Aquarium controller or monitor, which is best for my tank?

randyBRS

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Hey guys!

We've got another 52FAQ episode today, where Ryan answers a YouTube comment question from Riley about reef monitors and why you would need them if you already had a controller. Ryan gives some pretty good analogies to compare the monitor and controller as well as talks about why using them both can be beneficial.

Check it out and let us know your thoughts about monitoring and controlling your reef. :)

 

revhtree

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Another nice video! I've really never considered having both but this makes me think again.
 

ohiojeffsreef

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The Seneye is useful. I have both and right now the Seneye is in my QT tank. It allows me to see any ammonia building up, so I can get home, deal with it, and maybe save a few captives. Let's face a bare bones QT tank can go south in a hurry. When it isn't in there it is in the sump of our main system. It sends alerts to get my attention if it is out of water for example. I know if it is out of water something is really wrong. It hasn't happened, but you never know. I also used the par meter to set up my lighting. I borrowed a friend's meter and the seneye was spot on, so now I trust it to do that.
 

Terence

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One point of clarification from the video. It used to be that doing alerts in the Apex meant light programming. And, the video made it seem that the Apex would take a long time to install and get alerts going. That is no longer the case at all. The Apex can be installed on you Wifi in under 10 minutes and the alerts are in fact, just one click on the gear and one check box to enable. Want to have a finer amount of control for the temp, ph, orp, salinity (or whatever you monitor) level where it will alert, go to the advanced tab and move the sliders. Super easy-peasy. Now, if you want to do more complex operations - well that is something differenct - but for simple set up and alerts it is easy. Check out the attached images.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 5.22.29 PM.png


Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 5.23.17 PM.png
 

Damien Buckley

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I like the Seneye and dont doubt its value. If I'd had mine when I first cycled my tank I could have avoided some losses.

Also, although I'm not 100% against controllers, having a single point of failure like an Apex terrifies me.

However, Seneye does have issues relating to pH monitoring which Seneye appear unable to answer or address. By the third week of a slides life the pH readings begin to tail off. By the time the slide is due to be replaced the reported pH can be anywhere up to 0.2 lower. At end of life my slide is usually reporting 7.9 and setting off alarms but after replacing the slide I'm back to 8.1+.

I also had one slide which reported higher and higher pH until I was completely freaking out & checked against chemical kits to find the pH was fine. The pad on the slide appeared to have deteriorated so that only a small portion was showing colour. Seneye did provide a replacement slide but still.

I know the degradation happens now and account for it but it's not great in terms of reliability or if it sets off alerts.

I've notified Seneye numerous times, even sending a used slide for analysis from Australia to the UK with no real explanation.

Given you have to buy replacement slides monthly to retain monitoring this is pretty disappointing.
 

Frop

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Hey guys!

We've got another 52FAQ episode today, where Ryan answers a YouTube comment question from Riley about reef monitors and why you would need them if you already had a controller. Ryan gives some pretty good analogies to compare the monitor and controller as well as talks about why using them both can be beneficial.

Check it out and let us know your thoughts about monitoring and controlling your reef. :)


My Seneye will be here tomorrow! I don't have the budget for anything bigger. Got this for below $100 from another tank owner, hardly used just as a par meter. He also had an apex. =))) very excited to at least see my ammonia and constant pH. < currently running a 10 gallon.
 

jason2459

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One point of clarification from the video. It used to be that doing alerts in the Apex meant light programming. And, the video made it seem that the Apex would take a long time to install and get alerts going. That is no longer the case at all. The Apex can be installed on you Wifi in under 10 minutes and the alerts are in fact, just one click on the gear and one check box to enable. Want to have a finer amount of control for the temp, ph, orp, salinity (or whatever you monitor) level where it will alert, go to the advanced tab and move the sliders. Super easy-peasy. Now, if you want to do more complex operations - well that is something differenct - but for simple set up and alerts it is easy. Check out the attached images.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 5.22.29 PM.png


Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 5.23.17 PM.png


The additional features of input and module control, calibration, configuration, etc in fusion with the 2016 Apex made the upgrade totally worth it. Plus the alerting like you mentioned above is awesome and you don't need an external email server anymore. I love it
 

JamesP

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I own both and use them for different purposes. The Apex is logically at the center of my system and controls and monitors everything as you would expect from a full aquarium controller. If I could only have one, it would be the Apex. I use the Seneye solely because of its real time PAR readings within the Seneye Connect software. It is a $200 PAR sensor that can hang with the more expensive brands that cost over 10x as much. I posted a walk through of building a handheld PAR meter using a Seneye if anyone is interested...

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/seneye-as-handheld-par-meter.296986/
 

Chitown tom

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I use both the apex and seneye.

I calibrated the apex ph probe and placed a new (soaked for 2 days) slide and my ph readings were about 8.05 on the apex and about 7.5 on the seneye. Not to mention the temperature was off by about 5 degrees. The seneye does offer a manual adjustment of the temp and ph but I am not sure why both had different readings in the same water??

But I definatly LOVE the ammonia monitoring on the seneye that is why its in my qt tank now.
 

Joe Grubbs

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To continue the thought from 'Chitown tom'

Building on the conversation of controller vs. monitor... I would like to see your assessment comparing the Seneye pH to the pH as measured by another 'calibrated' pH probe monitor such as Apex or DA's Reefkeeper. My experience is that the Seneye is consistently reading at least 0.5 pH units higher than the New Apex, dual junction pH probe even when the Apex is freshly calibrated with the Pinpoint solution using the Auto calibrate function. Even the Milwaukee pH monitor and BRS probe is no better.

So, personally, I do not control anything utilizing pH as a measurement, as the lack of accuracy or correlating values between the instruments precludes trusting any one of them. I choose instead to control Alk to a band of 9.3 to 9.7 using both the Hana Checker and Red Sea test kits.

This inquiry is driven from the many conversations about pH and the value of CO2 scrubbing of the air going into our skimmers. Since I don't trust any pH measurement to start with, I'm unwilling to use such an un-reliable indicator to make any change to my system.

Edit: the Apex pH probe was purchased in November and installed in January of this year.
 
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Chitown tom

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Did you try dropping the seneye into the same 7 or 10 reference solution?

Sometimes its the most basic solution!! I cannot believe I did not think of that! :confused:

I just ordered a PM1 with a new EB8 that I will be connecting to my frag tank and when I calibrate the new pH probe I will double check the seneye.
 

Joe Grubbs

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Did you try dropping the seneye into the same 7 or 10 reference solution?

Great question, yes... Since the top of the Seneye's indicating band is a pH of 9, I used the same 7.0 cal. solution that was just used on the pH probe. However, after 30 minutes of 'fussing' with the Seneye, I could not get it to report any reading at all as it continually reported as being 'out of water'. There is only enough length in a Pinpoint solution bag to cover about 3/4ths of the Seneye. That sufficiently covered the slide and the optic reader but did not seem to trigger the level indicator. I'll have to purchase a couple bags of the pH 7 solution and use a 'very clean' beaker to try again at a later time.
 

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