Apex controllers/Neptune

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Susan Edwards

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Is the Apex worth purchasing? It is so costly, I want to be sure before I do so!

--I want to do automatic water changes with my new set up. Is this the way to go?
--I like the idea of auto testing but maybe just once a day or every 2-3 days. 4 x's a day seems much, but is this also worth considering
--The Red Sea gyres come with controllers as do the mp40's. Is Apex better?
--The auto feeder seems like a good idea but I'm sure there are others.
--Red sea lights have their own app. Is the apex good for lighting

And what is the learning curve? Are there lots of resources? Would love some honest opinions here
 
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SPS2020

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IMO, yes. It has made my life much easier on my Acropora dominant tank. There are other controllers out there to consider though (Hydros, GHL).

Others will chime in on the H2O automation via DOS. I use a PMUP and my ATO for weekly 10% changes.

The Triton kicks butt and has made testing so much easier. Depending upon your livestock, you may not need this...at least at first.

I use the ReefBeat app to control my ReefWave 45s.

I've heard their auto feeder is not that great; I use an Eheim.

I use the AI app for my Hydra 32 HDs...Apex is not compatible. However, I do use the Apex to control my DX18 T5 dimmable schedule and it works just fine.

The learning curve isn't too bad and their are TONS of videos and resources. BRS has lots of info in their videos and the Apex forum is great as well.

My suggestion is to buy the regular Apex and not the EL like I did. After you buy an extra module or two, it's worth it.

Hope this helps and I'm sure you'll have many opinions on this subject! :)
 

srobertb

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Is the Apex worth purchasing? It is so costly, I want to be sure before I do so!

--I want to do automatic water changes with my new set up. Is this the way to go?
--I like the idea of auto testing but maybe just once a day or every 2-3 days. 4 x's a day seems much, but is this also worth considering
--The Red Sea gyres come with controllers as do the mp40's. Is Apex better?
--The auto feeder seems like a good idea but I'm sure there are others.
--Red sea lights have their own app. Is the apex good for lighting

And what is the learning curve? Are there lots of resources? Would love some honest opinions here
I waited a long time before getting an Apex. I love it but it has not made me more successful. It just makes success easier. It is not a magical fix.

the DOS pumps work well for AWC. You can run them far (mine are on a 60’ run) and they are reliable. Don’t forget filters on both lines! Some other dosing pumps do not work well. The ecotech versa’s have a narrow tube which constantly get clogged; even with filters.

i have Gyre’s and don’t use apex to control them. It’s one app over on my phone and no big deal. I don’t turn anything off to feed

Neptune is coming out with their own lights. They seem to be rebranding existing things so I’m sure that’s what they did here. I have Radions. Lights should be set to spectrum, intensity, and time and left alone other than acclimation mode. I don’t think anyone needs control of their lights to be handy. In fact, more hoops keeps us from tinkering

Minimum testing is 4x a day I believe or you can set it to manual? I have mine set at 4 and never bothered to check.

I own a lot of auto feeders- name brand, apex, and Amazon specials. They all work ok so long as the food is uniform. I use the Apex which I think are the best, never need new batteries, and I can feed from my couch when lazy.

Other things: There is so much you can do. You can use water level sensors and float sensors and flow sensors to monitor so much- Waste containers, dosing containers, flood detectors, whether your ATO is working and if it’s filling more than usual. Refugium lights, anything with a timer, and a more reliable thermostat.

there are other controllers on the market and emerging. I would guess within a year we will see a coralvue/ecotech, more modules for GHL, and I feel like there’s a 3rd…
 

schuby

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I don't have a Trident. These items of mine are from Neptune: full Apex controller (with temp, salinity, ORP, & ph probes), ATK (auto-topoff), 2 WAV makers, 2 DOS (1 for Auto Water Change & 1 for Ca/Alk dosing), 1 DDR (Ca and Alk reservoir), 2 Cor-20 return pumps, 2 1" flow-sensors, EB832, & EB8 (I recommend getting more than one EB832 if you need more outlets: EB832 gives you much more visibility and control).

Apex turns my lights (non-Neptune) on and off by controlling the power sockets. There is a set schedule and they also turn off when I open my hood (micro-switch attached to Avast Breakout box attached to Apex controller).

