Do I still need a protein skimmer?

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Levinson

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I have a 30g tank with a protein skimmer, an algae turf scrubber, a filter sock. It has a low bioload with only 6 sexy shrimps as the main residents and the rest are worms, pods, snails, and other small critters.
Due to the lack of nutrients in the water, I've recently had dino appear in my tank so I've started to take measures to increase the nitrate and phosphate by...
- feeding more
- reducing ATS light time
- turning off the skimmer
- dosing phosphate
- reducing the intensity of the tank light

I'll have to wait and see how things will turn out and I'm going ahead of myself a little here but IF the water being too clean is the cause of the dino and assuming the increase in the nutrient will fix the dino issue, is there a reason for me to have the protein skimmer running in my tank?

Is protein skimmer purely for nutrient export (and gas exchange which I'm not really worried about)?
Is there something about the way protein skimmer exports waste (that I'm not aware of) that gives me the reason to have it in my tank even if I want to elevate the nutrient level?
 
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blasterman

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The main waste removed by a skimmer is nitrate, or things things that break down into nitrate.

If you are having issues keeping nitrate elevated a skimmer is just going to make things worse and likely struggle to make skimmate.

The next thing skimmers do is pull dissolved organics that color water. However, these can be pulled out via running occasional activated carbon or ozone. I had to turn my skimmer off a long time ago due to low nutrients and dont miss it.
 
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The main waste removed by a skimmer is nitrate, or things things that break down into nitrate.

If you are having issues keeping nitrate elevated a skimmer is just going to make things worse and likely struggle to make skimmate.

The next thing skimmers do is pull dissolved organics that color water. However, these can be pulled out via running occasional activated carbon or ozone. I had to turn my skimmer off a long time ago due to low nutrients and dont miss it.
This^^^ .... how old is your tank and the rock within it though OP? If it's well seasoned and you have plenty of flow, I will argue No, you don't need a skimmer....this tank runs without one, mostly softies that EAT Nitrate... starting on some small SPS that will hopefully kill off a bit of phos although it isn't out of control ....
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eag

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I've heard that algae scrubbers are super efficient. That plus a skimmer on 30g is pretty aggressive and is definitely more of a high bio load setup.

I'd cut the algae scrubber out first. That way you keep the gas exchange from the skimmer, which is important for pH. Then see where you are.
 

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I've heard that algae scrubbers are super efficient. That plus a skimmer on 30g is pretty aggressive and is definitely more of a high bio load setup.

I'd cut the algae scrubber out first. That way you keep the gas exchange from the skimmer, which is important for pH. Then see where you are.
Agreed, its pretty aggressive with both for a thirty...I might also consider the other way and keep the scrubber , add a small Aquaclear 30 or 50 Hob for gas exchange. Either way one should probably go...
 

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I have a 30g tank with a protein skimmer, an algae turf scrubber, a filter sock. It has a low bioload with only 6 sexy shrimps as the main residents and the rest are worms, pods, snails, and other small critters.
Due to the lack of nutrients in the water, I've recently had dino appear in my tank so I've started to take measures to increase the nitrate and phosphate by...
- feeding more
- reducing ATS light time
- turning off the skimmer
- dosing phosphate
- reducing the intensity of the tank light

I'll have to wait and see how things will turn out and I'm going ahead of myself a little here but IF the water being too clean is the cause of the dino and assuming the increase in the nutrient will fix the dino issue, is there a reason for me to have the protein skimmer running in my tank?

Is protein skimmer purely for nutrient export (and gas exchange which I'm not really worried about)?
Is there something about the way protein skimmer exports waste (that I'm not aware of) that gives me the reason to have it in my tank even if I want to elevate the nutrient level?
Skimmers help control nutrients. If you don’t need help controlling nutrients, you don’t need the skimmer. Make sure there is decent surface agitation (powerheads) if you don’t have a sump.

I think a skimmer is way overkill without any fish personally.
 

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Skimmers help control nutrients. If you don’t need help controlling nutrients, you don’t need the skimmer. Make sure there is decent surface agitation (powerheads) if you don’t have a sump.

I think a skimmer is way overkill without any fish personally.
Another good point....if no fish, and the habitants are a few shrimp and CUC? There is pretty much zero to clean up, that the rock couldn't handle....
 
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I would love to know how old this tank is OP. It matters in terms of rock maturation imo.....if you have well seasoned rock with this stock as listed I wouldn't hesitate to ditch either the skimmer or scrubber
 

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Ya, you need waste being produced in the tank in order for the bacteria in the rock to survive. If you're pulling everything out, which is already very little to start with since there's no fish, you're heading for big problems if you don't fix it soon.
 

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I would love to know how old this tank is OP. It matters in terms of rock maturation imo.....if you have well seasoned rock with this stock as listed I wouldn't hesitate to ditch either the skimmer or scrubber
I don’t think these are related if you’re referring to bacteria on the rock, which processes ammonia. Skimmers remove organics from the water that will eventually lead to higher nitrates and phosphates. Yes both lead to nitrates, but the inputs are different and the bacteria on the rock is not optional.
 

