4628 S. Ward Way, Morrison, Colorado 80465
Phone: 303-978-0940 and 303-719-0950 Fax: 303.973.2044
E-mail: lifereef@denver.net

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Product photos and specs lower down this page..... but read the very informative text below BEFORE choosing a skimmer. If you are still not convinced give me a call, you'll learn more about the junk being promoted and sold by the skimmer manufacturers who are more interested in sales than honesty and performance and selling you a good product. Sometimes "new technology" isn't.


I have been receiving a lot more orders from hobbyists fed up with their needle-wheel skimmers. They finally "get it". Most report having to adjust too often, noise, unclogging venturi inlets (yes, those needle-wheel skimmers actually do have a venturi) cleaning bubble-plates, broken needle or mesh wheels and not able to get parts for them, too wet skimmate, light colored skimmate, etc. None of these are traits of Lifereef protien skimmers. Why put yourself through the torture? Really, I'm trying to save you money, time, sanity, so you can enjoy the hobby, not the drudgery of maintenance. You can learn the more costly way by trial and error........ or go with a Lifereef first, and be richer!

I received this email from a hobbyist using a pin-wheel skimmer: "I have no question a Venturi style skimmer is better than a pin wheel. I have 3 main issues with this stupid V#$*@#. 1: The air intake alway, ALWAYS, builds up a big salt plug in about 3-4 days. As the plug builds the skimmer level increases until it overflows. Usually it grows relatively un-noticed then breaks off and jams the intake completely creating an instant overflow which I don't pick up on with it being in my basement. 2: The pinwheel. Don't even get me started. In just over a year, I've replaced that stupid ceramic shaft twice. 3: Don't ever, EVER, shut your skimmer off. The pin wheel wont start turning by itself, or at least very rarely. Stupidest thing I've ever seen."

Simply put: the majority of protein skimmers being sold today are the least efficient way to design a protein skimmer.... Seems nobody really understands what makes an efficient protein skimmer and that is "Contact Time" and it is the very reason skimmers range from short to tall, increased Contact Time. Ask the other skimmer company how they get good contact time when their design allows the bubbles to shoot straight to the surface instead of take a longer path. If they say "more air" well, that is not good because more air has drawbacks to skimmer performance, usually a skimmer that is so sensitive to water changes that it will lose its foam simply by sticking a finger in the water. Look at where the bubble plate is positioned, one third to one half-way up the column further reducing the important Contact Time. Look at the large neck diameter. Large neck diameters mean more wet skimmate and not the dark stuff that can be produced by skimmers with narrow neck diameters.

"CONTACT TIME" DEFINITIONS:

1. The time spent with your skimmer making changes, playing with settings, fiddling, cleaning. Other skimmers.

2. The time spent with bubble/water contact making for a much more efficient protein skimmer. Lifereef skimmers.

CONTACT TIME is what makes a protein skimmer efficient. The longer you can keep the rising bubbles in the water the better the efficiency. A bubble-plate is not a good method because as soon as the bubbles leave the plate they head straight to the surface, a straight line, the shortest distance possible between two points. Having the bubble have some "dwell time" within the skimmer increases the dwell time and increases the skimmers performance and gallon rating. In our smaller skimmers the design features an off-center internal bubble-baffle tube and an off-center foam riser column causing the bubbles to hit the underside of the skimmer and bounce around taking a longer time to get out and thus increased performance. On taller skimmers the contact time is increased using a rotational input feature to cause a lower level vortex. Both of these design techniques are excellent dwell time features, MUCH MORE EFFICIENT THAN STRAIGH-LINE BUBBLE-RISING SKIMMERS.

More efficient than cone, more efficient than skimmers with the pump inside or under the skimmer, more efficient than bubble-plate skimmers, more efficient than than any needle-wheel. It is not the method to produce bubbles that make an efficient protein skimmer, it is more in some subtle skimmer design criteria that others just don't understand that make a more efficient skimmer. Notice how many skimmers are copy-cat skimmers of each other, not too many really know how to design a truly efficient skimmer and one with low maintenance, they just copy someone elses design and add some new "thing" and then come up with reasons as to why it is better.

