This freshwater surface skimmer takes some fiddling to get working properly, but once up and running is actually pretty useful.
In short, this will replace your filter’s normal intake tube, so right there is where most of your (potential) issues will come into play. For me the tube on this was the exact same size as the intake of my canister filter, which means I couldn’t hook it up. I ended up taking the tube into a nearby Lowe’s and searching for plastic (not metal) fittings that would work with it to get it hooked up. In the pictures below you can see the short section of plastic tubing that I used to interface with my canister filter. For reference, the canister filter I used this with was the Aquatop CF400-UV.
The clear plastic part you can see by itself in the photo above is the float, after installing you’ll need to lift that part out of the water so that the underside has air in it. You then gently lower it onto the water and the trapped air will make it float. The piece of plastic that sticks up the center is how you adjust how much suction there is, twist it until the float is skimming the water, but not strong enough to pull it completely under. This is mostly a trial and error process but once set you shouldn’t have to tweak it again.
One of the side effects of using a device like this is it will create noise, and there is no way around that. It’s sucking water off the surface so you will hear the sound of water falling. With proper adjustment it is possible to minimize the noise, but you can never make it totally silent.
I had never heard of the brand “TOM” before I had bought this, but based on the pictures this one is exactly the same as the one offered by Hagen. I liked it enough though that I went ahead and bought their Mini Internal Filter for use in my 5.5 gallon Beta tank.
Caution: I maintain fully planted tanks, which includes floating plants. Unfortunately, floating plants will very easily clog this up. I somewhat expected that, but thought I’d try it anyways. I may keep trying at a later time with a very minimal amount of surface skimming to see if there can be a balance.
Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about this, I’ll be happy to answer.
What to see more reviews? I have several more on my Reviews page.