I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Learn more.

3 Best Cheap Protein Skimmer For Reef Tank

What can be better than a clean and clear fish tank? Many people struggle to find an appropriate tool for proper cleaning of aquariums or fish tanks. If you are one of those as well, then we are here to provide you peace of mind. How so?

Well, investing in a product that is capable of handling the job can make you feel relaxed. The simplest solution to handle this problem is purchasing a protein skimmer.

We understand that you want to give a pleasant and healthy environment for your fish.

Nothing seems better, can a fresh and appealing aquarium with clean water and colorful fish, right?

However, maintaining a clean tank is not easy without the ideal tool. Protein skimmers allow you to efficiently clean the fish tank water by removing all toxins and waste materials.

Are you still wondering about which one to choose or purchase?

You can undoubtedly find numerous options in the market. Each unit has its own set of pros and cons as well. Let us put some light upon the best cheap protein skimmers for you.

Moreover, in the end, we’ll also take you through a detailed guide on finding the best cheap protein skimmers.

[amazon table=”13211″]

Instant Ocean SeaClone Protein Skimmer

[amazon box=”B000255NLE”]

When it comes to the best yet the most affordable systems in the category of protein skimmers, the Instant Ocean SeaClone is the first name that pops in mind.

The makers have invested passion in its making, and the results are also up to the mark. If you are thinking about why it managed to top our list, then here’s why.

The availability of this unit is in two sizes. As per your requirement, you have a choice to either choose the 100-gallon size or go with the 150-gallon size.

This efficient unit is capable of removing the dissolved wastes from your tank’s water with the help of its powerful mechanism.

The turbo-venturi injector system, coupled with the maxi-jet 1200 pump, ensure a long-lasting and powerful functioning. The best thing about this specific system is that it offers you a versatile installation.

If you want ample space inside your tank, you can opt for the external hang-on option. However, if you do not want your skimmer to be visible externally, then choose to install it as an in-sump skimmer.


  • Available in two sizes
  • Removes dissolved wastes
  • Turbo-Venturi Injector System
  • Maxi-Jet 1200 pump
  • Versatile installation


  • Noisy functioning
  • May start getting leaked.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “Seaclone 100 Protein Skimmer”

Macro Aqua Protein Skimmer

[amazon box=”B01597SD8Y”]

Another big name in the industry is the Macro Aqua Protein Skimmer. The model is named M-50 and has proved to be one of the most benefitting ones. It is an external hang-on system. If you want to save up space inside the tank, it would be the best choice for you.

The capacity of this skimmer is 60 gallons. So, if you own a tank of a size somewhere between 10 to 15 gallons, this model will suit you amazingly well.

The compact nature of its design is bound to conquer your heart. You will just have to plug it in, and it will start working. This ease in operation will make this unit your favorite.

Other than these points, another worth-mentioning one is its quiet operation that lets you be at peace. The installation procedure is not too hard, as well.

The M-50 can easily remove all the organic waste from your tank’s water. Plus, the 238GPH of water flow makes it even promising.


  • 238GPH of Water flow
  • Quiet operation
  • Eliminates organic waste
  • Easy to clean
  • Effortless installation procedure
  • Hang-on system


  • Might get your tank to overflow
  • Leakage issue

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “Macro Aqua M-50 (2020) Hang-on Back Protein Skimmer Quick Setup”

Coralife 30G Marine Filter Protein Skimmer

[amazon box=”B07G7GGVZS”]

The Coralife 30G Marine Filter Protein Skimmer is another name that comes to one’s mind while thinking of the best cheap protein skimmers.

What makes it an efficient system, and what additional benefits does it offer?

All of this is described below.

The Coralife protein skimmer is all that you need due to its optimal filtration quality.

It is an all in one power filter that offers multiple layers of filtration to guarantee cleaner and better water for your tank. The maximum size of this unit is 30 gallons. The compact design and decent look of this system make it one of its kind.

As this unit comes equipped with a motor, do not worry about the efficiency that you will get. This unit will provide you with a powerful experience.

For your convenience, there is an adjusting feature for the airflow. This helps in controlling the microbubbles. With the easily removable cup, you can get the debris out of it without thorough cleaning of the system.


  • All in one power filter
  • 30 gallons of capacity
  • Motor equipped
  • Multiple filtration layers
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Reduced maintenance


  • Noisy
  • Filter does not last long

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “Coralife power filter + protein skimmer”

Best Cheap Protein Skimmers – The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

How To Purchase The Best Cheap Protein Skimmers?

When you are about to make an investment into such a product, all you want is perfection in functionality and durable, reliable experience. For getting these benefits, you will have to be a little skeptical during your purchase. Here are some important factors that need your attention.


Tank Size

The foremost thing to consider before purchasing is the size of the tank that you own. Why so? Well, the capacity for protein skimmers varies from product to product. This capacity determines its capability of handling a specific sized tank or aquarium.

It would be great for you to opt for a unit that has a higher capacity than that of your tank size. This will enable speedy and strain-less functioning. This implies to the fact that if you own an aquarium that has a capacity of 30 to 35 gallons of water, go for a protein skimmer that holds the capacity of 100 gallons. In this way, the user will get more cleaning rooms and higher functionality.


Size Of Skimmer

Different models are available in different sizes all across the sector. Do sort out your preferences before making the final purchase. Make sure to invest your cash into a system that is enough to clean the whole tank efficiently.

However, the area you have will determine whether you want a unit that is large or not. You can find models that are quite large if you have ample space. However, if you do not have too much space for the installation, opting for a compact version would be much better.


Sample Text

Another critical point is determining the type of protein skimmer that you need. The basic types of protein skimmers are as following:

  • Hang-On Protein Skimmers
  • In-Sump Protein Skimmers
  • In-Tank Skimmers
  • External Skimmers

Hang-On Protein Skimmers

If you are finding a model that is easy to install and compact in size as well, a hang-on protein skimmer will prove as the perfect option for you. As this type’s name indicates, it will mount on the back of the aquarium and perform its functions without gathering internal space. For mounting these up, you will have to use brackets.

In-Sump Protein Skimmers

It is a reservoir-like pump. The plus point about this type is that it won’t show up as well due to internal setup. The efficient clean-up that this skimmer allows you to experience is all that you need. But, again, much of your aquarium’s inner space will get occupied.

In-Tank Skimmers

If you do not want any extra thing to be visible externally and ruin the beauty of your fish tank, then an in-tank skimmer is the appropriate one to get. As this will fit inside the fish tank or aquarium, you will not have to deal with wet floors anymore.

The air pump is the main responsible component for this type’s functioning. However, beware of the fact that they take much of the inner space.

External Skimmers

Just as the name indicates, these protein skimmers have their setup present externally. They are also efficient in cleaning water and will not take any internal tank space as well.

[amazon table=”13211″]

The Conclusion

In a nutshell, when you set off to find the appropriate gear for the upkeep of your fish tank or aquarium, do remember that a protein skimmer does this job pretty well.

However, for buying the best cheap protein skimmer, you will have to consider certain points such as tank size, type, size of the skimmer, etc.

All the three above-mentioned and described products are considered to be the best in this domain.

So, if you want your fish to enjoy a happy, healthy life, then choose any of these protein skimmers and get going.

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

Aqua Movement