Best Protein Skimmers of 2022
Shopping for a skimmer presents a real plethora of options for saltwater aquarists which can be both a blessing and a curse. While it's great to have options, sometimes weeding out the junk or simply finding the right model can be downright confusing.
This list includes the Best Protein Skimmers of 2022 based on customer ratings, features, and performance. The list was purposely made to be all-inclusive so you will find a great skimmer option for any tank and budget, no matter the particular size or installation requirements. We included both budget-friendly and high-end premium skimmers on the list too, both of which carve out their particular niches in different ways. We are so confident in these brands that they are the very same skimmers we use on a majority of our own tanks here at BRS.
Often dubbed the holy-grail of skimmers, Royal Exclusiv serves up a level of craftsmanship that you can only find with a handful of brands in the hobby. They are the original creators of the popular Bubble King line of protein skimmers and the renowned Red Dragon Skimmer pumps.
Between the space-saving Bubble King Mini, the meticulously crafted Double-Cone, the powerful SuperMarin, and the incredibly diverse DeLuxe model skimmers they have every situation covered. The performance unequivocally justifies the expense and once you have experienced Royal Exclusiv, you won't ever look back.
Bubble Magus made the list with their Curve series skimmer, specifically the Curve Elite. While both the Curve and Curve Elite model skimmers offer incredible value, we appreciate the attention to detail and high-performance Sicce PSK skimmer pump included with the Elite.
The wine glass style cone-shaped body gives these skimmers a modern look and helps gradually move the foam up into the collection cup. The pump is located inside the skimmer to save space but can also easily be removed for cleaning with just x4 quick clips holding the body in place. An air silencer, drain fitting, and responsive water level adjustment round out the thoughtful features that won't leave you wanting more.
Reef Octopus has long been one of the most popular protein skimmer brands in the US. They offer a wide selection of protein skimmers to accommodate a variety of installations and tank sizes but also don't neglect the features that matter most.
The popular Classic and Essence model skimmers are straightforward, affordable skimmers that just work well. For those who need a little more power and flexibility, the Regal and Elite series skimmers take advantage of the very-popular VarioS DC controllable water pumps which give the user more precision control over the skimmer's performance.
Although the brand is fairly new to BRS, AquaMaxx has cemented its place in the saltwater aquarium world long ago with high-quality acrylic protein skimmers and filtration equipment. The diverse line of AquaMaxx protein skimmers performs as great as they look and give hobbyists high-end features at a price that won't break the bank.
The highly-regarded HOB 1.5 cannot go without mention because it is one of the best-performing hang-on style protein skimmers ever made. The popular ConeS and FC series skimmers include Sicce brand pump motors with custom-modified pinwheel impellers that produce an incredibly dense foam. The DFC and DCQ series skimmers are the latest additions to the AquaMaxx lineup and include DC controllable pumps. DC pumps allow for much more precision control over the air to water ratio making it easier to optimize the skimmer's performance based on bioload.
Ultra Reef takes its place at the top of the list for quality craftsmanship and long-lasting performance. The attention to detail and quality of construction is second to none. From the solid block of CNC milled PVC and cast acrylic body down to the titanium screws used to hold it together, Ultra Reef spares no expense when it comes to the materials and manufacturing of their skimmers.
Ultra Reef is also an ISO 9001 quality-certified company meaning they are committed to quality and constantly improving business processes to ultimately produce the very best products and services they possibly can.
While not a skimmer at all, CO2 scrubbers are a popular accessory for any protein skimmer that removes carbon dioxide from the air going into the protein skimmer. With less CO2 being aerated into your aquarium water via the skimmer, you can maintain a much more natural pH level in the tank and ultimately make a big impact on your corals.
For many years, saltwater aquarists would simply settle for unnaturally low pH levels, as low as 7.8 pH! This low pH inhibits the rate of calcification within the coral, slowing down the growth. Thanks to the widespread use of CO2 scrubbers, hobbyists are now able to maintain more natural pH levels (8.3 pH) and can experience up to 50% more coral growth!