How does a skimmer "break in"????

Discussion in 'Just starting out (SW Beginners)' started by JT101, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. JT101

    JT101 New Member

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    Sorry for the tone of this post, but I have a problem with this statement. I am a very analytical person and I appreciate logical concepts and when something makes sense. However, this particular notion fails the "common sense test" with me:

    I can understand how something mechanical like a car engine may need to "break-in". Piston rings need to seat themselves, wear patterns on crankshaft journals need to smooth themselves out etc. It all makes sense to me. But a protein skimmer?

    Maybe I should explain why I am questioning the logic of this. I have an AquaPod 24 into which I just installed a Sapphire Aquatics AP24 protein skimmer. I noticed that no matter what I do with the water levels, the little clear acrylic "window" you are supposed to place in front of the top grate to force the rear compartment water level lower, and the positioning of the actual skimmer, I cannot prevent a HUGE amount of microbubbles from entering my tank. I read on Sapphire Aquatic's FAQ site where it is normal for this to happen for 48-72 hours until the skimmer "breaks in". Sorry for this, but please explain to me exactly what is "breaking in"! Maybe I don't understand the context of the phrase as it applies to protein skimmers, but to me the phrase is universal. What is "breaking in"? The pump? The pump's impeller? Those are the only moving parts. What else could possibly make bubbles minimize after 48-72 hours? How do you "break in" what is essentially a bunch of acrylic plates glued together???

    Thanks for any help on this. I just don't understand how a skimmer can "break in".

    Sincerely,
    John
     
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  2. sasquatch

    sasquatch Brunt of all Jokes~
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    John, forget the words "break in" poof they are gone! now the simple explanation, the viscosity of salt water is affected by many things, oil being the big one, I have a large beckett style skimmer, if I feed or put my hand in the tank the head collapses the bubbles back up and start going out the return instead of staying in the riser. Various oils,silicon and who knows what is present in a new plastic skimmer that alone will restrict foam production, after a short while this is cleansed by the salt water and a slime coating is deposited, the bubbles get finer taking longer to climb the tower, picking up waste and creating foam. Once the "cleansing ritual" has been performed the skimmer people will no longer wish to escape into the tank but rejoice, join together and arise to the great brown gooness they alone can make. :jester: Steve
     
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  3. JT101

    JT101 New Member

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    Hi Steve,

    OK, now THAT makes sense to me :smirk: ! I didn't think about the obvious trace manufacturing chemicals/additives that are inevitably present whenever you assemble anything mechanical, especially where plastics and acrylics are involved (I am slapping my forehead between keystrokes). As per the manual I DID fully rinse everything under the tap and then doused everything in distilled water, but I guess what is needed now is, as you said, a little natural slime.

    Thanks for the explanation. Now I guess I just have to wait out the bubbles for a few days...:)
     
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  4. sasquatch

    sasquatch Brunt of all Jokes~
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    LOL, no problem! some are fast some are really slow, washing with vinegar will dissolve some oils,once it makes foam youll have more fun playing with it than anything else
     
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  5. lcstorc

    lcstorc New Member

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    Perfect explanation Steve. If only I could give you karma.
    Hook me up with that Karma Gold Card will ya?
     
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  6. boozeman

    boozeman New Member

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    agreed...couldn't have said it better myself...the skimmer people would be proud of ya Steve :thumbup:
     
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  7. JT101

    JT101 New Member

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    I’ve had my skimmer in operation for several days now. When I first installed it I had tons of microbubbles in the tank, and I was told that the skimmer needs to “break in” which I honestly didn’t believe one bit, but here we are today and the bubbles are almost gone. I never would have believed that a skimmer has to “break in”. Anyway, the AP24 is a little tough to get the exact collection cup height – just a little too high and you get no skimmate, just a little bit too low and you get too much wet skimmate and some water in the cup. It does seem to work. I have gotten some tea-colored water after a whole day, not too dark, just light tea (it’s a new tank, only been up & running for about two weeks now) so I guess it’s working. However, I was hoping to see more brownish foam than water in the cup.

    One other thing: It’s a little noisy. Sapphire’s website FAQs tell you that a pulsing bubbling noise is caused by the pump not spinning in the right direction and the way to solve that is to plug & unplug the AC cord several times until you hear the noise go away. I have tried that and didn’t notice any difference. Seems to me that the thing is just noisy and that’s that.

