Don’t be fooled by “Protein” in the name. It’s not a diet supplement for us humans OR for our fishes. Rather, a protein skimmer is something that keeps our aquariums and/or tanks clean.
Well, that’s the gist of it all!
These tools can single-handedly keep our fish habitat clean by gathering (and flushing out in some cases) the impurities that pollute the environment. This includes fish poop, uneaten food, minerals, junk on the inner surface of our tanks, and even harmful gasses.
Obviously, they’ll cost you some money to buy (duh). But that’s not the problem. The issue is whether you get yourselves the best protein skimmers out there or not.
Let’s admit it, not many of us are connoisseurs of fish or coral tanks now, are we? Naturally, it’s not our job to know. That’s why we end up choosing the wrong machine for the job.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a “Guide” of some sort gave you the ticket to some of the frontrunners in the race? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could know about the mechanism of such machines and the specialties for an educated purchase?
Yes, it would! That’s why I designed this guide with all the answers to your questions! Read on and learn something new today. And… for the pros, brushing up on and sharing your aquarium know-how doesn’t hurt one bit, does it? Do that!
What is a Protein Skimmer Exactly?
For all you newbies, Protein Skimmer is a type of filter that works to remove all the waste from your saltwater or freshwater aquariums.
Now, it’s not a NECESSARY TOOL to have. Yet, you’ll find it beneficial to have. It does the crucial job of removing uneaten food, waste that your corals or fishes produce, and all the junk in the tank.
The tool contains a good mixture of water and air that do the filtering job. We users might have a bunch of devices in our reef tanks. While I’m not against it, if any of the filters fail at doing their job or malfunction… you might have to change the entire setup. Protein Skimmers can save you the load!
This is the “One Filter” you need to maintain your coral reef tanks or fish aquariums. In fact, these products can even exchange Oxygen with Carbon Dioxide. These tools get the carbon molecules out in the environment without harming the organisms living in your tank(s).
How Does a Protein Skimmer Do All These?
Let’s be a bit of “Technical” for a minute. The waste you see in your fish tank is “Hydrophilic.” Meaning, these things are attracted to water. Uneaten food and junk travel to the top of the cup by forming bubbles and stay there unless we clean the cup by taking the waste out.
To understand this process better, imagine a beach. All of us have seen foam being deposited on beach or lakeshores, right? These foams contain all sorts of waste material and sometimes dead animals and plants as well. Now imagine the same thing done by a skimmer.
Instead of doing things naturally, these devices generate foam using water and gas. Instead of collecting things inside the filter, protein skimmers collect the waste materials in a cup. We need to take the cup out and empty the waste material somewhere every two weeks or so.
However, I must tell you… the protein skimmer doesn’t take all the waste out of your tank system. THERE ARE hydrophobic elements in the tank as well (oils for example).
These elements will bring the foam down when they come in contact with your filter machine and stop foam production for a few hours. You can use special machines that absorb the oils using Carbon for the job. Hence, these machines aren’t “Perfect” per se. However, they considerably ease up your workload.
Top-Rated Protein Skimmers – My Recommendations
Now, if you’re on the market for a “Quality” Protein Skimmer, you’ll be bombarded with numerous brands and products. Quite frankly, none of us users can buy and test them for efficiency. That’s why I’ve come up with a shortlist of products that do the job rather well.
Following short reviews will provide my readers with useful insights about these products and will help people to make educated choices.
1. Reef Octopus Classic 110-INT Needle Wheel Protein Skimmer
A reef aquarium takes a lot of patience and perseverance to build and maintain. A good quality protein skimmer is a must for your equipment. Protein skimming is needed to make sure the aquatic life in the tank has a healthy environment.
The Reef Octopus Classic 110 INT is a protein skimmer you can easily rely on. If you have never used one before, don’t worry. This little product is easy to assemble as it only has three pieces for you to set up. Protein skimming helps to remove unwanted and excess dissolved protein materials from the water.
