_Mitch_

Gnome Glass Skimmers

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Gnome Glass Skimmers article from reef Builders

 

Just thought I'd share this with you guys... These look incredibly awesome. A very clean looking nano skimmer for even the smallest of tanks. I really want one, but I already have my Hydor Slim Skim Nano so I guess I might just have to set up a new tank or something to try one of these beauties out. :P

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Hmm, guess I'm the only one who thought these were cool haha.

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Hmm, guess I'm the only one who thought these were cool haha.

I thought they look cool and I bookmarked them!

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How long till someone turns one into a bong? ;)

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How long till someone turns one into a bong? ;)

 

Haha, I was actually thinking the same thing when I saw the pictures... :P

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How long before someone turns a bong into a skimmer is the better question ;)

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id go with the ones glazer makes. i hate to break the glass

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How long before someone turns a bong into a skimmer is the better question ;)

 

You know, I could do that if you really wanted... you have no idea how many people at Reefstock asked me, "Can you smoke out of that?" :rolleyes:

 

At any rate, hi everyone! I'm Gnome, and I'm a lampworker in Colorado who makes all sorts of things out of glass, and then flounders around in HTML every now and then. The website is semi-functional at the moment, and there are a few pics, while I'm trying to continuously add more.

 

These skimmers started as a request by Jake for me to build a better Mame skimmer. He'd been using the Mame in a 28 gallon Bio Cube for about a year with great results, but a few shortcomings were revealed - particularly the skimmate exit port and tube would clog frequently due to the small diameter of both. The skimmer was perfectly functional, but requried too much cleaning to continue to operate. I knew when he put this piece of junk in the tank, it was all over for that incredibly rare piece of glass.

 

My thought was, "That seems ridiculous... Why not a larger exit tube?"

 

I made a few, and surely enough, that solved most of the problems. The mame skimmer doesn't work at all while a skimmate bubble is being pushed through the lines, but with a larger tube, the bubble pops at the exit, on top of not building up gunk to such detriment. I also enjoy making as much of an object out of glass as possible, so the air line is glass, welded onto the skimmer body. It's the thickest walled tubing of that size I can get, so there shouldn't be any problems with breakage short of dropping the thing on some concrete (please don't do that!). Each end has a small barb so tubing doesn't fall off on its own.

 

Several sizes exist - from 32mm (a bit larger than the Mame) short and tall versions, to 38 and 44mm diameters, to accomodate a wide range of tank sizes (up to about 45 gal) and bio loads. Bigger skimmers are in development, and are looking quite promising at the moment

 

Mounting can be done a few ways - the most elegant being the all glass hook (with some silicone airline bands) you can see in the pics. It's adjustable for height, which is one way to control the wetness/dryness of the skimmate. Alternatively, the skimmer can be bare, and held in place by any mount designed to hold a tube of that size - several magnetic options exist, and there's always the good ol' suction cup. Re-alternatively, a magnet inside the tube works if it's strong enough - a TLF nanomag will hold it to the side with a little encouragement (depending on the thickness of your glass), and is also an excellent way to clean the skimmer from time to time.

 

What a long first post! I've probably forgotten a ton, but it's been a crazy busy week trying to tie everything together... if any questions arise, please be sure to let me know. I'll be checking back every now and then, and I'll do my best to offer pictures and answers.

 

Cheers!

-Calen

Edited by gn0me
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very interesting, i noticed you also make vaporizers too :D

Edited by Fluffeh

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It's Colorado, what can I say? ;)

 

I do like helping save peoples lungs through better methods of use, whatever that may be, but that's neither here nore there ^_^

Edited by gn0me

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Are these available for sale? If so, which one would you recommend for a 22g tank?

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I would recommend either the 32mm or 38mm for 22 gallons, depending on how you plan to stock it. The 32 will be great for light to moderate loads, while the 38 will be better if you plan on packing it densely.

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Do the skimmers come with the glass hooks to hang them from the tank? Also, which air pump would you recommend for the 38mm model?

Edited by Maximus831

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Luft pumps are amazing if you have one laying around or if the LFS has one on closeout, simply because they're adjustable, but neither high pressure nor high flow are particuarly necessary for any of the nano skimmers.

 

For the 38 I'd recommend the Tetra Whisper 20, or something equivalent - Renas are great and so are a bunch of others, and sometimes you just get a dud, so it's nice to get something that has a return policy (if anyone's not happy with a skimmer, by the way, I'll gladly take it back, including exchanges in case it's too big or small - just pay shipping).

