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How do you dial in a protein skimmer?

All skimmers are made differently and require different settings and environments to obtain optimal performance. The instructions below are intended as guideline to help you adjust your skimmer.
  1. Allow the skimmer to break in 3-4 weeks before attempting to dial it in and clean the neck regularly with only water.
  2. For in-sump models make sure the sumps water level is consistently right below the output tee on the skimmer (usually at 5.75-6” on most of our SRO skimmers) throughout the day. Water level stability is key for consistent skimmer performance.
  3. Set the inner water level at about 3/4 the way up the skimmer body by opening and closing the valve. It will take some time (usually 3-5 hours is good but for the first time setting it up this way, leave it set for 12-24 hours) to allow the skimmer to adjust to this setting and build a solid head of foam/you should only see large air bubbles within the neck. Take notice of where I have the water level set in the first pic and the size of the air bubbles in the second. Skimmer inner water level Large bubbles in the neck of the skimmer.
Skimmer inner water levelLarge bubbles in the neck of the skimmer
  1. After you have the inner water level and the skimmer has adjusted to this setting you can begin to adjust the valve to obtain your choice in skimmate. The key is to make very small adjustments with the valve and leave it alone for a few hours to adjust. You may make adjustment over a period of a few days but after the initial setup you will notice that the skimmer will begin to skim consistently and there will be little to no tweaking to do after that point.Remember opening the valve drops the inner water level and you will get a collection of dryer/darker skimmate while closing the valve raises the water level giving you a wetter less concentrated skimmate.
  2. Keep up with the maintenance by cleaning out the venturi and skimmer neck. Every 4-6 months you should remove the pump and it soak in a bucket of a 40/60 mix of vinegar and water. I usually remove the volute and pull out the impeller to inspect for any signs of wear or debris. If you have trouble or have a question regarding setting up your skimmer please submit a help desk ticket for further assistance.