Best Protein Skimmer Review Guide For 2022-2023 - Report Outdoors (2023)

November 27, 2022

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Best Protein Skimmer Review Guide For 2022-2023 - Report Outdoors (1)

Best Protein Skimmer Review Guide For 2022-2023 – one of the most important factors in setting up an aquarium is to maintain good water quality. Not only do you want clear water to make the view nice, but you actually want your marine animal and plant life inside the tank to survive. And that’s why for many aquarists, a simple filtration system just won’t do. You also need the best protein skimmer you can find for your tank this Best Protein Skimmer Review Guide For 2022-2023 can help you there.

Best Protein Skimmer Buyers Guide For 2022-2023

What is a Protein Skimmer:

A protein skimmer is a type of mechanical filter, and it removes organic materials from the water in your aquarium. That includes excess bacteria and toxins from corals, waste products from animals, and even uneaten food. It’s a vain hope to think that fish and other marine wildlife in your aquarium would have a “see food” diet (when they see food, they eat it). Unfortunately, that’s not exactly the case.

On the other hand, with a protein skimmer, you can remove the organic compounds before they break down and compromise the clarity and cleanliness of your tank water. A device like this keeps algae from growing too quickly, it reduces the nitrate buildup that can threaten certain marine species like corals, and it also lets the light shine more brightly through the clear water.

It’s called a protein skimmer because it uses the polarity of the proteins to remove the various organic compounds. It has a reaction chamber in which it creates lots of tiny bubbles. Because of the properties of the protein in the organic compounds, the organic waste materials stick to the bubbles. The bubbles then bring these materials up to the surface of the chamber, where the contaminants can be manually removed from the water column through the collection cup.

In some models, you also get pinwheel or needle wheel impellers in the skimmer pump, which then chops the incoming bubbles into even smaller micro bubbles.

Types of Protein Skimmer:

There are several types of protein skimmers. In general, you can group them into four different categories:


This is also called hang on back protein skimmer. As you may have guessed, it hangs on the back of the aquarium. It’s ideal for tanks that don’t run a sump. It hangs on the rim of an aquarium in much the same way a power filter can hang on a tank. This type is usually meant for small aquariums that don’t go past 100 gallons in capacity.

In Tank:

These tend to be mini versions meant for nano tanks, so they don’t take up a lot of space inside the aquarium. Even though they’re usually small, the best nano protein skimmer models will do a very effective job of removing the organic compounds in the water.

In Sump:

This one is designed to fit within the sump of the aquarium system. This is the category that has a wide range of options in terms of size and cost. Some are so affordable you can get them for cheap, but others may go for as much as $3/4,000. The price depends on the size and on the features.


This one runs externally from the aquarium sump. The sump feeds water into the skimmer, and the skimmer then returns the “clean” water back to the sump.

Who Is It For:

Basically, if you’re running a saltwater tank then you absolutely need a protein skimmer. This is especially true if your setup involves a reef aquarium or you’re stocking your tank with large or carnivorous fish.

Keep in mind that normally, your main problem is to reduce levels of ammonia and nitrites, which all come from the waste products and other pollutants. The nitrogen cycle naturally turns these compounds into nitrates, which aren’t toxic to most fish and invertebrates at low levels. But corals and other marine species may still be sensitive to the nitrates, and you need the skimmer to really keep the nitrate level down.

And even if your tank holds freshwater fish, a skimmer can still help. If you have a filter system that’s working too hard, then a skimmer can be the answer to your problem.


Essentially, the protein skimmer really helps in keeping the water clean and toxin-free. This is absolutely necessary equipment when you have a reef aquarium or large fish in the tank, as these types of marine life can be very sensitive to even low nitrate levels.

It really helps with the filter system, and you won’t have to worry so much when you keep on putting in food that your fish are determined to ignore. They minimize your maintenance requirements as they keep down algae growth, and they can make your tank truly shine when they keep the water crystal clear.

AquaMaxx HOB-1.5 Hang-On-Back

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It’s possible to use this skimmer for nano aquariums, as it features a thin and light design.

The base measures 7.5 by 3.5 inches, with a height of 17 inches. But it’s more apt for regular midsize tanks ranging from 50 to 75 gallons in capacity. The outlet size measures ¾ of an inch.

It comes with the AquaMaxx SHARK 1.0 pump, with 11-watt power consumption.

Aquamaxx HOB-1 Hang on Back Protein Skimmer
It also comes with the AquaMaxx needle wheel impeller. To use it, you just move the collection cup up or down, so you can adjust the foam level to wet or dry.

