Setting up the ideal aquarium takes time and a bundle of accessories. The protein skimmer is the one accessory that should never be overlooked because the benefits that it brings are plenty. The food you feed to the fish will accumulate, causing the aquarium to get dirty. No one wants that, and fortunately, here is where the protein skimmer proves its worth. A protein skimmer is a filtration unit that removes all protein and other organic compounds from the aquarium, thus preventing unwanted buildups.

Using a premium protein skimmer will help eliminate waste and dissolve organic compounds that otherwise would adhere to the air bubbles at the surface. However, there are many types of protein skimmers, and they all excel at different things. This makes picking the right one a challenging task. If you are not sure what is the best protein skimmer for your fish tank, then you don’t need to worry about it because we have your back. Today we will go over the pros and cons of the top ten best protein skimmers available on Amazon.

ProductPrice
Red Sea Reefer 300 Protein Skimmer Red Sea Reefer 300 Protein Skimmer$$$
IOAOI Protein Skimmer for Saltwater Aquariums IOAOI Protein Skimmer for Saltwater Aquariums$$$
Reef Octopus Classic 100-INT Reef Octopus Classic 100-INT$$$
Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5$$
Macro Aqua M-50 Macro Aqua M-50$$
Ocean SeaClone Protein Skimmer Ocean SeaClone Protein Skimmer$$
Coralife Biocube Protein Skimmer Coralife Biocube Protein Skimmer$$
AquaticLife 115 Mini AquaticLife 115 Mini$
Sera Marin Protein Skimmer PS 130 Sera Marin Protein Skimmer PS 130$
AquaTop SSK-65 AquaTop SSK-65$




We are going to kick things off with Red Sea Reefer 300 that delivers high-performances by using a PSK pump. Red Sea Reefer is a leader in the aquarium industry, and the brand’s products are well-known for their premium quality. Red Sea Reefer 300 is not an exception to that rule using durable materials and advanced filtration technology. We previously mentioned the PSK pump, but we also want to note that it is paired with a proportionally sized venturi and bubble diffusor alongside a reaction body that ensures the best filtration possible. Getting rid of waste will never be a problem again if you choose to go for the Red Sea Reefer 300.

A big downside of using protein skimmers is that they make lots of noise. Fortunately, this is not the case for Red Sea Reefer 300. The manufacturers have equipped the device with a large air intake silencer to keep things quiet. That’s not all. The protein skimmer uses rubber vibration dampening parts to provide the smoothest possible performances. If this doesn’t impress you, you should know that the device uses an ergonomic diffusion chamber to disperse the fine air bubbles. Some other notable features are the FoamView window and built-in neck cleaner.

Pros:

  • It runs silent (rubber vibration dampening parts and silencer);
  • PSK 600 Pump;
  • Ergonomic diffusion pump;
  • It features a built-in neck cleaner and drainage port;
  • Premium quality.

Cons:

  • The price is on the high-end.

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Also available at Marine Depot

Do you need a protein skimmer that is specially designed for saltwater aquariums? If yes, then you can’t go wrong with the one sold by IOAOI. The IOAOI Protein Skimmer for Saltwater Aquariums uses a patented needle-shaped plate that helps it produce more bubbles than other skimmers do. While this might not seem like such a groundbreaking feature, it’s actually quite important. The increased number of bubbles ensure that the waste does not return while also boosting the filtration system’s overall performance. Since we mentioned filtration, we want to highlight that this device uses a 35W pinwheel DC water pump that is powerful and energy-saving. The water pump has multiple gears that can be easily adjusted.

First-time aquarium owners may have a difficult time learning how to use a protein skimmer because of all the multiple settings. IOAOI Protein Skimmer for Saltwater Aquariums makes this easy by displaying everything on a LED controller. Starting with the water flow and ending with the pump gears, you can change everything with the single push of a button. The control is in your hands. The protein skimmer is designed for sump use only, and since it is made from high-quality cast acrylic, it’s guaranteed to last for the years to come.

