We had the chance to get a close, hands-on look at the new Warner Marine MF-Series skimmers we wrote about last week at Reef-A-Palooza last weekend and we have to say, there are some nice features built into these skimmers. From first glance you can see the resemblance to the Skimz line that Warner Marine is using as the base for the skimmer and it is very clean and sturdy looking. The two best features we liked were the water exit and gate valve built into the base keeping the footprint low and the integration of the Warner Marine patent-pending VBT bubble plate.
Tucked away underneath the base and quite easy to miss is the exit for the water. Having the water exiting in the lowest point possible in the skimmer not only helps reduce the footprint but also helps reduce micro bubbles from exiting the skimmer. The rectangular gate valve is operated by a knob that is high on the body and easy to turn unlike traditional gate valves that are low on the body and tend to be a bit sluggish when closing or opening. The water exits in a hole directly under the skimmer pump and through the hole. While this may pose a bit more of a challenge when giving your skimmer a thorough cleaning, having a few smaller bottle brushes will make the job much easier.
The addition of the VBT bubble plate helps reduce the turbulence in the reaction chamber giving the bubble a better chance of staying in contact with organics increasing the efficiency of the skimmer. While we haven’t seen a side-by-side comparison of the VBT in action over a standard bubble plate, in theory it makes a lot of sense and is something even ATI is beginning to license and incorporate into their skimmer line.
One option we really liked was having the ability to add an automatic neck cleaner installed on your skimmer. When we got our hands on the skimmer we were pleased to see Warner Marine utilizing the Avast Marine Swabbie as the option. The only changes made were using white acrylic to mimic the overall look and feel of the skimmer along with the Warner Marine logo machined into the top giving you a cohesive unit top to bottom.
The Eden pumps used in the skimmer seem very beefy and durable and according to Warner Marine, have had no issues with starting and stopping like other pumps in the market are notorious for. This is good news since the pump is securely fastened within the reaction chamber.
Overall our experience out of water was very positive for this line of skimmers. The footprint is small, the pump is solid, the lower water exit point is incredible and it looks good on top of that all. The Warner Marine MF-Series looks to be a solid device and a value at its sub-$400 entry point.