It’s been a little while since we’ve heard any news from Reef Life Support Systems so the new RLSS R5i protein skimmer is right on queue. Controllable DC pumps have all but taken over needle wheel duties for many high protein skimmer models, but these have been restricted to skimmers of a certain size class.
The R5i protein skimmer is powered by RLSS’s newest and smallest controllable DC pump, the Waveline DC2500 which is small enough to fit inside the tiny footprint of RLSS’s new protein skimmer. At first glance the R5i might just seem like a new model with a basically smaller form factor, but under the surface there’s a few neat features that help to make this skimmer model stand out.
RLSS’s new small internal skimmer uses a thermoformed conical body which is more continuous in the tapering of its turbulence-reducing cone design. Also, the new and improved air silencer design is now recessed into the draining wedge pipe, we can’t see exactly what’s going on with it but we are told that is extremely quiet.
The one thing that you can’t see in the photo is a new unidirectional needle wheel inside the controllable Waveline DC 2500 pump. We wrote about the unidirectional needle wheel years ago when Warner Marine was investigating the concept. RLSS’s design actually appears to be a combination of a needle wheel and a traditional impeller which also happens to be unidirectional for improved head pressure, an important feature for such a small water pump.
The improved design and performance of the RLSS R5i allows it to hang toe to toe with its predecessor, the RLSS R6i but it will come in at $279, a hundred dollars less while still being able to skim upwards of 200 gallons of reef aquarium water. Full details and specifications of the R5i have yet to be revealed but we look forward to seeing this skimmer make the rounds when it starts shipping to the aquarium hobby.