Protein skimmers are an important piece of equipment to any expert aquarium owner.
These machines help keep organic wastes under control. They are crucial for maintaining good water quality.
While some might associate them with professional water treatment or public aquariums, seasoned hobbyists know the importance of having a HOB protein skimmer in your tank.
Although you might find the specifications to come across confusing, finding the best HOB protein skimmer is easier than you think.
So you recognize these top-rated HOB protein skimmers?
Up to 60-90 gallons
Up to 100 gallons
Up to 105 gallons
Up to 65, 125, or 220 gallons
Up to 25 gallons
- The unique, well-designed device is aesthetically pleasing.
- This product is easy to install and maintain, regardless of your experience.
- Customers report minimal tuning was required, and it had a short break-in period.
- This product is built to last and is incredibly durable.
- This product demonstrates excellent performance.
- Set-up and tuning are easy for those with some background.
- Customers report it is incredibly quiet for a skimmer of this size.
- This skimmer is more compact, meaning it is less distracting, takes up less space, and can be easily installed into a sump.
- It has a high level of performance for a “budget-friendly” device.
- The skimmer is compact and quiet, allowing it to go unnoticed in a set-up.
- It is an effective device for larger tanks.
- Reviewers were very satisfied with the phenomenal customer service, which was offered.
- This skimmer comes in several different filtration ratings to fit your needs.
- One of the highest-rated products for consumer-level skimmers which can accommodate tanks over 120 gallons.
- It has a patented design and a diffuser to keep microbubbles out of your aquarium.
- Great performance for such a tiny machine.
- It one of the highest-rated skimmers which can be used in nano aquariums.
- This skimmer is very small, saving as much space as possible.
- Very simple and straightforward set-up and tuning.
Protein Skimmer FAQ
What is a protein skimmer?
A Protein skimmer, or foam fractionator, is a device used to help keep the water clean.
They remove specific organic compound which would otherwise pollute your aquarium.
These are considered a staple in saltwater set-ups.
How do protein skimmers work?
They work by utilizing the properties of the organic molecules themselves. Proteins are found in all organic compounds.
By using the natural polarity of these proteins found within waste products (such as excess food), bubbles can be used to get them out of the tank.
Most skimmers accomplish this by creating a large interface between water and air. This is done by using very tiny bubbles.
The particles cling to the miniature bubbles and get carried to a collection cup -out of your tank water.
Protein skimmers aim to carry the unwanted waste away before it has the chance to decay and release nitrogen compounds, which would have detrimental effects on water quality.
Do I really need a protein skimmer?
Although some setups advertise as skimmer-free, it is not suggested to skip out on one.
An aquarium can run without one, but many people that try it und up turning to this device to spruce up fish health and water clarity.
Protein skimmers are incredibly important in keeping a balanced aquarium. This is especially the case when it comes to marine setups.
For a reef tank to thrive, you NEED to keep nitrate levels to an absolute minimum.
It is almost impossible to maintain a tank with coral without one.
Corals are very sensitive to water quality (and are very expensive to replace). They need certain conditions kept as clean and stable as possible.
Can you use them in freshwater tanks?
Things get a little more complicated in freshwater tanks.
Due to the differences in nature between salt and freshwater, protein skimming is not as effective in freshwater.
Although it can be accomplished in commercial settings, it is not worth it to purchase a protein skimmer for your tiny tank at home.
How do you set up a HOB protein skimmer?
Protein skimmers are much different in commercial settings due to their sheer size (like most water treatment equipment).
The protein skimmers you need for your tank at home usually are HOB -or “hang on back.”
There are some you protein skimmers you can store under if you have a sump.
Protein skimmers need to be kept above the water level to work.
The easiest way to do this is to hang the protein skimmer on the back of your tank.
Although some can be internal, external protein skimmer setups are more common so that you don’t compromise the look or space of your tank.
When setting these up, consider the following steps:
1. Read the instructions
- Every protein skimmer is a little different. You must familiarize yourself with yours.
- There will be differences in things like ideal depth, restrictions, power.
- Make sure this is the right protein skimmer for your personal aquarium.
2. Check for parts
- Protein skimmers have a lot of parts included. It is not uncommon for a part to be left out by accident or slightly defect.
- You want to make sure that you look at all of this before your skimmer is set up.
- Yes, it is tedious, but it is better than dealing with missing parts when it’s too late.
3. Hang up the protein skimmer
- Now that everything looks like it’s in its place, it’s time to position the skimmer.
- Make sure it is submerged at an ideal depth (this will be specified in the manual).
- It should fit right on the edge of your tank as though it’s another filter.
- Put it somewhere that works well for you. If you are unhappy having it visible on the top of the tank, consider setting up a sump.
4. Let it get filled with water
Water should begin to flow into it (similar to when you set up a filter).
5. Plug it in
- Turn the power on. The noise will quiet down over time, and it should be done “breaking in” after a couple of days.
- Some hobbyists suggest letting it run in a tub of water with distilled white vinegar to help speed up the process of breaking in.
6. Monitor foam levels
- Make sure to watch the foam levels of the protein skimmer. If they begin to rise above the limits, shut it off for a bit.
- Try to tune it so that it is right for you.
7. Keep it clean
- As you can imagine, protein skimmers get dirty pretty quickly.
- To keep your skinner in tip-top shape (and prevent your tank from smelling), clean out the collection cup a few times a week.
How do you tune a HOB protein skimmer?
When you set up a protein skinner, you need to tune it.
For this device to work, the foam needs to bubble up into the collection cup (without bubbling over).
This will require you to work out what works best.
Tuning a protein skimmer refers to manipulating how much you want to open the air valve (and where the water line should be on the skimmer.
The manuals will offer some guidance on what they have concluded to be the ideal functioning levels.
In general, starting small is the way to go.
Consider starting at the smallest air level possible. Over the course of a couple of hours, you can slowly turn the dial.
Try turning up about a quarter of the way every half hour until you get your foam the desired place.
Watch it over the next couple of days to make sure that it seems like it’s at a good level.
Once it’s “broken in,” it will be easier.
More: Top 5 Best Substrate for Betta Fish Here
What to Consider
Now that you have a basic understanding of what a protein skimmer does and how to set it up, you have a better idea of what you need to invest in.
Depending on your budget, the volume of your tank, and the space you have, you may be looking for different things in a protein skimmer.
Just remember to do your research. Not all protein skimmers are created equal. They are a relatively expensive addition to your marine setup, but the investment is well worth it. Make sure to get one that fits your tank’s needs.
More: Best Filter for Betta
Taking care of your aquarium is crucial to keeping your tank inhabitants happy and healthy.
Protein skimmers are an expert method to maintain good water quality and have a tank running at a professional level.
Although the selection can be overwhelming at first, finding the best HOB protein skimmer is a simple, worthwhile investment.