Best HOB Protein Skimmer – 2022 Buyer’s Guide

Nov 3, 2020

Maintaining an aquarium seems like a full-time job when you don’t have the right tools at disposal. We’re all familiar with filters and pumps when it comes to cleaning, but what about skimmers? These unsung heroes are often unheard of but are equally responsible in your aquarium healthy and happy. That’s why, today, I’m on a quest to find the best HOB protein skimmer for your tank.

A HOP protein skimmer contributes in the same way as a filter but has an extra benefit. They are capable of getting rid of the waste before it even breaks down into harmful toxins. Cool, right?

So, let’s look at the Best HOB Protein Skimmer of 2020.

My Choice For The Best HOB Protein Skimmer

My pick for the best HOB protein skimmer is Coralife Super Protein Skimmer.

For the features it offers at this price point, it provides excellent value for the money.

The inclusion of features like high-performing foam fractionator, needle wheel impeller, proprietary century, and dual injection inlets show that the manufacturers haven’t cut any corners with this one.

I can’t wait to get my hands on one!

Now let’s look at all the handpicked contenders for the Best HOB Protein Skimmer title, which are equally terrific and functional.

CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus With External 1000 Pump For Aquarium Filter

This BH-100 Octopus skimmer by CoralVue is one of the quietest skimmers you’ll find in the market. The reviews on Amazon show that it’s well-loved by both new and seasoned fishkeepers, and we’ll tell you why.

Let’s start with the design. Its compact design makes it suitable for smaller tanks, while the clear body makes sure that it blends perfectly with the background. Since the pump is mounted externally under the real skimmer body, this skimmer has a small footprint.

As for functionality, instead of sending the heat to the aquarium, it is dissipated in the air. Thus, the risks of overheating and sudden increments in temperature are overruled. You can also easily adjust the flow rate to meet your tank’s needs. The clear acrylic body and presence of an air silencer for noiseless operation are two other things to love about this HOB skimmer.

Rated for sizes up to 100 gallons, this skimmer is the right choice when looking for a 2-in-1 skimmer and filter pump system.

Pros:

  • Features an external pump filtration system
  • Comes with a surface skimmer and air silencer
  • Doesn’t overheat the tank water
  • Smaller footprint and low-profile design

Cons:

  • The installation guide can be a bit confusing.
  • O-ring seat is prone to leaks when mishandled.

Reef Octopus Classic 100-HOB Protein Skimmer

A beginner-friendly skimmer with a more straightforward interface, the Reef Octopus Classic 100-HOB model has hundreds of positive Amazon reviews under its belt.

In the design aspect, this one is quite a space saver because of its cylindrical shape.

And for installation, it will not take you longer than a few minutes to get this acrylic skimmer up and running. You can simply mount on the inside of the back and turn it on.

This skimmer features an adjustable surface skimmer that will eliminate all the dirty byproducts produced in your reef or saltwater tank. It also comes with a highly-efficient Aquatrace pinwheel impeller pump, which creates an ideal balance of water and air, ensuring clear and clean water.

Suitable for tanks up to 105 gallons, this one’s well-suited for beginners or super-busy aquarists as it’s easy to install and maintain.

Pros:

  • Very easy to install and maintain
  • Features Aquatrace pinwheel impeller pump
  • Adjustable surface skimmer
  • Suitable for a busy lifestyle

Cons:

  • No height adjustment
  • Instructions can be quite unclear.

Aquamaxx HOB-1.5

The older Aquamaxx model was already great, but this version comes with even better functions, making it a top contender for the best HOB protein skimmer title.

It is relatively small and light in terms of design, which makes it an excellent fit for smaller aquariums without having to worry about it being too heavy.

As for performance, this computer precision-engineered skimmer exceeds in almost all aspects.

It features a big bubble diffusor and reaction chamber that can-do justice to the sturdy and robust pump. It helps in maximum foam production, which then enhances the protein removal process.

Similarly, the conical bubble diffusers were explicitly designed to lessen the turbulence felt in the reaction chamber, which sends the water upward to the collection cup. That way, you can get the most out of a quiet noise level.

The collection cup is relatively easy to remove for cleaning purposes and only requires about 4 inches of clearance, making it suitable for tight spaces.

This Aquamaxx model also comes with a Sicce pump built with a needle wheel impeller for maximum force and precise efficiency. Thus, it’s quite impressive at getting rid of biological waste.

It’s rated suitable for tank sizes ranging from 60 to 90 gallons.

Pros:

  • Large and responsive skimmer cup
  • Features a robust Sicce pump
  • Easy usability with plug-and-play functions
  • Compact design

Cons:

  • Features common plumbing fittings
  • Can be prone to leaks

Coralife Super Protein Skimmer

Hailed as one of the best multi-function large-tank protein skimmers in town, the Coralife Super Protein Skimmer can be the best HOB protein skimmer for a tank of any size due to its various sizing options.

This particular skimmer is quite popular among saltwater aquarium hobbyists because of its high-performance foam fractionator. It also comes with the company’s proprietary aspirating venturi and a needle wheel impeller for higher efficiency in the compound and waste removal.

Similarly, the presence of dual injection inlets increases the bubble/water contact time.

The cleaning process is relatively easy too. You have to twist off the collection cup and rinse with aquarium water.

However, the standout feature of this particular skimmer is that it can be used either as a HOB skimmer or an in-sump skimmer—lending you greater versatility in terms of placement.

As for sizing recommendation, you have three options: 65, 125, and 220-gallon.

