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View Full Version : many tweeking issues



jaded
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 11:54 AM
After a short wait my pump came in last night and since I had already removed the bb's I decided to pull an all nighter and get it running.

I found a few issues that I'm stumped on

#1. micro bubbles
#2 durostand tubes are not tuned
#3 tuning a dual beckett skimmer

#1 micro bubbles... the layout of the sump is (from right to left, picture is of the back side of the sump) fuge, skimmer/intake, return. The skimmer is creating massive amounts of microbubbles that laugh at the baffles. I've added a stocking to the gate valve to help catch bubbles and it's helped but there are still many bubbles

#2 durostand tubes are sucking air and stopping the flow. I currently have the flow so restricted that I can hardly feel flow out of the loc-line. I've played with the holes drilled in the tops of the tubes, but I think I've just made it worse. I'll stop by the HD for end caps today after work but I sure could use someone with experience to help guide me with the tweeking.

#3 I think I've got a pretty good handle on this but I wanted to post what I've done to see if I'm just screwing it up. I have the gate valve set to run the water just about half way up the large tube and the air valves are open just under the "sucking" sound. I've cut the air back to this piont because the bubbles look much finer and more uniformed at this level. So far it's been running like this for about 6 hours and there isn't even a slight stacking even though I can see black crud circulating at the top of the column. Do you think it's just a matter of time or am I doing something wrong?

http://www.paddletexas.com/images/temp_images/jadesump2.jpg
the sump actually sits the other direction under the tank... the tall section is the fuge, then the skimmer sits in the center section and last is the return
http://www.paddletexas.com/images/temp_images/jade1.jpg
the water level is running just over half way up the largest tube.

Any help on these issues would be very appriciated

Jade

GaryP
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 12:04 PM
#1 micro bubbles... the layout of the sump is (from right to left, picture is of the back side of the sump) fuge, skimmer/intake, return. The skimmer is creating massive amounts of microbubbles that laugh at the baffles. I've added a stocking to the gate valve to help catch bubbles and it's helped but there are still many bubbles

Make sure you use teflon tape on any of the quick connect unions. A lot of time they act like a venturi and will suck air into your plumbing. My apologies if you have already thought of that.

jaded
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 12:07 PM
its not tough to see where the bubbles are coming from... the skimmer is pumping out a mt st helens sized cloud of bubbles directly at the baffles. The durostands are also sucking air down, so the flow from the tank is dumping larger bubbles into the return as well, but they are handles by the baffles with little problem that I can see

Sherri
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 12:10 PM
We're experiencing the same microbubbles in our new setup...their laughing at the baffles also. We have the Aqua C EV180 protein skimmer - it states that microbubbles will be present for up to 2 weeks - its' been a week now & there is no letup so far. I'm gonna give it a bit more time & see what happens. May be getting back with you jaded and see how yours is doing.

jaded
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 12:26 PM
The stocking over the skimmer return really knock them down a fair margin... did you try that???

::pete::
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 03:54 PM
A piece of fiter material (porous) in one of the baffle sections should stop all bubbles!!

GaryP
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 04:14 PM
A piece of fiter material (porous) in one of the baffle sections should stop all bubbles!!

Just remember to change it occasionally so it doesn't because a detritus trap. You can buy bulk fiber material by the foot at Fintique.

Sherri
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 04:14 PM
That's what we plan on doing...

jaded
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 04:17 PM
I hate to add more detritus catching stuff, but it's better than a haze of microbubbles in the display. I'm also going to add some PVC to the out of the skimmer... it probably wont do anything but at least it will shoot the water away from the baffles.

don-n-sa
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 04:43 PM
One piece of advice is to be patient..I know its hard but in this hobby SOMETIMESyou just have to wait and see. Micro-bubbles are caused by alot of different things in our aquariums...ie plumbing not sealed, skimmers are a big source, wet-dry filters, and so on. One thing that some of us are just learning( myself included ), is that a slime coat forms on the inside of all plumbing over time. How long this takes and why this affects micro-bubbles I do not know but Gary P. does I believe. This slime coat actually helps get rid of micro-bubbles. That is why Sherri said that they are waiting two weeks before they start trying other things. When I first got my 240g going I had micro-bubbles GALORE, and I tried and tried to find the source to no avail...well they went away on their own so I belive that it was just all of that new plumbing and the new skimmer that I had.

jaded
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 05:08 PM
I have no doubt that you're correct! I've talked to pete about raising the baffles because they are just far to low... it was done on purpose (not bad mouthing petes great work) to help keep the water level perfect for the skimmer. It was a good idea, but it's not going to work out becuase the water will actually "jump" the baffles and the skimmer output is shooting directly at (and over) the baffles.

The baffles being taller will help with several things but not with the fine mist of bubbles produced by th eskimmer. Hopefully time will help. Since this is an established tank maybe I will have a head start on the slime coat!

tuning the durso tubes and skimmer... I think I have a good idea of how to best tune both these now. skimmer = patience and tubes need a much smaller hole (i was thinking in reverse) so thanks for all the help and keep it comin'

jaded
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 05:52 PM
The flow is already cut to almost nothing... its a seq. dart but the ball valve is close to closed.
The problem with the durso's is that that holes are now to big and that I have the overflow line under the water level. When I get home from work that will be an easy fix. I kept trying to drill larger holes to fix the backpressure problem instead of just cutting my PVC a few inches shorter, now I have a sucking noise making hole instead of a pipe

GaryP
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 08:14 PM
I hate to add more detritus catching stuff, but it's better than a haze of microbubbles in the display. I'm also going to add some PVC to the out of the skimmer... it probably wont do anything but at least it will shoot the water away from the baffles.

Physical filtration with the floss isn't a bad thing. That detritus is going to settle somewhere. Better to have it where you can clean it out then where you can't. Just don't let it get nasty and decay in the floss. Filtering is a form of nutrient export. You are actually removing the nutrients from the system.
Besides, my amphipods go crazy in the filters. I always pick them out and put them back in the fuge or feed them to the fish.


One thing that some of us are just learning( myself included ), is that a slime coat forms on the inside of all plumbing over time. How long this takes and why this affects micro-bubbles I do not know but Gary P. does I believe. This slime coat actually helps get rid of micro-bubbles.

The slime coat that you are referring to is called a biofilm that we discussed in another post. I'm guessing that the bubbles are trapped in the slime layer and are condensed into larger bubles that are more easily removed from the system. Just a wild guess on my part. The bacteria might use some of the oxygen in the bubbles but oxygen only makes up 20% of air. 70% is nitrogen and isn't really utilized by anything except a few nitrogen fixing alga and bacteria that I wouldn't suspect being present in a biofilm.

NaCl_H2O
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 11:14 PM
Bubbles in your sump are no different than those in your skimmer, they need non-turbulent contact time to rise to the surface. I am not that familiar with beckett skimmers, but I would think the water level in the skimer should be higher, which I think would give you less bubbles in the output? Also, maybe some clear tubing on the output of the skimmer so you could direct the turbulence away from tha baffles?

Which compartment are you pulling water "From" for the inlet to your skimmer? If different than the compartment it is in, then if you are pumping say 1500gph through the skimmer, then 1500gph + tank return gph needs to flow across the baffles. You will never get the bubbles to escape if that is the type of flow you have across the baffles. Also, with high flow volume, baffles actually create MORE bubbles.

