend a skimmer for a 75G tank that does 15G water changes every week but not a 20G tank that does 4G water changes every week? Doesn't make sense...

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I have had a 10gal, 5.5gal, 6.6gal, and a 24gal and I have only had a skimmer on the 24gal.

 

The stuff the skimmer pulls out is a horrid smelling mix of green tea. I dont know how bad the junk it pulls out is and have not noticed a difference in coral growth or quality of water via test kits.

 

To be said is I have also never had a tank as large as this one.

 

I do a 2.5gal w/c every other week in this and would do gallon w/c's every other week in the other tanks. so they were a bit higer percent of change.

 

I am using the Sapphire Aquatics protien skimmer in my aquapod and it works well as far as I think it should. But like I said... my test kit has always shown good water quality.

 

I like gadgets and what not so I got one just because it was one other thing I could mess with. Plus the ocean has a natural skimmer (waves) so it must have a purpose!

 

This is just my 2 cents.

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I will never go back to being skimmerless after seeing what it has done for my tank. If I had to choose between "live rock and macroalgae" or a skimmer I would choose the skimmer. Live rock and macroalgae are great for filtration but they are also great for crashing your tank, within hours. The only way a skimmer will crash your tank is if you have it drain to somewhere outside the tank and it overflows. Will a skimmer starve your tank? I doubt it for 99% of inhabitants. But if it did, it would take months, and you would have the opportunity to correct it by controlled dosing of nutrients (i.e. feeding).

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a skimmer also takes out trace elements too, water changes replenish these elements as they get used up, IMO i'd go with the natural filteration; live rock, live sand, chaeto,

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liverock and macro in a power outage can certainly cause a crash .. with the amount of 02 used by the liverock for breaking down organic compounds in a matter of hours your tank could be essentially dead

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God knows I've been a skimmer advocate all my hobbyist career. I've got CRC Urchin's. MRC beckett's, Euro-reef's and DIY's. On all those tanks with skimmers, I didnt do weekly waterchanges, maybe many do, but with a 200g system it just seemed too much work and not needed with a skimmer.

I decided to see what would happen with rock, sand, refugium, a 10% weekly WC, and no skimmer. So far I have not felt the need to use one on it (The Ghetto Beauty link below.) It's a predominantly sps tank, with lps and some zoes. 9 months and it looks great to me, no algae problems and good growth.

And ya know, all those statements about skimmers removing too much of the food the corals need? I'm not so sure that doesn't have some truth to it. The corals, all of them, in my Ghetto Beauty are always fully extended at night after lights off, and even though there is some particulate shooting around in the tank (but not enough to be bothersome), it's cool to watch polyps close around stuff constantly in there.

Yea, I still clean and run all those skimmers, but I'm not sure they are always needed, in every situation.

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I agree.

 

That's exactly the reason the whole "it doesn't matter on a smaller tank" statement doesn't make sense. No matter what size tank, people tend to do the same percentage of a water change... 10-20%. That only removes 20% of all the crap in your tank once a week. Using nitrates as an example, let's say your nitrates are at 15ppm. A 20% change lowers your nitrates by 20%. Your nitrates are now 13ppm. WOW! Lot of help the water change did. :lol:

 

That example applies to all of the nasty nasty garbage a skimmer pulls out. Why on earth would tank size affect whether or not a skimmer would be beneficial? Why would people recommend a skimmer for a 75G tank that does 15G water changes every week but not a 20G tank that does 4G water changes every week? Doesn't make sense...

 

thanks.. makes sence!

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My recommendation to skip the skimmer stems only from the financial aspect. If you are going to upgrade soon, then why waste the money buying some small dinky skimmer that will only work in the biocube 8, when you could just tough it out for now, and buy a nice skimmer when you upgrade.

 

In general though, I highly recommend skimmers, as they are great for removing organics and what not that will eventually break down to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. A skimmer is simply preventative, but will not actually remove ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate...it will remove things that will eventually become ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

 

A few comments:

 

All you have to do is see the crap the Remora pulls out of your tank and you will be convinced that your water quality will be better no matter how many WC you do.

 

Sounds like a great sales pitch, but that is misleading because it is not like a skimmer does things that a water change cant. It is entirely possible to get the same net effect (low nutrient levels) using only water changes. Most of my nanos have been proof of that.

 

I agree.

