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

elcapitan1993

Well-Known Member
Review score
+2 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 4, 2021
Messages
780
Reaction score
343
Review score
+2 /0 /-0
Location
white city
I would add that Photosynthesis and pH both play a roll in the results here, among other factors, which are difficult to control. I only test ALK every four hours as evident in the graph. I am not sure that 100% stability is possible but that is a good goal.
With the KHD I was testing 24 times a day and I got my alkalinity stable within 0.1 DKH and that was the best I could do, yes photosynthesis definitely effects things, for some reason I noticed that my alkalinity consumption actually increases when my lights shut off vs my lights on
 

calimako

Community Member
Review score
+4 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 11, 2021
Messages
66
Reaction score
63
Review score
+4 /0 /-0
Location
so cal
Any chance you can explain this like I'm five? I just got my first Hanna checker and the first thing I thought was "There has to be a better way to do this?" when I opened the reagent package. I just cut the top off, squeezed it so it was open, bent one side to a "v" and dumped it in the vial. I may be describing what you are with different terms, but if there's a better way, then I'm all ears.
watch at the 11 min mark.
ever since i learned this way, getting the powder in the vial has been a breeze
 

Dom

Full Time Reef Keeper
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2016
Messages
4,092
Reaction score
4,369
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
S.I.
That not true, I pay very close attention to my tank and have tank automation at the same time

Yes, but the thread isn't about you. It's about tank automation, specifically where testing is concerned.

And while I applaud your commitment to your tank, most people become lazy with the addition of automation.
 

sevenx7

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 18, 2021
Messages
86
Reaction score
100
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Northern New Jersey
I pretty much automate everything in my life. When i built up the Fluval 13.5 evo I decided to set everything up towards an Apex and always intended to throw the Triton in and have two DOS's for AWC and dosing All for reef.

that being said it all depends on how you use automation.

I use it as a tool, As long as my graphs are steady (after calibrations) I check in a few times a day especially since its in my office and I work at home, the second there's a swing in anything I use that as a catalyst to test manually. In no way should it be a set it and forget it situation but it allows me to relax when i can, and react when necessary. It shouldnt be something you completely offload.

Of course Im still checking Nitrates and Phos.

Automation is a tool, not a hand off of responsibility. I still manually set the doses from the DOS and watch the changes in the tile, I'm not brave enough or trust the Auto dosing and am at this point consuming about 6ml of AFR throught the day.

Thats just me though, Everyone's reef journey is their own and thats one of the beauties of this hobby. Many ways to get to the same place.
 

Breadman03

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Messages
2,176
Reaction score
1,959
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Luzerne County, PA
I have trident on the way and am hoping for the best . I’ve been gone more often in 2022 and want to assure I stay on top of the tank
Never work weekends and suddenly am on Saturdays and even a couple of Sundays. Not the hobby to say “ I have no time “
I've got a major work rant that I'm not going to type out, but let's just say that crushing goals and increasing sales by 50% in 2 years means I make nearly 20% less now due to bonus goals being cranked up silly high. They can expect to be filling my position by June.

Due to the work situation, I really don't think I could keep a reef without automated alk testing, particularly my fairly new one that's just getting through the uglies and dinos. Using a KHD is probably the only way I'd be able to keep alk on track, and thus all of the other elements. I manually test NO3 and PO4 with Hanna checkers and send a monthly ICP which seems to be treating me well in this tank. I'll adjust my strategy if needed but am happy thus far.
 

vetteguy53081

Well known Member and monster tank lover
Review score
+4 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 11, 2013
Messages
62,176
Reaction score
135,620
Review score
+4 /0 /-0
Location
Wisconsin - Florida before Fall
I've got a major work rant that I'm not going to type out, but let's just say that crushing goals and increasing sales by 50% in 2 years means I make nearly 20% less now due to bonus goals being cranked up silly high. They can expect to be filling my position by June.

Due to the work situation, I really don't think I could keep a reef without automated alk testing, particularly my fairly new one that's just getting through the uglies and dinos. Using a KHD is probably the only way I'd be able to keep alk on track, and thus all of the other elements. I manually test NO3 and PO4 with Hanna checkers and send a monthly ICP which seems to be treating me well in this tank. I'll adjust my strategy if needed but am happy thus far.
Not as bad as mine sounds. Just how things were over last few years. They know I’m leaving and now catering to me, all the sudden nice lunches, gift cards, travel on our jet- you get it. Too late. They’re trying to get me to stay longer and it’s frustrating.
I hear nothing good about trident and seen it work for others and pretty excited
 

Reefvision

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 28, 2020
Messages
170
Reaction score
138
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
sellersville
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.
Wow ! 6x /day manual testing - you must have $$$$corals to keep healthy! I would think this alkatronic is good for your peace of mind at least.personally I wish I had the same unit to match with my hydros 4 - maybe if I’m a good boy hehe!!
 

