Protein Skimmer Common Problems & Maintenance Guide

A Longhorn Cowfish at the Cairns Aquarium.

It’s possible that you’re experiencing some issues with, or have some queries about, your protein skimmer.

Along with our posts How To Use an Aquarium Protein Skimmer and How To Choose The Right Protein Skimmer, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that people have concerning their protein skimmers in the hopes that this will assist you to understand any difficulties or concerns that may exist and, ultimately, finding a solution to them. It is my hope that the answer to your query may be found below, and that it will assist you in resolving the issue. Please be aware that if you have a warranty on your protein skimmer, it is probable that you can have the issue rectified by contacting the business. If you do not have a warranty, it is unlikely that you will be able to get the problem solved. If you do not have the warranty, however, you will need to determine if you can fix the issue on your own or whether you would need to replace the device.

Protein Skimmer Not Foaming

The fact that your protein skimmer is not creating any foam or bubbles might be due to one of a number of factors; nevertheless, this does not indicate that it is broken. It’s possible that the skimmer you have is simply unsuitable for the size of the tank you have. It’s also possible that the skimmer is on the verge of breaking, which would be another issue. If you have a low bioload, this might be another reason why your protein skimmer is not creating any foam. If you do not have a high bio load, this could also be the case. If, after fiddling with the skimmer a few times and ensuring that everything is correctly put back together, it still does not function properly, then you will need to purchase a new one. However, if the problem can be fixed by making a small adjustment to the skimmer, then you should try that first.

Why Is the Protein Skimmer Overflowing?

There are a few potential causes to consider if you notice that the protein skimmer you are using is becoming full too quickly. It’s possible that you have an excessive amount of foam coming out of the sides on the top of your protein skimmer. Before making any changes to the configurations, you should start by reading the owner’s handbook provided by the device’s manufacturer. This should be done before making any adjustments. It is essential that you be aware that each brand operates in a very distinct manner, and also, you will be required to implement the recommendations made by the manufacturer. Moving the collection cup to a higher position can often solve this problem quickly and easily. By doing so, the cup will have easier access to the water and any excess water will be able to drain away more easily.


Sometimes, even the greatest protein skimmers generate sounds. It is most probable that the pump is the source of any noise that is being produced by your protein skimmer. You have to check that the pump is appropriately calibrated and that there are no leaks in any part of the mechanism. In the event that the pump develops a leak, you will need to make sure that the problem is fixed as soon as possible. In the event that the pump has been worn out, you will be required to either replace it or purchase a new one. You will not be able to restore the protein skimmer’s ability to perform silently in any other manner.

How Do You Clean The Protein Skimmer?

It is usually advised that you clean out your protein skimmer once every six months when you have the greatest protein skimmer. If you do not do this, the machine may cease operating, which will prevent the water from being clean and filtered, putting everybody who lives in the area in danger for their health. To begin the process of cleaning, the very first thing that needs to be done is to change the air tubing that is already in place. If it has stopped functioning properly, there is no use in trying to clean it; at that point, you should simply replace it. Although it is not usually suggested to do so, disassembling the protein skimmer on a piece-by-piece basis may, on occasion, be an effective approach to fully cleaning it. The very first thing that you have to do is put it into a pot of boiling water and let it sit there for a few hours. Scrub the affected areas with an old toothbrush or other kinds of the brush to remove any organic feces that may have been left behind. After you have finished doing this, thoroughly clean the system and check to see that it does not contain any soap or other residue, since this may be quite harmful to the occupants of your tank.

How Much Maintenance Will It Need/How to Install a Protein Skimmer?

When you invest in the absolute finest protein skimmer, you will eventually find that you need to replace it after every few days. You won’t have to constantly switch the collecting cup if it’s a more important cup because of this new development. On the other hand, if you get a skimming device that is more compact and has a collecting cup that is less capacious, you will discover that you need to change it more often. Some protein skimmers come equipped with a drain already installed, which makes the process much more convenient for you.

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