Hot Tips: Tips From Our Readers
Here's a tip I learned a while back to minimize the possibility of minute bubbles from a skimmer making it back into a tank and obscuring the view. I cut the bottom off an old salt bucket (or any appropriately sized bucket) to make the bucket short enough to fit in my sump. I removed the metal handle, and drilled a hole in the top of the bucket large enough for the tubing from the skimmer to fit through. I also cut some horizontal slits near the bottom of the salt bucket to allow more water to flow out. Now the water from the skimmer flows into the bucket and the tiny air bubble float and burst harmlessly at the top of the bucket without forming any corrosive salt spray.
- Greg Hiller
A long time ago I learned that suction cups on powerheads only work for a few weeks. I learned to build very simple acrylic brackets for these powerheads. I use strips of 1/4" or thinner acrylic, cut into 1 1/2" strips. The strips are then cut to about 12" long, or longer depending upon how deep in the tank you want the powerhead. I then make two right angle bends in the acrylic towards one end of the strip by warming the acrylic with a propane torch. You can cool the acrylic when it's in the right spot by dipping it into some water. These bends will hold the bracket onto the tank, so you will want to make them fit your tank. I use mostly Hagen powerheads, which come with small brackets for suction cups. The powerhead slips into these supplied brackets. I simply remove the suction cups and drill some holes in the acrylic bracket that line up with the holes in the supplied powerhead bracket. I then attach the supplied bracket to my custom made holder with a few nylon screws and nuts. Once in the tank, the acrylic bracket becomes completely covered in coralline algae, essentially invisible, and you never have to worry about a powerhead spinning out of control again.
- Greg Hiller
Here is a tip that will hopefully help people using CPR overflows that I have not come across. I have found with CPR overflows that a standard powerhead venturi on the outlet, such as that supplied with a Maxijet 1200 powerhead, does not work very well to keep air out of the overflow. This can result in a slowing or break in the siphon, and the impending water on the floor. This venturi type attachment just does not have a strong enough suction to create enough pressure to pull the air out. To correct this, I took a turbo venturi attachment that fits onto the water inlet of a Maxijet 1200 powerhead and hooked this up to the CPR. These are sold as a separate item from many of the online retailers, and typically used for skimmers in place of RIO powerheads. I think I paid about $5.00 for mine. After installing one of these all the air was cleared instantly- and stays cleared! This provides a much stronger suction to keep the air cleared out, and should prevent failure in the future. A second advantage is that the attachment is much more secure than when the airline hose is attached to the output of the pump, which is easily knocked off by passing snails giving the pump the once over.
-Michael Gerdes, Ph.D.