The ASM Protein skimmer is one helluva protein skimmer which has earned its day in the spotlight. All Seas Marine (ASM) started offering the ASM skimmers in the early 2000s and despite their lack of new tricks, they can still skim protein with the best of them today.
We’ve had wave after wave of new protein skimmer models introduced since the ASM G series. Even when I was a young LFS whippersnapper I always urged the buyers and customers to upgrade from an ASM skimmer. But now in my older years I can look back on how many tanks I’ve seen running just fine, with just an ASM skimmer churning out the skimmate under the stand.
ASM skimmers don’t have bubble plates, don’t have a controllable DC pump, don’t have a tricky needle wheel impeller, they don’t even have a website! Unlike nearly all modern protein skimmer models and brands, the ASM skimmer is made out of molded plastic instead of more durable acrylic.
The Sedra pump used on ASM skimmers is not particularly efficient, it’s kind of loud, impellers have a limited lifetime, and to add to the list of detractors of the ASM skimmers, they aren’t even especially cheap compared to what is available on the market today.
But dang it, ASM skimmers are still powering thousands of successful reef tanks across the country, and we still see plenty of upscale shops and aquarium service companies swear by the reliability of ASM protein skimmers. While there are countless protein skimmers with more features, more performance, and quieter running, there’s something to be said for using a very familiar tool that is going to perform a certain way, tune a certain way, and simply just work.
Perhaps one of the most attractive things about ASM skimmers is that spare parts are readily available and there’s plenty of retired skimmers with an available Sedra waiting to be enlisted to skim protein again. Sure Euro Reef skimmers were always higher esteemed and better built, but when you have to replace an Eheim impeller for over $150 and a replacement Sedra impeller costs just $20, that ASM starts looking much more attractive.
ASM dabbled in making a cone protein skimmer for a hot minute but this project never saw the light of day and they instead decided to stick with their tried and true design. The only change that ASM skimmers have enjoyed is the use of a Sicce pump in their smallest ASM Mini model.
We love bells and whistles as much, if not more than the next reefers, but we have to remind ourselves, what are these features really for? Sure in some protein skimmer models and designs, bubble plates and better pumps have led to much better performance. But dollar for dollar, the ASM series of protein skimmers is still a great value and likely to stick around for a long time to come.