a protein skimmer only works in a saltwater environment, and if your still doing a freshwater tank, it will will not help you what so ever. Surface tension is what makes protein skimming possible, more importantly the interaction between the oxygen bubble (being injected) and the surrounding water creates friction between the two. The friction then causes the dissolved organics to stick to the bubbles and ride them to the surface (as any gas is always lighter than water) this process is only possible (in our home aquarium) because of the density of saltwater. Freshwater just is too â€˜lightâ€™ to have the same effect
adding zeolite will be at best counter productive. when starting a tank you need the cycle to begin and end when it will of its own decision, or when you add new fish to the tank your bio filter must adapt to that change adding things to speed up the process will very often lead to a cycle that last much longer than it would normally or simply and utterly crash. by adding zeolite to your canister you will actually be damaging your bio filter by not allowing it to naturally adapt and when the zeolite becomes exhausted the bio filter will have to adapt twice as fast or you will lose fish from ammonia poisoning. circumventing the normal cycle or mini - cycle when adding new fish by zeolite is a dangerous thing to do and you should avoid it when you can.imho
zeolite should only be used in a few select situations.
1) when they are has been a power outage for more than 6hours,where massive bacteria die off has occurred, using zeolite here will save the fish by keeping ammonia lvls down till the bio filters have re adapted over the course of a few days/weeks.
2) using a copper based or mercin based medicine on a tank (usually salt tank related here) where to save your fish from an infection you have to kill the bacteria colonies. similar to the first rule though.
3) overhauling an existing tank, where you have to disturb the gravel bed, bacterial filter media etc all at once (instead of pacing it out over a few week period)
just my 2 cents though.