Bigger is better when it comes to a protein skimmer, right? Not necessarily. Using a high capacity protein skimmer on a smaller tank can be problematic. Why? Well, using an oversized skimmer will result in an inconsistent performance. Let me explain. To perform optimally a skimmer should be working all the time. An oversized skimmer will tend to skim well for a few days then slow down once all of the organics have been skimmed out. Once the organics build up again the skimmer will spring back into action, and thus perform inconsistently.
How do you know whether you have the right size skimmer for the tank? I was always under the assumption that sizing should be based on total gallons in a system so I figured a frag tank plumbed into the display would count. Is this misguided thinking? According to one large manufacturer, they base skimmer size on the display volume of a tank system since that is where the main bio load is concentrated. The number of fish producing poop also factors into the equation.
Not all manufacturers agree on how to size a skimmer so it is important to discuss sizing options directly with the manufacturer or with someone on the retail side who sells the product and has experience using it.
So what makes me qualified to write this article? Well, I do have some first hand experience on the topic. The total system volume for my reef tank is 250 gallons and the skimmer I had initially was rated for heavily stocked aquariums up to 375 gallons. Some days it would skim and other days it would not, yielding less skimmate than expected.
I ended up replacing that skimmer with another one rated for smaller tanks and, lo and behold, it produced more skimmate on a more consistent basis. Lesson learned.
If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend. I also sell Reef Brite metal halide and LED fixtures as well as Maxspect & IceCap Gyres.
As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.
Need some frags…..I can help with that as well 🙂 Please visit my SPS Frag store to see what is available.