Anthony Pham’s 600-gallon reef tank, run by the GHL System
- Tank owner: Anthony Pham
- Location: California, United States
- Display volume: 1363 liters / 360 gallons
First of all, it’s an honor to be chosen for the featured tank of the month. I want to thank GHL for choosing my tank. I have been reefing since 1990, and while I have learned a lot, the most crucial lesson is owning proper equipment, especially a controller and doser. Since I run Zeovit, I need a reliable doser and controller for precisely dosing the Zeovit additives. GHL products have been proven safe, and the quality is top-notch.
My name is Anthony, and I have lived in California since 1979, but I am originally from Vietnam. My passion for reef life began when I was 13 years old.
I remember when I stayed on an island in Malaysia, I used to go out every day and swim alongside a jungle of staghorn and tabling corals. The experience of swimming through the reef and its beautiful images quickly embedded itself in my brain. In 1990, my reef keeping journey officially began.
As soon as my English was proficient enough, I started working for a local fish store. There, I began to learn more about the hobby and how to keep saltwater fish. Fast-forwarding to today, I am blessed to have my aquarium system working to perfection as the GHL system has handled most of my tasks.
About my tank
Display tank: 360 gallon (1,363 Liter) tank built by Advance Acrylic
Dimensions: 96″x36″x24″ (244cm x 91cm x 61cm)
Total system size: 600 gallons (2,730 Liters)
Stand: Metal stand build by Aeron from the SPS Store
Sump: Dream box design build by Advance Acrylic
Protein skimmer: Bubble King Supermarin 250
Return Pump: Red Dragon 80w DC pump
Water circulation: 3x Tunze 6105, 2x Vortech MP40w QD, 2x Reefbreeder QP16 , 2x Seasweep w/ Tunze
Lighting: 6x Orphek Atlantik V4 G2, 4x 48″ Blue led bar, 2x 60″ UV led bar and 4x Kessil A360X
Doser: GHL Doser 2.1 and GHL Doser 2.0
Controller: GHL ProfiLux 4
UV : Aqua UV 80w
Zeovit reactor: Skimz 258
I run a modified Zeovit regimen just for my system. Zeovit is an interesting method because it doesn’t rely on a recommended dosage. Instead, each tank has its own chemistry and separate needs, therefore one must find the right dosage specific to their system. Although it’s a rocky road in the beginning, in the end, the rewards are well worth it.
Below I will list my dosing schedule but like I said, each tank will be different. I will separate each product into different categories so it will be easier to understand.
Coral Vitalizer: 12 drops per day
Sponge power: 12 drops per day
Amino: 10 drops every night
B Balance: 10 ml M-W-F
Pohl’s Extra 10 ml T-THU-Sat
Zeospur 2: 10 ml Sun
Flatworm stop 20ml per day
Coral Snow Plus: 12ml Sun
Biomate: 5 drops per day
Acro Power: 40ml per day
2 Little fishes A / B: 20 ml per day
Average Water parameters
ALK 7.5 dkH
CA 420 ppm
MAG 1400 ppm
POTASSIUM 400 ppm
PHOSPHATE 0.08 mg/L
NITRATE 10 ppm
TEMP 77° F (25° C)
SALINITY 1.025 SG
GHL and my reef
My 600-gallon reef is controlled and managed by the ProfiLux 4 Aquarium Controller and a bunch of GHL Doser 2.1 and 2.0 units. Since I run the Zeovit method, there are a lot of different additives and trace elements to dose. For that reason, I chose GHL Dosers to automate my dosing tasks. The GHL Doser is terrific because it can precisely dose small amounts like 0.5ml, which is equal to 10 drops. The ProfiLux 4 controller is responsible for handling all other tasks such as light and temperature control, ph and salinity monitoring, and Alkalinity monitoring through the KH Director. Since I have an extensive system, I only use the KH Director for monitoring Alkalinity.
Even though handling a 600-gallon system is a lot of work, owning the ProfiLux 4 controller and dosing units have helped me a lot and also saved me a lot of time in general maintenance. I like GHL products because they are robust and made of excellent quality. I love it too because it will work with or without the internet. Their probes are incredibly accurate! Even the salinity probe is working correctly, which on Apex was not.
Another plus for the ProfiLux controller is its expandability. So far I own 4 GHL Dosing units for a total of 16 heads.
I will be ordering the ION Director and can’t wait to try it.
I hope that in the future, GHL can add phosphate testing to the ION, which will be ultimate.
So far, I love the GHL products and their support. For the few times I have had a problem, Vinny took care of it swiftly. Also, I want to mention Lasse from Sweden. He is a wonderful person and his knowledge of GHL products is vast. He helped me out in the beginning to program my setup and did it with joy.
