DIY Skimmers VS Brand Skimmers


New member
Well the questions here is... Can a DIY skimmer can be as good or even better than a Brand "X" skimmer (like a Pritz, Via-Aqua, Nautilus, EA medics, Euro Reef, sea close, etc, etc) i know that some of them suck like the sea clone, but i speak in general...

And whats the best DIY skimmer that you have seen (Reliave and easy to buid)
Yes, they can, and a lot are better. Skimmer bodies are a very simple thing to build/design, and there are many tried and true designs.

Most of the tough things to DIY are the pumps/impellars these things use.

For example, the reason Bubble King skimmers work so well has nothing to do with the way the skimmer is built. Its the needlewheel pump. The Red Dragons are monster skimmer pumps.

Other than the NW skimmers, most commercial designs actually arent that well designed. Most becketts reduce tubing sizes in places (at the reaction/neck junction) without having any sort of curve to them. That results in bubbles combinging, and having inconsistent foam. These things would probably work much better with a curved neck.

So a summary? It depends. Some of the designs can be improved by a DIYer, some things cant. NW pumps? Not worth trying to design better impellars. Better bodies? Yes.
My 41" Beckett skimmer (room for two, but only running one beckett) is a no-name built by some guy and purchased on Ebay. Simple design and I could have built it myself had I known anything about acrylic fabrication (I suck with acrylic and weld-on! :D).

This thing skims the scales off my fish with a SINGLE beckett. Take a look at Weatherson's dual beckett. I'd put his skimmer up against any brand name ANY day.
Wow... so the most importan thing here is the pump and the impellar... Well if thats the case i woul like to make 2 Skimmers one for my 75 Gal tank and one for a new nano that ill make next month (20 Gal). What could be a good options?

Thanks for your help!

That site shows some great craftsmanship. Yes the design is sort of basic, but I use that term loosely. Dimensions (height, diameter) combined with pump size and plumbing size play an important role in a good skimmer. Itââ"šÂ¬Ã¢"žÂ¢s the builders understanding of this info that can optimize a skimmer. I may build a skimmer and show the design to a much more experienced builder and he could criticize mine to death if you know what I mean. If I had made it a little taller or a little bigger in diameter I could have used XXX pump which would make it 75% more efficient.

There are a lot of excellent skimmer builders in this forum, most of them could build a heck of a lot "nicer looking" skimmer than I ever will. The same gorgeous looking "all acrylic builtââ"šÂ¬Ã‚ skimmer could be built out of PVC and/or ABS as well to save quite a bit of money. No you won't win any show-room awards but a great economical DIY skimmer wins more awards in MY BOOK.

If you are not a Reef Central premium member (pay for the privilege) you can not use the ââ"šÂ¬Ã…"œsearchââ"šÂ¬Ã‚ function. I would search other forums as dig through Reef Central. You will find some designs and loads of info.
I'm very happy with with my DIY PVC counter current airstone skimmer. Haven't had to fiddle with it at all, and it always makes good skimmate. All parts I used are available at lowes (except I used a uniseal in one place that could have been done with a bunch of pvc adaptors) except for the airline fittings and pumps. No acrylic, rigid air tubing, or anything else you'd have to order online or hunt down at a specialty store.

It's not very space efficient, at 6' tall, but if you've got a fish room for your sump, I recommend it. Probably cost me $50 total.
When I see commercial hobbyist skimmers like aquaC, euroreef, PM, etc, I'm always amazed at how much they cost for what they are. (and those are the good ones!!) So I started making my own. I use top quality materials, build skimmers that work well enough so that many of the fish stores in my city use them for their reef systems, despite the fact that they get the commercial stuff at cost or lower, and I have had fun doing it in the process. If you need to buy tools like a router, table, bits, and you want to use high quality acrylic (I use 3/8" cell cast and 1/4" wall cell cast tube) it's probably not cheaper to build one; but you might enjoy it, maybe build a couple of extra ones for hobbyists in your area, and recoup some of your cost.

If you're skimming a 75 gallon, the easy way to go would be to build a recirculating skimmer running off the sedra 5000; (or an equivilent ocean runner) the pump does all the work, you just basically attach it to a tube, build a collection cup, some plumbing, off you go. (I'm oversimplifying somewhat!) A small beckett skimmer, say 15" or so of 6" diameter tube, driven by a 750-1000gph pressure pump, would be a much more powerful skimmer, but a little more complicated to build.
The tank total vol is 110 Gal with sump, i want to try to make it with acrilic, so any ideas will be great!!
That wetworx skimmer design KILLS a remora. I built the one with the MJ1200 on a recirculating setup (page 7 or 8?). It makes 2x as much as a remora (tested it side by side).

DIY skimmer can easily outperform a pre-made. Keep in mind that most of the 'big names', esp the beckett makers...started out as DIYers. Barr, MRC, GEO, etc...they were just like you and me until they came up with a good design and decided to sell it!

Its really rather easy, but you do have to have a technical understanding to get the most out of your design. Collection cups, plumbing, etc...can be made just a little bit off of perfect and have huge consequences.

As for $$$. Keep in mind that reefers are perhaps the smallest segment of aquarium keepers, except for maybe brackish. And reefers spend $$$ because its 'understood' that they will. A small market means low volume...low volume means high margin on each product. Combine this with a consumer base of people with some money to spend (come on, you wouldnt be in this hobby of you were frugal, cheap, etc)...and you have many high cost goods that would be a fraction of their cost if they were in, say...the computer market, or automotive. A DIYer, or small time maker can cut many things out of his cost... R&D time/cost (most are one man operations and the R&D is done during nights & free!) which means having professional engineers either on contract or on staff which costs ALOT of $$$. Then there is marketing, advertising, and just all the costs that go into a larger scale operation that involves more people... Office, warehouse, and factory space costs $$$.

And without those costs, if you think that that Bubbleking that sells for $3000 costs Royal-Exclusive more than $500 to make...dont make me laugh.

I can buy a couple needlewheels, or a good size pump with a couple becketts, and with $200-$300 in acrylic make something that will perform just as well.
Agreed with the above ^^

Also you should never underestimate what a dedicated DIYer can do. Many DIYers have access to machine shops, CNC machines, and computer modeling just like the big shops. Also it's amazing what some people can do with just average available tools. I've seen DIY skimmers that would rival if not surpass the big names like Deltec and H&S, etc...