Best Protein Skimmer For Aquarium | TOP 5 Reviews & Buying Guide [2019]

What is a protein skimmer? It is a special device that helps to maintain a low nitrate level in the tank by retarding the buildup of nitrate with the action of removing the organic waste before it breaks down and releases those nitrogen compounds. So, it’s basically an accessory that decisively contributes to increasing the water quality in the tank and, with that, the life expectancy of the fish.

But with so many models and possibilities out there, it can become quite a tricky task to buy the best protein skimmer. When on all that you add the fact that you have to take into consideration the overall capacity of the tank and the type of water you are going to use, it really starts to sound like a painful job you’re getting in. No matter if you’re opting for a hang on back protein skimmer or a different model, the following best protein skimmers reviews and a buying guide with the most frequently asked questions are going to help you a lot during the process of finding an excellent aquarium skimmer.

After going through hundreds of reviews and technical specifications, our team will provide the complete and ultimate guide to buying the perfect skimmer for your aquarium. So, just relax while reading tabout strengths and weaknesses of the best skimmers available on the market.

TOP 5 Best Protein Skimmers Comparison

Before we jump into the action and take each of the top skimmers and put them up for complete reviews, we want to help you make an idea right from the start regarding the strengths and particularities of each model. That’s why we devised the following comparison table with the top 5 best protein skimmers that contains all main features you should be concerned about while shopping for a in sump or a hang on protein skimmer.

Model Dimensions Weight Noise Level Sump/Hang On Aquariums Range Saltwater /Freshwater Price Rating
Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Protein Skimmer
Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Protein Skimmer
26 x 9 x 10 inches 6.9 pounds Very Quiet Sump Up to 140 gallons Both $$$
4.4 of 5
SC Aquariums SCA-302 180 Gallon
SC Aquariums SCA-302 180 Gallon
9 x 18 x 9.5 inches 9 pounds Very Quiet Sump Up to 180 gallons Saltwater $$
4.1 of 5
Comline DOC Protein Skimmer 9001
Comline DOC Protein Skimmer 9001
4.3 x 2.5 x 8.5 inches 2 pounds Very Quiet Hang On Up to 37 gallons Both $$
4 of 5
Coralife Super Skimmer with Pump
Coralife Super Skimmer with Pump
4.2 x 5.5 x 20.8 inches 7.13 pounds Very Quiet Hang On / Sump Up to 220 gallons Both $$
3.9 of 5
SC Aquariums SCA-301 Protein Skimmer
SC Aquariums SCA-301 Protein Skimmer
7 x 4.2 x 17.5 inches 3.25 pounds Very Quiet Sump Up to 65 Saltwater $$
3.9 of 5

5 Top Rated Protein Skimmers Reviews

Now that you had a chance to follow the side-to-side comparison we listed in the table above and have a rough idea about what you should be looking for when getting a high quality protein skimmer, it’s time to go into further details for each model mentioned above and decide which is the best protein skimmer for sale at the moment.

Best Protein Skimmer: Bubble Magus Curve 5 Review

the overall best protein skimmer: Bubble Magus Curve 5 Protein Skimmer Review

The developers of the Bubble Magus Curve 5 knew they had to come up with something that could really rival the competitors when it comes to features and functionality. If you want to have clean water in your aquarium, this is definitely the right freshwater protein skimmer for you. If we’re talking about dimensions, it’s true that this is not the most compact skimmer on the market, however, it has a really awesome design that makes it fit in the tightest of spaces. Another awesome feature of this aquarium protein skimmer is its needle wheel that generates very fine bubbles with a proper rate. Actually, the design with the needle wheel together got the Bubble Magus its numerous positive reviews on the Internet.

When counting the advantages you’ll get by buying this awesome protein skimmer, you have quite a long list to go through. Not only from a functionality point of view by as well as design and noise, the Bubble Magus does an awesome job.

First of all, it is very powerful and impressive delivering a lot of kick from the 8-watt pump, allowing you to skim out an impressive amount of gunk, keeping your tank clean and very welcoming for the fish. It does its best work on 70-90-gallon tanks but it can easily be used up to 140 gallons with good results. The pump is very silent and the little noise that gets out makes it perfect for an office or even a library where a fish tank does its best job when it comes to relaxing people. That’s why, mounting one of these in your study room, office or even a library is a great idea.

It has a very small footprint that makes it compatible with most aquariums, no matter how many decorations or other devices you use in the tank. It’s versatile so you won’t have any problems fitting it right into its spot. Being made from acrylic, the skimmer is very durable and with the extended warranty it comes with, it’ll probably be the only skimmer you buy for your fish tank and it’s very likely that it will still be functional when you decide to change the aquarium.