 

The best setup is going to be to tee in a ball or needle valve (something cheap) to release extra air, so that you can adjust the air flow to the skimmer. It's not strictly necessary, but you get a bit more adjustability than simply raising or lowering the height alone.

 

As far as mounts go, I'm offering the bare model at a discount for those that want to DIY, and the model with a sliding glass mount for ten bucks extra. The default glass mount is designed for rimless aquariums, so if you have one with a rim or glass thicker than 7/16" be sure to let me know :D

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Nice skimmer :) i like air stone driven skimmers

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Hmmmm... This might work in the Nuvo 16...

 

About how much of the skimmer is above the waterline when in use? Don't want a tower sticking out the back of a nice clean AIO o_O

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Gnome, which one would you recommend for a setup with ~40g total water capacity? What Tetra air pump would be the biggest you'd go (even for heavier stocking)? They are just so damn cheap it's almost nothing to go up to a bigger size.

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The top of the dome should be roughly 2.5-3" above waterline - these are made by hand, so each one is unique, but the spout extends roughly an inch above that... I'm thinking about adding a low profile option (or just making it the standard) based on how the majority of people set up their tanks... for the 32mms especially it seems to make sense, but for now I'll continue the current style to be sure that the spout is above tank level (which is necessary to get the skimmate out of the tank).

 

For the 44mm, a Tetra 40 should drive it to full potential for 40 gallons, and the 60 would be overkill. With this setup it would be best to have a T going to a vent valve just after the pump so that you can adjust flow somewhat... I've got a 44mm running on a 28 gallon BioCube with a Tetra 20 and for the size of tank it's quite happy but could certainly run harder. Sadly I don't have either of those pumps at the moment, but I'll gather more data and be sure to post it as I find it.

 

Here's a pic of a 32mm mounted (in case you've not seen it on the site) at about the right height - distance from water level to top of tank is about 2 and 1/4", distance to top of dome is about 2 and 1/2" - could go a bit lower. I'm working on setting up a true nano for demonstration purposes, but don't have an ETA at the moment... hopefully within the next two weeks.

 

32mm_mounted_side.jpg

Edited by gn0me

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Could you post more pics? Perhaps of the bracket?

Thanks,

Russ

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I just got in a whole host of limewood airstones for these puppies... all sorts of shapes and sizes! (okay, just one shape.... rectangular block. TONS of sizes, though!)

 

I'll do a fitting round tomorrow and get some more pictures up... I have a prototype of the bracket which should illustrate the function very well. Airstones are made in the USA and larger ones are drilled out wider (with a plug in the bottom) to get massive amounts of airflow. I can't wait... maybe I'll even get to stamp 'em while I'm at it!

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Hey everybody,

 

Sorry about the big delay in posts - I ended up taking a whole bunch of photos, and then encountered a design revision with regard to the sliding glass mount. Basically, the glass air line is no longer welded to the body of the skimmer directly, and is instead treated as an additional part of the sliding mount. This means that the airline is both user replaceable (in case an accident were to happen) and adjustable (you can lower the airline, such that the airstone is as far out of the body as possible without spilling bubbles for maximum flow into the skimmer).

 

I'm in the process of revamping the pictures on the site and adding a newfangled slider thingey, but in the meantime check out one of the

!

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Maybe it's just me.... But aren't these a bit pricey? I can get a needle wheel nano skimmer for 60 bux. Why pay 60 for a glass tube? And I have to furnish all the rest of the working parts?

 

Am I missing something?

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Maybe it's just me.... But aren't these a bit pricey? I can get a needle wheel nano skimmer for 60 bux. Why pay 60 for a glass tube? And I have to furnish all the rest of the working parts?

 

Am I missing something?

 

Not only are they funcional, but at the same time they are art. I appreciate the artistic side, andwill order one once I figure out which one.

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I agree. You're buying a handmade in america piece of functional art. I really liked the mame skimmers, but they were very pricey. I'm excited that this option is now available!

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Maybe it's just me.... But aren't these a bit pricey? I can get a needle wheel nano skimmer for 60 bux. Why pay 60 for a glass tube? And I have to furnish all the rest of the working parts?

 

Am I missing something?

 

Being that these haven't been around for very long and are in few tanks at the moment, I'll have to champion the benefits of these skimmers myself... (though Jake Adams does mention some of this in a post a while ago)

 

In another forum, a user wrote regarding airstone versus needle wheel skimmers, "you wouldn't buy a Nokia if the iPhone was available."

