Go Plus One: Bump it up a notch


Someone told me this once:  “When it comes to equipment, buy what you need at that moment.  Don’t buy anything more.”

When it comes to reefkeeping, I disagree.

Instead, adopt this mindset:  Find what you need, then buy ONE STEP UP.  It’s called “Go Plus One”

Take the example of protein skimmers.  These things are essential for any reef system.  They remove wastes before they have a chance to decay in your tank.  Decaying waste causes high nitrates and nuisance algae issues.  Bad news.

Every protein skimmer is rated by its maker to be good up to a certain size of tank. For example, a Vertex IN-100 skimmer is rated for tanks 60-100 gallons. Assuming you had a 75G tank, if you adhered to the “only buy what you need” mentality, you’d buy  this skimmer that is perfectly matched for your tank.  That’s ok, but if you want to increase the diversity of your livestock you can have in the tank and save yourself some major headaches, go plus one.

If  you went plus one, then you’d buy the next skimmer model up (using our Vertex example, the IN-180, rated for 100-180 G). The bigger skimmer would result in not only the ability to add more diverse corals to your tank, but more importantly, the ability to absorb any bumps in the road.

You’d be able to add in more SPS corals as you’d have better nutrient/waste export from the skimmer resulting in better water quality. Better water equals happier corals.

Also, if something goes wrong in the tank – a large fish dies that the clean up crew can’t handle – or your sand bed gets stirred up for some reason and releases lots of waste in your tank, then the bigger skimmer will pull the waste out faster so it has less of a chance to affect the tank. Bottom line – less headaches for you.

So go 1+ and expand your tank inhabitants and buy yourself some cheap insurance.

Note: always measure to make sure the bigger skimmer will fit in your sump!

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Comments for this article (9)

  • Gary says:

    I was reading you post here and I am building a tank that will be 60 gallons, I want to be able to expand with sps and maybe buy a larger tank in future as space permits. I was looking at a SWC xtreme 160 cone. What would you recommend for a skimmer?

  • Ryder says:

    Thanks for telling me that I did that

  • Vic Phillips says:

    Just wondering how the swc skimmer is working out. I have been waiting for more information prior to ordering one.? I need a skimmer that is going to perform great.

  • Vic…the SWC always performed well on my old tank.

  • Derek says:

    Hey mark I was wondering does your “Go Plus One” go for your filtration as well or just the skimmer??

  • Harrison says:

    would you recommend if i have a monster sup instead of going plus one just buy two of the same skimmers that are the right size for my tank

  • Harrison…I’d get one size bigger than what is recommended for your total system volume.

  • Kenneth says:

    How can I stop my sand from turning green. All of my water test are normal been during a water change at least once a week. Turned the light off for a couple of days only turn then on to feed the fish. I have ro/di system also a protein skimmer, but nothing helps

  • Farid says:

    Hi Mark,

    Tank: about 1900 Gallons. FOWLR and hoping to upgrade it to reef tank.
    Existing Protein Simmer (04 units) Red Sea, quite old and very difficult to adjust. Besides, they are not very efficient. They are connected to the system through a 1/2″ pipes. I am also using Ozonizer, UV (6x55Watts).
    Maximum height available under the tank is 70cm (about 28″).

    I was hoping you could advise me on what is the best Protein Skimmer I could buy that could do the job.
    I have bee thinking of replacing also the existing 4x400W MH lamps, for I read somewhere that I needed min. 3Watts/Gallon for a reef tank. Also reducing the lighting from 12hrs/daily to 9hrs/daily. It’s a public Aquarium!
    I am faced with a lot of Green Hair Algae and Red slime on my rocks.
    PLEASE HELP ME!!! Thanks in advance. Farid
    I am a subscriber to Mr. Saltwater Tank

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