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

xxjokerxx0415

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Not even close to automated

Cracking Up Lol GIF by Rodney Dangerfield
 

phillybean

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I consider myself almost fully automated but seeing some of these make me think I still have a ways to go.

Currently, Apex with Trident controlled dosing, DOS AWC (so 3 DOS's all together), Neptune ATK, one flow meter on return pump. Temp control thru Apex. Various alarms, alerts set including a couple leak detectors. Lights (4 fixtures in total) all Apex controlled. I have an Auto Feeder which I haven't set up (haven't come up with a way to mount it yet). Also want to automate filling of Auto Top off (part way there).

Manually, I still use filter socks and likely will as long as I have my current sump which will likely be forever. Salt water station is too far away to do much with. I'm hoping Neptune comes out with a Trident like piece for Nitrate and Phosphate. Would also love one of the captive bred researching teams to find a way to cross bred some sort of snail that keeps all the glass spotless (does that count at automation?)
 

HawkeyeDJ

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I'm not automated at all, except for lighting schedules and a simple gravity fed ATO.

First, because I have a small tank (24g AIO) and it doesn't require a lot of labor to maintain.

Second, I'm quite wary of technology. We love all our technology - until it fails, and in this hobby technology failure can be catastrophic. Take for example something as simple as a heater or an ATO. We depend on these apparatus to maintain our hobby and yet they can be the cause of complete destruction. We do our best to build in redundancies with controllers, etc., but nothing is guaranteed.

Third, I'm of the opinion that much of our technology is way too expensive for what it does. I mean $$$$ for lighting? Yes, you get what you pay for, but seriously? A 100 gallon tank can require well over a thousand dollars just to illuminate it sufficiently to grow sps corals. And lights are not forever. They will have to be replaced eventually.

I have no less than seven thermometers and no two of them read exactly the same. Yes, these are relatively cheap hobby grade thermometers. I've looked into purchasing a lab quality thermometer, and those are in the hundreds of dollars as well.

I run many parameter tests at least weekly, and change water as well. Those expenses add up, but we just consider it a cost of the hobby. Yet, if we want, we can automate much of that for a few thousand as well. Again, it can fail to devastating effects.

I respect those of you that adopt all the automation technology and more power to you, but I doubt I'll ever get past the devastation I read about on this forum when that technology fails.
 

WallyB

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A few examples automation I designed and built to run my tanks (90G Mix DT, 110G SPS DT, 30G Frag Tank and 10 Gal QT's)

ReefAquarium_Automation.jpg


One thing with automation is it does require proper maintenace, and regular monitoring/calibration to be succcessful, since things can and will go wrong if not properly maintained and that can cause disasters worse than doing things manually.

Of all the things I've DIY built the most succesful device is my Maintenance Minder since it's the Central Brain to all my tank maintenace (Manual & Automated). It doesn't do anything in particular except remind me in advance to do certain things on time and persistantly bug me if I slip. It's separate from the noise of my email, calendars, apps and family distractions. With that in place I've finally achieved stability and reliability after years of struggle.
 
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Arego

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The only timer I have is to turn lights off. Turning them on, white/blue/t5's is whenever I turn them on to be honest, depends on when I remember or want to start looking at the tank.

Some days I don't even turn on whites or it's T5s only, how saucy am I feeling. When they're all on though those corals stretch out savagely sucking it all in. Fixed algae issues and then some. Typical schedule is 100% blue, 75% white, 2 coral plus

dats all.
 

J1a

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My automation and monitor are two separate systems. I use apex for monitoring. Dosing, chiller, and basically every function of the tank are not run off the apex system.

I do this to hope that if anything goes wrong, I won't have the whole aquarium crashing without any heads up.
 

Levinson

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Does a return pump, a skimmer, a heater, or a cooling fan count? I guess they are a form of automation?
You see, I don't ;
- manually stir the tank with my arms for flow/circulation or
- blow bubbles with a straw to produce skimmates or
- put my finger in the tank to measure the temp to know when to heat or cool the tank
... and so on.
 

snorklr

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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.
and there's the difference...engineers spend their lives designing things that shouldn't fail , and mechanics spend their lives fixing the failures of engineers...
 

HawkeyeDJ

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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.
Funny you should mention NASA. They have had their fair share of disasters over the years and they are rocket scientists.
 

210 Reef Tank

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I have been bit hard by Reef Tank Automation but reaping the benifits now that my wife and I have become snowbirds. I do have a fish guy that checks in on my tank once a week to top things off and scrape the tank glass. I have not figured out how automate that yet. This spring when back home the only thing left will be to automate my water changes. I already have the 2 60 gallon tanks 1 for RO and 1 for salt all plumbed up just have to hook up the dosing pump and program it.
 

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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%
noopsyche K7 V3 REEF LIGHTING only 169
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