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View Full Version : to skim or not to skim


tt101
03-30-2012, 11:07 PM
so do you use a skimmer or not...whats your opinion on skimming?

subman
03-30-2012, 11:10 PM
skimmer - Good!

tt101
03-30-2012, 11:16 PM
being totally new to the hobby i keep hearing opinions from both side of the fence...some even claim that protein skimming removes useful nutrients from the water is that true? does that effect how often water changes need to be done?

subman
03-30-2012, 11:22 PM
I heard that stuff to when I started in the hobby. I don't care how good your skimmer is there is still massive nutrients in your water. plus dumping a full cup of stinky, sticky goo is satisfying! lol.

can you keep a great tank without a skimmer? sure
Is it easier to do with one? absolutely

NorthernCoral
03-30-2012, 11:25 PM
I dont use a skimmer however I beleive that they are very beneficial for removing excessive nutrients, but with frequent water changes you do not necessarily need one. My next set up will most defintly have a skimmer though.

Aquattro
03-30-2012, 11:31 PM
I recently setup a 50g without a skimmer, 3 months in I shut it down. I have enough algae in it to start my own ocean.

Mandosh
03-30-2012, 11:34 PM
The skimmer debate isn't as simple as yes or no. You need to look at tank size and what species you plan on keeping.

Can you keep a successful Fish Only without a smimmer? Yes.
Can you keep and successful nano reef without a skimmer? Yes.
Can you keep a mixed reef without a skimmer? Depending on size, Yes and No
Can you keep SPS without a skimmer? Depending on tank size, Maybe...but I wouldn't have the patience to try.

That being said, I have a 150 gallon that I skim the hell out of, and a nano that I run skimmerless and filterless.

doch
03-30-2012, 11:40 PM
can you keep a great tank without a skimmer? sure
Is it easier to do with one? absolutely

+1

Bblinks
03-31-2012, 12:02 AM
If budget is an issue then try without, but if you have the means to get a skimmer then use the technology. It will save you a lot of headaches. Why mess with something that has proven track record.

Edmonton newbie
03-31-2012, 12:14 AM
i run a useless prism skimmer on my 29gal tank, run it full bore and never get any skimmate but it does keep oxygen in the water for my fishies, my 50 gal has only a turf scrubber in the sump, no skimmer at all, so far i have had great luck keeping the big 3 undetectable in the tank and my sps is growing, 70 gal total volume and only a 10 gal waterchange every month or so

Snaz
03-31-2012, 12:24 AM
Running without a skimmer is easier than running with one. With a skimmer you have to constantly monitor SG and top of with mixed water. Overflows, too watery, dialing in etc. yuck.

A refugium and weekly 10% water change is all I need.

Aquattro
03-31-2012, 12:28 AM
Running without a skimmer is easier than running with one. With a skimmer you have to constantly monitor SG and top of with mixed water. Overflows, too watery, dialing in etc. yuck.

A refugium and weekly 10% water change is all I need.

I have none of those issues.

I ran my 50g with refugium and lots of water changes, it was a swamp.

I tried it and came to the conclusion that I would never run a tank without a skimmer again! :)

subman
03-31-2012, 12:37 AM
Running without a skimmer is easier than running with one. With a skimmer you have to constantly monitor SG and top of with mixed water. Overflows, too watery, dialing in etc. yuck.

A refugium and weekly 10% water change is all I need.


maybe on a small (pico) tank but removing two cups a month of skimmate sure doesn't change my sg. I top off with pure clean ro water no mix. when I change water I check sg and make adjustments due salt creep ect. but it hasn't changed in 4 years.

Snaz
03-31-2012, 01:23 AM
maybe on a small (pico) tank but removing two cups a month of skimmate sure doesn't change my sg. I top off with pure clean ro water no mix. when I change water I check sg and make adjustments due salt creep ect. but it hasn't changed in 4 years.

Yes I should have mentioned my tank is 12g. I can see where a large tank could benefit from a skimmer.

Carrera75
03-31-2012, 01:46 AM
All my set ups have been sumpless & skimmerless. They all have been extremely successful with amazing growth and good coloration. Oh, and I have never had any algae issues and I feed a mix of pellets, frozen and cyclopezze about 3 times a day.

