If you needed any indication that Mark and I are pretty hardcore when it comes to reef aquarium gear, and especially protein skimmers, then look no further than last week’s epic long session of Reef Therapy. Foam fractionators aka protein skimmers have been one of the most interesting, versatile and dynamic pieces of reef aquarium equipment since their introduction to the saltwater aquarium hobby many decades ago.
Most protein skimmers today have settled into a pretty typical, standard design and are in turn powered by very similar needle wheel pumps but it wasn’t always this way. Most of the best design elements and features of modern protein skimmers were part of a long, massive public testing effort which eventually highlighted the features that reef builders want the most and we’re just lucky enough to have witnessed most of this development in the reefing world first hand.
We certainly didn’t set out to go on about protein skimmers for over 200 minutes but this is one aspect of reef keeping that we’ve always been fascinated by and we were motivated to try and share as much of their history and their technical details as we possibly could. In the first part we really talked at length about the specific features , and the changes in our thinking about protein skimmers that has shaped the landscape over the last 30 odd years.
In the second part of the Reef Therapy Session we really go down the rabbit hole of the most iconic protein skimmers of the saltwater aquarium hobby, especially as they relate to the techniques, details and features we discussed in the first part. Protein skimmers are one of the most unique pieces of aquarium equipment ever designed and if whether you wanted a simple primer on skimmers or a borderline thesis on foam fractionation, these two sessions of Reef Therapy really ought to get you on the right track.