To Skim or Not To Skim


New member
Good evening,
I was talking to the resident "Expert" at my LFS about protein skimmers for a 30 gallon Reef Tank (because the one I had on my FOWLR didn't work) and he said a good filter was more important than a skimmer and he would recommend no skinner at all.

I was curious to get a few point of views and possibly a suggestion on one that works good. The one I had was a plastic tube with an airstone in it and a cup on top. It never collected anything at all. Any information is appreciated.


New member
I ran my 45 gallon tank for over a year without a sump or a skimmer. Just a HOB filter with floss and media. I had very good success but I could not many SPS happy. I have since added a small sump and a good skimmer and I can honestly say it was the best thing I could have done for my livestock. I was (and still am) doing weekly water changes and I would not suggest going skimmerless without a 10 to 20% WC each week (especially if you try any SPS).


New member
I've had multiple tanks with skimmers and without skimmers.

Personally, I believe a Media Reactor running high quality active carbon and some sort of phosphate remover is better than running a skimmer. Only reason being is that you don't have to "dial in" a media reactor or wait for something to hopefully "slime up". You just plug it in and your nitrates are kept as low as you want them!


Team RC
There are much better skinner available now, and at very competitive prices. I would not run a reef tank of even a FOWLR without one, they remove some nasty crap from the water. That is the best part of them over a filter, the skimmer fully removes it from the system so it will not rot in the water.


New member
A balanced system is what we want. Just like in nature, balance is key. Replicating this in a box is not easy by any means. Proper stocking levels, water changes, and proper equipment are ways we can accomplish this to some extent. How you go about it is always personal choice. With Reef tanks we tend to overstock, and some tend to overfeed. Thus, the need for all the equipment. Even without this problem, we have to maintain other parameters. Again not so easy.


New member
I run my larger tanks with skimmers but my 24 gallon nano without a skimmer.

You have a 30 gallon tank with an airstone skimmer.

My suggestion - just do more water changes. That will work much better than an airstone skimmer will.