Aquamaxx Ws-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer Review

We independently research our recommended products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our links.


Protein skimmers are a great way to reduce the load on your filter, as well as maintain the chemical balance of your tank – resulting in less stress and disease for your fish. But how do you know what the best protein skimmer is?

There are a lot of options in today’s market, from ones that hang freely on your tank to ones that sit inside of your sump. Let’s take a look at one of the in-sump options — namely, the Aquamaxx Ws-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer.

in sump protein skimmer

If you’re not already familiar, a protein skimmer is also called a foam fractionator. It’s used mostly in saltwater aquariums to remove dissolved organic compounds and other harmful substances to help reduce the bioload in your tank.

The water fed back into the tank from the skimmer is infused with dissolved oxygen, which not only helps to keep your tank crystal clear but improves the health of your fish as well.

This is where the Aquamaxx WS-1 comes in. This little machine is compact, efficient, and very quiet to use.

While it’s easy to set-up and easy to clean, it does have problems with packaging and shipping, and some users found it lacked the flexibility they needed for their tank.

Does the good outweigh the bad? Is it right for your aquarium? Let’s find out.

Aquamaxx Ws-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer: The Details


  • Weight: 1 lbs.
  • Dimensions: Length 5.9″ x Width 3.2″ x Height 14″.
  • Collection Cup Height:5″.
  • Capacity: Up to 65 gallons. Compatible with all tanks smaller than 65 gallons as well, including all-in-one reefs tanks and nano tanks.
  • Recommended Water Level: 8-10”.
  • Type of Skimmer: In-sump skimmer with air pump.
  • Warranty: One year.



The Aquamaxx Ws-1 is a powerful and flexible protein skimmer. Thin and light, this choice is rated for up to 65 gallons but can fit and function in a variety of tank sizes, all the way down to nano aquariums.

Should you upgrade to a larger tank or downgrade to something smaller, this is a versatile one-fits-almost-all option that ensures you don’t have to buy twice.

Maximum Impact

Their special conical diffusers help create a more stable flow, maximizing performance to keep your tank healthy and clean.

The pump is placed inside of the skimmer to minimize its footprint while keeping all of the features you look for in an efficient skimmer.

That means its compact, but also powerful.

Durability and Power

This product is made of acrylic to be hardy enough for continuous use. It comes with an 11-watt pump and a 5.5” collection cup.

You won’t have to worry about this one wearing out anytime soon, and it can take a fall now and then during a move.


Aquamaxx: The Company

Aquamaxx is a company based out of southern California that broke into the market in 2008.

Their focus is on research and development of aquarium products that are easy to use, made to last, and beneficial to marine and reef aquariums as well as their owners.

Although a relatively new company, they are making strides to bring new innovations to home aquarium systems, and stand proudly behind their products.

Aquamaxx Ws-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer Review

The Positives

Plug and Play

The Aquamaxx Ws-1 protein skimmer is easy to set-up and easy to maintain. Once you place it in your sump and plug it in, it is ready to go.

Maintenance is just as easy; unlike some other skimmers, it comes apart with little effort and only requires the air intake be cleaned once every two weeks or so, though some do recommend cleaning it once a week.

This cleaning should take no more than ten minutes – then you’ll be up and running again. This is great for those of us (most of us) who hate to deal with daunting cleaning sessions. Gone is the dread!

As with most protein skimmers, there is a buildup of calcium around the air intake valves, but it comes off quickly and easily with regular maintenance.

The Aquamaxx Ws-1 starts producing within twelve hours of being plugged in, a much shorter break-in time than some skimmers of its kind and works at maximum capacity within a day or two.


Efficient and Flexible

Despite its small size, the Ws-1 is a powerful little machine. Its 11W motor is built solid and works very well.

In fact, it’s just as efficient for 65-gallon tanks as it is for all-in-one reef tanks or even little nano tanks.

Changing the skimmer to your needs is as simple as moving the collection cup up or down. This allows you to produce either wet foam or dry foam, depending on the needs of your tank.

This skimmer is not only efficient in its performance, but with energy too! The Aquamaxx Ws-1 uses the Italian crafted Sicce Syncra pump that’s known for being energy efficient.

While most aquariums do tend to raise hydro bills, this protein skimmer prefers to take it a little easier on energy.


One of the main things we love about this protein skimmer is how quiet it is. It doesn’t matter how powerful this little motor runs, it doesn’t take the spotlight.

Most of us have an aquarium to see beautiful fish and aquatic life floating by, not for the gurgles and whirring a tank is known to make. 

