After we took each product individually and done a complete analysis of their qualities and main points of focus that a buyer should look for in the process of acquiring the best protein skimmer and with the hope that our reviews really helped you to fully understand the features and functions of each skimmer individually, it’s time to move on and go through the buying considerations that may appear while shopping for a protein skimmer for your aquarium.
What is the best protein skimmer?
In order for a fish tank protein skimmer to be considered the best one it should meet some standard features first. The most important one is the performance It delivers and how it delivers it. Since it will function 24 hours a day, the same level of performance must be assured at all times. Reliability is another important feature when choosing the best model for your aquarium.
Type of Aquariums
As you noticed, there are a lot of different models for each aquarium type and either if we’re talking about recirculating protein skimmers or an internal protein skimmer, you first clear the step of choosing the right protein skimmer for your aquarium volume. The manufacturers will always present you all the applications and functions that the skimmers have and as long as you respect all of them, you will end up with a proper model and a clean aquarium.
As you may already know, if not, you will find out really soon, it doesn’t stop at the type of water in the tank but the actual size is also very important. So, make sure to always check for the maximum gallons specification and match it with the volume of your tank. If you have a large aquarium then go for a large protein skimmer and the other way around.
Freshwater Tropical Aquarium
This aquarium type can be considered the standard in this very relaxing and beautiful hobby of building aquariums. It’s ideal for beginners since freshwater is a bit easier to handle than saltwater tanks and you will be able to find the proper tools quite easy.
In this type of aquarium, you need to have a water temperature of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and there is no need for any chemicals or something complicated like that. You just need to have a good protein skimmer and some decorative objects as you find it. The beauty of a freshwater tropical aquarium is that the fish are also affordable and more resistant compared to marine fish and you won’t need a lot of complicated gadgets. By not spending a lot of money on gadgets and chemicals, you can buy the best protein skimmer there is and make sure your fish live happily ever after so that you can enjoy them and they can relax you.
Cold Water Aquariums
When you think of a cold water aquarium, you don’t necessarily have to go all Arctic Ocean in your imagination, it’s basically a freshwater aquarium but with colder water. This is the main difference between a tropical freshwater aquarium and a cold water one. This is a tank that can be held at room temperature without a problem and the most-used species of fish to be kept in a cold water aquarium is the goldfish. They’re extremely popular with kids and you will have a very easy time setting one up. You just need the tank, some ornamental pieces and a good protein skimmer.
If you want to go a bit further than the regular goldfish and have some money to spend, you can build a wonderful koi tanks or even a goldfish pond. It all depends on how much room you have any on the money you’re willing to spend for building your aquarium. Remember that, no matter how much you spend on the aquarium, tools such as protein skimmers, oxygenators and pumps are always a must.
Marine aquariums contain saltwater in order for the marine fish to survive. In order to obtain the required salinity, you will need to purchase salt and mixed it in the water until you get the right composition and only then add the fish inside. Opposed to freshwater tanks, these are a bit more complicated when it comes to maintenance and caring for the fish, however, in terms of tools you need, the situation stays the same. Most of the protein skimmers available on the market work perfectly well in salt water as well.
As far as the fish are concerned you can go from beautiful marine fish, colorful corals and a lot of different invertebrates that could turn your aquarium into a real show. Of course, it comes with a higher price and a lot more work to make sure everything is in good order inside the aquarium but you will be able to admire a lot of beautiful sea creatures.
Brands That Produce Top Rated Protein Skimmers
Just like with any other product, the protein skimmer brands that are producing these tools are not all offering the same quality. This means that you might have to face a lot of low-quality models when deciding to buy a protein skimmer freshwater aquarium device. So, one of the first steps you need to take is understanding the brand reputation and taking some to check out other products that they produce. Only afterwards you will be able to leave out the ones that are really not worth your time. If we were to give some of the best examples of companies that produce good protein skimmers for 55 gallons tank and not only, you have Bubble Magus, Coralife or SCA. There are many new companies that produce these devices so you should always try to stay informed regarding the new models that are made available.
