Nano Skimmer Fluval Sea PS1 & Bubble Magus BM-C QQ

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07 Oct 2013 12:02 - 08 Oct 2013 09:38 #1 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
So I bought these two skimmers recently as I wasnt 100% happy with my deltec MC500. The main problem with the Deltec was that it required a bit of fiddling, my sump is too small so everytime I needed to do anything, it got so bad that one day, I dropped the air valve inside the skimmers pump area while I was cleaning the pump, after 1 hour of trying to get it back I gave up, I ended up buying a different skimmer as I could get it out!

So I ordered my Bubble Magus from fish-store. It took around 14 working days to arrive. While I was waiting for it to arrive, I saw the new Fluval Sea PS1 in Seahorse one day and decided to buy it too as I also needed a skimmer for the hospital tank that I am building.

So lets talk about the Fluval first.

Specs:

Suitable for tanks between 38-170 Liters
Power consumption 4 Watt
Height 33 cm
Width 12,5 cm
Depth 7,6 cm

Price 100 euro in Seahorse, around 80 euro in amazon plus shipping.

So I got the fluval one week ago. I removed Deltec and placed it inside my sump.

I have to say that so far, I am very impressed with it, I was looking forward to testing it had good reviews on the internet.



The installation was as simple as it gets, you open the box, connect the Air valve to the air tube (open it all the way) and place it on top of the collection cup cover, then place the black rubber band around the collection cup (set it to the lowest position) and then put the skimmer in the tank/sump (remember this is an internal skimmer so it has to go inside the aquarium). Make sure the water level is in between the two indicators, see below



If your sump doesnt reach the minimum depth you might want to put the skimmer inside a container (like this one link ), I cut one of the sides on mine (made like a small opening at around 26.5 cm to allow water to flow through it instead of having the water pouring from all over the top, I will upload a picture later). I did run the skimmer with the water level below the minimum mark (1 cm below) and it seems to work ok, however as I wasnt sure if it was affecting the performance I decided to put the skimmer inside that container and see the difference (no difference as far as I can tell).

Adjusting the skimmer is easy enough, I recommend leaving the air intake all the way open and just play with the collection cup height. You can regulate the height but rolling the rubber band up or down. The manual recommends that if your tank is over stocked, then you should place it at the bottom of the collection cup (this means the collection cup should be almost complete out of the skimmer) if under-stocked then bring the rubber band all the way up. I started with my collection cup at its highest position and worked my way down (slowly changing it every few minutes).I will upload some pictures later so you will get an idea.

It took a few hours before I started seeing some brown water and a few days before I started seeing some darker stuff, after 4 days of constant skimming I still didnt see no real dark brown nasty creamy stuff, and my nitrates were still quite high (around 20 ppm). The manual says it will take up to a week before the skimmer starts working 100%.

Here is a video of how the skimmer looked inside the sump, you can barely see it (its on the left side)



And here is a picture of the Deltec, very tight in there




It was around this time when I decided to move the skimmer to the hospital tank (tank is still cycling so not a good skimming reference) so my review of this skimmer will stop here.




Pros:

- Small in size, it is black so in my opinion it looks pretty smart inside the aquarium, specially if you have a dark background. Now, although it is small it might be too big to place on smaller nanos, so an external hang-on skimmer might be a better idea.
- Collection cup is easy to remove, unlike for example, the deltec's, who one day it took me 40 minutes to remove. So this is a big things, specially if space is tight.
- Easy to adjust
- Good skimming abilities
- Easy to remove as it comes out in one block (good for maintenance)
- It says it can handle aquariums up to 170 l, most nano skimmers can only achieve almost half of that
- Price (not too expensive specially if compared to other similar skimmers such as the Tunze Nano 9002.

Cons

- Its a bit noisy (not as noisy as the Deltec) but sometimes it will start vibrating a lot and you need to mess with the air intake/skimmer position to get rid of the vibration. Otherwise it is fine, just a bit noisy considering the size
- Suction cups, IMO magnets will definitively be an improvement. Said this the skimmer doesnt really move once is firmly secured but we are talking about a new skimmer, I am not sure if the suction cups will work as well after a few months of use. The skimmer comes with a plastic bracket that will allow you to hang the skimmer from the top of the aquarium but this will mean you will need to make sure the water level is enough to reach the mminimum/maximum skimming levels)
- Optimum water level. The minimum operating depth is 25.4 cm and the maximum is 27.4 cm. This might not be a problem if the skimmer is going inside the aquarium but it might if you are thinking of placing it in a sump.

