The Crown of Thorns - surface skimmer - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-01-2007, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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The Crown of Thorns - surface skimmer

It’s quite a simple gadget. An upside down sponge filter drawing water from the surface. I used a 6” piece of pipe, 2" dia, for the body of the sponge filter (3” total of sponge and filter watte). The top is open and the bottom is a 2” socket fitted with a 1” adapter and small bit of 1” pipe fitted to the suction of a power head.

What actually special is the top intake. I have made vertical cuts, 1.5” long from the top, spray bar style, so that the water is drawn from the sides of top of the 2” pipe. I thought that 1.5” would be maximum difference in surface level of a tank. You have to set the surface skimmer so that its top is just higher than the highest level you would top up the tank.

Now if you have followed me till this point, you would say that the water will be drawn from the entire vertical 1.5” slits. No, it is not drawn from the entire slit but from the surface only. Inside the 2” pipe is a floating cylinder, vertically 1.75” which effective shuts off the slits. When you put the power head on; the water level in the 2” pipe falls and with it the floating cylinder, so only the surface water is drawn in. If the floating cylinder drops too much then the water flows in too fast and the height of the water in the 2” pipe rises; so does the floating cylinder cutting of the deeper water. So it is only the surface water which is drawn in.

I made the inner floating cylinder from the material of a soda pet-bottle. Used a band of epoxy putty at the bottom and a band of Styrofoam at the top.

The output of the power head can be directed at will, so if you want to avoid surface agitation, it’s simple to direct the output water away from the surface. Actually the entire design and execution was meant to find a way to deal with surface scum without agitating the surface.

I had not taken any pics while constructing as I was in doubt if it would function to my satisfaction. It was on all night and the surface this morning was crystal clear, quite a big surface 3'x 6'. Now I have a few pics of the gadget in place for you to view. The pet bottle you see in the background is my reactor device for DIY CO2.

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Last edited by essabee; 11-27-2008 at 03:43 AM.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-01-2007, 01:00 PM
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Please give us more detail on the float mechanism. I'm not quite understanding how that works.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 12:22 AM
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I understand the idea behind the floating tube, but i am a bit confused on your implementation.
My interpretation:
The inner tube has a ring of Sytrofoam that keeps it floating (and I'm guessing provides some kind of gasket for the other .25"), But the amount of Styro keeps the inner tube just at or below water surface due to tube weight?
Sounds like a nice DIY

Walter

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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It is a free floating cylinder. As I made it from a strip from the body of a pet bottle and wanted it to be very close fitting to, but free from, the inner side of the 2" pipe; there is very little margin for change of shape of the floating cylinder.

So I used a band of epoxy putty on the inner lower end to act as stiffner to prevent the cylinder from changing shape. The Styrofoam band on the top balances the weight of the entire cylinder to just positive so that the cylinder just floats.

I am attaching a pic I took of the cylinder taken out from its house for clarification of anything I could not convey with words.

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Last edited by essabee; 11-27-2008 at 03:42 AM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 02:52 AM
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so how does the water flow past the cylinder if it fits in the throat of the skimmer with such tight tolerances? Is the cylinder capped off on both ends, or is it just a hollow tube?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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Its a hollow tube. Sorry to have been so inarticulate.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by essabee View Post
Its a hollow tube. Sorry to have been so inarticulate.
Whatever, man, you're compensating with good engineering. I really like your design, that's why I keep asking questions.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 12:50 AM
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This is a great idea, thanks so much for sharing. Need to make one to get the bubbly surface of my 100 gal cleared up. Very nice DIY project!


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