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Ya, you need waste being produced in the tank in order for the bacteria in the rock to survive. If you're pulling everything out, which is already very little to start with since there's no fish, you're heading for big problems if you don't fix it soon.
IMO they have the waste even with CUC and shrimp in a 30 for the rock, but needs to ditch one of the two skimmer or scrubber. Perhaps we are thinking same....
 

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IMO they have the waste even with CUC and shrimp in a 30 for the rock, but needs to ditch one of the two skimmer or scrubber. Perhaps we are thinking same....
I think so too, one or both of those need to go. I bet it would do just fine. I have a 20g with 4 fish and don't run a skimmer or any sort of algae, and I have trouble keeping my nutrients above 0.
 
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I don’t think these are related if you’re referring to bacteria on the rock, which processes ammonia. Skimmers remove organics from the water that will eventually lead to higher nitrates and phosphates. Yes both lead to nitrates, but the inputs are different and the bacteria on the rock is not optional.
Nah, if he/she is just after or during cycling then sure its the bacteria....its the pods amongst other filter feeders , dwellers I am referring to, if its mature. If we are talking about a 6 month old tank ( which I think we might be) , it's different than one 5, 10, 20 years old.
 
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This^^^ .... how old is your tank and the rock within it though OP? If it's well seasoned and you have plenty of flow, I will argue No, you don't need a skimmer....this tank runs without one, mostly softies that EAT Nitrate... starting on some small SPS that will hopefully kill off a bit of phos although it isn't out of control ....
I would love to know how old this tank is OP. It matters in terms of rock maturation imo.....if you have well seasoned rock with this stock as listed I wouldn't hesitate to ditch either the skimmer or scrubber
The tank is a little less than a year old so not very old at all. It started with live rocks with a few dry rocks added to the mix.

Thank you all for the great input. I've turned the skimmer back on and turned off the ATS light for the time being (cleaned the screen before turning it off). Thought it would be a better way to elevate the nitrates and phosphates for the time being, plus I hope the skimmer can pull out any dead dinos if they do start to die. I fear for the toxin they might release.
Also increase the light intensity for the tank a bit, in the hopes they would help any new algae that would fight the dino in the new nutrient-rich state of the water.

If I had to ditch one out of the ATS or the skimmer (long term), I'd probably lean more towards ditching the skimmer. I might keep the skimmer plugged in and only turn it on when I feel the need.
 

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I think so too, one or both of those need to go. I bet it would do just fine. I have a 20g with 4 fish and don't run a skimmer or any sort of algae, and I have trouble keeping my nutrients above 0.
The tank is a little less than a year old so not very old at all. It started with live rocks with a few dry rocks added to the mix.

Thank you all for the great input. I've turned the skimmer back on and turned off the ATS light for the time being (cleaned the screen before turning it off). Thought it would be a better way to elevate the nitrates and phosphates for the time being, plus I hope the skimmer can pull out any dead dinos if they do start to die. I fear for the toxin they might release.
Also increase the light intensity for the tank a bit, in the hopes they would help any new algae that would fight the dino in the new nutrient-rich state of the water.

If I had to ditch one out of the ATS or the skimmer (long term), I'd probably lean more towards ditching the skimmer. I might keep the skimmer plugged in and only turn it on when I feel the need.
I would honestly lean toward the scrubber at this point unless you have another form of oxygenation. It's huge importance imo. If you have another filter creating it then I would say keep the Scrubber. Not sure if @Mashbox agrees or not...
 

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I think so too, one or both of those need to go. I bet it would do just fine. I have a 20g with 4 fish and don't run a skimmer or any sort of algae, and I have trouble keeping my nutrients above 0.
The tank is a little less than a year old so not very old at all. It started with live rocks with a few dry rocks added to the mix.

Thank you all for the great input. I've turned the skimmer back on and turned off the ATS light for the time being (cleaned the screen before turning it off). Thought it would be a better way to elevate the nitrates and phosphates for the time being, plus I hope the skimmer can pull out any dead dinos if they do start to die. I fear for the toxin they might release.
Also increase the light intensity for the tank a bit, in the hopes they would help any new algae that would fight the dino in the new nutrient-rich state of the water.

If I had to ditch one out of the ATS or the skimmer (long term), I'd probably lean more towards ditching the skimmer. I might keep the skimmer plugged in and only turn it on when I feel the need.
I would honestly lean toward ditching the scrubber at this point unless you have another form of oxygenation. It's huge importance imo. If you have another filter creating it then I would say keep the Scrubber. Not sure if @Mashbox agrees or not...
 

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The tank is a little less than a year old so not very old at all. It started with live rocks with a few dry rocks added to the mix.

Thank you all for the great input. I've turned the skimmer back on and turned off the ATS light for the time being (cleaned the screen before turning it off). Thought it would be a better way to elevate the nitrates and phosphates for the time being, plus I hope the skimmer can pull out any dead dinos if they do start to die. I fear for the toxin they might release.
Also increase the light intensity for the tank a bit, in the hopes they would help any new algae that would fight the dino in the new nutrient-rich state of the water.

If I had to ditch one out of the ATS or the skimmer (long term), I'd probably lean more towards ditching the skimmer. I might keep the skimmer plugged in and only turn it on when I feel the need.
One other thing...you say mix of live and dry? How long after the live and how recent did you add the dry? I could see that spiking a bit of a dino outbreak in a 30....
 
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