    Having never owned a protein skimmer before I cannot say that this one is great, the same as others or if it just plain sucks, time will tell I guess.
     
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  8. sasquatch

    sasquatch Brunt of all Jokes~
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    Lynn, your Karma gold is approved, pick it up at the front desk, lol boozie the skimmer people are "back":bouncebox

    JT, your skimmer is trying to perform a task that is simple by nature but complicated by various things, mainly height, waste in the water is picked up on the skin of the little bubbles, where a 6' tall skimmer has plenty of dwell time, a shorty in a pod can only do so much, a new tank also wont have developed much to pull out, the pump may have a loose fit between the impeller and shaft or the cups the shaft sits in, careful examination may reveal a cause, plus there are other pumps that will fit the job,it could be the air intake your hearing as well, best advice for now is set the cup a little high so the foam is dry, keep your hands out of the tank and leave it alone for a few days, sometimes a little adjustment can take from minutes to hours to settle. Good luck Steve
     
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  9. JT101

    JT101 New Member

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    Thanks Steve. I noticed that if I do leave the cup higher, the foam in it the little middle tube seems to get finer & finer but only rises up in level VERY slowly, maybe I just need to wait it out a little longer as you said, PLUS, also as you said, it's a new tank so maybe I'm just expecting too much skimmate at this time. Patience is a virtue, I agree! I will do my best :smirk: !

    All the best,
    John
     
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  10. lcstorc

    lcstorc New Member

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    Where is the front desk? I keep getting that pesky you must wait message. :) Guess I like to give karma a bit too much.
    I am very glad the skimmer people are back. My skimmer people really missed them. :)
     
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  11. redspot321

    redspot321 Member

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    Nice explination! I always wondered this myself!
     
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  12. JT101

    JT101 New Member

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    Folks,

    I would like to proclaim that I am the proud owner of a gooey, brown protein skimmer collection cup!! :doh: YAHOO!! It seems to work like a charm. I'd post a pic, but it's kinda yucky... :bouncebox ! Anyway, it IS amazing how the bubbles appear a few minutes after I stick my hands in my tank! I guess whatever surface body oils are on my skin almost instantly changes the tensile cohesiveness of the water in the tank (or something like that :drool: )
     
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  13. lcstorc

    lcstorc New Member

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    Congrats! I bet it smells great too. :)
     
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  14. JT101

    JT101 New Member

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    Well, let's just say it smells like "it's working" and leave it at that (LOL)!!!
     
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  15. vdituri

    vdituri New Member

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    JT - Yeah! Brown gooeyness!

    Steve, Great explanation! I too tried to give you karma. I'll mail it to you. I think your karmic aura is blocked.
    You should get that cleansed bro.

    Skimmer people? Are they the ones that live under the stairs? Cause they creep me out.

    We have a front desk? I've been trapped in the lobby for months! Send Help!
     
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  16. sasquatch

    sasquatch Brunt of all Jokes~
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    Victor, you need to get out of the shell once in a while ok?
    JT. after awhile the smell from your skimmer will become like, well, disgusting, but you will think its like fresh mountain air(haha) congrats on old stinky. Steve
     
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  17. lcstorc

    lcstorc New Member

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    Skimmer people are our friends. They keep the skimmer pulling out all the yucky goo. And they do an occasional amusing dance routine just to keep things interresting. You need to spend more time with your skimmer. The skimmer people are entertained by us so they like an occasional visit.

    Oh and I still cannot find the front desk. Found the back door but security keeps kicking me out for posting too much.
     
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  18. sasquatch

    sasquatch Brunt of all Jokes~
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    LOL! the front desk is virtual, simply press f7 for assistance, the skimmer people have demanded a new home, a highrise! cheeky little so and so's, a 6 ft bubblebath is really getting out of hand, it should be up next weekend or they may just get a dose of bleach
     
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  19. lcstorc

    lcstorc New Member

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    f7 Doesn't work for me but my skimmer people do. I just had a small family move out of the ASM and into the Remora. The kids wanted a place of their own. :)
     
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  20. sasquatch

    sasquatch Brunt of all Jokes~
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    spreading the cheer!
     
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