If you are one of the many people who start out with a simple and perhaps relatively small reef, chances are you may decide that a sump isn’t something you want to dabble with until you have more experience.
Well, despite having certain drawbacks, sumps do offer some advantages, and one of these is the surface skimming that weirs and overflows provide. Without this process, many sumpless tanks accumulate an unsightly ‘biofilm’ on the water surface which reduces light penetration, interferes with gaseous exchange and can really ruin the look of a system.
There are ways to reduce this film (increased surface agitation for example), but in our experience we’ve found it very difficult to erradicate the film completely using such methods, and some of these solutions only cause other problems. The only thing that has really worked for us effectively long-term has been the installation of a dedicated surface skimmer. Unfortunately, these units seem quite hard to acquire, are not always designed with salt water in mind, and are often tricky to install.
We were therefore very keen to test the new V2Skim Compact Surface Skimmer from TMC. Unpacking the item, we immediately noticed that this unit comes with a far more versatile range of connection options than other units we’ve had, meaning you should be able to connect this piece of kit to any number of devices, especially other TMC equipment. In the past we’ve hooked-up our surface skimmers directly to a powerhead, but on receipt of this item, we decided to connect it directly to our MCE600 intake. This was easy to acheive with the units screw collar butting-up against a 45 degree ABS elbow (which we sealed with a smear of silicone). In this configuration the skimmer works a treat, drawing the surface layer of tank water directly into the skimmer for processing (the skimmer still works perfectly by the way, indeed we are now seeing production of much thicker and darker skimmate). In just a few minutes it had completely removed our surface film. This unit also offers far more scope for adjustment than previous models we’ve used and is far more suited to coping with the demands of a marine environment, lacking parts that may be affected by a build-up of mineral deposits. The range of travel also means it can cope with the significant daily fluctuations in water level which may be encountered with a marine system, and a simple twist of the unit can adjust the balance between water intake through its surface strainer or secondary underwater intake.
So, it’s as simple as that. The unit is silent running, compact and unobtrusive, connected easily and is sufficiently adjustable to set it to skim effectively almost indefinitely. Now that our surface film is gone for good, we have beautiful glitter lines across the entire aquarium, improved gaseous exhange, better waste processing and higher light levels reaching our corals… all without a sump. Excellent value for around £18 RRP and top marks to TMC!
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