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Protein skimmers / skimmers remove contaminants such as metal particles and phosphates from the water. The protein skimmer produces very fine air bubbles. Certain waste materials (proteins) attach (stick) to these small air bubbles and are thus transported to the surface of the water.
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The higher the protein skimmer, the longer the air bubbles are in contact with the water. Different brands of skimmers have special shapes to make contact time as long as possible.
The foam that is bound by the protein skimmer is pushed up by the neck and eventually ends up in the foam cup.
This foam cup can be removed and cleaned.
Important is to regularly clean the riser in the cup, a soiled tube inhibits the skimmer's optimum operation.
Tip: Adjustment of a protein foamer can sometimes be tricky, we advise to raise the many micro air bubbles at about 1/3 of the height of the foamer cup, on top of these micro bubbles larger bubbles form the dirt push into the cup.
This is a start adjustment, to adjust a foamer wetter let the bubbles end up higher in the riser, skimming more and dirt in the cup will therefore be lighter in color (more water results in wetter residue). Is more dirt is removed from the system. 
To let the foamer 'dryer' skim off, let the bubbles end up lower in the tube , now less dirt is being skimmed off, which results in a dark layer of dirt in the foam cup (less water, but dirt results in a dryer residue) is less dirt is removed from the system