How does Protein skimming work

Filtering by skimming proteïn from the water.

How does Protein skimming work

Postby Wolvi » Thu 22 Jun 2017, 7:18:14

Hello Airlift team! :D
I still have another question... I saw in the video "Airlift: how to build, part 2" that Marc put anther pipe, at the place where the air escapes, in order to skim the protein. But I don't understand this. Where does this pipe go to? And what happens to the protein foam? Is it possible to collect the protein foam somewhere? But how does this work? Do you have a sketch of how this works?
Thank you very much!!! :D
Wolve :D :D
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat 29 Apr 2017, 18:59:09
Location: Cologne Germany

Re: How does Protein skimming work

Postby Pssymon » Sat 24 Jun 2017, 14:11:45


This is a bit odd at first sight, but it makes sense.
I'm not absolutely sure where the pipe goes in Marc's setup but there are multiple ways of doing this.
To answer your questions directly:

The pipe leads out of the filter system, either ending up somewhere where foam can just exit into the garden and evaporate, or in some kind of container, like a bucket.
So, yes, it's possible to collect the foam in a bucket or container and clean it every now and then.
I just so happen to have a sketch of how this works! :D


I made a quick drawing of the Collector and the Airlift connected inside. This is how Marc made the 'protein skimming attachment'.
As you know the T-pieces allow excess air to escape, if you don't use these, the air bubbles that pumped the water up will now cause drag to some extent.
Aerating the water causes the dissolved proteins to separate and form a layer of foam in the first T-piece. By placing a cap on the T-piece, the foam will become trapped. The pipe that is added is the only way out and as the Airlift keeps running, new protein rich foam will constantly be produced. As the water level seals the chamber on the underside, and the cap seals the top, the foam is forced out through the pipe.

Since purpose made protein skimmers are more effective, we call this an 'extra' function of the Airlift. It can be a bit trickier to achieve as well, since for pure protein skimming smaller holes are more effective. Using smaller holes in the Airlift will harm performance however, so that's not a trade-off you would normally want to make.

The small pipe downwards in the Collector (or filter chamber in Marc's case) is simply to ensure that excess water that does manage to escape through the foam channel does not flow out of the pond. Instead it's directed back down in the filter/Collector. Again, the foam can't exit through here as the water level acts as a seal.
User avatar
Posts: 123
Images: 17
Joined: Fri 11 Dec 2015, 0:12:51
Location: The Netherlands

Re: How does Protein skimming work

Postby Wolvi » Fri 30 Jun 2017, 10:15:45

Ok, thank you very much!!
This is very useful! :D :D
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat 29 Apr 2017, 18:59:09
Location: Cologne Germany

Return to Proteïn skimming

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest