This hang-on-back (“HOB”) power filter unit is rated to filter 200 gallons per hour, thereby accommodating saltwater tanks of up to approximately 60 gallons. But that’s not all. It also has a built-in protein skimmer and a 7 watt UV sterilizer. As stated before on this site, protein skimming is the process of removing dissolved organic material and other impurities bound to those molecules that can quickly reach toxic levels in a closed system, like a home aquarium. By using a process called foam fractionation, skimmers like the one on the PSE1 traps this material in a micro-bubble foam reactor where it can be drawn off into a waste receptacle. Skimming also has the beneficial side effect of increasing aeration and maintaining a stable pH. Likewise, as I have said before, the advantageous of UV sterilization are several; among other things, it can help eliminate unwanted, suspended algae and bacteria, making your water clearer, and also kill various undesirable or harmful microorganisms lurking in the water, such as parasites.
Like most HOB filters, the PSE1 is a snap to start up. Simply hang it on the back and you are off. As such, there is essentially no installation time and no need to rig lots of plumbing or hide a large canister under a stand.
All these features seems too good to be true? Well, yes and no. I personally would not equate the PSE1’s skimming capacity with a quality stand-alone skimmer. Similarly, I would not try to match its UV sterilization with that of a serious stand-alone UV sterilizer, of which there are many out there. However, having all of these features together in one solid filtration unit, is indeed a great value. Purchasing these features individually would cost you several hundred dollars. Forget about getting any of that live rock or putting your money into a high-quality LED light! Accordingly, I feel that the Aquatop PSE1 Hang-On Protein Skimmer w/ UV + Power Filter over-delivers for the price it commands, making it a particularly good choice for the new or budget conscious reef keeper.