The Best Protein Skimmer: 2018 Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

If you are an aquarist, you may hear or know about the protein skimmer. But have you had enough information about how to choose the best protein skimmer for your tank? Do you want to have more knowledge about this system?

Well, in this article, we will give you a lot of useful information about this system. After finishing reading, you can know exactly all facts of the protein skimmer. In detail, you will get from the definition, some of the great protein skimmers to the FAQs about this product.

Let’s go to the main content of the topic right away!

List of the best protein skimmer on the market

SCA-302 180 Gallon Protein Skimmer

SCA-302 180 Gallon Best Protein Skimmer

We can say that this product is the best aquarium protein skimmer in pet supplies. It is a product of the SC Aquariums.

It comes with the dimension of 9 x 18 x 9.5 inches. The weight of the product is 9lbs. At first glance, you can see that it is a lightweight product. The portability of the product is perfect with the whole delight design.

The skimmer has needle impeller coming with the pump. That contributes to the powerful filtering performance of this skimmer.

The features

According to the manufacturer, it is suitable for the 180-gallon saltwater tank.

This is the latest version among those protein skimmers by the SC Aquariums. Therefore, the product has more highly effective traits than other models. It has the advanced technology for the best performance.

First of all, the filtering process is quieter than other models we have on the market at the moment.

This way, you will feel better with the silence of this product. When compared with many other skimmers, we find out that people using the SCA-302 love the way it works. We will not suffer from the noisy sound of the motor engine as using this protein skimmer.

Second, it includes a larger cup than the standard size on the market. That is a bright upgrade of this newest version. A larger cup means we can have higher effectiveness from the filter.

Moreover, all components of the product are laser-cut. As you can see, the appearance of this one look is seamless and firm. Therefore, during the filtering process, there is no more leaking happening. That is also great for the entire work of the product. On the other hand, as the seamless assemble, we can get the highly effective cleaning result with the model.

The feedback

After our research, we found out that the product gains more good feedback from the user than the complaint.

It is an best in sump protein skimmer which has a reasonable price. The filtering performance works best for the water tank from 100-gallon to 180-gallon capacity. During operating, the nitrate level of the water is always approximate zero. That is good for keeping the living condition to the neutral environment.

Moreover, the design of the product is easy to assemble. The large cup of this skimmer is also a plus point.

On the other hand, some people say that the performance of this product is just suitable for the 100-gallon tank. In addition, the drain of it is quite short.

Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Protein Skimmer / Bubble Magus BM-Curve 7 Protein Skimmer

Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Best Protein Skimmer

Both of the skimmers are the products of the Bubble Magus brand. They are also the best protein skimmer for your saltwater tank. Since they have the same features and functions, we will come to discover the Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Protein Skimmer firstly.

The Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Protein Skimmer comes in the small size of a skimmer. It has the dimension of 26 x 9 10 inches meanwhile the weight of it is only 6.9lbs. We can tell that this size is perfectly portable.

It includes the advanced features and reliable pump for the best filtering result. This skimmer is also the affordable one with many great traits.

The features

According to the producer, we will get a protein skimmer with a lot of useful features. They are a needle wheel pump, a bubble plate, an innovate-curve skimmer body, a quick-release collection cup, a skimmer body, a compact footprint as well as an air silencer.

All of the components come along with each other. That builds up an entire well-performing process of this Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Protein Skimmer.

In detail, we can see that the needle wheel pump of this skimmer comes with a venture intake. This combination is the right design for producing the proper amount and size of the air bubble. Therefore, it is really important for the skimmer to collect all DOCs of the water in your tank.

The bubble plate is also the necessary part of the entire body. If the protein skimmer does not have this component, it will suffer the rising of the turbulence in the reaction chamber.

Moreover, the “curve” skimmer body is the most special part. With this unique trait, the foam created by those air bubbles can rise smoothly to the collection cup.

Anyway, the cup is really easy-to-clean one. We can say that the quick-release design is completely wonderful. We can empty and wash up all the inside part of the skimmer just by detaching that component (the collection cup and the skimmer body).

Last but not least, we can install the skimmer easily with the compact footprint.

The feedback

We can say that the skimmer is a good selection for you. The brighter points of all these particular features are the “curve” skimmer body, the detachable design, the high performance as well as the silence.

The user can detach this collection cup to clean up and then assemble it again with ease. In addition, the collection cup has a smart drain which is good to reduce this maintain frequency into the body of the machine.

Overall, the Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Protein Skimmer is one of the best choices which are budget-friendly. Otherwise, if you have a larger aquarium, you can choose the other model of this version.