With the Aquamaxx Ws-1, you won’t have to worry about funny noises stealing the show. Your aquarium will be able to shine (crystal clearly too!) and you can continue to have a conversation or listen to the radio in the same room.


Small Footprint

Because of its slim design, the Aquamaxx Ws-1 fits easily into the sump area, and leaves plenty of room for the other needs of your tank.

If you are concerned about messes, its overflow at the top allows a hose to run down to a bucket away from the tank.

This keeps an aesthetically pleasing profile while still making sure you don’t have any water to clean up off your floor.

Designed for Sturdiness

Not only is the Aquamaxx WS-1 really nice to look at, but it’s made to be durable as well.

The protein skimmer is made out of long-lasting acrylic which is known for being super strong and crack resistant as well.

Acrylic stands up better to wear and tear than plastic, so you’ll have fewer worries with this skimmer.

Most Aquamaxx products, including this skimmer, undergo computer-precision engineering so the company can deliver ‘the performance and value’ you’re after. It shows!

Warranty and Customer Service

Thank the heavens for warranties! With the Aquamaxx WS-1, you’re entitled to a one-year limited warranty, protecting against any manufacturing errors or defects.

Should something arrive wonky or flawed, simply contact their customer service department and they’ll be able to take it from there.

This warranty won’t cover any damages that occur from regular wear and tear, or damages that come about due to improper care so be sure to handle your protein skimmer carefully as to not void this warranty.

There are ways to get in touch with the company on their website, and they also have all their manuals for their products listed on there as well.

best protein skimmer

The Negatives

Packaging and Arrival

The biggest downside to this product? Many times it arrived with pieces broken or cracked. Poor packaging choices led to problems in shipping, and the most common concern was a broken air inlet upon arrival.

Most testers found that a few quick repairs had the skimmer working just fine afterwards, or a replacement product arrived without the same issues.

This is where your warranty comes into play. Interactions with customer service on these issues were mostly positive, and the issue wasn’t large enough to dissuade our testers from continuing with the product.


Although the design of this protein skimmer allows you to adjust the height, some testers had trouble keeping it in place exactly where they wanted it to be.

Other protein skimmers have magnets to allow it to remain in one spot or another, but the Ws-1 does not have this feature.

Some testers also found that the collection cup filled up too quickly for the needs of their tank, even with changing the height in the tank.

Although it has an option of an overflow hose, this is not possible with all aquarium setups, and it became frustrating, especially to inexperienced users.

Price Point

For its size, Aquamaxx’s Ws-1 is on the more expensive protein skimmers. Although it is generally very reliable and efficient, it is a lot of money to put down on a skimmer, especially for smaller tanks.

This was enough to make some testers hesitant, especially given the shipping and packaging problems.

Here’s a quick video showing the Aquamaxx WS-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer in action.

Overall Verdict

In general, the Aquamaxx WS-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer is a powerful and slim little device.

It works well for smaller tanks that need a reliable skimmer to keep the water quality high and the fish healthy.

It’s perfect for all-in-one reef tanks and nano aquariums, but may not be enough for tanks that are too large, especially those over 65 gallons.

For those users who do not like to deal with repairs and replacements, the packaging and shipping issues may be too prominent, but the company’s warranty does cover all pieces for the first year.

If the price point makes it worth a shot, it is a reliable machine, easy to set up, and quick to make a difference in the tank.

Where to Buy the Aquamaxx Ws-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer

Aquamaxx isn’t new to the game of aquariums and tank equipment. They have a number of products under their belt varying in price range though usually staying within or ahead of the competition.

Aquamaxx products can be found easily in-store and the Aquamaxx Ws-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer is no different, available both in-store and online.

It’s always best to check pet shops and specialty stores, but you can kick-start your search by checking out the following online retailers.

And of course, you can also find this protein skimmer on Amazon.

aquamaxx ws-1 review

That’s all for our review on the Aquamaxx WS-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer. Tempted to give it a try?

Aquamaxx WS-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer Rated
  • Efficiency
  • Build Quality
  • Ease of Use
  • Noise Levels
  • Value for Money

FCG Verdict

The Aquamaxx WS-1 In-Sump Protein Skimmer is not a product to just glance it. Its small footprint is backed by a powerful yet quiet motor, and it’s built super sturdy to last.

Issues with packaging may cause some concern, but there’s a warranty to back you should any issues arise.

>>> Check current price on Amazon.

Leave a Comment