When to introduce the Protein Skimmer?

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Sep 10, 2021
Rookie here......1st saltwater tank is 25 gal. Fusion Pro. just filled 12 days ago.

I know the skimmer's importance, but I am noticing a film on the water, almost from the very beginning. I did use RO water.
I did use live sand but not live rock. I used Dr. Tim's tank bacteria too.(I think that was the name).

Anyway at what point is it best to introduce a protein skimmer to the tank? Should I wait until the tank cycles completely? and then should I install a skimmer before any cleanup crew or fish? or wait even longer?

I googled this and didn't get much info that I need......
The film on the surface is a sign of not enough water movement from your powerheads. Try to point them up so you get plenty of surface agitation, and this will also help your gas/air exchange to help create a higher and more stable PH level.

Skimmer- yes, let the tank fully cycle. I’d invest in a low range PO4 and NO3 test kit, I like the Red Sea Pro. Once you’re cycled, and begin a feeding regimen for your livestock, that would be a good time to start the skimmer up. If you don’t quite have a bioload, your skimmer will not produce anything. Keep an eye on your PO4 and NO3 levels. You’ll want to keep these numbers in check, and this will ultimately help determine water change needs, feeding schedule, amount, etc.

Hope that helps.
I have a nuvo 20 and honestly you really don’t need a skimmer in that size tank. Most of the hob skimmers are worthless and will cause more headache than they’re worth. Investing in good kits and keeping up on water changes will serve you well.
I don’t run a skimmer on my 20cube aio either. Water changes will be adequate for nutrient control.
If you decide to go with a skimmer, don't skimp on one. Cheap ones will simply waste your money.
Make sure you have 1 lbs per gallon in the tank so you have enough surface area for the beneficial bacteria to live on.
But when it comes to running a skimmer during your cycle or not, I was taught that it won't do anything harmful. Now, how they work tell me that it should lengthen the cycle process, but if someone is getting a brand new skimmer and it needs to break in and get rid of the natural oils from manufacturing...then one might as well run the skimmer during the cycle. It won't be running right from the gate and needs about 3 weeks-ish to work correctly. About the length of time of an average cycle.
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