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View Full Version : protein skimming frshwater???


the marine apprentice
01-19-2010, 03:34 AM
i know this may seem like a dumb question but i was wondering if it is possible to run a skimmer on freshwater to remove some of the nutrients.

Fishward
01-19-2010, 03:47 AM
As far as i have read, what makes skimming work are the properties of salt water (specific gravity, surface tension etc.) . If you have one laying around it would be neat to find out for sure though!

pelle31
01-19-2010, 03:49 AM
I think I read somewhere that a skimmer won't work on fresh,as it won't produce the tiny bubbles. I'd say just do a water change. Thats all I ever did when I bred Discus......waterchanges everyday it was crazy but I had some big ass Discus!!

the marine apprentice
01-19-2010, 03:53 AM
that is what ive been told before as well. i just wanted to find out some opinions from others. thanks guys

Delphinus
01-19-2010, 04:03 AM
Short answer: You can and you can't .. :lol:

Slightly longer answer: Generally speaking, you can't, you just won't get adequate foam fractionation (for the reasons stated above). However that said, there does seem to be such thing as a FW skimmer, think they are run on ponds in areas where the water is so insanely hard that basically you can get foam production.

the marine apprentice
01-19-2010, 04:10 AM
thanks tony that makes sence as well.

RuGlu6
01-19-2010, 04:31 AM
yes you can. Just need a right skimmer.
PMed you

Chase31
01-19-2010, 04:46 AM
just ran a skimmer in freshwater and vinigar and it wouldnt skim, wont work without salt unless you look up a pond skimmer it works a little diff

shrimpchips
01-19-2010, 04:56 AM
You can get foam fractionation in fresh water - ever been to a waterfall or even a turbulent river and seen all that foamy crap? Yep, skimmate my friends.

the marine apprentice
01-19-2010, 04:57 AM
that makes sence because you always see foam all over the shore at the lake when there is a wind of any sort which is usually all the time

Chase31
01-19-2010, 05:03 AM
thats pretty dirty water, i hope your tank isn't that infested with algae and junk :p

the marine apprentice
01-19-2010, 05:04 AM
no no no this is all for a possible tank in the next few months. with like 300 small schooling freshwater fish lil project im thinkin about

StirCrazy
01-19-2010, 02:22 PM
Short answer: You can and you can't .. :lol:

Slightly longer answer: Generally speaking, you can't, you just won't get adequate foam fractionation (for the reasons stated above). However that said, there does seem to be such thing as a FW skimmer, think they are run on ponds in areas where the water is so insanely hard that basically you can get foam production.

are you thinking about a surface skimmer?

Steve

StirCrazy
01-19-2010, 02:25 PM
You can get foam fractionation in fresh water - ever been to a waterfall or even a turbulent river and seen all that foamy crap? Yep, skimmate my friends.

ya but that is the result of polution or an algae bloom in the water, in a normal stream/river, ect you get bubbles but they disapate imeadiatly, so no benifit. in normal fresh water there is no way to get foam with out adding something.

now I did read where you could buy an aditive to your tank water which increases the surface tension which makes skimming possible, but I can't remember what it was called or if there was any effects from long term usage.

Steve

Delphinus
01-19-2010, 05:56 PM
are you thinking about a surface skimmer?

Steve

No - I was thinking about an actual protein skimmer. I saw a company making them a few years ago. They used ceramic based airstones for the smaller bubble sizes and basically compressors instead of airpumps. Other than that they looked more or less identical to say the old style countercurrent skimmers. I went looking for the link but couldn't find them so maybe they weren't viable. Did find a couple skimmers that worked on a slightly (but not altogether) different principle on a couple Koi sites.

Thought I read somewhere that Tanganika water is hard enough that protein skimmers would work on it. I don't remember where I read that though so who knows.

The short answer remains the same. You're not really going to get a protein skimmer intended for saltwater to work on a freshwater tank. I can't really think of an application where it would be really beneficial anyhow, it's not like FW isn't easily managed with water changes.

bvlester
01-19-2010, 06:42 PM
just through in some melifix it will make the skimmer skimm and it is good for your fish. many very large lakes have a salt content to them Profict example is lakes manitoba and lake winnipeg. Both lakes are in lake lakes but are concidered inlane seas you can smell the salt on the right day. The sand flies are bad but they are attracted to the salt that is on you after you go into the water. You can find quite a few clams that are found in sea water they have adapted to the very low salinity of these lakes. I my self have never measured the salinity of the lakes. Is there anyone that will check it out in the summer???

albert_dao
01-19-2010, 07:23 PM
Schuuran use to make a FW protein skimmer.

Skimmer King
01-19-2010, 07:55 PM
just ran a skimmer in freshwater and vinigar and it wouldnt skim, wont work without salt unless you look up a pond skimmer it works a little diff
Totally disagree here young fella, all the time when I clean my skimmer's i use fresh water and vineger to clean, it will make super tiny bubbles and clean your skimmer unbelieveably clean. addd some more vineger and watch the skimmer go crazy.

the marine apprentice
01-19-2010, 07:56 PM
i was waiting for mike to read this and reply. so what is your opinion on this mike?

