Your aquarium is likely to get dirty over time due to the type of food you feed the fish or the debris that can accumulate over time. To help with the removal of such dissolved organic compounds and additional harmful substances, you will need to get yourself the best available protein skimmer. This product will help reduce the amount of impurities that end up on the biological filter installed in the aquarium.
The protein skimmer for a reef tank or biocube works by removing these organic compounds using air bubbles. These air bubbles are commonly found in a collection cup accompanied with the skimmer. Whenever water from the aquarium is passed through the collection cup, all the nasty stuff is removed completely. Protein skimmers are so effective that most people use them in place of a mechanical filter.
You will need to get a protein skimmer for your nano cube or any other type of aquarium that you may own. Below are some of the benefits you can expect to experience from protein skimmers.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Using Protein Skimmer in Aquarium
- Best Protein Skimmer for the Money
- Best Protein Skimmers Reviews
- What is the Best Protein Skimmer?
- How to Choose a Protein Skimmer?
- Types of Protein Skimmers
- How to set up a protein skimmer?
- Protein Skimmer Q&A
Benefits of Using Protein Skimmer in Aquarium
1. The idea is to clean the water by removing all the dissolved organic compounds. This will ensure you end up with an environment full of oxygen, which is important for the fish to survive while in the water.
2. The skimmer will help remove nitrates and other material that could easily lead to additional breakdown and cause the emergence and spread of algae. The worst part is that algae can be hard to control if you don’t deal with it early enough—all the more reason to look into protein skimmers today.
3. The buildup of dirt in the aquarium water often leads to issues, such as cloudy water that does not allow light to penetrate it. This would obviously affect the marine life in the aquarium. Using the skimmer, it is now possible to clear cloudy water and restore it to pristine condition.
4. The organic components dissolved in the system can create unstable pH levels. These pH levels might not be favorable for the fish and other types of marine life. It is time that you changed all that by using protein skimmers. They will easily lead to a stable pH level in the aquarium.
5. The use of a skimmer will always result in an overall improvement of the health of the animals in the aquarium. Just make sure to replace it whenever it appears that the skimmers have stopped producing skimmate.
Best Protein Skimmer for the Money
With so many options available, you will need to learn more about the top models in order to make the decision of which to buy. Below are the best protein skimmers on the market today.
|SCA-302 180 Gallon Protein Skimmer||Up to 180 galons|
|Bubble Magus Curve 5 Protein Skimmer||Up to 140 gallons|
|CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus||Up to 100 galons|
|Coralife Super Skimmer with Pump||65 gallons to 220 gallons|
|Reef Octopus Classic 100-HOB Protein Skimmer||Up to 105 galons|
|Comline DOC Protein Skimmer 9001||Nano Reef Aquariums |
Up to 37 gallons
|Coral Vue Technology AC20284 Octopus Needle Wheel Skimmer||Up to 100 gallons|
Best Protein Skimmers Reviews
1. SCA-302 180 Gallon Protein Skimmer
It’s a new model, and it comes with some features that make it better than the older models. The manufacturer included all the new bells and whistles that many people have always wanted in a protein skimmer. Its compact design makes it suitable for multiple applications for various aquariums. Silencer and extra large collection cup is a feature worth noting in this model.
The model comes with a powerful Atman 2000 pump that delivers the high quantity of bubbles needed for dissolving the organic matter in the aquarium water. The overall performance of the model is great when compared to other models in the same category.
Since it works s large aquariums, it is for sure the best protein skimmer for the price. The manufacturer has rated it to be best for saltwater aquariums of up to 180 gallons. If you have any aquarium within its range, then this product will make it much easier to keep the water clean.
- It has an amazing amount of cleaning power, enough to support even large capacity aquariums
- It has a strong pump for producing the best bubbles
- It is easy to operate thanks to its simple controls
- It has a seamless assembly process
- The pump often breaks after using it for a couple of months
- The microbubbles make it look cloudy and need a lot of regular cleaning
2. Bubble Magus Curve 5 Protein Skimmer
The manufacturer had to make something that could rival its competitors in terms of features. This is a great product to clean the water in your aquarium. It might not be really compact, but it is well-designed to fit in tight spaces. You will not have to relocate your aquarium just to use this product.