As far as setup is concerned, you don’t have to be an aquarium expert in order to set this one up. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to set it up completely. Whenever you need to take it out again, the small parts can very easily be dismantled for a proper clean-up. With this aquarium protein skimmer, you won’t have to worry that the parts will worn out and do not fit properly because it’s made from a very durable material that ensures a long life. The fact that it can operate with fish tanks of up to 140 gallons makes it perfect for a medium-sized tank with freshwater or sill. And the last but not least thing we really need to mention about the Bubble Magus fish tank skimmer is that it’s extremely quiet and that means you won’t have to move the aquarium in a room that is less frequented by family members or anything like that. All this makes Bubble Magus the absolute best protein skimmer.


  • It has very durable parts.
  • It’s very easy to perform maintenance on it due to easily removable parts.
  • Many bubbles produced by the needle wheel design.
  • Very easy to set-up.


  • Due to its ergonomic design, you might need to clean it quite often.

Second Best Protein Skimmer: SCA-302 180 Gallon Review

SCA-302 180 Gallon Protein Skimmer

This is not the first edition of the saltwater protein skimmer that SCA produces and that makes it one of the best external protein skimmers that money can buy. The company that produces the saltwater skimmer SCA-302 180 Gallon included a lot of new feature that customers talked about in previous models and made sure they come up with the perfect product, according to customer needs. Even though we’re talking about a small protein skimmer, its size is suitable for a wider range of aquariums and you’d be surprised how well it handles even a high volume of water.

Talking about price-quality ratio, this protein skimmer does an excellent job and is very effective in tanks from 100 gallons all the way up to bigger tanks. With anything under 1000 gallons it will actually keep the nitrates level down to zero and that figure doesn’t increase too much with bigger tanks as well. It will definitely deliver a good water-quality for your fish to have the best conditions for living.

Assembling this second-best protein skimmer it is a very simple task, just pull it out of the box and then follow the instructions to get it ready for an excellent job in your tank. You don’t need to be an expert to have it up and running in no time but make sure to remove the fish from the water before starting this process. Not that it can be harmful to them in any way but you just might startle them through the fitting process and you don’t want any additional stress to your fish, right?

Just like any other in-sump skimmer, it might get a bit tricky when it comes to getting the settings for water level right but you’ll be able to figure it out after a couple of adjustments, without any worries.

The additional collection space is a feature that helps a lot and the strong Atman 2000 pump produces a continuous volume of bubbles that do their job in decomposing the organic matter and nitrates in the water. Performance-wise, this model does a great job for its size and in comparison, with other similar models in its range. The ability to function even in large aquariums makes this perhaps the best protein skimmer at the money you spend on it, being able to deliver exceptional performances for volumes of up to 180 gallons.

Another great feature that is remarkable at a skimmer that can function in such large aquariums, is very low noise It emits while doing such a good job for your tank. It produces a low-frequency humming sound that won’t bother you at all during daily activities which makes it perfect for installation in rooms where you are spending time on a regular basis. And speaking of installation, this protein skimmer setup process will only take a maximum of 10 minutes out of your life and after that all you have to do is clean it from time to time but due to its high-power pump, maintenance operations are only needed from time to time.


  • Great operation even in large aquariums.
  • Strong pump that produces great bubbles to keep the water clean.
  • Very easy to operate and clean-up.
  • The installation is very easy and seamless.


  • There were some pump issues but only in aquariums with a higher volume than 180 gallons.

Third Best Protein Skimmer:Comline DOC 9001 Review

Comline DOC Protein Skimmer 9001

Going through all the protein skimmer reviews online, there’s a general impression that the best protein skimmer from Comline DOC, the 9001 model is a good choice for those who are looking for a durable skimmer that will do a great job at all time cleaning their aquariums and maintaining the water quality at a very high level.

It is well known that this skimmer addresses to small aquariums and it is properly advertised as a small-capacity skimmer. As long as you don’t give it a task too big for its powers, the skimmer will function just great and you won’t have anything to worry about, ever. It has an adjustable air inlet that is very convenient and makes the function of the skimmer even more efficient without putting your fish at risk in any moment.

Another great feature of the skimmer is that it is absolutely quiet and, even though it was expected from a small skimmer to be quiet, it is very efficient as well. In a time when most aquarium owners consider that quiet small skimmers can’t do a good job, the Comline comes and demonstrates that it is possible.

You don’t need to possess advanced technical skills to set it up since it’s a very easy process that anyone can do at home. Actually, we could go as far and claim that even a kid could assemble it due to the high-quality parts that are designed to fit perfectly together. The controls of the skimmer are positioned in such a way that the user has easy access to them and it makes the entire process of cleaning the aquarium a lot easier and in perfect conditions.