 The product we want to tell you is the Bubble Magus BM-Curve 7 Protein Skimmer. This skimmer has the same special features as the Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Protein Skimmer. The difference between them is the capacity. In other words, the Bubble Magus BM-Curve 7 Protein Skimmer is proper for the tank up to 240 gallons.

Reef Octopus Classic 152-S Protein Skimmer / Reef Octopus Classic 202-S Protein Skimmer

Reef Octopus Classic 152-S Protein Skimmer

Coming up, we are going on showing you the best protein skimmer for reef tank. They are the Reef Octopus Classic 152-S Protein Skimmer and Reef Octopus Classic 202-S Protein Skimmer. Like the two skimmers above, they are similar in the features. The difference between them is the capacity.

The size of this product is bigger than the previous one. The dimension of this skimmer is 20 x 20 x 12 inches. Besides, the weight of the product is 16lbs.

The Reef Octopus Classic 152-S Protein Skimmer is an in-sump skimmer.  It has the capability of powerful filtration which is good for up to 150-gallon aquariums. Moreover, the special trait of this one is that it is suitable for the limited-spaced tank.

It comes with a lot of particular features. Although we have numerous components coming along with the machine, it is really easy for us to operate this skimmer.

The features

As you can see, there are many features of the Reef Octopus Classic 152-S Protein Skimmer. We will show the detailed particles for you.

First of all, we have the refined filter. It is fair to say that with the affordable cost, the filtering result of this filtration is great.

The pump of this skimmer is highly effective. It features 1800s ultra-efficient which supports the whole cleaning process successfully.

The construction of the entire skimmer is high-quality cast. The shape of this Reef Octopus Classic 152-S Protein Skimmer is authentic. The manufacturer invented the Super-Cone “wine glass” shape to get the higher stability and concentration of the foam.

Last but not least, there are many other features of this Reef Octopus Classic 152-S Protein Skimmer. They are also necessary parts for the machine to work properly.

The feedback

Many people claim that the skimmer is the awesome one for many aquarium kinds.

It provides the high-effectiveness cleaning performance. During the job of the skimmer, we can see it collects a lot of dirt particles into the collection cup obviously.

The acrylic brings the easy detachment to the user. Since then, we do not have to worry about the dirty inside the tube. The refined filter helps to catch up almost protein substances of the water. Therefore, we can have the fresh and clean water in the tank.

The pump is fully equipped which means it can provide the perfect mix of water and air. Hence, the waste from the whole filtering process can be removed more effectively.

Last but not least, if you are looking for bigger capacity, we recommend that you should take a look at the Reef Octopus Classic 202-S Protein Skimmer. Due to the same in special features, it can be a suitable choice for the up-to-250-gallon tank.

Tunze USA 9410.000 Doc Skimmers, Up to 265-Gallon

Tunze USA 9410.000 Doc Skimmers

Well, we are going to the next one which is also the best protein skimmer for you.

This one is 19.8 x 7 x 16.3 inches. It has the weight of 5.4 pounds. As far as I am concerned, it is a small-designed skimmer.

It has the functional power saving for the ultimate saving energy. This is a great trait of this skimmer than the other products we have been discussing today.

The features

Although it has a small size, this skimmer is suitable for the large tank up to 265 gallons. It is surprising, right? Moreover, the main special feature of the protein skimmer is on the power-saver function.

On the other hand, it has the large collection cup for the better cleaning result. You can not only keep the aquarium fresh but also save some money as the low power consumption.

The cup can be disassembled with ease. In addition, it also includes the removable filter. That means the user can detach the component to clean up the entire inside body tube for the higher efficiency.

The feedback

We are highly proud that the Tunze USA 9410.000 Doc Skimmers is in a small size with big inner power. This one is surprisingly fit for the up-to-265-gallon tank.

It brings a new style of using skimmers to the aquarist. Many people think that it is impossible to reduce the power consumption of the protein skimmer. But they are wrong. With the 15W-power skimmer, we think that this is the proper answer to this issue.

The filter and the collection cup have the same detachable feature. Hence, you can wash up them easily and then assemble again to keep using.

Simplicity 240DC Protein Skimmer

Simplicity 240DC Best Protein Skimmer

Finally, we are coming to the last product for today.

Let’s take a look at the overview specification of this product.

The Simplicity 240DC Protein Skimmer has the dimension of 8.3 x 7.9 x 19.5 inches. The weight of this Simplicity 240DC Protein Skimmer is 20 pounds. As you can see, it is the heaviest skimmer among those products we discussed.

Just like the name of this skimmer, it has the simple design but with the high efficiency.