Pros:

  • Ideal for saltwater aquariums;
  • 35W pinwheel DC water pump;
  • The water pump has 20 gears;
  • LED controller for easy use;
  • Built from high-quality cast acrylic.

Cons:

  • Not suitable for small tanks. It works best in a sump water depth of 7″ to 9″.

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On the third spot, we have another premium product that fits into the best protein skimmer category. We are talking about the Reef Octopus Classic 100-INT that is equipped with a unique 4-inch needle skimmer that supports up to 100 gallons. What makes this device stand out from the other ones reviewed by us today is the fact that it uses a new pinwheel impeller technology that delivers excellent performances. In fact, the Reef Octopus Classic 100-INT is 100% more powerful than the previous model from this company. Furthermore, the protein skimmer uses a DC pump to filter all the waste and organic debris in the water.

Reef Octopus Classic 100-INT earned this name by shipping with a cone neck that eases the transition of the bubbles. Thanks to this, the bubbles will have an easier time getting into the collection cup. One of the most annoying things about aquarium maintenance is cleaning the filtration system. Luckily, maintenance gets a lot faster and simpler with the Reef Octopus Classic Skimmer because it uses a quick-release neck. You will be able to clean it in only a couple of minutes. In addition, the protein skimmer is designed for sump use only.

Pros:

  • Coral Vue Octopus 4-inch needle wheel skimmer;
  • Ideal for up to 100 gallons;
  • Quick-release neck for easy maintenance;
  • Fast performances;
  • Gate valve (easy water level adjustments).

Cons:

  • Designed for sump use only.

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Also available at Marine Depot

The Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 is one of the most popular protein skimmers available on Amazon, and there is a good reason for that. This product offers a great bang for the buck by combining a powerful filtration system with a budget-friendly price tag. The protein skimmer uses a powerful pump that you can rely on. However, this is not its highlight feature. The Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 is equipped with a needle wheel pump that features a venture intake. This is good news if you have a large fish tank because the venture intake helps produce the ideal amount and size of air bubbles. Moreover, the bubble plate will help reduce the turbulence in the reaction tank to lower the noise and keep things running smoothly.

As the product’s name shows us, Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 is equipped with an innovative “curve” body design. The design does more than look sleek. It also makes it possible for the foam to rise to the collection cup slowly. We previously noted that Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 runs smooth, but we also want to mention that it uses a dedicated air silencer. Therefore, you can set up the protein skimmer in your bedroom, and you will still be able to fall asleep. White noise is not going to be an issue. Another essential feature that is worth highlighting is the quick-release collection cup. You are going to love the quick-release system whenever you need to do maintenance work.

Pros:

  • Innovative “curve” design;
  • It runs silently;
  • Needle wheel pump;
  • Venture intake to control the bubble release;
  • Dedicated air silencer.

Cons:

  • Some customers say that the installation is tricky.

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Also available at Marine Depot

Are you in the market for a high-efficiency protein skimmer that is easy to install? The Macro Aqua M-50 is what you re looking for. The protein skimmer has a small footprint, and it ships with detailed instructions that will help you set it up. Thanks to this, the Macro Aqua M-50 is a great choice for new hobbyists preparing to set up their first aquarium. Macro Aqua M-50 guarantees eliminating all organic waste by providing an impressive water flow of 238 gallons per hour. That’s no all. The protein skimmer can be used for fish tanks of up to 60 gallons.

As we can tell from the picture featured above, Macro Aqua M-50 sports a unique design from everything that we have seen previously. The protein skimmer doesn’t need a sump, and instead, it can be mounted on the aquarium’s side. There is no primming required for the Macro Aqua M-50 to work. It’s a plug-and-play device. The needle to wheel impeller is also a great feature because it boosts the air to water contact, speeding up the skimming process. We highly recommend this product for beginners.

Pros:

  • Needle wheel skimmer;
  • Easy to use;
  • Easy installation;
  • It can be mounted on the side of the aquarium;
  • Works with fish tanks of up to 60 gallons;
  • 238gph water flow.

Cons:

  • It is loud.

