That’s a common problem with the CPR Bak-Pak line of protein skimmers, particularly when the skimmer is new and going through its break-in period. There are some simple modifications you can make to the skimmer to eliminate the microbubbles, or you may have to install a CPR bubble trap to contain them so they aren’t released into the aquarium. Here are some comments and suggestions from other aquarists who have had similar difficulties, explaining how they were able to correct the problem:
I have a CPR bak pak and you can make a silencer to reduce the noise. Also, when a protein skimmer is new, it often makes bubbles. As per CPR’s instructions you should also be able to reduce noise and bubbles by lengthening the airline tubing to about 2ft. If this does not help the bubbles, CPR sells a bubble trap which you can place over the tube which pours into the tank, thus removing the bubbles. Sometimes the bubbles are caused by inadequate air flow. You can remove the mushroomlike black plastic piece from the tube which comes out of your tank into the air. To be sure the skimmer will make even more noise but you can make the silencer to help this. Take an empty film canister with a lid and drill a hole in it. You want the hole big enough to fit your airline tubung but not so big that it will fall off. Put the tubing through the hole in the bottom of the canister. take another piece of tubing very short maybe 1/4 inch to half inch and stick that into the grey film canister lid.
Put the lid on the film canister with each tube inside and the small one hanging out a bit. The two pieces of tubing do not need to touch inside the canister. Voila you have increased your air flow and reduced the noise! Good luck.
You put the open end of the airline tubing into the bottom of the film
—–main airline tubing——– (filmcanisterhere- (lid)small piece of
the little piece of tube sticks out the end of the lid of the canister and a
small amount goes inside. Let me know if you need more help. I will try to make
a better diagram.
tipsicat@… wrote: Michelle,
That sounds like an interesting idea! I have BackPack also. But don’t quite
understand….do U put an airstone at the end of it or just leave it open?
Thanks for the info on noise reduction!
I have a CPR bak pak also, and I was frustrated with bubbles coming
out below the water surface-no matter how I adjusted the air intake,
I still got bubbles in the outflow. So, I asked my husband to shorten
the vertical piece of black piping that returns water to the tank.
The return flow tube (the elbow shaped black piece attached to the
vertical piece) now is located partially out of the water, so any
bubbles offgas at the water/air surface. That solved the bubble
If necessary, Sean, you can always call and postpone the delivery of the seahorses you ordered until the problem has been eliminated. But the microbubbles are harmless in and of themselves, and only become problematic in the unlikely event that they contribute to gas supersaturation in the aquarium.
Gas supersaturation can indeed cause Gas Bubble Disease (GBD). However, gas supersaturation pertains to the levels of dissolved gases in the aquarium and is not related to fine bubbles produced by air stones or protein skimmers.
I think there is some confusion on this point because courting males can sometimes get bubbles of air trapped in their pouches during their pouch displays (Pumping and Ballooning). This happens most often when a male performs his pouch displays while basking in the bubble stream from an airstone. When this happens, the air trapped in the marsupium gives the seahorse positive buoyancy and a simple pouch evacuation must be performed to release the air bubbles.
However, this problem (air trapped in the pouch of a courting male) is a simple mechanical problem with a quick and easy solution and is NOT the same condition as chronic, recurring Pouch Emphysema, which is indeed a form of Gas Bubble Disease. In Pouch Emphysema, the gas that builds up in the male’s pouch is generated from within its own body, released into the pouch from the dense network of capillaries in the thin layer of epithelium lining the marsupium. The only way to cure chronic Pouch Emphysema is to disrupt the process that causes gas to be released into the pouch from the bloodstream.
So those fine bubbles released into your tank from your protein skimmer are more of an unsightly nuisance than a cause for alarm. Solving the problem may be as simple as fine tuning or tweaking of the skimmer to adjust it properly once it is broken in.
Also, don’t forget that you will need to remove the Domino damselfish before you introduce any seahorses to the aquarium. Damselfish are very aggressive and territorial by nature and would not make suitable tankmates for seahorses.
If you contact me off list ([email protected]) and let me know when your seahorses are due to arrive, I will be happy to send you some complete instructions explaining how to acclimate them properly so that everything goes smoothly when they arrive.
Best of luck eliminating the microbubbles that are being released into the aquarium, Sean!