The ATI Powercone protein skimmer was a groundbreaking concept when it was first announced with a custom made controllable needle wheel pump and an ingenious gridwheel design for the air chopping needle wheel impeller. However on the heels of its release the ATI Powercone was quickly followed by a deluge of protein skimmer models featuring controllable DC water pumps of their own.
While perusing the show floor of PetsFestival in Italy, we sighted two common marine aquarium devices, which we had never seen paired up in such a way. This sighting was a nice large and squat ATI Powercone protein skimmer body that had been paired up with a Waveline-style controllable DC pump. At first glance we thought this amalgamation might have been a hobbyist’s doing but a close inspection of the venturi inlet and the included gridwheel-needle wheel revealed all of the same parts that are used in current ATI Powercone setups.
Whatever the reason for the pairing of the new DC pump with gridwheel impeller has us very excited because the previous pump definitely could have used a little bit of refining in its design, both for operation and maintenance. One feature that will certainly be lost is the ability to automatically dial in the air intake of the skimmer pump with the use of the included digital flowmeter which can bridge with the original Powercone controllable pump.
With so many new designs for controllable DC water pumps that are both powerful and efficient, it was probably an easy logistical move for ATI to migrate to the rapidly advancing Waveline style DC pumps. Future versions of these pumps are slated to include external power control via an RJ45 jack in the control box so there’s still an opportunity for ATI to revisit the automatic air intake control as well.