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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone!

I would like to build a DIY protein skimmer. I have a 55gal tank and no sump although eventually I would like to get one. I want the protein skimmer to work with my current tank, and have the option to have it work with my sump when I get it. I really liked Geoff's design but I don't know if it's big enough for my tank, and if it will work without a sump tank.
Please help.
 

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Ditto what Fly Guy said, Geoff's skimmer should easily handle your 55 gal tank. If you DIY without a sump, you basically are looking for a hang on skimmer and I'm not aware of too many DIY designs for that. If you got a 100 bucks, go for the coralife super skimmer rated for 125 gal tanks. They're on sale at doctors foster and smith, I believe.
 

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any skimmer can be made into a HOB, it is just a matter of how much room you have. so, how much room do you hae behind/beside the tank? :D

the biggest problem with doing HOB's is the pump inside the tank. takes up a fair amount of room. it also makes more sense to use a PH that has an air inlet option. these are a bit less sensitive to water level fluctuations than the needlewheel ones.

do you have a shelf, or will it need to hang on the rim of the tank?

$100 bucks is going to be tough to beat, even DIY'ing one for the first time. it becomes a question of the fun of DIY or the cost as the driving factor.

with pump and all materials a HOB DIY skimmer will be close to $70. if any design changes are needed, than it may go up.

i am glad to help with whatever you decide.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank Your for your replies.

I have plenty of room in the back of the tank. I would like it to hang on the rim. Also I was thinking about getting the seio820 for my powerhead. I would really appreciate all the help I can get. I need plans, and a list of equipment. I am guessing that most of it will be similar to your design Geoff, but I don't know what modifications need to be made.
 

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a Seio will not work as a pump for the skimmer. the biggest MJ would be a good start. the hardest part about building a HOB skimmer is find a pump that can be attached to PVC pipe. PH all have small nozzles, but they are nice and small. but larger pumps have threaded fittings, but they are to ugly to be in the tank. :(

i unfortunately do not have any PH around that i can test fit several for you to make sure i give you exactly what you need. i can come up with a skimmer body that would work and you can figure out the pump and its connection to the skimmer body.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Geoff thank you for your reply.

I am not dead set on an HOB skimmer, I mean it would be nice for now, but since I do want to get a sump later on, I really wouldn't mind building an external skimmer, but one that would be able to function without the sump for now, and then with the sump with some minor modifications. I am not sure if this is possible, but please let me know if it is. (Couldn't I just have the return go directly back into the tank, I know I would need another pump, but as to how this would work I have no idea.

Your input is very much appreciated
 

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the main body of the skimmer can be used for both HOB and in sump. it will just be a matter of changing the inlet and outlet slightly for each version.

you can not use two pumps for a skimmer. at some point you will get a flood. the skimmer will just dump back into the tank. the inlet pump will do all of the work.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Geoff, I think that I would like to go ahead and try to build this, however, I am a little confused as to how the configuration of the inlet and outlet would look in relation to the skimer and the tank. Could you please elaborate a little. I think that I would like to follow your "Mantled Monster" design.
 

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not a problem. how tall is your tank? how high can the skimmer be above the tank before you think it would be to ugly to be acceptable?

the hardest part i see in this is finding a PH that will accept PVC piping. do you have a budget on a pump in mind? i will see what i can come up with, but need a starting point.

the rest of the design will not be much different than what i have listed on the site. there are a couple of improvements, but i will describe them later. i think the pump situation is the biggest problem right now.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Geoff thank you for you willingness to help.

The tank dimensions are 48X12.5X21.

Currently the top of the Tank is 54-56 inches off the ground.

I have plenty of room in the back of the tank, and to the sides, and I don't really mind if the top of the skimmer is above the tank.

I don't really have a budget for a pump, I would like it to be as cheap as possible, but good, I think $30-$50 (maybe mag 5)?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The skimmer does not have to be an HOB, it can stand on the ground like in your design, but without a sump, how would I get the water back into the tank, maybe I could use the mag5 for the return, also how would I get the water into the skimmer
 

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this goes back to what i was saying about putting the pump in the tank. :( a Mag 5 is a bit big to be sitting in the back of the tank.

the skimmer will gravity feed back into the tank. we only need to get the water into the skimmer. i am thinking about building a self priming section to the pump. it will make the outside of the tank a bit more ugly, but should work. i will try and think of an expensive way to create a self priming attachment to the Mag.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Geoff, thank you, this sounds great. I think you probably meant "inexpensive" in your previous post. Maybe some kind of overflow with a powerhead airhose attached to it would keep the pump primed.
 

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yea, it is far to easy to come up with expensive ways to do things in a reef tank. :D

it may be a dual column thing. a large autoprimer and the skimmer itself. PVC is cheap so i do not think it would add much cost. do you have a shelf near the tank you can place these things?

G~
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Geoff thank you for your replies. I do not have a shelf behind my tank, I was thinking maybe it would make sense to have the skimmer stand on the ground, as eventually I will get a sump. However, building a shelf out of some 2X4, or 2X6 and putting it behind the tank would not be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Geoff,

I think I may get another tank to use for a sump. I need another tank anyway as I just ordered 40lbs of live rock, and I will need to cook it for a few weeks anyway. Would a 20gal (my tank is 55 gal) be enough to use for a sump, once the rock is cooked.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sweet, I got me a sump (found a used one for $25 at my LFS), it's a 30gal long, and it already has the baffles built in. I think that next weekend I will try to build the skimmer. I will try to follow you "manteled monster" design as closely as possible.
How do I get the water into the skimmer? (I do not want to drill the tanks) Do I need to use an overflow, or is there some other method of doing it?
 
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