Freshwater skimming possible? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2004, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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Freshwater skimming possible?

Hello everyone,

I just had a quick question that no one on the internet seems to be able to answer concisely -- namely, can you use a protein skimmer in a freshwater tank?

Some websites say "yes, but its tricky.", and no further information. Other sites says "no, the specific gravity is too low."

I gather that skimming freshwater isn't going to be done by conventional means, so I want to know if its possible, and if so, how do you do it? with what equipment? etc.

I'd really appreciate the input. Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2004, 01:50 AM
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Everything I've seen says no, skimmers don't work in freshwater. However, I wonder if it might work in an african cichlid tank since the GH and KH are so much higher than typical freshwater.

My understanding of protein skimmers is that you want a highly ionic/polar environment (the water) and a nonpolar environment (the air bubbles). The nonpolar portions of the waste proteins will be attracted to the bubbles (nonpolar) - the more ionic/polar the water environment is, the stronger the attraction. The salts in saltwater provide a large number of ions which increases the attraction of the protein to the bubbles.

If you have a skimmer, try it. If not, I wouldn't waste the money on something that probably won't work.

Kevin

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2g Mac-quarium. Clown gravel, fluorescent plastic plants, and 2 guppies.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2004, 02:50 PM
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2004, 02:56 PM
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good link Iunknown!
basically, no, you don't want to try protein skimming a freshwater planted tank...and honestly the fish shouldn't need it. Surface skimmers that remove leaves and debris from the surface can be used...but a protein skimmer is doing much more than skimming just the water surface of proteins.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2004, 05:12 PM
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I've been following that thread over at APC for awhile. Apparently a company has started manufacturing Protein Skimmers for freshwater usage (Art points that out in his original post.) I assume if a company is doing this that it must work to some degree (Of course, logic could be thrown out the window by the company, who knows.) I know when I was running a reef it was imperative to have a skimmer. In a fish only setup I wonder if this would be alright to use. In a co2 enriched planted enviornment I don't see how it would have any benefits.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2004, 08:33 PM
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Matt has a point, you would lose a lot of co2, kinda like shaking up a can of coke.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-09-2004, 02:58 PM
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Corigan,
"I assume if a company is doing this that it must work to some degree"...except we all know companies just want to make money. It wouldn't surprise me if their skimmer doesn't do anything in freshwater tanks. Kinda like that Iron test kit people keep buy, that doesn't really give any kind of an accurate reading; or Flourish Trace - hard mineral water for $1 an oz.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-09-2004, 04:37 PM
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Good Points Malkore..

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2004, 10:12 PM
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Here's an interesting read:
HTML Code:
http://www.geocities.com/josh_shilling/skimming.html
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2004, 10:14 PM
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Here's an interesting read:
HTML Code:
http://www.geocities.com/josh_shilling/skimming.html
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-30-2004, 05:34 PM
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smif:

I am using a overflow/sump combo that works great for removing surface scum, keeping the water level constant, and removing equipment from view. I have a PVC prefilter and 'P' tube so the overflow is very quiet; a must for a show tank. Think 'wet-dry' without a trickle tower or skimmer. Great for cosmetics. The link above is awesome for high bioload systems though!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-30-2004, 07:11 PM
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It does work in freshwater. I did it with a CPR Backpak a few years back just for the heck of it (was just sitting around) and it does pull out some gunk. Did not do as well as when it was in a saltwater environment, but that's expected. Others said it wouldn't work, but you can't be really sure, until you find out for yourself .

On the other hand, just because it can be done, doesn't mean you should do it either...

Eric


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-31-2004, 01:41 AM
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Anything is "possible" depending on how much time and money you want to invest. What should be asked is if it's probable.
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