Pros:

  • Can be used as in-sump and HOB skimmer
  • Durable needle wheel impeller
  • Facilitates easy cleaning and maintenance
  • High-performance foam practitioner

Cons:

  • Not-so-great customer service
  • Suitable for saltwater tanks only

Macro Aqua M-50 Hang-on External Protein Skimmer

The Macro Aqua M-50 Hang-on skimmer is an excellent pocket-friendly option.

This one, too, can work as an in-sump and HOB skimmer. This feature is especially desirable and much-needed for small-capacity tanks.

Marked suitable for tanks up to 60-gallons, it is powered by 239 GPH water flow, removing all the doubts about its functionality. Similarly, it uses a needle-to-wheel impeller to fortify water to air contact.

The fact that it doesn’t need priming makes it the right choice for beginners, so does its compact design and quiet operation.

This is a top candidate for the best HOB protein skimmer title if you have a Nano aquarium.

Pros:

  • Simple plug-and-play operation
  • Pocket-friendly option
  • No priming required
  • Easy maintenance

Cons:

  • Intake tube seam prone to leaking
  • Only suitable for primary saltwater fish tank

If you’re still on the fence about getting a HOB protein skimmer, the following bits of information might be helpful!

Advantages of a HOB Protein Skimmer

  • Works without sump system
  • Low-maintenance
  • Suitable for smaller aquariums
  • Easy installation

Works Without Sump System

Even if your aquarium doesn’t have a sump system, a HOB protein skimmer will work perfectly fine, unlike some other models. That’s because it hangs on the back, as the name implies.

Low Maintenance

HOBs are quite durable pieces of equipment that will last you a good duration without much extra care. And as it hangs on the back, it won’t mess up with your tank’s aesthetics at all.

Suitable For Smaller Aquariums

As HOB skimmers are made with small tanks in mind, the design is suitable to get the best out of tanks under 100 gallons. Nestle it onto the back of the tank, where it will blend with the background and do its work quietly.

Easy Installation

By now, you probably know these are super easy to install. You don’t have to fret about incorporating it into the central filtration system or taking up quite a bit of space in the tank. Stick it onto the back of the aquarium, plug it in, and let it do its job.

These were some of the advantages exclusive to a HOB Protein Skimmer. Now let’s see why do you one for your tank.

Why Do I Need HOB Protein Skimmer For My Tank?

  • Removes oil and bacterial film from the surface for better light penetration
  • Reduces the phosphate levels in the tank, which in turn, prevents algae bloom
  • Cuts the tank’s nitrate level by removing the organic buildup before it breaks down
  • Continuous production of waste-removing bubble improves the water quality.
  • Effectively gets rid of the dissolved organics that bypassed during mechanical filtration.
  • Increases the oxygen level of the tank, in addition to cutting C02 production by maintaining pH level
  • Better coral growth, recovery, and reproduction
  • The tank will last longer due to infrequent algae scraping.

If you’ve come around getting a HOB protein skimmer for the tank, make sure to go through the following bits.

How Do I Set Up a HOB Protein Skimmer?

As I mentioned above, the installation process is quite simple. I have broken it down into 5 easy steps, so you don’t miss anything.

Once you unbox the equipment, ensure that it has arrived with all the accessories required for installation or maintenance. Check out the manual guide for reference. If any part is missing or damaged, it can be replaced easily if you’ve bought it off Amazon.

Carefully gauge the instructions and diagrams to install the skimmer. A HOB skimmer is on the more accessible side to install, and you’re OK doing it alone as long as you’re following the manual. Make sure that the joints are well-secured so there’s no water leakage.

You can use filtered, purified, or aquarium water to wet the suction cups for affixing it at the back.

Make sure to check if your skimmer has a self-priming feature or not. If it doesn’t, follow the manual to know how often and how much to prime the device to get optimum results.

Allocate at least 4 days for the break-in period to avoid any risks. If you think it’s not working fast or effectively, give it some time and wait until the end of the break-in period. During this window, you can tweak the adjustment rates. However, be mindful of the foam level, so it doesn’t exceed the container’s collection capacity.

How High Should The Bubbles Be In A HOB Protein Skimmer?

The general rule of thumb is the bubbles boiling away have to be level with the real base of the collection cup. As the skimmer pulls out the gunk, the increased quantity buildup will raise the vertical tube and spill the water into the container.

What To Consider When Buying A HOB Protein Skimmer?

When looking for the best HOB protein skimmer for your tank, make sure to keep the following things into consideration: production of air bubbles, type of pump used, noise level, and brand.

Production Of Air Bubbles

The smaller the air bubbles generated, the better will be the performance. But if the bubbles are too microscopic, that will hinder the cleaning process. Now the size of the bubble depends on the mechanism of your hob protein. So, make sure your device doesn’t generate microbubbles.

Type Of Pump Used

HOB protein skimmers can come with different kinds of pumps installed in them. The light-duty variants do not push out a lot of water but are well versed in performing specialized functions. On the other hand, a standard pump is an all-rounder, while a heavy-duty pump is well-suited for large tanks.

Noise Level

Unless you love the constant buzzing sound, make sure to get a HOB skimmer that’s quiet in operation. Even better if it has an in-built feature to muffle the sound.

Brand

When buying a skimmer, always make sure to choose a model from a trusted and well-loved brand. A malfunctioning skimmer won’t only fail to clean the tank but can also be directly fatal to your tank’s creatures.

Conclusion: Best HOB Protein Skimmer

All the products listed above were meticulously shortlisted, and there’s no one winner for the best HOB protein skimmer title. As it’s already clear, it all boils down to the tank’s needs. They all come with unique sets of capabilities and virtues.

If you have a smaller tank, you might want to look at the Bubble Magus Nano skimmer. Even better, head over to our best Nano skimmers list for an array of products that pack powerful functions in their compact bodies.

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.