Saturday, May 4, 2013

Skimmer Overflowing? Try the Rem's Reef Method!!

Collection cup fitted with ball valve.
I had a mild but persistent Cyano (red slime) problem a few months back. While water changes kept the problem somewhat at bay, there were still a few spots where the red slime was clinging on. I had some cyano remover left over from a previous treatment, so I figured I would give it a try again.

Everything went well; the cyano went away, nothing perished. Good times. I did my 20% water change, replaced carbon, and in kicked on the skimmer. The skimmer overflowed. The annoying white clear foam rose through the skimmer's collection cup like a volcano... Not a real one, more like a papermache volcano from a science fair... but sill fiercely annoying! I removed the collection cup to let it do its thing. It overflowed.

I added more carbon and did another water change. It. Well... Overflowed. I let it run for a day and night. Guess what? It just kept overflowing. BLAST! I've used the product before and it usually got better on its own. This time- my skimmer continued to overflow.

So I asked my fellow reef nerd (this is not an insult in our world), Mr. Rem of (that's what is known as a "plug"... *cough* go visit...), what I should do. He suggested I allow it to fill up the collection cup and keep emptying it. You would then replace the amount of water taken out with fresh saltwater. Sounds simple- too simple in fact, but what did I have to lose?

Mixing salt... I don't have great images for this post, sorry...
So I tried it. I hooked up a tube and a ball valve to my protein skimmer's collection cup drain fitting. It filled up a few times and I drained it into a bucket by opening the ball valve. I added some premixed saltwater of equal amount to what was removed back to the sump. I closed the valve, and It started filling up again. This time a little slower. Drained it again, and then... It just stopped. All it took was a half hour of time and about a gallon of fresh saltwater.

So after a treatment using a Cyano remover (such as Boyd's Chemi-Clean (a.k.a. "red stain remover")), be sure to do a water change of 20%, and add fresh carbon to your system. If your skimmer is still overflowing, take a breath and don't panic. Try what I have dubbed the Rem's Reef Method! Easy-peasy-cyano-squeezy! Until next time...