Reef Octopus eSsence S-130 Protein Skimmer Review

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Aquariums are complicated enough. Evaluating the different filters and protein skimmers necessary to properly care for your unique set-up – and its unique challenges – is even more difficult.

That’s why, today, we are looking into the Reef Octopus eSsence S-130 Protein Skimmer. With its simple assembly and maintenance, along with its very quiet nature, it could be the perfect item to make your tank run optimally.

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With that said, a few testers had issues with the skimmer leaking. Was this a rare instance or an overall problem? To find out, let’s take a closer look at the Reef Octopus eSsence S-130 Protein Skimmer.

Reef Octopus eSsence S-130 Protein Skimmer: The Details


  • Weight: 8 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 20.5 x 6.9 inches.
  • Capacity: 160 gallons.
  • Minimum and Maximum Water Level: 7.1 – 8.7 inches.
  • Type of Skimmer: Air pump skimmer.
  • Warranty: Two-year warranty.


Air Pump

At the center of this Reef Octopus protein skimmer is a pinwheel air pump. This is designed to ensure the water in your tank moves through the skimmer quickly and easily.

Without the pump, the water would be drawn through the filter and skimmer very slowly, allowing debris and waste to pile up.

However, this design ensures your tank is cycled at a fast pace, so even a large amount of fish can’t overwhelm its consistent cleaning process.


This Reef Octopus skimmer works on aquariums of up to 160 gallons. While it could work on a smaller tank, due to its size, it’s advised that you place it on tanks of at least 50 gallons in capacity.

Additionally, the water level needs to be between 7.1 and 8.7 inches. If it is below or above this level, the skimmer will not work properly.

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Aquariums can be loud – and it’s usually the filter and skimmer creating the most noise. No need to worry about that here.

This Reef Octopus protein skimmer comes with a detachable silencing collar. This quiets the skimmer by 12% which is more than other designs on the market.

The eSsence S-130 also has a 360 degree submerged output, which sends the water back into the pump without any disturbances or splashes. You’ll barely hear it working!

Water Level Dial

There is also a water level dial on the side of this protein skimmer. The dial goes from 1 to 16 and removes all the guess-work that goes into choosing its settings.

You simply have to turn the dial to the water level you need and the skimmer will modify its routine to accommodate your unique set-up.

The dial ensures you can fine-tune the water output, something that is not possible on other models.


This Reef Octopus Protein Skimmer comes with a two-year warranty on the pump, a one-year warranty on the rotor, and a one-year warranty on the skimmer body.

These warranties cover any problems with the material construction or any errors created in the manufacturing process. The warranty doesn’t cover damages that occur during the installation process or from everyday use.

If there is an issue that falls under this coverage, Reef Octopus will send you replacement parts, a new protein skimmer, or refund your money.

Reef Octopus eSsence review

Reef Octopus eSsence S-130 Protein Skimmer Review

The Positives

Easy to Set Up

According to tester feedback, whether you’re new to aquariums or an old pro, the eSsence protein skimmer is easy to assemble.

To begin, release the four fasteners at the base of the skimmer and then remove the skimmer body. Next, insert the pump into the skimmer base, and attach the bubble plate and chamber onto the pump outlet.

Place the skimmer body onto the base and lock the fasteners. After this, insert the Venturi into the intake section on the pump and insert the air hose.

Put together the outlet pipe, along with the adjustable valve, and then place the skimmer in the sump. Once you have the skimmer in the sump, open the valve all the way and turn on the pump. You’re all set!

You won’t be required to have a world of knowledge on aquariums or skimmers to get this device set-up which is easy on both beginner and busy hobbyists.

Easy to Maintain

Maintaining this protein skimmer is also rather easy. Your first task will be monitoring the collection cup, which needs to be cleaned out every 7-10 days – depending on the amount of waste collected.

Don’t worry; it’s easy to get to. You simply twist and lift the collection cup out, wash the built-up waste into your sink, and put the cup back when it’s clean.

Next is the body of the skimmer. Reef Octopus recommends cleaning the body every 3-6 months by simply rinsing it off in the sink. You should want to remove and clean the neck of the skimmer every 2-3 months, a process which requires the use of a screwdriver.

Finally, you need to clean the pump every 3-6 months. Clean the impeller and the pump individually. If necessary, soak them in white vinegar to dissolve any calcium deposits that have built up.

As long as you follow all these steps and accurately place everything back into the skimmer, you should have this device for years to come.