The needle wheel design is quite amazing, as you get to experience fine bubbles being generated each time at a faster rate. This design is what has led so many people to give it high ratings online.
The setup process is quite easy, even for someone who has not assembled one before. It will take about fifteen minutes to assemble the different parts. These parts can also be dismantled easily during cleaning. The parts overall are well-built to ensure that this model will last longer than others.
- Its parts are highly durable
- It is easy to take it apart for maintenance
- The needle wheel design produces many fine bubbles
- It is easy to set up
- It needs regular cleaning to remove the skimmate
- You might experience overflow issues
3. CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus
When it comes to finding the model that will deliver the best performance, one from CoralVue is always going to be a good choice. This is a model that will give you an impressive performance over time. Being a HOB skimmer, you should have an easy time fitting it to the aquarium, as this type of protein skimmer is easy to handle and install.
The model is best known for having a compact design. This is crucial, so that you can fit it even into tight spaces. You no longer have to create more room to handle the size of the model. The design is further important so that it does not end up transferring heat into the water. This is a great improvement from other models that would often overheat. This model will simply work great over time without any overheating issues.
Having an impressive capacity of up to 100 gallons is a great advantage when it comes to using this model for various types of aquariums. It will always deliver effective aquarium cleaning so that you get to have clean water in it at all times. The design also makes it easy to clean the unit when maintenance is needed. You may have to separate a few parts, but that always makes cleaning easier. If you had problems cleaning other models before, all that is now a breeze.
This skimmer makes the list of the very best protein skimmers for reef tanks.
- Great performance
- Easily adjustable
- Quiet operation
- Some complaints about the setup instructions
4. Coralife Super Skimmer with Pump
If you own an aquarium, the chances are that you are going to have a skimmer in the house. It has become an essential part of making sure that your aquarium water gets maintained properly. Most people would choose this model, as it is known for having the level of performance that many people desire today. Its exceptional performance allows you to easily get rid of the organic compounds that might have dissolved in the aquarium water.
The model comes with a high-performance fractionator for the foam. This means that you no longer have to worry about the production of the bubbles. These bubbles are important for the filtration process, so that the dissolved organic compounds can easily be removed. This impressive design is crucial for helping you to save on energy each time you run the model. This means you no longer have to worry about a significant increase in the energy bill of the house.
How about the setup process? That is a common question any newbie to using skimmers would want to know. The best part about this model is that it’s very easy to set up. With the instructions being clear, with illustrations, you should be done with the setup process in no time.
The filtration capacity is another thing about this model you will enjoy. It has been designed to be able to handle different aquarium sizes, from 65 gallons to 220 gallons. You should find it easy to find aquariums that will work with this skimmer.
- Impressive strong needle wheel impeller
- Easy to set up
- Great capacity
- Impressive bubble production
- Customer service could be improved
5. Reef Octopus Classic 100-HOB Protein Skimmer
The first impressions of this skimmer are that you get a model that would be great in terms of size. The manufacturer designed this model to be compact so that it can always deliver the performance that people need to handle the filtration of their aquarium water. Its small size is a benefit when it comes to installation. You can have it hooked onto the aquarium in a few minutes and you are done.
The setup of this model is fairly easy as compared to various other models available today. The instructions are made to be easy to understand and follow, so that you can finish and understand them in a couple of minutes. If you’re a newbie, you might end up taking more time because it is a newer model with more parts to assemble. The best part is that the manufacturer sends you the model with everything you need, so that you do not have to buy any additional tools to set it up.
As much as the design is made to be as simple as possible, it will still make sure that you get the job done. You should be able to see the different working parts of the skimmer, and have an easy time using it. Whenever it gets dirty, you should be able to get it cleaned in no time.
The model will also work great as soon as it is set up. Its reliability makes sure that you have a model that works properly without any need to get it repaired all the time.
- Impressive filtration capacity
- Unique design
- Compact size
- Great working pump
- It is not sturdy enough
6. Comline DOC Protein Skimmer 9001
This model could be a nice choice for those people looking for a great protein skimmer that can still help them with their aquarium cleaning process. The model is designed to be highly durable so that you can use it for a long time.
