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The 8 Best Protein Skimmers For Reef Tanks

If you have a reef aquarium, you probably already understand the value of a protein skimmer. Frequently, traditional water filtration systems are unable to purify the water as well as these helpful gadgets. In addition to preventing algae development and maintaining water quality, they may help keep your reef dwellers content.

To make it easier for you to choose the correct protein skimmer, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has chosen to examine the best protein skimmers for reef tanks on the market today.


Aquatic Life Protein Mini Skimmer

Aquatic Life’s Protein Mini Skimmer is our recommendation for the best protein skimming system for a reef aquarium. This little gadget is ideal for reef tanks up to 30 gallons in size, and it retails at an affordable price. It operates extremely quietly and may be installed either within the tank or in the filter compartment.

The needle-wheel impeller enhances air-to-water contact, hence enhancing the product’s efficiency. The quick-lock design makes it accessible for cleaning and maintenance, and the built-in channel conceals the power cable from view. This skimmer may be attached to any standard aquarium using the provided suction cups and the adjustable bracket.

According to some customers, this protein skimmer generates a lot of microbubbles, thus it may be preferable to keep it in your filtration system so as not to overload the aquarium with microbubbles.


  • Perfect for tanks up to thirty gallons
  • Budget-friendly selection
  • Ultra-quiet operating
  • Useable within the tank and filter compartment
  • Accessibility for cleaning and maintenance
  • Hidden power cord
  • Compatible with brackets and suction cups


  • Can generate substantial volumes of microbubbles


Aquarium Micro Surface Skimmer by Eheim

The Eheim Skim350 Aquarium Micro Surface Skimmer is the most cost-effective protein skimmer for a reef aquarium. This skimmer is designed for tanks up to 92 gallons and is the most cost-effective option for a tank of this size.

It has a changeable pre-filter sponge that aids in preventing blockages and a self-adjusting float that automatically compensates for evaporation from your tank. It operates on an 80 GPH pump with fully adjustable flow controls and has suction cups for simple and rapid installation.

Due to its small size and little weight, this skimmer is readily dislodged and may require frequent repositioning to stay in place.


  • Best value
  • Perfect for tanks as large as 92 gallons
  • Automatically altering float accounts for evaporation
  • A replaceable sponge pre-filter avoids clogging.
  • Suction cups facilitate installation.
  • A powerful pump with a completely variable flow


  • May require periodic repositioning


Simplicity In Sump Protein Skimmer

The Simplicity 320 DC In Sump Protein Skimmer is the premium option for reef tank protein skimmers, and it is priced accordingly.

This protein skimmer may be used for tanks up to 320 gallons if they are sparsely filled, and up to 160 gallons if they are well populated. It comes with a 3-year guarantee and superior customer service in case you have any issues.

It has a cone-shaped design that enhances the airflow through the skimmer. The needle-wheel impeller contributes significantly to the effectiveness of this machine. Thanks to its adjustable DC pump, wedge pipe, and air valve, the performance of this skimmer may be customized.


  • Compatible with tanks up to 320 gallons
  • 3-year guarantee
  • Excellent client service
  • High-performance form
  • A needle-wheel impeller improves performance.
  • Customizable performance


  • Premium price


Coralife Super Skimmer

The Coralife Super Skimmer is ideal for aquariums of up to 220 gallons, despite its high price. This small protein skimmer includes a collecting cup with a broad neck for improved foam generation and control. Depending on your desire, it may be mounted on the side of your tank or utilized inside the sump system.

This skimmer is constructed of robust and lightweight acrylic and comes with everything you need to get started. The design of the needle wheel optimizes efficiency and functionality.

It may take around one hour to install this skimmer, so be prepared to devote this amount of time.


  • Ideal for up to 220-gallon tanks
  • Compact design
  • Wide neck collection cup for enhanced performance
  • Can be installed atop the tank or in the sump system.
  • Durable and lightweight acrylic
  • Includes everything required to begin


  • Premium price
  • Setup may take up to one hour.


Nyos Quantum Aquarium Skimmer

The Nyos Quantum 300 Aquarium Protein Skimmer is an excellent protein skimming system for aquariums up to 1,000 gallons. However, the price tag of this skimmer is astronomical, so you may need a substantial budget to get it.

This skimmer’s skimming pot incorporates a twist-lock closure for convenient and secure access. It has no external pumps and can be completely dismantled for maintenance and cleaning.

It provides energy-efficient operation, even for big tanks, and the settings may be tailored to your tank’s requirements. The operation is extremely quiet, making it perfect for use in bedrooms and living areas.


  • Ideal for tanks ranging from 250 to 1,000 gallons
  • Seal with a twist for tight closing and quick access
  • Allows for cleaning and maintenance disassembly
  • Energy-efficient and variable configurations
  • Inaudible operation


  • Very pricey price


Instant Ocean Protein Skimmer

The Instant Ocean Sea Clone 100 Protein Skimmer is designed for aquariums up to 100 gallons and is priced affordably for this size aquarium. It features optimized skimming capabilities that ensure optimal effectiveness.

All organic components are contained within the collecting chamber until the chamber is emptied. It may be hung from the edge of your aquarium or added to your sump arrangement.

Multiple customers have reported that this skimmer produces an excessive number of microbubbles, hence it may be better utilized in a sump system rather than the aquarium itself. Additionally, its operation is noisier than comparable protein skimmers.


  • Ideal for up to 100-gallon tanks
  • Budget-friendly choice
  • Optimized skimming capabilities
  • All substances are contained in the collecting chamber until it is manually emptied.
  • Can be attached to your tank or sump system.


  • Can generate substantial volumes of microbubbles
  • Functioning more audible than comparable models

Buyer's Guide

Choosing the Right Protein Skimmer for Your Reef Tank

Protein skimmers are vital for maintaining a reef aquarium. They assist in removing oils and organic substances from the tank that a filtering system cannot often remove. It is essential for the health of your reef and its residents that you choose the appropriate product.

The first consideration is ensuring that the protein skimmers you choose will operate well within the dimensions of your aquarium. A protein skimmer rated for a smaller tank than yours will result in an inefficient product that will likely cost you a significant amount of money, even if it is a budget-friendly option.

Additionally, you should examine the stocking within your aquarium. Because there will be more waste-producing animals in an overstocked aquarium, a more powerful protein skimmer will likely be required. Otherwise, you may find yourself performing extra maintenance and cleaning to keep your protein skimmer in working order.


Reading BestForPets (bestforpets.org)’s evaluations might be a useful starting point for selecting the best protein skimmers for reef tanks. Our top option is the Aquatic Life Protein Mini Skimmer, which is perfect for your tiny reef tank and is available at a reasonable price. Check out the Eheim Skim350 Aquarium Micro Surface Skimmer, which is appropriate for tanks up to 92 gallons, for our favorite budget-friendly product. The Simplicity 320 DC In Sump Protein Skimmer is our top choice for a high-priced, high-performance device.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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