, because you are likely going to get a huge variety of opinions on this.
It is a bit of a value judgment.
I've run a FOWLR
for a really long time - very successfully with out a Skimmer. I have friends who also do this. However, I would not suggest skipping the sump/overflow approach as it provides a few critical things that a closed loop canister can not. For one thing, when you use the overflow approach you are effectively skimming. The only difference is that you are skimming from the surface of the water rather than in a reaction chamber using the surface are of thousands of little bubbles. Ofcourse in this case you're skimming but not removing (i.e. no generation of foam) instead stuff goes to your bio filter.
So why is this beneficial? Because most DOC
(including various proteins, enzymes and toxic chemicals) react with oxygen and hence gravitate toward the surface of the tank ( as well as all of those bubbles in a protein skimmer). So the overflow approach delivers all of the items you want to filter down to your sump.
The advantage of a protein skimmer is that you can remove the DOC
's before they are processed by your Bio system. However, there is reasonable evidence that protein skimmers remove a lot of good stuff as well. Some will counter that that stuff can later be re-added but the argument sort of goes, why remove it if you don't have to.
So it's a bit of personal choice in the end.
But I've seen plenty of systems in my 30 years in this hobby that run very successfully without P.S.'s