Proper Maintenance for Your Best Protein Skimmer
Of course, nobody wants to perform maintenance too often no matter what device are we talking about. But this is even more important when referring to protein skimmers as no matter how careful you are you will end up disturbing the fish every time you clean up the skimmer. A model with a large collection cup will extend the maintenance interval or if you go for a model that has a built-in drain you should be able to clean without disturbing them.
On the other hand, going for a countercurrent 100-gallon protein skimmer or any other capacity for that matter means that you will have a lot shorter maintenance interval since you will have to keep replacing the air stone.
Another thing you might want to consider when thinking about the maintenance work on any protein skimmer that you buy is the size of your aquarium. Of course, that, having a bigger aquarium, you will end up cleaning and taking care of the skimmer a lot more often than with a small-size tank. However, there are a lot of good parts as well when it comes to operating in a large tank. The main plus is that you will be able to buy protein skimmers big enough that won’t give you any issues when it comes to cleaning them. With all the parts being big enough, you will be able to easily take it apart, clean it, perform proper maintenance and then put everything back in place and in the water. Not to mention that, if you go for a top-rated product like the Bubble Magus, you will forget that it also needs to be cleaned because it will very rarely get dirty and require your intervention.
Properties of the Ozonizer
This part of a quiet protein skimmer is quite important because it produces fine and good-quality bubbles in the water that contribute a lot to the cleaning process. It can be controlled manually in most devices and it has another important role destroying the disease-causing bacteria in the water, maintaining the pH to a stable lever, adding more oxygen in the tank and overall improving the efficiency of the entire device.
In many cases the budget you have estimated for buying the best protein skimmer can be a bit too low for the model you need in order to get optimal performance. But this doesn’t mean you should go over the budget just to get the perfect match. You should always balance the money you sent and the quality you get and make sure to do a proper comparison first. To help you out with that, you will find on this page a table that puts all the best models available right now and compare them head-to-head.
Also, before you buy a cheap model just because it looks like a bargain at the first glance, try to see things from a different perspective as well. As chances are that you will end up spending more money on maintenance of the cheap product or even service than if you would’ve bought a more expensive one right from the start.
No matter how many other reviews and technical specifications you read, there’s nothing that can compare to the amount of information you will get from people that have actually tested the devices and can definitely recommend the best in sump protein skimmer or hang on model.
Different Types of Protein Skimmers
Just like with aquariums, there are several types of skimmers out there and you should get accustomed to all of them in order to make sure you’re buying the proper one for your tank setup. Indeed, if you’re not going for something very advanced like a coral tank or anything like that, any type of skimmer will do an awesome job, however, it’s still good to know what are the particularities of these skimmers.
Air Driven and Counter Current Skimmers
These models are often seen as the best protein skimmers on the market but they have the downside of needing quite a lot of maintenance. This happens because they are using wooden air diffusers if you don’t keep it clean the bubbles won’t be produced uniformly.
Another good aspect about this model is that it can be a great idea to be used as a reef protein skimmer. That happens because it generates a lot of foam and the bubbles are evenly distributed over the surface of the aquarium for perfect results. If we were to talk about possible downsides, the fact that it uses air stones that need to be changed after some time, might be an aspect that customers won’t like that much. Another maintenance aspect that you should keep an eye on, just like with all top protein skimmers, is the diaphragms of the air pump as they might get weak in time.
Yet another type of a top skimmer is the one that uses an injector to produce the air bubbles. This injector is called a venturi injector and even though it’s shorter than an air driven model, it offers a higher number of bubbles. The credit for all this goes to the venture injector once again since it has a technology that, somehow, optimizes the production of the such needed bubbles to clean the aquarium.
It’s very important to combine this skimmer with a high-power pump since only doing so you will get the amazing results it can offer. That means a lot of bubbles to clear the water efficiently and leave it without the organic compounds that are dissolving and lead to water contamination.
