FutureDoc· Aquatic Philosopher
Unless you have a mechanism for testing for organic phosphates, you really can't test your hypothesis. It is like doing a traffic count on a road and only doing east-bound traffic and ignoring westbound.It will be an interesting experiment. I'm going to start off skimmer less and I'm going to monitor my phosphate and nitrate levels to see if the macro algae itself can keep it in the 10ppm for nitrates and under .1ppm for phosphates. (These are the levels I keep in my main system where I have a lot of colorful rapid SPS growth).
I guess if it can achieve that, I don't see the benefit of running a skimmer in this system. I believe the highest bioload will come from feeding the LPS Fauna Marin LPS pellets and half a cube of mysis for the fish in the morning and evening.
The presence of algae mucks everything up. It's existence within a tank establishes there is nutrients available, and its growth establishes that there are plenty of nutrients available. It has nothing to do with the skimmer but if you have algae, a skimmer is (more) useful as it can address the increased organic nutrient availability. That is one reason why many people notice an increase in skimmer activity in systems with algae... and unfortunately they think it is a good thing. Using algae for nutrient control is a lot like using Kentucky fescue to create a desert. It just does not work.
Skimmers in all systems are "optional". They are not required at all. The trick with them is that their use provides a export method with an economy of scale. Skimmers are the ONLY item that removes nutrients on a continuous basis. No other husbandry method can do this (except maybe a continuous WC device). Where skimmers earn their bread is simple. They take a "cut" of organics. Often just 20%-40% of available organics at a time (note, I did not say "total organics"). Now over time, this can be useful especially for big tanks. The result is that for long-term use, a skimmer (and a lower % WC) can effectively gain the same organic availability of a skimmerless system with a higher % WC regiment. Skimmers save on WC cost. Because WC cost are relative to the size of the tank, skimmers are more economical and return-on-investment is much quicker in a BIG tank than a small tank. For a 40g tank and my skimmer $200... I will recoup my cost in just under 3 years. In big tanks 200g+ it is easily 1.5-2 years even adjusting for the increased skimmer's cost and 38 years for a small 15g system. Skimmers just make the operating costs in salt/water go down. They are not "necessary" as you can always increase the WC regiment.
I don't know why we think that LPS need higher nutrient levels. SPS tanks are already more organically laden more so than even the back-reefs. LPS tolerate higher nutrients better but I have found they like tank-observed SPS-levels of organic availability.