Multi skimmer specialsThis guide is for the beginner saltwater aquarist and its aim is to educate you on the purpose and use of protein skimmers as well as to help you decide which is best for you.The purpose of a protein skimmer is to cause the more denser saltwater organic components like proteins to separate out of the water in order to keep nitrates, and nitrites(dissolved wastes) at a lower level.The ocean areas where tropical saltwater fish live have millions of gallons of water and lots of live organism like corals, algae, live rock etc in it to keep water quality at its best, In an aquarium environment with limited water this is very difficult to do without repeated water changes.Live corals, fish, and inverts caught out of the ocean must have similiar water quality in the home environment to survive, and protein skimmers are one of the best ways next to wet dry systems and live rock to accomplish this.Most proteins skimmers, like the Jebo 180 on the left use a cylindrical chamber somewhere in the unit to act as a seperation chamber. They use different method of injecting air into the chamber,(powerhead venturi injectors, needle jet injectors and or wood airstones)and the air acts as a mixer which thickens the water, and as it swirls in a circular motion the fine air bubbles link with the proteins and drive them to the surface where they overflow into a collection cup.
This method in simple terms is kind of like how an eggbeater works. The egg is thin and runny but after the beater stirs it up it thickens, The water in the skimmer is thickened, the air strips the thicker particles out and flow upward and overflow into the collection cup where you empty it and remove them.
There are different types of protein skimmers-the hang on cylinder type like the Jebo 180, seaclone and berlin types, and hang on types like the prism, via aqua mulit skimmer, the Cpr backback, and the supreme skilter 250.Some of these double as filters and protein skimmers.
For a begginer saltwater aquarist I recommend the hangon backpack type(shown above) as they are easier to adjust, double as filters, are economical, and last of all have less tendancy to overflow.The cylinder type are hard to adjust(Jebo, Seaclone etc) and overflow over the top into your living room if not emptied regularly, or adjusted properly. I have tested about six of them and if not watched carefully they over flow out the top. The hanging backpack type will overflow into the tank and not make a mess.The skilter(top of article picture) and the via aqua skimmer are the most economical and easyist units to adjust and use and they also filter the water and have room to add bio balls so they can double as hang on wet dry units.Regular maintenance and adjustment of all protein skimmers is necessary to keep them working properly.However nothing works well to keep water quality up in your aquarium like a biweekly 20% water change so dont forget to do this.
Last of all I want to intoduce a new product for nano aquariums, (those are small saltwater aquariums, like the nano cube, aquapod, marineland eclipse, etc, and are usually 12g or less. This product is the new fussion skimmer, small in size(6in) it fits inside the aquarium and uses about 1/2 in headroom so it can fit under the hoods on nano cubes, It works great and comes complete with its own magnetic drive air injection system.Its only drawback is a very small collection cup so empty it often.