Surface Skimmer Question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-28-2020, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Surface Skimmer Question

I bought an FZONE Aquatic glass Lily Pipe inflow surface skimmer and have a question.

It seems as if the skimmer filter tube outside diameter is a lot smaller than the inside diameter of the pipe it inserts into. This means that water can flow easily in that gap. I am wondering if most glass surface skimmers are made like that in order to allow free movement or if this is a problem that will make adjustment difficult.

I have found that it is tricky getting a balance so that air does not get sucked in but there is still good skimming. I did watch a couple of videos describing how to adjust it but am wondering if I just bought a cheap brand with poor tolerances.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-28-2020, 05:31 PM
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i can't speak to the brand you bought, but the one i have (yagote) seems to have a total tolerance of about 2mm. i've seen stuff sucked up in the gap, mainly hemianthus glomeratus leaves after trimming, but not that much is diverted. it is tricky getting the balance between the surface skimming and that which is drawn from the bottom. to avoid air getting sucked in, i adjust it so that the water level in the outer tube is about 1" below the water surface. if you find that the skimmer cup sits too high, draw out some or all of the air under the cup; i use a curved piece of airline tubing attached to a syringe.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-28-2020, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. That is about the same tolerance as mine. I will play more with the adjustment based on your tips.

I also need to move it. I wanted to hide it so I put it in a back corner behind some large hardscape but now find that a lot of detritus is getting sucked towards it but left in the bottom corner which will be hard to clean.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-28-2020, 06:07 PM
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note too that as the bottom strainer gets clogged the water level in the outer tube will drop, increasing chances that air will be sucked into the filter.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-28-2020, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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note too that as the bottom strainer gets clogged the water level in the outer tube will drop, increasing chances that air will be sucked into the filter.
Good point. I may drop back and punt back to the basic inflow tube although if it gets clogged my filter output will drop. I do like the clarity that the skimmer brings to the water.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-28-2020, 09:21 PM
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Good point. I may drop back and punt back to the basic inflow tube although if it gets clogged my filter output will drop. I do like the clarity that the skimmer brings to the water.

Who said a planted tank was simple!
i say hang with it a little longer. not only does it improve clarity it similarly increases gaseous exchange, something important that more people should pay attention to.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 04:25 AM
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i say hang with it a little longer. not only does it improve clarity it similarly increases gaseous exchange, something important that more people should pay attention to.
Good to know. I just added a skimmer to my 75g and it's doing a good job of cleaning the surface slick.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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note too that as the bottom strainer gets clogged the water level in the outer tube will drop, increasing chances that air will be sucked into the filter.
Thanks. Another good tip. I am also finding that with so much play in the fitting that surface activity causes it to "click" as it gets jostled.

I guess that the key to avoid pulling air into my filter will be to have the skimmer easily accessible and visible so that I can keep it clean and unclogged. At least it is glass!

I still need to figure out placement. I have noticed that on many tanks the lily pipes get put next to each other, close to the tank front or its side. I guess that I will need to experiment once I get the plants in. I want them to work well and be easily unclogged but I also would not like to have them be a central feature:-)
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 07:12 PM
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Thanks. Another good tip. I am also finding that with so much play in the fitting that surface activity causes it to "click" as it gets jostled.

I guess that the key to avoid pulling air into my filter will be to have the skimmer easily accessible and visible so that I can keep it clean and unclogged. At least it is glass!

I still need to figure out placement. I have noticed that on many tanks the lily pipes get put next to each other, close to the tank front or its side. I guess that I will need to experiment once I get the plants in. I want them to work well and be easily unclogged but I also would not like to have them be a central feature:-)
i use a bamboo skewer to move mainly leaves that block the intake. helps to turn off the filter, let the leaves float up, scoop em out.


with respect to placement, i have my output and input perpendicular to each other in the back right corner; output flow is along the back wall. the output is between the skimmer body and the tube leading to the filter. the output is coming from the side and the skimmer is mounted on the back.


both pipes don't need to be next to each other. i've seen tanks with output back corner and skimmer in the front corner (of same side of tank), doing a u-shaped flow pattern. but yeah, experiment with placement.


glass is double edged sword, looks nice when clean, but unsightly with algae. keep on top of the algae that grows where the intake tube connects to the skimmer chamber. only way to keep it clean is a weekly bleaching or h2o2 soak.
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Last edited by moke; 07-02-2020 at 07:39 PM. Reason: explain my setup more clearly
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