And that's it for the fluval! now lets talk about the Bubble Magus BM-C QQ (next post) and how it compares to the Fluval
Last edit: 08 Oct 2013 09:38 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez).

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07 Oct 2013 12:03 - 07 Oct 2013 13:57 #2 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Ok so now lets talk about the Bubble Magus NACQQ

So I bought this from fish-street.com. I placed the order on the 16th and received it on the 3rd of this month.

Specs:

Suitable for small nano tank use (100 Litres or less)
Needle Wheel Impeller
5W Power Supply
Can mount in horziontal or vetical tank
Height 36.5 cm
Width 8.5 cm
Depth 12.5 cm
Best Water Level 25cm

I paid 44 euro plus shipping (around 15 euro). So that's around 60 euro in total!! So goes without saying that it was almost half the price of the Fluval PS1

Link

When it arrived it looked more like this one (the one in the website is the old model)



The skimmer was very well packed, very impressed considering I have only paid 40 euro for it



I forgot to take pictures while I was unpacking it so I had to look for one on the internet)




Now, the skimmer is slightly bigger than the fluval. The installation process was not as easy as the fluval and it required some mounting. The instructions manual is useless but I was able to put it together after looking at a couple of pictures of the skimmer.

Although it is a bit bigger that the Fluval it is much more flexible in regards where you want to install it. Although the instructions said that the optimum water depth had to be 25 cm this doesnt mean that you have to place it at this depth, mine depth is only 16 cm. You can hang it on the side of the aquarium or from one of the baffles, you can even mount it horizontally.

The skimmer can go inside the aquarium as well but it wont look as sleek as the Fluval. I have mine in the sump.





It took me a few minutes to find the perfect spot for it. The mounting brackets allows me to move the skimmer around until I found a suitable position for me. The skimmer stands out much more than the Fluval but as I had to lift the skimmer up, by doing so now I have some extra space under the skimmer in case I want to add, for example, more media.

There is a mark for the water level, from my little experience, this looks more like a guideline rather than a mandatory reference



I have mine 5-7 cm below the recommended water line and it seems to be working perfect. I have looked at others people set up and they are very similar to mine.

The first thing you notice after you turn the pump on is how much quieter this skimmer is compared to the fluval. I could not hear the skimmer over my Eheim return pump, it is that quiet!

After a bit of fiddling I figure out how to adjust the skimmer. You can place the skimmer at the recommended water level and turn the pump on. The cup will fill up quite easily so what I did is lift the skimmer up until the water stopped pouring into the collection cup. Once I reached this level I started "fine tunning" the skimmer but rotating the level on the left of the skimmer, right on top of the black sponge, see below



Turn slowly either left or right to adjust the bubble level until the bubbles are almost at the top of the collection cup



Leave it for a few minutes and check the collection cup, if it is filling up very quickly decrease the bubble level a little bit.

After only an hour I could already see some brown stuff in the collection cup



The skimmer has been running for 4 days now and my nitrates have gone from a bit over 20 ppm down to less than 5ppm!!! and that's in less than 3 days of use! I think that's quiet impressive all things considering and specially if we compared it to the fluval which, in more time barely managed to lower my nitrates.

So in conclusion:

Pros:

- Extremely quiet, can't barely hear it running! No vibrations either!
- Cheap, almost half the price of the Fluval
- Skimming performance, so far more than impressive, and although is rated for 100 l or less it seems to be doing more than well for my tank (around 110-120 l including the sump).
- Almost unlimited mounting possibilities (considering it is an internal skimmer)
- Easy to adjust/tune
- Big collection cup
- Sturdy and well built/packed

Cons:

Well, none, however, if I have to be picky I'd say

- Poor instructions
- 3 weeks delivery
- Might not look as good as the Fluval if you are thinking of putting it inside the aquarium

So in conclusion, if I have to chose between the fluval and the BM NAC, well, no brainer, if you are looking for an in sump skimmer the BM all the way, I cannot recommend it enough, price, almost no noise, great performance (so far), sturdy design. The Bubble Magus is way ahead of the Fluval. To be honest, although I am no expert, I doubt there is a better skimmer out there price/quality.

