Unboxed: Vertex Omega 150 Protein Skimmer

With a myriad of cone skimmers now available to reef hobbyists, choosing a particular model can seem a daunting task… let’s face of it, many offer almost identical features and overall design. Announced back in late 2012 and instantly memorable for its elegant ‘wine-glass’ shape, we’ve been keeping an eye on Vertex’s Omega 150 for a while… and now it’s time to get ‘hands-on’ with our preliminary unboxing review! 

First of all we need to say a big ‘thank you’ to Vertex for sending us this unit for evaluation purposes. One of our sponsors, this German operation strikes us as a most progressive manufacturer. Indeed, the fact that they are willing to let us get our hands on this equipment for a ‘grass-roots’ review speaks volumes about not only their willingness to engage with hobbyists, but also their confidence in their products. This doesn’t mean we are going to any less rigorous with the Omega though! As well as this unboxing review we’ll be bringing a more detailed operational review (to include air-flow and noise level tests) later in the year (once we’ve had the unit running on one of our test tanks for a decent amount of time).

Getting back to the task in hand, lets take a preliminary look at the Omega. First of all, we’ve been impressed with Vertex’s packaging before and the presentation of the Omega certainly lives up to our high expectations. As ever the sturdy box is perfectly sized and the internal padding is both neat and more than adequate to keep the contents safe and sound… and yes, it also looks great! Instructions are all fine – simple and easy to follow. Simplicity is the overriding theme here and is reflected in the product itself.

On removing the skimmer from the box we can immediately feel this is a high quality product. The welded PVC and cast acrylic components all fit together beautifully and the assembled unit feels very solid, stable and reassuringly heavy. The Omega boasts numerous high-end design features too, such as Titanium screws, separate rubber feet, an adjustable venturi and a dedicated Ozone injection port. The custom-built Sicce pump also looks top-notch, promising a modest power demand of around 22watts while drawing an impressive 850lph air. Being external, the pump has a bracket fitted so it sits flat and vibrations are minimised – this did prove rather fiddly to assemble. Having said that, once built it looks attractive and feels very stable.  The external pump does also increase this skimmers’ footprint but on the flip-side promises easier maintenance plus increased internal space for all those beautiful bubbles! Featuring a custom-made volute and custom pinwheel, we believe the latest units are also now being fitted with UK plugs.

On the subject of dimensions, we measured the footprint ‘rectangle’ (including pump) as 11×8″ and the bubble chamber has a 6″ diameter at the widest point, tapering to 3″ at the neck. The cup screws on/off nicely and remains water tight with a rubber O ring. Given the body size and pump stats, this is clearly one of the most powerful skimmers for it’s size. Bear in mind though that with the skimmer working best in a water depth of 6 – 9 inches you’ll need to keep an eye on how much headroom you have if you are running it underneath a tank. If you have more than around 9″ water depth in your sump compartment you will need to buy/build a stand for the unit and of course this will increase the 22″ height of the skimmer.

With the Omega 150 currently going for around £320 in the UK it certainly isn’t the cheapest option but given the strong feature set, superb build quality, unique design and exemplary presentation we’d thoroughly recommend it based on our initial impressions. We also believe that more models may be added to the Omega range in the near future, with bodies ranging from 5″ – 10″ diameter (actually our latest intel suggests that the Omega 130 has just made its debut at MACNA 2013). As said, keep your eyes on the blog in the coming weeks as we’ll be bringing you a full working review of the 150.

In the meantime, take a look at the images in our gallery below for more detail.

 

 

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