As the collection cup is removable, the maintenance is really simple. There’s even a drain fitting that lets you set up a separate reservoir for the skimmate.

All these come with a super price tag if you find the right seller. The shipping may even be free.

Product Details:

  • AquaMaxx HOB-1.5 protein skimmers is easy to setup and maintain. Just move the collection cup up or down to adjust the foam level to wet or dry.
  • Efficient, durable and reliable, Simple to set up and operate, Cell-cast acrylic construction
  • Dimension : L 7.5 x W 3.5 x H 17 Inch, Fits aquarium rims up to 3/4″ thick, Requires approximately 4″ of clearance to remove collection cup, Filtration Rating: up to 90 Gallons (light bioload) or 60 Gallons (heavy bioload)
  • Pump: AquaMaxx SHARK 1.0 (modified and upgraded Italian Sicce pump)
  • Pump power consumption: 11 Watts Outlet size: 3/4 Inch Minimum tank height 10-7/8″


  • ​It’s very simple to use, and the maintenance is simple as well. It’s virtually a plug and pay model, especially when you go online and watch some YouTube videos showing how to set it up. You don’t get those inconvenient problems that bedevil other models.
  • ​The pump is inside the skimmer, and that saves space, minimizes the noise made by the pump, and boosts efficiency.
  • ​You won’t have to worry about breakdowns. The build quality is exceptional, so everything should work just fine.
  • It’s truly effective, and you won’t believe the amount of dirty malodorous water this device takes out.
  • The blue material even makes look cool. Since aesthetics is one of the reasons we buy an aquarium in the first place, it’s nice that this aspect wasn’t ignored.


  • The directions aren’t all that great which is why we recommend you go online for instructional videos.

CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus

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This protein skimmer is designed for tanks of up to 100 gallons.

It’s an HOB (hang on back) unit, but the design is somewhat unique.

The pump is externally mounted, and it’s under the actual skimmer body. That means there’s no heat exchange with the water, since the pump is outside the aquarium and the skimmer.

This design also makes it much easier to clean the pump. Just make sure that you have at least 6 inches between the tank and the wall, and this skimmer should fit in just fine.

The build is also outstanding, and it does seem like it’s going to last for a long while. It’s made from high-grade acrylic, and the parts all work seamlessly.

There’s an ongoing discussion about putting some type of media in the return chamber by disassembling the bulkhead. It is possible to do this, and you can find YouTube videos demonstrating how. Even the Coral Vue site offers some videos too.

However, it must be said that this skimmer wasn’t designed for that, and you can easily make a mistake that can restrict the flow.

Product Details:

  • Coral vue octopus with external 1000 pump 100gal
  • This design also allows for easy removal of the pump for cleaning and maintenance
  • They are built with high quality acrylic


  • It works very well, and it can really pull out the gunk from your tank. It even skims the top where everyone knows that a lot of icky stuff gathers. Not every skimmer can do this.
  • Adjustments are easy to make, and there’s really not much of a break in period required.
  • It’s also very quiet, and that’s great for many of us who place their aquariums on the bedroom. For those who put their tanks in the living room, rest assured that it won’t bother you while you’re watching TV.
  • The price is also very attractive.


  • Some people may have trouble with the setup, especially newbies who aren’t yet familiar with how skimmers work. The main reason for this is the inadequate directions in the manual. It’s incomplete and virtually useless.
  • You will need to keep the water level a bit lower than usual. If not, then this may not skim from the surface.

Coral Vue Technology AC20287 Octopus

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This is one of the most highly regarded of all protein skimmers, and hardly anyone has given it poor marks.

In fact, on Amazon it has accumulated astonishing average, with almost none low rating received.

This is a skimmer designed for in sump use only.

It’s rated for 210-gallon tanks, but that’s a bit hazy.

Coral Vue AC20287 Octopus Needle Wheel Skimmer for Aquarium Filter

On the Coralvue site, I think this is the Classic 150SSS Protein Skimmer (rated for 210 gallons too). So to see if it fits your sump, take note that it has a 7.3 by 9.45-inch footprint, a 6-inch diameter, and a height of 20.9 inches.

The foam production is courtesy of the Hailea OTP pumps. It also comes with a new design for its pinwheel impellers. The bubbles transition to the collection cup through the 4-inch cone neck, which can be released easily for convenient maintenance. The water level adjustments can be done through the gate valve.

