Protein skimmers use many of the natural processes found in nature to remove DOC’s (Dissolved Organic Compounds) from the saltwater aquarium. One can easily see a protein skimming action in its natural state at the beach. As the waves crash, the edge of the water becomes full of “sea foam”. if you look carefully you will notice that this foam is often times discolored with what looks like dirt. It is, in effect, skimming the ocean waves and cleaning the water. The resultant waste products often wash up on shore. A protein skimmer performs the same basic process. It uses air bubbles, like sea foam, to both clean and intensely aerates the aquarium’s water.
Protein skimmers typically are in the shape of a round cylinder. It has a large body with smaller inlets and outlets. On top of the skimmer is a collection device or cup-like component where the waste collects. These cups can collect particulates which later end to be emptied or they can utilize a runoff hose thus making the time between cup changes much longer.
In terms of the specific manner in which a skimmer works the air is forced into the impeller of a pump causing a highly oxygenated mixture of water and air. As the water, us forced through the chambers the air struggles to rise to the top in the form of bubbles or foam while the water sinks and is returned to the tank. This mixture of air and water is controlled by adjustment valves that either allow more of less water into the mix. One must be careful not to allow too much water into the mix as this has the potential to overflow the skimmer resulting in potential flooding. Put simply follow the directions supplied with the skimmer carefully!
One might ask why this is used instead of a conventional filter. Oxygenated water is far healthier for the marine inhabitants of the tank. The end result tends to be a cleaner crystal clear tank that is both enjoyable to the marine inhabitants and to us humans who love to watch the fish.
There are many choices of skimmers available to the enthusiast. It is important to know the environment in which the fish or marine inhabitants will live. Certain species prefer more oxygenated water while others prefer dirtier water. No matter what the choice there is a protein skimmer that will certainly work for your tank.
Some of the various types of skimmers are:
WHAT IS A PROTEIN SKIMMER AND HOW THEY WORK?
Co-Current Flow: Use air stones in the reaction chamber. The water and the air bubbles flow in the same direction. As you can imagine this creates the least amount of disturbed water.
Counter Current Flow: Both air and water are injected into the water ump. Ads a result the water becomes super agitated as it is mixed by the impeller. These impellers differ in size and shape and often times indicate the quality of the skimmer.
Recirculating Skimmers: Multiple pumps circulate the water and reefed the already foamy water back into the chamber where it is smashed and shaken even more. These are among the best types of skimmers.