If you want a truly "set and forget" skimmer then this is it. If you want to fiddle with ball/gate valves, air adjustments, water in/water out adjustments, unclog needle-wheels, fret, worry about flooding, have more downtime than skimming time, proprietary pumps that won't be around when you need to purchase another, then the list is extensive with other skimmer choices.

For more commentary on protein skimmers Click Here

Make sure you check out the LIFEREEF SKIMMER CLUB! where you can read about those actually using a Lifereef protein skimmer.


The Lifereef skimmers have NONE of the problems all other skimmers have. You will have BETTER skimming, LESS maintenance, and HAPPIER times ENJOYING your hobby, not messing with troublesome protein skimmers.

A TON of FEATURES THAT ARE ONLY AVAILABLE WITH A LIFEREEF PROTEIN SKIMMER:


SOME REVIEWS FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT.....

Read the many customer Testimonials, many of which list skimmers that did not work as well as the Lifereef

SVS3-24 Skimmer using MagDrive 9.5 pump:SVS3-24 using Mag9.5 pump

SVS2-24 Skimmer using Jebao DC pump: SVS2-24 using Jebao DC water pump

SVS3-30 Skimmer using Mag12, go to 3:00 time, listen to what the narrator says about skimmate collection on other skimmers : SVS3-30/Mag12


All protein skimmers "work", ours just don't require all the hassle to keep it working. Set it and FORGET IT! Except for emptying the cup, of course! It does not take a genius to pump bubbles into a tube full of water, but there is some real science and physics in how to get these bubbles to foam and get into the cup.


Click on thumbnails for close-up details, text notes, and fantastic workmanship!
VS3-48/60/72 base VS3-48/60/72 upper lower flange neck/o-ring quick-disconnect upper flange collection cup cap dirty cup
VS2-24 VS2-24 Skimmate Skimmate VS2-24 Dual VS3-48 VS3-72

Needle-wheel this, nozzle injection that, downdraft, updraft, cone-shape, three-speed pump now? (for what?)

IT'S WHAT'S IN THE CUP THAT COUNTS



And now.... the LIFEREEF PROTEIN SKIMMERS!!

A FEW WORDS ABOUT NANO SKIMMERS...... We don't make them.
When some things are miniaturized they don't always work the same, more finicky, prone to overflowing, noisy, parts easily broken, etc.           
All skimmers utilize a
Self-Cleaning Venturi!

No salt clogging, ever!
NO SALT CLOGGING!
NO NOISE!
NO ODOR!
NO MAINTENANCE!
For aquarium size, up to shown gallons Pump Size
(can be ordered with or without pump)
Footprint Special Notes
All skimmers are ozone safe.
All skimmers come with fittings, tubing, and clamps. Ozone Kit optional.
Drain Kit now included.
All 24 and 30 model skimmers can be easily converted between in-sump, external sump, and hang-on positions. In fact, all Lifereef protein skimmers can be use in-sump or out-of-sump, the skimmer doesn't care where it is placed.
Prices
YOU CAN USE ANY PUMP WITH A LIFEREEF PROTEIN SKIMMER: Jebao, WaterBlaster, BubbleBlaster, Red Dragon, Diablo, Little Giant, MagDrive, BlueLine, Iwaki, etc. As long as the pump has sufficient gph output you can use any water-moving pump you want. You are not "locked in for the life of the skimmer" like you are with needle-wheel skimmers giving you much more freedom with your pump choice. It is NOT THE PUMP that makes a good performing protein skimmer, there is much more involved than the pump. We prefer the MagDrive because the pump has remained unchanged for over 30 years, very strong in construction and performance, quiet (really), threaded in/out fittings, heavy, readily available parts if/when needed, and any store in the U.S. (including Lifereef) carries them in case you need one fast. But, if you would prefer another pump we'll do it.
CUSTOM SKIMMERS
TO FIT YOUR CABINET
Don't accept a skimmer that is too short just because the next size up is too tall.
Let me build you a skimmer to maximize your cabinet height for the best CONTACT TIME.
A tall skimmer is the best thing you can do for your entire system, get one as tall as possible.
Don't settle for short!
  Prices are typically at the next taller skimmers price.
VS2-24
VS2-24, 22 1/2" tall
250 gallons 600-1200 gph 7 x 18
with pump
The "original" that has been around longer than any other venturi protein skimmer. The test of time has proven this skimmer to be very efficient and the least amount of maintenance of ANY skimmer on the market!
Recommended sump water level: any depth up to 9" high.
$529.00 with pump
$429.00 less pump