Installing these models of skimmers is, once again, very easy to get over with. You don’t need to be a technical person or not even a handy person to be able to install it without any issues and that’s awesome because it gives you a greater joy to be able to install it on your own and you feel that you’re improving your aquarium.
Last but not least, the maintenance interval for such models is very extended so after you install it and plug it in, you’ll have to wait some time until the next maintenance process. Taking all these things into consideration, you can easily conclude that this is one of the best protein skimmer for the money.
If the principle of functioning for the first of out two skimmer types was quite similar, with the downdraft skimmer everything chances. It uses a jet of water that is sprayed with bio ball at high speed. After the bubbles go through the bio balls column, they continue their journey towards the sump box from then going towards the service where they clean and assist with foam formation and cleaning the water.
The water path for this model is lengthier than the others and that’s why you will need to attach it to a powerful pump in order to get the best results. Also, because of the bio balls and the water path that is greater than other models, the dimensions of the entire product are also a bit bigger than similar types.
Aspirating impeller skimmer
You might say that this is yet another approach to aerating the aquarium with low expenses. The design is built specially to direct the air into the impeller to create the bubbles. It also has a needle wheels that chops the air bubble to make them finer and more efficient. Then the finer bubbles can proceed in cleaning and dissolving the nitrates in the water, leaving the tank clean and healthy for the fish to grow and have a great time.
Opposed to the other version of skimmers, this cheap protein skimmer for sale right now operates also with a weaker water pump and producing the same amount of bubbles due to the impellers. The bottom line is that you are getting a cheap model that is also quite durable and it might just be the best protein skimmer for reef tank right now.
How to set up a protein skimmer
After you buy protein skimmer you will have to install it in the aquarium. Of course, the setup process will vary from one manufacturer to another and all you have to do is pay attention to the diversity of components that have been shipped to you. Most of the time, you have to reconstruct the skimmer with the parts they included in the box. So, make sure you keep your manual close and get to work.
The assembly of a reef tank protein skimmer isn’t a time-consuming process and after all pieces are put together make sure it works by plugging it in before putting the skimmer into the aquarium. Double check for any pieces that are not on their place and triple check to make sure there is no possible way water gets in contact with the power supply cable.
If we are talking about in-sump protein skimmers, besides putting it into place and making sure the water level is where you want it to be, you will have to also set it up in order for it to give maximum results. Even when using the instruction manuals that come with the skimmers, it is possible you won’t get it right from the first time but there’s really nothing to be worried about, this won’t affect your fish in any way and you will get it going without issues the 2nd or 3rd time around.
How Does a Protein Skimmer Work?
A protein skimmer produced fine bubbles through a series of methods which are then release from the bottom of the tank. In their way towards the surface of the tank, this bubbles through an adsorption process trap the waste material inside and bring it to the surface of the water where the collection cup retains everything.
How to Clean a Protein Skimmer?
No matter if we are talking about the best protein skimmer for 200 gallon tank or one for a smaller tank, the cleaning process is very similar between all models and sizes. The recommended time frame between a proper clean of the skimmer is around six months and it all beings with replacing the tubing. A lot of residue gets attached to the tubes and they are very hard to clean properly and since they’re very cheap it makes a lot more sense to just replace them entirely.
Then, you move on to disassembling the skimmer into all the parts that constitute it and soak it in hot water for an hour or so. It doesn’t have to be boiling water, very important to keep that in mind. After the hour has passed, scrub the components and remove any remaining organic matter. Make sure you give it a proper rinse and then put it back together.
Can a Protein Skimmer Remove Salt?
Such a thing is not possible simply because the salt in the saltwater is not a different body, it is part of the water. Perhaps it’s possible that a tiny percentage of salinity gets lost when you filter the water but that would never be enough to cause any issues, especially when using the best protein skimmers.
Can a Protein Skimmer Remove Nitrates?
A protein skimmer can only remove nitrates as long as they are attached to something else in the water, debris or organic matter. And since usually the nitrates are consumed by microalgae in the aquarium, you have a fair chance of removing the nitrates when removing the microalgae. If you are solely focused on removing nitrates, there are a lot of other aquarium tools that are specialized in that type of a process.
