The Salty Side: Saltwater Aquariums for Beginners

Protein skimmers are synonymous with salt water tanks. In their most simplest form they are dirt removers that work day and night to make your life easier in maintaining optimal conditions in your tank. Without a skimmer, phosphate and nitrate becomes harder to control. This can lead to uncontrolled algae and ultimately a tank unsuitable for it’s inhabitants. Below we will look at the best protein skimmer for your nano tank.

Protein Skimmers - Nano Tanks

Nano saltwater tanks are regarded as any water volume up to 40 gallons. All nano skimmers are manufactured with the aim of making a minimal impact on the space available in your tank. Depending on your tank, you may be able to site the protein skimmer in a rear compartment. Most nano skimmers are designed to hang on the side of your tank with the skimmer body submerged and the collection cup above the water level.
The addition of a skimmer in a nano tank usually means your tank will need to be open top to allow the placement, unless you add a Biocube Protein Skimmer to a Biocube aquarium. Manufacturers usually include a few hanging clip types suited to different tank top designs.
It is also worth remembering that although most nano skimmers have filter-down technology from larger far more expensive skimmers, they are limited in their ability when compared to their larger counterparts due to the limited footprint of their design. Nano protein skimmers can be a valuable addition to a nano reef tank and the the money and size they do perform admirably, but do not the expect high end performance you would have from a larger more expensive skimmer. 

Nano Protein Skimmers - in detail below this comparison chart

Reef Octopus NS-80

Rated up to 25 Gallons

HOB Internal Skimmer

  • Small footprint
  • Mounting bracket included for easy positioning

Coralife Biocube

Rated up to 35 Gallons

HOB Internal Skimmer

  • For BioCubes and standard aquariums up to 32 gallons in size

AQUATICLIFE 115 Mini

Rated up to 30 Gallons

HOB Internal Skimmer

  • Powered by an 8-watt needle-wheel impeller pump for efficient air-to-water contact.

Icecap K1-Nano

Rated up to 30 Gallons

Magnetic Internal Skimmer

  • For marine aquariums ranging from 10 to 30 gallons

Marine Color RDC 150

Rated up to 40 Gallons

HOB Internal Skimmer

  • Fashionable design: Skimmer is built with high quality RED and white pipe fittings.

Tunze Comline DOC Protein Skimmer 9001

Rated up to 37 Gallons

Magnetic Internal Skimmer

  • Adaptability to smaller aquariums.
  • Self cleaning impellor.

Reef Octopus NS-80 Nano Protein Skimmer

3.5/5

The NS-80 Protein Skimmer is Reef Octopus’ addition to the Nano tank market. It’s super small foot print encompasses some of Reef Octopuses larger skimmer functions.
It includes a solid mounting bracket, bubble diffuser and incorporated pipe for control of the internal water level inside the skimmer. Although they are primarily sold for nano tank usage, they can also be used in quarantine tanks, small sumps and rear filtration compartments on slightly larger tanks.

The skimmer has been rated for the following:

Light Filtration Demand up to 25 gallon
Medium Filtration Demand up to 15 gallon
Heavy Filtration Demand up to 10 gallon

Great Features include:

An easy to remove collection cup
A multi-position mounting bracket
Powered by an OTP 200s Pinwheel pump

Skimmer size: 11″ high, 4″ x 2.4″ wide

Coralife Biocube Protein Skimmer - version 2

4/5

This Coralife Biocube protein skimmer is the second version from the company, and comes well recommended as a step up from the previous version.
It is designed to fit comfortably into chamber one of a Biocube aquarium, but can be just as efficient in any other nano tank.

The skimmer has been rated for the following:

For Biocube aquariums 16, 29 & 32
For nano aquariums up to 32 gallons

Great features include:

Includes a hanging option for Biocubes and standard aquariums
Easily accessible adjustable airflow
Accessible collection cup for easy maintenance

Skimmer size: 11.75″ high, 4 x 3.13 wide

If you are interested in the Coralife Biocube Aquarium range visit Amazon here

Aquatic Life 115 Mini Internal Protein Skimmer

4/5

The Aquatic Life 115 Mini Protein Skimmer is another skimmer ideal for nano tanks, mounted either inside the aquarium or in a rear filtration compartment. It is powered by an 8 Watt needle wheel impeller pump and includes water flow adjustment with the turn of a knob.

The skimmer has been rated for the following:

This protein skimmer will effectively remove organic waste from aquariums up to 30 gallons.

Great Features include:

Quick-lock design makes it easy to open housing for cleaning.
Built-in channel conceals grounded power cord.
Includes an adjustable bracket to fit most standard tanks
Suction cups provide optional mounting inside aquariums

Skimmer size: 10.63″ high, 3.25 x 3.5 wide

Icecap K1 Nano Protein Skimmer

4/5

The Icecap K1 Nano Protein Skimmer is a little different from other skimmers made for nano aquariums. Instead of a hanging bracket, the K1 Nano includes a powerful magnet that can be used on glass 1/2″ thick. Fine tuning is achieved though Icecaps pipeless output.

The skimmer has been rated for the following:

Light Bioload up to 30 gallons
Medium Bioload up to 20 gallons
Heavy Bioload up to 10 gallons

Great Features include:

The DCair 200 skimmer pump built to provide efficient performance.
The pipeless output offers fine-tuning and trouble-free underwater outflow plus quiet operation.
Magnetic Mount.
Disassembles completely for cleaning and maintenance.

Skimmer size: 13″ high, 3.5 x 4 wide.

Marine Color RDC 150 Protein Skimmer

4/5

The Marine Color RDC 150 Protein Skimmer is another great option for a nano aquarium. It comes equipped with a high efficiency pinwheel pump, and a cone reaction chamber designed to create a stable collection of bubbles.

The skimmer has been rated for the following:

This skimmer is recommended for tank sizes from 15 gallons to 40 gallons.

Great Features include:

Eye catching red and white design
An adjustable mounting bracket

Skimmer size: 12.01″ high, 9.8″ x 3.9″ wide

Tunze Comline DOC 9001 Protein Skimmer

4/5

The Tunze Comline DOC 9001 Protein Skimmer is a great peice of kit. It is a true ‘plug and play’ with no need to dial the skimmer in, it does this automatically for you. Just simply install it in the corner of your nano with the mounting magnet, while the body can be adjusted to suit your tank.

The skimmer has been rated for the following:

This skimmer has been recommended for 5.3 to 37 gallons.

Great Features include:

The magnetic mount can be used on glass up to 3/8″
Foam included to stop micro-bubbles associated with new skimmers
High efficiency synchronous PM-motor

Skimmer size: 8.5″ high, 4.3″ x 2.5″ wide

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