Simplicity 120 vs Bubble Magus Curve 5 (Part 2): Skimmers in Action

Simplicity 120 vs Bubble Magus Curve 5 (Part 2): Skimmers in Action

This article is a follow-up to our early article comparing the Specs and Features of the Simplicity 120 Protein Skimmer vs Bubble Magus Curve 5. If you haven’t already, give Part 1 of our comparison a read first: Simplicity 120 vs Bubble Magus Curve 5 (Part 1): Specs & Features

At the end of the day, the goal for any skimmer is to remove as much waste as possible. Ideally the skimmer will do this efficiently, quietly and without a whole lot of fuss by the user.

We have broken our comparison up into 2 primary sections: (i) direct measurables, such as how much air the skimmer pulls in or how much noise it makes and (ii) performance measurables, like the quality of the skimmate / waste.

The Direct Measurables… 

1. Air Intake / Bubble Production

Simplicity 120 vs Bubble Magus Curve 5: Air Comparison

The easiest way to compare one skimmer to another is by airflow.  For years, airflow has been an industry standard in skimmer performance.  Most would agree there is a lot more to a skimmer than just airflow, but without airflow there really is no skimmer.  All other factors being equal (like body shape and size for example), the more air a skimmer draws in, the more effective it will be.

Simplicity 120DCBubble Magus Curve 5
Air Intake~480 liters / hour~360 liters / hour

Advantage: Simplicity 120DC

More air generally means better overall waste removal.

2. Volume of Body

In addition to the airflow,  the contact time between the air and water also greatly affects efficiency.  This is partially the reason for larger skimmers being better for larger aquariums: more air and more contact time.

Simplicity 120DCBubble Magus Curve 5
Volume of Body~160 cubic inches~117 cubic inches

Advantage: Simplicity 120DC

The larger body of the Simplicity skimmer allows for better contact time compared to the Bubble Magus.

3. Decibels

Simplicity 120 vs Bubble Magus Curve 5: Sound Comparison

The last portion of our discussion about skimmer operation is noise.  While a quiet skimmer has very little to do with efficiency, it certainly makes a big difference in satisfaction!  A quiet skimmer means a happier spouse 🙂

Simplicity 120DCBubble Magus Curve 5
Decibels65.8 Average64.8 Average

Advantage: Bubble Magus Curve 5

Although the decibels ratings are similar, the Simplicity skimmer seems a touch noisier, possibly due to the higher pitch of the noise created. The Simplicity skimmer is by no means loud, but if you need your skimmer to be really quiet, we would recommend the Bubble Magus.

The Performance Measurables…

1. Tuning

Simplicity 120 vs Bubble Magus Curve 5: Wedge Pipe / Tuning Comparison

Most skimmers have 3 adjustments: water depth, air intake and the amount of water exiting the skimmer.

Water Depth: While this can be affected by the user, this is usually dictated by the sump being used on the setup.  Higher water depth means the skimmer can push water and bubbles higher in the body easier. The proper water depth is a critical requirement for skimmers to operate properly.

Air Intake: While it may seem counterintuitive, most skimmers actually increase in performance when you restrict the airflow.  This is because the restriction allows the pump to speed up, pull more water which in turn pulls more air.  Maximizing the amount of air is critical to skimmer performance.

Amount of Water Exiting Skimmer: Different skimmers use different methods of exit water restrictions, a wedge pipe, gate valve, etc.  The point of restricting the water as it exits the skimmer is to force the water higher in the body of the skimmer.  Without this adjustment, the skimmer may make foam but the bubbles may not make it up into the collection cup.

Tuning a skimmer can be done in a couple ways:

  • Basic: Simply set the water depth and adjust the amount of water exiting the skimmer.
  • Advance: Set the appropriate water depth, adjust the most efficient air and adjust the amount of water exiting the skimmer.

The Bubble Magus skimmer only offers “basic” tuning. On the other hand, the Simplicity skimmer can be tuned using both the basic and advanced methods.

Simplicity 120DCBubble Magus Curve 5
Tuning OptionsBasic and Advanced Tuning OptionsBasic Tuning Option Only

Advantage: Toss Up

The Bubble Magus Curve skimmer is likely the better choice for beginners because it only offers “basic” tuning and does not provide the ability to adjust the air intake. On the other hand, the ability to adjust the air intake on the Simplicity skimmer provides the user with more control to dial in skimmer performance.

2. Amount & Quality of Skimmate / Waste

Simplicity 120 vs Bubble Magus Curve 5: Waste Comparison

As mentioned previously, the goal of any skimmer is to remove as much waste as possible. However, simply measuring the amount of waste in the collection cup won’t tell you which skimmer is better. This is because one skimmer may simply be removing more water than the other.

The better way to compare is to measure not only the amount, but the quality of the skimmate as well. The darker the skimmate, the more concentrated the waste. The lighter the skimmate, the more water it contains. If two skimmers have similarly colored waste, then the skimmer removing more is generally considered to be the better performer.

For our comparison, we tuned both skimmers using the “basic” method leaving the air valve adjustment for the Simplicity skimmer completely open.

Simplicity 120DCBubble Magus Curve 5
Waste (Over a 1 hour period)~ 1-¼ Cup of tea colored waste~ 3/4 Cup of slightly darker tea colored waste

Advantage: Toss Up

The Simplicity skimmer produced more waste. However, the waste from the Bubble Magus Curve skimmer is darker indicating that it is more concentrated.

Honestly, both of these are solid skimmers and while we would love to have you purchase our Simplicity skimmer… it does have a better warranty… you are certainly not going to go wrong choosing one over the other. 

While this is our own honest and professional assessment of these two products, we’re curious to hear what our readers think.  Please feel free to drop us a line and let us know your own experience using these products.

Please note: new video coming soon!

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