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  • Skimmer Mania

    Let me start out with, I agree with many that you can't put too large a skimmer on a reef tank. I also agree that some skimmers perform better than others and are easier to set up. With that said.....

    I don't mean to stir up a lot of hard feelings, but I have a difficult time following some of the economic reasoning I read on a lot of lists about skimmer efficiencies being a driving concern in selection. Don't get me wrong, if one skimmer needs a large high head pump top drive the ejector system and another uses a much smaller pump...I agree pick the more efficient skimmer.

    My modified ER 5-2 will fill the skimmer cup with black goop daily, like a lot of good skimmers do. Even the most efficient skimmer will slow down skimming once it has removed most of the organic waste. My skimmer stops heavy foam skimming within an hour after feeding and idles along pulling out organics in between feedings. My skimmer uses a Sedra 9000 pinwheeel pump...rated at 90 watts, actually pulls 60 watts because of the entrained air in the flow.

    What I don't understand is selecting a skimmer mainly because it uses 20 watts less power, and it cost $2,000 more. It will take 50 years to justify the cost based on the energy savings, if ever. There are a half dozen good quality skimmer mfg's that may use a few more watts, but so what. The difference between a 40 watt skimmer and a 60 watt skimmer is not justification for spending an additional $2,000. Just spend $50 or $100 more and buy a larger skimmer to start. The engineering economics doesn't work spending $2,000 more. You could save twenty times the wattage and energy by simply selecting more efficient lighting and bulbs with higher PAR value.

    Of course that doesn't take into account that the skimmer can also being work of art ,and the winners are those that die with the most toys:flame: Of course I could be wrong....

  • #2
    Originally posted by ldrhawke
    What I don't understand is selecting a skimmer mainly because it uses 20 watts less power, and it cost $2,000 more.
    Of course that would be crazy based on economics alone. But I think you are understating the efficiency factor, especially when comparing needlewheel skimmers to becketts (which is where these comparisons usually come up).

    I used to run a beckett skimmer and the pump it took to drive that used 230 watts. My Deltec skimmer uses 20 watts. That's 9% of the electricity used by the beckett pump.

    Comment


    • #3
      Mike, you still have your Deltec?

      Comment


      • #4
        First off, no hard feelings, b/c this is what forums are about.

        Second, I've seen your skimmer design and I applaud you. It's an elongated ER 5 series that you've added the larger pump to, which you need b/c otherwise you'll have a hard time getting the foam to climb the vertical head pressure.

        In general, you make bigger gains in chamber volume (contact time) with increases in diameter vs height (the r squared thing). So for a given height vs diameter change, the reaction chamber volume increase faster with diameter changes, but so does the cost factor, b/c wider acrylic tubes for the same reason are much more expensive (the amount of acrylic being used increases fast). You also tend to be able to decrease the pump head pressure being fought to get the foam to "climb" as for a given volume there is less height.

        That being said, I first off totally agree that there are LOTS of good, functional skimmers on the market and that they work.

        The next issue comes up is "how much" skimmer is enough. That's EXCEEDINGLY subjective. You get good production out of yours. MAYBE, just maybe, a larger or more effecient unit would get even more out and if it was "big enough" your skimmate wouldn't be so thick? Who knows.

        In terms of effeciency, like Mike is saying, I'm not talking about 20w difference between a sedra and say a red dragon. I'm talking about 150w differences between pressure rated pumps to run becketts and pumps that use needlewheels. Also there's the effeciency of "performance". I have an ER and a Deltec and I can tell you that the Deltec is simply a better skimmer. Can I verbalize why it works better? Nope. Can I tell you that it works better than a comparable size ER? Yep. Is an ER cheaper? Yep. Would I buy the Deltec again? Yep. HOWEVER, these are RELATIVE value judgements.
        10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
        BK400ext
        RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
        MRC kalkmixer
        IKS

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        • #5
          MAYBE, just maybe, a larger or more effecient unit would get even more out and if it was "big enough" your skimmate wouldn't be so thick? Who knows.
          Good point, i've seen it happen before.

