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Home » Aquarium Supplies  » Saltwater Supplies  » Protein Skimmers  »  CAD Lights Gen3 PLS-100 Pipeless Protein Skimmer
CAD Lights Gen3 PLS-100 Pipeless Protein Skimmer

CAD Lights Gen3 PLS-100 Pipeless Protein Skimmer

Average Rating 3.5 10
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CAD Lights Gen3 PLS-100 Pipeless Protein Skimmer Information

Product Manuals & Documentation

"Think Less and Enjoy More"

Have you ever wish to have an over-sized skimmer on a small tank? At only 4.75" X 4.75", The Gen-3 PLS-100 can fit into your Tiniest spaces. It is the perfect solution to aquariums with restricted and tight sump spaces that are in need of a powerful skimmer!

NEW Features of the GEN3 PLS-100:
Tension Clamp Locks: Allows you to adjust the tension and tightness on each turn to make your adjustments more precise. Also lets you "Lock" your settings once you reached your desired setting. 2-point Clamp tension gives you full control of the Pipeless Technology.

2-point Tension Clamps: securely fastens the upper reaction body to the base, preventing separation in high water levels or high buoyancy applications.

Increased Reaction Chamber: bigger reaction chamber and increased dwell time for a larger capacity of 120G.

CAD Lights Aquarium`s original and totally innovative design of the first ever True Pipeless protein skimmer. Yes, CAD Lights removed all Wedgepipes, Ball Valves, Gate Valves or any other external bulky flow control mechanism. By removing these external parts, they have effectively slimmed down the skimmer footprint dramatically by almost 40%. Great for tight spaces and for people who have small sumps but are in need of a powerful protein skimmer. The Gen3 PLS-100 uses CAD Light`s powerful TIA-1150 skimmer pump rated for up to 80G-120G based on livestock volume respectively. The extremely compact footprint of 4.75" x 4.75" allows it to fit into the smallest sumps or sump chambers without any sacrifice of skimming power.

Unlike traditional protein skimmers, the new Gen3 PLS-100 utilizes its own body to regulate and control the foaming level and pressure. One turn of the skimmer body in one direction controls your foam up and another simple turn to the opposite direction brings the pressure level down. The unique pump pressure is designed to force an extremely low friction surface between the hand smoothed skimmer base and top to give you a smooth surface for control.

The Gen3 PLS-100 is small in size, and Big on performance. This is the same pump and flexi-plastic impeller system that we use on CAD Light`s popular and time tested TIA-1150 Conic protein skimmer.

  • Extremely small overall dimensions: 4.75"(L) x 4.75"(W) x 20"(H)
  • Powerful CAD Lights TIA-1150 Skimmer pump
  • GPH: 375GPH
  • Wattage: 20W
  • Air draw: 315 L/H
  • Optimum Water level 7"-10"
Load recommendations:
  • Light bio-load (120G)
  • Medium bio-load (90G)
  • Heavy bio-load (70G)
*100% Cell-Cast acrylic. High quality Craftsmanship.

CAD Lights Gen3 PLS-100 Pipeless Protein Skimmer Reviews

Average Rating
(10 reviews)
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of 2

Excellent Nano Skimmer

Reviewers Rating Excellent!

Posted: 12/8/2013 from PATASKALA, OH UNITED STATES
5.0 5
Experience Level: Beginner

Comments: This is my first skimmer so take my review with a grain of salt...I have the skimmer set up on my 20L. The tank doesn't have a terribly large bioload with a pair of clowns. I have a good amount of zoanthids and some LPS in the tank as well. The skimmer is super small and doesn't take up much room in the tank. Noise: This skimmer seriously makes very little noise. I have to put my ear right up to the tank and I barely hear it. Setup: From unboxing to install on my tank was about 5 minutes. The skimmer doesn't come with instructions, but it wasn't too hard to figure out setup. I installed the skimmer to about 6-7" of depth. Dialing it in is easy. Just loosen the nut and rotate the body slightly until you hit your mark. By watching the water/ bubble levels in the skimmer you quickly find the sweet spot. It took me a little while to dial it in, but the skimmer was pulling dark, nasty skimmate within a matter of hours. There were some micro bubbles at first, but they went away quickly. It seems like each time I make an adjustment the micro bubbles reappear, but they have always gone away fairly quickly. Overall, I couldn't be any happier with this skimmer.

