What do you REALLY use your aquarium controller for?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by kavcheung, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. kavcheung

    kavcheung Guest

    I've been wanting the Neptune Apex for a long time, I'm trying to figure out what I really "need" it for. I have 2 Radions and 2 Mp10's, I also have the reef link that can control the lights and soon able to control the Mp10's with the reef link. I also have an ATO so the only thing I can really think of that would be useful is

    -Temp probe for more accurate readings
    -Ph probe to monitor the ph

    I don't like how how the models for the apex jump from the JR at 239.99 to the next model priced at 549.99...there should be a mid level point or give us the option to build your own bundle....just my 2 cents.

    Long story short. What do YOU REALLY use your aquarium controller for?
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  2. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    My old DIY one controls lights (PWM), scrubber, fuge lights, sump level, temperature control (heat+fan),
    ATO, and some dosers.

    Personally : $550 sure seems VERY steep.
    My new Raspberry Pi based DIY one runs linux, and is capable of way more, for all of $40.

    If you want a basic unit with lots of upgrade options, I suggest you consider reef angel.
  3. kavcheung

    kavcheung Guest

    Thanks for the the quick response. Maybe I'm just being silly but the reef angel doesn't look as cool as it sounds...lol
    If only the Apex had more models to choose from like the DA ReefKeepers. Entry Level only at 119 then next stage up priced at 299 then 349 etc etc...gotta have that cool factor right?
  4. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    Run 2 Apex - Heaters, lights, pumps. Heaters being the most important.
  5. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    I use mine for almost all tank monitoring and control. Main pump, heaters, skimmer, dosing, light program, MP40 programs, email and text alarms for pH/temp and feed cycles.

    I haven't set up ATO with it. I'm not sure I completely trust it for that. I will use it for emergency backup of my current ATO.

    For me the two most useful features are:
    First, the feed cycles (press one button to turn off return, skimmer and circulation - other stuff if you want) and it remembers to turn it all back on!

    Second is the remote monitoring so I can check on things when I'm out of town.

    None of the above is unique to an Apex. I really can't speak about the others or DIY. Yes it is over priced just like everything else in this hobby!

    Do you have to have a controller to have a successful reef tank? No.

    I do find it useful enough to say I'd buy another one if I was setting up another DT.

    They are available used, so it's possible to save a few $$ that way. One small warning, the base unit is a gateway drug to all the cool modules.

    I expect them to come out with an Apex controlled coffee maker any day now! :D :D
  6. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    That's the only one problem amongst very few with regards to the reef angel.

    It doesn't "look" as cool as it really is.
  7. tr1gger

    tr1gger Keyboard Cowboy

    My reefkeeper just does my temp with my 2 heaters and my sump lights. Gen 3's control themselves as well as the powerheads.
  8. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I don't have a smart phone, so most of the stuff these companies are trying to throw at customers don't apply to me. Radion needs a controller? I thought it already had a controller built in? Oh wait forgot that's the smart phone/internet dohicky :D (seriously feel like I'm an old man in a technological filled world :D).

    That said, my controller controls lights, freshwater top off, prevents freshwater top off from going too crazy, and back when I ran halides it'd kill the halides if the temp got too high (which it never did), also having a log of how the pH changes over time is kind of a neat edition. That said, most of what these new controllers offer is overkill for what i want.
  9. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    I've got one of my light fixtures just controller with $5 times outlets. My other light is a Maxspect that has all the control built in. On both tanks, I run a JBJ ATO system and then have Finnex heater controllers for my heaters. At this point, the only advantage of getting an actual controller would be text alerts, but the price to get one that does that is just ridiculous, so I stick to my cheap system. Heaters are the thing that matters and mine are both on controllers that will shut them off if the tank temp goes out of the acceptable range. There's also an audible alarm that goes off if the temperature goes out of range. I can set the temperature and then how many degrees plus or minus is an acceptable range. The Finnex heater controllers are only like $30 :)
  10. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    oh ok to be very specific of what my controller does for me that i find would be difficult otherwise:

    consolidate everything so anything i want to do, when i want to do it, how i want to do it, and
    determine why i would want to do it:

