Protein skimmers are an essential piece of equipment for any saltwater aquarium or reef tank. Protein skimmers help reduce nitrate levels by hindering nitrate buildup.They remove organic waste before it has a chance to break down. Using a protein skimmer helps reduce nuisancealgae and is essential in reef aquariums where a very low nitrate level is crucial for coral health. A protein skimmer produces fine foam bubbles, which attract proteins in saltwater. The foam then rises into a waste collection cup.