Lee's Protein Skimmer Counter Current
- Includes two-way plastic valves and hanger
- Protein Skimmers come preassembled and are low maintenance
- Easily adjusted
- Height: 12.06-inch capacity: up to 30-gallon
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Lee's counter current protein skimmers are ideal for use in saltwater fish and reef tanks. These protein skimmers help prevent toxic tank syndrome by removing proteins and other organics before they turn into harmful toxins to aquarium inhabitants.
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Top customer reviews
Well, to my happy surprise, it works. Less than an hour after I got it set up and tweaked, all sorts of goop was flowing into the collection cup. Suffice to say, it works as advertised.
A few caveats, however:
-This is an IN-TANK skimmer. You need to have room to squeeze it in, and you will be looking at it while admiring your aquarium. This will be an issue for some people. I have in the same corner with my heater and pump, but that corner is a bit crowded now.
-You need a good strong air pump. I had one on hand, so that wasn't an issue for me, but factor that into the price.
-You get what you pay for. The build quality is pretty much the minimum required to get it to work. Be careful with it, or you may break it.
-Be prepared to take some time and care to get it working right. It comes with some bare-bones instructions printed on the box, but that's it. You should have a good understanding of how protein skimmers work before setting it up, so you know what you're looking for. Basically, you want to see the bubbles churning around and filling the whole tube rather than rising to the top. The bubbles need to remain resident in the tube for a while to pick up the bad stuff.
Update (10/5/14): I've had this for two months now, and I'm bumping it from 4 stars to 5. It's worked perfectly so far. I can't imagine having gotten something more complicated and expensive than this, because it does pretty much everything you need a protein skimmer to do. Take care of it, and it will do fine.
Update (2/23/15): Six months on and not a speck of trouble.
Update 8/22/17: So a little over a year and its in the trash. After a while the plastic started breaking down and the suction cups were hard and falling off. I figure it functioned best up until the year mark, after that, not so much, replaced air stones and everything pretty regularly. The place where the air tube connects at the bottom would get stopped up with calcium so that had to be soaked pretty regularly, that part broke and had to call it a day for the Lees Skimmer. For the price I paid 19.97 I'll still keep it at 4 stars however I wouldn't pay more. I've moved on to an Aquatic Life 115. Seems to be going well. Right now at only $20 more, I'd definitely suggest that one over this one.
I only gave it 4 stars, because it's not easy to use. In addition to the air stone in the main chamber, there is a small tube where air bubbles draw water through the skimmer. It takes lots of patience to get the air flow adjusted on both lines before you get the skimmer working correctly. It comes with a plastic valve to adjust the air flow, but it was hard to adjust, so I use a metal "Jardin 4-Way Outlet", which made the adjustments much easier. The skimmer must also be positioned carefully for it to work well. If it it too deep, the bubbles will quickly fill the collection cup with water, and if it isn't deep enough nothing collects in the cup. This is especially a pain when the water levels in the tank vary with evaporation.
I use the skimmer with my freshwater tanks, with which most people say a protein skimmer won't work. I only use the skimmer when my TDS meter begins to show that the amount of gunk in the water has risen. Other than the troubles getting the skimmer to the perfect depth in the water, it is fairly convenient to put in a tank for a day or so and then remove it, or move it to another tank. To make this easier, I used a Sharpie to mark on each tank's outside where I need to position the skimmer's suction cup, and another mark where the water level needs to be.
My tanks have lots of plants, so I normally only need to change about 10% of the water each week. The next day after a water change, if the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) are still elevated, I stick the skimmer in the tank for a few days, and it helps remove them. If you have a saltwater tank, the skimmer would work much better. I bought the large version to use in my 55 gallon tanks. The small version would be a really great and affordable addition to a sump reservoir beneath a salt tank. In a sump the water level would be consistent, which would solve one of this skimmer's faults. While the small one won't remove tons of gunk from a large saltwater tank, it could be an effective addition to your other filtration since these dissolved organics are sometimes to be cleared by other filtration methods. Since water changes are lots more trouble with saltwater tanks, having some help clearing this gunk can be really helpful in reducing the amount water you must change each time.
It obviously is not as effective nor as easy to use as the skimmers that cost 10 times its price (or more), but it works much, much better than the really cheap ones or DIY versions made from a soda bottle. If you want try a protein skimmer, but don't have the money for the expensive ones, this is the one to try., The cheaper ones are a waste of time. The bubbles in a skimmer's chamber don't lift water to create a flow the way they do with DIY or small sponge bio filters. Without a counter current to bring new water into the chamber, the bubbles will simple keep the water in the chamber very well aerated, and have little or no effect on the rest of the tank.