Auto Testers: What's your take? Yay or Nay?

BRS

What's your take on automated testing?

  • It's a huge step forward for the hobby!

    Votes: 194 55.3%
  • I've got an auto tester and I'm a fan.

    Votes: 91 25.9%
  • I've tried auto testing, and it has not been what I hoped.

    Votes: 21 6.0%
  • I don't use an auto tester and I don't think I ever would.

    Votes: 59 16.8%
  • I don't think this has been a step forward.

    Votes: 15 4.3%
  • Other... (post in thread)

    Votes: 28 8.0%

  • Total voters
    351

Tankkeepers

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I LOVE my Alkatronic so much I ordered a Mastertronic. It's still sitting in the box though because the thought of the setup is giving me anxiety lol. The Alkatronic also did before I set it up but that ended up being a breeze.
Looking at this system also IYE how foes it do with only testing and dosing for alk
Has your cal or mg ever been way off or does it do a pretty good job
 

Karen00

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The all-in-one testers are a huge leap forward IMO. I want one so bad. I don't need one that doses... A stand alone tester is fine. I'm tired of using the manual testers. It would be nice if the all-in-ones also did salinity via a conductivity chamber that you could use independent of the other tests. I'm sure we would still keep a separate digital tester or refractometer but having salinity built in would be handy as well. :)
 

Wasabiroot

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I just can't justify the expense right now. I think on a larger tank full of expensive coral it makes sense, but honestly there is a gap in the market for a cheaper device that tests 1 or 2 things and that's it.
I also find the marketing confusing. Any look on BRS and you'll find 12 different versions of each tester, with functionality that demands buying a separate unit. Alkatronic, mastertronic, this one tests this but this one doesn't, you need a doser slave to go with this, etc etc. Even something like the CoralVue has this weird thing going on. I don't want to spend 400 bucks to know my ORP, temp and pH when I already have a thermometer and I don't care about a leak detector unless I'm out of town. Or I'd just buy one of those 10 dollar alarms from Home Depot.
I've considered a reef pi before but I just refuse to spend 800 on Tonka toy plastic with inconsistent reviews that relies on you monitoring it just as much as the testing you want it to do.

If they made an affordable (sub 300) device that tested alk only daily that would be fine with me, but for some reason every unit either tests 400 parameters nobody asked for at the price of a new Corvette OR you need to build a bear with 700 units to get the info you need, then pull your hair out programming the device to do what you want and figuring out what to avoid purchasing so that you dont ha e redundant parts. For the price of a laptop, I expect something more user friendly.
 

Viva'sReef

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Looking at this system also IYE how foes it do with only testing and dosing for alk
Has your cal or mg ever been way off or does it do a pretty good job
The Alkatronic is solid, it really is a great peice of reefing gear. It does a great job, is super cheap on reagent cost and is rather easy to maintain.
I was testing alk 6x per day but I've since lowered it to 4x per day. All mine does is test though, I do not have it setup to dose. I leave that up to a Kamoer X1 Pro and All For Reef. I just dial the dosing in to hit my desired Alk, everything else just falls into place really. I've had my Calcium end up on the high side but that's leveled out now as well.
 

cww81

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I think it is a big leap forward and can’t wait for what the future holds. It is a huge help to me and definitely worth it to be able to see what my parameters are at any given moment and even be alerted if something is off before I could lose thousands of dollars of livestock. It’s simply a peace of mind thing to me.
 

MichaelReefer

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As someone who works 11 hour days, five days a week, and is busy renovating my home and property....My Trident gives me A LOT of extra time to do other things but still have a tank. When I get home at 5:30pm, the last thing I want to do is test my tank.
 

Luke Schnabel

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I have an Alkatronic auto tester. It works great but I will NEVER not hand test. It is a great way to know if something if going wrong in your tank at a moment's notice. I do not trust it to maintain my system though.
 

Dennis Cartier

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I have an Alkatronic auto tester. It works great but I will NEVER not hand test. It is a great way to know if something if going wrong in your tank at a moment's notice. I do not trust it to maintain my system though.
I agree about not letting it maintain your system. I have had my Alkatronic throw out some pretty unrealistic readings on a few occasions. After that happened once, I disabled the dosing feature. I now use it as an input to other logic that can control the flow through my CaRx (up to a point).

