I fully expected an item of equipment would fail at some point, I just never expected it to happen quite so soon. My Deltec skimmer stopped working last Wednesday after 1 year, 1 month and 15 days of use. I have to admit that I'm disappointed that the pump failed after what seems like a relatively short space of time. As soon as I realised there was a problem I called D&D aquarium solution direct for assistance. They were extremely helpful and diagnosed that a new stator/controller was required and promised to ship one out as soon as possible. Which is really excellent service, thank you so much Tony!
To my ears the Deltec skimmer makes very little noise when working but when it was off I really did notice a difference, the room seemed a lot quieter. In addition to the noise the tank pH dropped quite considerably, below 8 on the first night and every night the skimmer was off which it hasn't done for a long, long time. I didn't realise a skimmer had that much impact on tank pH to be honest. I decided to run an airline into the sump to aid water movement and oxygenation but I really don't think it made a blind bit of difference, it certainly made me feel better though.
If there is one thing I really hate about reef-keeping it's equipment failure, it's something I cannot control. My tank may be small but the welfare of my livestock is very important to me and when things go wrong I worry. When the replacement parts had not arrived after two days I started to think about alternative skimmer options. It was now Friday and most likely the postman would not deliver on the weekend so I was looking at the following week before the tank would be skimmed again. If I had a spare skimmer pump ready to go then there'd have been no worries but I hadn't had the foresight to be that prepared. I do have a spare return pump sat in the cupboard but sadly no skimmer pump. After much thought I decided to purchase another skimmer, am I crazy? Well yes but everyone knows that already.
I ordered an Ultra-reef Akula 160 skimmer which my husband kindly picked up from the shop on the way home from work for me. First impressions, this skimmer is built like a tank! It's extremely robust and heavy, it feels like a really solid bit of kit in fact the Deltec seems a bit flimsy in comparison. However unlike the Deltec it doesn't come with a UK plug, grrr! So a bit of rewiring was required before use. It's a little bit wider at the base than the Deltec so required a shuffle round of other equipment to squeeze it into the sump. I did fear a one point that I might have to cut down one of the Siporax baskets to accommodate it but fortunately it was not required in the end. The unit is quiet running but it does produce a little more noise in the form of "bubble hissing'.
Overnight a lovely thick foam formed in the skimmer body but it had not reached the top of the cup and overflowed as I hadn't managed to dial the water level in properly before I went to bed. Hopefully it will settle fully in the next couple of days and pull out some really stinky brown waste. The signs are very promising and there's certainly excellent bubble production by the Sicce pump.
And here we are 3 days later it's pulling out some brown liquid and the pH of the tank has risen back up to normal again (8.2-8.3ish) so I can relax once more. The Deltec pump parts have also arrived and it's all ready to go again, I think I am going to keep it as a spare in the event of an issue with the Ultra-reef. Well you just never know....
The tank is now just under 10 weeks old and all the equipment is finally up and running bar the dosing pump for Balling salts (that's going to have to wait a while as I'm currently penniless at the moment).
The sump has changed quite a bit since the initial set up photos were taken. Within it now resides a Deltec SC1351 skimmer, a Schego 200W titanium heater, a Tunze 1073.02 return pump and the sensor for the Reefloat ATU-pro3. Additionally it now contains siporax in three separate baskets, two in the sump and one in the old ATU tank. Altogether they contain 5l of media and will be cleaned on an alternate basis to minimise disruption to the bacterial colonies. To the left of the sump sits a DIY refugium, it's a bit of an odd shape, tall and narrow, it remains to be see if it will grow algae efficiently or not. It is lit by a Beamswork Evo 6500K 18W LED on a reverse cycle to the display tank. Presently it contains a layer of Tropic Marin reef mud and a variety of macro algae (Cauperpa prolifera, Caulerpa serrulata, Chaetomorpha and a tiny bit of C. racemosa that sneaked in with the Chaeto). Both the refugium and the old ATU tank are supplied with water from the overflow via a small Eheim pump, they have been fitted with bulkheads to allow the water to flow back down into the sump and up to the display tank (DT) via the return pump.
I have removed the filter sock and to begin with I ran the tank without any form of mechanical filtration. Recently however I decided to add a bit of filter floss as I was starting to see increased levels of particulate matter in the DT.
The electrical sockets are sited away from the tank in a cabinet to the left, along with the RO reservoir for the ATU.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!