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If powerful performances and a great price are what you are looking for, we recommend checking out the Ocean SeaClone Protein Skimmer. A premium protein skimmer is essential if you want your aquarium’s inhabitants to thrive. The Ocean SeaClone Protein Skimmer is a great choice because it uses a turbo-venturi injector system that does an excellent job of mixing filtered water and air in the pump impeller chamber. Dealing with organic waste is not going to be something that you dread doing during maintenance.

Since the turbo-venturi injector system mixes the filtered water and air, this will create a froth of micro-bubbles. This is a more improved system than traditional protein skimmers because it maximizes the skimming efficiency while also improving the gas exchange. The air and water will swirl together, creating a small “tornado effect” in the reaction chamber. As a result, the dissolved organic waste will be removed from the fish tank’s water. You may also want to know that the Ocean SeaClone Protein Skimmer has a small footprint, having the following dimensions 6.25 x 20.75 x 4 inches. In addition, the protein skimmer is lightweight, weighing in at only 3.12 Pounds.

Pros:

  • Small footprint and lightweight design;
  • It mixes the water and air to create a “tornado effect”;
  • It provides maximum skimming efficiency;
  • Turbo-venturi injector system;
  • The reaction chamber keeps things quiet.

Cons:

  • The small design is not suitable for large aquariums.

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While most protein skimmers are bulky, the one from Coralife proves to us that the job can be done with a slim design as well. The brand has a reputation for creating innovative products for aquariums, and this protein skimmer is the perfect example of that. The Ocean SeaClone Protein Skimmer uses a slender design paired with a self-priming pump to provide you with high-efficacy performances and easy installation. Mounting the device to your aquarium will not take longer than five minutes, and you can start skimming the organic waste right away.

Despite the slim design, Ocean SeaClone Protein Skimmer is powerful enough to be used on saltwater fish tanks. This is because the device is equipped with a fast pump, adjustable airflow, and an easily removable collection cup. Aquarium maintenance is no longer going to be a task that you dread doing. As the name implies, the Ocean SeaClone Protein Skimmer is designed for bio cube units. However, it is not limited to them. The device can be mounted on the side of all aquarium designs, and it works with up to 32 gallons.

Pros:

  • Designed for bio cube units, but not restricted;
  • Easy installation;
  • Fast pump;
  • Easily removable collection cup;
  • It works with aquariums of up to 32 gallons;
  • Great for saltwater tanks.

Cons:

  • The humming noise is loud.

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Also available at Marine Depot

Featuring an affordable and innovative filtration system, the AquaticLife 115 Mini is a “must-have” accessory for all aquarium owners. One of the biggest problems with protein skimmers is that they sport bulky designs that ruin the view. This will not happen if you choose to go for the AquaticLife 115 Mini because the device is equipped with a sleek and modern design. You can place the protein skimmer inside the aquarium, or if you want to keep it hidden, you can always put it in the filtration compartment. Doing this will also ensure quiet operation. As it is the case with powerful protein skimmers, the AquaticLife 115 Mini uses a needle wheel impeller that provides fast performances and increases the air to water contact.

One of the features that make the AquaticLife 115 Mini stand out is the adjustable bracket. You can use this special bracket to mount the protein skimmer on any aquarium size or design. Moreover, the device is also bundled with strong suction cups that provide additional mounting options. The quick-lock system is another excellent feature that you will grow to love. This feature makes it much easier to clean the organic waste that didn’t dissolve or gathered in the collection cup. The last thing that we want to mention about AquaticLife 115 Mini is that it has a dedicated built-in channel that conceals the grounded power cord.

Pros:

  • Quick-lock collection cup design;
  • Easy installation;
  • You can mount it on any aquarium;
  • Needle wheel impeller;
  • It runs silent when mounted inside the fish tank.

Cons:

  • The collection cup is small.