Can a In Sump Protein Skimmer Remove Phosphates?
The answer to this question is no. Simply because a skimmer can only remove the proteins in the water which are organic waste usually. Phosphates are usually a result of tap water, for example and have nothing to do with waste matter. And this matter does not apply to in-sump protein skimmers only, any kind of protein skimmer will not remove or do anything to phosphates in the water because for that you will need to go with a water treatment gadget in your aquarium or add specialized chemicals every now and then to keep the phosphate level where it should be.
Does a Good Protein Skimmer Remove Algae?
Just like with the nitrates, it is possible that a protein skimmer will also remove some of the algae in the aquarium but that’s not why you installed it. Make sure to use other solutions as well to remove algae completely and keep your aquarium in a state of balance. A foam skimmer will only do what it was designed to do and removing algae is not one of those tasks.
Can a Protein Skimmer Remove Ammonia?
As stated before, even the best protein skimmers can only remove low levels of other components in the water as long as they are attached to something else. So, if you want to completely remove ammonia from the water you will have to use other filters.
If I Use the best internal protein skimmer can it remove calcium?
Using a protein skimmer to get rid of the calcium in your aquarium is, once again, one of the tasks this device was not developed for. It might remove very low quantities of calcium in the water but, again, not enough to even make a difference.
Can a saltwater protein skimmer be use in freshwater aquariums?
Of course, you can use them in freshwater as well, the only difference might come from the amount of bubbles it produces but in most of the cases the difference is not even notable so you can go ahead and use it without a worry. The only extra advice we have for you is to buy a protein skimmer that comes with a big air pump. Also, just as stated before, when going for a saltwater aquarium, besides the protein skimmer you will also need to buy salt in order to get the water at the salinity level required for the fish to live in and, most probably, other decorative and structural pieces on which coral to grow and make saltwater fish feel as in their natural habitat.
My protein skimmer is not foaming, why is that?
There are quite a lot of reasons why a protein skimmer does not produce foam and you should note that doesn’t mean the device is broken. One possible reason is that the skimmer is actually to large for the aquarium. Another reason for the device not to foam is that the bioload inside the aquarium is quite low so there’s nothing to produce the foam.
Why is my protein skimmer overflowing?
If your skimmer produces too much foam you can just adjust it. Go to the manual and adjust it in such a way that the extra water and foam to be removed more efficiently.
My hang on protein skimmer reviews said it is silent but it’s actually quite loud
The extra noise could come from a malfunction and it’s usually the pumps that generate noise. If you still have a warranty, send the product back for verification or go to a service to find out if that’s the issue.
Is there a way to silence down my skimmer?
If you want a silent protein skimmer, make sure to look for that feature in the product description. If you already bought a model and it’s noisy the only way to try and silence it down is to place rubber mats under it so that they absorb the vibrations emitted by the pump.
No matter how noisy your skimmer is, never consider covering it up with cloth or anything similar as it can lead to overheating and accidents can occur. If you can’t bring the noise down on your protein skimmer with the method described above and you don’t want to change a perfectly functioning skimmer, consider moving your aquarium to another room where the noise doesn’t bother you.
Where should I put a protein skimmer in sump?
Even the best protein skimmer on the market won’t function properly if it’s not installed correctly. And this applies mostly to the sump in models. You have to make sure the sump size is compatible with the dimensions of the skimmer before buying. It might be useful to also purchase a submersible water pump in case you will need it to install the protein skimmer without issues.
When is it ok to turn off the protein skimmer?
The proper answer to this question is never. Simply because dissolved organics and slime are released into the water at all times by fish, coral or algae and if you keep your protein skimmer off it will lead to a low water quality in the end. Besides, that’s the whole reason you bought a skimmer in the first place, there’s no reason to turn it off especially because the top protein skimmer brands pay great attention to electricity consumption and designed their products to be very energy-friendly. So, the bottom line is that you don’t have a single reason to turn off your protein skimmer.