SCA Protein Skimmer Review


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Tank Size Noise Level Longevity Price Rating
up to 180 Gallons Low 2+ Years Low 7/10

The SCA is a pretty good skimmer with a lower price than its closest competition, the Bubble Magus. One thing to note is the small body and footprint. With a 9 x 9.5 inch foot print, you can fit this skimmer in even the smallest of sumps. The pump produces a similar, dense foam that collects skimmate reliably. It is also really energy efficient, which adds up since skimmers are often running 24/7. Combine this with the ability to manage tanks up to 180 gallons and you have a solid protein skimmer.

The issue that comes with the lower cost skimmer is mostly the one of losing power/restarting. After reorganizing the power cables I noticed that the SCA protein skimmer was not restarting like the other skimmers would. I lifted it out, listened to the pump and heard it hum a little before putting it back in the sump. It started back up so I assume the impeller just gets stuck sometimes when restarting it.

Features
  • Despite the small size, the SCA protein skimmer works great for large tanks. It really gives the bigger brands a run for their money.
  • The custom pump runs quietly and produces great bubbles for removing skimmate.
  • The laser cut parts are extremely easy to assemble.
  • The wineglass shape makes the skimmer fairly durable.
  • An included drain tube for the skimmate cup makes maintaining the skimmer a breeze.

The impeller features a unique head that, as it spins, creates a swath of small bubbles. These are then compacted in the bubble chamber to form a dense foam, which does an amazing job at removing skimmate.

Dimensions
  • 9″W x 9.5″L x 18″H
Set-up

Setting up the SCA protein skimmer isn’t very difficult. For the most part you need to take the four screws off of the base of the skimmer. Next you’re going to connect the pump adapter to the pump, pushing it through the bubble cup. Screw it into place, but do not over tighten it. Then place the bubble cap onto the bubble cup with the solid side over the water pumps output. Use the long white screw to connect the bubble cups lid to the base. You do not need any tools for these. Just use your hands and make it tight enough to hold. Next install base plate of the water pump and the pump itself on the inside of the skimmers body. You want the pump to be right next to the case of the skimmer so that you can connect the intake valve. Push the water pump into the small end of the blue intake piece and twist it to secure the two together. The tube will go up and to the side of the collection cup and is used to install the air silencer.

Next we just need to slide in the blue tube. This will go into the adjustment area and bottom blue port just underneath it. This blue tube will have a small dot on it. This will show what the skimmer is set to. You can color the dot or make it easier to see if it isn’t visible enough for your liking. Screw the body back onto the base of the skimmer and you’re ready to go.

The air silencer creates a path for loose air, which would otherwise run through the skimmer and make a fair amount of noise.

Adjustments

As stated in the set up section, the SCA protein skimmer is adjusted using the small blue tube on the side of the skimmer. The adjustment tube is surrounded by markings that make it a lot easier to set and reset your skimmer

  • How to adjust the amount of bubbles
  • Turn the blue adjustment tube clockwise decrease the bubbles
  • Turn the blue adjustment tube counter clockwise to increase the bubbles

Being a lower cost skimmer means you may have to wait a full week for this skimmer to break in. In this time you shouldn’t try too hard to get the skimmer running perfectly. As it breaks in and adjusts to your tank the bubble level will fluctuate. This means you should really leave the bubbles a bit low so that they don’t suddenly surge and overflow from the top of the skimmer.

Warranty & Lifetime

I have not had this skimmer long enough for it to break down, however I have seen it break down in another persons tank. They had owned it for over two years but only cleaned out the skimmer and water pump twice since they owned it. If you are fairly regular on your cleanings, maybe 3-4 times a year, you can probably expect a longer lifetime. Again this is based more off my knowledge on water pumps rather than this specific skimmer.

The company SCAquatics offers a 1 year warranty from the date of purchase. This may not be too long however the pump used is the Atman PH2000. It’s on a pretty good sale most of the times, costing less than a third of a new skimmer. Seeing as only the water pump is able to break, this makes a short warranty not too big of an issue. Additionally any new pumps will come with the same 1 year warranty.

Summed up

The SCA Protein Skimmer does a good job for the low price its sold at. It runs just about the same as a bubble magus but doesn’t restart every time it loses and regains power. The collection cup is fairly big and comes with a drain tube, so keeping the skimmer running doesn’t take much effort. If you’re in the market for a powerful skimmer but don’t want to spend too much the SCA is the perfect choice for you.

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