What about the setup process? Anyone who is going to assemble the product at home would want to know that; you will be happy to know that this model is quite simple to set up and start using. Its controls are well positioned so that the user can have an easier time cleaning the aquarium water. Getting this model would be the best decision you ever made when it comes to maintaining your aquarium in pristine condition.
The model is also energy-efficient, meaning that you can use it more often without worrying that it will increase the energy bill. This has been quite a selling point for the model, and something that many people love about it.
- It is easy to operate this model
- It is energy-efficient
- It has a compact design to fit easily around the aquarium
- Cleaning it is easy, compared to other models
- It has a sturdy construction
- It tends to produce tons of microbubbles
7. Coral Vue Technology AC20284 Octopus Needle Wheel Skimmer
This should be what you think of the next time you head out to buy yourself a great protein skimmer. The model comes with an amazing wheel design, which is important for the bubble generation process. The bubbles generated are important to help with the dissolving of organic waste in the aquarium water. You will be able to use this model for various aquariums as long as they have a maximum capacity of around 100 gallons.
Its many users all agree that the performance of this product is quite impressive. It is also efficient on so many levels that you are sure to fall in love.
The design of the products makes it quite easy to use. You will not have to keep on referring to the manual each time you have to use the model.
- It can be used on large-capacity aquariums
- It is easy to operate
- The pin-wheel impellers offer impressive performance
- It is easy to clean
- The pump is loud
What is the Best Protein Skimmer?
For a model to be considered one of the best, it should be able to meet several criteria. It is important that the model delivers great performance at all times. Reliability is especially important when it comes to choosing the right model, and the CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus is the best. It comes with many features that will make you like it even more. It will always deliver the best performance each time you use it.
CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus Assembly and Installation Video
How to Choose a Protein Skimmer?
You will need the perfect guide to help you make a decision, as there are many protein skimmers available today to help with the process of cleaning the aquariums.
Type of Aquariums
Of course, not all protein skimmers will work for marine aquariums or saltwater aquariums. It is important that you learn more about each model before making a decision on which to buy. The manufacturer will always list the different ways in which the skimmer can be used. Use it correctly and you will end up with a clean aquarium.
It is not just about the type of water in the aquarium, but also the size that is important – you can get some for large aquariums or for nano tanks. It all depends on the design and capability that the skimmer can deliver. You can always get one for small tanks if you do not want to spend more on the skimmers.
Setting up the protein skimmers is not rocket science, but it is important that you get it right, in order to make sure that it will actually work. The best part is that most manufacturers will give you a detailed manual to help you with setting up the skimmer for your aquarium.
You will appreciate the ease of use of this skimmer, especially for a person who has yet to use one. The reviews could be a great place to start looking for the best protein skimmer that is also easy to use.
Protein Skimmer Brands
Not all brands deliver the best products. Some are great, while others are just be playing catch-up. It is crucial that you learn about the brand’s reputation first. It is only from the previous owners that you can actually find out if the product is top quality.
Some of the top protein skimmer brands include Coral Vue, AquaMaxx, and Bubble Magnus, among many others. You can also talk to your friends who have owned a protein skimmer before for some tips about the best brand to get for yourself the next time you’re shopping for one.
You would not desire to spend all your time emptying or maintaining the skimmer when it is supposed to be working. If you choose a model with a larger collection cup, it means that you won’t have to worry about emptying the cup all the time. Some models come with a built-in drain, which makes it easier for you to drain the skimmer.
If you choose the counter current type of protein skimmer, it will always require higher maintenance. The issue with this type of model is that you have to keep replacing the air stone in order to keep it working properly.
The ozonizer is important when it comes to producing fine bubbles. The best part is that you get to control it yourself, meaning you decide on just how many bubbles you need. The ozonizer is important to help in the destruction of disease-causing organisms, raising the pH to a stable level, increasing oxygen in the aquarium water, and also improving the overall efficiency of the protein skimmer.
Sometimes the budget you have in mind will determine which model of protein skimmer you end up with. It is always crucial that you have the right model for the right money, too. The protein skimmer you decide to buy should not be just about the price, but also what it can deliver in terms of features. You should always take the time to compare various protein skimmers before making your move.