Viva'sReef

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
1,741
Reaction score
797
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brighton, Mi
Wow ! 6x /day manual testing - you must have $$$$corals to keep healthy! I would think this alkatronic is good for your peace of mind at least.personally I wish I had the same unit to match with my hydros 4 - maybe if I’m a good boy hehe!!
No, no. 6x/day manual testing is crazy talk lol. I was testing almost daily 1x though. The Alkatronic was testing 6x /day. I've since lowered it to 4x just to conserve reagent and things are pretty stable.
 

Reefvision

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 28, 2020
Messages
170
Reaction score
138
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
sellersville
No, no. 6x/day manual testing is crazy talk lol. I was testing almost daily 1x though. The Alkatronic was testing 6x /day. I've since lowered it to 4x just to conserve reagent and things are pretty stable.
Ah I see - misinterpreted your post. I am seriously wanting the alkatronic unit and hear only good things about it. Glad to here you are a fan / works well for your system.
 

Nathan Aubin

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
56
Reaction score
38
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Sudbury
I don't have the demand yet for automation, I like the concept but skeptical especially without redundancy to back up the data collected, so if im using a trident, focustronic or ghl systemI still have to test to ensure calibration etc, seems like adding automation will just increase the workload I am already currently doing in my "HOBBY", and for the price of these systems I can get a few kamoer wifi or ecotech versa's or a couple of dos and hanna testers with some Red Sea or ncos test kits as back ups and have enough left over for some nice SPS or improve flow and lighting and see better growth.
 

GillMeister

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 1, 2020
Messages
1,081
Reaction score
1,460
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I have trident on the way and am hoping for the best . I’ve been gone more often in 2022 and want to assure I stay on top of the tank
Never work weekends and suddenly am on Saturdays and even a couple of Sundays. Not the hobby to say “ I have no time “
Let us know when you get it running. I'm thinking about jumping into a Trident myself but my ability to work with new tech is below average.
 

Angel_V_the_reefer

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
293
Reaction score
164
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Houston, Texas
I believe there's still remains a "hole" in water testing that nobody has filled, and IMO it would eliminate half of the potential auto-tester sales. I would love to have a single testing "pad" or multiple reagent system that would provide digital results for all the essential parameters at once. If the liquids could be replaced with treated strips (similar to Exact iDip) and the colors read with a photometer, all at once... Bye-bye vials, syringes, varying test results etc.
That's my pipe dream. I saw something like it coming on market for a while, but then it disappeared?

IMO automating the current hobby-level reagent slurry is not a cost-effective answer. So I continue to resist!
I agree. Too expensive to be honest. I’m a Euphyllia guy and don’t see the need for it.

yes I would love to not take an hour or two every week and test Alk, Cal, Mag, pH, NO3…blah blah blah, then have to test within the week to tune a doser or wtv, but it definitely beats the hundreds of thousands of dollars on fancy equipment.

i would definitely love to have a system such as the Neptune that test the big 3, as I am looking to one day trade and sell coral to keep the hobby cost LOW, but even then I believe the tech on these such devices are still to this day in their testing stages. Too expensive and young to consider a purchase
 

Angel_V_the_reefer

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
293
Reaction score
164
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Houston, Texas
Auto-testers are the future really. The tech can only improve from where it's at so I've always been very optimistic when thinking about probes and the longevity of testing hardware.
I definitely agree. I do see them becoming common purchases for the serious reefer in the future but I believe they’re still very new tech.

i Definitely would like on in the future
 

tbrown3589

10K Club member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
17,176
Reaction score
20,578
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Peoria, AZ
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). As this video discusses, there are many benefits to these automatic testers that even go beyond just the saved work:


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 work for one of our local water departments. We use auto testers at the majority of our well sites and at our treatment facilities. It helps regulate everything for the drinking water system and the waste water treatment system. It definitely works, but you still have to remember to run manual tests to verify everything is reading correctly and calibrate as necessary.
 
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%
Copepods
Top