          Another point about the effieciency of the pump is not the savings over years. The amount of heat being put into the aquarium is also very important. You also have to look at the noise being produced. I have a sedra powered skimmer and it's loud and annoying. I have other skimmers that aren't nearly that disruptive. To some people that might not be important, to others, it might be worth paying for.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by moonpod
            First off, no hard feelings, b/c this is what forums are about.

            Second, I've seen your skimmer design and I applaud you. It's an elongated ER 5 series that you've added the larger pump to, which you need b/c otherwise you'll have a hard time getting the foam to climb the vertical head pressure.

            In general, you make bigger gains in chamber volume (contact time) with increases in diameter vs height (the r squared thing). So for a given height vs diameter change, the reaction chamber volume increase faster with diameter changes, but so does the cost factor, b/c wider acrylic tubes for the same reason are much more expensive (the amount of acrylic being used increases fast). You also tend to be able to decrease the pump head pressure being fought to get the foam to "climb" as for a given volume there is less height.

            That being said, I first off totally agree that there are LOTS of good, functional skimmers on the market and that they work.

            The next issue comes up is "how much" skimmer is enough. That's EXCEEDINGLY subjective. You get good production out of yours. MAYBE, just maybe, a larger or more effecient unit would get even more out and if it was "big enough" your skimmate wouldn't be so thick? Who knows.

            In terms of effeciency, like Mike is saying, I'm not talking about 20w difference between a sedra and say a red dragon. I'm talking about 150w differences between pressure rated pumps to run becketts and pumps that use needlewheels. Also there's the effeciency of "performance". I have an ER and a Deltec and I can tell you that the Deltec is simply a better skimmer. Can I verbalize why it works better? Nope. Can I tell you that it works better than a comparable size ER? Yep. Is an ER cheaper? Yep. Would I buy the Deltec again? Yep. HOWEVER, these are RELATIVE value judgements.
            I think in general we are on the same page. I agree with your comments. I was comparing different pinwheels and not so much the Beckett and it's high energy requirements. And you are right the Sedra is a little louder than I like also. But, not 2 grand louder.

            As far as my skimmer's operation, I can adjust the level, with the ER slide tube adjustment, to make it as wet or dry a skimmate as I want. I have it set up to put about a pint a day of strong tea colored skimmate into the reservoir. Even when it is set to wet skim, and wet skimmate goes in the reservoir, the stuff remaining in the cup will often get gunky and solids build up rapidly. I think my accidentally ending up with an upper and lower section, with a reduced passage in between the two zones, may have improved the perfomance compared to a single large zone. It allows a stilling area in the upper section for the bubbles to collect, along the same lines as the BubbleKings plate with holes in it.

            My main point is that at some point a skimmer is over priced for what you get in return for comparative improvements in efficiency, if any, from spending more money. :icon_roll

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, it depends. How good are you at DIY. How much does plug and play matter to you? How much is a refined product worth? Like I said, relative value judgements. The Sedra vs the Eheim, well yeah is it worth the 400 dollar or so difference in price? I dunno really.

              If you look at say ERs recirculating units vs a Deltec, the price difference can almost completely be pinned on the pump price difference. Is that worth it? Beats me. I know the Eheim "works" better than the sedra and the dolphin, but is it $400 better?

              Again, I'm not saying you can't dial your skimmer which ever way. Of course you can. I could do the same thing with my Beckett and my GEO recirculating which combined didn't cost as much as my Deltec. HOWEVER, I can say that the Deltec definitely outperforms those units.

              If you are good at DIY and have the patience for it, and a good model to work off of, then no manufactured skimmer is "worth it". You pay for the engineering, labor, marketing etc... for a manufactured unit. If you don't have the patience for it, if you just want a finished product that skims like heck, then it is worth it. I do NOT have the time for DIY. It's not "worth" it to me. Additionally I don't have the odd space constraints like you do which almost necessitate DIY or a custom job. So...again, it's all relative value judgements.
              10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
              BK400ext
              RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
              MRC kalkmixer
              IKS

              Comment


              • #8
                Not to drag this out, you make some very good points, but you brought up the dollar amount of $2000. There are more differences than how efficient the pump is in skimmers that are $2000 vs those that are more affordable.

