Aquarium got a change to it's sump design last night. The protein skimmer is producing a lot more skimmate, as I'd hoped. Flow is down a bit, Home Depot didn't have the 1" PVC I.D. clear hose that I needed, so I settled on 7/8" I.D. ... I'd love for there to be more flow. But I don't think that will happen unless I shorten the skimmer height so that the overall water head height is higher. Since it's 4" PVC for the main body, I can't cut it with anything but a hacksaw, and that is a rather unpleasant task. I would probably just rebuild the main body from scratch since it's already been hacked apart twice. The clear transparent area that's been made from a clear lexan drink container near the top has only a small bead of silicone stopping it from leaking. Definitely will not last forever. And while it looks neat to see the water swirreling around inside, it's utterly useless from a tuning perspective since all I care about is the head of foam at the very top, which uses a clear lexan drinking glass. The foam collection area is also in need of a revamp, because the edges of the collection cup are too close to the outlet tube. The drain hose is also too high up, creating a 1/2" puddle of nasty vile smelling goo that's always present, instead of draining completely into the waste collection bucket. The parts to build this skimmer are cheap-- I just shop the plumbing isle at home depot. The hard part is assembling it all correctly, finding different pieces that fit the right way, and getting the height for it all just right. The air generator for instance is too far below the top of the skimmer, creating too much water pressure. Since it's venturi operated, it's fighting the pressure of 2' of water vs. atmospheric, decreasing it's efficiency. Ideally it will be at the highest point directly in front of the water entry point. Right now it's a 45 degree 'kludge' that injects water into the 4" pvc. It too has lotsa silicone and does not look like it'll remain leak-free forever. *sigh* With my dill press at the garage, I could potentially drill an entry hole into the PVC more carefully. What would really be nice is a threaded design. I can thread something directly into a big pipe like that, but threading it in at the edge such that it produces a swirling motion is the very hard part. I need to look at some more protein skimmer designs and figure something out.
It's not just that I can't leave well enough alone. It's that the current design is going to spring a leak and fail at some near point in the future.