Unboxing the Vertex Aquaristik Vectra Protein Skimmer CleanerBy: Brandon Klaus
One of the many goodies we got from Vertex a few weeks ago was a Vectra and Vectra Lid to go with our Omega 150 protein skimmer. This device is one of the many accessories designed to make the day-to-day life of the average hobbyists a bit easier, as it is designed to keep the neck of the skimmer clean so that it can operate at maximum efficiency for as long as possible. It does this by rotating a silicone blade on the inside of the neck and collection cup, knocking significant amounts of crud that has built up in the skimmer.
So how do we like the Vectra from Vertex Aquaristik? Well, if our unboxing is any indication of how things will go during our long term tests, then we expect it to be a solid performer. The Vectra is well built, with extra care given to protect all of the sensitive electronic components to keep them high and dry. The unit is a bit on the heavy side, probably the result of the use of thick plastic materials along with the motor and other components. Fortunately, this unit isn’t one you’ll be removing very often, so its weight should have no baring on, well, anything.
The entire motor is located on top of the unit and is protected by a clear plastic housing that is both stylish and revealing. While the housing protects the delicate parts of the system, it also presents an issue of potentially causing the motor to overheat. Vertex recommends to only turn the Vectra on periodically, and to avoid leaving it on for long periods of time. Hobbyists shouldn’t need it to be on 24/7, and it can be plugged into a timer so that it comes on once a day for a few minutes at a time.
In terms of accessories, the Vectra doesn’t come with a lot of extra stuff, as it just isn’t needed. Besides the motor, the unit comes with a large silicone blade that slides into a slot on the rotating shaft. It is secured in place with a titanium screw, and can be adjusted to fit various sizes of protein skimmer if needed.
The Vectra Engine is sold separately from the Vectra Lid. This is primarily due to the fact that the engine is used in multiple skimmer bodies, with multiple different lids being available. The lid we received, the Vectra Lid 150, which is designed to be used with the Omega 150 and fits it beautifully. Unlike the regular skimmer lids that sit on top of the collection cup with grooves, the Vectra Lid uses titanium screws to secure itself to the collection cup so that it doesn’t move during the cleaning process.
Once the Engine is attached to the Lid, the blade can be installed and the entire assembly can be fitted to the skimmer’s collection cup. This is where we encountered a few slight issues. Every time we put things together, the silicone blade would hit something, somewhere. Either the blade would be too tight, or the arm of the blade would rub the inside of the collection cup. It took several tries, but we eventually worked the blade of the Vectra into the skimmer body so that it would operate as intended. Also during this process, we managed to wiggle the power supply connection loose from the circuit board. Fortunately, it was very easy for us to put it back. We just got a little overzealous in our exploration, I guess.
After everything was assembled, the Vectra worked just as it should. The blade slowly rotated around the inside of the collection cup and skimmer neck, and we have all the confidence in the world that it will keep our Omega 150 clean during the skimming process.
That wraps up our unboxing. Feel free to browse all of the images (above and below), and stay tuned for videos and articles covering the skimmer in action on a reef tank.