How to Stop Your Protein Skimmer from Overflowing

How to Stop Your Protein Skimmer from Overflowing


– Why is my protein skimmer overflowing? This is one of the most common questions
asked in reef keeping and today we’re gonna
look at the reasons why. (upbeat music) Hello everyone, this is Wayland from Marine
Depot and thanks for tuning in. The good news is that an
overflowing skimmer is not a broken or defective skimmer. Let’s talk a bit more
about proteins skimmers that help us understand how they work and what causes them to overflow. When food, livestock waste or any decomposing organic
manner breaks down your aquarium, it forms organic compounds
in the water column. Each molecule of these compounds has one side which is positively charged and one side which is negatively charged. These charges are the reason
you may see an oily film on the surface of tanks that
don’t use a protein skimmer. One side of the molecule
is attracted to the water while the other side of the
molecule is repelled by it, drawing them to the surface. Just as the charge
molecules are attracted to the surface of the water, they are also attracted to the surface of the tiny bubbles created by a skimmer. As the bubbles rise to the skimmer body, they collect these waste molecules. Once they reach the top, they form a foam that will
overflow into the skimmer cup and can be easily removed. Occasionally, the skimmer
can overproduce foam, quickly filling the cup and
resulting in an overflow. Within the first two to four weeks, it’s pretty standard for
your skimmer to overflow, until the body builds up
the appropriate biofilm, the skimmer tends to
act pretty erratically. Adding activated carbon to your filtration and doing additional water changes, will reduce the viscosity of your water, causing less foam and fewer overflows. It’s also pretty standard for skimmers to overflow during tank cycles. Since there typically isn’t much waste in the tank during this period, it’s okay to just leave
your skimmer off until the tank is fully cycled. Outside of removing waste from your water, another benefit of skimmers is that they heavily oxygenate your water. If you still want this oxygenation
during your tank cycle, feel free to leave your skimmer on and just remove the collection cup. Whenever you add new
chemicals to your tank, you’re gonna change the water chemistry. As skimmers are finely tuned, even the smallest changes
can affect your performance. And will often result in an overflow. Some of these overflow
perpetrators include water conditioners, bacteria mixes, oily foods, medications and frag epoxies. But the list goes on. Another culprit that tends to fly under the radar is fresh filter socks. Oftentimes, when filter
socks are produced, they will have some sort of residue left over from
the manufacturing process. When introduced into your tank, this can unfortunately get into your water and cause your skimmer to go crazy. A quick rinse of the socks before installation will fix this problem and make your life much easier. Even household cleaning solutions such as soaps and air freshener
sprayed over the tank, can cause your water chemistry to change just enough to trigger an overflow. Again, carbon is your best
friend here and is great for pulling out these undesirable
chemicals out of your tank. If you’re introducing medication
directly to your main tank, expect your skimmer to go haywire. Unfortunately, the skimmer
is gonna overflow until you’re done medicating and all of the excess chemicals have been pulled out via carbon or water change. Remember to always check
your skimmer’s user manual for its recommended water level. Although every skimmer allows you to adjust this internal water level, this can only go so far. If the water level in
your sub is too high, it will elevate the form to a point where there’s just
too much running into the cup, once again, resulting in an overflow. If you find your water level too high, a number of companies sell skimmer stands just for this reason. Make sure to keep your regular
maintenance schedule as well. Just soaking the pump parts in a vinegar and water solution, giving them a quick
scrubbing with a toothbrush will greatly increase your
skimmer’s performance. And don’t forget to clear your venturi’s
airline of any blockages. If you find yourself with
an overflowing skimmer, just remember to ask, what’s changed. Have you recently done
a major water change or started dosing medication? Did you just switch out your filter socks or changed to a new frozen food? The simplest way to solving
an overflowing skimmer is, just figure out what is
different from before. Let us know your experiences
with overflowing skimmers and how you’ve handled
them in the comments below. If you found this video helpful, please share it with your friends and don’t forget to
subscribe for similar videos. As always, take care and enjoy
the reef keeping journey. (upbeat music)

18 Replies to “How to Stop Your Protein Skimmer from Overflowing”

  1. Never had this issue luckily. The best gas exchange source is from the aquarium return at the surface of the aquarium water level.

  2. When I add fresh RO water to my sump due to evaporation loss my skimmer will overflow if I add the fresh water too fast.

  3. I have an eshopps skimmer and I’ve been having problems with it since I got it a year ago.. can’t seem to ever get it dialed in and pulling good gunk.. anyone else have experience with eshopps skimmers?

  4. I have a vertex 200i skimmer and it is not immune to a overflow. I have had 10 plus overflows and 2 floods. And I thought I could get away without a overflow with this expensive skimmer.

  5. Sooner or later we all experience this. Great tips and water level means everything with a skimmer unit.

  6. you say new filter socks cause the skimmer to over flow? my used cleaned filter socks does the same. why?

  7. I add a ball valve on the intake pipe of my hob skimmer. It affords me extra control and stops "break in overflow*.

  8. Also Vinegar or sugar (never use sugar in reef or low flow tank!!!!!) but not like filter sock. filter sock makes skimmer go crazy. minimize the skimmer flow or power before you mess with filter sock or bio media

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