What is Protein Skimming and Why is it so important?

A protein skimmer is one of the most important pieces of filtration equipment for marine aquariums, regardless of whether they are full-blown reef aquariums or simple fish systems; indeed, a protein skimmer can in many cases be considered “life-support” equipment. Although many beginning hobbyists may scoff at the cost of a high-quality protein skimmer, they should take into consideration that the price of the skimmer and pump required to operate it are small in comparison to the amount of money they are likely to spend replacing sick and/or dead animals that died as a result of poor water quality!

A Protein Skimmer is a very important tool in reducing the amount of dissolved organic material in the aquarium water.
(Elevated concentrations of organic matter in an aquarium are an indication of a poorly maintained system in which few desirable life forms will thrive. So, the goal is to get these organics out of the water; this is why a protein skimmer is essential). This material consists of protein fragments and other waste, which assemble at air/water surfaces. Protein skimming (also called foam fractionation) can be considered as a form of mechanical filtration, since it is a physical process of removing substances from water, without any chemical or biological action. While a mechanical or pre-filter removes particles, a Protein Skimmer removes suspended or dissolved organic waste and invisible particles from the aquarium water. The advantage of Protein Skimming lies however in the fact that waste material is continuously removed, separating it from the water flow. Efficient removal of organic matter (organic matter is a major source of the nutrients needed by microalgae (“hair algae”) and cyanobacteria (“slime algae”) to grow and reproduce, covering every non-mobile object and animal in the aquarium in a sheet of waving hair or oily slime) ,and dissolved waste, helps to reduce the amount of harmful floating bacteria, reduce the yellow discoloration of your aquarium water, limit nitrate and phosphate build up, and prevent the development of algae through out the aquarium.