I had purchased all my Neptune gear before my 150 gal, glass tank got wet. This was my second tank after running a 90 gal reef tank for 12 years. I wanted a lot of automation (light schedules; feeding-timer that TEMPORARILY turns return pumps, chiller, skimmer, & wave-makers off; auto-water-change (lost most of my fish once when returns were left off overnight); turn heater power sockets off when temp is above 76 (to prevent runaway heater from killing tank); & adjustable dosing) and a lot of monitoring (temp; return pumps actually moving water [related to previously mentioned fish-loss]; PH; ORP; dosing amounts; AWC functioning). I chose Neptune based on reviews and that I could use one vendor for all of my automation. The single-source vendor was very important to me. Working in IT almost all my adult life, I know that different products and programs (hardware and software), that are supposed to work seamlessly together, don't always.

I always check the return pump flow meters before going to bed. I have much better peace-of-mind being able to check my tank using Apex Fusion from anywhere in the world.
 
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Susan Edwards

Susan Edwards

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I waited a long time before getting an Apex. I love it but it has not made me more successful. It just makes success easier. It is not a magical fix.

the DOS pumps work well for AWC. You can run them far (mine are on a 60’ run) and they are reliable. Don’t forget filters on both lines! Some other dosing pumps do not work well. The ecotech versa’s have a narrow tube which constantly get clogged; even with filters.
what filters? Can you show me an example?
 

Skipbacon

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I have two Apex Classics and I love them. The ATO and wave maker make life so easy. It’s nice to know temp and pH via the app, and checking the tank from thousands of miles away is also great.
 

Pistondog

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Is the Apex worth purchasing? It is so costly, I want to be sure before I do so!

--I want to do automatic water changes with my new set up. Is this the way to go?
--I like the idea of auto testing but maybe just once a day or every 2-3 days. 4 x's a day seems much, but is this also worth considering
--The Red Sea gyres come with controllers as do the mp40's. Is Apex better?
--The auto feeder seems like a good idea but I'm sure there are others.
--Red sea lights have their own app. Is the apex good for lighting

And what is the learning curve? Are there lots of resources? Would love some honest opinions here
Apex is absolutely worth it, but not dos, unless you're OK with whining pumps.
I use versa for awc, and they can be located wherever.
 

blaxsun

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The short answer is “yes”. Will it make you a better reefer? Indirectly, yes (by providing you with a lot of up-to-date information at your fingertips). What you do with this information and how you utilize it makes all the difference.

As some have answered most of the other questions, I’ll stick to two that you specifically asked:

1. Is there a steep learning curve? Yes and no. Once you figure out how everything works in the Fusion app it becomes a lot easier to use. Fusion has various tips, tools and tours to assist as well. And there’s an Apex forum full of advanced programming tips.

2. Can you change the trident testing frequency? Not below a certain minimum, which is 4x alkalinity and 2x magnesium and calcium daily. The included reagents will last a month based on the default testing.

The DOS pumps are fine. Mount them at the back of your cabinet, close the door and you’ll never hear them.
 

Pistondog

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Is the Apex worth purchasing? It is so costly, I want to be sure before I do so!

--I want to do automatic water changes with my new set up. Is this the way to go?
--I like the idea of auto testing but maybe just once a day or every 2-3 days. 4 x's a day seems much, but is this also worth considering
--The Red Sea gyres come with controllers as do the mp40's. Is Apex better?
--The auto feeder seems like a good idea but I'm sure there are others.
--Red sea lights have their own app. Is the apex good for lighting

And what is the learning curve? Are there lots of resources? Would love some honest opinions here
I have the apex feeder and will use it when on vacation, but not as polished as it could be. Opening to replace food dumps contents into tank unless the unit is removed 1st.
 
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blaxsun

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I have the apex feeder and will use it when on vacation, but not as polished as it could be. Opening to replace food dumps contents into tank unless the unit is removed 1st.
Yeah, I’d noticed that.. The drum should just pop out, but the only way to grasp it is from the lid, so... I might have to “MacGyver” mine...
 

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I am phasing it out after 5 years. Far too many catostrophic failures that erase all the gains from the monitoring, programming and automation. While there is more work with power strips and WIFI, outlets, temperature controllers, PH controllers, etc., I don't have major problems like I way too often have with Neptune. Was not a light user. Had 3 EB832s, 4 EB8s, and 6 modules supporting 3 tanks each with a temp and PH probe. I think their stuff is crap at this point. Good for 180 days, and then bang, failure. Last summer I lost half the equipment in an instant. A couple weeks ago, EB832 failed while I was on vacation. I have lost as much livestock as the cost of all the Neptune equipment to date.
 

