5 Best Hang On Protein Skimmers (Updated: 2023)

Protein skimmers are one of those investments that you simply have to make at some point if your goal is that crystal clear aquarium water that makes your fishes colors POP.

It’s an important piece of equipment and can be a stress to maintain if you choose one that’s not fit for the job. That’s why it’s crucial to choose the best hang on back protein skimmer that you can afford.

You will save far more money in the long run if you buy a better quality protein skimmer. I can tell you that from experience.

With that being said, here is a breakdown of the 5 best hob protein skimmers on the market. They are all quality skimmers, but obviously, everyone’s requirements are slightly different.

What’s The Best HOB Protein Skimmer?

I originally wrote this article in 2016, when I was still experimenting to find the best hang on back protein skimmer.

Back then, I came to the conclusion that the Reef Octopus was the best hob protein skimmer on the market.

In 2023, I am still using the Reef Octopus on my main 200-gallon reef aquarium. I won’t be changing to anything different anytime soon.

Coral Vue Technology AC20287 Octopus Needle Wheel Skimmer for Aquarium Filter, 6-Inch, 211-Gallon
  • Coral vue octopus 6-inch needle wheel skimmer 211gal
  • Reef octopus pinwheel/needle wheel skimmers provide you with a high performance features in an easy to use package
  • New pinwheel impellers provide up to 100% improved performance
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05/24/2024 10:02 pm GMT

If you have a tank that isn’t 200-gallons, and you need something smaller, or more specific for your needs, here are 5 more that you could consider:

Reef Octopus Classic 100-HOB

Reef Octopus Classic 100 HOB Protein Skimmer

One of the most popular hang on back protein skimmers is the Classic 100 from Reef Central.

The design is very minimal, and it is very space-effective. It mounts from the inside of the aquarium, and it only takes a few minutes to set up.

The Reef Octopus Classic 100 can filter aquariums up to the size of 105 gallons, making it perfect for the majority of home aquariums.

If you are in the market for a top quality HOB skimmer but don’t want to waste money on a skimmer that’s too powerful for your smaller aquarium, then the Classic-100 would be a great choice.

Product Features:

  • Compatible with aquariums up to 105 gallons
  • Built in Aquatrance 1000 pump
  • Easy to set up. Simply hangs on the back of the tank.
  • Comes with an adjustable surface skimming attachment
  • Measures just 8 x 3 x 17 inch (L x W x H)
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IOAOI Hang On Protein Skimmer

IOAOI Hang On Protein Skimmer

For tanks on the larger side (upwards of 200 gallon), the HOB skimmer from IOAOI will be another good choice.

This skimmer is not only more affordable than the Reef Octopus 100, but is smaller in size and can handle upwards of 200 gallons of water, with a flow rate of ‎2000 liters per hour.

It’s also easy to install and set up. There can be a slight bit of noise for the first few days, but it will quieten down eventually and will give off nothing more than a slight buzz.

Overall, it’s a fantastic protein skimmer for larger tanks, and you certainly get a lot for your money. If you want something powerful enough to skim your large reef aquarium, then this one is for you.

Product Features:

  • Dense bubbles and no backflow.
  • Direct Current (DC) allows for adjustable rotational speed of the motor.
  • Measures ‎9 x 6.7 x 20 inch (L x W x H)
  • Built using thick, high quality acrylic and with superior craftsmanship
Protein Skimmers for Saltwater Aquariums up to 210 Gallons Fish Tank, DC Pump with Controller, In Sump Use
  • High grade acrylic construction
  • High quality needle wheel pump
  • Highly efficient, durable, reliable
  • Simple to set up and operate
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Aquamaxx HOB-1 Hang On Back Skimmer


Possibly the most powerful protein skimmer on this is the Aquamaxx HOB-1.

Perfect for aquariums up to 75 gallons, this sleek and quiet protein skimmer is equipped with a responsive collection cup and a powerful submersible pump.

The design is so light, it can even be used on nano aquariums, or any other type of small aquarium.

The team over at Aquamaxx have left no stone unturned with this one. Each skimmer is built with computer-precision engineering, and they utilize the latest and greatest filtration technology to make sure the job is done exactly how you would expect it to be done.

The HOB-1 are pretty simple to use. Just slide the collection cup up or down, depending on how you want to set the foam level (Wet or dry). The collection cup is removable, so cleaning is incredibly simple. The best part about this protein skimmer is the drain fitting that is included with the purchase, which allows you to set up a separate reservoir for skimmate, if required.

AquaMaxx have always been one of my favorite brands, because they understand the hobby inside and out. If you want to keep your salt water aquarium in tip top condition, then we highly recommend the HOB-1.

Product Features:

  • Recommended for tanks ranging from 50 to 75 gallons, but it can be used perfectly fine with smaller tanks.
  • Utilizes a Sicce Syncra 1.5 pump, which is included.
  • Consumes just 11 Watts of power
  • Measures just 7.5 x 3.5 x 17 inch (L x W x H)
AquaMaxx HOB-1.5 Hang-On-Back Protein Skimmer
  • Easy setup and maintenance
  • Efficient, durable and reliable
  • Adjustable foam levels
  • Made with polished cell-cast acrylic
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Coralvue Technology BH-1000 Octopus

Built using a unique, external fitting design, the BH-1000 is a very good protein skimmer which is perfect for those with little space between the back of their tanks, and the wall.

Because of it’s unique building design, the BH-1000 Octopus is mounted on to the tank externally, from the bottom of the skimmer, and the pump is also placed externally, ultimately reducing the amount of heat being transferred to the water.

Some larger hang on back protein skimmers have been known to overheat, and cause a fluctuation in aquarium temperature, which can compromise the safety of the entire reef, so eliminating that concern will be useful for all hobbyists.

The price point is spot on for such a quality skimmer. There are two models to choose from; One for 100 gallon tanks, and the other for 125 gallon tanks. Overall, it’s a very good protein skimmer, and we have no problem recommending it you our readers.

Product Features:

  • Unique external design can save space, and prevent overheating.
  • Parts are easy to remove and clean.
  • Comes with an external 1000 watt pump
  • Made from high quality acrylic instead of plastic
CoralVue Technology BH-1000 Octopus with External 1000 Pump for Aquarium Filter, 100-Gallon
  • Built with high-quality acrylic
  • Easy removal of the pump for cleaning and maintenance
  • Less room required behind the aquarium
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05/24/2024 10:25 pm GMT

Reef Octopus BH90 Hang On Protein Skimmer


Another popular hang on back protein skimmer on the market is the BH90 from Reef Octopus. Just like the BH-1000 which we mentioned before, the BH90 also utilizes a unique design which is different from a lot of other skimmers.

First of all, the body is cylindrical in shape, which looks great, but it’s not optimal for those with little space between the tank and the wall.

The other unique feature on the BH90 is way it uses a syphon to feed the watter into the protein skimmer, ultimately reducing the amount of load on the pump, and increasing the amount of air generated.

The Reef Octopus BH90 is perfect for getting rid of the oily buildup that can accumulate on the top of reef tanks, as well as any other scum and mater that may accumulate. Again, this one is moderately priced, but it’s definitely worth it. It performs well, it looks good, and it’s built to last. Job well done, Reef Octopus!

Reef Octopus BH90 Hang on Protein Skimmer
  • 4" Round Body HOB Skimmer w/external AQ1000s
  • Dim: 7.5" x 7.5" x 23.8"
  • Rated up to 130gal
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05/24/2024 01:59 pm GMT

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