Protein skimmers are great additions to any aquarium whether big or small. Fish and other marine animals can make a whole lot of mess, so having a good protein skimmer can be essential to the health of the aquarium. These things are great for removing waste and other protein based particles from the water.
The problem is of course that there are many different options out there, so choosing the best one can be a little difficult. That’s why we are here today, to help you find the best hang on back protein skimmer (this one is our top pick) so we have put together our top 8 list to help you.
What We Think Is The Best Hang On Back Protein Skimmer
First let’s take a look at our top HOB skimmer pick;
CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus
One of the most appealing parts of this particular protein skimmer is that it does not take up very much room. The fact that it hangs off the back of your aquarium is great, but the fact that the pump is under the skimmer is even better. This means that the skimmer doesn’t require very much horizontal space behind the aquarium.
Moreover, the CoralValue BH-1000 features an easy removal system for the pump, thus cleaning and maintenance is made fairly easy. It is pretty impressive because you can actually turn it off without having it overflow. What is pretty neat about this model is that you can insert media into it. Now, while it is not really designed for media, which might decrease the flow rate, it does have the ability for it.
The pump in the BH-1000 is strong and reliable. It has the ability to process a huge volume of water, it is easy to maintain, and it is very long lasting. Cleaning the gunk and grime out of your aquariums is something which this protein skimmer does well. What is also neat is that the pump is submersible, so you can actually put it right in your sump if you like.
- Easy maintenance pump.
- Pump doesn’t get clogged easily.
- Has the ability to process a lot of water.
- Great for both salt and fresh water aquariums.
- Doesn’t take up much room externally.
- Pump is submersible.
- Does allow you to add media if you like.
- Setting it up is somewhat hard.
- Assembly instructions are virtually non-existent .
7 Other HOB Options That We Also Like
Now that we’ve covered the number one choice, let’s take a look at 7 other options that we felt was worth mentioning.
1. Eshopps Hang On Protein Skimmer
This particular skimmer is for aquariums of 10 to 75 gallons in size. It’s ideal for medium sized aquariums, but won’t do so well in anything over 75 gallons. The water flow is actually adjustable, which is pretty beneficial. Probably one of the best features about the Eshopps HOB skimmer is that it uses a motor and pump which barely makes any noise at all.
This particular skimmer is actually fairly compact. Now, it is fairly tall, but also narrow, so you don’t need too much horizontal space behind your aquarium. Moreover, the collection cup is totally removable so you can easily empty it without too much trouble.
At the same time, the pump is fairly easy to clean and maintain. The bubble plate in this model helps to diffuse the water flow so that more proteins get into the collection cup. You might also like this skimmer because it is made of materials that are both very durable as well as easy to clean.
- Easy to clean.
- Great bubble plate.
- Very quiet.
- Reliable pump and motor.
- Doesn’t take up much room behind the aquarium.
- Good for small and medium sized tanks.
- Tends to overflow.
- Some connections may leak on occasion.
2. Reef Octopus Classic 100-HOB
The Aquatrance 1000 pump which this skimmer comes with is powerful and reliable at the same time. The pump is a pinwheel model, which does a good job at creating a nice mix of water flow and bubbles in order to help diffuse the water and get protein into the collection bin. This pump is extremely efficient, which is a big bonus if you ask us. Also, the assembly and installation process is fairly straightforward, thus making like easier for you.
Moreover, the Reef Octopus 100-HOB is great for all aquariums up to 105 gallons in size. This means that it can handle pretty much any aquarium that you might have in your home. What is also neat about this model is that the pump is actually submerged in your tank instead of being on the outside.
While it does take up some real estate in the tank, you don’t need much room outside of the tank. It even comes with an adjustable surface protein skimming attachment for a whole lot of skimming power. The high quality acrylic build of this skimmer helps to ensure that it is very durable and will last for a long time to come.
- Durable acrylic.
- Doesn’t take up much external space.
- Pinwheel pump for lots of diffusion.
- Fairly easy to assemble and install.
- Surface skimming attachment included.
- Great for larger aquariums.
- Maintenance is a bit of a chore.
3. Coralife Super Skimmer
This protein skimmer definitely holds true to its name because it definitely does a super job at skimming. This is a high powered option to consider, one that uses a patented needle wheel impeller and an aspirating venturi. This system is very reliable and durable.
It creates a spiraling vortex of water in order to suck in a whole lot of proteins with ease. This vortex creates fine bubbles which help to attract proteins and other particles with great efficiency. There is a diffuser included so that not too many bubbles make it back into the aquarium.
It deposits everything into the collection cup which can be removed very easily for a quick cleanup. The wide neck collection cup ensures that as much waste as possible makes into from the pump to the collection cup. The whole protein skimmer is fairly easy to clean and maintain, which is always a big bonus.
What you might also like about this model is that the pump is a high-efficiency one, which means that it can handle a whole lot of water and proteins without having to use too much energy. This means that your electricity bill won’t be affected by it very much.
This skimmer definitely makes for a great addition to any saltwater or reef aquarium. This particular model does come in 3 different sizes ranging from one that is deal for 65 gallons tanks and the largest one being able to handle tanks up to 220 gallons in size.
You might also like the fact that you can hang this model on the back of your tank with the easy to use mounting bracket, or you can also place it directly in your sump.
- HOB or in sump.
- Very energy efficient.
- Patented vortex needle wheel pump.
- Easy to clean collection bin.
- Dual injection inlets.
- Diffuser to limit bubbles going into the aquarium.
- Fairly easy to maintain.
- Can get fairly loud.
- Not all that space friendly.
