I've got the bug.....

Fisher2007

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My current tank has been running about 4 weeks now (see link) and I'm already planning another


I'm thinking a 45cm cube and have a couple of ideas for a scape. The only thing I've noticed with smaller displays is the lily pipes look out of place/out of proportion, particularly surface skimmers. Due to the scapes vs smaller tanks, most people seem to put the lily pipes/skimmers near the front too, which in my eyes detracts from the tank. Any opinions on how important skimmers are? I'm running one on my existing/new tank above but I'm still relatively new to the whole aquascaping thing, although have kept tanks in some form or another for years

Thanks
 
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MJQMJQ

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Skimmers are mainly used for saltwater aquariums not really for freshwater ones.Lily pipes should be to increase surface aeration and to look nice cos its glass.I think you could probably go without lily pipes/skimmers and just hide the inlet and outlet behind a rock or plant.
 

Andrew Butler

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Skimmers are mainly used for saltwater aquariums not really for freshwater ones
I'll add to what @MJQMJQ has said here as skimmers come in 2 quite different forms which can be categorised as 'Protein skimmers' and 'Surface skimmers' which is how I will refer to them.
-Protein skimmers are primarily used in marine aquariums and work in quite a different way to a surface skimmer but they remove what's essentially waste food and fish poop.
-Surface skimmers are mainly used in freshwater aquariums to skim the surface of the aquarium to remove any surface scum build up; oils, food, plants and the like but in a very different way.
If you're interested have a Google! :bookworm:
There are then 2 types of surface skimmer; ones which are independent and electrically powered and ones which rely on the filter to cause suction to pull in the wastes like you are using, both essentially do the same job.
Any opinions on how important skimmers are?
I find I do need to use a surface skimmer to keep things clean on top, you will hear many people on here saying things along the lines of 'something is out of line if you need to use one' or similar but you will find many people on here that do use them and if you look at tanks from places like aquarium gardens you will see they are using them too - I'll let you be the judge. ;)
most people seem to put the lily pipes/skimmers near the front too, which in my eyes detracts from the tank
Just had a look at the video of your aquarium, good effort. :clap: I would say you have a big fault with the position of your inlets/outlets as they are both facing each other, it would be better to have one set at the front and the other at the back to create a circular flow, this can also dictate which way around our inlet/outlets go in sets. At your back left you have your outlet nearest the front and inlet behind it which I would suggest is the opposite way around to have things. (inlet goes into filter outlet comes from filter to aquarium) If you were to swap the back left around then move your lily pipes to the front on the right then this would work. Does this make sense? - just think circular flow; one pulls flow in, the other forces flow out
I'm not a fan of looking at them either so try to hide things as much as possible, I'm not a huge fan of glass either as it can show dirt up very easily despite keeping them clean and you do still see them. I've used stainless steel in the past, simply as I prefer the look.
A 45cm cube is small whatever inlet/outlets you use and worth just looking around to see what other people have done in the same situation.
I don't have an answer to your question going forward but hopefully some of what I've said will make sense and can improve performance in your existing aquarium, if it doesn't make sense then just ask.
 

Fisher2007

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Thanks for the reply Andrew

Yeah, protein skimmers I know only too well after many years keeping a big sps reef tank. Stinky things!

I think you're right re surface skimmers and the likes of aquarium gardens using them, so I'll follow suit if I go ahead with the 45cm cube. Not a fan of the electric powered ones, aesthetically, so I'll stick with glass if I do set that tank up

Re the flow in my existing tank, I know you're right in terms of a circular flow but I'm trying to find an aesthetic balance here too. With the tank being viewed from both ends too (due to where it is in the room) I ideally don't want inlet and outlet pipes covering the end panels. I have managed to angle the lily pipes differently to find hopefully that balance, as one points to the front of the tank and one to the rear. You're right re the skimmer though and it being in front of the lily pipe, I hadn't thought of that. I'll swap that over next time I do a clean
 
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MJQMJQ

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So technically surface skimmers are only if u have oil or whatever on the surface?I only find a film of oil when i overfeed oops or get lazy with tank gravel vacuuming.
 

Andrew Butler

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Stinky things!
indeed they are - I had a Swabbie and drained it all into the Davy Jones Locker, Imagine the smell from that when it was opened up!
Not a fan of the electric powered ones, aesthetically, so I'll stick with glass if I do set that tank up
Do you like the stainless steel look? There are ones that exist in stainless steel both in the filter powered and electrically powered types.
Re the flow in my existing tank, I know you're right in terms of a circular flow but I'm trying to find an aesthetic balance here too. With the tank being viewed from both ends too (due to where it is in the room) I ideally don't want inlet and outlet pipes covering the end panels. I have managed to angle the lily pipes differently to find hopefully that balance, as one points to the front of the tank and one to the rear. You're right re the skimmer though and it being in front of the lily pipe, I hadn't thought of that. I'll swap that over next time I do a clean
Compromise is maybe what you will probably have to accept going forward with fish keeping; if you don't have good flow then it's a big problem which could eventually lead to more, algae and plant growth being the main ones. One alternative if you don't like looking at items on the ends is to use a spraybar right along the back, I've made a few along the way and it will ruin your idea of having a backlight with the look you currently have but you can't have it both ways (compromise) ;)
Just reading back through again and you said balance which essentially is compromise, you will find what does/doesn't work for you in the long run.
 
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