This is Part #16 in a series of blog posts about my 225 gallon peninsula tank build.
I have always tried to stay away from too much automation with my tanks since I don’t like to have too many moving parts. The chances of something going wrong increases, in my view, when there are more variables in play. So keeping it simple has always been a goal of mine when it comes to running a reef tank.
However, I do believe aquarium controllers and automated monitors, despite all the complex functions they can perform, are very important pieces of equipment since they can provide valuable data and help prevent disasters.
GHL Profilux 4
For this new tank I am using a GHL Profilux 4 controller. My P4 has four probes that monitor pH, temperature, conductivity and redox. For pH, temperature and conductivity I setup alarms to alert me if any of these parameters stray off course. I have never worried about monitoring redox but that may change in the future.
Another thing I added to the P4 are two leakage sensors to alert me via text and email if water is detected on the floor near the sump. They are attached to a GHL leak interface, which is connected to the P4. I have this setup on the P4 I use to control my 187 gallon tank and it provides great peace of mind.
Adding Safeguards and Additional Control
To prevent my skimmer cup from overflowing, I programmed the P4 to delay the start of my skimmer pump by 5 minutes when a power outage is detected. To further insure against overflows, I installed a DIY float switch that will turn off the skimmer pump via the P4 when the cup is full. Besides the float switch, I needed to install a breakout board as well as an expansion card inside the P4.
A second expansion card was added for an additional pH probe, which monitors the pH inside my Reef Octopus calcium reactor. This will allow the P4 to shut off the C02 if the pH inside the reactor gets too low. This will not only prevent the media from melting due to low pH, but it will also prevent a potential disaster if my regulator malfunctions and dumps a bunch of C02 in my tank.
Other Devices For Monitoring & Control
Now let’s move on to monitoring and controlling other parameters not directly measured by the P4.
I am using the KH Director and I have it set to measure the dkh twice per day, but I may cut this back to one time per day. More measurement periods would be required if I used the adaptive control feature. This automated function is handy since the KHD can be used to adjust dKH levels up or down, whether you are using two-part or a calcium reactor.
I have gone back and forth on using adaptive control since it tends to provide too much automation for my taste. Yes, there are built in safe guards to prevent a runaway dosing event but I am more comfortable making my own adjustments on the fly.
GHL ION Director
The final thing I want to touch on is the GHL ION Director. Units have started to ship and I can’t wait to get my hands on one. The ION Director provides lab grade measurements for calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and nitrate.
The IOND has a multi-ion sensor and requires no reagents. Similar to the KHD, The IOND can automatically control parameters and keep them stable. For example, the IOND will be able to maintain a target level of magnesium if it is being added by a GHL Doser 2.1.
Again, I will pass on the control functionality. The big win is having more precise data versus using hobby grade test kits. Not having to manually do the tests is a big plus as well. The less work the better when it comes to reef keeping.
If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend. I also sell Reef Brite metal halide and LED fixtures as well as Maxspect & IceCap Gyres.
As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.
Need some frags…..I can help with that as well 🙂 Please visit my SPS Frag store to see what is available.