Why It’s Important to Clean Your Collection Cup
Many believe that the sole purpose of a protein skimmer collection cup is to catch skimmate, however the reality is the neck of the cup plays a critical role in getting the waste up into the cup and out of the aquarium. When bubbles flow up the body of the skimmer and into the neck, the less resistance they encounter, the better.
The goal is for as many of the bubbles to travel up and over the rim of the collection cup, intact. This way they can pop as skimmate in the cup, however these bubbles are fragile and keeping them intact is critical to efficient skimming.
When a collection cup is dirty, the bubbles have a hard time sliding up the neck and overflowing into the collection portion where they belong. As a result, when a collection cup is dirty, fewer bubbles actually make it into the cup. Instead, these bubbles tend to pop on the sides leaving waste behind which creates a cascade of skimmate on the walls of the skimmer neck. The more waste that accumulates on the neck, the more and more bubbles pop prematurely, compounding the issue. This results in a thick layer of waste (with a mud-like appearance) on the inside neck of the skimmer rather than in the collection cup. While this waste can easily be cleaned away, it is actually much more efficient if the skimmate was in the cup, as the skimmer would be able to collect more waste in the same time frame.
How Often to Clean Your Collection Cup
We recommend cleaning the collection cup of your skimmer at least 2 times per week and more often for tanks that are producing a lot of waste.
How to Clean Your Protein Skimmers Collection Cup
Remove the collection cup from the body of your skimmer and do the following:
- Dump any waste down the sink / drain.
- Rinse the inside of the cup and the neck of the cup with warm water. Do NOT use any detergents, soaps or chemicals.
- Gently remove any waste that has accumulated on the inside of the neck with your hand or a soft polishing cloth.
Even with a skimmer tuned perfectly, cleaning the collection cup neck is a critical job and while it may be stinky and messy, its quick and easy and it will make a major impact on your skimmers performance and thereby the overall health of your aquarium.
Do your reef a favor and clean your cup today!
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