Ah, the good ole “Overkill Strategy”. Good for aquariums as it is for War. And less expensive to boot!
So what is the overkill strategy you may be asking? Well, simply put, it’s where you oversize the shiznit out of your filtration system. I mean EVERYTHANG! Got a 60g reef and shopping for a skimmer? Overkill that bitch! Looking for a pump for that 60? Overkill that bitch too!
With the amount of things that can and do go wrong in this hobby, and with the amount of money you’ll be or already have invested, it’s not wise to just get the bare minimum. You’re basically asking for trouble. Everyone overstocks their tanks, everyone overfeeds their tanks, and everyone under filters their system. So let’s look at some basic reef gear, like your skimmer and chiller and why it’s a good idea to employ the overkill strategy with these pieces of equipment.
Ah the skimmer. The one piece of equipment that is responsible for removing more waste from your reef than anything else in your arsenal. So why would you ever think of undersizing this bad boy? Skimmers are rated based on how much money a manufacturer feels like you’ll dish out for your size of a tank. I’ve yet to install a skimmer rated for 60 gallons on a 60g tank, that works well in emergencies.
So if you can fit a giant skimmer into your sump, then take a lead from Shia LaBeouf and just DO IT!! Consider the amount of food you’re going to be feeding your fish and corals and the amount of shit they’re going to drop into your reef. Now double that amount, because in reality, that’s most likely what you’re actually going to feed! Now think of all the potential problems that might arise, like an unexpected fish death, corals releasing toxins, lil nephew you have who wanted to “help” feed your tank when you weren’t not looking. So why not install a skimmer that’s not just able of meeting the baseline requirements of your reef, but also capable of handling extra capacity in emergency situations? With an oversized skimmer, that coral death won’t have nearly as much of an impact on your reef, and neither will your helpful lil devil of a nephew. Overkilling on your skimmer will save you money, time, and headaches, with minimal upfront cost.
Ok, so that makes sense, but why should I overkill my chiller you may be thinking? There are two main points to why you should. 1- It’ll actually cut down on how often it will be on, thus cutting down on electricity usage, noise pollution, and how much heat the chiller releases into the room its in. This I think is particularly helpful if your tank’s in your bedroom. No one wants to listen to the clank and hum of your unit while they’re trying to enjoy your other unit. Shit’s annoying and distractful. The second reason why you want to overkill your chiller is that it will last you a lot longer. A larger chiller will be able to cool your system for a much longer period, like years longer. You’ll save tons of cash in the long run and your system will be a lot more stable.
And the overkill strategy doesn’t just apply to skimmer and chillers. We love to overkill because simply put it’s an extra layer of defense against the things that can and do go wrong in this hobby. Your pumps, lights, media filters, etc etc are all great areas to apply the overkill strategy with. You’ll be happier and your livestock will be happier. You’re welcome!