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LesPaulGtr

Fluval 13.5 Protien Skimmer advice

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Hi All.  Need some advice/opinions please... I have a Fluval Evo 13.5 (my full specs here: https://www.nano-reef.com/forums/topic/404590-new-fluval-evo-135-build/) with the following:

 

Chamber 1: Intank Media Basket with filter floss, Chemi-Pure Blue & Seachem Purigen

Chamber 2: ATO hose, Temp probe & PH Probe

Chamber 3: ATO High and Low sensors, Return pump & Heater

 

So, I originally bought the Fluval PS-2 Protein Skimmer, but never hooked it up due to not knowing if I would actually require it or not.  So the question: Now that I have a couple of fish for a month, I am seeing some "oily" film on the surface and do have some PH swings, do i put the PS-2 in chamber 2 and move the ATO hose, Temp probe & PH Probe to the tank at the expense of a bit of an eyesore for the display area?  OR - invest in a better hang on back skimmer to put in the tank?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

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More importantly what are your no3/po4 levels? Those are what should determine if you should add a skimmer or not. 

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2 minutes ago, MrObscura said:

More importantly what are your no3/po4 levels? Those are what should determine if you should add a skimmer or not. 

Thanks @MrObscura - by Nitrates are consistently around 30 but I've never tested for phosphates.  Turns out both my Red Sea and API marine test kits don't have PO4 tests.  Should I invest in that?  Thanks.

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That film is predominantly proteins. I don’t think I need to state what protien skimmers are intended to remove. 😛

 

If the film is building up in the first chamber, that would be the best place to put it. 30ppm nitrate isn’t horrible, but is higher than where most people prefer to run their tanks. But if it is stable, nutrients are staying around that level, you aren’t having growth issues, and you aren’t having algae issues, there isn’t a need to change anything. The film will break down, though usually slower than it builds, contributing to nutrients increasing. I used to use paper towels to suck up the film in my fresh water planted aquariums.

 

If the film is building up, you don’t have enough flow to keep the first chamber turbulant allowing the film to settle out. This can be a good thing though as it gives you the opportunity to remove it manually.

 

Phosphate is part of the macronutrients that the zooxanthellae need for photosynthesis, so some phosphates are good, but if levels get too high, or out of ballance with nitrate, nuisance algae can take hold and outcompete for nutrients, making a mess out of your tank, slowing coral growth due to outcompeting and chemicals they release to stunt the growth of other organisms.

If you are seeing good growth and are not having algae issues in your display, I’d say you are likely fine without a phosphate test kit, especially since nitrates are on the higher end of the range. If you find nitrates have dropped quite a bit and are seeing no/slowed growth or that the coral colers are starting to look washed out or almost pastel, you might want to get a kit or at least get your water tested to see if your phosphate has dropped to zero.

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Thanks @Beer for the detailed reply!  I actually don’t see any film in chamber 1 above the filter floss. Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems? I do have a bit of algae but maybe that’s because I slightly over feed the fish and don’t have any CUC yet...

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3 hours ago, LesPaulGtr said:

Thanks @MrObscura - by Nitrates are consistently around 30 but I've never tested for phosphates.  Turns out both my Red Sea and API marine test kits don't have PO4 tests.  Should I invest in that?  Thanks.

Po4 levels aren't super important but it's good to have a test kit and keep them below 0.1. Doing so can help with coral growth and limit excess algae/cyano. 

 

30 no3 is highish but not detrimental, how often do you do waterchanges and what volume do you change? 

 

Also once you start adding corals they'll actually consume some no3 and po4 themselves. Levels being too low is far riskier than a little high. 

 

Oh and a filmy surface usually means you could do with more surface agitation. 

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9 hours ago, MrObscura said:

Po4 levels aren't super important but it's good to have a test kit and keep them below 0.1. Doing so can help with coral growth and limit excess algae/cyano. 

 

30 no3 is highish but not detrimental, how often do you do waterchanges and what volume do you change? 

 

Also once you start adding corals they'll actually consume some no3 and po4 themselves. Levels being too low is far riskier than a little high. 

 

Oh and a filmy surface usually means you could do with more surface agitation. 

Thanks @MrObscura I do weekly water changes at 10%, which works out to 1.5 gallons for my tank.  If I'm away on vacation and have the auto feeder going, I'll double it to 3 gallons.  Regarding the surface agitation, I have the stock return nozzles pointed up at the water, do I need to do anything differently?

 

IMG_0114.thumb.JPG.9bbb77c33a21ee1029fe01dfeafa3e4a.JPG

 

Thanks.

2 hours ago, EvilFish said:

This skimmer is really bad. Noisy, unstable, heat the tank (8W). I removed it and installed AUS instead.

Thanks @EvilFish what's the AUS?

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You could try aiming your powerheads to creat more surface agitation while still creating good flow through out the tank. 

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