Nano Protein Skimmers Buyer's Guide

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Bubble Magus

The #1 most popular nano skimmer on our website, the Bubble Magus Q series skimmers are the best "bang for your buck" nano skimmers out there.  They are really easy to set up and generally operate without a fuss - best of all, they are all priced comfortably under $150.

  1. MiniQ Nano Internal Protein Skimmer
    Bubble Magus
    MiniQ Nano Internal Protein Skimmer
    $64.99 $64.99

Fiji Cube

Crafted from high-quality acrylic, these sleek-looking skimmers boast durability and clarity, allowing for easy monitoring of the skimming process. Their compact profile ensures they can be effortlessly integrated into smaller setups without compromising on the valuable aquatic real estate. At the heart of their performance lies the reverse collar bubble diffuser—a meticulously engineered feature that enhances the efficiency of the skimmer while also preventing those pesky micro-bubbles.


Coming in just behind Bubble Magus as the most popular skimmer in its class, the AquaReady HOB 1.5 is arguably one of the best nano skimmers money can buy. It is engineered with precision to ensure maximum waste extraction and utilizes a high-performance needle-wheel pump that generates an optimal mixture of water and air for effective skimming. Its simplicity in installation and maintenance makes it highly accessible for both novice and experienced aquarists. Moreover, the HOB 1.5 model emphasizes quiet operation, ensuring that it cleans without causing disruption. AquaReady has truly set a benchmark for nano protein skimmers with this model, offering an efficient, user-friendly, and discreet solution for maintaining the health and clarity of nano aquariums. 

  1. HOB-1.5 Hang-on-Back Protein Skimmer
    HOB-1.5 Hang-on-Back Protein Skimmer
    $264.99 $264.99

  2. NF-1 Internal Nano Protein Skimmer
    NF-1 Internal Nano Protein Skimmer
    $124.99 $124.99

  3. WS-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer
    WS-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer
    $189.99 $189.99

  4. HF-M Complete Filtration System
    HF-M Complete Filtration System
    $279.99 $279.99

Tunze Comline

Tunze makes an excellent line of internal skimmers with their popular Comline series. There are three different models which should be chosen carefully based on bioload but you do have a little more flexibility in terms of control and tuning.

All of the Tunze Comline skimmers have a surface skimmer design in which all the water going into the skimmer is pulled from the surface where proteins concentrate. They also have the ability to adjust how much are is injected into the pump and the larger 9004 and 9012 models come with the option of a DC controllable pump. This control is important because it allows you to tune the skimmer to your tank's specific bioload which results in more consistent performance. 


Eshopps In-Sump Nano Protein Skimmer deserves recognition because it makes a great skimmer for AIO-style aquariums. The magnetic mount and slim profile make it easy to install right in the back filtration chambers. It comes with a venturi air silencer and Sicce brand pump motor, both of which will minimize noise. You don't have any adjustments outside of moving the skimmer itself up and down within the water column which directly affects the internal water level. That said, you can expect solid performance on tanks ranging in size from 10-20 gallons. 

Nano Nano!

Using a protein skimmer on a nano aquarium is a great way to maintain a more stable environment but can certainly be a little tricky. Nano skimmers get a bad rap for being ineffective and causing the dreaded micro-bubbles which is especially a threat in all-in-one style tanks. Both of these are valid complaints and are often caused by insufficient tuning or bioload. 

The good news is technology has come a long way and there are quite a few nano-size protein skimmers out there that really do work and work well. It's just a matter of choosing the right skimmer for your particular tank and understanding how to use it correctly. 

What Is A Nano Skimmer?

The defining factors of a "Nano tank" are sometimes debated in the hobby but generally speaking, it just means it is a small aquarium; usually ranging in size from 5 to 40 gallons. Anything below 5 gallons is what we would define as a "Pico" aquarium. In the case of a Pico aquarium, you probably won't find very many skimmers that will fit these tiny tanks outside the Reef Glass Nano Skimmer which is powered by an air pump.

For a nano skimmer to be successful, it needs to be designed to manage small water volumes and bioloads. It's also important to be compact or designed in such a way that makes it easy to install on aquariums without a sump. 

How To Choose a Nano Skimmer?

The more fish and corals you have, the heavier the bioload you will have. That is more food going into the tank and more waste being created that ultimately needs to be removed. In reality, choosing your skimmer should be solely based on bioload but we just don't have a way to measure bioload effectively. Therefore, we use tank size with the idea that bioloads are typically relative to tank size, within reason.

A 20-gallon tank with one shrimp and a handful of small corals produces a smaller bioload than a 20-gallon tank with x5 fish and a lot of corals.

Bioload is directly tied to protein skimmers because the air/water ratio a particular skimmer needs to produce a stable foam head and remove waste is based on the nutrient concentration in the water.  While you can tune a skimmer to some extent, if you choose a skimmer drastically too large for your tank size, it just won't skim. For this reason, it's always a little better to be conservative with your skimmer selection as opposed to "oversizing" it.