Nano Protein Skimmers: 6 Great Value Alternatives Reviewed & Compared

One of the hottest trends in aquariums is nano tanks. Nano aquariums range in size from about five to forty gallons. The small footprint and ease of care make nano tanks perfect for any room in the house.

Big saltwater tanks are cool but they can take up a lot of room. Just because nano tanks are small doesn’t mean they deserve less care than large aquariums. This is especially true when it comes to water quality.

My recommended nano skimmers are the Eshopps & the Tunze 9004, keep reading for more options!​

All saltwater aquariums benefit from a protein skimmer and nano tanks are no exception. Just because your aquarium is small doesn’t mean you can’t have all the benefits of a protein skimmer.

We’ll review the best nano protein skimmers, but first, let’s explore what a protein skimmer does and why you need one.

What does a protein skimmer really do?

Why do you need a skimmer?


Top Nano Protein Skimmers Reviewed

Eshopps Nano Skimmer

The Eshopps Nano Protein Skimmer is designed with a compact footprint measuring 2.25" x 4.5" and 11.5" tall.

This skimmer is intended to fit in the filter chamber of most all-in-one style aquariums.

It can also be installed inside the aquarium or in the sump.

The Eshopps Nano Protein Skimmer has an adjustable magnet mount for easily positioning.

The body of the skimmer is made of acrylic.

The skimmer uses a high-quality, Italian-made, Sicce pump. A venturi creates the tiny air bubbles required for an effective skimming operation. The needle-wheel impeller blends the air bubbles into the water for efficient skimming. The Eshopps Nano Protein Skimmer also features a removable collection cup for easy cleaning. The Eshopps is rated for marine and reef aquariums between 10 and 35 gallons.

Features

Pros

  • Easy to clean skim mate cup.
  • Small size fits in tiny spaces.
  • Removes a lot of skimmate.

Cons

  • Collection cup does not have a drain.

Hydor Slim Skim Nano Internal Skimmer

The Slim Skim Nano protein skimmer is designed specifically for internal installation for nano and all-in-one marine aquariums.

The Hydor Slim Skim draws in water from the tank’s surface to reduce surface bio-slicks.

These oily films inhibit oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange at the water’s surface.

The energy-efficient venturi air pump creates millions of small, uniform bubbles, perfect for capturing aquarium waste and carrying it to the adjustable collection cup. You can dial-in the production of skim mate by raising or lowering the height of the skimmer’s collection cup. The air control valve allows fine-tuning.

Features

Pros

  • Quiet operation.
  • Efficient 5-watt pump.
  • Easy to assemble.
  • Plug-and-play operation.
  • Reliable operation.

Cons

  • A larger cup would be a nice feature.
  • The corners of the collection cup are a little difficult to clean.

TUNZE USA 9004 DOC

The German-engineered Comline DOC Skimmer 9004 is rated for marine and reef aquariums between 10 and 65 gallons.

The skimmer is designed to provide surface skimming. The 9004 uses the Tunze Flash Skimming principle.

Water enters the skimmer through the surface intake system.

This removes the oily bacteria film that inhibits gas transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide at the water surface. The unique Tunze Foamer creates millions of fine air bubbles with a specified diameter between 0.1 and 0.3mm.

Protein-rich surface water is mixed with water thoroughly in the Tunze Foamer. The uniform bubble size ensures quiet operation and very efficient skimming.

Pollutants like protein, cellulose, dead cells, etc. are adsorbed onto the bubble surface and carried away in the foam.

The Tunze 9004 has a patented over-foaming protection system which prevents the skimmer from making too much wet foam. Tunze offers a two-year warranty.

Features

Pros

  • Quiet operation.
  • Good skimming efficiency.
  • Effective surface skimmer design.
  • Made of high-quality materials.
  • Excellent fit and finish.
  • Strong magnet mounts work on aquarium glass up to 3/8" thick.
  • Two-year warranty.

Cons

  • Requires delicate air adjustment to prevent microbubbles.

Aquatic Life 115 Mini Internal Skimmer

The Aquatic Life 115 skimmer mounts inside the aquarium and is small enough to fit in most rear overflow and internal filtration compartments.

The 115 Mini Internal Protein Skimmer has a very small footprint that measures only 3" x 3-1/4" x 10-5/8" high. It is ideal for small saltwater and reef aquariums up to 30 gallons.

The Aquatic Life 115 is powered by an 8-watt needle-wheel impeller pump that maximizes air-to-water contact and delivers very effective organic waste removal. Water flow is adjusted with a knob.