Pump is

BlueLine 30HDX
In-Sump Skimmer
SVS2-24 in-sump
22 1/2" tall
250 gallons 600-1200 gph
submersible pump
SMALL FOOTPRINT!
8 x 12
with pump
Small footprint and no micro-bubble problems make this in-sump skimmer one of the easiest to set up and you won't require a special sump to use it.
Recommended sump water level: any depth up to 9" high.
$469.00 with pump
$429.00 less pump

Pump is

MagDrive 9.5
Hang-On Skimmer
HVS2-24 Hang-On
250 gallons 600-900 gph
submersible pump
Takes 6 1/2" of aquarium rim, needs 7" space behind tank, and extends 17" above tank rim. You can hang this skimmer on the rim in three different directions. Skimmer can be removed from the bracket for in-sump or stand-alone sump connection should you move to a sump setup.
Don't have the space behind the aquarium? Hang this skimmer on the front or side for a few days to remove protein then take it off until the next week. Much more efficient than any of the small "toy" hang-ons.
$525.00 with pump
$449.00 less pump

Pump is
MagDrive 9.5
VS3-24
VS3-24, 22 1/2" tall
250 gallons 600-1200 gph 9 x 12
6 1/2 square base
Flange design utilizes a full-face gasket and 8 nylon thumbscrews with keyhole for easy on/off access. The ONLY reason to use a flange skimmer in a Lifereef design is for cleaning small sponges, tubeworms, etc. out of the main body. Sludge will never build up in the skimmer body as it does in downdrafts and nozzle injection skimmers, which must be taken down regularly to keep them working.
Recommended sump water level: any depth up to 9" high.
$594.00 with pump
$494.00 less pump

Pump is

Blueline 30HDX
VS3-24
SVS3-24 in-sump
22 1/2" tall
250 gallons 600-1200 gph
submersible pump
9 x 12
6 1/2 square base
Flange design utilizes a full-face gasket and 8 nylon thumbscrews with keyhole for easy on/off access. The ONLY reason to use a flange skimmer in a Lifereef design is for cleaning small sponges, tubeworms, etc. out of the main body. Sludge will never build up in the skimmer body as it does in downdrafts and nozzle injection skimmers, which must be taken down regularly to keep them working.
Recommended sump water level: any depth up to 9" high
$544.00 with pump
$494.00 less pump

Pump is
MagDrive 9.5
Hang-On Skimmer
HVS3-24 Hang-On, right
HVS2-24 Hang-On, center and left
250- gallons 600-1200 gph
sumbersible pump
Takes 6 1/2" of aquarium rim, needs 8" space behind tank, and extends 17" above tank rim. You can hang this skimmer on the rim in three different directions. Skimmer can be removed from the bracket for in-sump or stand-alone sump connection should you move to a sump setup.
Don't have the space behind the aquarium? Hang this skimmer on the front or side for a few days to remove protein then take it off until the next week. Much more efficient than any of the small "toy" hang-ons.
No special bubble trap or container are required!
$594.00 with pump
$524.00 less pump

Pump is
MagDrive 9.5
VS3-30
VS3-30, 30" tall
Also available as an IN-SUMP setup, same skimmer, different pump
350 gallons 900-1200 gph 9 x 12
6 1/2 square base

Same features as the VS3-24 above, onty taller!
Can also be
used in-sump.

