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

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

  1. #1
    Plate Coral JT101's Avatar
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    Question How does a skimmer "break in"????

    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

  2. #2
    Brunt of all Jokes~ sasquatch's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    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. Steve
    just another muggle in Wizzzland, performing rocket surgery with a plastic take out knife

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    Plate Coral JT101's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    Hi Steve,

    OK, now THAT makes sense to me ! 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...

  4. #4
    Brunt of all Jokes~ sasquatch's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    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
    just another muggle in Wizzzland, performing rocket surgery with a plastic take out knife

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    aqueus Typicus Alloticus lcstorc's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

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


    Lynn and Franks saltwater adventure
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    A reef tank is like a race car. The faster you go the harder you crash






  6. #6
    Sailfin Marlin
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    agreed...couldn't have said it better myself...the skimmer people would be proud of ya Steve
    ...and when I'm old and wise
    little things mean little to me
    like autumn winds they'll blow right through me
    and someday, in the mist of time
    when they ask you if you knew me
    remember that you were a friend of mine

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    Plate Coral JT101's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    Iíve 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 ďbreak inĒ which I honestly didnít believe one bit, but here we are today and the bubbles are almost gone. I never would have believed that a skimmer has to ďbreak inĒ. Anyway, the AP24 is a little tough to get the exact collection cup height Ė 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 (itís a new tank, only been up & running for about two weeks now) so I guess itís working. However, I was hoping to see more brownish foam than water in the cup.

    One other thing: Itís a little noisy. Sapphireís 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 didnít notice any difference. Seems to me that the thing is just noisy and thatís 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.

  8. #8
    Brunt of all Jokes~ sasquatch's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    Lynn, your Karma gold is approved, pick it up at the front desk, lol boozie the skimmer people are "back"

    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
    just another muggle in Wizzzland, performing rocket surgery with a plastic take out knife

  9. #9
    Plate Coral JT101's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch View Post
    Lynn, your Karma gold is approved, pick it up at the front desk, lol boozie the skimmer people are "back"

    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
    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 !

    All the best,
    John

  10. #10
    aqueus Typicus Alloticus lcstorc's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch View Post
    Lynn, your Karma gold is approved, pick it up at the front desk, lol boozie the skimmer people are "back"

    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.
    Peace
    LYNN


    Lynn and Franks saltwater adventure
    Lynn's 20g clown tank
    Lynn's 90g of sunshine
    Lynn's frag tank experiment

    A reef tank is like a race car. The faster you go the harder you crash






  11. #11
    Bryozoan
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch View Post
    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. Steve
    Nice explination! I always wondered this myself!

  12. #12
    Plate Coral JT101's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    Folks,

    I would like to proclaim that I am the proud owner of a gooey, brown protein skimmer collection cup!! YAHOO!! It seems to work like a charm. I'd post a pic, but it's kinda yucky... ! 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 )

  13. #13
    aqueus Typicus Alloticus lcstorc's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    Congrats! I bet it smells great too.
    Peace
    LYNN


    Lynn and Franks saltwater adventure
    Lynn's 20g clown tank
    Lynn's 90g of sunshine
    Lynn's frag tank experiment

    A reef tank is like a race car. The faster you go the harder you crash






  14. #14
    Plate Coral JT101's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    Quote Originally Posted by lcstorc View Post
    Congrats! I bet it smells great too.
    Well, let's just say it smells like "it's working" and leave it at that (LOL)!!!

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    Great White Shark vdituri's Avatar
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    Re: How does a skimmer "break in"????

    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!
    Victor
    -----
    People come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

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