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Which skimmer to choose

Which skimmer to choose

Which skimmer to choose: guide to choosing the skimmer (internal, sump or external skimmer) for marine aquariums. What is the skimmer for and what to evaluate to choose the best.

Theskimmer or skimmer, is an indispensable device for the marine aquarium. I know that many users insist on setting up marine aquariums without this component ... however, if you decide to set up amarine aquarium without skimmer, know that you will have to compensate for this lack by making frequent water changes. The lack of skimmer not only will it impose a greater frequency of water change but it will have an impact on the quality of the water that may not be crystal clear.

In my opinion, you can skimp on the price of many components, you can save on movement pumps, give up the sump, completely avoid the osmoregulator, buy a decent filter, get the cheapest tub ... In my experience, the essential components to set up amarine aquarium there are two: the lights and the skimmer. On these two components you should aim for the best.

Aquarium skimmer: what is it for?

Before you seehow to choose a skimmer, let's see what this device is for.

The skimmer helps purify the water by degrading high molecular weight compounds so as not to burden the filter (chemical, mechanical and biological), nor the bacteria present in live rocks (which function as a biological filter). What compounds are we talking about? Mainly protein.

Proteins have a high molecular weight. They comecaptured fromskimmerin a very simple way, by exploiting the surface tension that is created between air and water; this tension generates a protein foam which ends up in the removable collection cup. It is, therefore, a further filtering system of organic matter, a mechanical system since it exploits the properties of the surface tension film generated between a fluid (sea water) and a gas (the air introduced by the skimmer itself) . For its particular operation, the skimmer consumes little energy.

Which skimmer to choose: types of skimmers

To make an informed choice, you shouldchoose the skimmermore suitable for the use you intend to make of it. Before talking about the size of your aquarium, I will give you an overview of the different types of skimmers available.

Internal skimmer

It should be placed inside the aquarium. It has the advantage of preventing bacteria from creating colonies suspended in the water column, it avoids thebacterial patinain the aquarium, if well-sized, it can constantly process all the water in the aquarium (thanks to the movement pumps) ensuring crystal clear water and low levels of nitrates. It has, as a disadvantage, that it takes up space directly in the tub.

External or backpack skimmer

The external skimmer processes the water with two connected pumps. Even if few shopkeepers will admit it, it is less efficient than oneinternal skimmer, however, it has the advantage of not creating clutter in the tank ... but the clutter creates it outside. For some it may be unsightly, also because the removable glass (which in this case will be visible) will soon fill with a "protein slime" extracted from the water. The external skimmer or backpack is the obligatory choice for nano-reefs or very small aquariums without sump.

Internal sump skimmer

I tell you right away that the internal skimmer designed for the tub is not as effective as an internal skimmer designed for the sump. If you have a sump, you need to choose a sump skimmer! :)

The sump skimmer cannot remove the bacterial patina that forms in the tank, therefore, in this case, particular attention must be paid to properly adjust the descent and ascent pumps, carefully adjust the intensity and position of the various pumps of movement.

How to choose the skimmer

With the knowledge you have just learned, you should already know (according to your personal tastes and needs) on which type of skimmer to choose. From now on only two rules apply:

  • how much do you want to spend
  • how big is your aquarium

In the case of a sump skimmer, for sizing, you will have to aim for rounding down. Basically if your aquarium is 200 liters, buy a sump skimmer for 300 liters or more. This rule does not apply to the internal skimmer which can be sized exactly as indicated by the manufacturer.

How much you want to spend is very much related to the brand. I tell you, from experience, that bubble magus skimmers in Italy cost a lot, abroad, with 200 euros, you buy a model that costs 400 euros here! This means that these skimmers, if you buy them in Italy, do not have a good value for money: you spend a lot and have a bad yield. Bubble King and Tunze skimmers enjoy excellent fame (especially when it comes to internal skimmers).

For example, if you are looking for agood skimmer for aquarium of 100 - 150 - 200 or 250 liters, I recommend the model

Tunze 9004 DC (with digital skimming adjustment). It can be bought on Amazon at the price of 176.10 euros. The same model, without digital adjustment of the skimming (but with the classic valve to turn) can be bought for about 140 euros.

For all information, I refer you to “this Amazon page“.

For the nanoreefs, tunze produces more compact and highly efficient “internal” models (which can be bought with a budget of less than 100 euros). For nano reefs and aquariums from 50 - 80 liters, there is also the compact plug and play model that measures about 20 cm (always on Amazon it is bought with 80 euros, it is written that it is also good for 100 liters aquariums, however, if you have such a large tank I recommend the 9004, especially if you have a tendency to fill the aquarium with life!).

If the skimmer that I have pointed out to you is perfect both likeinternal skimmerthat likeexternal skimmer(I recommend installing it inside the tank because it becomes more efficient) it is not suitable if you want to install it in the sump. As an external skimmer it must always be installed with magnets (so it is not a backpack) but you have to buy separately a small fitting that fishes in the tank.


Video: Protein Skimmer 101 Episode #1: What They Are and How to Select One For Your Aquarium (January 2022).