Aquattro
01-19-2010, 08:35 PM
FW can be skimmed, but for the equipment needed, you're better off doing water changes.

Can't go into it now, gotta go to work, but google this

foam fractionation in fresh water

Skimmer King
01-19-2010, 08:40 PM
i was waiting for mike to read this and reply. so what is your opinion on this mike?

I aprreaciate you saying that you are waiting on me to reply.:redface: Actually Im just a guy you have owned alot of skimmers. But you u think about it when you have a high Alkaline water the water becomes sticky lets say and with the nutrients in the water its going to stick to the Molecules in the water and with the air that is lighter then the water, casuing the nutrients to float to the top. Fresh was wont have the same effct on the skimmer. With Fresh water the nutrients are usually on the top so surfaces skimming is the answer.

does that make sense.

Aquattro
01-19-2010, 08:42 PM
does that make sense.



none :)

the marine apprentice
01-19-2010, 09:04 PM
yes mike it does make sense, alot of what everyone is saying makes sense. but when you have it running through an overflow you get all that surface crap out right?

Aquattro
01-19-2010, 09:12 PM
No, it doesn't make sense. The dissolved organics are not solely at the surface of the water, they're in solution just as with saltwater. Alkaline water is not sticky, the molecular charge of the water and nutrients at the air/water interface (hydrophilic/hydrophobic properties) determines what "sticks" and what doesn't. Fortunately for us in SW, the contents of the SW act as a better surfactant than is (generally) available in FW. Essentially SW is "thicker", if that makes any sense. :)

Skimmer King
01-19-2010, 09:21 PM
No, it doesn't make sense. The dissolved organics are not solely at the surface of the water, they're in solution just as with saltwater. Alkaline water is not sticky, the molecular charge of the water and nutrients at the air/water interface (hydrophilic/hydrophobic properties) determines what "sticks" and what doesn't. Fortunately for us in SW, the contents of the SW act as a better surfactant than is (generally) available in FW. Essentially SW is "thicker", if that makes any sense. :)
Where there you go the science right answer and that is why Brad is a Mod and I'm not.:wink:

Aquattro
01-19-2010, 09:24 PM
Where there you go the science right answer and that is why Brad is a Mod and I'm not.:wink:

Mike, I'm a mod because I paid off the rest of the team before you tried :)

Skimmer King
01-19-2010, 09:26 PM
There you go see Money can do wonder's and even buy Cocky attitude's too:hail:


lol

Aquattro
01-19-2010, 09:41 PM
There you go see Money can do wonder's and even buy Cocky attitude's too:hail:


lol

I was born with mine, didn't cost a thing lol

StirCrazy
01-20-2010, 01:25 AM
I was born with mine, didn't cost a thing lol

thats the understatment of the year... Can we have that put under your name :mrgreen:

Canadian
01-20-2010, 04:46 AM
Schuuran use to make a FW protein skimmer.

Yup. That was exactly what I was thinking about when I first read this thread:

http://www.koicarp.net/filtration/protein_filters/schuran_sander.html

Chase31
01-20-2010, 05:11 AM
Yup. That was exactly what I was thinking about when I first read this thread:

http://www.koicarp.net/filtration/pr...an_sander.html
Performance is defendant on:

Salinity

you still have to add salt to your tank but not as much, i have some in my freshwater as it keeps stress down

StirCrazy
01-20-2010, 05:46 AM
from reading andrew's link the water has to be brackish or salt water. so unless you are adding somthing to the water to increase the surface tension I can't see a skimmer working.

Steve

MMAX
02-02-2010, 03:05 AM
Short answer: You can and you can't .. :lol:

Slightly longer answer: Generally speaking, you can't, you just won't get adequate foam fractionation (for the reasons stated above). However that said, there does seem to be such thing as a FW skimmer, think they are run on ponds in areas where the water is so insanely hard that basically you can get foam production.

All a pond skimmer does is clean up the surface of leaves and other debris before they sink to the bottom and decay. No foam or skimmate are produced.

Canadian
02-02-2010, 03:33 AM
All a pond skimmer does is clean up the surface of leaves and other debris before they sink to the bottom and decay. No foam or skimmate are produced.

Umm did you click on this link posted above: http://www.koicarp.net/filtration/protein_filters/schuran_sander.html ?

You may want to go back and do that.

Delphinus
02-02-2010, 03:35 AM
^^^ What he said (thanks Canadian)

MMAX
02-02-2010, 03:59 AM
That's not your "typical" pond skimmer and not the one I was talking about.

