Protein skimmers are favored by reef keepers who recognize the benefits of removing potentially harmful dissolved organic compounds, and other molecules that will bind to them, which can easily reach toxic levels in a closed system. However, skimmers are typically a very hefty investment and getting “bargains” usually means dealing with poor quality units that end up costing more in the long run. Fortunately, Coralife has endeavored to bridge this gap with the 05271 Super Skimmer. The Super Skimmer seems to checks all the boxes, as it utilizes foam fractionation driven by a patented needle-wheel impeller and aspirating venturi. As with foam fractionation skimmers generally, the Super Skimmer works by generating a vortex of microbubbles and water in the reactor to attract organic compounds so they can be deposited in a waste collection chamber. Sounds good on paper, but does it work?
I admit, I was skeptical of the low price of this unit, and I have seen a lot of cheap venturi skimmers simply crap out, or make a bunch of useless foam. However, the consensus from users is that the Super Skimmer does provide great value. The most common remarks about this particular model are that: the unit’s directions are not terribly useful; it took some tinkering to get running smoothly; and it required a few days to break in and start pulling down waste. Overall though, the Coralife 05271 Super Skimmer seems to deliver exceptional bang for your buck and gets the job done, without tying up too much money that reefers need for other costly purchases. As such, I would particularly recommend this model for beginning reef keepers, or those looking for an affordable option, rather than no skimmer at all.