Why don't freshwater tank keepers use protein skimmers?

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Aquaphobia

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I was just reading one of those little factoids that pop up on the side of the page, this time about protein skimmers. I'd always wondered what the heck they were but ignored them because they're for saltwater and I don't have that kind of setup. On reading it though I thought it sounded like a darned good idea! Is there a reason why they're not used on freshwater systems? Or are they and I've just never noticed?
 

AquaticBrandon

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Using a skimmer in a freshwater tank would be a waste. Freshwater is not as dense as Saltwater. Also your dissolved organic material won't get separated like it would in a saltwater tank. I'm guessing you were talking about using a saltwater skimmer in a Freshwater tank? They do sell surface skimmers for freshwater tanks but I think they may be different.


 

Anders247

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I believe most protein skimmers won't work in freshwater and the ones that do are very, very expensive.
 
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Aquaphobia

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Ah. Knew there had to be a reason or six. It just sounded really good!
 

Frank the Fish guy

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Surface tension is the key. Salt water has high surface tension compared to fresh. The surface tension makes the bubbles and froth that present a charged surface which then collects charged molecules in the little cup.

If you run a protein skimmer on fresh water (yes I have tried) nothing happens. No froth, no collection, just bubbles that PoP!
 
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Aquaphobia

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so basically, a very expensive aerator!
 
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