 

I would argue that if the Nokia had a smaller footprint, was quieter in operation, used less power, looked better, was made of more durable materials, and worked just as well as the iPhone for certain applications, then it would remain a viable choice.

 

It's true that limewood skimmers are old technology - it's what people were using before someone figured out that the impeller blade of a water pump could chop up bubbles just as finely or finer than an airstone made of wood, and then you'd have the same device providing air as flow...

 

The needle wheel skimmers worked wonders on tanks where they were out of sight and hearing, and where micro bubbles in the tank were of little consequence... if you've got a 145 gallon FOWLR with a constant water level sump, a needle wheel skimmer is the only easy and effective option, and will remain so for quite some time.

 

On the other hand, when tanks get smaller and don't have sumps, the visual aesthetic of each piece of equipment has to come together to make or break the tank. There are a bunch of HOB needle wheel skimmers, which take up a large amount of space above and behind the tank, and which have very little space to separate out all the fine bubbles they're so good at producing. Often they're

(since they're right at eye level) ugly, or take up a huge amount of in-tank space (with apologies to Mitch, but that skimmer looks like it's pushing the rest of your tank to one side!)

 

These glass skimmers are an attempt to address many of these issues. The skimmer itself is the only component that's in the tank at all - you can hide the skimmate reservoir and air pump anywhere else that is convenient for you, as far from the tank as you want within reason. Maintenance is very little and pretty easy - a swipe with a bottle brush now and then, and some airstone maintenance (with occasional replacement) and it's good to go for a few more months. The airstones are also easy to maintain - rather than changing it or soaking it in chemicals to remove scale, all that needs to be done is to scrape algae off the air emitting pores with a sharp knife and it's good to go again.

 

In addition, the skimmer is as quiet as your air pump, and some of the smallest, quietest air pumps work well. Using an air pump rather than a water pump has some interesting side effects - they use less electricity (2.5 watts for the Tetra Whisper 20 - adequate for all of my skimmers up to 44mm) and, since they're external to the tank's water, the heat transferred to the tank is minimal. A similar needle wheel skimmer with immersed pump will be adding from 4 to 12 watts of energy to the tank in the form of heat, which can be quite a bit for such small tanks.

 

To really top it off, the materials in these skimmers are durable - part of my design philosophy is to make as much of an object out of glass as possible, and I use only the highest quality laboratory grade clear borosilicate (primarily Simax, from the Czech Republic. No Chinese clear will ever be used, for various reasons). Borosilicate glass is especially resistant to chemicals, as well as to changes in temperature. You could put one of my skimmers into your freezer or your oven and the glass would suffer no ill effects (though the silicone rings can degrade in temperatures above 300 degrees!) In fact, to clean it, you could put it right in the dishwasher, but I would recommend that if you do this the skimmer be rinsed very thoroughly afterward, including inside the mount.

 

Being made by hand, one at a time here in the US, along with the cost of the highest grade materials I can find does lead to an increased cost to the consumer, but for a product of this caliber I don't think it's unreasonable. A large amount of cost does come from the glass material, and I don't make them thin - you can certainly bump them around without consequence, though I advise against dropping them onto a tiled floor :)

 

As far as the additional components go, I include a connected airstone with each skimmer, and a number of silicone rings for the mount (though those are easily made with some scissors and some air line in case you run out).

 

The only other things you need are:

-an air pump of your choice

-air line to connect the skimmer to the above

-1/2" (or so) tubing to route the skimmate to

-a glass bottle or something else to use as a skimmate reservoir

 

And finally, if you elect not to go with the glass sliding mount I offer,

-a mounting solution, like magnetic suction cups

 

Since this is a long post, here's a TL:DR version

My glass skimmers are:

-quiet

-compact

-functional

-unique

-durable

-energy efficient

-low maintenance

-aesthetically superior (at least I think so ;))

-low in the production of escapee microbubbles

-a way to keep your skimmer from adding heat to the tank

-a way to offer the user more flexibility in their build

 

I hope this explains more of why I'm going to the trouble to produce these things, and I really can't wait to see more of these in the huge variety of tanks that are out there. A big thanks goes out to everyone who's purchased one, and I hope that they can expand the creativity you put into your aquascaping pursuits.

 

Cheers!

-Calen

Edited by gn0me

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