Week 17: Protein Skimmers - Selecting and tuning the best! | 52 Weeks of Reefing #BRS160

October 24th, 2015
Protein skimmers are a staple of the reefing hobby and today we are going to talk about what they do, how they work, and if they are required to be successful at reefing. We'll cover advantages and disadvantages of different skimmer designs and brands as well as tips on how to select the right skimmer for your tank, maintenance, and what we selected for the BRS160.

When it comes down to it, we are polluting the tank every day with foods and sometimes other additives that we add to the tank. Some of these things will be consumed by fish, corals, crabs, basically most of the living organisms in the tank. The net result of all these biological processes pollutes the tank with unwanted nutrients like phosphate and nitrate, among other unwanted pollutants like yellowing color pigments, odors, and toxins.

In a vast majority of cases a huge amount of the food added to the tank doesn't get eaten by the fish and it is broken down into these unwanted elements by bacteria and other processes. Really the easiest way to control the nutrient load in the tank is by controlling how much food we add to the tank. However, feeding the tank is half the fun of owning it and most people desire a large volume of fish. Proper nutrition is at the core of fish and coral health. Proper feeding and low nutrient, low toxin water kind of seem to be at odds with each other.

This is where protein skimmers come in. they are designed remove organic compounds before they fully break down into the unwanted nutrients and reduce the need for water changes. For instance if we can remove half of then uneaten fish food, fish waste, and decaying matter in the tank like algae, bacteria and organic particulates we can probably cut our water change schedule in half as well.

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