Protein Skimmer

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So I decided to build myself a protein skimmer. It was a design made by a chap on another forum. I have modified it slightly. He used a 6" drain pipe, i've used a 4", 90d bend, then a 4" T, then a 4" to 2" reducer, and finally a 2" ball valve to get the correct water levels. The drain pipe has a grate at the bottom and I have filled with flocor plastic bio media.

So basically my pump , pumps pond water to my pressurised bio filter (contains fine and coarse foams and bio balls) and the outlet which originally went to my water fall now has been diverted to the top of my protein skimmer, then returns to the pond. Been running for a few days and the amount of horrible brown foam its been pumping out is staggering. Obviously it does not look good to have a drain pipe sitting next to your pond, but i've already noticed a difference in water clarity.

I post this because the whole project cost approx £25. the most expensive item was the filter media. Very easy to put together. I've seen protein skimmers on the market for £500+ Defo worth a go.

I will post some pictures and details later.
 

slakker

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I was mentioning this on another post on UV as this is what I use in my reef tanks...

How is this working out? Any noticeable benefits? Can real "foam" even be generated to export proteins?
 

crsublette

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Welp, Slakker, I am getting the impression you are still skeptical even after all of the hyperlinks I shared. It's all good. Some things you have to see in order to believe.

Not for sure what ya mean by "wetness" unless talking about potential water loss. These fractionators are not pressurized systems so the water level inside them are set so to properly allow the plumbing to give the foam a route to buildup and skim off.

These devices are not actually built to extract proteins. Although, sure, there are proteins in the foam. These devices are built to extract the dissolve particulate residuals, that is also known as DOCs (dissolved organic carbons).

Here's a quote from a good guy, who I have viewed as mentor, a certified pharmacist that truely knows all this organic chemistry and biology stuff in medicine making quite well. It's also an interesting thread as well. Don't let the thread title confuse ya; the author was particularly curious if an orp meter helps measure DOCs, which is not a good tool for DOCs at all.

(source thread: Orp)


Not all DOC are proteins. Some are mucopolysaccharides from the breakdown of the slime coat, some are lipids, and some are hormones and pheromones.

Foam fractionators are called protein skimmers, but just like KH is called "carbonate hardness", there is more to KH than carbonate. Protein skimers remove anything that increases the surface tension of the water. Much of what is removed is not protein.
 

slakker

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:) I'm actually not sceptical that it works... I think it should work, but being an engineer by training, I'm curious about the efficiency comparative to other methods of water quality techniques.

Wetness in reef tanks is how "wet" or dry the "skimmate" that comes out of the skimmer is. Ideally in a reef, I want dry skimming so as not to pull out too much liquid and other DOCs. It's also needed because the collector cup is limited in size and skimming too wet fills it too quickly, but I suspect that wouldn't be an issue outdoors (unless it's so wet that you drop water levels).

I notice by my high waterfall, some bubbles to get created and they don't "pop" quickly, so I suspect I should be able to use a skimmer if I was to build one.

The other reason I really like/need a skimmer (FF) in my reef is I use solid carbon dosing for de-nitrification using bio-pellets. It works quite well... do you think that would translate to ponds? Anyone try?
 

crsublette

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slakker said:
:) I'm actually not sceptical that it works... I think it should work, but being an engineer by training, I'm curious about the efficiency comparative to other methods of water quality techniques.

Wetness in reef tanks is how "wet" or dry the "skimmate" that comes out of the skimmer is. Ideally in a reef, I want dry skimming so as not to pull out too much liquid and other DOCs. It's also needed because the collector cup is limited in size and skimming too wet fills it too quickly, but I suspect that wouldn't be an issue outdoors (unless it's so wet that you drop water levels).

I notice by my high waterfall, some bubbles to get created and they don't "pop" quickly, so I suspect I should be able to use a skimmer if I was to build one.

1) The other reason I really like/need a skimmer (FF) in my reef is I use solid carbon dosing for de-nitrification using bio-pellets. It works quite well... do you think that would translate to ponds? Anyone try?

Very good. I completely understand what ya mean now. Although, I have never heard of a noticeable loss of water in a pond protein skimmer. I understand that this type of device would impact aquariums differently due to how ya mentioned about the small collection cup, there is less water you're working with in an aquarium, and due to how much easier it is for marine water to create the foam. I think, since it is so hard to just create the foam from freshwater, that you will just appreciate what you're able to create and capture.

I totally understand the need of engineers to want to think there is always a better, more efficient, streamlined design out there. I can completely relate to that sediment. Back in the day, for a few years, I was a programmer for a computer software programming outsourcing company and I was always trying to think how I could improve the product and be more efficient by automating the project. Then, as life never goes as ya think it should, I came back to take over the family farm since my parents were getting old and needed help with it and I just did not want to see it get sold off. Now, pretty much taking care of my parents and helping my sister. I still have that desire to want to always improve the efficiency and automation in even what I do on the farm and now ponding. So, I understand what ya mean. Heck, when ya do come up with something, give a yell. :claphands:


1) The other reason I really like/need a skimmer (FF) in my reef is I use solid carbon dosing for de-nitrification using bio-pellets. It works quite well... do you think that would translate to ponds? Anyone try?

Yep, it's been tried and does work in our pond context. I have not done it, but there are many folk in the aquaponics hobby that has done it. Aquaponics is essentially like watergardening, that is where the fish pond and plant garden are combined, except aquaponics focuses more on the edible type of plants and edible fish. In aquaponics, they tend to have a quite high fish stock density and, as the plants transition between planting and harvesting, their nitrate levels can sometime reach up to 200ppm and higher !! At these high levels, the nitrates definitely start to stress their edible fish crop, which stressing a crop never ends well due to the potential stress toxins created in the crop. So, the aquaponic folk install a denitrification filter in their grow beds. When the nitrate levels are on the increase, in the grow bed, they open the denitrification filter to allow water to slowly trickle through the filter so the filter can start reducing the nitrates. They call them Really Smart Guy (RSG) filters, denitrification filters that use charcoal or denitrification pellets. Also, these aquaponic systems are up to thousands of gallons, much like our ponds.

So, definitely, I know in theory and in practice they can translate to ponds.
 

slakker

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My reef is fully automated... I run a Neptune controller on it and runs pretty much everything from day/moon cycle, monitors pH in tank, CO2 reactor, reverse light cycle refugium and all accessible via the Internet and emails me warning if temp or ph params go wacky...

I was seriously thinking of something for the pond, then thought better of it! Lol!

Once I get a few seasons under my belt, maybe i'll tinker more and definitely ask for advice here and share any success or failures.
 

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