Automated Reefing: How "automated" are you?

BRS

How automated is your current saltwater reef aquarium?

  • Almost Fully Automated

    Votes: 209 26.7%
  • Somewhat Automated

    Votes: 251 32.1%
  • Very Little Automated

    Votes: 221 28.2%
  • Not Automated At All

    Votes: 102 13.0%

  • Total voters
    783

RichReef

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Every one has to understand my replay is based on me being a mechanic.

The more stuff you put on your system the more likely there will be a problem.

I would never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever trust a dosing pump, salinity probe, electric ATO, any kind of computer related mechanism. Never. Unless a malfunction would be harmless. Like a roller filter or lighting.

I already have to rely on my heater and return pump controllers and that drives me absolutely bonkers.

The more you have the more risk and I know some are going to reply that it's actually less risk but you are insane.

I control everything that goes into my tank. I would never trust a pile of metal, plastic, wires, and chips. A power surge alone could wipe you out even if you have a protector. Ask me how I know.

Self driving cars, you can keep that too.

There is only ONE way I would trust any of that. It would have to be built by NASA with their standards of testing of life and death.

It takes me 20 minutes a day and 2-3 hours every other weekend to maintain my tank and that's fine with me. It's easier than our dog.
 

Kernowzx2

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Reef-Pi does lights, pumps, temp, kalk dosing, skimmer control... So almost fully automated! Just feeding and Eel wrangling that is missing. I've got Reef-Pi on 6 tanks so far.
 

ClownWrangler

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Every one has to understand my replay is based on me being a mechanic.

The more stuff you put on your system the more likely there will be a problem.

I would never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever trust a dosing pump, salinity probe, electric ATO, any kind of computer related mechanism. Never. Unless a malfunction would be harmless. Like a roller filter or lighting.

I already have to rely on my heater and return pump controllers and that drives me absolutely bonkers.

The more you have the more risk and I know some are going to reply that it's actually less risk but you are insane.

I control everything that goes into my tank. I would never trust a pile of metal, plastic, wires, and chips. A power surge alone could wipe you out even if you have a protector. Ask me how I know.

Self driving cars, you can keep that too.

There is only ONE way I would trust any of that. It would have to be built by NASA with their standards of testing of life and death.

It takes me 20 minutes a day and 2-3 hours every other weekend to maintain my tank and that's fine with me. It's easier than our dog.

Im a mechanical engineer. There are ways to ensure any failure mode can not be devastating. For example two heaters with separate thermostats where one heater does not have enough power to overheat your tank. Also, I am making my own ATO with redundant sensors. If the first fails the water level will reach the second and disable the system.
 

Lyss

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I answered somewhat, but IDK if I'm very little or somewhat TBH. I just upgraded my tank's ato, and purchased a couple dosing pumps so I can set up auto dosing (which I haven't gotten around to quite yet). Other than that my heater is on an InkBird, my wavemaker is controllable (which I love, and spent a fair amount of time setting up the perfect program when I first got it), and so is my light. I don't think I will consider getting a controller until I upgrade to a larger tank, but I am in love with the idea of being able to be away from my current tank w/o too much worry a bit more than I have usually been away from it over the past year.
 
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BillFish Coral Lover

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So, I'm just a little automated now, but due to this life changes, I have bought a lot of Neptune stuff and am thinking about a KH Director and maybe an Ion Director down the line a bit - IF I can ever get my new aquarium set up!
 

becon776

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I'm a big fan of my Apex and use it both for convenience of automation as well as safety of my reef and home. Here are some of the things my Apex does for me:

  • Detect power outages to shut down non-critical devices to prolong power on my battery backup
  • Control dual heaters in my sump, and a heater in my saltwater mixing station
  • Control lighting schedules including lunar schedules
  • Adjust my Gyre for different flow rates throughout the day and night
  • Test Alk, Cal, and Mag and produce graphs over time
  • Control 2-part dosing and automatically adjust based on test results
  • Monitor water flow rate through my carbon reactor, as well as return pipe
  • Turn off my UV sterilizer when water flow goes below 250 gallons/hour
  • Shut off the skimmer when the Avast skimmate locker is full and send me an alert
  • Clean the skimmer neck every 6 hours with the Avast Swabbie
  • Control auto feeder when I'm away from home
  • Shut down pumps and send an alert if a leak is detected in my sump cabinet or the carpet below my tank
  • Daily automatic water changes
  • Remote ATO pump in my garage mixing station feeds water to my tank in the living room
  • Alert me when RO/DI tank is low, or too full
  • Alert me when saltwater storage tank is too low, and shut down auto water change until full
  • Turn on a cooling fan when temps are too high in summer
  • All alerts are sent to both email and text message
I explain much of this automation in my series of Apex tutorials:
Same sans UV. But with a DOS running AWC. Thinking of adding another rodi bucket with kalk having a solenoid run thru Bob to "choose" which rodi to choose from based on pH
 

Shanel

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I built a fully automated biocube 32 for my daughter, who only had freshwater aquariums. For someone new to saltwater, automation is the way to go IMHO. It makes day-to-day maintenance a whole lot easier. It will also alert you to issues before they become serious problems. Well, most of the time anyway.

Here are the details
 

Atrumblood

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I would love to automate more, but funding is limited. I opted to go with Robo-Tank for automation. So far all I have automated is pH checking, and dosing Alk. My sump is hooked directly to the RO/DI line so top-offs are a non-issue.

Everything else is controlled thru macros that I have programmed for things like feeding fish, or feeding coral, or water changes which turns things off and turns them back on after a set period of time.

Eventually, I want to get an APEX so that I can automate testing some parameters.
 

gbroadbridge

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I don't have much automation. Just lights and heaters. But I have been contemplating what additional automation is a necessity if I have to leave my tanks unattended for for more than a few days. ATO for sure. Automatic feeding can be tricky for some tanks due to the more aggressive fish taking all the food.

If anyone knows of an automated fish feeder that will drop a large pinch of flakes at once rather than tricklijng pelets, let me know. The later reults in my flamehawks not getting any food.
I use two feeders at opposite ends of the tank one with a small opening for pellets, and another opened wide with medium sized flakes. Both drop at the same time and the fish know where their feeding spot is :).

I go away for 4 weeks with no issues, apart from the glass.
 

wallace

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I am still waiting for the Neptune ASF to be released. The Automatic Snail Flipper.
Pun Snail GIF by Hallmark eCards
An automatic snail flipper would be clutch lol. Every day I'm in there flipping some back up right. Certain species are worse than others of course. How do they make it in the ocean?!? Lol
 

MtnDewMan

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I've seen over the years how reefers will wax and wane when it comes to how automated their reef aquariums are. Sometimes life requires the most automation as possible but then something changes and there isn't quite the need and vise-versa. What about for you? Let's talk about it!

How automated is your current saltwater reef aquarium and why is that so?

image via @keywestreefer
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I want stable water for such a low volume tank. I also want to be able to leave the house for days without tooooo much worry.

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Motown100

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I have an Apex and built my system to where it was fully automated, And I was so proud of that accomplishment
Now it's just:
lights
ATO
Pumps
Also for monitoring
(When On vacation) feeding and dosing

I've found that for me, doing everything else myself helps me stay in touch with what is going on with my tank at least for now
 
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%
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