Cyclic Tasks: Cleaning the Skimmer and Emptying its Cup

Table of Contents

This article is part of the “Cyclic tasks” series, intended for beginner aquarists who are looking for the basics of running a saltwater aquarium, or for those who are considering setting up a tank and want to understand the amount of work involved.

In the article What work on the aquarium should be done periodically you’ll find a complete list of tasks, along with links to articles that expand on individual topics.

Happy reading!

Removing dirt from the skimmer cup

After the skimmer fills the cup with dirt, pour out the contents, wash the cup and the pipe that drains the dirty foam into the cup.

It’s very important, especially with more sensitive corals, that the skimmer does not pour dirt back into the aquarium. Therefore, you need to regularly check the sump or put in a mechanism that will turn off the skimmer when the cup is overflowing.

If the skimmer is set up so that large amounts of foam get into the cup, this also causes a significant loss of brine in the circuit, which must be replenished to avoid changes in salinity.

The frequency of emptying the cup in the skimmer depends on what is happening in the aquarium. In some cases it may be daily, in others even once a week.


Cleaning and removing foam from the skimmer cup is really simple, but it’s worth knowing how the device works and why we should regularly check it, empty the cup and clean the necessary parts.

About the author

Picture of Marek Protasewicz

Marek Protasewicz

Reefkeeping has been my passion for over 10 years now. I love learning. The hobby has taught me many valuable lessons, patience being the best example. Combining work and passion is my path. I run Crazy Coral, a marine aquarium shop, for a number of years. Building this business from the scratch I learnt from my own mistakes at a heavy cost.
Later I managed a project aimed at development of methods for quick growth of Corals in non-natural conditions. The project was carried out by Get Sales, Poland. Presently, I am responsible for distribution strategy at Reef Factory, of which I am a co-founder. The company produces smart devices for marine aquaristics. The last projects I have been involved in are Social Reef and ReefPedia.

My social media profiles

Logo Social ReefLogo instagramFacebook marek protasewicz     youtube marek protasewicz