A freshwater aquarium looks really great but its maintenance is a hassle. Most of the organic waste and proteins end with settling at the bottom of the tank. It becomes impossible to clean the water with an ordinary filter. Here you need a protein skimmer to clear out the organic waste. External skimmers can be the best solutions since they are known to be more productive than other types. Get a closer look at such equipment in this article and find some of the best models in the market.

Table of Contents:

What Is an External Protein Skimmer?
Comparison Table
1. CoralVue Technology BH-2000 Octopus with External 2000 Pump
2. Your Choice Aquatics DC25EX External Protein Skimmer
Macro Aqua 3. M-50 Mini Hang-on External Protein Skimmer, 60 Gallon
4. CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus with External 1000 Pump
5. Reef Octopus Classic 110-INT Needle Wheel Protein Skimmer for Aquarium
FAQ
Conclusion

What Is an External Protein Skimmer?

An external skimmer is housed outside a fish tank. It runs from the sump. Pulling the dirty water of the fish tank from the sump it then returns cleaned water back. This type of skimmers is always out of sight and doesn’t spoil the well-thought design of an aquarium. The likelihood of an external skimmer to get bumped is very low.

Here we have collected several external protein skimmer reviews. Each of them is worth your attention. So, read the reviews carefully and make a well-thought choice.

Comparison Table

ImageProduct 
Best Choice
CoralVue Technology BH-2000 Octopus with External 2000 Pump review
CoralVue Technology BH-2000 Octopus with External 2000 Pump
  • Capacity, gal: 125
  • Footprint, inches: 10 x 4 x 21
  • Pump Power: 2000
  • Water Flow, gph: 198

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Also great
Your Choice Aquatics DC25EX External Protein Skimmer review
Your Choice Aquatics DC25EX External Protein Skimmer
  • Capacity, gal: 800
  • Footprint, inches: 18.1 x 12.6 x 25
  • Pump Power: SP1800
  • Water Flow, gph: Not mentioned

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Also great
Macro Aqua M-50 Mini Hang-on External Protein Skimmer, 60 Gallon review
Macro Aqua M-50 Mini Hang-on External Protein Skimmer, 60 Gallon
  • Capacity, gal: 60
  • Footprint, inches: 5.5 x 5.5 x 13.5 (dimensions)
  • Pump Power: Powerful electric motor
  • Water Flow, gph: 238

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Also great
CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus with External 1000 Pump review
CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus with External 1000 Pump
  • Capacity, gal: 100
  • Footprint, inches: 8 x 3.5 x 17
  • Pump Power: 1000
  • Water Flow, gph: 92

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Also great
Reef Octopus Classic 110-INT Needle Wheel Protein Skimmer for Aquarium review
Reef Octopus Classic 110-INT Needle Wheel Protein Skimmer for Aquarium
  • Capacity, gal: 100
  • Footprint, inches: 10.2 x 6.9 x 22
  • Pump Power: AQ-1000s
  • Water Flow, gph: 92

Check Price
CoralVue Technology BH-2000 Octopus with External 2000 Pump

CoralVue Technology BH-2000 Octopus with External 2000 Pump

Review:

This is one of the most widely purchased external protein skimmers out there in the market. Being of an appropriate size, it’s great for various size aquariums up to 125 gallons. The model is “armed” with a powerful external 2000 pump, hence uninterrupted work of the skimmer is guaranteed. The manufacturer used high-quality acrylic for building the product.

What we think:

With a unique external design, this skimmer is very easy to maintain. You can easily remove the pump, clean it, and place it back. Moreover, fixed outside the tank, the equipment does not heat the water. thus keeping its temperature stable. What we don’t like about the model is the noisy operating. Once turned on (and it must always be on), the skimmer produces both trickles of water noises and pump noise.

PROS

  • The pump is outside (doesn't heat the water);
  • Quality acrylic construction
  • Easy to remove and clean the pump
  • For up to 125-gallon-aquariums
  • Great 2000 external pump

CONS

  • Works noisily
  • Makes too many micro-bubbles
Your Choice Aquatics DC25EX External Protein Skimmer

Your Choice Aquatics DC25EX External Protein Skimmer

Review:

This external protein skimmer by Your Choice Aquatics is one of the most powerful and effective models you can find today. It has a semi-cone slim body, a powerful YCA SP2400 38w Controllable DC pump. The revolutionary valve is responsible for minimizing micro-bubbles. The model looks great and is definitely reliable featuring top quality cell cast acrylic body.

What we think:

The sleek pretty look of the external protein skimmer might mislead you to think it’s not credible. However, the design does not affect its efficacy and performance. It just saves space. Perhaps the only downside of the model is the expensive price. Not all aquarium enthusiasts can afford to pay $500+ for a protein skimmer.

