The best way to tune your Protein Skimmer: Learn how in just 5-minutes!

today we show you the optimal way to tune your skimmer for peak performance not just collecting the most waste and cleaning the tank but doing it in a stable manner with as little tweaking as possible all in five minutes or less hey this is Ryan with bearish TVs five minute guide to skimmers this protein skimmer mini series is filled with direct answers to the most common questions because information should never be a barrier to getting the most out of your skimmer this week we show you how to tune a skimmer actionable information that improves performance water quality and ease of system maintenance the challenge with tuning skimmers is schemers actually come with very little information on how to use them and what the factors are that affect performance so how do you use them and how do you know when it's working I know this can be a challenge because it's something that I struggled with for more than a decade as well why does some scam runners just work the moment that you plug them in the exact same skimmer doesn't do that for someone else why are some constantly overflowing or require frequent tweaking to get right there are a few things I'm going to say right off the bat for decades we've all been told more air is better and the best way to tune wet versus dry scheming is it just a water level with a gate valve a riser pipe I believe those two statements to be just a small part of an overall picture and most of us have been overlooking some pretty obvious performance or tuning factors but the end of today's video I think you're all going to agree I think at the heart of this you need to think of a schemer as in a foam engine designed to produce and collect organic Laden foam most you are familiar with a standard combustion engine that mixes air or oxygen and fuel in a controlled reaction chamber to create a desired burst of energy a skimmer can be thought of in a similar manner we're mixing air and organic waste or fuel to produce a stable foam head inside a controlled reaction chamber being the skimmer neck whether you're talking about a car engine or a protein skimmer reel tuning is about adjusting that air to fuel ratio to optimal performance with a combustion engine if you add too much fuel it's called running rich which can dirty the engine reduce performance were actually flood the engine and stop working however if it's too little fuel it's called running lean which can produce inconsistent performance and often stall out the same thing can happen on a protein skimmer and we're going to use the exact same terminology when tuning our skimmers running rich and running lean once you know what to look for the signs of run your protein skimmer organic-rich or lean are easy to spot in the case of a protein skimmer the fish waste uneaten food and organics are the fuel running a schemer rich with too much fuel or waste and not enough air will look like this dirty brown foam this slowly Rises often has visible chunks in it and collects a ton of gunk inside the cylinder but most of the foam fails to rise and very little foam finds its way into the collection cup the concentration of brown water floating chunks and paste add to the challenge and cause the skimmer to run even richer the engine effectively floods and most the organics end up sticking to the cylinder or reaction chamber walls in this case though cleaning the paste inside the skimmers neck can still be an effective way to export organics from the tank but the foam engine is obviously running less than optimally if you're running an organic-rich there are two solutions the first is in some cases you can use the gate or riser valve to raise the water level inside the skimmer and shrink the foam production chamber in this case you may still be running rich and missing some opportunity but it will help collect more the foam and a decent option the other option is add more air and find that optimal mix for the amount of organics inside your tank when you find that optimal tuning mix the performance will often look like a steady stream of foam producing a stable frothy head that consistently flows over in the cup in this case because of the optimal engine performance you won't see as much of the organics collecting inside the neck the foam will often be wider fewer chunks floating around and a cleaner operating piece of equipment I'm going to tell you how to adjust the air in just a moment but what about when a skimmer is running lean meaning not enough organics for the amount of air in the skimmer and a sure sign of an oversized skimmer this is probably the easiest to spot milky white thick bubbles top to bottom of the skimmer tons of bubbles in the neck

rise in super fast but rather than creating organic laden foam it's more like a boiling pot of water where all the bubbles burst immediately at the top in this case and running lean what's happening is there isn't enough organics in the tank to support that amount of air the net result is a deficient amount of organics for the foam engine causes a fragile bubble the high velocity of air leaving the skimmer net causes all the bubbles to pop before they can create that stable foam head hence why it looks like a boiling pot of water then a foam engine if you're running organic or fuel lean there are two ways to address this as well first you can use that GAE to riser valve to increase the water level inside the skimmer in hopes of catching some of the bubbles before they pop however in this case you're probably gonna find very erratic results where the skimmer randomly overflows a lot likely hours after feeding when there's an increased amount of organics or fuel for the engine alternatively the second option is you can just reduce the amount of air feeding the skimmers and match it to your feeding habits fish load and overall organic input I believe this is going to produce the best results now that we know how this gamers foam engine works what are the best ways to tune that fuel to air ratio and achieve optimal performance luckily I call most of this pretty straightforward first start by making sure you installed this gamer at the recommended water height this matters because water height changes head pressure and pump performance in our experiments we found water height to have a dramatic impact on the smaller skimmers and lower wattage pumps in particular water height matters if you toss the instructions most of them can be found in our site or the manufacturer websites often have the instructions you can download as well from that point use the gate or riser tube to collect the foam to the best it can over the next couple weeks make adjustments as necessary at that point you'll likely see the signs of either optimal performance or signs of running organic lean or rich if you're seeing signs of running organic-rich there are a few options to add more air to the skimmer the first two simply raise the water level in your sump and inch at a time which effectively reduces head pressure on the pump increases the amount of air it injects and again this is particularly effective on smaller skimmers and lower wattage pumps relay that make sure to keep the pump clean so the pump runs optimally as well as clean the venturi port because it's common for them to get partially clogged outside that if you happen to have an adjustable DC skimmer pump there's an opportunity to increase the amount of air with a simple click of a button increasing the pump speed increases the air and by far the easiest way to do this outside of those adjustments if you're still seeing signs of running organic-rich you may simply have a skimmer undersized for your organic input as long as it's performing to your desires and nitrate and phosphate levels are not continually rising or out of control wouldn't replace it but you now know what to look for when you upgrade your system and more air and preferably an option that allows you a just the air running lean meaning not enough organics or too much air for your organic load is something entirely different this is much easier to adjust and likely a much more common tuning challenge with today's high power performance skimmers again the signs are running lean is a ton of bubbles rapidly rising but they all burst at the top more like a boiling pot of water than a foam production collection in this case we're going to tune down the amount of air injected and leaving the skimmer through the neck one of the primary benefits here is reducing the air injection and the bubbles the rice slower few of them will pop prematurely and you'll start to produce a foam head match the amount of organics in the tank chewing the air down can be done by decreasing the sump water level which increases head pressure on the skimmer pump you also just put a valve on the air line a common way to do that is a 3/8 inch merlok valve the stem to Barb adaptors note when you turn down the air you will also increase the water flow of feeding the skimmer so this only works to a point it may be half the air reduction after that you might see micro bubbles leaving the skimmer and other difficulties tuning they're actually skimmers out there that have a or tuning built into the skimmer itself like the skims which actually have the valve built into the silencer for easy tuning if you have a DC skimmer or however you can use the control pad to decrease the speed of the pump which will slow down the water flow and air draw at the same time so tuning the air means start at the top speed then tune the water height to the best of your ability with a gate or standpipe leave it alone for a few hours or even a day and then slow the pump down one step with the control pad and monitor the results repeating and tell the skimmers optimized to your system and organic level input in any case once the aired organic ratio is achieved and mash the right size of reaction chamber creating that desired type of foam a nice stable foam head that maintains shape and rises then just use the gate or riser tube to adjust how that foam is collected the factor that we didn't talk about yet is proper sizing of the skimmer and matching it to your tank I think you'll be surprised how many factors go into getting that right and that's gonna be our next topic you can find the entire skimmer mini series right here because information should never be a barrier to getting the most out of your skimmer

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