Maintenance of the skimmer: our guide to make it efficient

Maintenance of the skimmerThe skimmer is the heart of our aquariums. It’s the main filter. Now we will show how to make its maintenance. qui l’articolo in italiano sulla manutenzione dello schiumatoio.

Iquitos - mangimi tropicali - Colombo

We aquarists often are searching for the last technical product. But keeping a forefront model without regulation or the right maintenance is harmful.

We’ll return over the regulation in the next days, now we see how to make it efficient and let it work at his best.

The skimmer has 4 functional parts: the contact chamber, the glass, the pump and the air entrance.

The maintenance of the skimmer

The first thing we have to do is to clean the glass. In fact during the use it gets its neck dirty and decreases its efficiency. The skimmer needs to be cleaned from once a day to once a week, it depends on the biological load.

Maintenance of the skimmer - the cup

To do it you have to extract the glass and wash it and its cap under lukewarm flowing water  with a toothbrush. If you want to increase the system efficiency you can do it everyday.

There’s an alternative: you can assemble a set of (automatic or semi-automatic) brushes to keep the glass clean. For example, here below you can see the Autoskim by UltraReef (article).

autoskim from ultrareef

This system can largely improve the performance of the skimmer, if you don’t want to clean it everyday.

Body and pump of the skimmer

In addition to the glass even the body of the skimmer needs to be cleaned once every six months, at least: algae, sponges, ascidians and others may fill it. Due to all these excrescences the skimmer works worse, because they obstruct the creation of the bubbles.

Maintenance of the skimmer: Tunze 9415

Not just the body, but also the pump has to be cleaned. The impeller can get dirty, the slots may be occluded, and the capacity to suck water will decreases.

Maintenance of the skimmer: Vertex Omega 180i

So every six months both equipments have to be switched off and extracted by the aquarium. They can be put in a container with white vinegar and from 10 to 20 parts of freshwater. This solution is enough to remove the secretions and makes them easier to be cleaned.

The cleaning of the injector

It remains just the entrance of the air in the pump of the skimmer to be cleaned. The white vinegar treatment every six months it’s not enough, because it will be dirty before that. You can use a flow measurement to check the range of the incoming air, and see if it’s decrease. Yes I do so… if you ask.

sander flowmeter

If you may notice less bubbles in the skimmer, you can try using osmosis water to make it sucked directly by the injector.

Maintenance of the skimmer: RO water to injector

In this way the osmosis water cleans the tube of the incoming air and melts saline and calcareous scales in it. And I can assure that it works!

Obviously don’t expect to do this every six months because it would not work. Once a month it’s far better.

Guide for the skimmer maintenance


  1. Clean the glass from once a day to once a week: not more!
  2. Clean the body and the pump at least every six months;
  3. Clean the injector once a month.

Following these advices your skimmer will always work to the best of its efficiency!

Maintenance of the skimmer: ultrareef akula