I have been wanting to upgrade my protein skimmer on my 400 gallon reef system for a little while now. For years I have been using ASM protein skimmers with great success but thought it was time to try one of the newer types of protein skimmers on the market. After doing a bunch of research the Skimz line of protein skimmers caught my eye with it's nice robust look and very efficient needle wheel water pumps. They also have a compact footprint which is very nice for in sump protein skimmers. I decided to order the SM201 model from AquaCave. They are one of the only distributors in the US that carries these. This skimmer is rated for 214-533 gallon aquariums depending on the bio load. The water pump uses only 20 watts of electricity and draws in air at a rate of 960l/h . The footprint is small at 9.4"x9.4" and is 21.8" tall.
When I received the skimmer it was well packaged.
[caption id="attachment_175" align="alignnone" width="400"] Skimz SM201 In Box[/caption]
The protein skimmer comes disassembled. It took 10 minutes to get it assembled and ready to put into my sump. One thing that stuck out to me is how nicely all the parts were manufactured and how robust they felt.
Here is a closeup of the ES5000 water pump. It sits inside the body of the protein skimmer. Its efficiency is one of the major things that drew me to this skimmer.
[caption id="attachment_177" align="alignnone" width="400"] Skimz ES5000 Skimmer pump[/caption]
Here is the assembled protein skimmer. It has a skimmer cup with a removable lid. It twists to the skimmer body for easy removal. The only nuisance I found is that there is a gasket that seals that area that like to move out of place sometimes when you remove the skimmer cup. There are two adjustments on the skimmer. One controls the amount of air going into the skimmer and the other adjusts the water level in the skimmer. They are both screw valve type adjustments so fine tuning is possible.
[caption id="attachment_178" align="alignnone" width="400"] Skimz SM201 Protein Skimmer[/caption]
Finally most importantly how does it perform. Within one day it was producing a very light skimmate. The break in period was a couple of days and it was filling the skimmer cup up in two days or so. It took me a week to get the skimmer dialed in with a dark semi-wet skimmate that I like. It now fills the skimmer cup up every 3-4 days with a dark smelly skimmate. It easily out performs my ASM G4 Plus. The ASM would produce the same type of skimmate but would take twice as long to pull it out as well as it used 90 watts of electricity and took up more space in my sump.
[caption id="attachment_180" align="alignnone" width="560"] Skimz Skimmer Skimmate after 3 days of skimming[/caption]
Overall I am extremely happy with my purchase. The quality level and the performance of this skimmer are well worth the money. The pricing on the skimmer is reasonable at $450 for this size. They make a variety of difference sizes and also have a cone version. If you are looking for a very efficient high performing skimmer this is the one for you. I plan on replacing my Reef Octopus with the Skimz SM162 in the near future.