Protein skimmers are high on the list of must-have pieces of equipment for marine fish keeping. The ultra-fine bubbles that are produced by the air stone attract organic material and remove this waste by trapping it in the skimmer's collection cup. In this way, fish faeces and urine are removed from the water before they decompose and lower the water quality. Protein skimmers, which are expensive to purchase, are available as either venture or air stone models. Do-it-yourself hobbyists can fortunately make an air stone skimmer for themselves.
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Things you need
- Plastic bottle, 1 quart
- Vibrator air pump, 4 watts
- 1 tube non--toxic 100 per cent silicone sealer
- 1 wooden air stone
- Silicone air tubing (0.25-inch diameter), 3-feet long
- Small plastic bowl (0.25 pint)
- 2 plastic clamps
- Sharp knife/scissors
- 8-inches of nylon string
Cut off the bottom of a 1 quart plastic bottle.
Cut 2--inch long, 0.25-inch wide slits on either side of the bottle, just below the neck.
Cut a hole in the bottom of the 0.25 pint bowl, large enough to just fit over the spout of the plastic bottle.
Position the bowl facing up over the bottle spout. Using the 100 per cent silicone sealer, glue the bottom of the plastic bowl onto the outside neck of the bottle. Use a finger to spread the silicone around the joint, both on the outside and the inside of the bowl, to ensure a watertight seal.
Connect one end of the silicone air tubing to the air pump. Place the air pump higher than the water level in the aquarium. A wall ledge will work well.
Connect the wooden air stone to the free end of the 0.25-inch diameter air tubing.
Place the wooden air stone into the neck of the bottle and push the attached air tubing down, until it is approximately 1-inch from the open bottom of the bottle.
Attach the plastic clamp to the air pipe, between the air pump and the skimmer.
Tie a short piece of nylon string around the neck of the bottle. Attach another piece of nylon string to the string around the neck of the bottle.
Place the bottle in one of the back corners of the aquarium. Ensure that the bottom of the bowl is just above the water level. Place the loose end of the nylon string over the rim of the aquarium and attach with the second plastic clamp.
Plug the air pump into an outlet and turn it on. Regulate the flow of bubbles using the clamp.
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