Lily pipes with surface skimmer - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-09-2020, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Lily pipes with surface skimmer

I'm thinking of replacing my pvc spray bar with glass or stainless lily pipes. I've noticed a couple come with a surface skimmer. Does this affect co2 at all? Recently I've been having a lot of surface gunk, skimming is time consuming and not fixing the issue.
I've never had this surface scum problem till I totally did a rescape and added more driftwood.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-09-2020, 08:21 PM
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Surface scum is totally natural, especially in planted tanks. You may have to turn co2 up a tad, but it's not going to off-gas your co2 quicker than you can inject it. I love having a surface skimmer, and even when injecting co2, I consider it borderline necessary as it will increase gas exchange, making it actually easier to increase levels of co2 dissolved in the water without harming livestock.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-09-2020, 09:37 PM
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I don't have a surface skimmer however I have a glass lily outlet pipe and I found that if it is placed just slightly under the surface it actually creates a vortex and sucks in all the surface film down to get sucked into the filter.
the surface agitation is minimal and creates a nice ripple surface that the LEDs shine off from.


I have not found a decrease in co2 usage however I have seen better pearling when the surface scum was removed and cleaned off
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by monkeyruler90 View Post
I don't have a surface skimmer however I have a glass lily outlet pipe and I found that if it is placed just slightly under the surface it actually creates a vortex and sucks in all the surface film down to get sucked into the filter.
the surface agitation is minimal and creates a nice ripple surface that the LEDs shine off from.


I have not found a decrease in co2 usage however I have seen better pearling when the surface scum was removed and cleaned off

I don't see how that works. Are you saying it is dissolving the surface scum back into the water column?
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 07:31 PM
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I too have noticed the 'vortex' effect with my lily pipe output only if I set my output closer to the surface. I also have a skimmer with my set and consider it essential just as @varanidguy stated. I had a lot of surface scum due to using capped soil as my substrate.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-11-2020, 02:34 AM
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I wouldn’t run my tanks without the skimmer. The difference it makes is amazing. One caveat. It if ever gets sucked below the surface (it typically floats, but changes in water suction at the input may cause it to get sucked down) then it becomes a real danger for for small fish and shrimps. I have taken out many shrimp and ottos (sometimes alive) form the canister because of it. My solution is that now I use a fine mesh net to cover the inlet.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-11-2020, 02:44 AM
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Not liking add'l equipment in the tank, I've never seen the need personally for a skimmer. I look at surface film, like algae. You can get rid of it, by changing something not adding a skimmer, but to each their own.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-11-2020, 03:39 AM
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Not liking add'l equipment in the tank, I've never seen the need personally for a skimmer. I look at surface film, like algae. You can get rid of it, by changing something not adding a skimmer, but to each their own.
It is not really additional equipment. It is part of the Lilly Pipe intake.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-11-2020, 01:48 PM
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It is not really additional equipment. It is part of the Lilly Pipe intake.
I guess I consider "equipment" anything that might distract from the natural hardscape, fish or plants. So if I don't think it necessary I skip it and treat another way. Definitely a personal thing from an aesthetic standpoint for me.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-11-2020, 04:41 PM
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I guess I consider "equipment" anything that might distract from the natural hardscape, fish or plants. So if I don't think it necessary I skip it and treat another way. Definitely a personal thing from an aesthetic standpoint for me.
I like the glass variants. Made a big difference aesthetically vs the green intake/outtake that came with my Eheim Canister filter.
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-11-2020, 04:56 PM
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I like the glass variants. Made a big difference aesthetically vs the green intake/outtake that came with my Eheim Canister filter.
Glass is much better, but it also makes a simple lily tube into a more complicated piece. How do you find cleaning the whole thing? You probably also increase the likelihood of breakage.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-11-2020, 06:10 PM
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Glass is much better, but it also makes a simple lily tube into a more complicated piece. How do you find cleaning the whole thing? You probably also increase the likelihood of breakage.
I have yet to clean mine . There's some sludge build up on the outtake. I'll probably take a tooth brush to the visible sludge.

The breaking part does scare me, but not to much. I have the original intake/outtake if needed. I did use the heftier suction cups from eheim vs the translucent cheap ones that came with it. Also used food grade mineral oil for the suction cups, just a bit of insurance.


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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-11-2020, 07:19 PM
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I have yet to clean mine . There's some sludge build up on the outtake. I'll probably take a tooth brush to the visible sludge.

The breaking part does scare me, but not to much. I have the original intake/outtake if needed. I did use the heftier suction cups from eheim vs the translucent cheap ones that came with it. Also used food grade mineral oil for the suction cups, just a bit of insurance.
How long has it been in there?
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-11-2020, 09:45 PM
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I had glass surface skimmers, and they eat small shrimp even if they don't go below the surface of the water. You can use a net or something, but that hinders the performance of the skimmer. My main reason for no longer using skimmer intakes is they are super hard to clean (where the pipe to the canister meets the vertical piece, and I had two break from trying to remove the bottom piece for cleaning as it was getting clogged. Bits of sand get in that glass on glass joint and causes it to be super weak.

I then went to a regular surface skimmer (Eheim and Azoo). Eheim came broken. Azoo was my preferred one, and I set it on a timer so the shrimp that were caught could swim out of the skimmer every few hours. As @Asteroid mentioned, it does hurt the tank aesthetically having that extra piece of machinery in there.

My favorite solution so far is just running an airstone 24/7. It allows you to really blast CO2 and minimize equipment in the tank, plus you don't have to worry about shrimp being sucked up at all.
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-12-2020, 11:39 AM
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How long has it been in there?
Less than 2 months. Just finally starting to get some algae in my new setup.


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