So unless you need to put the skimmer inside your aquarium and you need to have a cover on the aquarium I dont see why you would chose the Fluval over the Bubble Magus

I just can't believe it was only 40 euro...

This is what my first impressions have been so far, I will need to wait a while to compare their skimming performance, it might be to early to tell which one is better.
Last edit: 07 Oct 2013 13:57 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez).

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07 Oct 2013 13:00 #3 by igmillichip (ian millichip)
Many thanks for adding this review.

ian

Irish Tropical Fish Society (ITFS) Member.

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07 Oct 2013 23:31 - 07 Oct 2013 23:31 #4 by JohnH (John)

igmillichip wrote: Many thanks for adding this review.

ian


Two excellently-written (and illustrated) reviews - I'm seconding Ian's thanks.

More equipment reviews would be very welcome - anyone?

John

Location:
N. Tipp

We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl - year after year.


ITFS member.



It's a long way to Tipperary.
Last edit: 07 Oct 2013 23:31 by JohnH (John). Reason: grammar

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08 Oct 2013 10:16 #5 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Thanks! I know that most people wont find it useful as it is unlikely they will be using a skimmer in a nano but you never know! ;)

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08 Oct 2013 10:27 #6 by LemonJelly (Johnny Cowley)
Good to see an actual review in the product review section! :cool:

"The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life; your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you.They're freeing your soul."

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08 Oct 2013 10:29 #7 by JohnH (John)

Bohrio wrote: Thanks! I know that most people wont find it useful as it is unlikely they will be using a skimmer in a nano but you never know! ;)


:laugh:

Location:
N. Tipp

We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl - year after year.


ITFS member.



It's a long way to Tipperary.

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08 Oct 2013 14:24 #8 by igmillichip (ian millichip)

Bohrio wrote: Thanks! I know that most people wont find it useful as it is unlikely they will be using a skimmer in a nano but you never know! ;)


I use skimmers in Nano.

ian

Irish Tropical Fish Society (ITFS) Member.

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31 Oct 2013 21:53 #9 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Hi guys

It has been over 1 month so I thought I'd give you a quick update. Both skimmer are still running, one in my main tank's sump (Bubble Magus) and the fluval in my hospital tank (with only two nerites in it).

So a couple of things.

The fluval

The noise has gone down a lot. It is still not as silent as the Bubble Magus but it is much better than before. I have the feeling that the pump was a bit lose initially and after removing it and placing it back in the skimmer again the noise and vibration was gone.

In regards skimming, well, there isnt much skimming going on in that thank because there is no bioload at all so I can't really compare it to the Bubble Magus which is in a tank with several fish, shrimps etc.

Once thing I have noticed is that the skimmer performs best when the water level is stable. This means that if you have an evaporation problem this skimmer will force you to refill the tank every day. So an automated water filler is a must. (I recently bought one very cheap from fish-street, Iwill upload the review soon inc ase you are interested). Otherwise the skimmer works perfect.

The suctions cups which were a bit of a concerned work great and the skimmer doesnt move at all. A good thing is that, removing the collection cup doesnt require superhuman strenghts like it did on my deltec or even on the bubble magus, it comes out quite easy.

Now the Bubble magus

Well this thing is unbelievable. It has been running almost for as long as the Fluval but it is pulling out really nasty stuff from the tank.



I had to play with the settings a bit in order to get this type of color out of the skimmer. I ended up lowering the skimmer position or better said, increasing the sump water level a bit but most importantly I decreased the air intake until the bubbles were around 1 cm below the collection cup. The cup is full after 5-6 days, maybe 1 week.



The only bad thing I have noticed about this skimmer is that you have to be careful when removing the collection cup as it is very tight and chances are that if you are not using both hands (one to hold the skimmer body and another to pull out the collection cup) the skimmer body will drop down into the sump (in my case). Apart from that I can't find a single problem/con with this skimmer.

Hope this helps!

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