Welcome to Best hang on back protein skimmer HOB 2018 buyers guide.

What is the best hang on the back protein skimmer?. Well you want one that does a great job of skimming the surface that produces good skimmate. Easy to set up, Doesn't cost the earth.

So why a HOB protein skimmer. Well not everyone has a sump set up, as they can take up a lot of space and do cost a bit with the extra kit needed.

When looking for the best HOB skimmer cost is a big factor, as you can buy as HOB skimmer for as little as $30 and as much as $250 also the size of the skimmer how much capacity the skimmer has as you want to match it to your aquarium.

So let take a look at some of the best HOB skimmers 2018.

hang on back protein skimmer review

Best HOB protein skimmer table


Protein skimmer



Tank size



Reef Octopus Classic 100-hang on back Protein Skimmer

8" X 3.25

17" H

up to 100

Coralife Super Skimmer with Pump in sump HOB

5.5" X 4.25

20" H

up to 65

Eshopps 75 gallon best protein skimmer

7" X 6"


up to 75

Aquatic life nano protein skimmer

3" X 3 1/4"

10 5/8"H


up to 30

hang on back protein skimmer review

9.44" x 5.11" x 18.5"H.

up to 80

best nano hang on back protein skimmer

4" x 5" 11.5"H

up to 60

How does a protein skimmer work

A protein skimmer works due to the impeller in the pump producing  tiny micro air bubbles. The proteins and waste attach to these micro bubbles which then rise inside the protein skimmer chamber up to the collection cup. The pump and impeller are the major components on how well the protein skimmer produces skimmate.

Do i need a protein skimmer

Well that does depend on the type of aquarium you have, If you have a marine aquarium ie Saltwater then a protein skimmer would be a good investment. Protein skimmers don't work in Freshwater aquariums as such as they need the waste molecules that you don't get in Freshwater tanks. You just don't get that molecular attraction for the proteins to attach. Here is a more in depth guide on protein skimming.

HOB protein skimmer reviews.

Eshopps Hang On back Protein Skimmer

Best HOB protein skimmer

The Eshopps was also included in our best protein skimmer review. The HOB skimmer uses the upgraded Sicce pump which is a big improvement. It's a HOB type which makes it a skimmer you don't have to worry or need to have a sump tank fitted so they are beneficial for that reason. With the Sicce pump in this HOB that is the same as the sump model so you know you are getting a good quality skimmer.

It's a nice compact size for a HOB protein skimmer that's 4" diameter.

Using a needle impeller in the silent running the Sicce pump to generate the bubbles you know this protein skimmer will generate the right amount to give it the best water contact to bubbles ratio.

A removable cup that makes life easier when it comes to cleaning out any scum that is generated, Also additionally with the drain plug it helps to empty the cup before cleaning it.

A slant neck design helps to maximize the transitions of bubbles to rise to the collection cup more easily for a better skimming effect.


  • Good build quality
  • Easy adjustment
  • Very small footprint for a HOB
  • Cons

  • Can take time to settle down

  • Reef Octopus Classic hang on back Protein Skimmer

    Best HOB protein skimmer

    This reef octopus HOB (hang-on-back) skimmer, can filter up to 105 gallons. With this setup, the pump is mounted inside the aquarium. Then you just hang the skimmer body on the back of your aquarium. adjust the intake flow then you're ready to start skimming!

    The pump features a pinwheel design which is the optimum design to maximize the number of bubbles it can produce to make it more effective on skimming.

    This Octopus skimmer is very quiet.  It also has a good size collection cup that allows you to adjust it to get the most efficient skim. Also, the cup cannot overflow and make a mess of the floor, as once the cup reaches a certain level it just overflows back into the skimmer.


  • Easy setup and startup.
  • Great value for money.
  • Cons

  • Can be a little tricky to adjust.
  • Could do with a drain outlet for emptying the collection cup.

  • Coralife HOB Super Skimmer with Pump


    The Corallife protein skimmer can be used in a sump or you can hang it on the back of your aquarium. Which is an advantage if you wanted to go down the sump route in the future.

