Frag Tank HOB Skimmer Advice Please!

Lucas M

New member
Hey all,

I'm setting up a 40B Frag Tank to grow out (mostly) SPS. My plan as of right now is the following:

Tank: AGA 40B
Lighting: Either 2x or 3x RapidLED Par38s or Kessil A150W + 1x Par38.
Flow: Vortech MP10 or if I cheap out... 2x Koralia.

I'm going thin sand bed, ~ 1/2" in order to reflect light. No bioload other than one small tang to eat algae. No live rock, no bio filter other than some sand. I'm planning on running a skimmer and possibly a small amount of carbon and/or GFO.

The biggest struggle I'm having is deciding what skimmer to go with. I'm willing to spend up to $200, but would prefer less. I'm not going to run a sump, so it either needs to be a HOB or small in-tank.

Quite a few people have recommended the CPR Bak Pak ($140) because it's easy, simple, cheap, and ubiquitous. I'm not opposed to that, or the Aero Force 2, and the fact that they're semi-local and American is important to me. Aero Force 2 is easier to clean and perhaps a little more advanced, also has a place for me to toss a carbon/GFO bag.

But, I've also heard that the Aquamaxx HOB-1 ($199) is amazing: easy to clean super effective, reliable, etc.

And... I've also heard that the original Reef Octopus BH100 is great for the price ($140), they also make versions with built in ATO ($185) and a newer, more advanced version with surface skim, the BH90 ($199) that looks awesome too.

And I'm also sure that you all will have other suggestions too (Remora S, Eshopps, etc. etc.). So... what would you hang on your frag tank for under $200, and why?

Thanks for all the help in advance.


New member
I have heard good thing about a Remora HOB, I don't particularly care for the CPR (I used to have one) but the new design might have improved so I am not sure.

For a small frag tank you won't need too much skimming so I wouldn't go over board with a big skimmer unless you are planing to use it for a bigger tank latter.


New member
Before upgrading, I was thinking of a 40 breeder. From my research you will be needing 3 par38s with 60 degree optics. I do not if you can get away with 2 at 80 degrees, or just raising the 2 higher. The higher you go the less par. The kessil option sounds interesting but it about the spread and coverage. Fwiw you can grow sps but the colors might not be perfect when comparing to those running t5s or mh.

As for skimmers, I ran a aquac remora and currently run a Tunze 9002. The remora skims better but it's noisier.

If you are looking for equipment, I have 2 par38s 20k 60 degrees by evilc of nano tuners/ nano customs. These are no longer sold. And also have the remora skimmer w/mj1200 wo the preskimmmer. Both are collecting dust. Feel free to pm if you are interested and we can work something out.



Coral Hoarder
I dont have a bubble trap on my cpr bak pak, doesnt produce any microbubbles. I have a MJ1200 (older model) on it with an airstone mod. I got my heater in there. Considering putting my chemipure in it as well instead of my fuge. Oh, and my bak pak is like 8 years old lol so it is an old model. It is slightly noisy but I have had it so long, my ears just got used to it. But all skimmers make noises. I cant stand Aqua C remoras noise though, it sounds like you have a hoze with a nozzle and you are spraying it into a cup.

Lucas M

New member
Thanks for the advice everybody, much appreciated. Glad to hear good things about the Remora, might check those out more thoroughly. Sound wouldn't bother me TOO much... this is going to be a frag tank in the garage to keep me entertained until I put together a 125 gallon.

Re: Lighting, If I do go the route of Par38s, they will definitely be 60 degrees and I would only use 2 to start, and concentrate them in one end of the tank. As I filled up the tank I'd eventually get a 3rd and or maybe a Kessil to put in the middle. Kessil's get 24" of spread reliably, so catching 2/3 of the tank with one and being smart about SPS placement should be okay. The lighting situation will sort of be on demand. I might just decide to get a 24" x 9" heat sink and fill out a full array DIY style as I fill up the tank with frags. The Par38s are just the most convenient option for right now.

Danny, I'm definitely interested in the Tuna Blue, but that will probably be for when I get a much bigger display tank ~ 1 year down the line. Mike, thanks for the heads up about the NanoCustoms Par38s, when I get to putting it all together I'll drop you a line for sure.