Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer Review

Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer Review

Protein skimmers are an important component of tank maintenance. When I first started this hobby I tried regulating my system without a skimmer but quickly realized this is almost impossible.

The sheer number of skimmer options can be daunting, but this Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer review will take a look at my go-to choice and help you decide whether or not it’s the right skimmer for your system as well.

Things to Consider Before Buying an Aquarium Protein Skimmer

Protein skimmers are an important part of any saltwater system for a couple of reasons:

  • Lowers potentially harmful levels of nitrates, phosphates, and proteins
  • Maintains accurate PH levels
  • Increases oxygen concentration
  • Reduces the number of times the tank has to be cleaned
  • Removes the nutrient layer from the surface of the water so proper photosynthesis can occur

The most important thing to look at when choosing a skimmer is the gallon capacity. As you’ll see in this Aquatop Xyclone protein skimmer review, this device is rated for a maximum capacity of 100 gallons and can be used for anything up to, but not exceeding, that limit.

Other important factors to look for when choosing a protein skimmer include the right mounting options, easy cleaning, and a large number of small bubbles in the skimmer for maximum nutrient removal.

Every system, no matter the size, can benefit from a protein skimmer. However, if your tank is smaller than 50 gallons and doesn’t need frequent filtration, you should choose a smaller-capacity protein skimmer so you don’t use unnecessary electricity over-cleaning your water.

Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer Review

AquaTop Xyclone Protein SkimmerThe Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer Review combines many of the filtration options from Aquatop into one functional, comprehensive system. This skimmer is an excellent option if you’re working on setting up your sump and filtration system and don’t already have a surface skimmer or sponge filtration.

The Xyclone comes with a pump, needle wheel impeller, removable collection cup, in-sump or hang-on mounting, and all additional accessories necessary for smooth setup and operation.


  • Large capacity
  • Low price point
  • Can be sump or rear-mounted
  • Quiet operation
  • Needle-wheel impeller


  • Unclear setup and break-in instructions
  • Slightly longer break-in period
  • Gallon capacity can be overkill for smaller systems

Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer Features & Benefits


The Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer is rated for tanks up to 100 gallons, though you can use it for smaller systems. As long as the pump is fully submerged, this protein skimmer should work in your tank. The impressive capacity makes this skimmer an excellent option for large tanks or smaller tanks that can benefit from more frequent cycling.

While you can get a skimmer that is rated for a higher capacity than your tank, you should never get one that is rated lower. This would cause protein and nutrient levels to build up in your system faster than they can be cycled out. When calculating the gallon capacity you’ll need, be sure to take into account your sump and refugium as well as your main system.

Gallons Per Hour

You’ll also want to make sure your protein skimmer cycles through all the water in your tank 2-3 times an hour to keep things running smoothly.

The Xyclone is rated for 370 gallons of water per hour, which means that in a 100-gallon tank, the water will be cleaned 3.7 times. If you’re using it for a smaller system, say a 50-gallon setup, your water will be cycled even more frequently (7.4 times in this example). This can be useful for systems that have a high nutrient output and need a more aggressive filtration system.

Needle-Wheel Impeller

As mentioned before, one of the important things to look for in a protein skimmer is a large amount of very small bubbles in the extraction process. This is due to the fact that skimmers remove proteins and excess nutrients from the water through a process called “foam fractionation”.

Essentially, a skimmer uses an impeller to mix water from your tank with air pulled through an intake valve. This causes tiny bubbles to form and rise to the top of the main tube and overflow into the collection cup. As these bubbles lift from the water, they trap tiny particles of organic material on their surfaces and carry this waste out of the system and into the deposit area.

Since the removal of particles is dependent on the total surface area of the bubbles, it’s important to find a skimmer – such as the Xyclone – that uses a needle-wheel impeller rather than the standard impeller. The standard looks like a miniaturized version of a prop propeller you would see on a small aircraft.

It can create a nice amount of bubbles, but not nearly as many as the needle-wheel impeller which has multiple small spikes attached to a disk.

Easy to Clean

AquaTop Xyclone Protein SkimmerSince the matter pulled out of the water – often referred to as skimmate – has to be deposited somewhere, you’ll want to make sure the skimmer you choose is easy to clean.

The Xyclone excels in this area since the collection cup is easily accessible and can be detached, rinsed, and replaced without hassle. No messing with screws, disassembling pieces, or pulling the whole skimmer out of your sump like you may find in other systems.

Variable Mounting

Another great feature of the Xyclone is its various mounting options. This skimmer can be placed in your sump or mounted on the back of your tank if you’re not using a sump or if the skimmer doesn’t fit in your sump space.

How Does The Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer Compare To The Competition?

Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer vs Seaclone 100 Protein Skimmer

The Seaclone 100 Protein Skimmer is also rated for 100 gallons and can be placed in a sump or mounted on the side of a tank. It has a slightly cheaper price point than the Xyclone but uses a “Vortex Reaction Chamber” to mix the water instead of a needle-wheel impeller. This, coupled with its lack of output adjustment, makes the Seaclone less efficient and controllable.

This could be a good option, though, if you have a system that doesn’t require heavy filtration and you need a budget-friendly alternative.

Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer vs Macro Aqua M-50 Mini Hang-on External Protein Skimmer

The Macro Aqua M-50 Mini Hang-on External Protein Skimmer has a max capacity of 60 gallons and can only be back-mounted to a system. Like the Xyclone, it uses a needle-wheel impeller and is fairly easy to keep clean.

This is a good little skimmer if you have a smaller system that doesn’t need frequent cycling and you’re not using a sump.

Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer vs Coralife Super Protein Skimmer with Pump

The Coralife Super Protein Skimmer with Pump has a much higher price point than any of the other options here. It has many of the same features as the Xyclone, including variable mounting options and Coralife’s take on a needle-wheel impeller.

The main difference is that the Coralife comes in a 120-gallon option. This makes it the only capacity-appropriate choice here for tanks exceeding 100 gallons.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this Aquatop Xyclone Protein Skimmer review has shown how efficient and practical this particular device is when it comes to finding the right protein skimmer for your system. The Xyclone has a large capacity, prolific bubble production, different mounting options, and is easy to keep clean.

Click here to check out the Xyclone protein skimmer and see how it can help keep your tank balanced, clean, and healthy.

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