Regular filtration does not do that. With time these skimmers have become smaller and more compact. Reef Octopus Classic 110-NT is designed to be used in the sump. You can’t use it outside. You must take care so that the pump is covered and it’s not higher than the level of the valve.
The Reef Octopus Classic uses a CoralVue Octopus 4-inch needle wheel skimmer, and that’s the reason why it is so compact. You get all the high-quality features needed in a modern-day protein skimmer. The pump can skim 300 gallons of water per hour.
It works well with a 100-gallon bioload or higher. It is not recommended for tanks of smaller bioload. It does not require a lot of surveillance, but make sure to check the water level in the sump at least once every day.
Sure, it costs a bit more than other protein skimmers, but Reef Octopus has reasons to put this price on it. This Classic 110 INT protein skimmer uses Pinwheel Impellers that are new in the game. They deliver up to 100% better performance.
The pump that was mentioned a while ago is a Hailea OTP pump that produces better bubbles. When it comes to protein skimmers, a lot depends on the amount and quality of bubbles as they are what that helps to skim the protein from the water.
Moreover, pumps are basically the hearts of these types of machines, and the heart of this Reef Octopus Classic 110 INT will go a long way. It has a 4-inch cone neck which is designed to transition bubbles easily into the collection cup. It is also easy to clean due to the quick release design of the neck.
After the pumps, the next important part is the Gate Valve. The Gate Valve of this protein skimmer will allow people to adjust the water levels easily and efficiently.
2. CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus with External 1000 Pump
One thing that bothers some aquarium owners is that most of them need to be placed inside the aquarium. Those which are to be placed outside – they take up a lot of places that it looks unaesthetic.
If you want an external protein skimmer but don’t want it to take up a lot of space, you should get the CoralVue Technology BH 1000 is an external protein skimmer. It has a very slim body that takes up very little space around your aquarium.
It is actually only 3.5 inches thick and so it will easily fit into the gap that you keep around your aquarium anyway. The body of this skimmer is made of high-quality durable acrylic. When you set it up, the body hangs 16 inches down from the top of your aquarium.
You have to submerge the collection basin only 2 inches into the surface of the water. If you submerge any further, there will be unnecessary foam build-up.
Being an external protein skimmer, it has other benefits too. As the skimmer is placed outside the aquarium, no heat exchange takes place between the skimmer and the water.
Nobody wants unwanted heat in their aquarium. Moreover, unlike many cheap protein skimmers, the CoralVue BH 1000 does not make a lot of noise. The bit of noise it does make is very low and will not feel inconvenient. It is an external skimmer and so you have to be careful to not let it overflow.
When you switch it off and then switch it on, you have to keep an eye on it or it will overflow.
The CoralVue BH 1000 Octopus protein skimmer is made for 100 Gallon aquariums. You can use it for smaller aquariums. But it is recommended to not use in aquariums smaller than 75 gallons and larger than 100 gallons. Plus, as it is an external skimmer, it will not even fit properly on smaller aquariums.
The 1000 pump efficiently skims protein providing a clean and healthy aquarium. Of course, a protein also needs to be efficient in maintaining itself. The CoralVue BH 1000 Protein Skimmer can be easily cleaned by removing the pump.
However, some have complained that the pump gets stuck, but that only happens when you don’t clean it at the right time.
3. Reef Octopus Classic 100-HOB Protein Skimmer
The Reef Octopus Classic 100 HOB is an external Protein Skimmer that is easy to install and easy to use. This protein skimmer only occupies 4 inches of space behind your aquarium; its dimensions are 8 inches x 3.75 inches x 17 inches. So, you set it up conveniently without having to move anything.
Even if this will be the first time you are going to use a protein skimmer, you don’t have to worry a bit.
First, you will have to take the main body of the protein skimmer and place it in the back of your aquarium. After that, mount the pump over the aquarium and through the surface of the water. When the pump is in place, you just need to adjust the Intake Strainer and you are ready to go.
This Reef Octopus Classic 100 HOB protein skimmer is suitable for aquariums with a maximum of 105-gallon bioload. For smaller aquariums, it can be used for those with a minimum of 13-gallon bioload.
Of course, for smaller ones you will have to adjust the skimmer accordingly. This protein skimmer uses an Aquatrance Pinwheel Pump. The pump is of very high quality and it generates a proper mix of air and water that allows it to remove waste efficiently.
Another good feature of this pump is that it is very quiet and so there will not be any unwanted noise. It also comes with an adjustable surface skimmer attachment that can be easily taken off. The attachment can also be used as a tube if there is any need for it.
As the Reef Octopus Classic 100 HOB is an external skimmer, you have to make sure your aquarium is set up properly before you fit the skimmer. That is, you will need 7.75 inches of opening on the top of your aquarium with a depth of at least 6.5 inches.
While the depth should not be a problem, many aquariums don’t have an open top. So, if you want to use this skimmer, you will have to make an opening. With this Classic 100 HOB protein skimmer, your aquarium will always be clean and healthy.
If you are new to using protein skimmers, here’s a heads-up for you. Skimmers tend to overflow when they are first fitted to a tank. They need to be adjusted to the tank after it is set up. So, don’t get sacred if there is any overflow; just be on the lookout.
4. Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Protein Skimmer
Having an aquarium of any kind is quite an expensive matter. Of course, when everything is done right, every penny you spend on it feels worth it. However, if you are looking for an affordable protein skimmer, you are in the right place.
The Bubble Magus BM Curve 5 Protein Skimmer is as affordable as it is efficient. It is suitable for aquariums with varying bio loads. From a small aquarium with a 32-gallon bio load to a big one with a 140-gallon bio load, this protein skimmer will deliver consistent results.
The thing you must keep in mind is that the Bubble Magus BM Curve 5 is an internal pump, and so your aquarium must have a sump with at least a water level of 7 inches. In fact, the higher the water level, the better it skims.
Air bubbles are keys behind a good quality protein skimmer. And the Bubble Magus BM Curve 5 is equipped with an SP1000 Needle Wheel Pump which is designed to produce bubbles that are of the right size and right amount.
It removes protein waste satisfactorily leaving your aquarium clean and thriving with life. This protein skimmer uses a 110v pump, and so you need to make sure the right power output is available.
Bubble Magus has a “Curve” skimmer body that is both innovative and efficient as it lets the foam to rise to the collection cup without any hindrance. There is also a bubble plate that helps to reduce any kind of turbulence in the reaction chamber.
Many protein skimmers that are otherwise great lack a good cleaning process. But the Bubble Magus BM Curve 5 comes with a collection cup and a skimmer body, which are both equipped with quick release function.
Moreover, the protein skimmer has a collection cup drain that reduces the frequency of cleaning the cup. However, for large aquariums, it is recommended to clean the cup at least every 3-4 days.
Best of it all, the Bubbles Magus BM Curve 5 has a compact footprint, that is, it takes very little space compared to other bulky protein skimmers. Almost forgot to mention that the BM Curve 5 is designed with an air silencer that makes the whole process very quiet.
Many like to place the aquarium in their master bedroom, while others put it in their living room. Wherever you put it, a quiet and clean aquarium is always pleasing to the eyes.
5. Coralife Super Protein Skimmer with Pump
- Effective addition to saltwater or reef aquarium filtration
- Patented needle wheel system creates a spiraling vortex of water to remove fine proteins and organic compounds from the aquarium water
- Highly effective at removing dissolved organic compounds from saltwater aquariums
- Wide neck collection cup with easy twist Feature for effortless cleaning
- Bubble production diffuser to prevent the flow of micro-bubbles into main Aquarium
The Coralife Super Protein Skimmer is designed in such a way that it can easily demand to be the best protein skimmer. This protein skimmer is very affordable and suitable only for saltwater aquariums. This thing comes in 3 different sizes, starting from 65-gallon, 125-gallon to a maximum of 220 gallons.
Depending on the size of your aquarium and its needs, you can choose any size. Plus, this protein skimmer can be used both in the sump and by hanging in the back. All sizes of this protein skimmer come with a Needle Wheel impeller water pump and an aspiring Venturi.
They are combined with the foam fractionators that themselves deliver high-quality performance. This skimmer helps to successfully remove all kinds of organic compounds. In fact, this protein skimmer is highly efficient in removing the dissolved organic compounds which many skimmers fail to do.
Inside the reaction chamber, the Needle Wheel Pump system can create a spiraling vortex made of water and microbubbles. With the help of this vortex, the skimmer can pull in all the protein and organic wastes and then efficiently dump them in the collection cup.
You may think that if the skimmer so many things, it must need a lot of energy. And if it uses extra energy it must not be worth the affordability. Worry not; the Coralife Super Protein Skimmer uses an enhanced energy-saving pump that does all this without increasing power demand.
As a result, you get a clear and healthy environment in your aquarium in which your fish and corals will thrive.
The Coralife Super Protein Skimmers are so good because they have Dual Injection Inlets which increase the contact time between bubbles and water. The bubbles are central to all protein skimmers, and this one makes sure every bubble counts.
At the same time, these Super Protein Skimmers use Bubble Production Diffusers. These help to prevent micro bubbles from flowing into the main aquarium. Along with all these amazing features, the Coralife protein skimmers have Wide-Neck collection cups that are designed with Easy Twist function.
Thus, cleaning the skimmers will be no big deal, as long as you do in regular intervals. This protein skimmer is so good at its job (no wonder they call it “Super”) that it removes protein compounds before they can breakdown.
Last but definitely not least, this protein skimmer has a Water Adjustment Level that is essential in making sure there is no unwanted overflow of water.
6. Reef Octopus Classic 110 Space Saver Protein Skimmer NWB110SSS
Reef Octopus is a well-known brand that produces only the best quality protein skimmers. If you have already used one, you will know how much that is true. If you are new and don’t know which protein skimmer to choose, go for the Reef Octopus Classic 110.
It has got all the best features and delivers excellent results. On top of that, it is also very affordable. Like all of their products, this protein skimmer has a sleek design and a compact body. This is important because you don’t want something bulky inside your beautiful aquarium.
Moreover, this allows the skimmer to fit in all kinds of spaces. The Classic 110 is suitable for aquariums as large as 100 gallons and as small as 60 gallons.
What kind of filtration your aquarium needs depends on its size? A large 100-gallon aquarium will need light filtration, a medium-sized 80-gallon aquarium will need a medium filtration, and a small 60-gallon one will need a heavy filtration.
In every scenario, the Reef Octopus Classic 110 will deliver powerful filtration leaving no unwanted organic waste in the water. This protein skimmer uses an Aquatrance 1000s Pinwheel Pump that has a wattage of 9 watts only.
It draws water at a speed of 92 GPH or 350 LPH and air at a speed of 15 SCFH or 420 LPH. In short, this skimmer produces the right mix of air and water to properly remove protein particles. However, the overall water and air results depend on the size and setup of the aquarium.
Note that the Reef Octopus Classic 110 is an in-sump protein skimmer and it requires a sump depth of at least 7 to 8 inches. It is equipped with a Vented Wedge Valve Output which allows you to control its operation to precise adjustments.
This skimmer does not make any noise while doing its job – something that is favored by most if not all aquarium owners. In fact, it is designed with such an output system that lets cleaned water to exit below the level of water. That’s how it keeps things quiet.
While this Classic 110 Space Saver Protein Skimmer is great at cleaning the aquarium water, it is also equally great at being cleaned. You can actually take apart the protein skimmer completely so that you can thoroughly clean it. After all, a clean skimmer means a cleaner tank.
