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Old 02-03-2012, 12:00 AM   #1
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Reef controller questions

Hey guys

So I have had saltwater tank for a year now and I'm just hearing about reef controllers such as the neptune apex. I'm just wondering what these things are? What are they used for? Also would it be a good idea to invest in one? I just have a 55 gal reef system with no sump so I'm just curious and kind of pondering the idea of getting one
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:04 AM   #2
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Also In my tank I have 3 power heads, skimmer, hob filter, ub sterilizer, and water heater. I don't know if this makes a difference but thought id say it.
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:18 AM   #3
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There are two main competitors in the controller market, Neptune (makers of the Apex line) and Digital Aquatics (maker of the Reef Keeper line).

Basically you monitor a condition and based on that you turn an outlet on or off.

Both allow you to control your lights (on/off), pumps, heater(s), chiller, etc and can monitor temp, pH and other probes. By using a temperature probe the controller can be programmed to shut off the heater when the temperature reaches the high point you set, and turn on when the temperature drops below your set point. The same holds true for your chiller.

pH and SG probes can be added (pH and temp are usually included). You can control calcium reactors, add float switches and control auto top-off etc.
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:48 AM   #4
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Reef angel seems to be really nice too. With a great price tag.
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:40 PM   #5
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Thanks! But are they worth it? Should
I invest in one? I'm just wondering if I want to get on or not
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:48 PM   #6
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I got the reefkeeper for christmas and I love it. I use it for everything that plugs into a socket. My lights, skimmer, fuge light, auto top off, gfo reactor everything. lol I have it shut down the heater when it reaches my set mark and turns it back on after it drops to the level I indicated. I have the temp and ph probes. I also had it shutting down my ATO if the Ph got to a certain point since I was dosing Kalkwasser which raises Ph.
I also have my powerheads set up for random so it actually creates a wave in my tank. And at night it shuts down my powerheads. I was hoping to hook up a second tank to this controller as well. Lots of neat stuff you can do with it. Just have to NEED things done.

If you just have simple needs then you could get a reefkeeper Lite which is cheaper and is a bit limited as far as expansion.
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:50 PM   #7
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I think they r definately worth it. In the long run they can save you a lot of money. Most heaters suck. Eventually your gonna get one that sticks in the on position. That could wipe out your whole tank pretty quick. A good heater controller is around a hundred dollars, an auto top off about a hundred, a waver maker 50+ dollars. That's your money back right there. And there is a lot more you can do.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:29 PM   #8
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@Carey, I hope you have RODI water for top off and not just Kalk. If dosing Kalk you really need another ATO for pure water, or are you currently lucky enough that top off and Kalk replenishment are in balance.

I have the Apex Jr. set up for CA and Alk additions at night, as well as controlling all power heads (like Carey's set up). The PS and Main pump are set for a feeding period to allow a bit of quite time with just the power heads runnings. I already had a separate ATO controller and heater controller so I have not added those to the Apex JR.

My fuge light has been running 24/7 but I might move that over and run opposite my light schedule. My LED unit has full control of my light schedule to a degree that could not be done by either of these controllers.

The Apex Jr had a built in web server so I can check everything from my iPhone when I'm at work. It will also send me text messages if anything goes out of whack. I might set up a flood detector to get notified is anything really goes bad. Then I can log on to my video camera and see what's going before rushing home from work.

Your first year it's best to concentrate on getting the maintenance down correctly and learning about your tank. After that one of these controllers adds a lot to the mix and just makes life easier.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:44 PM   #9
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I was using a single reservoir with ro/di water mixed with kalk. The only thing I noticed was my ph was more stable but my calcium and alkalinity were still dropping daily....I've since stopped using the kalk and have been doing massive water changes every few days to keep the levels where they should be.
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:08 PM   #10
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Y not just continue with and supplement with two part? That's what I plan on doing.
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