FAQ #11: Is a skimmer necessary on a nano reef aquarium? | 52 FAQ

Today on BRStv’s 52 FAQ, we’re talking nano
tanks and skimmers. Hi, I’m Ryan RT Turner, one of your hosts
of BRStv, with another episode of 52 FAQ, where each week we answer questions from our
popular 52 Weeks of Reefing series. This week we answer Craig Miller’s question
from week seventeen: “Is it worth putting a skimmer in a nano tank?” We’ll touch
on why you may or may not want to do so and cover a few potential solutions for your tank. In Week Seventeen, we covered that protein
skimmers are a staple of the reefing hobby, what they do, how they work, and if they are
required to be successful at reefing. Protein skimmers are indeed a large aspect
of the hobby when it comes to filtration, and can be considered a pretty important piece
of equipment for your tank. As a quick reminder – skimmers essentially remove particulate
matter from the water column via foam fractionation before it has the chance to break down into
nitrate and phosphate. Generally speaking, I would say that I would
recommend installing a skimmer on the vast majority of aquariums, as the benefits outweigh
the disadvantages. Skimmers offer the benefit of improved water quality, increased gas exchange
resulting in highly oxygenated water, and the ability to stabilize pH. Now with that being said, there can be an
exception to the rule when it comes to nano aquariums. While skimmers are generally advantageous
pieces of equipment in most reefs, nano tanks seem to thrive on weekly water changes. The
ability of water changes to dilute and remove pollutants, while adding depleted ions back
to the water column is hard to beat in a limited volume of water. Nano skimmers have come a long way in recent
years, with skimmers like Innovative Marine’s Ghost and Tunze’s 9004 offering a ton of performance
in a compact package for nano reefkeepers. Perhaps the largest limiting factor when it
comes to deciding whether a skimmer is right for your setup, is if you have the space available.
Everyone with a nano or all-in-one knows just how valuable space can be, and each skimmer
will have a different footprint, so your best bet is to measure the room you have available
and narrow down your options from there. To answer Craig’s question, I generally don’t
recommend running a skimmer on a nano tank since a weekly water change schedule of a
decent volume will do wonders in maintaining your tank, keeping nutrients under control,
and restoring depleted ions in the aquarium. That said, if you’re a gear junkie like a
lot of us, there’s certainly no harm in running one if you have the budget and space. Honestly there are many opinions out there
on this topic, and your decision will hinge on your individual tank, and your reef’s needs.
Hopefully I’ve helped shed some light on skimmers and nano tanks that can make your decision
easier. To learn more check out our video from 52
Weeks of Reefing; Week 17: Protein Skimmers – Selecting and tuning the best! If you have any questions or tips for us or
the BRS community share them in the comments area down below. in today’s poll we are asking,
what is your preferred method of nutrient export on nano aquariums? So please vote and
let us know! I usually go the route of weekly water changes, but I’m interested to see what
you are doing! I’ll see you in the next BRS 52 FAQ where we answer a very commonly asked
question: Can you please do an update on the Clown Harem tank!

Comments 54

  • Love this series

  • you sound just like the other guy

  • How about a 34g?

  • Great video, I agree if you have the space why not?, I had a 10 gallon nano for 3 years heavy stocked with coral and just a pair of clowns and a cleaner shrimp and I never needed one but my water change was 50% every week 👍

  • Do I need a protein skimmer on a fish only tank??

  • Hey when are we going to get back to the 52 weeks of the tank? Did the baby hatch yet?

  • +BulkReefSupply for in two weeks question. What size tank is best for a frag tank and what is the best first coral to frag

  • How much water change is recommend if you don't run a skimmer

  • water changes are the most efficient way to maintain water quality, with that said I recommend a skimmer for added benefit of having more ways to maintain your parameters the better,because I small volumes of water will turn bad faster than say 100 gallons.

  • What tank is at 2:02?

  • Great video I am thinking of setting up a nano tank for my bedroom and wasn't sure if I was going to add a skimmer

  • im not agree, 'cuz in a nano tank the waste , food, fish, and corals, changes the water chemistry in a second, is better have one than no one..

  • Great video 🙂

  • Tunze 9004 will fit in a IM 40g Fusion right?? Thanks for the great video btw!

  • I've considered a skimmer for my Fusion 20 but I do about a 25-33% water change every 2-3 weeks.

  • i run a skimmer in a 29g nano cube and it works great. it helps for when you cant do a water change every week.

  • when is Ryan coming back? these videos are just repeating old videos without him….

  • Awesome, thanks for answering my question! Sold the Biocube but just picked up a Nuvo 10 !

