THE CURRENT TECHNOLOGY OF NEEDLE-WHEEL PROTEIN SKIMMERS (which is about 13 years old) IS WRONG, AND HAS BEEN FOR THE LAST 13 YEARS .
But first.... Don't you think that if needle-wheel skimmers were all that they are made out to be, that I'd be making them too? I'm just like everyone else and want to make money too, but I know for a fact and from my own dabbling with skimmer design (32 years) and hobbyist feedback that needle-wheel protein skimmers are inefficient. Not on purpose, but because of the strict design limitations on these skimmers (notice that they all look the same: needle-wheel pump, bubble-plate, cone shape) that they can't help but be less efficient. The needle-wheel gimmick was a new thing, and hasn't changed in the 13 years since it came out. Sure, they've messed with the pumps to have needles, pins, mesh, springs, what-have-you but all these still produce bubbles, and the bubbles could care less what made them. But there are more things wrong with needle-wheel skimmer designs that will be explained now.....
Due to the number of upset hobbyists using these needle-wheel skimmers we will start referring to these skimmers as !#?@$*-wheel skimmers. This includes needle, pin, mesh, spring, porcupine (wait, it is coming), rod, whatever it is that sucks in water/air and bashes it into bubbles, they are all the same. Poor at protein removal, poor at removing solids, and big on maintenance and pump failure.
You have been mislead by the industry. You have paid probably BIG money for a product that they know is poor at protein removal. They have misinformed you about their products and their skimmers efficiency at protein removal. Another "dis" to the hobbyist is that they discontinue their protein skimmer every year in lieu of having something "better" so your new expensive protein skimmer will be obsolete when you need to get parts or a new pump. Why? Well, new sells, but unfortunately nothing new has been done, they've only changed the way the bubbles are made, shove those bubbles into an inefficient bubble-plate-cone design, and it's been poor protein removal ever since. Those !#?@$*-wheel pumps don't last long, they are weak (when was the last time you saw a tall !#?@$*-wheel skimmer), require cleaning the mesh/needle/spring or whatever it is that beats up the air.
Two things have been lost with regards to protein skimming efficiency, that they don't tell you: 1. CONTACT TIME, height is what makes a protein skimmer handle larger aquarium/water volumes, period. It is called "contact time" and the shorter the skimmer the shorter the contact time, and the straighter the bubbles rise to the surface, poor for protein removal. But, there are things you can do with short skimmers to increase/enhance the contact time, and Lifereef skimmers do that. 2. Nitrates . Efficient protein removal will reduce your nitrates. This too was common knowledge back when everyone was making true venturi protein skimmers. Not anymore because !#?@$*-wheel skimmers are poor at protein removal and this relates directly with lowering nitrates.
Notice how many hobbyists have to use bio-pellet reactors? This was not the norm when all protein skimmers were venturi. Practically every hobbyist that calls me to have me make them a new filter system, or get a Lifereef protein skimmer, is using bio-pellets.
There are more things wrong with !#?@$*-wheel protein skimmers:
1. Bubble Plate. Nothing magic here, it is just a "muffler" to stop turbulence, which by the way would make the protein skimmer much more efficient, but too much turbulence will have bubbles leaving the skimmer and any bubbles leaving the skimmer are not transporting the proteins it collected and putting them in the cup, and your aquarium may end up with a bubble problem if your sump can't filter them out.
2. Cone, hourglass, wineglass, squashed cylinder, melted oval, whatever they call it is nothing magic and does not enhance the efficiency. They do this so that they can hold the large bubble plate (and sometimes the pump too) but then they have to transition to a narrow neck at the top for the collection cup.
3. Neck diameter is too large and as such does not allow the foam to properly dry out and collect the nice dark skimmate and solids that the Lifereef skimmers can.
4. And finally the pump. !#?@$*-wheel pumps are so maintenance intense too clogging up with debris, wearing out the internal parts because of the unbalanced wheel, require frequent disassembly to clean, but they don't tell you this. Plus, the pump will be obsolete in a year, cost upwards of $200 to $600 to replace. Another problem with !#?@$*-wheel pumps is that they produce a bubble diameter that is too consistent and too small, not good for efficient foam transportation into the cup. Bubbles of consistent size rise to the surface and have more of a "meet and greet" party and just mull around, and they are too wet. But bubbles of various diameter have the larger bubbles bust through the "meeters and greeters" and get them moving upwards through the column and transported into the cup.
Every hobbyist that has replaced their !#?@$*-wheel protein skimmer with a Lifereef venturi protein skimmer knows they have been sold an inefficient product, sees the huge difference in skimmate removal that the Lifereef venturi protein skimmer does, enjoys the low maintenance, and knows all that I have written about these inferior protein skimmers is correct.
Your aquarium, your knees, your pocketbook, will love the Lifereef Protein Skimmer! Your last protein skimmer you will ever need, unless you need more for more aquariums!
FOR 32 YEARS LIFEREEF HAS BEEN AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION AND STILL REMAINS AHEAD IN TERMS OF PRODUCT DESIGN AND PERFORMANCE. OUR COMPETITORS OFFER GIMMICK AFTER GIMMICK, YEAR AFTER YEAR. LIFEREEF PRODUCTS HAVE REMAINED UNCHANGED FOR 0VER 24 YEARS BECAUSE WHEN IT WORKS YOU DON'T CHANGE, YOU CONTINUE TO PROVIDE TO HOBBYISTS A FANTASTIC PRODUCT AND CONTINUE TO PROVIDE PARTS AND SERVICE FOR THOSE PRODUCTS, FOR LIFE, HENCE THE NAME "LIFEREEF"
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