Do I need a protein skimmer?

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Uzair Aiman

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Hi, Im still new to the hobby and my 27 gallon tank (100 litres) is now 2 months old. It is an AIO tank which I have prepared a compartment for a Bubble Magus QQ for in the back. I dont know where to start exactly on this because I really dont know anything in regards of skimmers.

Do I need one? I have a 6 line wrasse, a pair of clown, a turbo snail, a hammer coral and a frag of gsp right now. My tank is undergoing an algae bloom (finishing diatoms and moving into green algae, now my water is abit cloudy due to bacterial bloom(?), I dont know why this bacterial bloom is happening)

Ive asked around the forum and they said Id probably need a UV light or a protein skimmer.

Do I need one? What advantages will it give me? is it worth it in this size of tank or this early stage of the hobby?
 
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Many people run their tanks without Skimmers. But after 16 years of keeping marine tanks it is by far my favorite piece of equipment on my tanks. It helps in so many ways. Keeps your tank well oxygenated mist importantly, but also removes to much waste before it breaks down. See if you can find a good hang-on- If you can, get one. But don't stress if you can't just do frequent 30% water changes. My favorite hang on was the CPR Back-pack....but I am sure there are many new designs now.
 
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Uzair Aiman

Uzair Aiman

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Many people run their tanks without Skimmers. But after 16 years of keeping marine tanks it is by far my favorite piece of equipment on my tanks. It helps in so many ways. Keeps your tank well oxygenated mist importantly, but also removes to much waste before it breaks down. See if you can find a good hang-on- If you can, get one. But don't stress if you can't just do frequent 30% water changes. My favorite hang on was the CPR Back-pack....but I am sure there are many new designs now.
In terms of financials, is it a good investment? as in a skimmer will allow me to do less frequent water changes?


People really recommend one as they only bring pros. Im just afraid that if I add a skimmer now, it would just be redundant as my tank is still new. Hope you understand what I mean by that statement
 

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Hi, Im still new to the hobby and my 27 gallon tank (100 litres) is now 2 months old. It is an AIO tank which I have prepared a compartment for a Bubble Magus QQ for in the back. I dont know where to start exactly on this because I really dont know anything in regards of skimmers.

Do I need one? I have a 6 line wrasse, a pair of clown, a turbo snail, a hammer coral and a frag of gsp right now. My tank is undergoing an algae bloom (finishing diatoms and moving into green algae, now my water is abit cloudy due to bacterial bloom(?), I dont know why this bacterial bloom is happening)

Ive asked around the forum and they said Id probably need a UV light or a protein skimmer.

Do I need one? What advantages will it give me? is it worth it in this size of tank or this early stage of the hobby?
You absolute do not *need* one. There are so many ways to keep nutrient levels down in a tank, starting with proper feeding, and protein skimmers are one of the more expensive and high maintenance ones. I just had an outbreak of cyano in my quarantine tank that I dealt with in approximately one week, without a single product or electronic device. Just a turkey blaster (baster but auto correct changed it to blaster and the idea of a turkey cannon seemed funny enough to leave it) and less light.

Another issue you will find if you keep corals is that people put so much work into stripping nutrients out of the system that they then start having to dose them back in!

if you have an algae bloom, think on if you need to be doing larger water changes or more often, if there is too much light, or if you are over feeding.
 

dyno

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In terms of financials, is it a good investment? as in a skimmer will allow me to do less frequent water changes?


People really recommend one as they only bring pros. Im just afraid that if I add a skimmer now, it would just be redundant as my tank is still new. Hope you understand what I mean by that statement
What do you mean by a Bubble Magus QQ. Look the algae and bacterial blooms are all a part of the tank maturing ,it"s all a part of the process . Your tank is growing up...hahaha. congratulations. A U.V would be hard to put on a AIO. See what skimmers would fit in your back compartment and look at a few reviews. It won't be redundant at all. If you get one and scrape your tank and algae and stir up the sandbed you will be amazed at what a skimmer can do. It is a great investment and key to success if you are going to keep adding livestock and feeding well. If you are going to leave the tank and not buy any more
 
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Uzair Aiman

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What do you mean by a Bubble Magus QQ. Look the algae and bacterial blooms are all a part of the tank maturing ,it"s all a part of the process . Your tank is growing up...hahaha. congratulations. A U.V would be hard to put on a AIO. See what skimmers would fit in your back compartment and look at a few reviews. It won't be redundant at all. If you get one and scrape your tank and algae and stir up the sandbed you will be amazed at what a skimmer can do. It is a great investment and key to success if you are going to keep adding livestock and feeding well. If you are going to leave the tank and not buy any more
Hahah thanks for the congratulations. I was thinking of buying a skimmer because I thought the bloom is affecting my hammer coral since its unhappy :/ I just dont want it do die. I think the nitrates/phosphates in the tank are crazy high right now since algae and bacterial bloom is happening (Still figuring out, can it be the cause?). A Bubble Magus QQ is a small hang on protein skimmer that I know is available at my LFS and can fit in my back compartment.
 