 

That's exactly the reason the whole "it doesn't matter on a smaller tank" statement doesn't make sense. No matter what size tank, people tend to do the same percentage of a water change... 10-20%. That only removes 20% of all the crap in your tank once a week. Using nitrates as an example, let's say your nitrates are at 15ppm. A 20% change lowers your nitrates by 20%. Your nitrates are now 13ppm. WOW! Lot of help the water change did. :lol:

 

That example applies to all of the nasty nasty garbage a skimmer pulls out. Why on earth would tank size affect whether or not a skimmer would be beneficial? Why would people recommend a skimmer for a 75G tank that does 15G water changes every week but not a 20G tank that does 4G water changes every week? Doesn't make sense...

 

I agree with you that a skimmer is a skimmer and a tank is a tank, and a skimmer will basically benefit any tank regardless of size.

 

However, with regards to what you said about water changes...That is because people don't efficiently manage what they are putting in their tank nutrient wise vs. what they are taking out. If you stay on top of things your nitrates should never go above zero. If people are still not going to stay on top of their nutrient levels from the start, and make sure they are removing just as much nutrients as they are putting in, a skimmer may help, but it is not going to solve the problem. A skimmer is not an excuse or way around good tank maintenance or water changes. It is to assist you, not do the work for you.

 

Using purigen and water changes are enough.

 

Shouldn't even need to use purigen, imo.

 

I will never go back to being skimmerless after seeing what it has done for my tank. If I had to choose between "live rock and macroalgae" or a skimmer I would choose the skimmer. Live rock and macroalgae are great for filtration but they are also great for crashing your tank, within hours. The only way a skimmer will crash your tank is if you have it drain to somewhere outside the tank and it overflows. Will a skimmer starve your tank? I doubt it for 99% of inhabitants. But if it did, it would take months, and you would have the opportunity to correct it by controlled dosing of nutrients (i.e. feeding).

 

This makes zero sense. The only thing the skimmer has done for you is pick up some of the slack for the fact that 1. you may be overstocked, 2. may be over feeding (whether it be fish food or coral food), or 3. not managing your nutrient levels well with water changes.

 

Live rock and macoalgae doesn't crash your tank. Your statement is very far from the truth. Poor maintenance crashes your tank. Live rock doesn't just randomly die or crash your tank. The only way your rock dies is if water quality is bad or you get an abnormal spike in some condition such as temp, pH, etc.

 

So wait, you should add more food to compensate for the nutrients your skimmer is removing? Sounds inefficient.

 

A skimmer is not a replacement for live rock.

 

a skimmer also takes out trace elements too, water changes replenish these elements as they get used up, IMO i'd go with the natural filteration; live rock, live sand, chaeto,

 

Skimmers may remove some trace elements, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. Trace elements are replenished every time you do a water change, feed the fish, or add most additives.

 

Again, I hope we aren't forgetting the purpose of a skimmer. Has nothing to do with replacing live rock, live sand, marco algae, or water changes. A skimmer is preventative, just like a prostrate exam or mammography. Skimmers take care of organics, before they become a problem.

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Here's the deal... i have to meet a guy tomorrow because im buying his skimmer for $90 (Aqua C Nano remora).. I have not seen a skimmer on a 8gBC so any ideas on the installation or where the intake should be.. Im sure ill be able to figure it out and make some mods.

 

Ideas are welcome!

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This makes zero sense. The only thing the skimmer has done for you is pick up some of the slack for the fact that 1. you may be overstocked, 2. may be over feeding (whether it be fish food or coral food), or 3. not managing your nutrient levels well with water changes.

 

Live rock and macoalgae doesn't crash your tank. Your statement is very far from the truth. Poor maintenance crashes your tank. Live rock doesn't just randomly die or crash your tank. The only way your rock dies is if water quality is bad or you get an abnormal spike in some condition such as temp, pH, etc.

 

So wait, you should add more food to compensate for the nutrients your skimmer is removing? Sounds inefficient.

 

A skimmer is not a replacement for live rock.

Skimmers may remove some trace elements, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. Trace elements are replenished every time you do a water change, feed the fish, or add most additives.

 

I never said live rock or macroaglae RANDOMLY crashes your tank. But if the bacteria population in the live rock dies, it WILL crash your tank within a matter of hours. If the macroalgae dies, it will crash your tank within a matter of hours. Yes it is a source of filtration, but it is also a source of pollution. Yes it can leak pollution (i.e. phosphates) into your tank slowly as well, but that's not what I'm talking about here. A protein skimmer could never be a source of pollution because you clean out the cup when it's full. Even if there is some equipment failure, a protein skimmer is not going to crash your tank unless you have it draining outside somewhere. Do you agree or not? I use live rock, I have a fuge, but I'm not nieve to the fact that people have had major tank catastophres within a matter of hours due to the massive die off from live rock and/or macroalgae. What started it? Could be equipment failure, could be an unexpected spike in something, like you said. But these things would not cause a protein skimmer to crash your tank. Therefore it is a form of filtration that carries no risk of crashing your tank. If anything it might save some of your tank in cases like this. Please don't twist my meanings and then argue against it like I'm some dumbie.

