The Skilter combination power filter and protein skimmer is a fabled aquarium object that is sure to pull on the heartstrings of the old salts still reefing today. Despite being introduced nearly 20 years ago, the Skilter has never really been duplicated, even though more than a decade has passed since this unique device was phased out of production.
Back by popular demand, Danner is bringing the Skilter back to aquarium store shelves, and we can’t wait to try out it again, but mostly for nostalgic reasons. You see the Skilter was among some of the devices we used on our very first ‘saltwater’ aquariums and we think this device was not given the proper chance to be refined and turned into the pinnacle of value that it represents.
A running Skilter 400 with the air turned off, showing the internals of this fabled aquarium filter
The Skilter had its heyday in the Golden Age of marine aquariums, right around the time that ‘Mini Reefs’ were becoming popular, but long before Nano Reefs and the reef aquarium hobby exploded in general. Almost no one would accuse the Skilter of being a powerful protein skimmer; it made lots of noise each time the air hits the impeller, ejected plenty of microbubbles into the aquarium water, and virtually everyone had tricks and tweaks to make it work better.
Nevertheless, Danner claims that it has included some refinements and improvements to the design of the Skilter 250 and its larger brother the Skilter 400, but there’s no way these power filter protein skimmer combinations will live up to filtering up to 125 gallons of water as their old ratings claimed. More likely, the venerable Skilter seems like it could be a standout device for use on smaller tanks, quarantine tanks and small holding aquariums wherein you want to thoroughly aerate and filter the water, while also aerating the aquarium water to improve the health of quarantined and new fishes.
Surely some of you have some fond memories of the Skilter filters and the DIY modifications you came up with, so be a dear and let us know in the comments below. We’ll be sure to do a 2016 review of the return of this classic protein skimmer, so stay tuned for more on this classic aquarium device in the near future.
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