Jason Yahr

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Im gonna say when I first started my reef tank I thought there is no way in hell I’m going to spend that kind of money on a controller. Not only that, I thought I would never be able to figure it out since I’m not the most computer savvy. As I got more into reefing I began doing my research and realized for what I want I need one. Well I ended up buying the El since I didn’t need the salinity or ORP monitoring. Fast forward a 1.5 years and now I can’t imagine being without it. I have controlled dosing with the trident as well as AWC with another Dos. This had made everything sooooo much easier. I monitor everything from my phone and can make most changes to my tank right from my phone using Fusion. So far I have had no issues and love it. Good luck on whatever you choose but for me I don’t regret the purchases one bit. Another note there are many people here on this forum who will help you out with any issues you have. I def would not have been able to do some of the things I did with my Apex without the members here.
 

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Im gonna say when I first started my reef tank I thought there is no way in hell I’m going to spend that kind of money on a controller. Not only that, I thought I would never be able to figure it out since I’m not the most computer savvy. As I got more into reefing I began doing my research and realized for what I want I need one. Well I ended up buying the El since I didn’t need the salinity or ORP monitoring. Fast forward a 1.5 years and now I can’t imagine being without it. I have controlled dosing with the trident as well as AWC with another Dos. This had made everything sooooo much easier. I monitor everything from my phone and can make most changes to my tank right from my phone using Fusion. So far I have had no issues and love it. Good luck on whatever you choose but for me I don’t regret the purchases one bit. Another note there are many people here on this forum who will help you out with any issues you have. I def would not have been able to do some of the things I did with my Apex without the members here.
This was my thinking 100% a year ago, 3 plus years into going full on Neptune Apex. And then the stuff started failing, over and over again. It is not built for the long term, but your reef tank expects such. Keep that in mind.
 
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This was my thinking 100% a year ago, 3 plus years into going full on Neptune Apex. And then the stuff started failing, over and over again. It is not built for the long term, but your reef tank expects such. Keep that in mind.
I have a Neptune jr that’s been solid for over 3 years and was going to buy the full apex for my new build then I see post like this and makes me second guess buying one . I would hate to drop a few grand on a new apex and accessory’s and have it crap out and I don’t know if I want to take that chance as I’m not rich lol everything I buy for my tank I have to save up for and to have it fail a year or so later would suck . I have read a lot of bad things about there customer service and there warranty also good but knowing my luck it would be the bad one . I will never buy another ai light ever again because of the bad customer service
 
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Susan Edwards

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Apex is absolutely worth it, but not dos, unless you're OK with whining pumps.
I use versa for awc, and they can be located wherever.
The DOS will be in the garage for auto water change so noise not an issue.
 

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I can’t comment on others’ experiences, but Neptune has been stellar for me. Everything worked out of the box without issue. The only one hiccup I had was with the Trident not reading a water sample.

I followed Neptune’s online troubleshooting guide and when that didn’t resolve the issue, filled out the accompanying support ticket. Even though it was the weekend they got back to me the same day and scheduled a call first thing Monday. The rep called me early and was able to walk me through a quick disassembly of the Trident in an attempt to ascertain the problem. Neptune was fully prepared to ship me out a new unit, but whatever I did in the course of reassembling it resolved the issue (apparently the camera wasn’t reading properly) - and the Trident has been running without a hitch ever since. They also emailed to followup.

Yes, this was under warranty - but when I compare this to the customer service I’ve received from Red Sea, EcoTech and others... I’m still waiting for Red Sea to email me back and my warranty issues with EcoTech went absolutely nowhere. Your mileage may vary, but so far Neptune gets a singing endorsement from me.
 

blaxsun

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Just a side note, while the Apex system doesn’t let you control every device - you can toggle the power on/off to any outlets (which in many instances is what you’ll need). Neptune is also expanding their list of IOTA devices, so this functionality will expand in time.

Case in-point, I’m waiting for Sicce to push a firmware update to my Syncra ADV 9.0 so that Apex can recognize it as an IOTA device. I’ll still have the Sicce ContrALL app to remotely control it, but this will allow me to use the Apex to dial down the speed on my Sicce pump during feeding as opposed to shutting it on and off.

The Apex is also great for failover/disaster scenarios. I use an Inkbird with a pair of Schego titanium heaters, and the Apex monitors temperature independently. If the temperature rises too high, it kills the outlet. By the same token, if it drops too much I have a backup thermostat on an energy bar outlet that kicks in. And all this happens seamlessly without input from me - all I get is an instant remote notification on my phone.
 
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