13 of 13 People found this review helpful, did you? Yes No

Damn good skimmer

Reviewers Rating Excellent!

Posted: 11/15/2013 from LAFAYETTE, LA UNITED STATES
5.0 5
Experience Level: Expert

Comments: I've built my own, bought various others but for this one is the best I've used by far. Just takes a little tweaking but worked right out of the box, make sure you tighten the adjustment knob or you can have foam spilling out of the cup. Wish it had come with instructions but there's a youtube video that shows you what to do. Simple, small and very effective. Not sure what the few bad reviews were talking about, no modding required. Planning on getting the larger one for my other tank.

6 of 6 People found this review helpful, did you? Yes No

LOVE this space saver!!

Reviewers Rating Excellent!

Posted: 11/1/2013 from BROOKLYN, NY UNITED STATES
5.0 5
Experience Level: Intermediate

Comments: got the PLS-100 5 months ago. worked great from the start and i was able to take out my previous ASM skimmer and freed up a lot of space in my sump. This little thing skims like a monster. I can't believe how small this thing was and had such strong skimming power. didn't need much instructions as the entire unit came fully assembled already. you just have to attach the air hose to silencer and then to pump. took me all of 5 min. and its ready. took me a little while to get used to the turning controls as opposed to my old skimmer which i got used to for 3 years. but once i got it down, it was really easy. for some of the people that mentioned the body raising up or separating. i find that lowering the water level down to 6" would keep it secure. But then I heard about the tension lock upgrade that CAD offers for free from their site and got one. I installed it on and it gives it much more control. I'm able to loosen or tighten the lock which makes the turns tighter or looser as I pleased. Also securely clamps the body to the base and keeps the skimmer in place even in 9" of water.  skims great and im only using 1/2 the space i used before. Those who have the separation issue, go get the lock mod so you can enjoy this awesome skimmer!

7 of 7 People found this review helpful, did you? Yes No

Great at first... Then...

Reviewers Rating Below Average

Posted: 10/26/2013 from MOUNT VERNON, WA UNITED STATES
1.5 5
Experience Level: Expert

Comments: This skimmer worked great for the first 3 months, a little difficult tune but when tuned skimmed great. Then downhill from there, always out of whack, body lifts up to one side and can't be tuned. The body of the unit is basically impossible to clean. Look at a different brand

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Cad Lights Protein Skimmer

Reviewers Rating Excellent!

Posted: 10/19/2013 from Athens, OH UNITED STATES
4.5 5
Experience Level: Intermediate

Comments: Only had this up a week now. It is skimming very well, you will need to take you time getting it dialed in, remember this is a nano skimmer, so it takes a while to fine tune it. but as I said, mine is skimming, just need to fine tune it a little more. So as for a nano skimmer & for the price, I would recommend this skimmer! Just have patience! Hope this helps anyone looking for a nano skimmer.

6 of 6 People found this review helpful, did you? Yes No


Reviewers Rating Excellent!

Posted: 10/15/2013 from JACKSONVILLE, FL UNITED STATES
5.0 5
Experience Level: Intermediate

Comments: I purchased this skimmer to replace a Reef Octopus BH-50. The Reef Octopus is a great skimmer, but I had been searching for a higher capacity skimmer that would fit in my small sump under my 55 gal. reef for a while. This skimmer fit the bill perfectly! Easy to install, easy to adjust, it was tuned in minutes and beginning to skim within hours. Earlier reviews mentioned lack of documentation in the box, but there is a .pdf at the bottom of the product page, and there are Youtube videos to help you get started as well.

6 of 6 People found this review helpful, did you? Yes No

Wish I sent it back.