A mounting bracket and suction cups make for easy placement inside your aquarium or sump. The adjustable mounting bracket fits all standard aquarium frames. The Aquatic Life 115 Mini Internal Skimmer has a clear collection cup that holds 3.4 ounces.

Features

Pros

  • One of the smallest protein skimmers available.
  • Compact design suited for smaller aquariums.
  • Produces good skimmate.
  • Easy to take apart to clean.
  • Adjustable mounting bracket fits over framed aquariums.

Cons

  • Suction cups could be stronger.
  • Requires modification with a longer air intake tube for quieter operation.

Fluval Sea PS1

The Fluval Sea PS1 Protein skimmer is a hang-on-the-back design.

The difference is the skimmer also hangs inside the aquarium.

The water pump uses a multi-fin turbine impeller fitted with a venturi system.

Air is pulled into the impeller and injected into the skimmer body.

The Fluval Sea PS1 is fine-tuned by adjusting the height of the collection cup. An O-ring holds the collection cup in place. The collection cup lifts off the protein skimmer for easy cleaning.

Air injection is controlled with a small adjustment valve on top of the skimmer. The Fluval Sea PS1 Is rated for tanks up to 45 gallons.

Features

Pros

  • Easy installation.
  • Simple adjustments to get it up and running.

Cons

  • Over-rated, won’t handle a 45-gallon aquarium.
  • Produces a lot of tiny micro-bubbles in the aquarium.
  • Poorly made, inconsistent quality issues.
  • Will not fit standard aquariums that have a plastic frame around the top.
  • Poorly written instruction booklet.

The AquaC protein skimmer is a hang-on-the-back skimmer and will not fit inside all-in-one aquariums.

The Remora has a unique design that does not use the traditional venturi, downdraft tube or air pump.

The Remora uses AquaC’s patented Spray Injection System.

This design feature allows the protein skimmer to draw in much more air than any other protein skimmer. Water is pumped through the spray injector, which has a special nozzle that fans the water out into a pressurized spray. This spray shoots into the skimmer body, generating millions of tiny air bubbles.

As the bubbles are formed, more air is sucked into the skimmer as a result of the local drop in pressure and the process continues. The patent links the injection system with a specially- designed compact high-yield reaction chamber.

The AquaC spray injector uses a relatively large nozzle that resists clogging, and when combined with a pump prefilter, could be almost maintenance free.

The Remora requires only 2.75 inches of clearance from the back of the tank. Only 6" of vertical clearance is required.

The Remora skimmer comes with a Cobalt 1200 water pump, adjustable collection cup, and a special baffle system which prevents any bubbles from entering the aquarium. The protein skimmer is constructed of thermoformed translucent gray acrylic which should reduce algae growth inside the chamber.

Features

Pros

  • Quick and easy to set up.
  • Great customer service with a fast response time.
  • Produces a lot of skimmate.
  • Fits behind most aquariums, little clearance required.

Cons

  • Hangs on the back of the aquarium, will not work inside the aquarium.
  • The water pump is visible in the aquarium.

My Pick

There are many good-quality protein skimmers suitable for nano saltwater and reef aquariums. You’ll first have to compare the dimensions of the available space to the size of the protein skimmer to make sure it will fit in your tank.

The Eshopps Nano Protein Skimmer has proven to be a well-made reliable protein skimmer for aquariums up to 35 gallons. The small footprint makes it perfect for internal or in-filter placement. The Sicce water pump should provide years of service.

For a larger tank up to 65 gallons, consider the Tunze DOC Skimmer 9004. This German-made protein skimmer can be placed in the aquarium or sump. The strong mounting magnets hold the skimmer securely in place. The surface skimmer feature removes oily surface slicks from the water. The larger skimmer collection cup is a nice feature too. The tight control over microbubble size means the Tunze DOC skimmer will produce consistent skim mate. It even has a two-year warranty!

If you want a hang-on-the-back protein skimmer, take a look at the AquaC Remora hang-on-the-back protein skimmer. It requires only 2.75 inches of clearance behind the aquarium. Unlike the Fluval Sea PS1, the remora will not flood your aquarium with micro-bubbles. The Remora will work on tanks up to 75 gallons and will fit on aquariums with a plastic lip. The large nozzle is resistant to clogging and should require less maintenance than other designs.

If you're still unsure about your choice, check out more excellent protein skimmers reviews or a selection of reliable HOB skimmers. For questions or comments use the section below, thank you!

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