Recommended sump water level: any depth up to 16".
$624.00 with pump
$524.00 less pump

Pump is
BlueLine 30HDX
VS3-36
VS3-36, 36" tall
Also available as an IN-SUMP setup, same skimmer, different pump.
400 gallons 1200-1500 gph 9 x 12
6 1/2 square base


Same features as the VS3-24 above, only taller!
Can also be
used in-sump.

Recommended sump water level: any depth up to 22".
$634.00 with pump
$529.00 less pump

Pump is
BlueLine 30HDX
Add $15.00 for
BlueLine 40HDX

 
Optional 8" Cup
for all Lifereef Skimmers
When a 6" cup just isn't enough you can add this 8" diameter cup to any of the Lifereef protein skimmers and extend your maintenance time!
For all Lifereef Protein Skimmers.
8" diameter x 6" tall
For 24, 30, and 36 skimmers $69.00 with skimmer
order or $89.00 if ordered later.

8" Collection Cup is standard on 48, 60, and 72 size skimmers.
Mazzei Venturies are used on the skimmers below.
Nothing beats a Mazzei for air suction and mixing and performance on really big skimmers!

The skimmers below can also be used with 2 Mazzei Injectors for FANTASTIC bubble-action!

Can also be used on any Lifereef protein skimmer above for additional $69.00.


$69.00 option for all
the above skimmers if ordered with skimmer, $86.00 if ordered later.

Included on skimmers below.

 The unique nature of the Lifereef protein skimmers air  circulation allows any unused ozone to be recirculated  back into the skimmer for complete ozone utilization.
 NO ozone escapes into the cabinet and no special  carbon  filter is required.
 

Ozone Kit to allow the use of ozone injection into the venturi suction.

Includes appropriate Norprene tubing, "T" fitting, and hose adapters to connect to 1/8" ID tubing from your ozonizer. Other tubing diameters are available.



All 24, 30 & 36 skimmers $6.00

VS3-48 skimmer $25.00
VS3-60 skimmer $30.00
VS3-72 skimmer $35.00
VS3-48/60/72
VS3-48, 48" tall
500 gallons 1200-1500 gph
Larger pumps can be used.
12 x 19 or
12 x 12 if the Mazzei venturi is mounted vertically off the pump.
This 4 foot tall skimmer can be converted to a taller model with the addition of an extension.
Can be installed in the following setups:
Conventional
Counter-current
Re-Circulation/Co-current
Re-Circulation/Counter-Current

8": diameter BIG COLLECTION CUP

Sump depth has no bearing on the operation of this skimmer, unless your sump depth is higher than 30".
$889.00 with pump
$779.00 less pump

Pump: BlueLine 40HDX
VS3-48/60/72
VS3-60, 60" tall
700 gallons 1200-2500 gph
Larger pumps can be used.
12 x 19 or
12 x 12 if the Mazzei venturi is mounted vertically off the pump.
This 5 foot tall skimmer can be converted to a taller model with the addition of an extension.
Can be installed in the following setups:
Conventional
Counter-current
Re-Circulation/Co-current
Re-Circulation/Counter-Current

8" diameter BIG COLLECTION CUP

Sump depth has no bearing on the operation of this skimmer, unless your sump depth is higher than 42".
$999.00 with pump
$889.00 less pump

Pump: BlueLine 40HDX
VS3-48/60/72
VS3-72, 72" tall
IMPRESSIVE!!!!
1500 gallons+ 1200-2500 gph
Larger pumps can be used.
12 x 19
or 12 x 12 if the Mazzei venturi is mounted vertically off the pump.
This skimmer is awesome! Standing a full 6 feet tall this skimmer is sure to beat all skimmers!

Can be installed in the following ways:
Conventional, Counter-Current

Recirc/Co-Current, Recirc Counter-Current
8" diameter BIG COLLECTION CUP

Sump depth has no bearing on the operation of this skimmer, unless your sump depth is higher than 54".

