Do I Need A Protein Skimmer?

Discussion in 'Protein Skimmers' started by Camkha1234, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Camkha1234

    Camkha1234 Great Blue Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,808
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I am just starting the cycle for my new saltwater aquarium. After it's done, I was thinking about adding corals. If I do, will I need a protein skimmer? I have also heard that some corals like dirtier water. I wasn't sure what that meant. Please reply!
  2. Click Here!

  3. kreator

    kreator Flamingo Tongue

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Reynoldsburg, Ohio
    I have a 28 and all I run is a skimmer, my water is clear and my tank is stable, but that skimmer pulls out some stuff that made me a true believer quick. Best investment you will make for your tank.
  4. arentspowell

    arentspowell Skunk Shrimp

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Florida
    Some corals do like slightly dirtier water however running a skimmer does help keep things cleaner, and easier to manage IMO. What size tank do you have?
  5. sticksmith23

    sticksmith23 Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    4,054
    Location:
    WA
    Tank size and more about what you are running will help us out. What kind of corals do you want to keep? Softies like Kenya trees like "dirtier" water. Most will like cleaner water though. Depending on your tank size though, you may able to get away with weekly or bi-weekly water changes.
  6. Todd_Sails

    Todd_Sails Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    3,612
    Location:
    A Texan in S.E. Wisconsin
    It pulls out organics, which helps keep the Nitrates down I thought?
  7. m2434

    m2434 Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Messages:
    3,478
    "dirty" is a relative term. All of our tanks are "dirty" compared to the ocean. No corals come from "dirty" environments compared to our tanks. Some corals may benefit from extra food sources, such as bacterioplankton. These can be low in our systems and a few corals are reported to do better with slightly "dirtier" water. However, in my experience, all corals I have kept, with and without good filtration (which tends to include a skimmer), have done noticeably better with a better filtration. This includes some that like "dirtier" water.

    You don't need a skimmer though. You need filtration, there are many ways to accomplish this. Whether or not a skimmer would be beneficial depends mostly on the tank size. Larger tanks get tougher to maintain without a skimmer. Smaller tanks can be easier to maintain without a skimmer though, as small skimmers don't work well and add a lot more problems than they solve IMHO.

    So, need more info.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Click Here!

  9. SeminoleB

    SeminoleB Coral Banded Shrimp

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Messages:
    376
    Location:
    Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
    Anything that will help stabilize your water quality is a plus!
  10. khowst

    khowst Bangghai Cardinal

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,394
    Location:
    FLW, Mo
    A skimmer is a type of filtration, not THE type of filtration. Its just another piece of kit in the toolbox. HoB filters, skimmers, ATS, canisters are all supplimentary items. None of them alone is bad. Its just a part of a way to do it. I ran an ATS on my tank for probably 6 months before I got a skimmer. Only reason I bought it cause it was too good of a deal to pass up. Without getting really scientific and ten lbs. brain on it they all do clean the water in slightly different ways. I would say one or two methods of filtration in conjuction with each other is the best route, although that is purely my personal opinion.

    I would say its definitely possible to have to little as well as too much filtration depending on what your goal is. Like mentioned above if you are keeping softies, zoas, shrooms, kenya, etc then no you dont have to have high quality super pure water. My nuclear green paly's for example exploded when I forgot to turn my skimmer back on for like a day & a half. The heads looked bigger and fuller and I honestly (maybe jedi mind trick myself) think I have visible growth signs in a 24 hour period leaving the skimmer off. Now I put it in my regimen about once a week. Some types of SPS for example are much more demanding on water quality.
    1 person likes this.
  11. Servillius

    Servillius Feather Star

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    771
    Location:
    Houston, Texas.
    There are a variety of subtleties that get offered in response to this question. hey are all correct. That said, I think until you are much more experienced at keeping corals, the answer is a definite YES.

    Also, don't skimp. Lights and skimmers should be good. That is not to say buy the most expensive. There is much for sale at median or below price that is excellent. Just make sure what you buy is well regarded, well made, and adequate to the task.

    A cheap, underpowered skimmer is not "better than nothing." I fell for that way too often and failed.
    1 person likes this.
  12. khowst

    khowst Bangghai Cardinal

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,394
    Location:
    FLW, Mo
    +K.

    Very true and very good point, and I second it. Lights like mentioned can be debated, argued and beat to death for days. Filtration on the other hand is something best kept in the realm of brand name & reputable dealers and away from the ebay no-names. Truely a get what you pay for item, and not something to skimp on.
  13. Camkha1234

    Camkha1234 Great Blue Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,808
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Thanks to all of your replies! I have a 29 gallon standard tank and was thinking about getting a few softees, not too many though: Maybe 2-3.
  14. Click Here!

  15. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Messages:
    17,018
    Location:
    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    No you do not need a skimmer for that size tank, just do routine water changes.

    If you decide to go with stony corals or have a large bio-load with fish and feed frequently then yes a skimmer would be a great idea.

    Skimmers are wonderful, but not a must have in smaller tanks with less sensitive corals.

    The coral in my avatar on a 28 gallon tank does not have a skimmer, but I have a low bio-load and some experience.
    1 person likes this.
  16. Camkha1234

    Camkha1234 Great Blue Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,808
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    How often would i need to change my water with a few kenyan trees or nuclear green palys and about 2 fish?
  17. khowst

    khowst Bangghai Cardinal

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,394
    Location:
    FLW, Mo
    There is no set time like X size tank needs Y size water change every Z days. There are so many variables that go into it that it cant be easily explained. Experience and water testing will give you a feel for your tank as you progress into the hobby. I have learned with my tank I do about 5 gallons every 3 weeks or so and everything stays happy & water params stay normal, but again that is just my tanks.
  18. Camkha1234

    Camkha1234 Great Blue Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,808
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    i was just looking at the AquaticLife Internal Mini Skimmer 115, since I have a 29 gallon tank. I don't have much money, me being in high school, so I was wondering if this would be alright?
  19. sticksmith23

    sticksmith23 Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    4,054
    Location:
    WA
    I acquired that same skimmer when I bought a 29 gallon set up. I have it on a 14 gallon and it produces some skimmate, but nothing significant. I wouldn't recommend it and I would save for something better. Just keep up with water changes and you should be fine.
  20. Click Here!

  21. Servillius

    Servillius Feather Star

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    771
    Location:
    Houston, Texas.
    Incidentally, I got amazing skimmate and years of good use out of a Tunze 9002. Best little skimmer I ever owned. No idea how good they are on price these days, but the thing works.
  22. SeminoleB

    SeminoleB Coral Banded Shrimp

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Messages:
    376
    Location:
    Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
    Everyone starts off small but the urge to put more in the tank once what you have gets going soon grabs hold (adding that flame angel couldn't hurt, my tank parameters have been perfect for 2 months)... If you can afford it, definitely do it. Always go a little extra up front to cover things in the future...
  23. ZC42

    ZC42 Corkscrew Tentacle Anemone

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2011
    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    WONDERLAND
    Also you can get some great deals on eBay! I just got my hydor slim skim normally 135 for 43 plus shipping and it was only 6 months old
  24. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Messages:
    17,018
    Location:
    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    If you are going to go with a skimmer IME the Tunze 9002 is the best for that size of tank.