The guys at Reef Life Support Systems have been making some fantastic protein skimmers, and they’re doing so by taking a slightly different approach than everyone else. They started by bringing DC controllable pumps to the affordable protein skimmer market, and now they’ve got a new model that ditches the traditional volute normally positioned on the intake side of a needle wheel pump. The new DB10i has an internal needle wheel pump that sits up on its end, basically on top of a simple bubble plate, with the intake punching through the bottom of the skimmer allowing it to draw water from under the skimmer’s body instead of through the side. The skimmer sits up off the bottom of the sump with four rubber feet, allowing for good water flow from all angles.
So what’s the advantage to using the skimmer pump in this way? For starters, your utilizing so much more of the vertical space by having the bubbles being created in the skimmer at the lowest possible point. This improves the contact time the bubbles have with the water tremendously, thereby making the overall design more efficient.
A second advantage to this type of setup is the fact that you can see the needle wheel. If something gets sucked into the needles and causes the skimmer to not work as well as it should, a common problem among all protein skimmers, then you can actually see the problem before tearing down the pump to clean it.
As far as product specs go, the DB10i has a beefy 10″ diameter body with overall dimensions of 555mm x 260mm x 550mm (21.85″L x 10.25″W x 21.65″H). The skimmer pump draws in a maximum of 4owatts while sucking in 900-2600 L/h depending on what setting you have the pump on.