Basic Advice

Protein Skimmers, Everything You need to Know

An aquarium protein skimmer improves your tank’s water quality and clarity by removing waste particles from the water.

Think of a protein skimmer like an advanced filtration system. Skimmers remove organic compounds such as amino acids and proteins by attracting the polarity of the protein. These impurities are then skimmed or collected and exported from the water. The protein skimmer is also known as a foam fractionator, as it appears to be creating foam while does its work. The foam is the charged bubbles that are injected into the water to serve as the protein attraction collectors.

Skimmers are cylindrical in design with two canisters appearing as if they are stacked one on top of the other. The water flows through the bottom chamber where it comes in contact with the charged bubbles in order to collect the proteins. Other substances collected include fats, metals, and phytoplankton bacteria. The foam is pushed to the top where it liquefies and collects in the top cup of the canister.

Protein skimmers typically work in one of two ways, either co-current flow or counter-current flow. A co-current flow introduces air at the bottom of the chamber and comes in contact with the water as it flows upward into the collection cup. The counter-current works in the opposite as air is forced under pressure against the flow of the water.

Both co-current and counter-current flow come in variations. It will depend on your tank size, type and occupants as to which flow system is right for you. Low voltage pumps are available in most models. Ask us for a recommendation for your tank.

About Jon Wolf

Servicing Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana & Michigan, Blue Planet Aquarium Services has been the most trusted name in aquarium design, installation and maintenance since 1999. A company large enough to be dependable but small enough to still watch out for your best interests, Blue Planet is the only company to call if you are planning to install an aquarium or have one maintained.