Okay, I am really confused......

unionfishguy

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So I had been told that protein skimmers do not work on freshwater tanks, because freshwater doesnt foam the way saltwater does. Well, we turned one of our big display tanks at school from saltwater to freshwater, and we left the sump and all of its components intact. Yet for some reason,every week or two I have to empty/clean out the protein skimmer, just like I do with the saltwater display. Someone please explain this to me.
imagethis was right before I cleaned it today.
 

Teleost

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Protein skimmers will work on FW.

The difference is that you normally have other filtration media that deals with large molecule nitrogenous compounds.

The quick experiment to illustrate the idea is having a look at the toilet!

First thing in the morning, pee directly in the water getting plenty of aeration and you'll see it foam up. Flush that away and then pour in pure water. Get the garden hose if you like. You will not get the same result.
 

ryanr

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Hi
First, you say you left the sump intact? Did you clean out the sump and skimmer etc? (I'm guessing no, based on the salt creep I see) Have you inadvertently got salt in the water (not that it would cause protein skimmer activation)

It is true that fresh water does not foam like saltwater does, thus reducing the effectiveness of a protein skimmer in FW. It can work, but it's difficult to maintain.

How long has this setup been running?

Lift the lid off the skimmer cup - does it smell like skimmate?

The cup looks like it has been wet skimming - meaning lots and lots of bubbles being injected, which results in lots of water, but not much 'skimming' so to speak.

Need a little more info to be definitive though.

Also, how long has the setup been running?
 
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unionfishguy

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I forwent cleaning the outside of the tubes, but the rest of the system I spent two weeks cleaning to get as much saltwater as possible out. It has been running FW for about 8 months. It smells like a mix of skimmate and pond water (but as these are native fish from a pond with some of the pond water in there, this is to be expected).
 
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