Put your skimmer in a basin


New member
Just wanted to pass along an improvement I have seen in my tank.

I was reading a really good thread on protein skimmers a couple of months ago and A. Cafalo said that your skimmer should receive overflow water directly (into the skimmer) or, if not possible, the overflow should dump into a bucket or bin containing the skimmer separated from the rest of the sump. He said that you should get about a cup of dark skimmate a day. I wasn't getting quite that much so I put the skimmer into a plastic bin within my 80 gallon sump/refugium. Since I did this, I am getting a heck of alot more production out of my skimmer (at least a cup a day) and my tank is thriving.


Cancer Sucks
I see what you're saying, and it makes sense. Ken, what he's getting at isn't so much whether the skimmer is in the sump or not. More importantly is what feeds the skimmer. He's saying that if you can't feed the skimmer directly from the tank drain, put the skimmer (if it's an in-sump model) or the feed pump (if it's an external skimmer) in a basin within the sump so that the skimmer gets supplied with the most "concentrated" tank water.

Cpagego, did I read that right?


New member
You are absolutely right. By FAR the best skimmer setup is fed by the overflow. I have done it twice and saw MASSIVE improvements. If you can't do that, have your feeder pump right next to the overflow exhaust, and the return right next to the sump return pump. I have a few shots of directly fed skimmers, but you need an external recirculating skimmer to do so. Right now I have my skimmer exhaust going into a series of chambers, and the feeder directly underneath the overflow plumbing.


The smell will run you right out of the house. :)


This setup was directly fed into the skimmer pump (in the front). That flex PVC came from the durso. Now THAT smell would run you out of Gilbert! :lol:


New member
ok, i wasn't sure what he was talking about either hehe, but my feed pump is in my sump where the overflow dumps so i'm good to go!


New member
Good read. Lots of H&S, BK and Deltec users have been feeding their external NW's from their overflows for years. Those companies have been recommending it long before they hit the US. On the Finsreef (H&S) and Deltec forum there are lots of diagrams of how to do it. Its not difficult - but its not really easy either if you don't follow the diagrams. You need to eliminate air with an air relief, have a backup in case your tubing gets clogged, make sure you don't create surges in your overflow, etc. Ucandoit has a couple diagrams referred to often. Just about everyone notices a big difference - you are feeding your skimmer 100% overflow water - including the proteins on the water surface. You are also not reciruculating sump water thru your skimmer.

I believe Philwd also uses this method?


Premium Member
Yeah my Deltec is fed from the overflow. I went a simpler route. Used flex hose into a y connector. There is enough friction that the flow goes down the y first then up and over once the skimmer has enough. Air also goes up and over the y so you don't get surges or extra air.

I never fed this skimmer with a pump so I can't say how much better direct feed is. Just makes sense to have raw overflow go directly to the skimmer. Output of my skimmer goes into the fuge so the water gets a double scrub before it goes into the sump.