As far as cleaning up and maintenance go, the Comline DOC Protein Skimmer 9001 is very easy to keep clean. Just lift the cup up, remove the skim mate from within and then put it back in. Some people expect a small skimmer to be hard to clean due to limited dimensions, however, this model proves them wrong. Even in these conditions this model doesn’t consume a lot of energy so you won’t have to worry about a high electricity bill since it does run for 24 hours. This and the fact that it is very silent have also been good selling points for this skimmer.


  • Very easy to operate.
  • Energy-efficient and very silent.
  • Compact design and an easy-fit in the aquarium.
  • Easy cleaning compared to a lot of similar models.
  • Solid and durable construction.


  • Produces a lot of micro bubbles but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it can give an interesting visual effect.

Coralife Super Skimmer with Pump Review

Coralife Super Skimmer with Pump

If you own an aquarium, you know that it’s not 100% complete without a good-quality skimmer. It’s an essential part that you need to add to any fish tank in order to ensure maximum water quality and maintenance. The best protein skimmer from Coralife could easily be the best choice for you considering its performances and the quick and easy way it dissolves the organic compounds in the water. Compared with a biocube protein skimmer, this model is far lighter and easier to install and use and it’s recommended by most of the verified buyers online.

The high-performance fractionator that takes care of the foam is a perfect function since it means you will no longer have to worry about micro-bubbles and anything in that direction. Bubbles are not all bad since they are quite important for the whole process of filtration, however, the microbubbles can lead to a lot of foam and algae forming.

The design is impressive and crucial for doing the job properly and without slip-ups. It also helps a lot towards energy saving and noise emissions because even though it’s quite powerful, it is compact and well put together.

For those of you that ask themselves how does a protein skimmer work, this model is perfect because it also comes with a detailed instructions manual that will guide you towards the process of installing and also some basic principles on how it does the job. Speaking of installation, the setup process is very easy and straightforward and there’s no way you can do it wrong as long as you follow the instructions that are issued along with the device. When talking about the capacity of flirtation, you should know that this model is very versatile as it can be used from aquariums between 65 and 220 gallons. In that regard, you can easily call it a Coralife super skimmer because it does a perfect job in big and small aquariums alike.


  • Very efficient needle wheel impeller.
  • Very easy to install.
  • Versatile and easy to use.
  • Good bubble production.


  • Low-level customer service.

SC Aquariums SCA-301 Protein Skimmer Review

SC Aquariums SCA-301 Protein Skimmer Review

Considered by most the little brother of the SCA 302, the SCA-301 Protein Skimmer does the perfect job that his bigger brother does but at a lower capacity. So, if you were already convinced by the functions and operation of the SCA-302 but you don’t have a tank bigger enough for its volume, this is the proper protein skimmer for saltwater tank that you are looking for.

It comes equipped with an air silencer that makes it run very smoothly, so smooth that you won’t even notice it’s there most of the time. This makes it perfect for installing it in the living room or any other place in your house where you usually spend a lot of time with your family.

This saltwater aquarium protein skimmer is medium in size, perfect for operating in 6 to 7 inches of water but the powerful pump that has 28 watts and a volume of 1380 liters per hour, can handle even more than that without any kind of fatigue signs.

Being an in tank protein skimmer, installing it is a piece of cake and you will be happy to see that it won’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes to do so. Afterwards, just plug it in and enjoy the great results it offers. It is also energy-efficient so you won’t have to worry about a high electricity bill at the end of the month. All in all, we can safely say that this is a cheap protein skimmer that can resolve a lot of your problems that may arise while setting up a saltwater aquarium. So, our recommendation is to buy this saltwater aquarium protein skimmer right now because it’s the best deal at this price.


  • Very good price-quality ratio.
  • Powerful pump that can be adjusted to a lot of aquarium sizes.
  • Super Silent.
  • Energy-friendly.


  • It can only be used in a saltwater tank.

Best Protein Skimmers Buying Guide

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

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.

Budget concerns

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.

Venturi Skimmers

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.

Downdraft skimmers

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.


After going through all the reviews, comparisons and frequently asked question you should have a pretty clear understanding of how a protein skimmer functions, what it does to your aquarium and, most importantly, how to choose the best model out there. A protein skimmer is the best tool to keep your aquarium clean and have the water quality that your fish will love and that will help them stay healthy. Remember to always pick your skimmer after you made up your mind of what type of aquarium you are going to use, simply because all the features and dimensions of the skimmers are influenced by the aquarium as well, as we explained in the buying considerations section. Just in case you’re still having your doubts, the Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Protein Skimmer is the best protein skimmer you can order, since it is very versatile and has a lot of features that makes it work with most types of aquariums. Apart from that it has a very low noise level which makes it perfect for adding it to a room where you go to relax and simply disconnect. After all, besides being a very beautiful hobby, the whole idea of having an aquarium is to help you relax and have a great feeling of peace while watching it. That being said, we hope that you manage to build the aquarium of your dreams and only pair it with the best protein skimmer on the market.

  • Rating (5 stars)