Have you ever been told you don't need a protein skimmer because you have a small aquarium?

This may be true if you are doing big weekly water changes and have a light stocking level—or if you just have very easy-to-keep fish and corals. Most nano aquariums tend to be more heavily stocked than larger aquariums and very few hobbyists perform water changes as often as what is considered "ideal."

The truth of the matter is that a protein skimmer always makes your water cleaner and is helpful in aquariums of every size.

Having a protein skimmer also gives you more options in nitrate and phosphate control. Both biopellets and liquid carbon-dosing, such as RedSeaNO3:PO4-X and AZ-NO3, require the use of a protein skimmer for nutrient export.

The Hydor Koralia Nano-Skim and Slim-Skim protein skimmersare great options and have been very popular with our customers. The Nano-Skim is rated for aquarium up to 35 gallons while the Slim-Skim is rated for aquariums up to 65 gallons. These skimmers are well-designed, easy to install, easy to adjust/clean and are very reasonably priced: which are likely the reasons for their popularity.

Out of the box, the Nano-Skim has a nice, solid, feel. The Hydor logo cut-out on the outlet is a very nice touch. All acrylic pieces look to be very nicely made and fit together well, which is impressive for a skimmer this size and in this price range. With a small footprint of just 3 1/8" x 3 1/8", it is also one of the smallest skimmers and should make installation easier for many applications.

Once the skimmer and pump have been assembled, simply place the skimmer in your aquarium (with the water level about half way up the outlet) then use the included magnets to attach the skimmer to your aquarium. Next, plug in the pump and you are good to go.

As with all skimmers, it will take a week or two for the skimmer to break in. Once broken in, the only adjustment needed is the height of the collection up: raise it for drier skimmate and lower it for wetter skimmate.

After the initial break-in period, the Hydor Nano-Skim has been working very well in my 34-gallon Solana and pulling out lots of dirty skimmate. Prior to using a skimmer, I constantly had trouble keeping my nitrates below 30ppm—even with 30% bi-weekly water changes. And yes, I am guilty of knowingly overfeeding my fish.

Now with the skimmer in place and carbon-dosing, my nitrates have decreased dramatically, the corals are looking happier and I can freely feed my fish without feeling guilty.

Although protein skimmers are never required, they are beneficial to every aquarium because they remove waste before it breaks down, thus keeping the water cleaner. Many hobbyists consider protein skimmers to be the heart of their filtration systems. With marine fish and corals being as delicate as they are, any equipment that can improve water quality is always welcomed.

If you have a nano or smaller aquarium, the Hydor Nano-Skim and Slim-Skim may be just what your system needs to go from ordinary to extraordinary.