The Italian manufacturer Hydor needs no introduction; anyone that has been in the hobby long enough has stumbled upon a piece of their extensive collection of aquarium equipment at some point in their reefing life(Koralia, anyone?). Their catalog expanded recently with the introduction of a brand new line of return pumps, the Seltz D and Seltz DDC.
Based on a prototype we saw back at MACNA 2017 in New Orleans, then called VariaFlow, the production line pumps are what you would expect from Hydor- small, efficient, and good looking. So what did Hydor decided to do next? Build a skimmer based on the Seltz pumps, naturally. There are three skimmers in the line, called E-SK 600 DC, E-SK 1000, and E-SK 1600 and they are rated for 150, 250, and 400-gallon aquariums, respectively. All models are built on a compact platform, with the pump located inside the skimmer body, and are designed for in-sump use. I got a sneak peek of the yet-to-be-released skimmer line and had an opportunity to ask Brian from Hydor a couple of questions regarding these newest additions to Hydor’s product catalog.
Me: Hi Brian, thank you for allowing me to steal a couple of minutes of your time, the booth looks really busy.
Brian: Yeah, a lot of interest in our new products. What should we start with?
Me: Talk to me about the new skimmer line.
Brian: Sure. The skimmer line consists of three models, rated for 150, 250, and 400g maximum volume. It’s a pipeless style skimmer, therefore there are no external piping, everything is built into the skimmer body. All three run on a DC controlled pump, which allows for the flow to be tweaked via an external controller. The controller itself (see below) features a 5 minute feeding mode and also a low water sensor so that the skimmer shuts itself off if the water level is too low. The built-in memory remembers the pumps’ speed the skimmer was run at, therefore when power gets cut off and then goes back on, it will automatically return to the last setting. We programmed it with a 5-minute delay, so the rest of the system can catch up before the skimmer starts skimming.
Me: The skimmer has an unusual body…
Brian: Yes, so the skimmer body has some unique features- since it’s a pipeless skimmer, you have a thumb latch built into the body that controls the airflow. In addition, we built a drain with a valve into the cup, so that you don’t have to lift the collection cup to drain the skimmate. The collection cup’s center ring comes out for easier cleaning and it’s sealed by an O-ring, like the collection cup with the skimmer body.
Me: Who makes the pump?
Brian: We do. It’s a version of our Seltz DDC return pump with a Hydor-made needle impeller. Oh, one additional thing I would like to cover is the air inlet, which is built directly into the neck of the skimmer. There are holes on the underside of it through which the air goes in and the silencer is also included in the neck. That allowed us to keep the skimmer body compact and efficient.
Me: How do you get to the skimmer body?
Brian: It’s very easy. There are four thumbscrews that, when removed, allow you to get to the pump and the bubble plate. Everything can be disassembled and cleaned separately.
Me: What’s the release date of these skimmers?
Brian: We are planning to release them in late July or August.
Me: What about pricing?
Brian: The suggested retail pricing will be $300 for the E-SK 600, $400 for the E-SK 1000, and we’re shooting for around $600 for the largest E-SK 1600. The skimmers you see here are production prototypes, so a few small things may change in the retail version, but in large, they will look just like these.
Me: OK, let’s talk about these return pumps.
Brian: Cool. Let’s talk about the little guys first. These are the Seltz D DC pumps, with flow ranges at 500gph, 750gph, and 1200gph. For factor on the 500 and 750 is the same, the 1200 is a little larger. These are true DC pumps and can be controlled with an external controller, identical to the one on the skimmer, so you have the low water sensor, the 5min feeding time, and the built-in memory. Seltz D DC pumps can be run externally as well as submerged. We give you all pipe fittings, for the D DC we went with step-up barb connectors, so you can shorten them to fit different pipe sizes. For the submersed application, we included a mesh pre-filter guard and then the pump’s volute can be changed so that if you want to run the discharge to the side, you are able to do it with these pumps. Internally, we have all ceramic shafts on the impellers and all the valves as well
Me: Then we have these larger ones…
Brian: Yes, the larger return pumps feature a hybrid design- they are actually an AC run pump with a DC style controllability. We have three models, 1600gph, 2400gph, and 3200gph.
Me: This is very interesting, the hybrid design you mentioned.
Brian: With the hybrid design, we wanted to give our customers the best of both worlds. With an AC pump run at 100%, you will always get a better energy consumption rate than a DC pump, but at, let’s say 50%, the DC is going to draw less power because traditionally, an AC pump needs to be mechanically throttled down to reduce flow. What we did here is we used an electronic controller to dial down the AC pump speed, creating a similar power rating to a DC run pump. The pumps again can be run externally or submerged. The outlets are standard 1-¼” pipe size for the two smaller models, while the 3200gph model has a 1-½” outlet.
Me: Cool Brian, thank you again!