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To skim or not to skim


Pygmy Octopus
Jun 22, 2006
I just want to put out there that this website is full of info that has helped me set up my 65 octi tank. I have a question that I could not locate a foward enough answer. If I am doing 10-15 percent water change every week do I really need a skimmer? I am using 2 canister filter 1- Rena X3 and 1- Cascade 1200. The Cascade is nothing but carbon in 3 slots and poly filter in 1. The Rena is carbon, poly filter, ceramic rings, and water polisher pillow. The substrate is sand about 2 1/2" deep with about 15 pounds of live rock. Still looking for the perfect den. I have not purchased a octi yet. Really looking foward to that day.
I think a skimmer is necessary. In addition to being real efficient at pulling gunk out of the water, it is truly indispensible if you have an inking event. You can find used ones pretty cheap if you spend some time hunting.

A couple weeks ago one of my 2" cuttlefish inked so extreme that the entire 75 gallon tank was cloudy. The skimmer took care of it in no time, before I could even get the water change ready. I remember thinking that if my little tiny cuttle can do that I'd hate to see what a full grown octo would pump out!

Do you have any other biological filtration than the poly-filters in the canister filters? I'm on the wet/dry side of things, so I won't pretend to be too knowledgeable about canisters. I hope Greg will chime in with the best way to set them up for octos.

I second what Dan says. Octos produce a lot of waste and the skimmer helps keep your water in good condition.

They're essential for any inking event, too - and this will happen.

Thanks for that info. I was told that carbon is the best way to pull ink out of the tank. That means I will be putting a skimmer on. I did canisters because I was a little worried about him/her going in the out take. I would so freaky out if that ever happened. The intakes on the canisters are fine enough so he/she would hopefully not be able to get in. I have a wet/dry on my 210. Much easier to take care of. The canister have ceramic rings with poly filter.
Excellent choice in regards to size of the canister filter in relation to the tank size. That is exactly what is needed when considering octo husbandry. Yes, I agree with everyone else a skimmer is needed. If not for anything else, but for oxygenation if you are mainly using canister filters.

Now I expect everyone to come down on me for this -but- I don't think you will need to do all those water changes. There I said it. You have the filtration in place, you have the knowledge in saltwater, you have a proper setup installed before purchasing. Just keep the nitrates in line and you should be good. When your octo is small you will have less, and it will become more frequent when it gets larger.

I have been pushing the denitrating capabilities on my 240 while I have blue crabs and WC fish in for cycling. I have thrown in dead shrimp by the dozen, turkey and ham slices for the crabs, and made a general mess of things to make as much ammonia as I can for the wet/dry. I have yet to do a water change in 5-6 months and my nitrates are 25 ppm.
I have no live rock, that color is just the tail end of the red algae. Notice one of the blue crabs in the lower center of the photo.


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I was begining to have second thoughts about canister filters. That s good to know that I am on the right track to creating a happy place for my new buddy. Would anyone have any idea on what would be a really good protein skimmer? I am really stuck. I am using a Coralife on my 210. It works okay, but that tank is fish only. I want better for the octi tank. Illithid nice looking tank. Cute cat. Red algae is a pain. I can't get rid of it. Any ideas? -D-

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