This skimmer can be used without a sump and can stand alongside or behind your aquarium as long as the aquarium water level is no higher than 54" from the floor. However, you can raise the skimmer in order for it to function with water levels exceeding 54".

This skimmer was used on a 3500 gallon shark/predator fish aquarium that was constantly cloudy and cleared the water to crystal-clear conditions within one week of installation. Prior to the Lifereef skimmer being used the aquarium had two 18" diameter x 48" tall skimmers running with three pumps each, and they never produced the quality and quantity of skimmate that the Lifereef did.
$1109.00 with pump
$1009.00 less pump

Pump: BlueLine 40HDX

Unlike the majority of protein skimmers on the market that need the entire skimmer body cleaned (and why they have flange assemblys) the Lifereef skimmers do not need a body cleaning. The ONLY component needing cleaning is the collection cup.

Read the information below BEFORE making a decision about protein skimmers, and then read it again when you make a different purchase other than a Lifereef and you will see that this information is true.

The Lifereef protein skimmers were designed about 20 years ago and are still produced today because of their superb performance, and best of all low maintenance and consistent operation. Again, LOW maintenance and consistent operation.

We listen to the complaints of those that have other skimmers and try not to make the same mistakes, or build the same skimmers.

There are good reasons why we don't make needle-wheels, Becketts, downdrafts, pseudo-downdrafts, special "nozzle" injectors, or other air-ingestion/shoving device: HIGH MAINTENANCE. Note: all these skimmers work but at the cost of constant maintenance or adjustments, noise, special add-ons like waste collectors, bubble traps, etc. In fact many skimmer companies have so many issues with their protein skimmers that they have a website to deal with these problems, they don't want to talk to you.

Needle-Wheels: Can be noisy due to vibration and rigid mounting to skimmer body. Can be more noisy due to air cavitation since the air is introduced before the pump, and the pump needle-wheel beats the air into bubbles. Less friendly to plankton and copepods since the needle-wheel acts like a blender, unlike standard pump impellers that simply move "pockets" of water through the pump, something to think about if using a refugium. And something else to consider is the proprietary pump which means no other pump can be used on this type of skimmer. Lifereef skimmers can use any pump as long as the minimum gph is maintained.

Becketts Venturis: The Becketts is nothing more than a big venturi. It must be housed in its own chamber to prevent water from spraying all over and stop the loud sucking noise, add another air valve to fiddle with and you now have three adjustments you have to get in harmony: water in, air in, water out. And if you tweak one you have to tweak the others. The Lifereef skimmers have only one adjustment, a gate valve.

Nozzle Injection: Think of putting your thumb over the end of a garden hose and spraying water into a bucket, that's how nozzle injection skimmers work. Problems: the nozzle gets caked with salt requiring you to clean it (some even include a special cleaning tool) and a port on the nozzle so you can clean the salt, noise due to the high-velocity water hitting the surface of the water in the skimmer, very narrow adjustment range as the nozzle is either submersed or too far away from the nozzle to generate the microbubbles. Black box at bottom keeps you from seeing the water level needed for proper operation.

Bubble Plates: A bubble plate is just a way to distribute bubbles in the skimmer body without a lot of turbulence and turbulence is actually one of the things a good skimmer desigin will have, it increases contact time. The bubble plates will require cleaning which is why they are removable.

Bubble Producton Methods: Bottom line is that the protein skimmer and the water could care less where the bubble was "born". It could have come from an airstone, venturi, needle-wheel, DC pump, AC pump, nozzle injection, bubble plate needle-wheel, etc. It makes absolutely no difference to the skimmer. However, all these methods have other drawbacks and that is noise, more costly replacement parts, and much more maintenance. The Lifereef protein skimmers use a Self-Cleaning venturi meaning you will never have to deal with the method of bubble production.