Due to the GHL equipment,
my maintenance routine narrows down to cleaning the acrylic and cleaning the skimmer cup. I have a skimmer neck cleaner so I only need to clean it once a month. I’m a lazy reefer so most of my tasks are automated. If I can automate tasks, I do it. Even though my tank has around 80 fish, big and small, I don’t do water changes. Once a week I vacuum the sand bed and replace 5 gallons (19 Liters) which is nothing for a 600-gallon (2,730 Liter) system.
Zeovit is very efficient at reducing nutrients. My phosphate and nitrate can go down to zero if I don’t feed or dose enough. I feed 6x a day using an Eheim auto feeder and 3x Omega flakes and 1x Mysis at night.
Years ago, we didn’t have advanced additives and nutrient reduction methods therefore we relied on water changes to replenish trace elements, Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium. Nowadays, we have calcium reactors, Kalk reactors and multiple brands of additives to replace these trace elements.
Another interesting subject. Although Bulk Reef Supply (BRS) made a video stating that flow is not correlated with coral growth, I disagree.
Their experiment is not true to the conditions in a reef tank. Their testing tank had no rock and all small frags which are not blocking any flow.
In our reef tanks, the conditions are different because rock and coral block a lot of flow. In my experience, the middle of the tank usually gets less flow than other places. In my tank, because it’s a peninsula, I can only put powerheads at each end. I have 3x Tunze 6105, 2x Vortech MP40 QD, 2x Gyre 250, 2x RB QP16, and 1x Tunze 6095 and 2x Seasweep. If I had more space, I would add more. HaHa!
I have tried everything from Halide to LED to T5. In the end, the best lighting for my tank is a combo of Halide and LED. I have come to notice that while every light system can give you adequate PAR, what matters most is the spectrum that will affect the growth of the corals. Halide and T5 are manufactured with a proven spectrum that has been growing coral for 30 years. With LEDs, since most do not own a spectrum analyzer to check the spectral output of their lights, it is more difficult to find the correct spectrum. Nevertheless, I still feel LEDs show coral colors best.
My light system consists of 6x Orphek V4 G2, and 8x Orphek blue led bar and 4x Kessil A360X. My light schedule is based on Jason Fox’s schedule. After talking with Jason at Reefapalooza (RAP) 2017, he taught me an interesting concept on the importance of the blue spectrum. As everyone knows, Jason dives the ocean to collect corals himself. At a depth of the area where he collects most of his coral, there was no other spectrum besides blue. The schedule he uses is based on a 12hr day, 4-4-4. In the beginning, 4 hours at full blue, UV, Purple, then 4 hours at full-spectrum, then 4 hours full blue at the end.
Ahhh, we finally come to everyone’s favorite part. My vision for my reef tank is a field of staghorn and the fish that live inside it moving in and out like the reef in the wild. I have 20 different types of stags in the tank and they are dominant.
Tank video TOTM 02_20 by Anthony Pham
- Acropora Stag horn
- Acropora Millepora
- Acropora Lokani
- Acropora Tenius
- Acropora Carpicornis
- Acropora Digitata
- Acropora Pikachu
- Acropora Table
- Acropora Hoksemai
- Acropora Loripes
- Acripora Formosa
- Acropora Sarmentosa
- Acropora Tortuosa
- Acropora Enchinada
- Frog spawn
- Button coral
- Duncan coral
- Flower pot
- Leather Coral
- Sailfin tang
- Blue tang
- Koi tang
- Yellow tang
- Tomini tang
- Gem tang
- Lamark angel
- Flame angel
- Reagal angel
- Gold flake angel
- Leopard wrasse
- Moyeri wrasse
- Six line wrasse
- Malarunus Wrasse
- Blue damsel
- Stag horn damsel
- Yellow tail damsel
- Yellow belly damsel
- Talbot damsel
- Tracey damsel
- Lawnmore blenny
- Storm clown
- Black and white clown
- Glass cardinal
- Pyramid butterfly
- Square back anthias
Final thoughts and recommendations
From the first encounter with corals on an island in Malaysia, it has definitely impacted my life for the obsession with reefing. My goal is to grow a staghorn forest and seeing the fish live beside the corals just like in the wild. My tank is still young, about 2.5-years old, however, I feel like it’s on the right course. My philosophy with reefing is, stick with what you want for your tank and don’t chase numbers or schedule. Corals need time to adapt and grow. If you keep changing your water chemistry, lighting schedule, or lighting fixtures, your coral growth will slow down because they must continuously adapt to the changes being made.
I highly recommend investing in good quality equipment, such as GHL products. Your equipment is the organs that drive your reef. If it fails, your hard work, time, and money will be wasted since most likely your tank will suffer. While most European reefer systems are full of proper quality equipment, in contrast, most American reefers are more focused on high-end corals. Better equipment translates to less maintenance and fewer problems. A high percentage of tank crashes are due to failed equipment or laziness.
I want to thank Tran Phan Reef and Josh Warne for providing me with awesome reef pictures. I also want to thank all my reefing friends and scmas club members, which help me a lot for my success with the Stag Horn Dominate Reef.