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Also available at Marine Depot

While most people might not care what a protein skimmer looks like, others want it to feature a cool design that goes along great with their aquarium. The Sera Marin Protein Skimmer PS 130 stands out from the crowd with its slim and fashionable design that is also lightweight. Therefore, you can mount the protein skimmer anywhere on the fish tank without having to worry if it will look great or not. The beautiful design is not the only thing you will get by going for the Sera Marin Protein Skimmer PS 130. The device is equipped with a complex and efficient skimming system that uses a strong pump to remove waste.

Since the Sera Marin Protein Skimmer PS 130 has a small footprint and weighs in at only 1.01 pounds, it is the perfect choice for nano tanks. Nano tanks are infamous for being more tedious to clean, and this makes the protein skimmer a lifesaver. The tricky part about setting up nano tanks is that they do not leave too much room for accessories and extra hardware. The manufacturers who designed the Sera Marin Protein Skimmer PS 130 are providing a solution to the problem. They are bundling the device with a holder bracket that is adjustable in height.

Pros:

  • Compact design;
  • It weighs only 1.01 pounds;
  • It features an adjustable holder bracket;
  • Great price;
  • Ideal for nano tanks (supports up to 34 gallons).

Cons:

  • It is not suitable for larger aquariums.

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If you are searching for the most affordable protein skimmer that doesn’t require you to make any compromises, then you will love the AquaTop SSK-65. This is the most affordable protein skimmer on our list, and despite that, it still delivers reliable performances. Thanks to the compact design, the device is easy to install, and it doesn’t require any special tools. It can be mounted on the side of the aquarium via strong suction cups. Therefore, you can find the perfect place to mount the protein skimmer in no time.

While the compact design might make you think that the AquaTop SSK-65 doesn’t deliver impressive performances, this couldn’t be further away than the truth. The protein skimmer provides a flow rater of 65 gallons per hour, and it works with aquariums that have a capacity of up to gallons. The submersible pump water makes it possible to adjust the water flow in order to find the ideal rate. It’s also worth mentioning that the device features a built-in sponge block that keeps the filtration system running quietly.

Pros:

  • Affordable price tag;
  • Compact design;
  • Submersibles pump;
  • It uses suction cups (easy installation);
  • It works with aquariums of up to 100 gallons.

Cons:

  • The suction cups will sometimes detach.

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Protein Skimmer Buying Guide

Finding the best protein skimmer for your aquarium is not easy if you don’t know what features to look for. Here is where our buying guide comes in. Check it out below:

Easy Installation

If there is one thing that all aquarium hobbyists will agree, then it has to be the fact that manually installing hardware and accessories can be challenging. Many things can go wrong in a second, and this is why you want to make sure that the protein skimmer you choose is easy to install.

Powerful Pump

Since the protein skimmer’s role is to dissolve all organic waste, the pump will be the one that does most of the work. Finding one that delivers the maximum performances possible will be easy because all the products reviewed by us today are equipped with powerful pumps. We highly recommend the Ocean SeaClone Protein Skimmer.

Gallon Capacity

What you shouldn’t overlook in the search for the best protein skimmer is your aquarium’s capacity. Some devices are ideal for larger aquariums, while others, such as the Sera Marin Protein Skimmer PS 130, are perfect for nano tanks. Ensure that the protein skimmer you are buying is powerful enough to support your aquarium’s entire gallon capacity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a protein skimmer?

The protein skimmer is one of the most important accessories that you can get for your aquarium. The device is used to remove all unwanted organic compounds such as food and waste from the water.

Is a protein skimmer necessary?

While you can set up an aquarium without a protein skimmer, things are going to get messy soon. The water will be filled with organic waste, and you will need to do maintenance every day.

Will a protein skimmer help with my algae problem?

Even though a protein skimmer’s role is not to deal with algae, it will definitely help out. This is because the protein skimmer will filter out all the organic pollutants that cause algae.

How to clean a protein skimmer?

Experts recommend waiting at least six months before taking out the protein skimmer from the aquarium. When cleaning, you will need to replace the air tubing. However, it would be best if you didn’t forget about the collection cup that needs to be cleaned almost daily.

How long does a protein skimmer take to work?

Usually, a new protein skimmer requires a break-in period that lasts for 1-2 weeks to reach optimal performance.