Sorta Urgent: Skimmer Pump Issue

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Nav, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    I hope someone’s looking at this post now (considering its the long weekend). I just noticed my skimmer stopped working and couldn’t figure out whats wrong… I tried playing with the power and the cords hoping it would be something looks but didn’t work…

    I removed the skimmer and tried in a bucket of water but still didn’t work… removed the pump and looked at the impeller and it looks perfect…With most of the covers open, I simply left the impeller in the pump and ran it but still didn’t run. With my finger, I gave the impeller a gentle push (like a slight turn) and it started running as normal.

    I turned off the skimmer and turned on and it stopped again. Looks like each time I had to give the impeller a gentle push to start and it runs normal :( Same problem after the casing is put back (cover to the impeller, intake, tube, etc). If the impeller is broken or the magnet bulged, it wouldn’t run! but in my case, after the gentle push it runs as normal.

    Skimmer is a BubbleMagnus NAN 3.5 with an Atman PH-1000 pump. Tank is running skimmer-less now and I’d love to get some advise ASAP. Getting a new pump is almost the cost of the skimmer so not a smart idea. Pls help.


  2. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Have seen similar problems before. Is impeller new? Or did you get it used? I'd try cleaning w vinegar.
    May need to replace it tho
    wpeterson likes this.
  3. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

  4. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    +1 on the vinegar. I had a Cadlights PLS50 Elite skimmer used that did not work. But I soaked it in water/vinegar for a few days and it fired right up. Sounds like the impeller has some resistance. Try resitting the rubber or ceramic bearings that hold the impeller inside?
  5. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    Already tried :(

    What ratio of vinegar:water do u suggest? For how long?
  6. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I used 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water or there about. I'm sure you can use stronger too but I figured I was gonna soak it for a few days so didn't want to go too strong. Don't know if there is such a thing as too strong. I guess if you go full strength and leave it for weeks, the O rings might deteriorate.
    Nav likes this.
  7. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    I use hella vinegar. Check the impellers make sure they can move freely. Your skimmer is not super duper important. Just do your water changes until you can get a new skimmer.
  8. muhli

    muhli Guest

    I don't think it has anything to do with the impeller that's causing it to stop.

    I think the issue has to do with the pump internals specifically the motor. Magnets rarely go wrong.

    I would just replace and probably use the chance to upgrade the pump if not the whole skimmer itself
  9. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    For now I've soaked the pump in 1:1 water:vinegar and will let it sit for 2 days and give it another try again. If it fails I'm going to be again confused between replacing the impeller or just getting a better pump or getting a used skimmer (I just got this skimmer couple of months ago and trying not to go down the route of getting one again).
  10. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    used equipment is often only as good as it works.
    Nav likes this.
  11. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    I don't understand or agree with this. Not sure what you mean by "motor?"

    I usually use straight vinegar for what it's worth.
  12. muhli

    muhli Guest

    Nav mentioned that the impeller wouldn't move without an assisted push.

    If it is able to move once force was applied to it, things in or around the impeller shaft should have cleared away or at least broken free, thereby eliminating the problem for future.

    But if it still requires an assisted push time and time again, it is probably the motor. Now I'm not good at electrical engineering, but the motor in the pump is driven by electrical currents that changes the polarity of the magnet or coils which makes the impeller spin. There has to be something wrong if its not making the impeller spin on its own. Maybe its the magnets or coils getting weaker over time from use?

    Vinegar baths to my knowledge is only used to break free and clean equipment on an exterior level. If this bath doesn't fix the issue, I would highly suggest replacing the pump or at least upgrading it.

    I've had this issue before as well on my aquaclear hob filter. Pump was thoroughly cleaned inside and out, but it never solved the problem. I just figured it was bound to be worn down anyways since its constantly being worked 24/7.

    If Nav wants to continue using that pump, that's fine too. All I had to do to get the pump started again was to knock on it with it being plugged in. Not sure if that'll work in his case, but it worked for me until it was time to upgrade.

    Enderturtle likes this.
  13. Newjack

    Newjack Supporting Member

    I may have a spare Atman pump minus the impeller. Not sure on model #. I'll have to dig it up, If my memory serves me right, the impeller got damaged by foreign object. It's yours if you want to try it. Just use your impeller with my motor and see what you get.
    Nav and Enderturtle like this.
  14. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    I still don't agree and would try a new impeller first. Almost always solves it for me. Vinegar will clean it off, and that can be a problem, but impeller can also crack and or swell which can be hard to see sometimes, or sometimes they have plastic pieces that can break, and obviously vinegar won't fix that. I've seen very few pumps that had "motors" break.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
    Vhuang168 likes this.
  15. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    +1 Motors like this very rarely break. There are no moving parts except for the impeller. The fact that it works when the impeller is given a push tells me the motor works but something is blocking the impeller. It takes a lot more torque to start the impeller then to keep it spinning so if the impeller is not moving smoothly, this can happen.

    Could be as simple as a flash of plastic on the impeller is rubbing on the cavity wall or the rubber bushings are not seated square enough to the shaft.

    There IS a chance that somehow the winding blocks came loose and the phasing in the motor is off. Push starting the impeller would give the necessary adjustment to get it going.

    @Nav, have you ever dropped the motor?
  16. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    Nope, it has been sitting in my sump for a few months now... I removed every component of the impeller, cleaned and put it back (wasn't even dirty)... even the inner wall of the pump where the impeller sits was very clean...

    If you guys here are sure its the impeller, I can order the $20 from eBay...
  17. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    There is no 100%, but id say it's a good $20 bet
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
    Nav likes this.
  18. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Spare impeller is always good to have.

    In the mean time you can have the whole skimmer sitting in a 5g bucket, it if fits, if not then just the pump and have it running in vinegar/water.
  19. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I've had that issue with many pumps over the year, QuietOne, Rio, Seio, Sicce, Maxijet, you name it, I've had it. So I think it's a fairly common issue, now why it does that I'm not sure, my thought would suggest magnetic fields are just out of sync with the way the impeller is sitting in the pump, but I couldn't tell you for certain.
  20. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    +1 for cleaning the impeller and pump with vinegar. You get mineral deposits and detritus building up. This can cause enough friction to prevent it from spinning normally. If it spins only with help, there's too much friction to start.

    I soak everything in straight vinegar to dissolve the calcium and other mineral deposits and then scrub it all with some small brushes to get off the detritus and deposits that the vineger loosened up.
    Coral reefer likes this.

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