Reviewers Rating Unsatisfactory

Posted: 10/11/2013 from Brenham, TX UNITED STATES
1.0 5
Experience Level: Intermediate

Comments: Product seemed like a great idea. Lots of bubbles. Quite. Small footprint. Fair price point. However, it will not hold a setting for more than a day. I either have a bubble volcano overflowing the top or no skimmate at all. Even with the Hoover 160 mod this unit will not hold the "sweet spot." Would not buy again.

2 of 5 People found this review helpful, did you? Yes No

Sadly, not quite there...

Reviewers Rating Average

Posted: 10/8/2013 from Denver, CO
2.5 5
Experience Level: Expert

Comments: I've had my PLS-100 running on a 50 gallon reef tank for about 6 months now. I had really high hopes for it, and I really wish I could give it a higher rating... When it works, it works very well - but it fails too often for me, and when it does fail, it can be a mess (usually involving water flowing out the top and/or skimmate dumped back into the tank). Pros: It's a nice small size, is quiet, and produces lots of bubbles and a lot of skimmate. Cons: The adjustment can be very fussy, it's difficult to thoroughly clean because the skimmer body can't be taken apart, and it fails too often. Mine seems to fail in one of two ways: 1) The holes in the bubble plate are very small, and can clog easily. When this happens, the back-pressure from the pump can force the skimmer body to lift up off the pump base. 2) The water level is *very* sensitive to the amount of air bubbles in the mix, so if the air intake in the venturi begins to clog over time, or if the impeller collects some bit of debris and is not chopping up the bubbles as well, or if something even partially obstructs the air silencer input, the water level can go up rapidly - and you end up with water overflowing the collection cup and skimmate flushed over the top and into the sump. Sometimes this happens within days of a complete cleaning - one evening it's working fine, the next morning it's overflowing.

1 of 1 People found this review helpful, did you? Yes No


Reviewers Rating Below Average

2.0 5
Experience Level: Intermediate

Comments: Bought this skimmer for my Nuvo 38 based on reviews. This skimmer has a nice design but creates tons of microbubbles and is so hard to dial in and keep running right. Pretty much useless to me. Maybe I got a bad unit. Would not purchase again.

0 of 2 People found this review helpful, did you? Yes No

The new king of nano-skimmers

Reviewers Rating Excellent!

Posted: 8/30/2013 from MIDDLETON, WI UNITED STATES
4.5 5
Experience Level: Intermediate

Comments: If you are looking for a skimmer for a nano-tank, stop reading and buy this now! I usually don't write product reviews, but I'm so happy with this that I must let others know. I've used the Tunze 9002 for 2 years, and it was previously the best you could get, but suffered from a few issues: 1. The air elbow intake would always clog, leading to decreasing performance over time. 2. It was loud. I have my tank in a bedroom and I can always hear the bubbling. Other than that, it worked decently. I also tried the Hydor Slim Skim Nano, which made nice bubbles, but was also somewhat loud and made my whole table shake with its vibrating pump. PROS: 1. This skimmer is almost dead silent (and I have very high standards for noise). 2. In addition, it creates vastly superior bubbles to the Tunze or the Hydor due to its needle-wheel impeller. Both of the others just feed air into a traditional impeller. 3. In addition, there are almost no issues with micro-bubbles once broken in. 4. Small, more of a square footprint than a long box as the Tunze was. Still bigger than the Hydor though. Cons: 1. Skimmer adjustment can be finicky. I have it running in a constant level sump, but even so, barely a 1/4mm turn in either direction can create too high / too low bubbling. 2. No way to clean inside skimmer body. I feel this is a huge oversight by Cad Lights, and I hope they fix it in future versions. both ends of the skimmer body are sealed with glue, so you must use a wire brush to clean inside. This is the only reason I'm knocking off 0.5 stars. In summary, you will not regret this purchase if you are looking for a quiet, robust nano-skimmer!

7 of 7 People found this review helpful, did you? Yes No

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