The features

The features of this protein skimmer have some similar components and some different parts when compared with the other above ones. It includes the controllable DC pump as well as the needle wheel. That works perfectly as the high-effective way to shred air and water to make the micro air bubbles.

This is a simple solution for your contaminated aquarium. The reason is that it provides the longer contact time between the water and the air in the tank. That means the air bubbles can have more time to collect as much as the protein-based substances.

Moreover, this Simplicity 240DC Protein Skimmer contains the bubble plate, the air intake adjustment, the wedge indicator, and the controllable pump.

This skimmer is suitable for the aquarium with the size up to 240 gallons.

The feedback

This is one of the best protein skimmers on the market for the saltwater tank. It works wonder on almost every aquarium with high bio-load.

One of the brightest points of its features is the excellent cleaning performance. Due to the innovative technology, it can create the micro-sized air bubbles and longer contacting time. That means the filtration of this product is better than the other skimmer we mentioned today.

It is just right for the name of this product. We found out that the simple design is simply effective! The skimmer can produce the high filtering efficiency within the silent voice.

Protein Skimmer: Buying Guide

First thing first, if you want to purchase a good protein skimmer, you should need to know exactly what it is and what we use it for. Therefore, before going to find out the best protein skimmer for your saltwater tank, we will give you the overall fact of it.

What are protein skimmers?

According to many aquarists, the protein skimmer plays an important part in keeping the tank fresh and clean, especially for heavily-stocked saltwater aquarium systems.

People also call the product as the foam fractionator. It is a type of aquarium equipment for the saltwater tank. A protein skimmer works to remove the DOC (dissolved organic compounds) and other contaminated substances in the water. If you do not clean the DOC out of the tank, it can harm the healthy environment into the tank.

What are protein skimmers used for

As we mentioned above, this equipment is a great idea for cleaning up the saltwater aquarium. Aquarium protein skimmers what do they do? What is the purpose of a protein skimmer? Do we need to have it for a small tank? The answer is “yes”!

Maybe you think that your tank does not event been equipped this system and it is still fine. We agree with you. But do you realize that your fishes get ill easily, or the plant can die in an unexpected way? That is because the water is too dirty to provide a good condition for them living in.

The skimmer uses air bubbles to collect up the hydrophilic particles from the water in the tank. All those dirt substances will be kept into a collection cup of the machine. Therefore, the water becomes clean again without requiring many efforts of the user.

How does a protein skimmer work

Protein skimmer pro and cons

Well, in this content, we are going to discover the advantages and disadvantages of the protein skimmer. You can consider buying this product or not by putting both good and bad sides of the skimmer together.

First of all, let’s see what benefits we can get from the protein skimmer.

  • It removes the DOC out of the water

This is the main function of this skimmer can do for the saltwater aquarium. Since the machine creates bubbles into the water, it can catch up the excess nutrient and the other dissolved organics.

Here is the way the skimmer works. Those air bubbles attract the DOC to the surfaces of them during the time they are under the water. As those bubbles coming up to the surface of the water, they bring with them a lot of dirt particles outside them. Then, a particular bubble combines with other ones at the top of the water surface that creates larger foaming.

All the process happens into a tube of the skimmer. That means the water comes out from the product will be clean and fresh again.

  • It keeps the tank out of nitrate buildup

Since the skimmer catches up all of the DOCs in the water, there are fewer factors creating nitrate in your aquarium. It is good for living creatures which you are taking care of.

  • The skimmer raises redox

Redox is the short name of reduction-oxidation reaction. It is a chemical reaction which improves the transfer of electrons between two living creatures. People know about this reaction as a necessary factor for both animals and plants.

The higher redox rate is, the better condition for the species in your tank.

  • The gas exchange of the tank will be raised more effectively

Moreover, as the work of the protein skimmer, the gas exchange of the tank can be raised up. As you know, the gas under the water is harmful to your plants and fishes when the amount of it is high.

Therefore, when we can speed up the gas exchanging process, we can reduce the risk of illness coming to your tanks.

  • The equipment reduces the bio-load

The bio-load when raises up to an appropriate level can be a harmful factor to the health of your tank. With the work of this skimmer, the bio-load will be kept in a lower.

  • It stables the pH level of water

The pH level plays a crucial part in remaining the health of your aquarium. If the pH level is too high or too low, the living creatures will be under threat.

  • It brings export for Ortho-phosphates

The export for Ortho-phosphates is also necessary for your tank. So, if you can equip this skimmer, you can keep the plant and animal out of being ill.

  • The water will be crystal clear

As you have this equipment in the saltwater tank, you will see that the water is clear every day without doing water changes. Therefore, you not only keep those living species healthy but also get a wonderful aquarium appearance.

