Maintaining good water quality is the single most important factor in establishing a healthy and beautiful marine aquarium. In order to successfully house marine species, the aquarium water needs to be free of toxic substances such as ammonia and nitrite. In an established aquarium, ammonia and nitrite are promptly converted into a less toxic substance called nitrate through a natural process known as the nitrogen cycle.
In low to moderate concentrations, the end product of the nitrogen cycle (nitrate) is not toxic to fish and invertebrates. However, certain marine species, such as corals, are sensitive to even low levels of nitrate. They require excellent water quality with low nitrate levels to thrive. For this reason, many aquarists feel that a protein skimmer is an absolute necessity for saltwater aquarium systems - especially reef aquariums or those that are heavily stocked with large or carnivorous fish.
What does a protein skimmer do?
How does a protein skimmer work?
By generating millions of air bubbles, protein skimmers also replenish oxygen levels in the entire aquarium. Elevated oxygen levels and proper gas exchange help maintain a stable pH by counteracting the pH-lowering effects of carbon dioxide that can occur at night.
Protein skimmers are extremely efficient at removing organic materials from aquarium water. However, their secondary benefits further increase their value by improving the overall health and beauty of your aquarium, making them a worthwhile investment for any marine hobbyist. Always strive to install the biggest skimmer possible that fits within your space and budget. This will increase the skimmer's effectiveness and make maintenance easier.