One way of successfully keeping your aquarium clean and your fishes healthy is through the use of a protein skimmer. The protein skimmer complements the aquarium filter in removing harmful waste materials by removing the excess protein in your aquarium. Protein skimming is a tried and tested process, but choosing the right protein skimmer can be a trial and error process. This article will help you in choosing the right protein skimmer
Quick Look: Top Rated Protein Skimmer For Aquariums
Purpose Of A Protein Skimmer
A protein skimmer is an type of aquarium equipment is commonly used or installed in the maintenance of a saltwater aquarium. It is specially designed to be compatible with aquariums with saltwater for the removal of proteins, dissolved organic compounds (DOC), and other harmful substances from the aquarium before being digested by the bacteria. This results in the slowing down of nitrate build-up, extension of water changes intervals, and prevention of algae build-up. Your tank will have more oxygen available to its inhabitants after the protein skimmer removes wastes before it gets consumed in the biological process.
The protein skimmer is essential and effective for a saltwater aquarium but not the same can be said if it is used in aquariums with freshwater. Fresh water doesn't have as much protein compared to saltwater which is why foam build-up isn’t that much. It doesn’t have any negative effects on freshwater fishes or your tank. The protein skimmer just won’t do much to improve the quality of the freshwater aquarium’s water.
In conclusion, protein skimmers are filters generally best suited for saltwater environments. It is important when it comes to setting up and maintaining saltwater aquariums such as the fish only setup, in which the fish only with live rock or (F.O.W.L.R.) or reef tank setups.
The Protein Skimmer And How It Works
If you are still in the guppy stage of being an aquarium owner, you might want to get a good understanding of the protein skimmer. Here are the basic things that you need to know about an aquarium protein skimmer:
- The protein skimmer is also known as a foam fractionator.
- A protein skimmer removes harmful organic and inorganic compounds from your aquarium before they decay and become ammonia and nitrate. It also removes dissolved organic compounds.
- It maintains and corrects nitrate levels.
- Protein skimmers remove waste from fish, plants, and invertebrates.
- A typical protein skimmer is cylindrical or conical. It produces fine air bubbles that serves as an adsorbent. These air bubbles attract waste that rise to the top and then forms into foam. The foam that the waste sticks to is collected in the skimmer’s cup and removed.
- The collected foamy waste is called “skimmate.”
- The collection cup of the protein skimmer must be cleaned regularly.
Benefits Of Having A Protein Skimmer
As we’ve mentioned earlier, protein skimmers can be a great help in keeping your aquarium healthy and clean. However, there are still more benefits that you can get with an aquarium protein skimmer. These are:
- It lowers the nitrate level of your tank by preventing excessive nitrate buildup.
- It is ideal for reef aquariums since it helps lower the nitrate level which results in healthy corals.
- It removes biological toxins from the tank.
- It reduces aggressive algae bloom.
- It reduces carbon dioxide buildup.
- It improves and increases the oxygen level of your tank which is great for the health of its inhabitants.
There are plenty of benefits offered by a protein skimmer. You can still have a tank without a protein skimmer but you will have to do frequent partial water changes to avoid algae issues. This will require more effort and time on your part. A Protein skimmer can save you from all that tedious work.
Types Of Protein Skimmers
Protein skimmers come in different shapres and size, but a standard one has at least three components:
- The skimmer body.
- The air source and foam separation area.
- The collection cup.
Skimmers are classified according to their design and how they operate. These classifications are the following:
- Co-counter flow systems – air is introduced at the bottom of the skimmer body and comes in contact with the water as it rises towards the collection cup.
- Counter-current system – air is forced into the system under pressure and moves against the flow of the water before rising towards the collection cup. The different variations are the pin-wheel, needle-wheel, and the mesh-wheel.
- Venturi - a venturi valve which is situated in the intake tube is used to mix in air with the water.
- Needle Wheel – a spoked wheel is used which spins and chops up the incoming waterand produce fine bubbles.
- Spray Induction – a spray nozzle creates fine bubbles as the water is forced into it.
- Downdraft and Beckett – it mixes air and water to create bubbles.
The two most common types of protein skimmers are the Hang On Back (HOB) skimmer, which doesn’t take up any tank space and can be hidden behind the tank with a background, and the In Sump skimmer, which can be placed in your tank.
To learn more about protein skimmers, here is a video you can watch below:
Top Rated Protein Skimmers
Choosing the best protein skimmer for your aquarium can be a grueling task. There a lot of manufacturers who offer products packed with all kinds of promises. Our review can help you pick the protein skimmer that works best for your tank. We have rounded up the top 5 protein skimmers available in the market along with their pros and cons. Check out our list:
From the list of the top-rated protein skimmers in the market, we recommend the Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Skimmer for its high-quality materials and great performance. Its features are easy to understand and use. It’s a good protein skimmer and is very funtional
Protein skimmers are important for reef and marine aquariums. However, some aquarium owners neglect this important step.. Corals, reefs, marine and freshwater fishe will benefit from having a protein skimmer. Check out the right protein skimmer for you and get a clean, healthy, and beautiful aquarium.
You also need to read our review about best ph meter.