When a protein skimmer like the SWC 160 cone comes along with over 20″ of conical reaction height, a decent pump and a price that seems way to good to be true, we gotta admit we tried out the SWC cone skimmers just waiting for that other shoe to drop. For the non-native English speakers this means that we really expected something to go wrong in the long term, either some of the fittings would break, the pump would sputter, the mesh sandwich needle wheel would clog up or something.
After running the SWC 160 cone skimmer exclusively on a 150 gallon, well-stocked fish system for six months with not a single concern you can definitely color us surprised. Not only has the SWC 160 cone performed really well over the last 180 days, the pump has remained very quiet, it starts up on it’s own with every power interruption and man, it’s still freakin quiet and keeping the cone body absolutely chock full of fine air bubbles. The skimmer cup is consistently filled with nasty thick skimmate and the slip fitting makes it a cinch to remove and clean it on the fly. Keep in mind that this protein skimmer has been running on a fish system, at hyposalinites that hover around 1.017-1.020 (24-27ppt) and there is an absence of the kind of biofouling and calcium buildup which is more prevalent in a reef tank setting. That being said however, regular cleaning and proper mechanical filtration ought to keep the SWC 160 cone skimmer running as smoothly as it has in our fish aquarium.
We’ve taken the skimmer body completely apart only twice in the last six months, not because it needed it but mostly just to inspect the parts and to look for signs of premature wear on the impeller or clogging of the needlewheel. We are extremely impressed with our experience with the SWC 160 cone skimmer thus far and it just goes to show you that at least some of the value-manufactured Chinese aquarium products can be good investments, even if the price sometimes seems too good to be true. Don’t misread us here though, lots of the Chinese aquarium goods are pure junk but thankfully for our Clarion angelfish, lace rock fish system, the SWC cone skimmer is one of the good ones. The SWC 160 Cone skimmer is available from Elite Reef for $275 plus shipping.
FTC regulations require the disclosure that we were given this product for review, but our opinion of a product is never affected by how we acquire them.