The proven and repeatedly copied concept of a cone-shaped protein skimmer is rarely challenged these days. Although I’ve seen some interesting design choices that skimmer manufacturers managed to incorporate into their products, the general idea behind that type of skimmer stood its ground- until now. Enter Maxspect’s new Aeraqua Duo Skimmer, a device that is so radical in its execution yet so familiar in its build, it lands in a category of its own and deserves a closer look. Introduced to North American hobbyists at this year’s MACNA in Orlando, Aeraqua Duo is one odd fellow. From its unique pump and sophisticated build to a long list of clever design tweaks, this skimmer truly is like nothing I’ve seen before. There’s a lot to unpack here, but let’s start with Aeraqua Duo’s “heart”, the dual outlet DC controlled pump that’s based on Maxspect’s Turbine Duo pump. It’s a dual intake, dual output pump sitting inside the skimmer’s body that has been modified with a needle wheel impeller, which by the way is unique on its own. Instead of one needle wheel chopping down on the air-water mixture, Aeraqua Duo uses two interlocked needle wheels, one stationary on the impeller cover and one spinning on the impeller. This results in some of the finest bubbles I have ever seen a skimmer produce. They travel up towards the collection cup through an oddly shaped “cup” instead of the usual bubble plate other skimmers use. The fact that Maxspect’s first foray into the skimmer world has dual intakes, means that it essentially is an in-sump recirculating skimmer. These intakes each have a gate on it, which can be tweaked to have the water drawn to the recirculated water ratio best suited for the bioload. That’s one level of controlling the bubbles. The second level comes in the form of a specially designed gate valve that’s built into the body and features its own bubble trap so that no bubbles can escape the skimmer. The dial situated in front of the skimmer is extremely precise and turning it requires zero effort (as attested by yours truly). The third way of controlling the skimmer’s bubble-making apparatus is tied to the DC powered nature of its pump. The controller that comes with the skimmer allows for local adjustments to the pump’s speed, while the optional Integrated Controller V6 allows it to be controlled remotely, alongside other Maxpect-connected devices. Other notable features Aeraqua Duo posses include:
- A silencer that’s integrated into the skimmer’s bottom which eliminates both noise and any exposed piping
- A collection cup with a molded handle, held onto the body with four secure tabs, features such innovations as a removable (finally, I’ve been screaming for this for years) float sensor that prevents cup overfilling, a flush-mounted cup seal, a quick-release locking mechanism, and a drain assembly that can be stored securely around the bottom part of the cup (see pictures for reference)
- A completely modular design- the skimmer can be taken apart to its bare bones without the use of any tools
Maxspect Aeraqua Duo, despite its relatively small size, is advertised to handle aquariums from 100 gals up to 450 gals, depending on bioload. The DC pump that powers the skimmer draws a maximum 45W of power. Maxspect Aeraqua Duo is a monster of a skimmer and one of the most interesting new pieces of equipment I witnessed at MACNA 2019 in Orlando. It really makes some fine bubbles and I would love to test it out someday. Check back for more MACNA 2019 Coverage and as always, thanks for reading.