Reef Octopus eSsence review


Testers enjoyed the all-inclusive nature of this product. All the tubing, the collection cup, and the valves are included – so, no separate purchases are necessary!

It even comes with the silencer, which would normally be a secondary buy. With the calibrated water level dial attached right to the skimmer’s side, and an intuitive set-up process, you won’t have to seek outside help when getting your tank up and running.

Thanks to its easy maintenance instructions, this skimmer won’t be daunting to own for both beginners and experienced hobbyists.


Since the integrated, removable silencing collar is designed right into the skimmer’s build, there’s no danger of your aquarium being overly loud.

A noisy churning sound is often part and parcel with tank set-ups – a fact that you have to accept and contend with on your own.

However, this skimmer reduces noise output and even dampens the natural splashing of water entering and exiting the device.

Testers noted repeatedly that they could barely hear the skimmer; if it wasn’t for the water moving through it, they would’ve questioned if it worked.

A quiet tank is important, especially if you want to place it in areas where a noisy aquarium would cause disruption. This protein skimmer won’t be the reason your aquarium keeps you up at night.


Numerous testers loved the compact footprint of this protein skimmer. When a product works on a tank holding 160 gallons of water, you expect it to be larger than the size of a water bottle – but that’s all the mass this skimmer offers.

It should fit easily in an aquarium cabinet or into whatever set-up you have near your tank. After all, 8 x 6 inches isn’t much; you can place this just about anywhere.

The compact size of the Reef Octopus Skimmer makes it all the easier to clean and maintain and won’t cause an unsightly distraction to your tank.

Efficient and Powerful

Don’t let the compact size of this protein skimmer fool you. While it’s small, this thing packs a punch, ensuring your tank stays in tip-top shape.

You won’t have to worry about a mucky tank with this skimmer. Testers happily report that this device gets the job done. Reef Octopus prides this item on being efficient, and it definitely is.

Reef Octopus eSsence S-130 review

Users loved how quickly this skimmer was able to pull stuff out of their aquarium, and continued to do so without much hassle. While some skimmers can take some days to start showing results, the eSsence cleans things up in a matter of hours.

It’s a powerful skimmer at that too, running with little to no trouble for most testers. If you’re keen on getting a product that actually gets the job done, you’ll have no worries with this protein skimmer.

The Negatives


The only issue testers had was a few leaks. They either had water coming out from the bottom of the skimmer or spilling out the neck.

However, because this only happened to a few people, it’s most likely down to user error or one or two defective products. It’s not an overarching problem.

Nonetheless, make sure all the seals and fasteners are in place and tightened properly.


This isn’t the most expensive skimmer on the market, and given its features and performance, we can definitely see the value in this product. But while this product may be in the budget of some hobbyists, it can be out of range for others, especially beginners.

If you’re on a budget, or just don’t have the cash to reach the price mark on this protein skimmer, it won’t be the ideal option for you.

That being said, while you can find a number of protein skimmers at a cheaper price point, you might be sacrificing quality for the price.

This video shows what the Reef Octopus eSsence S-130 Protein Skimmer looks like out of the box.

Overall Verdict

After looking through all the positives and negatives, we do recommend the Reef Octopus eSsense S-130 Protein Skimmer.

With the only issue being a few leaks, this skimmer is certainly one of the better models available. It’s easy to set up and clean, it’s quiet, and it’s compact.

When you are spending a few hundreds on a product or thousands, you want one that works perfectly. You have that here with the Reef Octopus eSsense S-130 Skimmer.

Where to Buy the Reef Octopus eSsence S-130 Protein Skimmer

Reef Octopus is a brand under CoralVue, a popular aquatic company with a variety of accessible, quality products available around the globe.

They’ve been around for quite some time, making a name for themselves as a trusted brand.

Thanks to this brand’s popularity and success, you’ll be able to find items like the Reef Octopus eSsence S-130 Protein Skimmer both in-store and online.

While it’s usually best to check pet, fish, and aquatic stores, you can kick-start your search with the following online retailers.

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

reef octopus essence review

That’s the end of our Reef Octopus Essence review. Curious to give this skimmer a try?

Reef Octopus eSsence S-130 Protein Skimmer Rated
  • Efficiency
  • Build Quality
  • Ease of Use
  • Noise Levels
  • Value for Money

FCG Verdict

The Reef Octopus eSsence S-130 Protein Skimmer is both reliable and efficient along with a ton of positives to run home about.

In fact, there’s just one leaky con to consider when it comes to this protein skimmer, making it a great value!

>>> Check current price on Amazon.

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