03-31-2008, 11:37 PM
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You are not using it incorrectly. I have used CPR Backpack and Backpack 2R skimmers in the past and sold them at the store I worked at. There should have been a black silencer that came with the skimmer. It is a small hard plastic piece that has a hose barb on one end and a rubber cap that screws up and down in the silencer. That should help on the noise.
As for the micro bubbles, there are a number of things that will cause lots of micro bubbles to enter the tank. Things such as a tank that has never had a skimmer on it where there are a lot of dissolved organics (not visible with the naked eye. water can look clear), a new setup, after adding new live rock, medicating the tank, using a red slime algae remover, water conditioners, anything with aloe in it, etc, etc.
This is true with any skimmer. The CPR works quite well (I prefer the Backpack 2R over the standard Backpack) for a low end skimmer, but it will have to pull out the crap that is causing the elevated surface tension that is responsible for the microbubbles getting to the tank. Surface tension holds the bubbles more intact and affects the weight of the bubble so it doesn't rise up to the surface rapidly. After the skimmer pulls the stuff out you should see less and less microbubbles getting into the tank.
Adjust the skimmer to pull about a cup or two per day. I would suggest running the bubble line (interface) inside the skimmer about 2 inches below the upper rim of the inner cone of the skimmer cup. You will need to have some saltwater mixed up to replenish the tank.
I am not writing this to promote the skimmer as I work for a competetor, but it is a descent skimmer for the money.
Without knowing the Calcium and magnesium levels we can't really say what you will need to do to adjust the carbonates. Don't trust the test kit when it reads up in the upper 8's. All test kits have a margin of error and the farther away you get from the middle point of the test, the more error it has. pH meters are more accurate.
If you can give the calcium and magnesium levels we should be able to make some suggestions.