Best Budget Skimmers: Our Top Picks

Best Budget Skimmers

While there is no shortage of expensive aquarium supplies to splurge on, it is still possible to be an aquarium hobbyist on a budget. One of the equipment categories that can really have you shelling out some dollars are protein skimmers. While their primary purpose is to remove excess organics from your tank, they have been engineered over the years to feature advanced controllability and other premium features that have driven up prices. Within this article we will recommend a few skimmers that will have your wallet smiling while not sacrificing on performance or durability. While we are presenting a plethora of budget friendly skimmer options for a variety of tanks, there are plenty of other great options that we will not cover. If you have any specific questions or are looking for a particular recommendation, our customer care team would be happy to assist you.

As we dive into some budget friendly protein skimmers, we will present the excellent features on each of them. We will first take a look at a budget option for a nano reef and one that can hang on the back of your aquarium. We will then discuss a skimmer that can fit into the tightest of sump spaces. Finally, we will touch on a budget skimmer for your large aquariums.

Summary:

A great pick for a nano reef: Reef Glass Nano Protein Skimmer
The hang-on-back option for the sumpless: AquaMaxx Bullet-1 Hang-On-Back Protein Skimmer
An excellent option for the smallest of sumps: Reef Octopus Classic 110 Space Saver Protein Skimmer
The workhorse needed for large aquariums: Bubble Magus Curve 7 Protein Skimmer

A great pick for a nano reef: Reef Glass Nano Protein Skimmer

Reef Glass Nano Skimmer

If you’re in search of a skimmer for your nano aquarium, look no further than the offering from Reef Glass. This skimmer is not only built to last, its slim glass body can slide into the tightest of nano aquarium filtration sections. This skimmer clips onto the back of an aquarium rim up to one inch thick and, it can operate on tanks up to 30 gallons. This skimmer works with an air pump and air stone that oxygenates the water flowing through it causing the proteins from your aquarium to rise to the top. We do offer replacement airstones for this unit and we recommend swapping them out every 4-6 months. For the build quality and performance of the Reef Glass, it is our choice for one of the best budget skimmers for a nano tank.

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The hang-on-back option for the sumpless: AquaMaxx Bullet-1 Hang-On-Back Protein Skimmer

The brand new AquaMaxx Bullet-1 Hang-On-Back skimmer is a super budget friendly skimming option for those without a sump. This is another great choice for small aquariums up to 30 gallons and it will also polish your water after it returns from the skimmer. The power center for this skimmer is a modified Sicce pump that allows for easy maintenance. With a footprint of 4.9” x 3.1” this model is designed to hang on aquariums in the tightest of spaces. The Bullet was designed based on our experience offering our AquaMaxx HOB 1.5 model and was condensed and improved to work on slightly smaller aquariums. Each of these reasons make the AquaMaxx Bullet the best budget friendly hang-on-back protein skimmer.

AquaMaxx Bullet-1 Hang on Protein Skimmer

An excellent option for the smallest of sumps: Reef Octopus Classic 110 Space Saver Protein Skimmer

Reef Octopus Classic 110 Space Saver Skimmer

Reef Octopus has been producing their Classic model protein skimmers for nearly a decade and improvements have been made along the way to make these skimmers more efficient, durable, and powerful. The Classic 110 Space Saver was specifically designed to minimize the footprint while not sacrificing the skimmers total performance. This unit features a footprint of 6.1″ x 7.87″ and will properly suit tanks between 60 and 130 gallons depending on the bioload. A two year manufacturer warranty is another excellent feature of this skimmer. The recommended water depth for peak performance on this skimmer is 7-8 inches which is standard for most sumps. Each of these features make the Reef Octopus 110 Space Saver one of the best budget protein skimmers for a small sump.

The workhorse needed for large aquariums: Bubble Magus Curve 7 Protein Skimmer

Bubble Magus is another proven protein skimmer producer and their Curve series has been one of our best selling lines for years. Specifically the Curve 7 is one of the most cost effective ways to skim a tank up to 240 gallons. One of the greatest features on these skimmers is simply their durability. It isn’t hard to find reefers who have had this very skimmer operating on their aquarium for over four years. It is important to still conduct frequent maintenance but, you can expect this skimmer to keep plugging away for years to come. Another great part of this skimmer is the collection cup drain that allows for hobbyists to cut down on their maintenance. All of these details make the Bubble Magus Curve 7 the best budget protein skimmer for a large aquarium.

Bubble Magus Curve 7 Protein Skimmer

Final Thoughts:

We hope this short guide has given our customers insight into a few budget friendly protein skimmer options for their aquariums. Nutrient export is crucial for aquarium success and selecting the proper protein skimmer plays a large role in that process. Each skimmer recommended in this piece does not sacrifice their quality in order to be considered budget friendly. Each option is built to withstand the rough environment of a saltwater aquarium. If you still have any questions or you are seeking a specific recommendation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer care team.

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