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ETSS Reef Devil

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j.stagner

Seeker of knowledge
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
116
Location
Mill Creek, WA
Sigh. I have had a Reef Devil skimmer for a little over a year now, and so far it is one of the biggest equipment purchases I wish I'd never made. Seriously, I had a $100 venturi skimmer that Saltwater City had on clearance and which they sold me almost as a joke, which outperforms the Reef Devil by an order of magnitude. I gave the venturi away to a friend because the noise drove my girlfriend crazy.

My reef devil *might* fill the collection cup once every 6 weeks, I think that's being generous most of the time. The first couple of weeks of operation it worked okay, still not as good as the venuri, but nearly silent so I was content.

Since then, I've pretty much decided that it is a piece of garbage. I've tried messing with the water level, running it higher, running it lower, and get marginal changes at best. The stuff it does manage to collect is fairly dark, but I simply cannot believe that with a 4-5" sand bed and heavy feedings that there is only that little amount of gunk to collect.

The water flow through the system is good, approximately 18x turnover, using a Sea Swirl and alternating powerheads on a timer to keep stuff suspended and fairly turbulent.

I've tried not cleaning it for 2-3 months, cleaning it weekly, full breakdown cleaning as well as just cleaning the neck and riser. I've tried larger bioballs, fewer or more bioballs, reduced airflow, etc. It's in a constant-level chamber in my sump, and I've raised and lowered it within the limits of my stand. Just can't get the darn thing to work. I will generally leave it alone for a week or two to see if any changes have an effect, so I don't believe that it is suffering too much from "Tinker-itis".

During cleanings, I use RO/DI water only (added vinegar once), and rinse with RO/DI or tank water when done.

I've seen the same skimmer running on other tanks, and the bubbles are finer and denser, the cup actually has stuff in it, and the owners have not had bad things to say (though never great things) about them.

Since I am in the process of upgrading to a larger tank, I just can't fit another skimmer into the budget for another month or two, so I am incredibly frustrated.

So, my questions are two:

1) Does anyone have advice on how I can get this thing to operate like a real skimmer?

2) I am upgrading to a 75gal, with plans to move to a 100 within maybe a year to eighteen months. Skimmer recommendations?


Thank you,

Jonah
 

jazznreef

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
219
Location
Seattle/Magnolia
i like my bullet 1 becket skimmer for my 75 gallon. it treats my animals well. they can be found online for 200 on down. sometimes they even get as low as 125. skimmers dont have the best resale value so looking for them that way can be a good way to go. good luck.
 

j.stagner

Seeker of knowledge
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
116
Location
Mill Creek, WA
Well, there has been at some times, although I do not believe there is now. If I were to run the thing remotely (out of sump) would this help or hinder any back pressure issues?

Do you mean the Precision Marine bullet? Every time I've seen them they have cost more than the Reef Devil..... I must be looking in the wrong places. $125 I can do, $300 will have to wait.
 

j.stagner

Seeker of knowledge
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
116
Location
Mill Creek, WA
From what I've read, the becket style skimmers are pretty strong performers. I'd like to go that route, does anyone else have opinions on that?
 

plumber_bob

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2004
Messages
207
Location
Federal Way
If the outlet of the skimmer is submerged under the water this could cause some problems... also if you have pipes coming out of the outlet going straight down you could have some down-pull. If you haven't tried taking some of the bio-balls out give that a shot.
 

j.stagner

Seeker of knowledge
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
116
Location
Mill Creek, WA
I have the outlet submerged at the moment, although I did not previously. I currently have the outlet going to a tee, which extends above the skimmer and down into the water.
 

j.stagner

Seeker of knowledge
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
116
Location
Mill Creek, WA
Thank you plumber_bob, and everyone else who has provided suggestions.

I stopped in at Saltwater City today and chatted with plumber_bob for a while, and ended up purchasing a gate valve, which had not been available when I purchased the skimmer originally. I had been using either the extendable riser tube or other plumbing tricks to adjust the water level.

Now I am pleased that I have fine-grained control over the flow, and although it's too early to tell, it looks promising.
 

j.stagner

Seeker of knowledge
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
116
Location
Mill Creek, WA
We have skimmate!

Since I've been too slow to nab up the skimmers that have come up for sale here in the forums, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new one. More on that after I receive it, which should be Thursday.

In the meantime, I decided that my current skimmer was pretty useless and I was essentially running a skimmerless tank, so I ordered a Beckett online.

After much searching on the web and several trips to the local Lowes and Tap Plastics stores, I finally made myself a suitable housing for the Becket that fits quite snugly on the downdraft tower of the Reef Devil. At first I wasn't impressed, it worked better than before but was super finicky.

I looked at all of the commercial Becket models and DIY plans I could find, and decided "What the heck, I'll cut off the downdraft tower." Lemme tell ya, the plastic used on the Reef Devil would rather break than be sawed, but I finally cut the thing down to about 3" in height. Although the Beckett skimmers I've seen did not have the tube extend down into the skimmer body like the downdraft models, there really isn't anything I could do about that, so I left that part alone.

I hooked up the Beckett to the shorter tower and put the skimmer back in service. MAN!!! I don't think I've ever seen this skimmer work so well, even when I first got it and thought it was the s***. The entire column is filled with an insane number of bubbles, much smaller than the downdraft ever produced. I got this thing pretty well dialed in, and since I made the mod I've had to empty the dark nasty stuff four times. Of course, this is likely due to the fact that I essentially didn't have a skimmer for the last 6-7 months and there is a lot of crap in the water, but I'm still jazzed.

One strange thing I noticed, when I feed or put my hands in the tank, the skimmer recovers in less than half the time that it used to. Not sure I understand why that would be, but I find it interesting.

In any case, got the new skimmer coming in a few days, and I know it'll be much better than this piddly interim measure. Once I've got a real skimmer on the tank I'm gonna get another Beckett and try a DIY dual-injector just for kicks.
 
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