RuGlu6
02-02-2010, 05:18 AM
Totally disagree here young fella, all the time when I clean my skimmer's i use fresh water and vineger to clean, it will make super tiny bubbles and clean your skimmer unbelieveably clean. addd some more vineger and watch the skimmer go crazy.


x2!

Delphinus
02-02-2010, 05:38 AM
Fair enough :) But FWIW it IS the one *I* was talking about. ;)

That's not your "typical" pond skimmer and not the one I was talking about.

StirCrazy
02-02-2010, 02:34 PM
Totally disagree here young fella, all the time when I clean my skimmer's i use fresh water and vineger to clean, it will make super tiny bubbles and clean your skimmer unbelieveably clean. addd some more vineger and watch the skimmer go crazy.

I disagree with you there young fellow.. the bubbles you get with vinager are totaly different than salt water.. the bubbles from vinager are short lived and low surface tension, and what they are doing is imploding along the sides of your skimmer because they cannot maintain the bubble. this implosion is the same as cavatation and causes little tiny pits in the size of the skimmer scale, hence cleaning it. but this cleaning action is two fold.. first you have the implosions knocking the scale off the sides, then you have the acidic power of the mixture desolving it. it goes crazy when ou add more vinager as it start fizzing (just like when you have a viniger water mix they you cleaned a lot of pumps with so it is saturated with Ca and you add more viniger to that.. fizzes right up.

Steve

sphelps
02-02-2010, 02:59 PM
I'm confused? What's the purpose of this skimmer? I get using one for a large pond but as far as aquariums go isn't water cheap enough to easily do large water changes to reduce nutrients? The cost of the skimmer and the power it uses will never pay for itself or be as efficient as simply changing water.

There's a reason these are used in SW and not FW.

StirCrazy
02-02-2010, 04:28 PM
I'm confused? What's the purpose of this skimmer? I get using one for a large pond but as far as aquariums go isn't water cheap enough to easily do large water changes to reduce nutrients? The cost of the skimmer and the power it uses will never pay for itself or be as efficient as simply changing water.

There's a reason these are used in SW and not FW.

there is no purpose in fresh water as exactly like you said.. large waterchanges are simple, cheep and easy.

now the normal fresh water skimmer that is widely used is a surface skimmer, which is to skim the surface of the water to remove proteen buildup in tanks where you have a lot of plants and require low to no surface agitation to prevent CO2 from comming out of solution.

Steve

sphelps
02-02-2010, 04:34 PM
now the normal fresh water skimmer that is widely used is a surface skimmer, which is to skim the surface of the water to remove proteen buildup in tanks where you have a lot of plants and require low to no surface agitation to prevent CO2 from comming out of solution.

By surface skimmer do you mean a simple overflow box?

StirCrazy
02-02-2010, 06:31 PM
By surface skimmer do you mean a simple overflow box?

same idea but when there is no sump it is a mini overflow box that goes to the filter.

Steve

darb
02-28-2010, 05:35 PM
what SG does a protein skimmer start to become effective? I am running a 1.10/12 ish brackish tank and wouldn't mind reducing my 50% water changes.

StirCrazy
02-28-2010, 05:59 PM
what SG does a protein skimmer start to become effective? I am running a 1.10/12 ish brackish tank and wouldn't mind reducing my 50% water changes.

best bet is to buy the cheapest skimmer you can.. maybe some one has a seaclone for about 20 bucks and see if it works on your tank. or maybe some one who is getting a new skimmer can fool around with SQ durning the breakin and see when it starts being efective.

Steve

darb
03-01-2010, 09:24 PM
Thanks, I think that I have found a used Red Sea Prizm. It seems to be a middle of the road skimmer.

Lets see how it works. I am only at 1.02 atm though and increasing by .02 per week so it may be some time before I see results.

fkshiu
03-01-2010, 09:44 PM
The Red Sea Prizm is a bottom of the barrel skimmer IMHO.

You're better off saving some money and simply put a wooden airstone inside a tube in the aquarium (like from an old UGF) with a good strong air pump on the other end. If you see a lot of sludge collecting on the surface then you're skimming.

whatcaneyedo
03-01-2010, 10:30 PM
I saw first hand this weekend that skimming works for freshwater. The hot tub in the hotel I was in was quite dirty and was actually collecting stable foam in one corner with black slime at the top of it! I wish I had my camera so that I could have taken a picture.

StirCrazy
03-01-2010, 10:55 PM
I saw first hand this weekend that skimming works for freshwater. The hot tub in the hotel I was in was quite dirty and was actually collecting stable foam in one corner with black slime at the top of it! I wish I had my camera so that I could have taken a picture.

haha, you could hardly call that fresh water. if it is foaming in a hot tub its because the water is pretty damn dirty and there is lots of oils and soaps in it. I won't go in a hot tub that makes foam when you put the jets on. I had a hot tub for 15 years.. trust me they shouldn't be foaming with clean water.. they even make chemicles that will stop foaming so you can go longer between water changes.. kinda grose if you ask me.

Steve