My tanks have always been very low maintenance and I don't use any fancy equipment. It's not that I can't afford buying the high end equipment. I simply don't need it to have a beautiful successful reef tank.

It might not be for everyone but it can definitely be done successfully.

subman
03-31-2012, 01:56 AM
All my set ups have been sumpless & skimmerless. They all have been extremely successful with amazing growth and good coloration. Oh, and I have never had any algae issues and I feed a mix of pellets, frozen and cyclopezze about 3 times a day.

My tanks have always been very low maintenance and I don't use any fancy equipment. It's not that I can't afford buying the high end equipment. I simply don't need it to have a beautiful successful reef tank.

It might not be for everyone but it can definitely be done successfully.

I agree completely, Ive seen beautiful tanks without skimmers, I was just at Lyndsy's (flash) house and she runs no skimmer or any gfo, bio pellets ect. and her tank was beautiful.

I will still say that its easier to maintain a beautiful tank with one than without.

Carrera75
03-31-2012, 02:10 AM
I agree completely, Ive seen beautiful tanks without skimmers, I was just at Lyndsy's (flash) house and she runs no skimmer or any gfo, bio pellets ect. and her tank was beautiful.

I will still say that its easier to maintain a beautiful tank with one than without.

My current set up does not use carbon or anything similar. All the equipment that I use for this tank is a heater, light fixture, an mp10 and a white filter pad to trap floating particles that are suspended in the water column. That's all.

This set up is extremely low maintenance. I feed the fish and top it off daily. The glass is cleaned every few days and w/c are done once a month.

subman
03-31-2012, 02:49 AM
would you recommended this to a new person as the best setup for long term?

Carrera75
03-31-2012, 03:14 AM
would you recommended this to a new person as the best setup for long term?

Skimerless & sumpless is all I know. That's how my very first set up ran super successfully for 7 years. I didn't have any experience back then but I did a lot of research and didn't rush it. By the way, 7 years is long term and a lot longer than most people keep their systems going.

Most people are not patient enough and they end up dumping a ton of corals and fish right away and that's just a recipe for disaster. The way I run my system is not for everyone. I care a lot about my fish and corals and I am always on top of everything making sure I provide the best environment for my livestock. At this point I know what works and what does not work for my system.

Would I suggest this method to a newbie? If this person is going to be diligent and a responsible reefer then I would say sure, why not.

Finally,I want to state that I am not saying that skimmers don't work or that skimmerless and sumpless is better. There are many ways to skin a cat and skimmerless & sumpless is what works best for me>

Mike-fish
03-31-2012, 03:19 AM
i run one on the 175g and 34g but nothing on the 29g.

untamed
03-31-2012, 04:50 AM
I think my skimmer holds 30 gallons of water... 'nuff said!

reefwars
03-31-2012, 05:15 AM
Skimerless & sumpless is all I know. That's how my very first set up ran super successfully for 7 years. I didn't have any experience back then but I did a lot of research and didn't rush it. By the way, 7 years is long term and a lot longer than most people keep their systems going.

Most people are not patient enough and they end up dumping a ton of corals and fish right away and that's just a recipe for disaster. The way I run my system is not for everyone. I care a lot about my fish and corals and I am always on top of everything making sure I provide the best environment for my livestock. At this point I know what works and what does not work for my system.

Would I suggest this method to a newbie? If this person is going to be diligent and a responsible reefer then I would say sure, why not.

Finally,I want to state that I am not saying that skimmers don't work or that skimmerless and sumpless is better. There are many ways to skin a cat and skimmerless & sumpless is what works best for me>



i agree completely, simple is an easy recipe for a sucessfull tank ,people focus too much on the small things and things they dont under stand, this hobby has alot of " miricles" that people buy into very quickly....people need to sit back and enjoy the ride....not fill the car beyond capacity and scrape down the road:P

tt101
03-31-2012, 08:32 AM
i really like all the varying views on skimming...i also like how everyone kept it peaceful and we respect each others opinions...i was worried it would turn into a huge battle of opinions but im glad it went smoothly as planned. i think my plan is to go skimmerless for the first while, while my tank population builds up and then add a skimmer half way between being fully stocked.....i don't see it being necassary to add a skimmer when i have 2 cardinals and a 2 clowns with some CUC members but when i add more i'll deffinitely add a skimmer. i deffinitely have the funds to buy a skimer but its kindof like why mess with something thats not broken lol
thanks everyone