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You absolute do not *need* one. There are so many ways to keep nutrient levels down in a tank, starting with proper feeding, and protein skimmers are one of the more expensive and high maintenance ones. I just had an outbreak of cyano in my quarantine tank that I dealt with in approximately one week, without a single product or electronic device. Just a turkey blaster (baster but auto correct changed it to blaster and the idea of a turkey cannon seemed funny enough to leave it) and less light.

Another issue you will find if you keep corals is that people put so much work into stripping nutrients out of the system that they then start having to dose them back in!

if you have an algae bloom, think on if you need to be doing larger water changes or more often, if there is too much light, or if you are over feeding.
I try to keep feeding on the low. And I dont know if I can dial my lights down because I have a coral(s) in the tank. My Hammer is quite unhappy so I was afraid if I were to change up the lighting it would be detrimental to it. i dont want it to die :/ The reason I wanted this skimmer was I thought my nutrients were high and caused my hammer to shrink up :/. Doing major water changes is a good idea but Ill be running out of salt! Buying more salt might be more financially bad rather than buying a skimmer (is it?)
 

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What do you mean by a Bubble Magus QQ. Look the algae and bacterial blooms are all a part of the tank maturing ,it"s all a part of the process . Your tank is growing up...hahaha. congratulations. A U.V would be hard to put on a AIO. See what skimmers would fit in your back compartment and look at a few reviews. It won't be redundant at all. If you get one and scrape your tank and algae and stir up the sandbed you will be amazed at what a skimmer can do. It is a great investment and key to success if you are going to keep adding livestock and feeding well. If you are going to leave the tank and not buy any more

Bubble Magus QQ is a HOB protein skimmer for nano sized tanks. I have 2 of them, they work pretty well.

Only thing is they can lose siphon if the water level gets too low. Also they can require a little help getting the siphon going, especially if you run the water level on the lower side.

You can just block the air tube with your finger for a minute or 2 and it will get a siphon on lower levels. Or you can suck on the tube in short bursts(so you don't drink saltwater) and get it going in seconds.

As for UV, there is the sunsun UV light that I've had success with. I have an older version, but I put one like this in a chamber and it worked well. But I'm not sure if it would work for his tank, it did work for my AIO.

 
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Uzair Aiman

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Bubble Magus QQ is a HOB protein skimmer for nano sized tanks. I have 2 of them, they work pretty well.

Only thing is they can lose siphon if the water level gets too low. Also they can require a little help getting the siphon going, especially if you run the water level on the lower side.

You can just block the air tube with your finger for a minute or 2 and it will get a siphon on lower levels. Or you can suck on the tube in short bursts(so you don't drink saltwater) and get it going in seconds.

As for UV, there is the sunsun UV light that I've had success with. I have an older version, but I put one like this in a chamber and it worked well. But I'm not sure if it would work for his tank, it did work for my AIO.

How low is low? Ive seen the website that they require like 20cm of sump water depth to function. Does lower mean lower than 20cm or just above 20cm?

Do you use the UV 24/7 ? Or you only use it when you need to?
 

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I try to keep feeding on the low. And I dont know if I can dial my lights down because I have a coral(s) in the tank. My Hammer is quite unhappy so I was afraid if I were to change up the lighting it would be detrimental to it. i dont want it to die :/ The reason I wanted this skimmer was I thought my nutrients were high and caused my hammer to shrink up :/. Doing major water changes is a good idea but Ill be running out of salt! Buying more salt might be more financially bad rather than buying a skimmer (is it?)

Skimmers are great but you don't need one. They will take nutrients out of the water and are great for that reason. They'll also help oxygenate your water, which can raise your PH. You can put a Co2 scrubber on the air hose also, so that you put more oxygen than Co2 into the water, raising PH even more.

If you aren't going to do water changes, then you almost for sure want a skimmer. However, not doing water changes can also lead to elements getting used up. I don't do water changes on my 180g as a rule, but I also dose things daily. And it is not easy, has taken a lot of trial and error.

On my 29g anemone tank, I only do water changes - but it does also have a bubble magus QQ on it.

So the protein skimmer can help with the nutrient load, but it doesn't solve all water change problems.
 
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Uzair Aiman

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Skimmers are great but you don't need one. They will take nutrients out of the water and are great for that reason. They'll also help oxygenate your water, which can raise your PH. You can put a Co2 scrubber on the air hose also, so that you put more oxygen than Co2 into the water, raising PH even more.

If you aren't going to do water changes, then you almost for sure want a skimmer. However, not doing water changes can also lead to elements getting used up. I don't do water changes on my 180g as a rule, but I also dose things daily. And it is not easy, has taken a lot of trial and error.

