As far as miracle-materials for the aquarium hobby goes, you don’t have to look too far to see the monumental benefits of silicone. Firstly, silicone is instrumental in sealing panes of glass into boxes we like to call aquariums, but the applications of the soft squishy rubber-like polymer are only growing in our beloved past time.
Silicone has become the preferred form of flexible tubing for its resistance to kinking, it’s used for LED lenses in Illumagic light fixtures, RK2 is making modern uniseals out of silicone, and even the pump mount and venturi/aspirator valve of maxspect Jump protein skimmers is made entirely out of silicone. Besides its functional purpose one of the first hacks for silicone came to us from German protein skimmer manufacturers who used silicone tubing to isolate the vibration of needle wheel pumps from the bodies of protein skimmers making them quieter.
It’s no mystery that we love simple mechanical and analog accessories that make reefing better or easier and one device that is really easy to DIY into something better is the humble air silencer that transforms the slurping air sounds of protein skimmers into a more manageable hum. There’s been many takes on air silencer designs with a very clever spiral version recently unveiled by Tunze but we just realized there hasn’t been much experimentation with the material that air silencers are made from.
Nearly all air silencers to date have been made of hard plastic, PVC or acrylic – all hard materials which reflect vibrations – but for some reason we’ve not seen air silencers made from materials that absorb vibration. It’s not too much a stretch to imagine how the soft rubber like qualities of silicone could further reduce the vibration of slurping air when made into a protein skimmer silencer. Best of all, there are many different ways to work with silicone, including molding it into complicated shapes so hopefully we’ll see the DIY side of the reef aquarium hobby take a stab at making air silencer from soft silicone if someone hasn’t done it already.