Can you post a picture of it "In Action"?

jaded
Sat, 2nd Apr 2005, 11:41 PM
I can sure try

http://www.paddletexas.com/images/temp_images/sump_in_action.jpg
return (left), skimmer and intake (center), fuge (right)
http://www.paddletexas.com/images/temp_images/skimmer01.jpg
I've been playing with the water flow to the tank and durso tubes so the water level in the skimmer has been changing all afternoon
http://www.paddletexas.com/images/temp_images/baffles01.jpg
this is a close up of the baffles in action... note the filter floss (all I could find) it helped for about 5 seconds but now the water simple goes over

NaCl_H2O
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 12:08 AM
First of all, NICE WORK!

With the ball valve to the returns shut down like it is in the pic, you are probably shoving 75% of the pump volume to the skimmer. Ball valves are not linear control valves, a 1/2 closed handle is not 1/2 volume - look at one as you open/close and notice how the area of the opening changes.

Again, I don't know becketts very well, but 75% of (I think 3600/Dart) = 2,700gph ... maybe that is more than the skimmer can handle? What if you added a ball valve just before the skimmer inlet, and a "Tee" in the tubing going from the pump to the skimmer, with the second outlet from the Tee going back into the sump. Closing the ballvalve down in front of the skimmer would divert some of the pump volume back into the sump, and not through the skimmer. Once your drains are adjusted, you might be able to remove/not use the Tee, but it would give you more flow control.

How does te skimer behave if you close down the gate valve (skimmer output) to raise the level in the lower tube?

Maybe PM Tim Marvin, he has a very similar setup and maybe could give some pointers on tuning the skimmer?

Good Luck!

jaded
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 12:21 AM
first... thanks, it was fun working with the PVC until I found my leaks :(

When I mentioned the pump running at ~50% I was at work... when I got home I tweaked the durso's so I could increase the flow to the tank. Now it's set where you see it in the pics.

Your right, most of the flow is going to the skimmer, from what I understand the more flow the better for the beckett, but thats not from experience, just what I've read and heard. At this point I will need to know much more about the way the skimmer works (i.e. what kind of flow it can handle) befor I replumb anything... It's all set up other than a few tweaks I'll take care of when pete is over for the baffle repair.

When I close the gate valve exactly the same thing happens just higher in the tube... You can't run the water higher than the air valves otherwise it wont work correctly so thats about as high as I care to get it. From what I understand it could take up to 2 weeks for the skimmer to start producing skimate... I'm still dealing with high ammonia and Nitrate so I'm anxious to see some results faster than that, but what can I do???

GaryP
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 09:10 AM
A lot of folks are setting u new systems with minimal flow through the sump and then making up for the lack of circulation with a closed loop or powerheads. If you think about it, it makes senses. Why fight the power penalty of fighting head pressure just to get water to your skimmer? The skimmer is only going to use a small percentage of the water going through the sump if you are pushing a lot of water through the sump. When I design my next tank I think I will only have about 500-700 gph going to the sump and then I will use a closed loop for the balance of my circulation.

Tim Marvin
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 09:17 AM
Once you finish messing with the tank flows you can control the skimmer height. Make 1/4 turn adjustments on the skimmer and wait 5 minutes before readjusting. cleaning sponges, and just about anything will change the skimmer level, but a couple quick adjustments will tune it right back in. Good luck.

CD
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 10:59 AM
Each beckett should be getting about 800 gph, but with a non-pressure pump it might need a lot more to equal out. That skimmer should pretty much produce immediately, volume in the body should look like milk because there are so many tiny bubbles.


I cannot speak for anybody's skimmer but my own.
According to the manufacturer (My Reef Creations), my MR2 single beckett skimmer requires around 1100gph in a pressure rated pump and 1800gph in non pressure pump flow.
Sorry I can't add anything constructive to this thread but I will definitely keep an eye out for your results.
I felt compelled to purchase a Barracuda pump for the 210 due to the added head capability and the requirements for skimmer flow.
After talking to Dan and seeing his setup yesterday , I am concerned that I have gone overkill. I suspect I am going to want alot of 90's in my plumbing.
We will just need to wait and see.

