01-10-2010, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by demasonisrule
I have heard that a skimmer on a tank this small doesn't actually help. Is this correct?
I disagree completely with this concept. I would love to hear the explanation. Chemistry is chemistry, and there is nothing about a tank being of a certain size that makes a protein skimmer less desirable.
Here is a copy/paste from another post of mine: In a nutshell, a Protein Skimmer removes organic wastes directly from the water, before they have the opportunity to break down into ammonia. Let me say that again, because it is critical. Protein Skimmers REMOVE the waste directly from the water. They do not break down waste into some other form. Inside the skimmer column, waste bonds to the bubbles, and is removed into the collection cup of the skimmer. This provides an amazing advantage over the other filtration options discussed above, because there is no end product (Nitrate) in this method. A properly sized protein skimmer is extremely effective at removing organic acids directly from the water, allowing you to run an aquarium which has an extremely slow and very small buildup of nitrates.
There are other benefits to skimming as well. One often ignored benefit is perhaps the most important. By removing the organic acids directly from the water, the skimmer is removing waste without the process of nitrification having occurred, as seen in biological filtration. This helps to maintain a stable alkalinity, which in turn helps to maintain calcium levels. Proper calcium and alkalinity levels help to encourage coraline algae growth. Coraline algae discourages the growth of problematic algae, such as hair algae and cynobacterias.
There is nothing about your tank size that makes this situation any different. In fact, you could easily argue that smaller tanks are more prone to problems and would benefit more from the use of a protein skimmer. The only time a skimmer would not be utilized is on tanks that are so small that an effective protein skimmer does not exist on the market that can easily fit the tank. I would suggest that every tank over 10 gallons can easily accommodate a skimmer, and if you are serious about keeping marine fish then you will want to purchase a skimmer.
I would follow TerryAnn's advice and use a Coralife Skimmer on this tank. They leave a lot to be desired, but are a great value for the price and will easily do the job on this tank size.
By the way, if you are interested in reading my entire discussion of protein skimmers, here is the link: