Can't seem to get rid of microbubbles.

Discussion in 'Equipment: Setup and Discussion' started by ironman, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. ironman

    ironman Mr flabs of steel!
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    I've had the sump in my tank going for several weeks and have been battling microbubbles in the display. I have a 3 baffle bubbletrap after my return/skimmer section, this drains into the return section where the water level is about 1/2" lower that the skimmer section. I also have a refugium on the opposite end of my sump with a single baffle separating it from the return pump. The water falls about 6 1/5 inched into the return section. Water flow through the refugium is pretty slow. My return pump is a Jebao DCP-4000. I have a soft line runnimg from the pump up to a pvc "T" which feeds my UV sterilizer and the return lines. The return is a straight run of 3/4" pvc up the back of the tank with a 90 degree and 45 degree elbow terminating in a "T". On either side of the "T" is loc-line. I've tried slowing down the return pump speed from 100% to 60% but have seen no noticeable difference in microbubble quantity.
     
  2. RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    When I've had issues with micro bubbles in the past it came from one of three primary sources.

    1) Skimmer - Place a large mesh filter sock on the end mounted at a steep angle with ample room off end of the pipe to avoid back pressure. I prefer the ones with a stiff plastic ring over the synch version as water escapes out the top and you never change it. The bubbles travel along the surface, collect, and pop.

    2) Drains or baffles. If a baffle you can bond a new (small) piece to it but cut the long edge at a 45 to 70 degree angle or so to cut the waterfall effect. Option 2, drop stir sticks, acrylic rods, or similar leaning along the edge and the water tends to stick to it and cuts bubbles really well.

    3) Bad plumbing (external return pumps) - Anything between the sump wall and pump is in a negative pressure environment and a micro hole will siphon air into the return line. To check you need to turn off pump *but* plug pipe to keep the pipe full of water and create positive pressure. A back flow preventor may impede this by reducing actual head pressure to the height of the valve. Let it sit for at least 20min if you don't see a leak right away, it took me this long to spot a bad glue joint because it was so small.
     
    #2 RSnodgrass, Dec 1, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
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  3. OP
    ironman

    ironman Mr flabs of steel!
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    Hmm, my skimmer came with a foam filter for the output which I took off (one less thing to clean), and I noticed the right hand return has most of the flow, and all of the microbubbles. I'll explore those first. Thanks for the tips!
     
  4. patent

    patent Ok Moderator
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    I'd first figure out where they come from. I would turn off the skimmer for a bit, see if the bubbles disappear or change. If so, its the skimmer, if not, something else. It could easily also be one of the returns or elsewhere, so if its not the skimmer I'd try to turn off flow to a section and see what happens. I assume when you turn the main pump off the microbubbles in the display stop. Once you figure out what it is, it becomes straight forward to fix it.
     
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