7. Simplicity 240DC Protein Skimmer
- Adjustable DC pump speed
- For tanks up to 240 gallons
- Small foot print
- Cone shape design
- Collection cup drain with cap
The Simplicity 240DC Protein Skimmer is a candidate for the best protein skimmer award. Honestly, that is enough to explain what high levels of satisfaction this skimmer is designed to provide.
It has been built with all the right features that make sure your treasured aquarium is free from all the unwanted protein and organic waste. This is an in-sump protein skimmer with a small footprint and cone-shape design. That is, it takes up very little space and does its job efficiently.
The dimension of the base is 7.9 inches by 8.3 inch and the height is around 22 inches. You will need to provide a sump with at least 8 to 10 inches depth. And the cone design helps to increase the contact time between protein particles and air bubbles.
This enables the skimmer to remove comparatively more waste and concentrate the foam as it comes up. And the bubble plate makes sure no unnecessary air bubble gets into the main tank.
In fact, the Simplicity 240DC uses a DC Pump that is paired with Needle Wheel Impeller. This is deemed as one of the best ways to produce micro-fine bubbles by shredding and mixing air and water together.
This DC Pump is equipped with a controller that lets you select the desired pump speed and even temporarily switch it off if needed. Plus, it has got a built-in digital display that shows the speed and power consumption. It also has a Wedge Pipe setting indicator that is easy to read.
Along with these, you can also adjust the amount of air intake. This is very helpful as it allows you to get the right adjustments for your aquarium.
This Simplicity 240DC Protein Skimmer is made for tanks up to 240 gallons of bioload. It can be used for both reef and fish aquariums. Just follow the instructions that come with the product. Just as the brand’s name, this product is simple yet highly resourceful in its job.
It is easy to set up and equally too easy to take apart for regular maintenance. It has got thumbscrew assembly and that’s what makes this possible. The collection cup has a bayonet locking mechanism.
Simplicity 240DC has a collection cup drain that makes sure it doesn’t overflow easily. The body of this protein skimmer is made of superior quality cast acrylic. This kind of material is both durable and very easy to clean.
8. SCA-302 180 Gallon Protein Skimmer (in Sump) Newest Version by SC Aquariums
- Work with heavy load 180 gallon saltwater aquarium
- compact size - fit most sump
- Atman 2000 pump needle impeller pump
- Newest Version! Silencer and extra large collection cup is standard now!
- laser cut for seamless assembly
The SCA 302 Protein Skimmer is a great addition to any aquarium. It is designed to successfully remove all kinds of organic and protein waste from the water. The water in the aquarium may seem clean to you, but there is always some kind of waste that ordinary filtration can’t remove.
This is when protein skimmers like the “SCA 302” comes in. This skimmer is tested to be suitable for saltwater aquariums with a heavy bioload of 180 gallons.
If you have been maintaining an aquarium for a good amount of time, you should know that if anybody uses the skimmer for exactly an aquarium with 180-gallon heavy load the results may not be satisfactory.
That is, these types of skimmers are best suited for aquariums with heavy bioload of lesser value, say 100 or 75 gallons.
The SCA 302 180 Gallon protein skimmer is to be used in sump only. The skimmer has a compact size and a slender body. So, it will easily fit most sump sizes. You will need a water level of at least 6 inches and at most 8 inches in the sump, for the skimmer to work properly.
The SCA 302 skimmer is built with an Atman 2000 Pump with a Needle Wheel Impeller. This allows the skimmer to produce an effective mixture of water and air which then removes the waste from the aquarium water. The extra-large collection cup is an added bonus.
Sometimes, skimmers take time to adjust to an aquarium. And so, during the first period of use, the skimmer might overflow. If it does overflow, you don’t need to worry. If it has been set up properly, within a short time the skimmer will adjust and start to work as it should.
Protein skimmers always seem like a challenge, especially to those who have never handled one. Rest assured; the skimmer is a breeze compared to the amount of care the actual aquarium needs.
So, if you have an aquarium already, you can easily handle a skimmer. However, the SCA 302 180 Gallon protein skimmer is one of the easiest to assemble. It has got a seamless fit as it is laser cut. This skimmer is one of the quietest products available today.
In fact, this is the latest version of this model which comes with a silencer to make sure there is no excess noise. It will do its job without making a fuss.
9. AquaMaxx HOB-1.5 Hang-On-Back Protein Skimmer
- AquaMaxx HOB-1.5 protein skimmers is easy to setup and maintain. Just move the collection cup up or down to adjust the foam level to wet or dry.
- Efficient, durable and reliable, Simple to set up and operate, Cell-cast acrylic construction
- Dimension : L 7.5 x W 3.5 x H 17 Inch, Fits aquarium rims up to 3/4" thick, Requires approximately 4" of clearance to remove collection cup, Filtration Rating: up to 90 Gallons (light bioload) or 60 Gallons (heavy bioload)
- Pump: AquaMaxx SHARK 1.0 (modified and upgraded Italian Sicce pump)
- Pump power consumption: 11 Watts Outlet size: 3/4 Inch Minimum tank height 10-7/8"
The AquaMaxx HOB 1.5 is a state-of-the-art protein skimmer that will deliver nothing less than utter satisfaction. It is a Hang on Back skimmer with a very well-designed body that only requires a 4-inch space.
Unlike other HOB skimmers, this one has the pump inside the main body. It helps to save a lot of space. It can fit up to ¾-inch thick aquarium rims. This HOB protein skimmer is super easy to set up, as each of the units is cut with precision.
Thus, even those who are new to the aquarium hobby can easily do it. In fact, this AquaMaxx protein skimmer is designed taking into consideration all the needs of an aquarium hobbyist.
The AquaMaxx HOB 1.5 is made of the best quality materials like polished cell cast acrylic. This doesn’t only make it durable but also very easy to clean and maintain. The collection cup is removable. Hence, you can clean it without losing any sweat.
Actually, AquaMaxx is all about precision. They have built this skimmer with computer precision engineering that makes sure that everything works properly without fail. It uses the most newly developed filtration system that removes and cleans protein waste proficiently.
This protein skimmer is built with AquaMaxx Shark 1.0 Pump which has been developed using the Italian Sicce pumps. And the pump is then fitted with AquaMaxx’s Needle Wheel Impellers. This upgraded system enables the skimmer to draw more air and produce better bubbles.
The AquaMaxx Shark 1.0 pump operates on 11 watts and doesn’t make too much noise. In fact, it is equipped with a Reaction Chamber and an enlarged Bubble Diffuser.
This allows the skimmer to wholly utilize the improved Shark 1.0 pump so that it can produce better quality foam in large amounts to effectively remove protein from the water. You can move the collection cup up and down to adjust the amount of foam produced.
This protein skimmer can filter 90 gallons if the bioload is light, and 60 gallons if the load is heavy. Wait, there’s more. This skimmer has custom-designed Conical Bubble Diffusers whose job is to reduce turbulence in the reaction chamber.
As a result, the water is directed linearly upward to the collection cup. Moreover, this protein skimmer comes with a Drain fitting so that you can prepare a separate chamber to collect the protein waste.
The AquaMaxx HOB 1.5 protein skimmer will help you to provide your aquarium with a clean, healthy, and consistent quality of water.
10. Tunze 9004.000 Comline DOC Skimmer
- Surface Intake
- "Flash Skimming" fast and efficient waste removal
- Easy to install and maintain
- Refer Installation manual under Product Details before use (Manual contains all three languages German, English and French)
Most protein skimmers are designed to keep large-sized aquariums in mind. Those skimmers can be used for smaller ones, but sometimes using the appropriate skimmer makes a big difference.
If you have a marine (also known as saltwater) aquarium that has a bioload of 65 gallons or less, you can get the Tunze 9004.000 Comline DOC Skimmer. Tunze has built this skimmer, particularly for smaller aquariums. It is very easy to install and operate.
The skimmer comes with an installation manual that is put under the Product Details. It is recommended to go through the instruction manual thoroughly before you assemble and set up the product.
It is also very easy to clean as good quality skimmers should be. To make sure the skimmer runs smoothly, make sure to clean it after regular intervals.
The Tunze 9004.000 Comline DOC Skimmer follows the Tunze Flash Skimming Principle. According to this principle, the skimmer takes in water through surface suction and helps to remove any filth on the surface of the water.
This is an efficient process in which the protein and organic waste from the aquarium water are completely removed. The best thing about this principle is that it works faster than many other skimmers and so you can expect to see results within a very short time.
Moreover, faster skimming means the waste particles are removed before they are dissolved. As a result, all the marine life in the tank will always have a clean and healthy environment.
As is the case with most protein skimmers, it may not work properly right from the start. You need to find the right adjustments for your tank and give the skimmer some time to adjust itself to the tank.
The Tunze 9004.000 Comline DOC Skimmer also comes with magnetic holders that will work well with glass up to half inches thick. It is one of the very few skimmers which look very stylish in itself. It is slender and compact in shape and takes up very little space.
Well, how else will this then fit in small-sized aquariums? Unlike some skimmers that are all about good looks, this skimmer actually does proper work. It is built with Tunze Foamer that can produce a large number of fine bubbles of air. The diameter of these air bubbles ranges from 0.1 mm to 0.3 mm.
Due to their small size, the bubbles can effectively remove protein waste from the water. And it does all this without making any noise. Tunze has made sure that this skimmer runs quietly and smoothly.
How Did I Pick These Products?
Well, if you guys feel that the machines on my list don’t satisfy your needs… you’re more than welcome to do your own research into these products. In fact, I’ve jotted down a few pointers to get you off to the right track. Let me explain these factors to you in the following segment.
Measure Your Aquarium’s Size First
When buying one of these things, you need to keep in mind the capacity of your aquarium and its size as well. It’s mighty important to measure the size in gallons. For example, let’s focus on a 35-gallon aquarium. One should always buy a protein skimmer that’s higher in capacity than 35 gallons.
I’ll take a 100-gallon skimmer in this case. The benefit of opting for a higher capacity skimmer than the aquarium is that it can clean the aquarium in its entirety in quick time. Also, you’ll have to clean it less often. This is surely a boost for people who’re new with this type of equipment.
There’s an easy way to make sure what you’re getting and how efficient the machine is. Just look at the “Size Rating” your skimmer has. You’ll find that on every machine out there.
Choose the Skimmer Size Carefully
Now, I did talk about the Skimmer size for a bit earlier. The reason for me to bring this up again is the fact that you’ll find different skimmers on the market with variable sizes. Ideally, you’d want a skimmer that you can mount quite easily over the wall or in the aquarium if you have to.
I’d also tell my readers to see if the machine is complicated or not. Go easy when you’re buying them for the first time. Ideally, you’d want one which you can clean and easily maintain in good shape. The machine should be compact for people to make space in their aquarium or the room as well.
What Type of Aquarium Are You Using?
I know for a fact that I discussed Aquarium Sizes two points back. Now, let’s look at the “Types” of aquariums we use for our fishes or corals. You’ll find different coral reef tanks, saltwater aquariums (or tanks), and even nano cubes in the market. Make sure the skimmer device serves your tanks effectively.
Saltwater aquariums will obviously need a bigger protein skimmer than most. They’ll inevitably be subject to more junk, food waste, fish poop. And more. You’ll need a machine with power to handle such large fish habitats. Obviously, this will cost you more money!
Then again, not all skimmer machines are good for your aquarium. Make sure to ask the people in-charge to see if the device is “Your Type” or not.
Consider the Type of Protein Skimmer You Want
Now that we’ve finally escaped the realm of “Size,” let’s focus on the “Types of Protein Skimmers” we get on the market for a change. Yes, despite how similar they look, these things CAN and ARE different. Depending on how you want to mount these tools, top protein skimmers come in three types…
- Hang on Skimmers often take the space at the back of your aquarium or fish tank. It’s just as the name implies, people will be able to hang them at the back consuming less space. These are compact and will fit easily outside your tank. Manufacturers often provide the users with “Brackets” to mount them on.
- In Tank Skimmers however, are a bit different. They’ll save you the trouble of wiping your floors and getting the water bubbles off. But there’s a catch. They’ll require your tank to have the space to mount them inside. Yes, they work while being inside the aquarium. On the bright side, they’ll have an Air Pump to make sure aquarium water stays waste-free.
- In-Sump Protein Skimmers are a rare breed. What people do is hide the protein skimmers inside the sump. You’ll not have to set up different machines inside your coral reef tanks or aquariums and eat up space. The sump will act as your reservoir for water and to circulate. At the same time, the skimmer will keep your tanks/cubes/aquariums clean with the help of a high-functioning pump.
- External Protein Skimmers are the most popular of the bunch according to numerous protein skimmer reviews. These are quite similar to their earlier cousin. You’ll have to house these outside your tanks or aquariums. They’ll clean and circulate water just like the “Sump” type. But these tools won’t be inside the sumps. Rather, these will send water in and out of the sump.
Maintenance is a Big Issue Here
When going for my list of Best Protein Skimmers, I looked at how easily I could carry out maintenance. Many of us don’t look at the waste cup one has. Yet, this is really necessary. The users often end up spending hundreds of dollars on a device with smaller cup. They’ll have to empty the cup more often.
Ideally, you’d want a larger cup in your machine. This way you’ll not have to clean the cup every few days. Cleaning the cup in two weeks or so is the ideal time-frame for me.
Also, I looked into models that have their own built-in drains. These drains take the waste out of the skimmer without people doing anything extravagant.
While we’re on the topic of maintenance, be sure to choose a product that comes with “Quality Air Stone.” Believe me when I say this, switching air stones in a month or two is more of a worry than a luxury. That’s because, you’ll not find many unless you look into it really hard.
Look at The Ozonizer Quality As Well
This is another aspect the users overlook. An Ozonizer determines the number of bubbles in the foam you want. Some protein skimmers grant us the authority to control the number ourselves.
Good Ozoniers help you with the waste gathering (of course), destroying germs that cause health issues for your fishes and corals, raising the pH level of the tank/aquarium, improving on the level of oxygen in the tank, and the protein skimmer’s chances of keeping everything clean as well.
Consider the Money You’re Spending on It
Before clicking the “Buy” button here on the website, consider the fact that you’re spending quite a lot of money in these machines. Consider all the factors I told you about and measure between two devices. This will help you with the overall requirement for your tanks as well.
Having said all that, don’t run off to buy cheap protein skimmers just yet. Your tanks or aquariums may be small and require less power. But low-cost machines tend to malfunction quite a lot. This will cost you the same amount of money as the high-end machines in the long run. Be cautious and patient.
Additional Read: Best Nano Protein Skimmers Reviews!
Let’s Put an End to the Discussion
I must thank people who’ve been patient enough to finish this humongous guide and reached here. Using, researching, and writing about best protein skimmers took some time for me. I’d consider myself happy if I’ve been able to help you in one way or the other (through your purchase or research).
This is the point where people point their fingers at a machine and call it out to be the “Best” of the lot. You’d want me to do the same, wouldn’t you? Honestly, I consider these units to be equal to one another in terms of ability and different needs.
IF you “Absolutely” want me to point my fingers anyway, I’d go for Simplicty 240DC. This machine uses Micro Needle Impeller that helps produce bubbles and regulates them well.
Tunze Camline DOC comes in second with its impressive cleaning system. The USP here is pushing the filth on top of the water and then collecting it in the cup. It’s also easy to maintain.
It’s entirely possible for people not to like my list or be disapproving. If you’re one of them, feel free to run through the buying guide. I’ve discussed factors that should influence your research. I’m sure it’ll prove to be helpful. Be sure to let me know how your purchase of these objects went in the “Comments.”