RuGlu6
03-31-2012, 06:37 PM
IMO Skim and overskimm, it is much easier to add food nutrients to water then to take it out.
The trick is to keep lighting to your corals at required level not more , meaning if you only have some LPS don't have too much light or you will have algae problem. If you want high light demanding SPS then you need more light and cleaner water or you will have hair algae (no one is different), skimmer is one of the easiest ways to keep water clean, ORP high and water oxygenated.
I have never seen a skimmerless good looking tank full of SPS with good colors in person i have only heard about it .
But if you decide to go without the skimmer let us know in a year how is it going.

tt101
03-31-2012, 06:48 PM
IMO Skim and overskimm, it is much easier to add food nutrients to water then to take it out.
The trick is to keep lighting to your corals at required level not more , meaning if you only have some LPS don't have too much light or you will have algae problem. If you want high light demanding SPS then you need more light and cleaner water or you will have hair algae (no one is different), skimmer is one of the easiest ways to keep water clean, ORP high and water oxygenated.
I have never seen a skimmerless good looking tank full of SPS with good colors in person i have only heard about it .
But if you decide to go without the skimmer let us know in a year how is it going.

i totally agree with you, im just going to go skimerless when i have a really low stocking level and when i add more stock i'll put a skimmer in.
thanks

spawn
03-31-2012, 06:57 PM
skim

FitoPharmer
03-31-2012, 09:29 PM
I voted no, since right now I do not have a skimmer.

But I think they have a huge effect on your tanks well being. I would rather have the brown sludge out of my tank then in. Plus skimming super wet for water changes was really effective on my old tank.

beefORchicken
04-01-2012, 12:49 AM
used to use a skimmer and it did pull out alot, but after the tank aged skimmate production went way down and hang on back skimmers are a pain (overflowing onto floor). FWIW I have a mixed reef running nearly undetectable NO3 with monthly WCs.

Snaz
04-01-2012, 03:44 AM
i run one on the 175g and 34g but nothing on the 29g.
You are in a unique position to compare skimmerless and skimmer. Can you describe briefly if any the water differences, inhabitant health etc. of each?

Lance
04-01-2012, 03:51 AM
I like my fish fat. I feed them well. I can't imagine what my tank would look like without skimming.

Snaz
04-01-2012, 04:16 AM
I like my fish fat. I feed them well. I can't imagine what my tank would look like without skimming.

I overfeed too but a healthy fluctuating population of mini brittle stars and a handful of hermits ensure uneaten food does not stay around too long.

Lance
04-01-2012, 04:23 AM
I overfeed too but a healthy fluctuating population of mini brittle stars and a handful of hermits ensure uneaten food does not stay around too long.


Maybe so, with smaller fishes. I have my doubts keeping large fish and SPS without skimming.

Aquattro
04-01-2012, 04:28 AM
I know that in my 180 SPS with a fair amount of fish, I remove about 3 cups of thick sludge every 3 days. There is no way I could manage that load without a big skimmer.

emerald crab
04-01-2012, 05:27 AM
I skim, run bio pellets, dose vodka, run an algae scrubber and I still don't compete with the ocean.

Smittyburger
04-01-2012, 06:43 AM
My skimmer pump just died and I have been running without a skimmer now for about a week on my 75g reef tank. The tank has a pretty good bio load but appears to be running fine up to now.

I just completed a 10g water change (versus 10g water change every 2 -3 weeks) and every thing looks good. As soon as the replacement skimmer pump arrives, I will install the skimmer back into the 30g sump. I still am a bit nervus running the tank without the skimmer.

Mike-fish
04-01-2012, 07:53 AM
You are in a unique position to compare skimmerless and skimmer. Can you describe briefly if any the water differences, inhabitant health etc. of each?
all in great health
the stocking of the 175g :
400LB of live rock
1 large powder blue tang
1 large foxface
1 clown
1 cleaner wrasse
2 chromis
1 copperband
5-6" clam
care for tank 175g:
water change approx once a month 30g
filter floss weekly
fuge cheeto roll daily
feed nori and mysis daily

stocking for 29g:
2 clowns
sps - goniopora
lps - bubble coral
assort zoas
3" clam
care for 29g
feed mysis daily
coral frenzy weekly
very rare water change