  • I use a cpr in sump protein skimmer on my bio use 29 and I works awesome it even skins algae which is wired

  • Water changes are great for my nano plus i cuts down on the need to dose

  • Like this series! It's really been tying up all the "loose end questions" I had with the hobby.

    I always wanted to ask which parameters were worth buying digital checkers for and which could afford to be performed with cheaper test kits? As in the most economical, yet precise testing protocol that can still fit most budgets.

  • 👍

  • I fitted a Tunze 9004 in my JBJ 45
    I would not set up a tank with out a skimmer regardless of size

  • If I ever run a large tank, I'll probably buy a skimmer. But for a nano tank, I prefer to either not run one, or to make my own. It's really not hard to do if you have an air pump and a few water bottles.

  • Yea know…This new guy has really made a big impression on me. I have enjoyed drinking beers,smoking weed, and doing coke to these latest vids. I think the new guy adds a fresh vibe, and he talks about niche topics. I love this video even before I watched it. I wondered about my use of a protein skimmer in a nano. I check brs, and there is a video talkin about it. FanFUCKINTastic!

  • lol where's the other guy who used to talk funny ?

  • I've only seen good things with running a skimmer on my nanos

  • Is a media reactor (like phosphate reactor) on a nano reef tank?

  • What are some ways I can Remove asterina star fish and how to fight off aptaisias

  • Its so weird coz ur voice sounds just like the other dudes

  • I thought for sure you would say yes so you could get more money

  • Thanks for doing this video. I am setting up a nano reef at the moment and trying to decide if I can do away with the noisy skimmer that came with the tank. You've given me the confidence to go without it and keep up with the water changes instead. Maybe use the space in the sump for a small reactor instead…..

  • Its true that invertebrates like seastars are warmfull for fish in a nano aquarium

  • What tank setup is at 1:49

  • I have never used any skimmer for 6 years I just use phoszorb, GAC … recently I have added purigen and hydra depurator and my softies seem to thrive they open fully and doesn't look ill.

  • It's hard to say no to a skimmer after you smell what comes out of it.

  • I have a 2ft by 1.5foot tank not sure in the size off gallon etc, so I need. Protein skimmer ? I do weekly water changes?

  • Is a skimmer necessary for a 500ltr FOWLR tank?

  • Anyone has had any experience with the Skimz SH1 Skimmer for nano reef tank? Appreciate your inputs…. 🤗🤗🤗

  • What's a affordable skimmer that can go into the tank and it isn't to big for a 27 gallon?


  • I think an important point when answering the question "Do I need a skimmer?" is to make sure that bacterial dosing is not used as an export method. This is, if you're running biopellets, dose DrTimsWasteAway, EA PureReefBallance, JBL BioNitratEx, RedSea NoPoX etc. you'll end up with a lot of bacterial slime and poor results. Bacterial dosing works by skimming away the extra bacterial mass after it feeds on nutrients.

    Additionally, a protein skimmer will ensure good oxygenation in a small volume as the nano systems entail. I am running a protein skimmer on my 10G quarantine tank without ever emptying the cup – it produces about 1ml of skimmate a month with the current setting, plus added layers of sludge on the neck. What it does is to allow me to run an air stone in a saltwater environment without producing tons of air bubbles breaking at the surface and the resulting salt creep.

    Hope this helps and is accurate.

  • I do both weekly water changes as well as run an Aqua C Remora skimmer on my 36 gallon bow. You may not get the amount of skimmate that you would in a larger tank but there is still dissolved organics and proteins that will accumulate over time even with water changes. This is by no means a cheap hobby or investment and I'd much rather err on the side of caution than to have to fix a costly mess later.

  • Is the tank at 1:58 a Nuvo 40g?

  • You guys all sound the same like hillbilly’s lol

  • Can an algae scrubber replace a skimmer?

  • Why wouldn’t I want to add a protein slimmer if it’s better for my tank? This video didn’t really answer my question. You just explain what it does and how it good be benefit my tank.

  • I put a skimmer on my tank and will never go back i do weekly water changes 15 to 20% and my skimmer pulls and pulls ive been so surprised and shocked. They are a must in my opinion Cheers 🙂

  • No protein skimmerrrrr!!!!
    Unless you're a gearrrrr junkyyyyy!!!!
    Change the waterrrrrr!!!!
    That's ittttt!!!!!

  • suffering succotash… sorry..can't help it.

  • Will carbon do as well a job as a skimmer in removing fish waste?

  • I'm planning on getting a Fluvo evo 13.5 and was wondering if the ps2 skimmer has even a little bit of benefit to water quality in between the weekly water changes?

  • I run skimmers on both my Nanos… I also only do water changes every 6 months, so skimmers are a must.. mother nature skims, so do I..

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