Water in confined areas (e.g. fish tank, pond or lake) has a certain level of organic waste and nutrients which affect the quality of the water. The organic compounds cannot be seen directly; however, once the level is high enough, the effects can be seen in the water. Some of these effects are:
- Increased algae and plant growth
- Decreased clarity
- Poorer fish health
Unpleasant smell and taste Many devices and procedures exist to remove some of these effects (e.g. mechanical, chemical or biological filters, or simply exchange of water), but Protein Skimmers or Foam Fractionators remain the preferred choice for removing the organic waste from water. The organic waste (also referred to as Dissolved Organic Compounds = DOC) results from decomposed plant matter, fertilisers, fish fodder and excretions from farmed fish, which have been broken down and dissolved in water. High levels of DOC are undesirable in the water because it leads to:
- Less oxygen
- More bacteria, algae and parasites
Build up of toxic substances for the fish Altogether, this results in unhealthy conditions for the fish, affecting both health and growth conditions of the fish. Protein Skimmers, also called Foam Fractionators, work on the principle that most DOC and nutrients in the water have bipolar properties, meaning that one part of the compound prefers air and the other part prefers water. This means these compounds are attracted to air bubbles in the water. Clarity uses Bio Barrel media to thin water which produces a air bubble surface area where a stable foam is created and collected. The smaller the air bubbles, the larger surface area and more effective the Protein Skimmer or Foam Fractionator.