View Full Version : DIY Surface Skimmer

08-27-2007, 8:01 AM
This isn't the prettiest fix for surface skimming, but in a pinch, it works until you can order something better..

You'll need;

1 acrylic gravel cleaner (vacuum) tube with out the attachable hose, but with the end cap that the hose fits into.




1) Plug the hole in the end cap to make it resistant to flow. Could fill it with silicone and let it cure, could just shove a plastic baggy in it, just plug the hole in the end cap so water wont flow through it.

2) Mark the open (gravel) end of the tube 1.5" down, mark it all the way around.

3) Using scissors, cut slits in the open gravel end of the tube, cut the slits 1/8 inches apart, and down to the line you marked, all the way around the tube

4) Now, bend out every other "tooth" of the cut acrylic tube. It should look like petals of a flower, bend one out, and skip one (letting it stick up straght), bend one out, skip on, all the way around the tube.

5)Using scissors, cut off the pieces of acrylic you just bent. In other words, cut off the petals of the flower.

6) Now, bend the remaining acrylic teeth in half, INWARD (opposite direction from the flower you made) they should form pretty much a right angle (90 degrees) with/from sides of tube.

Thats your surface skimmer.....

Install it on the intake tube of your HOB or canister filter. You might have to remove any strainer or extension of your intake tube to make it fit. It just depends on the length of the vacuum tube and the intake tube of your filter.

Bending the acrylic teeth on the vacuum tube inward should give you a tension grip on the outside of the intake tube of the HOB/Canster filter.

I know when I did this, I had to lift the HOB filter a little to get the surface skimmer onto the intake tube.

For a surface skimmer to work, you need to create a slight waterfall effect inside the tube of the surface skimmer, so raising the surface skimmer on the intake tube, or lowering the water level slightly (bale out a few cups of water at a time) might be needed.

If you lower the water level too much, or raise the surface skimmer too high, you might break the water flow to your filter, in which case you'll need to re-prime it, which happened to me many times while trying this idea.

I only used this temporarily until I bought my Prizm surface skimmer from an ARC member, but it did work. I now have an Aqua C with its own surface skimmer box.

Because the water level needs to remain constant for the home made surface skimmer to work, I only used it for an hour a day or so. You can leave it attached to the intake tube, just push it down in the water an inch or two when you arent going to be around to top off the tank, otherwise the filter will break suction when the water level gets to low. When you're there to monitor it, just pull the surface skimmer back up to the right level, and let it skim the surface.

I thought the tube was too ugly to keep in my tank for an extended period, but if you have surface skim with no other way of getting it out, this can be a cool, quick, and temporary fix.

08-27-2007, 8:13 AM
if I knew how to give you rep points id do it for this helpful post.

EDIT: just figured it out.

08-27-2007, 3:39 PM
Funny, I've never figured out how to edit a post.......

If I knew how, perhaps I'd have not alienated so many people!

oh, after 4 months I just now found the edit button....... perhaps I'll gain more friends now.

08-27-2007, 3:41 PM
you can only do it for like the first 30 mins after the original post i believe.