We brought you the newest addition to the Grey Seas Aquatics line with the affordable Compact 6 protein skimmer the other week and we want to thank Dan at GSA for sending along an evaluation unit so we can put this skimmer to the test. GSA combined performance and affordability in this skimmer and so far so good. With a $249 price tag and a Sicce PSK-2500 meshwheel pump attached, you know you are going to get a no-frills skimmer that just works. My blue-collar reefing mantra is to know the difference between cheap and inexpensive and this one hits home providing an inexpensive, yet solid piece of equipment showing you can get good bang for your buck without breaking your reefing budget. More pictures and full review after the break.
Youâ€™re not going to see a lot of fancy CNCâ€™d parts here, the Compact 6 uses a blend of simple, custom parts and off-the-shelf fittings to work. This skimmer can be plumbed either with the pump inside the skimmer body (taking up less space) or externally (easier access to the pump).The skimmer arrived with assembly required, so those of you looking for turnkey this one is going to take a little bit of work to get up and running but isn’t too difficult. The skimmer sports a 6â€ extruded acrylic body and 4â€ neck, not the beefiest of materials but one of the cost-cutting measures. A side note here, be very careful when adding the pump venture to the body, we noticed the face of the pump volute touched the skimmer body and it wonâ€™t take much to crack the body if youâ€™re not careful. A reinforcement plate or some kind of soft rubber â€œbiscuitâ€ the shape of the skimmer body curve would be nice to help get a snug connection while protecting the skimmer body.
We did have some issues with the pump starting correctly and needed a little massaging to get it all going. From conversations with GSA it seems the pump we received had the impeller from the larger GS1 skimmer installed with more mesh causing the issues (GSA is sending out the proper impeller disc). Once started, the Sicce is a monster, producing a thick, white foam but we had to twist the pump casing a hair to get ours to kick start a few times before it would stay running, so we plumbed this externally which made for a tight fit in the small sump. Not as solid feeling as it is when plumbed internally, but it gets the job done with easy access to the pump.
We really liked the addition of the pressure-fit collection cup. The cup simply fits snugly on the body and needs only slight pressure to pull it up and out with its 1/2″ of clearance. The collection cup also features a 90-degree John Guest fitting for a waste drain allowing you to use a spare hunk of RO water line to collect the skimmate in a separate container. The skimmer also comes with an air inlet silencer, which youâ€™ll need with this air-pulling beast.
This skimmer may not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive models but like its appearance, it’s plain and simple and does work well so far pulling some good skimmate after just 24 hours. Weâ€™re going to run this skimmer for a while to allow it to break in and really test out the performance factor. Weâ€™re hoping the initial pump issues were just part of the break in period and will go away with time to give us the chance to run it for an extended time plumbed both internally and externally, providing more performance updates down the road.