    - water change mode ( i get to tell it what to do )
    - feeding mode ( i leave certain pumps on )
    - skimmer delay after water change
    - temperature control (turn on/off things when it hits a temp)
    - dosing regiments and timers
    - ato / gfo / water levels / ph control
    - dimming my leds based on curve & time

    i'm going to stop there, there's a lot more but you get the idea. it does all of this for me easily without having to think much or go to multiple devices to achieve what i want. I can't imagine reefing without one; I would be filled with 10x more anxiety otherwise.
  11. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I keep it simple (for now) and this is what my controller is currently doing for me;

    1- Resolve power cord clutter (using 2 relay boxes)
    2- Heater control (with a fancy seasonal temp table too)
    3- Feed Mode
    4- Lights
    5- PH Monitoring & Control
    5- ATO
    6- Dosing pump
    7- Return pump
    8- ORP

    Listed in order of priority, 1 & 2 were the determining factors that made me absolutely want a controller, everything else was being managed fine pre-controller, but I must say having control/monitoring all in one little box is something I can never do without again.

    Next system;

    Reef Angel, primarily because I want to be able to do a little more, I'd like to have the ability to have any possible dimming, sunrise, sunset etc. control available under the sun and of course the option of custom code. Really that's the only "big" reason I'll be investing that much in it considering that a decent light controller will run $75+ new (I'm a DIY guy) what's another $200 lol?

    I guess the only thing I'm not looking forward to is the $500 grand total I'll end up spending once I have all the expansions & additional modules I will need for the RA to do what I need done. The good ol' days of the ACIII Pro are gone where you got almost everything you need right out of the box, but I guess expandability and upgradeability demands have grown exponentially over the years.
  12. I keep mine simple,more like old school,the wall timer for lights ,Ranco dual controller for heater .and a DJ strip light for all my pump and skimmer.I have a controller that i use for temperture and ph for Look but they're inaccurate,they're look cool tho.
  13. kavcheung

    kavcheung Guest

    I do want one, I'm trying to convince myself not to buy one lol. PH and Temp monitoring are nice, being able to shut off heaters is a very good feature feed mode is also super cool but back to what @HiFidelity was saying I'm not looking foward to spending so much money after all the expansions and additional modules because I know I WILL add on because I already have the unit.

    @FeliciaLynn I never knew about these Finnex heater controllers. Gotta look into that!

    I don't think I'll be able to get my mind off this until I bite the bullet and just DO IT!

    Thanks to everyone else who responded
  14. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Spoken like a true reefaholic! No blame, just kinship.
  15. Marc

    Marc Guest

    I was in the same boat as you. I ended up getting their highest Apex version with the lab grade pH probe. I was between the now discontinued Apex lite and the full Apex. What got me to one side was the variable control for pumps or LED light. I knew in the future I would want this option so I just just bit the bullet.
  16. kavcheung

    kavcheung Guest

    Should I even plug in my radions and mp10's since I have the reeflink?
  17. Merith

    Merith Guest

    I finally picked one up a week ago from a friend. Right now the only thing it does for me is act as a really fancy thermometer. Slowly working on getting it set up and fully installed so I can do more with it.
  18. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Great. When I got mine I hooked it up to a FW tank I had. I plugged in a lamp to one of the outlets to play with programs. It monitored pH and temp and turned on/off the lamp pretending to be doser, pumps, lights, etc.
  19. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    If you are using the RL instead of a WXM module there is little to be gained using EB8 ports for the AC. A regular power bar will do.
  20. Merith

    Merith Guest

    Finally got the heater and powerheads hooked up into it. Gonna try and get a little more work done on the wire mess that has accumulated behind the tank before I run more stuff to the apex. Slowly but surely I am getting use out of it lol.

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