 

A protein skimmer filters waste. Whether or not you choose to use it as a band aid of other problems or as your primary source of filtration depends on your tank husbandry and what type of tank you run. If I'm running a bare bottom tank with enough flow so that NOTHING settles on the bottom, and my overflow drains directly into my skimmer - does it still mean:

"1. you may be overstocked, 2. may be over feeding (whether it be fish food or coral food), or 3. not managing your nutrient levels well with water changes?" No, it means I have chosen to use a protein skimmer as my primary source of filtration. Now if you want to argue that water changes are the best source of nutrient export, well duh!!

 

So wait, you should add more food to compensate for the nutrients your skimmer is removing? Sounds inefficient.

 

What the hell? Did I say that or did I say I DOUBT you would have a problem like that for 99% of your inhabitants? (that 1% I had in mind would be goniopora, which seem to thrive longer in skimmerless tanks based on my readings)

 

Again, I hope we aren't forgetting the purpose of a skimmer. Has nothing to do with replacing live rock, live sand, marco algae, or water changes. A skimmer is preventative, just like a prostrate exam or mammography. Skimmers take care of organics, before they become a problem.

 

And I hope people bragging about how quickly their macroaglae is growing realize something. In a properly maintained tank you should not be getting significant macroalgae growth, if any at all!

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All: To each their own. Go skimmerless... if you are having H20 problems, go ahead and get the skimmer... but if you don't need it... well then you just wasted $$$ you could have upgraded you lighting with or purchased a refractometer.

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Without reading all that jibber jabber ill give you my opinion. From my experience with smaller tanks, skimmers are really not necessary as long as you keep your bio load low (aka fish). Skimmers, though making the water nice and clean, can imo make it too clean which is not always the best thing for softies and lps. Just keep up with water changes and monthly use of carbon can produce great results.

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I think most of you freak out about nitrates too much when theyre really pretty harmless unless you slack off for too long (i.e. letting them go over 20ppm). Replenishing used up trace elements by doing water changes (with gravel vac to prevent phosphate buildup in sand and between rock crevices) every so often is key. I completely agree that you should just not be lazy and do your 30% water changes bi-weekly (which cant take all of 30 minutes on most nanos), don't overfeed, and spend your money on more lighting.

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I never said live rock or macroaglae RANDOMLY crashes your tank. But if the bacteria population in the live rock dies, it WILL crash your tank within a matter of hours. If the macroalgae dies, it will crash your tank within a matter of hours. Yes it is a source of filtration, but it is also a source of pollution. Yes it can leak pollution (i.e. phosphates) into your tank slowly as well, but that's not what I'm talking about here. A protein skimmer could never be a source of pollution because you clean out the cup when it's full. Even if there is some equipment failure, a protein skimmer is not going to crash your tank unless you have it draining outside somewhere. Do you agree or not?

 

What if the skimmer cup fills and starts overflowing back into the tank? What if the die off from this tank crash overwhelms your skimmer sending large amounts of skimmate all over the floor and back into the tank?

 

I use live rock, I have a fuge, but I'm not nieve to the fact that people have had major tank catastophres within a matter of hours due to the massive die off from live rock and/or macroalgae. What started it? Could be equipment failure, could be an unexpected spike in something, like you said. But these things would not cause a protein skimmer to crash your tank. Therefore it is a form of filtration that carries no risk of crashing your tank. If anything it might save some of your tank in cases like this. Please don't twist my meanings and then argue against it like I'm some dumbie.

 

So what are you getting at? A protein skimmer is going to save his tank if it crashes? It does carry a huge risk. Haven't you heard of peoples tanks crashing before when they had had a huge bioload and the skimmer pump crapped out? You can never put all your eggs in one basket with reefing.

 

Protein skimmers give people false hope and allow them to push the limits. That is not what they are meant for. They are preventative. I hear newbs give people crappy advice like adding a skimmer will allow them to keep more fish all the time.