Chris

Sherri
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 11:18 AM
The Aqua C EV180 needs 420 gph - we bought the PanWorld 40PX Ext Water Pump which is 480 gph. Seems to be doing awesome. We are waiting at least a 2-3 week period to see a difference in the microbubbles as it states in the paperwork we got with the EV180 that it will take that long. Be patient - that may be your only prob - let it cycle... ???

CD
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 11:40 AM
The Aqua C EV180 needs 420 gph - we bought the PanWorld 40PX Ext Water Pump which is 480 gph. Seems to be doing awesome. We are waiting at least a 2-3 week period to see a difference in the microbubbles as it states in the paperwork we got with the EV180 that it will take that long. Be patient - that may be your only prob - let it cycle... ???


The AquaC skimmers produce very well and need way less pump to operate properly than the beckett skimmers.
I had an AquaC EV90 which was the version prior to the EV120 and EV180 and it would pull a full collection cup every 1-2 days in our old aggressive FOWLR. I really miss that AquaC and this MR2 seems to need a little more fiddling while the AquaC was set and forget.
I believe Sherri's bubbles will calm down on their own with the spray injected AquaC as I had a very similar problem with a new EV90.
I bought my MR2 used so I can't say whether the skimmer break-in will have any effect or not.
If I take out the sponges from my bulkheads with the beckett skimmer though, I get the microbubble cloud in the display. I do have a very small sump for this skimmer (roughly 12G water displacement in skimmer compartment) so I could potentially be creating the problem.
I am hoping a much larger sump that Dan will be building for us will control the bubbles once I hang the Barracuda in the new system.

C.

Sherri
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 11:49 AM
Yeah Chris...I'm emptying out the cup in the EV180 about every 2 days. We had an Aqua C Urchin in the 100 gal. & it did well. Prob could have used something a bit more powerful now that I look back - but never had anything go wrong with it. Liking what I see so far with the EV180. Sure the bubbles will calm down...

CD
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 12:04 PM
Sherri,

I was using that EV90 with a tank full of triggers, wrasses, hawkfish, maroon clown, and a few other very messy fish in a 135.
We were definitely underskimming (according to specs) the 135 with the EV90 but it NEVER failed to keep the garbage out of the water and seldom even needed to be cleaned. This MR2 requires disassembly every 1-2 weeks. I have already taken the skimmer apart for cleaning in the past 7-8 months well more than in 3 years with the EV90.
AquaC makes a fantastic product. Fear not- your bubbles will very likely take care of themselves after another week or two.

Chris

CD
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 12:08 PM
Sorry Jaded-
Didn't mean to Hijack your thread.

Please keep us (me) informed of what you figure out as I suspect I am in for the same problem.
Thanks.

Chris

jaded
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 02:59 PM
I wish I had more to say... It looks exactly the same as it did yesterday

-waiting patiently

Pete is going to come by tomorrow to raise all 3 baffles. the outer 2 baffles will be raised ~3.5" and the center baffles ~4.5" that way the flow wont jump the center and effectively stop the baffles from working. That along with some filter media should get rid of the microbubbles

jaded
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 09:06 PM
WE'VE GOT SKIMATE!!!

I've jimmy rigged the baffles to stop the bubbles, in doing so I've raised the level in the center section (skimmer). I really don't know is thats what has made it work or if it was just a matter of time, but I've got a nice layer of "crud" on the top of the large tube and the bubbles are reaching the cup!!! I've even manages to get a little skimate to fall into the collection bottle... now I will watch it and tweak if necc.

Thanks for all the advice on this topic!!! I've still got issues with the tuning of the new sump but with your help I'm in a much better position to fix everything

::pete::
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 09:11 PM
Jimmy Rigged!!! :o

I take it you didnt go kayaking :D

jaded
Sun, 3rd Apr 2005, 09:14 PM
No I missed the opportunity, but I did get to clean the garage a bit... that was almost as fun ;)