Now, we are going to find out the disadvantages of the protein skimmer.

  • During the cleaning process, the skimmer also remove all the trace elements

We explained the whole filtering process of the skimmer for you in the previous content. As we showed, the protein skimmer uses those air bubbles to collect many protein-based particles of the water. That means it also removes the good protein needs of the water.

  • It removes the useful plankton in the water

Plankton is not always bad as you may think. Their appearance in your saltwater tank is important because they keep the balance of the whole living circle. Unfortunately, during the filtering process, the protein skimmer cannot separate the useful one with the harmful one. Therefore, both kinds of plankton are removed from the aquarium.

  • The cost of the skimmer equipment is quite high

On the market, the best protein skimmer comes with the high price. We agree that you can find low-cost one, but it may not work well. It is hard for the beginner aquarist to purchase the expensive equipment.

  • The salt radian of the water will be reduced so that the specific gravity is lower

Last but not least, we can tell that the skimmer had the weaker point is that it reduces the salt of water.

The saltwater needs an appropriate salt radian to remain the good living condition for creatures. If the salt is lower, there will be many bad effects coming to those plants and fishes.

As you can see, there are more advantages than disadvantages to the skimmer. Hence, it is worth buying a protein skimmer for your own aquarium.

What size of protein skimmer do I need?

After our informative data, we think that you have already determined to buy protein skimmers for saltwater tanks. So, we think you need to find out a proper selection.

First of all, you need to know the exact size of your aquarium.

Obviously, the size of a proper protein skimmer relies on the size of the tank you have. Therefore, we recommend that you need to find out the correct size of the tank.

Many people think that the more is, the better, but it is not suitable thought in this case. An appropriate skimmer is a great idea for your choice. Since the bigger one or, the smaller one works inefficiently, your tank will not be good as your expectation.

Second, you need to take care of the size of the skimmer. As we researched, many manufacturers will indicate the capacity of the product. Therefore, when you have got the size of your tank, you just need to tell the seller to give you a proper skimmer.

If you are the careful person, you can look at the capacity of the skimmer before you purchase it. Moreover, you need to know how about the filtering performance of the product. Since we have various models on the market to choose from, you may need to test the performance first.

Nevertheless, we strongly claim that the size of the skimmer does not show the capacity of it. Therefore, you should remember this fact to select an appropriate protein skimmer for your saltwater tank.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

After taking a look at the seven best protein skimmers, we are going to show you some common questions about this product. When you are reading those “ask and answer” contents, you may find something useful for you. Hence, you can remain the health of your beloved creatures in your aquarium.

  • Are protein skimmers good for fresh water?

As we can see, from all the informative we mentioned previously. Actually, the protein skimmer is for the saltwater aquarium. In other words, it does not really work on freshwater.

The main physic in working progress of this skimmer is due to the attraction between the surface of air bubbles and the DOC. We can have this reaction in fresh water. Therefore, we can use it to collect all the protein-based substances of fresh water as we do in the saltwater.

On the other hand, you can use this product for fresh water if you want to keep your tank clean. The freshwater holds the protein-based particles not as many as the salt water does. But they're still a small amount of the DOC into the fresh water.

  • Is protein skimmer a filter? Does protein skimmer replace a filter?

In some dimensions, we can say that the skimmer has a lot of similar trait of a filter. But, technically, there are some differences between the two kinds of machine.

We can tell that the skimmer can replace the work of the filter in your aquarium. Since we talked to you in the above content, the skimmer can remove the excess protein waste of the water. During the whole cleaning process, the water coming out from the skimmer is clean and clear.

On the other hand, if you want to make sure the water is in the best condition, you can use both the skimmer and the filter for your tank.

  • How often do we need to clean the protein skimmer?

This is also the most common question from the protein skimmer user. For the best result of filtration, you need to clean the inside of the tube and the other components regularly.

In detail, you need to detach those parts of the skimmer and wash them up thoroughly. The best time is about every two weeks. Even if you do not plug it with the electric source, you also have to do it.

If you do not clean the protein skimmer as often as we mention, your skimmer may have a lot of algae growth and harmful bacteria into the tube. That may impact the saltwater in the tank. As a result, the living creatures will get ill easily.

Overall, it is really important to clean up the protein skimmer regularly.


That is all that we want to show you for today.  It may seem a lot of things going here, but you should keep your tank healthy every day.

We highly recommend that you should pick up one of those protein skimmers we showed you for the best result. We believe that after reading this article, you can find your best protein skimmer for your saltwater tank.


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