So what accounts for this universal acclaim? That’s easy to answer when you use it for smaller tanks. Get this for your 90-gallon tank and you’ll understand just how effective it can really be. Remember, there’s no such thing as over skimming. An aquarium can’t be too clean, just like you can’t really be too rich.

Product Details:

  • Coral vue octopus 6-inch needle wheel skimmer 210gal
  • Reef octopus pinwheel/needle wheel skimmers provide you with a high performance features in an easy to use package
  • New pinwheel impellers provide up to 100% improved performance


  • It produces a lot of foam, and consequently, it attracts a lot of organic goop that you’ll be taking out of the water column.
  • ​That new design for the needle wheel impeller really works wonders, especially at this price point. Most of the time, you have to spend more to get something this good.
  • ​It comes with a silicone hose, which comes in handy when you’re out of the house. Just remove the rubber plug in the collection cup, and then pace the hose into a container to get the gunk.
  • ​The build is of high quality, as it uses durable plastic for its construction. You won’t cause a crack just because you bump it.
  • It comes with a baffle that lets you control the airflow to the impeller. As a bonus, it also muffles the noise made by the skimmer, so it runs virtually silent. The motor is quiet enough, to begin with, but the baffle really makes it undetectable.
  • There are only a few days needed for the break in period. Some even find it pulling nasty gunk from the tank after just an hour or so.
  • ​With the gate valve, it’s not hard to control the water level inside the skimmer.


  • It’s great, but only if it fits inside your sump.

Tunze USA 9410.000 DOC

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Tunze is famous for manufacturing reliable and effective protein skimmers.

The 9410 DOC skimmer is no exception.

Designed for use inside a sump, the 9410 skims, filters and aerates aquarium water at the same time.

The skimmer comes with a matched Tunze Hydrofoamer Silence water pump designed specifically for protein skimming.

The Tunze Hydrofoamer creates millions of tiny air bubbles with a diameter between 0.1 and 0.3mm.

Tunze USA 9410.000 Doc Skimmers, Up to 265-Gallon

The uniform bubble size ensures quiet operation and very efficient skimming. Protein-rich surface water is thoroughly aerated and exposed to the tiny bubbles.

Pollutants including proteins, cellulose, dead algae cells and coral slime are adsorbed onto the rising bubble surfaces. Foam is collected in the large skimmer collection cup. Clean water then passes through a special nylon post-filter. The post-filter captures fine debris down to 300 microns.

The filter bag can also be used to hold filter media like activated carbon or phosphate remover.

Recommended for salt water aquariums up to 265 US gallons. Water flow rate is 237 gallons per hour.

Product Details:

  • Easily removed, large capacity skimmer cup
  • Low power consumption
  • Removable post filter


  • Compact size fits in small sumps – 16.5“ tall.
  • Comes with matched Hydrofoamer Silence water pump.
  • Uses only 15 watts of electricity.
  • Requires little or no fine-tuning.
  • Very effective skimmer.


  • A little noisy until it gets broken in.
  • Cost more for German engineering.

NYOS Quantum 160

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NYOS designs their protein skimmers with several special features that have given NYOS skimmers a good reputation among reef enthusiasts.

The Quantum 160 is designed for in-sump use and comes with a matched water pump.

The German-designed water pump features their Hybrid Wheel impeller.

Combining the benefits of needle and lattice wheel impellers into a super-light hybrid impeller design.

NYOS Quantum 160 Protein Skimmer for up to 265 Gallons

The benefits are less energy consumption, smoother operation while creating a steady supply of ultra-fine micro bubbles.

Silicone rubber feet keep the skimmer slightly above the sump base and further eliminate vibration and pump resonation noise.

The Quantum 160 is constructed of high-quality acrylic. Even the impeller housing is clear so you can watch the Hybrid Wheel in action! Water is pushed into the skimmer chamber through a unique bubble plate called the NYOS Twister.

The Twister spins the water – bubble mixture into a high-velocity vortex which increases contact time and improves skimmate formation. The Quantum 160 has separate adjustments for air and water volume.

Recommended for salt water aquariums up to 250 US gallons. Dimensions are 7.29″ x 9.85″ x 20.87″ (LxWxH)

Product Details:

  • None


  • Super-quiet operation.
  • Easily disassembled for cleaning.
  • Very effective skimmer.
  • Water pump is located inside the skimmer – takes up less room.
  • Titanium fasteners won’t corrode.


  • Sends some micro-bubbles into the aquarium during break-in.


We hope you enjoyed our Best Protein Skimmer Review Guide For 2022-2023.

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