DIY surface extractor - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2008, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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DIY surface extractor

So the surface scum on my 75 gallon was getting a little out of hand. Actually, scum in general is worse than I would like it, but one thing at a time. I whipped this up from stuff I had lying around and it worked like a charm. 20 minute build time and probably 30 minutes to clean all the froth and oil slick from the surface. I'm sure other people have done this, but I couldn't turn it up searching the forum so I'm posting it.

I threaded a 3/4" MPT hose barb into the bottom of a 32 oz deli cup. Inside the cup, I stuck a strainer on the end of the fitting, and filled the bottom third of the cup with poly floss. The barb goes into a scrap of 3/4" hose, and the hose onto the intake of a maxijet 400. I stuck a scrap of 1/2" tube on the MJ outlet to divert the flow, and a suction cup holds the rim of the deli cup in place.

Once I got it in the tank and running, I adjusted the position of the cup until I had just enough water spilling into the cup to keep a constant level inside it - too much and it overflows and releases all the collected scum, too little and it runs dry. I ran it for a few hours, then turned off the pump and quickly lifted out the cup before it overflowed.

Is anyone else using something like this to clean up their tank? I think a maxijet powered gravel vacuum would be a nice sister project.

Full shot of the assembly sucking a little air:


Cup angled just right to balance water flow:

jeff mette

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2008, 11:01 PM
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cool idea, looks like there could be a float switch added maybe for auto shut off if the water level is too low. could even have it on full time if your using it for current in some tanks

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2008, 12:05 AM
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how handy

i'll be building one this weekend
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2008, 12:41 AM
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2008, 01:58 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hojimoe View Post
cool idea, looks like there could be a float switch added maybe for auto shut off if the water level is too low. could even have it on full time if your using it for current in some tanks
Something like what ansbfish posted would be better for continuous duty - I think teeth are the way to go. You could build the skimmer box out of black acrylic and replace the floss with a foam block. Maybe throw a spray bar on there, too.

jeff mette

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2008, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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I had not, thanks for posting. That thing is pretty awesome. I'm not sure why the design is as complicated as it is, however.

If I was going to run mine full time I would just build a halfway decent looking skimmer box to replace the cup, and match the linear size of the box to the GPH of the powerhead using this calculator. I might be missing something important, though.

jeff mette

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2008, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by mette View Post
I had not, thanks for posting. That thing is pretty awesome. I'm not sure why the design is as complicated as it is, however.

If I was going to run mine full time I would just build a halfway decent looking skimmer box to replace the cup, and match the linear size of the box to the GPH of the powerhead using this calculator. I might be missing something important, though.
That one has the complicated float mechanism to ensure that it skims the surface regardless of small changes in the height of the surface of the water. It can be left running full time.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2008, 04:23 AM
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2008, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
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That one has the complicated float mechanism to ensure that it skims the surface regardless of small changes in the height of the surface of the water. It can be left running full time.
I think teeth and weekly water changes are probably enough insurance. Liquid doser helps, too.

That's the ticket. And on second thought a CO2 reactor on the outlet would be great.

jeff mette

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