9002 or 9004? How to decide…


For many, many years the DOC Skimmer 9002 ruled the roost for strong, silent skimming in sub-50 gallon aquariums. With the 9002, ease-of-use, silence and reliability were the core engineering targets- just as they are with all Tunze protein skimmers. But the 9002 had an additional design criteria, its “Nanoness”. We needed it to be small. And we needed it to have an especially small footprint. What made the 9002 such a popular choice for so long was that it fit inside so many of the all-in-one type aquariums that began hitting the market a decade or so ago. Most of those all-in-one cubes either came with no protein skimmer, or they came with a protein skimmer which performed so poorly that it created more frustration than bubbles. The 9002 was and still is the go-to skimmer for anyone looking to take their nano aquarium to the next level.

The Interzoo Pet Product trade show takes place every two years in Nuremberg, Germany. It’s the world’s largest show of its kind and it’s also just down the road from the Tunze headquarters, where all of our products are designed, tested and manufactured. At the 2012 Interzoo we unveiled the newest member of our extensive skimmer line, the DOC Skimmer 9004. The 9004 is a complete redesign, from the ground up. It has an entirely new way of operating; everything from the pump to the collection cup is different. Compared to the 9002, the 9004 is more powerful. We rate it for aquariums up to about 65 gallons as opposed to the 9002’s 50.

So which skimmer should you choose? Choose the DOC Skimmer 9002 if you have limited space. If you intend to put it in the back of an all-in-one aquarium, the 9002 has a better chance of fitting. You should always double check the space you have to work with against the skimmer’s dimensions (and suggested water level). But it’s safe to say that the narrower footprint of the 9002 will mean it will continue to be the most popular choice for many. Many have asked us if the arrival of the 9004 means the 9002 will soon be retired. Since it remains so popular and since it fills a niche which no other skimmer can, we plan to continue making it for many years.

Now, on to the 9004. The 9004 is an excellent choice if you’re looking to make your own all-in-one sumpless aquarium. Here’s the 9004’s main advantage- it has a genuine surface-skimming intake. That’s right, it’s designed so that water sheets from the surface down into the skimmer. This is absolutely critical for a skimmer to perform. Most of the organics in a tank will collect on the surface, resulting in an ugly oxygen-blocking film. If that film is not skimmed away, the water quality suffers. There’s a diagram at the bottom that shows the general path water takes through the 9004.

The bottom line is that the choice between a 9002 and a 9004 comes down to space. If your space is limited, the 9002 has a better chance of fitting. Otherwise, go with the 9004. Either way, we’ve got some serious skimming in store for you.




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