Regular reef tank equipment maintenance prevents crises with our corals, fish, and inverts, and helps to prevent the expensive equipment we rely on from breaking down or failing. Every, single, device – anything with moving parts starts ‘degrading’ the moment they are pressed into service, and this is especially true of the machines exposed to aquarium water where lime buildup and biofouling work to slow down and reduce their performance.
Protein Skimmer Upkeep
Who does not love that smelly skimmer cup? No one is right. But it is important to keep it clean. Cleaning the cup and the neck once a week or once in 2 weeks (this will depend on the bioload and nutrients) will help its performance. However, the most overlooked part of the skimmer is the pump. Removing the skimmer and cleaning the pump (taking it apart) at least every six months will help the longevity of your skimmer.
Wave Pumps (wavemakers)
The Reef aquarium needs its flow. Maintaining and cleaning wave pumps/wavemakers is important. Regular cleaning is necessary, the flow provides corals with food, and it keeps detritus away from the rocks and sand. Gyre pumps tend to slow down if not cleaned every 6 weeks. Unless it is a new tank you will not be cleaning your wavemakers that often. You can use citric acid, vinegar, or specialized reef-cleaning solutions to soak and clean wave pumps/wavemakers. it takes 10 min and scrub them with tooth toothbrush/or I prefer a nail brush. Rinse it in RODI water and done.
The most overlooked equipment is a light. LED has a fan that is clogged with dust and the lamp gets salt water splashes. Blow the fan with a canned air duster and wipe the lamp every 2-3 months.
Let us be honest… Cleaning a return pump is one of the least glamorous required chores for any aquarist! Since it is a messy and time-consuming process, it is frequently neglected as a result. However, regular cleaning and maintenance can increase the lifespan of your return pump. Therefore, it is unavoidable unless you wish to buy replacement pumps regularly!
Pumps have moving components, most notably the impeller. This movement makes heat which causes precipitation, especially when in a supersaturated solution like aquarium saltwater. The most ordinary form of precipitation is calcium carbonate, which can wreak havoc on a pump since it often sticks to the warmest portions of the pump like the bushings, impeller/magnet, and bearings. The problem is that these are areas of high friction, and as such, it is essential to keep them clean from any precipitation. This will ensure that they can spin freely so that your pump can run as smoothly as possible.
How Often Should I Clean My Pump?
Fish only Tank-6 month
Coral reef Tank-2-3 Months
How Do I Clean My Pump?
There are also two methods for cleaning your pump. You can either give it a soak in a vinegar or muriatic / hydrochloric acid bath, or you could run the pump in a covered bath of vinegar or muriatic / hydrochloric acid.
1. Disassemble your entire pump.
2. Gently clean / scrub each part in a sink to remove any algae or slime.
3. Soak the pile of parts together in a vinegar or muriatic / hydrochloric acid bath for 24 hours.
4. Inspect all parts to ensure they are completely free of any precipitate.
5. Rinse all parts in tap water and let dry.
1. Install the pump in a bucket or other container containing diluted vinegar or diluted muriatic / hydrochloric acid bath.
2. Carefully cover the bucket or container to make sure you do not get acid on yourself or the surrounding area while the pump is running. (A garage or similar area is usually best for this type of work.)
3. Turn the pump on and let it run for 1 hour.
4. Disassemble your entire pump and inspect all parts to ensure they are completely free of any precipitate.
5. Gently clean / scrub each part in a sink to remove any algae or slime.
6. Rinse all parts in tap water and let dry.
Both vinegar and muriatic/hydrochloric acid are harmless in the reef system (other than slightly lowering pH), so a normal rinse is sufficient before returning the pump to service. (Simplicity Aquatics, n.d.)
Inspect each doser head every week to make sure you do not see any cracks in the cover. Also manually run them to make sure the rollers are moving freely. Every three months do a major cleaning. Step one is to remove the covers and the rollers. You can use Acetone on a cloth to wipe off any dirt that has accumulated on the rollers. Check and clean the doser head shaft, the cover, and the tubing. Make sure you do not soak these items in Acetone. You can also use a Q-tip and alcohol to clean this part. (Berkelhamer, n.d.)
List of Items:
1. Sicce- Pump Clean - Aquarium Equipment Cleaner $19.99
2. Nail Cleaning Brushes-6Pcs $5.98 (amazon)
3. Citric Acid
Berkelhamer, K. (n.d.). ReefBum Marine Aquatic Co. Retrieved from Reefbum: https://www.reefbum.com/equipment/doser-pump-maintenance-tips/
Simplicity Aquatics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.simplicityaquatics.com/about/
Hi, all just want to start a conversation about NO3 and PO4. How do you control Nitrate and Phosphate, filtration, refugium, good oversized skimmer, algae scrubber, GFO, RowaPhos, bacteria dosing, or carbon dosing? Or if your system is low NO3 and PO4 to zero what do you do? What works for you care to share? Picture for attention