stocking for 34g (don't chew my head off bought as is stocked now on thurs)
1 regal tang SM ( will rehome soon came with tank)
1 mandrin :biggrin:
1 clown
1 6 line wrasse
lots of mushrooms
gsp
wsp
bsp
asssort zoas

care for 34g
no regime set yet just got on thrusday moved from calgary.
little tiny mini cycle but not worried.
will be same as 175g except fuge

current test results (hope this works never tried before)https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=f1fb008e78c0b15a&resid=F1FB008E78C0B15A!133&parid=F1FB008E78C0B15A!128&authkey=!AEdXaLlPF-r8Nuc

keep in mind the 34 was just moved about 48H ago. use the bottom tabs on the work sheet to navigate from tank to tank.

straightrazorguy
10-03-2014, 12:13 AM
I just wanted to revive this thread, rather than starting a new one. My 6 moth old RLSS 6I skimmer died, so I am skimmerless, not by choice, but by circumstance. I just wanted to know if there are any succesful SPS tanks out there that run skimmerless.

I run a mixed coral 3 ft cube (150 gallon in the DT), with a 30 gallon sump. The tank is plumbed in line with a 55 gal refugium that is full of cheato and rock. I probably have a toal of 80 lbs or more of rock between the DT and the fuge. The tank is predominantly SPS, but with a few LPS and some zoas and mushrooms.

As far as my bioload, I have the following tank inhabitants:

- 3 inch yelow tang,
- 3 inch copperband butterfly,
- 3 inch harlequin tusk,
- 3.5 inch tamarin wrasse,
- 3 inch reticulated anthia,
- a pair of mated Percs (2 and 3 inches)
- a 2 inch cleaner wrasse
- a pair of skunk shrimp (2.5 iches)
- a lonely peppermint shrimp (about an inch).

Should I try to run it skimmerless or scramble to replace the skimmer?

WarDog
10-03-2014, 01:57 AM
I have no answer...however, are you willing to risk the health and investment of your SPS's to find out? Something to think about. Good luck and keep us posted.

kien
10-03-2014, 06:42 AM
If i recall correctly, the consensus was: Yes, you can run a successful skimmerless SPS tank, so long as you remove/export nutrients yourself. This can be achieved by one or all of the following techniques:

1. Perform a 50% water change once a day.
2. reduce (or stop) feeding your fish.
3. Remove some (mostly all) of your fish.

The equation for success is simple: S = NO > NI

where:

S = Success
NO = Nutrients Out
NI = Nutrients In

The Guy
10-04-2014, 04:39 PM
If i recall correctly, the consensus was: Yes, you can run a successful skimmerless SPS tank, so long as you remove/export nutrients yourself. This can be achieved by one or all of the following techniques:

1. Perform a 50% water change once a day.
2. reduce (or stop) feeding your fish.
3. Remove some (mostly all) of your fish.

The equation for success is simple: S = NO > NI

where:

S = Success
NO = Nutrients Out
NI = Nutrients In

My opinion on your techniques, which BTW I agree with!

1. Too much work, you want to enjoy not be a slave.
2. reduce= maybe (stop feeding) not in my tank!
3. why bother reefing you might as well shut down!

Your equation to me = get yourself a good skimmer and enjoy the hobby or stop reefing and collect stamps instead. :razz:

straightrazorguy
10-04-2014, 05:14 PM
I broke down and ordered a new controller for my skimmer pump, so it looks like I'll be skimmerless for just a week or so. But, while panicking about it I did some research, and there seems to be a lot of controversy out there. There are people who run successful reef tanks (including SPS dominated ones) without a skimmer, and swear by it. Most seem to do it once the tank is mature and packed with corals.

I also found this article which made me rethink the whole skimmer story:

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2010/2/aafeature

tytown
10-20-2014, 05:55 AM
I ran skimmer less on a 55g QT for a few months thinking I didn't need it. I wasn't happy with the way two (separate)fish went through it taking 6 weeks each and still mediocre going to display.
Added me good ol skimmer for that tank and I have so much more oxygenation and my fish are far more lively. Have an orange shoulder that will be going in display after only being in QT for 3 weeks because he's so much stronger.
Have mp40 in 55g QT on max for the record. Still with skimmer seemed better
Go skimmer or go home.