Commercial protein skimmers are important pieces of equipment for the large facilities which hold and ship around the precious livestock that feeds the aquarium hobby. For decades the commercial protein skimmer market was dominated by large and inefficient venturi protein skimmer, simply because that’s the way it was always done.
More recently, the advancements of hobbyist grade protein skimmers have trickled up into the larger end of foam fractionation. The most notable of these improvements have been better and more efficient needle wheel pumps and designs, championed by My Reef Creations in the United States and Reef Octopus in Asia.
We’ve already given MRC plenty of props over the years but today we want to shine a light on the commercial protein skimmers from Reef Octopus which dominate in large marine life facilities throughout Asia. We just returned from a months long tour of Indonesia, visiting large exporters in Bali and Jakarta and everywhere we went, we saw large Reef Octopus skimmers doing quite a number keep seawater safe and clean for reef animals.
The Reef Octopus models we spotted throughout Indonesia were both of the internal and external variety, but they all had one pump in common, the RO Bubble Blaster. With a large motor block modeled after Laguna motors and jumbo volutes that were in most cases translucent, the Bubble Blaster is one heckuva bubble maker, which kept each of these hard-working protein skimmers frothy as a cloud.
Interestingly, the Bubble Blaster pump has been around for many years now, and it churns a huge volume or air and water into the skimmer bodies they power. Moreover, the Bubble Blaster is a synchronous AC motor pump which can go toe-to-toe with the newest DC pumps, but at reduced cost since it has no power supply or electronic controller.
We really took note of the Reef Octopus protein skimmers after seeing model after model, just cranking away at producing thick, dark skimmate. This is the real difference between venturi and needle wheel powered protein skimmers, with the needle wheel versions producing unrelenting massive quantities of mixed air and water with very little need to be constantly maintained and serviced.
Also, whereas most commercial venturi protein skimmers are powered by one single honking commercial pumps, Reef Octopus’ Q series skimmers are powered by a series of regular-large needle wheel pumps. Larger models of the Reef Octopus protein skimmers are powered by an increasing number of large Bubble Blaster pumps; this serial approach to air injection offers redundancy so if one pump goes out or needs servicing, you still have several other pumps running.
Western aquarists tend to knock on Chinese-made products and in many instances, our criticism of shoddy craftsmanship and excessive cost-cutting compromises are well warranted. But in the case of the Reef Octopus Commercial Skimmers, the Bubble Blaster pumps powering them are quite refined, and so is the overall protein skimmer design itself.
We weren’t such a fan of Reef Octopus’ early protein skimmer models, but this was ten years ago. Nowadays the huge diversity of Reef Octopus’s largest protein skimmers can go head to head with America and Europe’s best protein skimmers in terms of cost, performance, and especially value. Nowhere is this more clear than the myriad of fish and coral exporters throughout Indonesia who rely on these affordable jumbo protein skimmers to keep our future livestock in good health before shipping to western aquarium stores.