How to Setup & Tune Your Bubble Magus Curve Elite Protein Skimmer: Curve 5, 7 and 9
The Bubble Magus Curve Elite Protein Skimmers provide the perfect balance of affordability and durability along with a bevy of convenient features. In fact, they are one of our most highly recommended protein skimmers for medium-sized reef tanks for this very reason. Simply follow these easy steps for quick setup and you will have your new Bubble Magus skimmer collecting waste in no time.
1. Remove the base from the skimmer body by loosening the thumbscrews on the base and turning the clips. Then, you can lift off the body of the skimmer.
2. Remove the smaller side of the pump bracket via the two screws. With the cord of the pump facing the notch on the skimmer base, slide the pump into the remaining pump bracket on the skimmer base. Re-attach the second pump bracket and secure it with screws.
3. Remove the cord grommet and wrap it around the cord and slide the grommet back in.
4. Grab the bubble diffuser and unthread the thumbscrew and slide the threaded end of the pump adapter through the hole of the bubble diffuser and thread it into the output of the pump.
5. Place the top of the bubble diffuser onto the base and thread in the thumbscrew to hold it all together.
6. Slide the skimmer body over the top of the pump and back down onto the base so that the hole on the side of the skimmer body lines up with the intake of the pump. Slide the clips back over the top and tighten down the thumbscrews.
7. Grab the venturi and slide it through the hole on the side of the skimmer body until it slides over the top of the pump intake.
8. Grab the air silencer and the attached tubing and find the bracket near the top of the skimmer. Remove the red tube from the silencer and slide the nipple of the silencer through one of the holes on the bracket use the thumbscrew on the other hole to tighten it down. You can then reattach the tubing to the air silencer and the venturi.
9. The larger tubing attaches to the drain port on the skimmer cup. If you don’t want to use the drain port, you can cut the tubing down and attach the plug to the other side of it.
10. Place the skimmer cup on top of the skimmer body and you are ready to get it running.
Get It Running
Give your skimmer a quick rinse before adding it to your system to remove any dust or manufacturing residue. A paper towel soaked in RO/DI water does the trick just fine too.
These skimmers are rated for water depths between 9 and 11.5 inches. Many modern sumps feature an adjustable baffle on the skimmer chamber allowing you to set that water level but you can also use an adjustable height skimmer stand to meet the required submersion depth. Point is, be sure the skimmer is submerged at the proper water depth from the start.
When placing the skimmer into the water, be sure to let it fill with water before lifting your hand otherwise, air will be trapped inside and the skimmer body will want to float and fall over.
Before plugging it in, check the outlet adjustment knob and make sure it is set to MAX or 100% open. Then you can plug it in and let the skimmer run for a few minutes to stabilize.
Break-In Period & Making Adjustments
After plugging in the skimmer and letting it run, you can begin making some small adjustments. Once the foam level inside the skimmer stabilizes, adjust the foam level inside using the outlet adjustment knob. As you turn the knob and close the valve, the internal foam level will rise. It is best to start with the top of the foam bubbles level with the skimmer neck where it meets the bottom of the collection cup.
Let it skim for 24 hours and observe again. If the foam is not rising and overflowing into the cup, you can raise the foam level changing no more than 1/2" - 1" at a time and letting it run for another 24-48 hours. Conversely, if the skimmer overflows during the first few days, just open up the outlet valve MAX 100% and let it run with the lowest possible internal foam level for a few days. Empty the collection cup as needed during that time and it will subside. Once things stabilize, return to adjusting the internal foam level for optimal performance. Keep in mind, adjustments to the outlet knob will be small, only 1-2 increments at a time when dialing it in.
If your tank is brand new, you may find that there isn’t much that needs to be skimmed from your tank and your skimmer, therefore, won’t be very active. If the tank is heavily stocked, the exact opposite will occur and heavy waste collection is to be expected. A skimmers' performance is all based on how much nutrients are available in the water and adjusting the skimmer to match that nutrient level is the idea. If you are having trouble dialing it in or simply want to learn more, check out this video "The best way to tune your Protein Skimmer: Learn how in just 5-minutes!".
Skimmer break-in is not always quick. Some skimmers will take a few days to stabilize and calm down, often referred to as a "Break-In Period". Check the skimmer daily for the first 5-7 days to ensure proper operation and once you get the hang of it, minimal adjustments will be required. Keeping your fish and coral food input consistent by feeding the same amount daily and maintaining a consistent water level in your sump will help maintain skimmer performance.
Once your skimmer is up and running, be sure to check back frequently to monitor performance and drain/clean the collection cup. Before taking off the collection cup for cleaning, turn the skimmer off. Remove the cup, empty its contents, and thoroughly clean any build-up of waste (mud) from inside the cup. If you find the skimmer neck is left with build-up, it is best to wipe it out as well. This will happen on a 3-7 day cycle depending on your particular bioload and waste removal needs.
If you leave the collection cup and skimmer neck dirty for an extended period of time, the skimmer will progressively lose the ability to collect waste.
The skimmer body can be easily removed via the four screw tabs which give you access to remove the pump for cleaning. Both the skimmer body and pump should be cleaned no less than every 30-90 days for maximum longevity. This pump cleaning in particular is one of those tasks that is easily neglected but shouldn't be and this is why. Pumps take a beating in saltwater tanks and cleaning them regularly helps them last longer and ensures the pump can perform as required. The same case goes for the skimmer body, keeping things clean ensures longevity and maximizes performance. Citric Acid or vinegar solution is the best choice for cleaning, just use a separate container and rinse the components thoroughly before placing them back into your aquarium.