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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my newt tank I've been having a problem with lots of surface scum. This tank requires low flow so I really couldn't put a lot of surface disturbance in there. I also for various reasons didn't want a skimmer on the intake such as the ones largely commercially available already.

In another thread someone posted about the Aquario Neo Flow Skimmer which as of this posting isn't available in the USA yet. But it essentially does what I want. Looking it up I found this picture:



Using this as my guide I made a skimmer out a 3/4 x 1/2" pvc T, as well as a small piece of 3/4" pvc cut at a 45 degree angle and 1/2" pvc pipe to act as a bushing so my lily pipe would be a snug fit. This pvc skimmer would fit over my existing lily pipe. When combined with an acyclic skimmer part bought on amazon I had a working skimmer on my return lily pipe. It removes surface film like a champ but will not endanger any animals in the tank. Its also not exactly aesthetically beautiful but ehh I can only do so much.



 

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This is great!

I'm planning to DIY a surface skimmer on my intake on an upcoming project... it's been strangely difficult for me to cook something up from scratch. I think it will take much fiddling to get it right. Looks like you nailed it.
 

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I may have been the person who originally mentioned the Neoflow. It's still not in the US yet, but I'm getting the sense they'll be around 60 dollars or so for the full intake/outtake kit based on conversions. I almost bought one from Canada because it just got to North America, but came to my senses and decided to wait. My biggest question about this method of skimming is what kind of impact would it have on co2 off-gassing, especially when using in-line atomizers or reactors, where the skimming occurs right at the point where the co2 rich water enters the tank. I remember you had built some nice diy reactors. Do you happen to run one with this outtake setup, and if so, have you noticed a need to up the co2 bubble count compared to running a standard skimmer on a timer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I may have been the person who originally mentioned the Neoflow. It's still not in the US yet, but I'm getting the sense they'll be around 60 dollars or so for the full intake/outtake kit based on conversions. I almost bought one from Canada because it just got to North America, but came to my senses and decided to wait. My biggest question about this method of skimming is what kind of impact would it have on co2 off-gassing, especially when using in-line atomizers or reactors, where the skimming occurs right at the point where the co2 rich water enters the tank. I remember you had built some nice diy reactors. Do you happen to run one with this outtake setup, and if so, have you noticed a need to up the co2 bubble count compared to running a standard skimmer on a timer?
I run very little CO2 in this tank. I haven't noticed any difference with the skimmer. There are no real bubbles being pulled under when I use it. So surface contact is not really increased for what it's worth.
 

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I run very little CO2 in this tank. I haven't noticed any difference with the skimmer. There are no real bubbles being pulled under when I use it. So surface contact is not really increased for what it's worth.
That sounds promising. I may get one and play with it soon. Thanks for the quick reply!
 

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I just ordered the 13mm set from buceplant, so they may be on Amazon soon… If anyone wants an update about it, I can compare it to the Jardli set of inlet/outlet lily pipes which I think are solid traditional contenders for the money, that are used with an Eheim 350 skimmer that runs for 10 minutes, four times a day. I imagine I would still use the Jardli inlet and save the Aquario inlet for backup, maintenance situations, or other DIY options, since glass still may look cleaner.

The main benefit seems to be the built in skimmer, the ability to customize the pipe lengths, and most importantly less equipment, without needing that skimmer. The downside may be that while the skimmer will remove the surface film, it obviously won’t remove the debris or plant trimmings. I think that’s where my current skimmer will make sense. During maintenance sessions I’d imagine I’d just stick that back in and run it to pick up small pieces. The other downside seems to be the length of the skimmer pipe back down to where it attaches to the outlet. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of wiggle room on the water level which can be a problem for rimless tanks if your away for more than a week. I can see people 3D printing longer versions of this small piece or even the company putting them out, but this could be what was the most optimized height for their design. Also, there’s no long term use of these, so it’s not clear how well they’ll hold up to cleaning compared to glass. I’m also personally curious about how inline CO2 will behave with this setup, but @minorhero s custom build makes me believe it won’t matter.
 

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I just ordered the 13mm set from buceplant, so they may be on Amazon soon… If anyone wants an update about it, I can compare it to the Jardli set of inlet/outlet lily pipes which I think are solid traditional contenders for the money, that are used with an Eheim 350 skimmer that runs for 10 minutes, four times a day. I imagine I would still use the Jardli inlet and save the Aquario inlet for backup, maintenance situations, or other DIY options, since glass still may look cleaner.

The main benefit seems to be the built in skimmer, the ability to customize the pipe lengths, and most importantly less equipment, without needing that skimmer. The downside may be that while the skimmer will remove the surface film, it obviously won’t remove the debris or plant trimmings. I think that’s where my current skimmer will make sense. During maintenance sessions I’d imagine I’d just stick that back in and run it to pick up small pieces. The other downside seems to be the length of the skimmer pipe back down to where it attaches to the outlet. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of wiggle room on the water level which can be a problem for rimless tanks if your away for more than a week. I can see people 3D printing longer versions of this small piece or even the company putting them out, but this could be what was the most optimized height for their design. Also, there’s no long term use of these, so it’s not clear how well they’ll hold up to cleaning compared to glass. I’m also personally curious about how inline CO2 will behave with this setup, but @minorhero s custom build makes me believe it won’t matter.
Hey Brendon, I was curious if you ever ended up getting the Aquario Neo and if so how you like it. I've been interested in it but have had similar concerns, particularly how well that little of skimmer does to clear the surface and it's impact on CO2 like you stated. Would be nice to get more equipment out of the tank.
 

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I have a question(s) about having a skimmer on the return. Would this not just break up the oils and return them right back into the tank? It does look as if it would make a good aerator however with even moderate flow it seems like it would tend to pull bubbles into the tank.

I have a traditional lily pipe surface skimmer. When I clean the prefilter on my Oase I see a lot of oil floating in the bucket that I use to clean the prefilter sponges. From this I assume that at least a fair amount of the oil is getting trapped and not returned right back into the water.

Am I missing something about the input based design?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have a question(s) about having a skimmer on the return. Would this not just break up the oils and return them right back into the tank? It does look as if it would make a good aerator however with even moderate flow it seems like it would tend to pull bubbles into the tank.

I have a traditional lily pipe surface skimmer. When I clean the prefilter on my Oase I see a lot of oil floating in the bucket that I use to clean the prefilter sponges. From this I assume that at least a fair amount of the oil is getting trapped and not returned right back into the water.

Am I missing something about the input based design?
A skimmer on the return does not get rid of any surface scum, but it does keep the surface clean. Whatever is on the surface can't reform faster then the skimmer shoves it down again. What the surface scum is made up of I am sure changes from tank to tank. BUT I think its usually bacteria or protein left over from feedings or both. I used the skimmer in this thread for about 5 months but recently got rid of it due in part to no longer needing it and in part to hating having to deal with it. It collected a lot of algae and was difficult to clean. That said, at no time was it powerful enough in my tank to suck a bubble from the surface. It just barely had enough power to skim the surface. The power level is a function of how much flow I was running and also of how far down the 45 degree angle piece was placed. So it was adjustable for me with the diy version.

These days my tank is staying cleaner because I have fish in there that stay near the surface and are constantly looking for food. (ricefish from my outdoor pond). They stir up just enough surface agitation that the surface has been pretty clean between water changes.
 
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