    It features a needle wheel impeller in the pump that creates the best vortex effect.  The result is this creates the maximum amount of micro bubbles to attract the proteins in the water. With a bubble production diffuser that prevents the flow of the micro-bubbles back into the aquarium.

    The collection cup is a good size so you don't have to worry about in overflowing because with the right adjustment you can get it just right. It also features a wide neck for best results with an easy twist fixture for easy removal and cleaning this is a nice feature.

    With the HOB option, this Coralife protein skimmer is a great introduction to using a protein skimmer as the installation isn't overly complicated.  This way you don't have to worry about the setup.


    • With the dual injection inlets for increased water contact to make this a very efficient skimmer
    • This skimmer only takes about 36hrs to break in and start to extract proteins
    • very easy to assemble


  • can overflow if the water level isn't maintained properly
  • when mounting on the back it can vibrate and cause noise

  • Aquatic Life 115 mini internal protein skimmer

    Aquatic life nano protein skimmer

    The aquatic life internal skimmer is one of the smaller protein skimmers in our review. Even though it's an internal rather than a HOB it is value for money when on a tight budget so thought i would include it here.

    It can skim up to 30 gallons another word for this skimmer is a nano protein skimmer.

    With a measurement of only 3"x3 1/4 and 10 5/8 high so it's one of the smaller profile HOB out there so you know it will not stand out when it's hanging on the back of your tank.

    It features a needle wheel impeller so it will create the most micro bubbles for such a small unit the pump is only 8 watts so you know it's very energy efficient, It also is very quiet which is what you'd expect from such a small unit.

    You can adjust the water flow easily with just a turn of the knob to get the right amount of air to bubble to produce the best skimmate.

    The mounting brackets and suction cups make it a doddle to mount in any thickness aquariums.


    • Nice and small sleek design with a small footprint.
    • Small 8 watt pump so energy efficient
    • Value for money.


    • To work at it's best some have lengthened the intake tube.
    • The suction cups can sometimes slide down.

    Bubble Magus E3 Hang-On Back Skimmer

    hang on back protein skimmer review

    The Bubble magus protein skimmer has many option and adjustabilty that you would expect from a well know brand.

    This model works best with aquariums from 25 gallons up to 80 gallons.

    The very efficient pump uses a needle wheel impeller with a venturi intake that works just the right amount and size of bubbles for the perfect water contact for the proteins to attach. it's one of the quieter units with the only noise being the suction of air for the venturi.

    With the adjustable air valve so you can fine tune the unit so it produces just the right amount of skimmate, It just a question of getting the adjustment right after the break in time. The bubble plate that comes with the magus will keep any turbulence down to a minimum inside the reaction chamber.

    A bubble trap output will reduce any bubbles making there way back out of the protein skimmer and back into your aquarium. When first breaking in some micro bubbles will return to the aquarium but once fully broken in they will eventually stop.


    • Very quite unit hardly any pump sound. 
    • Lots of adjustability.
    • For the size of the unit it's compact.


    • Needs to be first run-in fully open to stop it overflowing.

    Macro Aqua M 50 Nano Hang On Back Protein Skimmer

    best nano hang on back protein skimmer

    Next up in this best HOB protein skimmer is the Macro Aqua M-50 It's capable of skimming aquariums up to 60 gallons. This protein skimmer is more a plug and play without to much adjusting needed. with a water flow of 238GPH which is impressive for such a small unintrusive unit.

    The pump has a needle-wheel impeller for maximum scavenging of water to produce the needed micro-bubbles that will allow the waste and proteins to attach for the best skimming possible.

    For the size of the Macro Aqua it does produce good skimming results. some people have had difficulty getting it set up which was mainly due to not letting it break in for a couple days so that it then settles down.

    It has a small footprint of only 4"L x 5"W 11.5"H so should fit nicely behind a tank that doesn't have much room between the tank and wall.


    • Very good skimmer for the money.
    • Nice small footprint.


    • Have to be patient with breaking it in can take couple days.
    • Not the quitest pump.