4. Aquamaxx Ws-1 In-sump Protein Skimmer
The Aquamaxx In-sump Skimmer is quite unique, but also effective. This particular model is specially designed to be used in sumps. It has a really narrow and sleek design, but it is pretty tall.
This makes it ideal for fitting into most sumps, especially ones that don’t have much lateral space. The pump is actually inside of the skimmer in order to save space, plus the special design of it means that it is fairly quiet too.
This particular protein skimmer is designed for smaller and medium sized aquariums. It can easily handle up to 60 gallons if you have a fairly light bio-load. However, if you have a heavy bio-load in the tank, it will only be able to handle around 30 gallons of water. Something that we do like about the Aquamaxx Ws-1 Skimmer is that it is fairly energy efficient.
The pump on this model is totally submersible and very powerful. It creates an even mix of bubbles and water turbulence in order to force waste and proteins into the collection cup. The diffusers do help to minimize turbulence within the chamber in order to maximize the amount of waste that is forced into the bin.
Also, you can move the collection cup up or down in order to adjust the foam level to either wet or dry. Moreover, the computer cut acrylic build of this particular skimmer makes it very durable.
- Ideal for smaller tanks.
- Very space and energy efficient.
- Diffuser for turbulence reduction.
- High quality pump.
- Moveable collection cup.
- Durable acrylic.
- Collection cup tends to fill with water too fast.
5. Reef Octopus BH90
If you need an option for a really large tank then this is a good option. The Reef octopus BH90 can easily handle aquariums of up to 130 gallons in size, which means that it is very powerful. One thing that does need to be noted is that this particular skimmer is fairly large, so it does not do too well with smaller tanks.
It requires a fair amount of space in order to install it and for it to operate properly. This model uses a syphon to get water to the pump, which is good because it decreases the stress load on the pump, thus helping it increase its longevity.
The BH90 comes with a really reliable needle wheel pump and impeller in order to suck in large amounts of water. It creates a good mix of bubbles to help proteins stick and make their way into the collection chamber. The collection chamber is fairly large, so you don’t have to empty it too often, and when you do have to empty it, it has an easy release feature to help make life easier.
You can also move the cup up or down so you can engage in wet and dry skimming, which is a pretty useful feature too. This pump can also skim right on top of the water to remove oils and waste from the surface.
- Powerful pump.
- Energy efficient.
- Good sized collection cup – easy to clean.
- Height adjustable – wet/dry.
- Creates a good mix of turbulence and bubbles.
- Can skim on the surface.
- Easy to install.
- Very loud.
- Needs lots of space.
6. Blue Ocean PP75
This bad boy is meant for some pretty large aquariums. It can handle a lot of water volume and clean water with ease. The bad part is that it does take up a fair amount of room due to its large capacity. You will require at least 5 inches of horizontal clearance to fit this protein skimmer. The good news is that you can put it directly in your sump if you choose to do so.
The Blue Ocean PP75 does come with a really nice needle wheel pump and impeller in order to create a lot of turbulence and bubbles, which helps proteins stick together and make their way into the collection bin.
This model actually uses a biological filtration chamber to break down waste and remove proteins. Everything else is then sent to the easy to empty collection bin. You can also adjust the height of the collection bin to change the foam quality for wet and dry function.
- Large capacity.
- Reliable pump.
- Good water diffusion.
- Energy efficient.
- Easy to clean.
- Height adjustable bin.
- Biological filtration.
- Needs lots of space.
- Very loud.
7. Bubble Magus QQ1
This particular protein skimmer is a good option to consider for anyone with a smaller aquarium. It is rated to be able to deal with aquariums of up to 25 gallons in size which have heavy bio-loads. It could probably handle a slightly larger aquarium if the bio-load is not too high. This model comes with a great needle wheel impeller and pump in order to force a whole lot of protein together and into the collection bin.
The pump is actually very energy efficient so it doesn’t cause your electricity bill to skyrocket. The body of this particular model is very easy to adjust, and you can actually change the height of the collection bin for different foam quality.
What does need to be said is that this model is fairly large for only being able to handle 25 gallons of water. It is a very efficient and reliable model, one that is also easy to clean, but it does not do well in larger aquariums.
- Energy efficient.
- Great for smaller tanks.
- Easy to adjust.
- Adjustable bin height.
- Good turbulence and bubbles.
- Diffuser included.
- Does have an adjustable flow rate.
- Requires a decent amount of space.
- Not good for larger aquariums.
- Fairly loud.
How To Set Up A HOB Protein Skimmer
Before you can start skimming protein you need to know how to set the thing up, so let’s talk about setting up your protein skimmer right now. Let’s do this in a step by step fashion to make things as easy as possible. Keep in mind that different models will have different set up procedures.
The steps below are fairly general and intended to suit most HOB Protein Skimmers. Your best bet is to read the owner’s manual of the specific protein skimmer you get in order to properly assemble and install it.
- Mount the skimmer on the back using the bracket or hanging hooks.
- If it is a protein skimmer for sumps, place it in the sump.
- Attach the strainer to the input and place the pump in the water or the sump.
- Tighten the skimmer’s outputs.
- Adjust the skimmer so that it is leaning slightly towards the sump or aquarium.
- Attach the air tubing.
- Make sure all tubing, inputs, and outputs are where they are supposed to be.
- Make sure everything is securely attached so that there are no leaks.
- Now add on the collection cup and make sure it is attached properly.
- Attach the flow control tabs.
- Re-check everything.
- Plug it in and turn it on (you may need to prime it first).
A good HOB protein skimmer will be able to help keep the water in your aquarium clean and crystal clear. Removing proteins and waste from the water is essential to the health of most aquariums, especially saltwater ones. So, while you don’t have to spend a fortune, you should get yourself a decent model that will last and do the job well.