Protein skimmers for low-end budgets could be great or turn out to be costly in the long run. Some might be cheap at first, but the maintenance needs make them just not worth it.
Protein Skimmer Reviews
Sometimes you could benefit from other people’s experiences when it comes to choosing the best protein skimmer. It is always better to learn from what other people have undergone and learned from their success or mistakes. Keep in mind that reviews can sometimes be deceiving, especially when you choose to read those on highly promoted websites.
The best way to choose the best product is to opt for reputable online stores that allow their customers to leave reviews after they have made a purchase. It is from reviews such as these that you can easily make a good decision from the many options of protein skimmers available to you.
Types of Protein Skimmers
Air Driven Counter Current Skimmers
This type of skimmer is seen by many as the most effective way of filtering the water of your aquarium. Although they are the most effective, you will find that they need frequent cleaning and maintenance, thus becoming costly to run. These skimmers use wooden air diffusers and powerful air pumps important for producing the bubbles.
Another thing you will enjoy about this type of skimmer is that it is designed to produce excellent foam volume generation. You also get a consistent quality and volume of bubbles every time you run it.
Since it uses the airstones, you might have to replace them after a while. Depending on the amount of organic load that has to be filtered, you might have to replace the air stones as often as every two months. You also have to check the air pump diaphragms and replace them if they are weakened. Since this model will always produce the best results, it’s unsurprising that more people would be happy to have one for their aquariums.
This is another type of skimmer, which uses a venturi injector for making the air bubbles. In terms of size, you will find that it is shorter than the air-driven skimmers. This type also needs a stronger pump to drive its venture valve. One of the reasons more people opt for this model is the number of bubbles it can produce. The venturi injector can produce a tremendous amount of bubbles for cleaning the aquarium water effectively.
It is always important to have this type skimmer matched with a high-performance pump. You will easily end up with the fine bubbles important for dissolving the organic compounds with ease. Most skimmers of this type come with a spray head design for increasing the amount of air that gets mixed into the water.
The installation process for such models is designed to be as easy as possible. You should be done in no time with this type of skimmer. Most even come with illustrations that should make the installation steps perfectly clear. The high-performance pumps that these models often come with are so good that they require only infrequent maintenance.
This type of skimmer is designed to be different from the others. It works by having a jet of water spray into the column with bio balls at a high velocity. Once the bubbles have gone through the bio balls column, they then enter the sump box. This helps to deflect them upwards to help with foam formation in the skimmer neck.
This type of model has a lengthy water path because of the bioball column that has to be integrated into the model. The lengthy water path does increase the reaction time, so in order for the model to work properly, you have to consider getting a very powerful pump. This is the reason you will find this model to be bigger than other types of skimmers.
Aspirating Impeller Skimmer
You might say that this is a different style when it comes to inexpensive aeration systems. It is designed to easily direct air into the impeller of the pump that creates the bubbles. The impeller comes with a specialized needle wheel which chops up the air bubbles to make them finer. With fine bubbles, you should have an easier time dissolving the organic compounds in the water.
You will find that it is easier to run this type of skimmer, as they will run on low power pumps that still generate a lot of bubbles, although sometimes people tend to be worried about the durability of the specialized impellers. The best part is that this type of model is cheap and will also work relatively well for a long time.
How to set up a protein skimmer?
The setup of a protein skimmer is always going to vary from one model to another. It is the reason you have to start by getting familiar with the various components that have been provided with the model. Most manufacturers of skimmers would send you a model that is separated into different parts. It would be impossible for some people to handle the setup without the manual. It is the reason you will also get the model coming with the manual important for setting up the skimmer.
Proceed to assemble the skimmer making sure that you get the model working correctly. Depending on the type of skimmer, you may have to install on the back of the aquarium or any other position. Always make sure that the connection is done properly so that there are no water leaks the moment you start using the model.
How to Install and Maintain an In-Sump Protein Skimmer – Video Guide
Protein Skimmer Q&A
1. What is a Protein Skimmer?
This is a device commonly used in removing the dissolved organic components in an aquarium. If the organic matter is left to be broken down, then It can have some consequences to the aquarium. The protein skimmer is designed to use an air driven system to create a dense foam for eliminating the organic matter from the aquarium.
