As long as we’ve been reefing, it has always been well known and widely shared that is important to keep protein skimmer intakes clean. Whether you had a venturi or a needle wheel design protein skimmer, salt creep will accumulate right at the air intake, where the incoming air meets the water, and restrict the inflow of air which we try our hardest to keep as high as possible.
We still remember to take good care of our protein skimmer’s venturi and aspirator valves but we still forget that the silencer muffling the noise of all the incoming air has a tendency to clog as well. Occasionally we’ll find ourselves taking a skimmer completely apart to service all the familiar parts, trying to get the device to skim like it used to and fail to remember how much air gets processed through those newfangled air silencer. Pictured above is the inlet tube for one of our air silencers which is almost completely obstructed by salt creep and dust.
With air flow rates ever increasing, the air silencer is become the frontline for the interface between the skimmer and the outside world. Salt creep can quickly build up inside air silencers, and even on the surface upon which the air is bouncing on its way to the needle wheel pump. Moral of the story is, keep all your reef gear as often as possible and remember that the silencer needs a little cleaning and attention during periodic maintenance of the protein skimmer as a whole.