PROS

  • Space-saving beautiful design
  • Powerful YCA SP2400 28w pump
  • Produces few micro-bubbles
  • Pause/feed mode

CONS

  • Expensive
Macro Aqua M-50 Mini Hang-on External Protein Skimmer, 60 Gallon

Macro Aqua M-50 Mini Hang-on External Protein Skimmer, 60 Gallon

Review:

The first thing to notice about this skimmer is its compact nature and small size. It’s especially beneficial for those who have a relatively smaller fish tank search a skimmer to save much space. The model is only for up to 60-gallon tanks. The water flow rate is impressive – 238gph. The skimmer is made to eliminate organic waste productively.

What we think:

With easy installation and operation, this compact protein skimmer is a good choice. It’s durable, well-designed, ensures wonderful results. Besides, the price is low. Anyway, real users complain of the multiple micro-bubbles the skimmer produces. And it tends to fill with water and spill over onto the floor after some time of use.

PROS

  • Affordable price
  • Compact design
  • Easy installation

CONS

  • Produces many micro-bubbles
  • Fills with water and spills it
CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus with External 1000 Pump

CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus with External 1000 Pump

Review:

The protein skimmer by known Coral Vue Technology is designed for fish tanks with up to 100gal capacity. It features an external 1000 pump that ensures decent operating. The pump has an acrylic body. It’s easy to clean and maintain.

What we think:

The price of this skimmer is average, just as the quality. The manufacturer claims of the product’s high quality, but reviews left by real users are not all positive. The skimmer operates well yet with frequent slowdowns, the instructions are poor, and it overflows periodically.

PROS

  • Quality acrylic construction
  • Easy pump maintenance
  • Does not heat the water of the tank

CONS

  • Poor instructions
  • Tends to overflow
  • Frequent slowdowns
Reef Octopus Classic 110-INT Needle Wheel Protein Skimmer for Aquarium

Reef Octopus Classic 110-INT Needle Wheel Protein Skimmer for Aquarium

Review:

Reef Octopus produces some of the best external protein skimmer models and this one is a grandiose proof. Offered at a sensible price, it features new pinwheel impellers for improved performance. It’s made for fish tanks with up to 100gal capacity. The model features a user-friendly design and provides easy maintenance.

What we think:

The protein skimmer is not a bad model. In fact, it’s among the best selling models of the market. What we liked the most in it is the easy cleaning since its collection cup slides off very easily. Nevertheless, during the first several weeks of use, one must be very attentive as the skimmer overflows quickly. And the setup is tough because of the poor instructions.

PROS

  • Improved performance thanks to the new pinwheel
  • Affordable price
  • Easy maintenance
  • Compact design

CONS

  • Poor setup instructions
  • Overflows quickly

FAQ

When buying equipment for your aquarium, every single aspect should be paid special attention to since it may have a direct impact on the quality of your fish’s life. And if you have got questions related to external protein skimmers, find an answer to it in this FAQ.

How to Setup External Protein Skimmer?

A: Before you set up an external protein skimmer, place a sump box beneath the fish tank. Connect the intake and output hoses from the tank water to the pump of the skimmer (located inside the sump box) and connect the pump to it. Mind that the sump box should dispense the tank water to the sump box and back properly. Depending on the model, figure out the depth at which the equipment must function well. Put the skimmer in the sump box under the fish tank to load with water. After connecting the equipment to the socket, watch it bring out foam in the middle of the skimmer body. Let it work for three or four days to end the break-in session. Make some adjustments if necessary until the skimmer shows perfect operation.

Q: How to Tune a External Protein Skimmer?

A: To tune your fish tank protein skimmer, adhere to the following instructions: If there is a speed controllable pump in your skimmer, you’d better turn it to full 100%;

  • Set open the gate valve or the wedge pipe;
  • Close the air valve gradually watching the quantity of the bubbles and the foam inside the equipment. Make some adjustments until the foam gets to the top. Mind that you can make adjustments not oftener than every thirty seconds. So that to reduce any water from the skimmer body, turn the gate or wedge pipe valve gradually. Once the bubbles get to the bottom of the collection cup, stop. If you find any adjustments are still necessary, repeat the process after a couple of minutes.

Q: How to Clean External Protein Skimmer?

A: Before you pass to cleaning your external protein skimmer, you’d better replace the air tubing since it won’t work as usual after some time. Empty the whole water from the skimmer, remove it and soak in a container. Prepare a solution of white vinegar and water with 1/10-20 ratio. Let the skimmer remain in the container with the solution until any hard residues soften. Then take it out, wash with clean water. Wipe the skimmer body well and wash it. Soak other parts such as the pumps, impeller magnets, and blades, etc. in a like solution that we described above and wipe with a small brush, rinse with clean water.

Q: Why Does the External Protein Skimmer Overflow?

A: We can distinguish several reasons why a protein skimmer can overflow including:

  • a chemical reaction between the air produced and some chemicals in the water;
  • the water level in sump;
  • the inner water level;
  • blockage.

  • Conclusion

    Protein skimmers are highly significant for saltwater aquariums. These accessories prevent the formation of nitrites, ammonia, phosphates, and nitrates by eliminating dissolved proteins. And external models have some advantages over other models. With this said, CoralVue Technology BH-2000 Octopus with External 2000 Pump stands out as the best protein skimmer in the market. It’s highly recommended for aquariums with up to 125-gallon capacity.

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