2. How does a protein skimmer work?
The protein skimmer works by creating fine bubbles in a reaction chamber, important for the overall process. When the organic waste adheres to the air bubbles in the reaction chamber, in a chemical process commonly called adsorption, these bubbles will then propel the waste material to the surface of a reaction chamber before they can be expelled into the collection cup. Depending on the number and size of the bubbles, it can determine the type of efficiency you get with a unit.
3. How to clean a protein skimmer?
It is recommended that at least every six months you take out the protein skimmer and clean it properly so that it can keep on delivering the best service. As part of cleaning, the first thing would be replacing the air tubing. There is no point to cleaning it, as it does not work efficiently after a while.
Disassemble the skimmer part by part, and then soak it in hot water for about an hour. Using a brush, scrub the parts to remove any deposits of the organic matter. Once that is complete, rinse it with plenty of water.
4. Does protein skimmer remove salt?
No. It is possible that you would dumping a small amount of the aquarium saltwater as you filter the water. It might not be enough to cause trouble for you although. You can always add more water to fill up the water in the aquarium.
5. Does protein skimmer remove nitrate?
To remove the nitrates, they have to be attached to something else. If the nitrates are consumed by the microalgae found in the aquarium, then it is possible to remove them when removing the microalgae.
6. Does protein skimmer remove phosphates?
The protein skimmers are designed just to remove the proteins, which are the organic waste products and cellulose. Phosphates on the other hand come from other sources such as tap water. So it is not possible to remove the phosphates with protein skimmer.
7. Does protein skimmer remove algae?
It is possible to reduce the amount of algae in the aquarium water with the protein skimmer, but it is not going to bring it to zero. Just make sure that you get to use other methods to completely remove them.
8. Does protein skimmer remove ammonia?
Skimmers can only remove low levels of ammonia. If you need more ammonia removed, you might have to use other types of filtration for the aquarium water.
9. Does protein skimmer remove calcium?
Most of the people who have used the skimmer for the process would claim that it did not help much with removing the calcium. Running the skimmer for this sake would be just a waste of time.
10. Can protein skimmers be used in freshwater tanks?
You can use the skimmer for freshwater tanks without any problem. There could be some substantial difference in the generation of bubbles, but it gets the job done. The fine bubble generation would be easier in the salt water.
11. Why is my protein skimmer not foaming?
Many things could lead to the skimmer not foaming and not all of them mean that it is broken. It could be that the skimmer is too large for your aquarium as one reason. Another thing would be that the skimmer is still within its break-in period. Having a low bioload is another reason you would find that the skimmer is not foaming. Sometimes a bit of adjustment could make the skimmer to start foaming once again.
12. Why is protein skimmer overflowing?
Having excess foam can easily be corrected if you get to adjust the protein skimmer. You might want to read the manual of the model before making changes to the settings, as each brand would work differently. You might have to raise the collection cup height so that you can allow the excess water to easily drain away.
13. Why is my protein skimmer so loud?
Having noise coming from the skimmer is mostly because of a pump. You have to check the pump just to make sure it is the reason for the noise. If it has some of the parts worn out, then you have to get them replaced to keep the model operating quietly.
14. How to quiet protein skimmer?
The loudness sometimes would come from the skimmer vibrating. This can be resolved by placing rubber mats under the skimmer so that the rubber would help with the vibrations coming from the pump.
15. Where to put protein skimmer in sump?
You have to make sure that you compare the sump size to the dimensions of the protein skimmers before buying. The reason is that most of the time you will get the sump coming with a limited open space. Get a separate submersible water pump whenever necessary when it comes to installing the protein skimmer.
16. When should I turn on my protein skimmer?
On the overall, you might want to let the protein skimmer run all the time. The fish, bacteria, coral, and algae would continue to release slime and dissolved organics all the time. When the water is not filtered continuously, with time you end up with poor water quality.
Right now, you have a clear understanding of what a protein skimmer is, the top models, and how to choose one. If you have not made up your mind, the CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus model seems to have more features you could use. The model is newer, meaning it has all new features to improve its performance compared to the older models. It should be the best choice protein skimmer for hobbyists, or even professionals, with large aquariums. You can always choose any other model that you feel will give you the best performance.
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