I also found the socket solution using bluetooth to be unreliable, so I stopped using that years ago. They have so many unused pins on the RPI inside the Alkatronic, that I don't know why they didn't provide a physical contact. That would have been much more useful.
 

Sean Clark

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I agree about not letting it maintain your system. I have had my Alkatronic throw out some pretty unrealistic readings on a few occasions. After that happened once, I disabled the dosing feature. I now use it as an input to other logic that can control the flow through my CaRx (up to a point).

I also found the socket solution using bluetooth to be unreliable, so I stopped using that years ago. They have so many unused pins on the RPI inside the Alkatronic, that I don't know why they didn't provide a physical contact. That would have been much more useful.
I can not speak for the Alkatronic but I know that my KHG and Trident will allow you to limit the dosing volume to prevent an overdose. I never used this on my Trident because I never let it dose for me. The KHG has several safeties to prevent this sort of issue.
 

a4edwin

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I love the idea of it. I’m still testing and dosing by hand. But if I could I would automate. Just so I can enjoy the tank more. Not only the tank though I have five kids oldest is 14 youngest is 9. They require our attention and there are other things I want to enjoy also. I think people could or should automate after they have been in the hobby for a while, not just jump into it and go full auto. Because if all that equipment decides to poop the bed your going to be s.o.l.
 

Dennis Cartier

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I can not speak for the Alkatronic but I know that my KHG and Trident will allow you to limit the dosing volume to prevent an overdose. I never used this on my Trident because I never let it dose for me. The KHG has several safeties to prevent this sort of issue.
The Alkatronic also offers the ability to stage the correction with multiple doses, and re-test for possible outliers. If it gets through all those protections, it will still dose.

I prefer to have my hand on the throttle and let the technology feather the brakes. ;)
 

Sean Clark

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I am happy with my auto testing and dosing every 4 hours.
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ColoredRock

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If we are talking pie n the sky...you know what I would like...

a tester that gives an alert.. I dont care about levels to the (.)

po4 phosphate hit above .10 or below .02
po3 nitrate hit below 10 or hits above 40
alk./cal..mileage may very.. everyone has their own what they want to keep it at levels.

pH, sal, ORP..all have probes ... that would be amazing if we could have that for the above.

Sad to say there is not a conductivity that measures it. So we have to go to a titration method.... and it gets more complicated. :(

my .000002 cents
 

Sean Clark

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If we are talking pie n the sky...you know what I would like...

a tester that gives an alert.. I dont care about levels to the (.)

po4 phosphate hit above .10 or below .02
po3 nitrate hit below 10 or hits above 40
alk./cal..mileage may very.. everyone has their own what they want to keep it at levels.
KHG will alert me through Apex or any other controller at whatever levels I select. Trident will also do this just like a probe.
 

Alex Cataldo

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Many of us who have been in the hobby for more than the last few years remember when the idea of auto testing seemed like a pipe dream. Well, now for the last several years, this dream has become a reality! With auto testers like the Trident, GHL Kh Director, GHL Ion Director, Alkatronic, Mastertronic, Reefbot, and others, innovation has made testing much less work (although that time saved certainly comes at a premium).

So my questions for today's discussion are:

What's your take on auto testers in general? Are you a fan?
Which ones have you had experience with?
Do you think these have been the step forward that we hoped they would be?
What considerations/cautions would you give others considering using these?

Photo: @W.vreeswijk
IMG_0460.jpeg
I think that they are rather expensive and for the most part, unless they are protecting a large investment, are not worth it. It would make more sense if you were running a business off this hobby.
 

guysmiley

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i have a Ghl Khd that doses all for reef unfortunately the ion d has taken over 2 years to arrive here and its still not here! so i changed my mind and went apex instead . i only test ph and salinity ca and mag maybe once a month i have a full apex system and trident with dos and ddr turning up this month very exciting ! only thing i wished is that the apex could test for po4 and no3 , im all fans of hanna testers but the amount of regent that goes on the floor is just sad the tester vial is pathetic
 
BRS

How close to perfect, for you, is your reef aquarium?

  • IT'S PERFECT NOW

    Votes: 17 3.8%
  • It's getting close

    Votes: 64 14.1%
  • It's about half way there

    Votes: 85 18.8%
  • It's slow but progressing

    Votes: 133 29.4%
  • It's not even close

    Votes: 142 31.3%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 12 2.6%
Geo's Reef
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