Anytime a hobbyist gets their hands on a new piece of equipment, they get that feeling of excitement and can’t wait to see how vastly improved their aquarium will be after using it. Oftentimes, this excitement is also greeted with a need for instant gratification. After all, you want that expensive piece of hardware to perform as intended as soon as possible. Unfortunately, some aquarium equipment goes through a significant break-in phase, particularly protein skimmers. Protein skimmers are surprisingly sensitive pieces of equipment. They can be affected by water temperature, salinity, and various oils present in the water. Unfortunately, for those seeking that instant gratification, there are many oils and other substances present on a protein skimmer from the production process. Because of this, most manufacturers recommend that you run the skimmer to the point of overflowing the collection cup for a few days. Then, after some time has passed, you can dial it back down to the desired water level and let it skim away. You can perform this break-in period in the sump, or put it in a bucket or tub with some water and vinegar. Either way, you’ll likely have to wait a few days for the skimmer to function normally.