Do I need a skimmer?

skimmerDo I need a skimmer for my basic mixed reef tank? For our KIS system, the answer is no. The negatives include initial expense, noise, electricity consumption, heat, and possible leaks.

For us, there is no substitute for water changes, so we removed the skimmer and have not looked back.

Exactly what does a skimmer remove?  The bad stuff?  Some good stuff?

Live food

The folks at LiveBrineShrimp now have a more affordable USPS Priority Mail shipping option. For their LBS-1 (¼ pound or 25,000 ) live brine shrimp:


Live brine can often be used to help with your picky eaters.  The Copperband Butterfly for example.

System #3 is underway

We made a few mistakes with our Tank #1 and solved many of them with the proverbial Tank #2.  Tank #2 evolved to System #2 when we tacked on an external fuge.

System #3 is now underway and our plan is to “fix” some of the problems, albeit minor, with Tank #2.

Please check back from time-to-time.  Hopefully we can save other reef keepers some time, money and stress.

Preview:  System #3 will be a coordinated and integrated display tank AND external display refugium.  And as usual, as simple as possible and practical.

Water will leak!


Continuing the theme.  If it can leak, it will!

Believe it or not, one of the plastic filter canisters in our RO/DI system broke at the neck and dropped to the floor with a bang.  Once when the plastic shattered and once when it hit the floor.  Believe it or not, we happened to be home AND someone was in the kitchen when it broke mid-day.  A quick turn of the water shut-off valve and damage was contained.

Let this be one of many lessons we learned the hard way.  We were lucky … this time.

Which carbon


General consensus seems to prefer the smaller ROX carbon (on the right in the picture).  About the size of tips of lead pencils.

Note that we tried carbon in our KIS System and removed it.  We did not see any noticeable improvement (or degradation) in water quality or livestock with carbon in place.