By Bob Goemans
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Authored by: James Gasta

Among the many progresses in the Marine Aquaria hobby in recent years, the use of protein skimmers was, by far, one of the greatest milestones in maintaining salt water aquarium animals. Organic compounds, being bipolar in nature, provide an opportunity for waste extraction via injection of air into the skimmer body which served the dual function of extraction of these compounds while aerating the water. Since their inception, there has been much advancement in the design and functionality of protein skimming. The Vertex IN-Series Skimmers utilize those technologies in the most effective way, while offering you the best value for your investment. The Vertex IN-100 will be the subject of this review. It is designed for aquariums of up to 100 gallons. The remaining three models are the IN-80, IN-180, and the IN-250. The numbers indicating the size tank which they will handle.

The IN-100 skimmer dimensions are 20" high and 6" in diameter and has a footprint of 8" by 10". The unit comes packaged with a Resun pump providing an output of 550gph while only drawing 40 watts of power. The rotor/impeller assembly uses a shaft made from highly polished zirconium, which offers a very low friction level between rotor and shaft. The venturi design is unique in that the venturi chamber is mounted separately to the intake of the pump and the provided silicone air line is attached to this housing. Below are pictures of the components that make up the skimmer.

Plumbing components.

Pump inlet assembly which fits right on to the pump outlet

Turbulence reducing bubble plate.

One of the con's of the manual is that there are no exploded or line view drawings of the components as to how they are installed. I had to go on-line and get a picture of the unit to help out with assembly. Other than that, assembly went smoothly. Albert Dao of Proline Aquatics is the U.S. distributor of the Vertex line and he tells me this problem is in the process of being corrected.

I then installed the assembled unit into the sump and fired it up. Before plugging the unit in make sure the flow adjustment tube is at the open position. To their credit, Vertex does place decals on the tube to indicate position. Once running, you can then turn the tube toward the closed position to raise the water level in the skimmer. I set the water level at about three inches from the top of the riser tube. Lowering the water level will produce a drier foam but I found leaving it at the initial setting provided the best results.

Assembled skimmer.

From a maintenance standpoint this skimmer is by far the easiest I have had to maintain. The riser tube is part of the collection cup, so when you remove the cup to empty, you can clean both the cup and the reaction chamber at the same time. The hole in the skimmer body is large enough where I could put my hand in, making cleaning of the inside of the tapered top very easy.

After about 30 hours of running, the skimmer began producing skim mate.

My only problem with the skimmer was excessive pump noise. After contacting Premium Aquatics regarding this, I was told there were a few defective (warped) rotor/impeller assemblies that got into the market and was promptly sent a new assembly. Once that was replaced, the unit was virtually silent.

The first picture below shows the skimmer after initial start up. The second picture shows skimmate collected in a 24 hour period after initial break-in. The third picture, after 48 hours of operation.

The skimmer after initial start up

Skimmate collected in a 24 hour period after initial break-in

Skimmate collected in a 48 hour period after initial break-in

The Pros

  • Outperforms any other skimmer I've used in this price range ($200.00) and some that are priced much higher than this.
  • Easy to clean and service. No hoses, clamps, etc. to remove in order to remove and clean pump.
  • Impeller shaft made from highly polished zirconium.
  • Large collection cup.
  • Enormous amount of bubbles produced by the uniquely designed venturi housing.
  • One of the best-designed skimmers I have seen and workmanship is second to none.


  • Sensitive to water level in sump, but most skimmers operating on this principle are. Sump level should be checked daily. The skimmer needs a water level of 6 to 8 inches for efficient operation. I put low and high stickers on my sump to indicate this.
  • Poor instruction manual but this is being corrected.

To sum it up, I have been very pleased with this unit and can highly recommend it to others. The customer service provided by both Premium Aquatics and the distributor, Proline Aquatics is superb.

Contact Info

Vertex website upcoming at

Premium Aquatics:

Web site:

Proline Aquatics:

Web site:

Proline Aquatics is a distributor only.

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