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Surface skimmers(Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #1580)

Firstly can I remind people to JUST QUOTE THE BIT OF THE DIGEST you want to and not the whole thing, I have no idea of the bandwidth this last one used, but it certainly uses up my memory!
Secondly could you try to put in some sort of title.
I know that I don't contribute much to this list, but these two things make it much easier for everybody, now back to the subject;
The only certain method I know of surface skimming is to use an overflow type filter: You have a hole in the glass at the level that you want the water to be, a tube takes that water into your filter sump and is then pumped back into the tank. I have done the same to pre-made tanks by siliconing a new strip of glass all around, not very pretty (it can be covered by tape)but the water level is always the same (no scum and no calcium line) and, if you design your own filter, very cheap and effective
 Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 03:30:02 +0800
 From: " Anthony Baker" <bakera506 at earthlink_net>
 > Subject: RE: DIY Surface Extractor
> Ivo wrote:
> =====
> Now, in my newer tank, the surface gunk (not Flourite !) was back
> again.
> I couldn't use my old contraption here because the filter intake is
> 1"
> diam. Instead, I got from Home Depot a fluorescent bulb shield. It's
> a 
> sort of clear plastic tube with end caps designed to protect 4'
> fluorescent 
> bulbs in harsh environments. The end caps have small apertures to
> allow the
> wires to reach into. Costs about $2.50 as far as I recall. I made a
> new 
> surface skimmer out of it by cutting it to length and attaching it
> upright 
> on the tank back wall, with the filter intake inside it. The upper
> end is 
> open and above the water level, at the lower end one of the end caps
> is in 
> place and attached to the glass with a rubber cup and screw. I cut 
> a 1/2" wide vertical slot at the top to suck the surface film in. The
> aperture in the end cap creates enough drag to lower the water level
> inside 
> the tube by 1-2", sufficient to start the skimming action. 
> ======
> Ivo et all-
> I went to my local Sears Hardware and found the bulb shield -- it was
> $2.99 
> and is ~1.6" ID polycarbonate with a very thin wall.  It reminds me
> of the 
> same kind of stuff used for cheapo gravel vacs.  The end caps are
> just as you 
> describe them.  All and all, this looks like a pretty useful item for
> a DIY-
> inclined aquarist!  Plus, 4' for 3 bucks is a pretty good deal.
> I couldn't find a little cheapy corner filter -- I used to have 5-6
> of them 
> back in high school.  Anyhow, I decided to combine the ideas of your
> DIY 
> extractor article with the description of your new one.  I ended up
> enlarging 
> the hole in the endcap to fit the 1" airlift tubing which ends in an 
> undergravel filter outlet as per your design. I made a hole in the
> upper wall 
> of the bulb protector and inserted a short length of the 1" airlift
> tubing and 
> then placed the undergravel filter outlet onto it as the extractor. 
> Then, to 
> make the "pressure valve" I used a conical washer and SS scew and 2
> nuts.  The 
> valve seat was made "sloppily" out of the screwcap from a bottle of
> ear drops 
> (the only thing I had lying around at 11:30 at night that would fit).
>  Nothing 
> is glued, but rather friction fit, so I can make modifications and 
> refinements.  
> I installed it and viola!  Seems to be working well.  The surface was
> crystal 
> clear when I left for work this morning.  The real secret is the
> valve -- I 
> tried using it without the valve at first and it didn't work at all. 
> I think 
> I might try it for a few days, and possibly modify it to use a
> corner-filter 
> box -- as it is now I have no room for a prefilter.  I can post a
> couple pics 
> of it tonight if anyone is interested.  
> Thanks again Ivo for that great article on the Krib, and for the
> follow up!
:By all means, post some pics for us if you can!  I've used the Eheim
: and it is one fussy little bugger -- collects debris easily and that
: drastically affects its performance -- and water level changes are
: nearly as bad.
: Has anyone come up with one that really adjust to water level, at least
: within, say, 0.5 to 1.0 inches?
: BTW, FWIW, the new Hagen surface skimmer unit appears to be the same as
: the one that has been marketed by TOM (Tominga Plastic
: Industrial)/Oscar Enterprises.  You can view it at 



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