Blind/visually impaired reefers?

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Zzyzx

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I’ve been in the hobby for quite a long time and am still learning every day. Several years ago I started losing my vision. It’s incredibly hard to describe so that others can understand. I can see, but it’s like looking through a kaleidoscope or at a shattered mirror. I see many overlapping images and lights, especially at night they look like starbursts or fireworks. I’m extremely sensitive to light so I wear sunglasses all the time. I leave all the lights off at home, except the tank of course. I’ve been going through blind training of sorts and am using assistive technology to help me with pretty much everything. I’m not trying to write a sob story here, just wanted to throw in some background and see if there are any other visually challenged reefers out there.

Testing is a major pita! I haven’t figured out an easy way to use syringes yet. Liquid reagents are impossible. I also have a tremors and drop things often so that adds to the conundrum. I have been able to switch to Hanna for Alk, Nitrate and Phosphate. Alk and P04 are the easiest as I can cut and empty the packets into the vial using a funnel. I use an app on my phone to read the packets and the numbers on the checker. Hanna nitrate is pretty much impossible to do. Any manual titration is impossible as I can’t tell the color change or read the syringe. ICP testing would be very expensive, but I have done it and can use a screen reader to read the results but it’s not ideal by any means. So if anyone has any suggestions…other than get out of the hobby, I would really appreciate it.

Since my vision and other health issues kicked in my tank has also become ridden with Aiptasia. It started back when I could see. I was very careful to dip and check everything before I placed it in the tank but I had a total brain fart and picked up some chaeto from the lfs. Biggest mistake ever, don’t do that. I got two great freebies with that chaeto, Aiptasia and bryopsis. When I could see I kept the Aiptasia in check with Kalk paste and peppermints. I knocked out the bryopsis with fluconazole and it never returned. Since I couldn’t stay on top of the Aiptasia, I got a filefish. He is just an Aiptasia propagator as he just nips at them enough to make them spread faster. I got 25 Berghias three months ago but they haven’t done anything yet. I’m guessing I need a whole lot more.

Originally I had hopes of finding local reefers that wouldn’t mind coming over and helping out with testing every now and then but I haven’t found any reefers nearby. I asked the lfs and a few online vendors if they could pass my contact info to any customers near me but there just aren’t any reefers around here.

If there are any visually impaired reefers I sure would like to hear how you stay in the hobby. Well, other than having your significant other or children do everything. I don’t have those and I haven’t figured out how to train my dogs yet.

I did search the forum first, but came upon one single post from someone a few years back asking the same thing (in a much shorter version to be honest). She had many reply’s, not one offering any advice, they were all just welcoming her to R2R. I would have tagged on to that thread but it’s a few years old.
 
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ISpeakForTheSeas

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I'm afraid I don't have much advice to offer for the general maintenance, but for the testing and dosing I would consider setting up some sort of auto-tester and doser like Trident or Mastertronic and Dosetronic. It would be a big upfront cost and hassle, but I'd imagine the maintenance would be easier for you to deal with long term. I believe they have apps that would make reading the parameters easier for you too.
 

Jubei2006

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Sorry to hear about this!! Hopefully you still get a lot of enjoyment visually from the tank. As far as the problems you have. Some suggestions I may have. ISpeakForTheSeas has my main thought. The automated systems from Neptune, Mastertronic, and GHL would help with the Calcium and alkalinity. GHL also has the ion director (even though it is just now starting to ship out). If automation isn't an option, you LFS may be able to help?? I know it might not be feasible to go daily or whatnot, but they should still be able to help? Take the tests with you that you trust, and see if they'll help you out (for a nominal fee?). Or teach a friend, loved one, or helpful neighbor how to test?
 