On my 29g anemone tank, I only do water changes - but it does also have a bubble magus QQ on it.

So the protein skimmer can help with the nutrient load, but it doesn't solve all water change problems.
Can you help me justify why I dont need one? I will still do weekly water changes if I have a skimmer. I understand that having a skimmer doesnt mean I dont need to change water. Just lately, as the algae bloom happened I do it 2 times a week, 15-20% water changes and it really used up my salt. If I have a skimmer I would still do 10-20% weekly water changes.
 

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How low is low? Ive seen the website that they require like 20cm of sump water depth to function. Does lower mean lower than 20cm or just above 20cm?

Do you use the UV 24/7 ? Or you only use it when you need to?

I'm not sure on the distance, but I frequently run it well below the suggested line. It doesn't affect performance in terms of what it does inside the skimmer, the trouble will come in it's ability to maintain the siphon. If it gets too low, you lose siphon. And it has a harder time getting siphon started at lower levels, but can hold them further once it gets started(thus I get the siphon started by sucking on the air hose).

Also it needs a little cleaning from time to time. After about 4 months or so, it will have a harder time keeping the siphon. A good cleaning will restore it back to top condition. I've been using the same one for 2 years now.
 

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Can you help me justify why I dont need one? I will still do weekly water changes if I have a skimmer. I understand that having a skimmer doesnt mean I dont need to change water. Just lately, as the algae bloom happened I do it 2 times a week, 15-20% water changes and it really used up my salt. If I have a skimmer I would still do 10-20% weekly water changes.

The algae bloom needs a UV. A skimmer can help reduce nutrients, but it won't fix the algae bloom. A UV will take care of it in a few days.

You probably don't need to do the water changes that often, but it depends on the bio load. Are you testing phosphates and nitrates? You only need to do enough water changes to keep those low as far as taking care of bio load. A skimmer can help keep them lower, but it's not required.

The other question for water changes is a matter of what your corals consume. If you have like zoas and softies, less water changes will be needed for them, and they like a dirtier water. If you are trying to keep high end sps, then you need more frequent water changes and/or dosing.
 
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Uzair Aiman

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I'm not sure on the distance, but I frequently run it well below the suggested line. It doesn't affect performance in terms of what it does inside the skimmer, the trouble will come in it's ability to maintain the siphon. If it gets too low, you lose siphon. And it has a harder time getting siphon started at lower levels, but can hold them further once it gets started(thus I get the siphon started by sucking on the air hose).

Also it needs a little cleaning from time to time. After about 4 months or so, it will have a harder time keeping the siphon. A good cleaning will restore it back to top condition. I've been using the same one for 2 years now.
Ive never used or held a skimmer so I dont actually get the "siphon" part. What and where is the siphon?
 
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Uzair Aiman

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The algae bloom needs a UV. A skimmer can help reduce nutrients, but it won't fix the algae bloom. A UV will take care of it in a few days.

You probably don't need to do the water changes that often, but it depends on the bio load. Are you testing phosphates and nitrates? You only need to do enough water changes to keep those low as far as taking care of bio load. A skimmer can help keep them lower, but it's not required.

The other question for water changes is a matter of what your corals consume. If you have like zoas and softies, less water changes will be needed for them, and they like a dirtier water. If you are trying to keep high end sps, then you need more frequent water changes and/or dosing.
In all honesty I dont have a nitrate and phosphate tester. All I know is my Nitrite and ammonia is 0. Whereas my alk is at 8. Since my hammer coral is shrinking and mad at me I just suspected that nitrates and phosphates are the reason. I dont mind a lil bit of cloudiness in the tank as long as my hammer is happy, Im happy. The bacterial bloom will go away on its own if left untouched am I correct?
 
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I see. So you said I didnt need one for my 27gal tank, Whyd you use one on your nano tank in the first place?

It's all a matter of personal preferences and goals.

I own 2 of them. I previously had a 25g cube, but I upgraded it to a 180g. I like them because they reduce my nutrient loads, which reduces how often I do water changes.

In my 29g anemone tank, I do a water change about every 3-4 months. But the entire tank consists of 2 clown fish, and now 2 RBTA that are both about 10-12 inches in size. Also pulsating xenias, and some green palys. AKA stuff I don't want in my 180g, and things which I don't mind too much if the RBTA get near. Also, the pulsating xenias are good for nutrient control. The only thing I dose is iodine.

And in the meantime, if the algae grows up in the tank, I don't care. Algae is a good natural filter. I'll siphon it out(exporting nutrients) when I do the next water change. The skimmer helps keep nutrients down, and I purposely have corals that do not have high water needs. Clean up crew takes care of most of it, until it gets longer.

But these are my goals and personal preference. Most people hate any algae and want to kill it. I try to do so in my 180g by using a refugium and a large clean up crew. In this tank, the algae doesn't hurt the growth of the corals I have, so I'll let it grow as it needs to.
 
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