 

I'm not saying protein skimmers aren't awesome either. I love them. I just think you are giving glorified BS reasoning as to why he needs one.

 

A protein skimmer filters waste. Whether or not you choose to use it as a band aid of other problems or as your primary source of filtration depends on your tank husbandry and what type of tank you run. If I'm running a bare bottom tank with enough flow so that NOTHING settles on the bottom, and my overflow drains directly into my skimmer - does it still mean:

"1. you may be overstocked, 2. may be over feeding (whether it be fish food or coral food), or 3. not managing your nutrient levels well with water changes?" No, it means I have chosen to use a protein skimmer as my primary source of filtration. Now if you want to argue that water changes are the best source of nutrient export, well duh!!

 

So you mean literally the drain pipe is plugged into your skimmer? Or it just drops water in a general area where the skimmer pump is? If the first, you can assume that eveyone else does that. We are talking about nano tanks here. And still you can't assume 100% efficiency.

 

Hope your skimmer pump never dies, you'll be screwed.

 

I'm trying to teach the guy at the very basic leve, what goes in must come out in order to keep nutrients low. Doesn't matter how you do it. There is no one better way. Some are easier, more expensive, less effective what ever, but they all do it.

 

Justifying the purchase of a skimmer just because you tank might crash is ridiculous and way overlooks the basic function and idea behind protein skimming.

 

I always love it though when people glorify mechanical filters to be much more than they are.

 

And I hope people bragging about how quickly their macroaglae is growing realize something. In a properly maintained tank you should not be getting significant macroalgae growth, if any at all!

 

You are correct, but by that same logic, you also then should not be getting ANY skimmate. WHICH WAS MY BASIC POINT. LEARN TO DO IT RIGHT WITH LIVE ROCK AND WATER CHANGES FROM THE BEGINNING!!!!! Protein skimming just lets you be lazy. And as I said, if new people don't understand that basic point about what goes in must go out, a skimmer will do them no good in the long run. Most tanks can't rely 100% on a skimmer for all nutrient export. Nutrients don't always exists in forms that can be skimmed.

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Why doesnt everybody just get a skimmer, refugium, and do 25% water changes weekly, just have a bit of everything, would be a great tank.....

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What if the skimmer cup fills and starts overflowing back into the tank? What if the die off from this tank crash overwhelms your skimmer sending large amounts of skimmate all over the floor and back into the tank?

So what are you getting at? A protein skimmer is going to save his tank if it crashes? It does carry a huge risk. Haven't you heard of peoples tanks crashing before when they had had a huge bioload and the skimmer pump crapped out? You can never put all your eggs in one basket with reefing.

IMO the skimmate overflowing from the cup will not crash a tank. This is why manufacturers often recommend having the skimmate drain back INTO the tank overnight when tuning it. If the tank was so toxic and the skimmer so effective that the skimmate killed the tank, well I think the tank was dead with or without the skimmer. And honestly you're the first to tell me running a skimmer is a huge risk. Overloading the tank, or putting all the eggs in one basket, are 2 things I never advocated, so don't try to use that nonsense to argue your point. Do you water changes people! Happy?? :P

 

Protein skimmers give people false hope and allow them to push the limits. That is not what they are meant for. They are preventative. I hear newbs give people crappy advice like adding a skimmer will allow them to keep more fish all the time.

Well, if you have a general problem with people having false hope, or "newbs giving crappy advice" like that, don't take it out on me. Did I say anywhere in mhy response to him that he could do that? This is actually the main problem I have with your responses to my post. You seem to be trying to get at something I'm not advocating at all. For example, skimmers replace live rock. Or water changes. Where did I say that?

 

I'm not saying protein skimmers aren't awesome either. I love them. I just think you are giving glorified BS reasoning as to why he needs one.

Again, you seem to be reading into my post way more than what is really there.

 

So you mean literally the drain pipe is plugged into your skimmer? Or it just drops water in a general area where the skimmer pump is? If the first, you can assume that eveyone else does that. We are talking about nano tanks here. And still you can't assume 100% efficiency.

 

Yes, the drain pipe flows directly into a recirculating skimmer, but not all of it. No, that's not how my nano is setup, but that's how my 70g is being setup. But, I didn't tell him to do that, and I'm not assuming that he is doing that. That scenario was merely a response to YOUR post: "The only thing the skimmer has done for you is pick up some of the slack for the fact that 1. you may be overstocked, 2. may be over feeding (whether it be fish food or coral food), or 3. not managing your nutrient levels well with water changes." I wanted to point out that a skimmer can and is used as a primary method of filtration in tanks. I don't think anything is 100% efficient, so why even bring that up? Courtesy of H&S:

GravityFeedSketch.jpg

More info on skimmer as primary source of filtration here:

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthre...threadid=650985

 

Hope your skimmer pump never dies, you'll be screwed.

