The title says a lot. But if you are a marine aquarium hobbyist you already knew that, right? Here's the problem; too many of the people in our hobby know it but they just don't want to believe it. If I polled every person who was trying to maintain a healthy salt water tank I have no doubt that almost every one of them would admit that when they entered the hobby they knew they needed a protein skimmer but tried to make a go of it without this piece of equipment. Why would we do that? One word explains it and that one word is money.
Yes, this is an expensive hobby, we either knew it going in or we found out very quickly. so the natural tendency is to try to find a shortcut that will save some money and the most logical one is to eliminate something that costs a lot of money and try to figure out a way to make things work without it. Since a good protein skimmer can cost in the hundreds of dollars, this is the target of a lot of newbie cost cutting. And it never works! What we save in skimmer cost is paid for, usually a few times over, in dead livestock or in spending on other things in an attempt to make our tank water healthy.
So we know we have to have a protein skimmer, but which one is the right one? As is true with most things, it depends. there are a ton of different skimmers on the market, and the only way to know for sure is to do some research. Even after doing that you can still be confused. Read forums and read as many protein skimmer reviews as possible. With enough information you will narrow down the choices until something becomes obvious.
If you just cannot seem to make a decision, you can simply go with a well known and respected choice, like a Reef Octopus Skimmer. there is an Octopus skimmer for any situation, and you would be hard pressed to find a negative review of this brand. In fact, the only negative I have ever heard about them is the instructions they provide are not very thorough. Think about that for a moment. The only bad thing people have to say about this product is the manual is not very good! I still laugh whenever I read a review like that because in all honesty I cannot find anything else negative to say about the Reef Octopus brand.
In short, commit to buying a skimmer and then set out to do some research. narrow it down and go with a trusted brand. Simple, right? the hardest part is taking out your wallet and making the purchase, but your tank and livestock will be glad that you did!
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