                Comment


                • #9
                  ldr... everyone will have their own opinion and own set of lifestyle. This hobby is no different than any other hobby when it comes to who has the best, the right to brag, buying expensive merchandise to put you at a different level than others, and so on. Just like a car.. you can be seen driving a Lamborghini Gallardo/Murciealago and pay $200k - $400k just for a car. Only a select few can purchase this type of car.. but when others on the street see this car, your neck almost snaps because of the rarity and expense this car is made of. Now.. the person who bought this car will think differently than someone who is not into cars and just wants a minivan. A car that can bus 6 plus passengers.. and he/she wont care what they drive in just as long as it can take you to point B from A. This is the same thing with what you are trying to explain.. you can argue all you want about how this skimmer is overpriced, but in the end, its really about the right to brag and what you can afford.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by invincible569
                    ldr... everyone will have their own opinion and own set of lifestyle. This hobby is no different than any other hobby when it comes to who has the best, the right to brag, buying expensive merchandise to put you at a different level than others, and so on. Just like a car.. you can be seen driving a Lamborghini Gallardo/Murciealago and pay $200k - $400k just for a car. Only a select few can purchase this type of car.. but when others on the street see this car, your neck almost snaps because of the rarity and expense this car is made of. Now.. the person who bought this car will think differently than someone who is not into cars and just wants a minivan. A car that can bus 6 plus passengers.. and he/she wont care what they drive in just as long as it can take you to point B from A. This is the same thing with what you are trying to explain.. you can argue all you want about how this skimmer is overpriced, but in the end, its really about the right to brag and what you can afford.
                    Now you are talking.....who ever dies with the most expensive toys... You are going to have to tell me how to get into 170 mph plus range with a skimmer

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, I can't tell you how to do that with a skimmer, BUT you'd be damn impressed at how quickly a Porsche Cayenne Turbo (not mine) can get past 150....
                      10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
                      BK400ext
                      RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
                      MRC kalkmixer
                      IKS

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I drove my friends Lamborghini Gallardo and its sweet.. but it still doesnt have the raw power of a Viper. The Viper has so much torque. I have yet to drive a Porsche 911 turbo or a similiar nice Porsche in its class.. but seeing the stats on it.. I wouldnt be surprised how fast it is.

                        Anyhow, back to skimmers. You do have to give credit for some of these companies that have their unique features.. Deltec has the self cleaning head... BK has the low power consumption (very important in Europe) and so on. Those companies that have these unique features can raise the price because there is no competition out there that can beat them. Thats how it works. You can clone a skimmer.. and thats why clones are cheaper.. because everyone has one like it.

                        Another example of this is the IKS computer we were just discussing in the other thread.. Farish paid a good gold brick for his monitoring system and that is what makes him stand out from all of us.. he is a select few that can live and tell about this system. For this I admire his setup.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by moonpod
                          Well, I can't tell you how to do that with a skimmer, BUT you'd be damn impressed at how quickly a Porsche Cayenne Turbo (not mine) can get past 150....
                          It cooks..... identical 1/4 mile time and speed as my old 928. (5.4/103.8)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yeah dude. I couldn't believe I was inside a friggin' SUV. But it's just a dream. My partner's single, no kids, LOTS of disposable income. Me, I gotta pony up for a bigger house.....
                            10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
                            BK400ext
                            RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
                            MRC kalkmixer
                            IKS

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by moonpod
                              Yeah dude. I couldn't believe I was inside a friggin' SUV. But it's just a dream. My partner's single, no kids, LOTS of disposable income. Me, I gotta pony up for a bigger house.....
                              Look at †he bright side bone man...bigger house ...bigger reef tank. Your partners going to take a real beating on the Cayenne when he trades, probably 30 to 40 big ones.. and your house will appreciate....

                              You guys deserve everything you make. I had to have my forearm totally rebuilt from the wrist up with plastic after flattening a light pole at 75 mph on a motorcycle a couple of years ago. Other than the hand being put back on slightly crooked ...good as new. You guys are amazing.

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