Are you just trying to be argumenative now or what? If my skimmer is not doing much more than picking up some slack for me, why would I be screwed? Or are you saying now that it IS playing an essential role in my tank's health?

 

I'm trying to teach the guy at the very basic leve, what goes in must come out in order to keep nutrients low. Doesn't matter how you do it. There is no one better way. Some are easier, more expensive, less effective what ever, but they all do it.

 

Justifying the purchase of a skimmer just because you tank might crash is ridiculous and way overlooks the basic function and idea behind protein skimming.

No, I justify the purchase of a skimmer "after seeing what it did for my tank." Obviously my original post must have been misleading in some way because you keep twisting my s*&t out of context. If I had to choose between a skimmer and a fuge I would choose a skimmer. I didn't always feel this way, so I'm not just talking out of my ass! Why is it okay to tell newbs to run a fuge and yet it's bad to advocate a skimmer? Okay I guess I should've saved that for another discussion. My apologies.

 

I always love it though when people glorify mechanical filters to be much more than they are.

You are correct, but by that same logic, you also then should not be getting ANY skimmate. WHICH WAS MY BASIC POINT. LEARN TO DO IT RIGHT WITH LIVE ROCK AND WATER CHANGES FROM THE BEGINNING!!!!! Protein skimming just lets you be lazy. And as I said, if new people don't understand that basic point about what goes in must go out, a skimmer will do them no good in the long run. Most tanks can't rely 100% on a skimmer for all nutrient export. Nutrients don't always exists in forms that can be skimmed.

I disagree with you about skimmate vs macroalgae growth, but again, you seem to be upset about other issues that I don't really have anything to do with, nor do I advocate (like poor tank husbandry, duh!). Don't take it out on me, and if you want to teach the guy, then address him and don't quote my post. :angry:

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10" Red Devil
My recommendation to skip the skimmer stems only from the financial aspect. If you are going to upgrade soon, then why waste the money buying some small dinky skimmer that will only work in the biocube 8, when you could just tough it out for now, and buy a nice skimmer when you upgrade.

 

In general though, I highly recommend skimmers, as they are great for removing organics and what not that will eventually break down to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. A skimmer is simply preventative, but will not actually remove ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate...it will remove things that will eventually become ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

 

A few comments:

Sounds like a great sales pitch, but that is misleading because it is not like a skimmer does things that a water change cant. It is entirely possible to get the same net effect (low nutrient levels) using only water changes. Most of my nanos have been proof of that.

I agree with you that a skimmer is a skimmer and a tank is a tank, and a skimmer will basically benefit any tank regardless of size.

 

However, with regards to what you said about water changes...That is because people don't efficiently manage what they are putting in their tank nutrient wise vs. what they are taking out. If you stay on top of things your nitrates should never go above zero. If people are still not going to stay on top of their nutrient levels from the start, and make sure they are removing just as much nutrients as they are putting in, a skimmer may help, but it is not going to solve the problem. A skimmer is not an excuse or way around good tank maintenance or water changes. It is to assist you, not do the work for you.

Shouldn't even need to use purigen, imo.

This makes zero sense. The only thing the skimmer has done for you is pick up some of the slack for the fact that 1. you may be overstocked, 2. may be over feeding (whether it be fish food or coral food), or 3. not managing your nutrient levels well with water changes.

 

Live rock and macoalgae doesn't crash your tank. Your statement is very far from the truth. Poor maintenance crashes your tank. Live rock doesn't just randomly die or crash your tank. The only way your rock dies is if water quality is bad or you get an abnormal spike in some condition such as temp, pH, etc.

 

So wait, you should add more food to compensate for the nutrients your skimmer is removing? Sounds inefficient.

 

A skimmer is not a replacement for live rock.

Skimmers may remove some trace elements, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. Trace elements are replenished every time you do a water change, feed the fish, or add most additives.

 

Again, I hope we aren't forgetting the purpose of a skimmer. Has nothing to do with replacing live rock, live sand, marco algae, or water changes. A skimmer is preventative, just like a prostrate exam or mammography. Skimmers take care of organics, before they become a problem.

 

Lgreen, you logic stuns/amazes me! I want to be on your side! ;)

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