Little to no foam production
My skimmer was working great, now there is no foam head or anything being pulled out of the water?
This is often an indication that you may have a skimmer that is too large for your size aquarium or you have no organic waste to be pulled from the water. Once the skimmer pulls out all the waste matter the skimmer sits in idle till the waste level builds back up to build a healthy foamate.
Another important thing to remember is that whenever you put your hands in the aquarium or feed your tank’s inhabitants you introduce oils into the water column which will break surface tension in the water causing the skimmer foamate to fall. It is very important that you clean your hands before working in the aquarium and remove any oils or soaps. Using fresh activated carbon helps keep down time to a minimal.
Adding chemicals can cause a reaction to your skimmers production of foam. It is best to shut your skimmer down while using any chemicals to treat algae or disease in the aquarium and follow up with large amounts of activated carbon to absorb the chemicals prior to starting the skimmer back up.
My new skimmer is not producing any foam or not collecting any skimmate in the collection cup?
All skimmers require a break in period before any stable formation of foam will be made or start rising within the neck of the skimmer. This process can take up to 4 weeks especially with smaller systems. When first starting your new skimmer set the water level in the skimmer low by keeping the outlet valve on the open side. If your worried about it overflowing when your not present leave the valve completely open. Do not attempt to raise the water level in the skimmer for at least 3-4 weeks or you will run the risk of the skimmer overflowing and flooding the surrounding area. Please be patient during this break in period. Your skimmer is working but it needs to run for some time to allow all residual oils on the acrylic from production and handling to break down before it will build a steady head of foam. Rinsing the pump in a solution of vinegar and water and Running fresh activated carbon may help with the break in cycle. Low salinity levels has an effect on air induction and suggest a reading of 1.024-1.026 for optimal air intake.
What effects does oils have on a skimmer?
Oils have hydrophobic effect to the bubble surface inhibiting the natural attractant hydrophilic bonds of salts, sugar, ammonia, most amino acids and most inorganic compounds. If concentrated levels of oils are present in the skimmer and/or water column you often will experience little to no foamate production, low air induction and inconsistent level settings within the skimmer. Often appearing as if the skimmer is running in fresh water with inconsistent bubble levels throughout, turbulent mixture of air and water within the upper body and opaque white appearance. New skimmers contain oils from manufacturing and handling and sometimes different product runs while have more oils present than others and it is suggested that a rinsing the skimmer in a solution of vinegar and water prior to setup. Then allow 3-4 weeks for the skimmer to fully break. Many fish and coral foods have oils as well as we introduce oils any time we stick our hands in the tank, add new plumbing, new equipment etc which could inhibit skimmer performance or delay break in time of a protein skimmer.
What effects does organic concentration have on a skimmer?
The concentration of DOC in aquarium water has a major factor in the skimmer’s performance. It is easier to separate something from water with a higher concentration than water with low DOC. Basically the skimmer can only pull out what is present in the water pulled in by the skimmer pump. The skimmate collection, color and concentration is dependent of what is fed to the tank, the bio-load and the setting of the skimmer. To adjust a skimmer properly users must be patience and regulate it several times over a period of a few days.