Conventional Venturis: These are any other venturi skimmer on the market and not the Lifereef venturis: Problems: Constant salt clogging which causes erratic skimmer performance and constant cleaning of the venturi. Noise, due to the venturi orifice sucking in air it makes a whistling or a sucking noise. Collection cup flooding due to erratic performance, due to venturi clogging, your cup can overflow. The Lifereef skimmers utilize a self-cleaning venturi which means your skimmer will perform more consistent, SILENT, never need the venturi cleaned of salt, and no collection cup flooding.

Downdrafts: Now here is a very misunderstood area in design, function, and problems. The majority of downdraft designs can be identified by a closed box (or wet box) at the bottom of the skimmer and a large diameter uplift or "dry" column, and a water/air delivery of many different types. These skimmers may utilize for their air delivery a special spray nozzle, a Becketts venturi, a regular nozzle with a bio-ball column to break up the water stream into bubbles, or even a standard venturi with a larger water throughput. Problems, lots: Noise due to high-speed air being ingested into the column or shot onto the waters surface or onto the bio-balls. This design is difficult to trap and retain all the microbubbles in such a short closed box. Larger diameter uplift column requires a much stronger (gph) water pump, more water must be processed because the uplift columns are so short that contact time is reduced, and these types of skimmers REQUIRE a weekly take-down to clean the uplift column of sludge or the skimmer won't work. And one last but very important issue: Skimmer sensitivity....... This means that these types of skimmers are extremely sensitive to water quality and air quality. You would think that you would want a skimmer that is sensitive to water quality but you don't because these skimmers are actually working less time compared to venturi types. The reason is that because these skimmers are processing so much water, along with large volumes of air, that any minor water quality change will cause the skimmer to STOP FOAMING. A good example is when you put your hand in the aquarium or sump, and who hasn't done that at least once a day. This minor activity will change the water surface tension just enough (due to body oil) that these skimmers will STOP FOAMING for hours, and sometimes days, before they resume "normal" skimming. And there are many other products that the average hobbyist adds to the aquarium water that can make these skimmers either stop working, or, foam so much that they can't be run for awhile. And air quality? Being that these skimmers injest large volumes of air means that if you are cooking anything greasy like bacon, steak, hamburgers, hotdogs, hashbrowns, etc. that this grease molecule will get sucked into the skimmer and cause it to STOP FOAMING! It may sound funny but lots of customers don't even think of this and can't figure out why their skimmers aren't working, neither can the manufacturer!

Multi-Pump Designs: Can be any kind of skimmer but usually larger column diameters requiring lots of air because of the large diameter. Same problems as downdrafts, lots of air and lots of water means a very sensitive skimmer, and lots of power-hungry pumps and lots of heat.

CONE SHAPED SKIMMERS: This is the worste way you could design a protein skimmer, absolutely the lowest bubble/water contact time possible. The bubble leaves the bubble plate and travels in a straight line to the surface, the least amount of contact time. In the Lifereef skimmers the bubbles stay in the water for a longer period of time thus increasing the contact time and result in more efficiency. Contrary to what one cone-shape skimmer company said, this added turbulence does not knock off proteins. If you doubt this please check the photos of actual Lifereef skimmers and what has been collected in the cup. No cone-shape skimmer can produce this dark skimmate.

Special Waste Collectors: When the first downdraft was introduced it did not come with a waste collector. It was about a year later that one was introduced because these skimmers were, and still are, unpredictable and can dump lots of water and if you are dumping into a bucket you would have a flood. So, a special waste collector was needed to prevent the skimmer from flooding. The "collection cups" on these skimmers cannot be used for collecting anything, they just divert the waste into another container, and it better be a waste collector designed to prevent the skimmer from flooding. If you plug the drain line on a downdraft design the skimmer won't function. If a skimmer company offers a special waste collector it is of the "down-draft or "pseudo-downdraft design. Lifereef skimmers have a collection cup that actually collects waste and rarely floods due to the way it is designed and the self-cleaning venturi.

The Lifereef skimmers have NONE of the above issues.


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