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Zzyzx

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Sorry to hear about this!! Hopefully you still get a lot of enjoyment visually from the tank. As far as the problems you have. Some suggestions I may have. ISpeakForTheSeas has my main thought. The automated systems from Neptune, Mastertronic, and GHL would help with the Calcium and alkalinity. GHL also has the ion director (even though it is just now starting to ship out). If automation isn't an option, you LFS may be able to help?? I know it might not be feasible to go daily or whatnot, but they should still be able to help? Take the tests with you that you trust, and see if they'll help you out (for a nominal fee?). Or teach a friend, loved one, or helpful neighbor how to test?
Jubei2006

Thanks for chiming in! Yeah, a Trident is on my wish list. I was a technodweeb so I have everything automated (except for testingwhich is really the only reason the tank is still going. All I have to do is mix up gallons of additives when my empty container alarms go off, which is super simple with the BRS single pouches and of course add salt to the mixing station. I have that dialed in with a talking scale and my Milwaukee salinity tester that I have my phone read to me. Problem is I’ve been in long enough that I have an old Apex Gold which doesn’t support Trident. One day they’ll have a blowout upgrade sale for a new Apex head and Trident. I don’t know how easy it would be to swap reagents and calibrate but it’s probably manageable.

I can’t drive anymore and the lfs is pretty far so an Uber would be more than ICP testing so that’s nixed. I’ve also tried the non-reefing freind/neighbor thing and it’s so scattered. I mean when it’s yourself and you dial in repeating the tests perfectly the results are super reliable. With others, the results are way, way off. BRS had a video with different staff members performing tests on the same tank and the results were all over the map, and those were reefers!

Best option is probably the Trident. I don’t mean to sound dismissive of your ideas. I have to disclose that as often my emails are interpreted differently than I meant to convey them. I do appreciate and value your input. Thank you. I’m open for any and all ideas to help with anything reefing related. I can also share what has/hasn’t worked for me if there are other visually impaired reefers struggling.

I wish more reefing equipment was accessible. I TOTALLY dig Neptune and Alexa integration, although it needs to be more robust. It is awesome asking Alexa to “Ask Apex Fusion for a status report” and she’ll tell me the temp, ph, salinity and orp. I also ask her to “Ask Apex Fusion to log a measurement” and she’ll ask what test, the result and the units and then she’ll tell me how long ago my last test was and the difference if any in measurement. Way cool if you can’t read.
 

Jubei2006

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Jubei2006

Thanks for chiming in! Yeah, a Trident is on my wish list. I was a technodweeb so I have everything automated (except for testingwhich is really the only reason the tank is still going. All I have to do is mix up gallons of additives when my empty container alarms go off, which is super simple with the BRS single pouches and of course add salt to the mixing station. I have that dialed in with a talking scale and my Milwaukee salinity tester that I have my phone read to me. Problem is I’ve been in long enough that I have an old Apex Gold which doesn’t support Trident. One day they’ll have a blowout upgrade sale for a new Apex head and Trident. I don’t know how easy it would be to swap reagents and calibrate but it’s probably manageable.

I can’t drive anymore and the lfs is pretty far so an Uber would be more than ICP testing so that’s nixed. I’ve also tried the non-reefing freind/neighbor thing and it’s so scattered. I mean when it’s yourself and you dial in repeating the tests perfectly the results are super reliable. With others, the results are way, way off. BRS had a video with different staff members performing tests on the same tank and the results were all over the map, and those were reefers!

Best option is probably the Trident. I don’t mean to sound dismissive of your ideas. I have to disclose that as often my emails are interpreted differently than I meant to convey them. I do appreciate and value your input. Thank you. I’m open for any and all ideas to help with anything reefing related. I can also share what has/hasn’t worked for me if there are other visually impaired reefers struggling.

I wish more reefing equipment was accessible. I TOTALLY dig Neptune and Alexa integration, although it needs to be more robust. It is awesome asking Alexa to “Ask Apex Fusion for a status report” and she’ll tell me the temp, ph, salinity and orp. I also ask her to “Ask Apex Fusion to log a measurement” and she’ll ask what test, the result and the units and then she’ll tell me how long ago my last test was and the difference if any in measurement. Way cool if you can’t read.
No problem, didn't view it as dismissive at all. Those of us without impairments dont understand how lucky we have it. Just trying to be helpful. People are getting out of the hobby and selling apex gear pretty frequently, may be able to get a good deal that way on newer modules. Dont know if GHL would be any help at all. There equipment can stand alone, and the new ion doser (when we can get it) will track calcium, magnesium, potassium, and nitrate and can use to control levels as well. I know it's inconvenient as its a different platform and wont integrate with the apex neptune, but something to think about for more control and not having to mess with titration and color comparison.
 
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