Considering the current sale... Apex vs Hydros ecosystem?

n2585722

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I think Hydros can and will be good, but the apex has them in sheer capability and modules avail. The price point is still a challenge though. 750 to walk in the door is a steep bar tab. I guess the EL is 500 but you lose some things.
The Hydros can do what was mentioned and more. I know because I am doing it with my Hydros. Below are the outputs setup for my ATO. It has minimum off time, maximum off time, Minimum on time and maximum on time settings. Mine is set that it will not go past the maximum on time. If gets to that the output will shut off. If maximum on time are maximum off time are exceeded it will send an alert. So if you DI storage empties you will get an alert. You can also add a sensor for that if you want. I do have one. In fact if my DI storage goes low my Hydros turns on the RODI filter and refills the tank. Also the ATO is controlled by the second output here on the last two screenshots using the depends on settings on the ATO output. If you want more info I have a lot in my build thread starting on page 7. i am in the process of replacing my Archon with the Hydros. The only thing remaining on the Archon now is some lighting control. Some of the lighting is now on the Hydros.

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92Miata

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I think Hydros can and will be good, but the apex has them in sheer capability and modules avail. The price point is still a challenge though. 750 to walk in the door is a steep bar tab. I guess the EL is 500 but you lose some things.
I keep seeing apex users say stuff like this - but none of them actually seem to be able to articulate what functionality they're talking about.
 

ZombieEngineer

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I keep seeing apex users say stuff like this - but none of them actually seem to be able to articulate what functionality they're talking about.
It's the advanced programming through their scripting language. This allows through either lots of research or asking someone who know the language well, like myself, you can do basically any automation task you could imagine.

One example that is not possible with a hydros from what I have been able to gather: control calcium reactor to maintain a pH between 6.5 and 6.4. When alkalinity is below 9.0, automatically adjust the pH setpoint to 6.3 to 6.4, when above 9.5 automatically adjust setpoint to 6.5 to 6.6. When return pump is off, stop reactor temporarily. Additional pH failsafe if tank pH gets too low. Also stop the reactor if a leak is detected. Using another virtual output, detect when the solenoid has been on for less than the typical amount of time and alert me my reactor might be clogged. If the solenoid has been on for far too long, alert me that my CO2 bottle might be empty.

Other examples are hybrid dosing ATO control for things like kalwasser that effectively doses the water but is supervised by float sensors and other failsafes.

For the most part, if you can imagine it, the apex can perform it.
 

BanjoBandito

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I keep seeing apex users say stuff like this - but none of them actually seem to be able to articulate what functionality they're talking about.
Sure I can answer that....first, I could pair my reefbreeders light with the APEX via the VDM module, with the BRS mergers it's a no brainer that ecotech and the lot will pair easily and be functionally complete via the apex so any future equipment I buy will probably be in that ecosystem so it pairs easily, the DOS system is a big game changer for me as it can be linked to trident results (far cheaper than an alkatronic and dosatronic setup) and it'll allow the holy grail of "auto water changes", it's also a brute, it can pump water up to 24' vertically and is very reliable - I know hydros sells a dosing pump but it's pretty average from what I see - a dos is built to run for a long time using different motor setups. There's the PAR monitoring pack which is cheaper than buying a PAR meter outright plus allows constant monitoring of PAR so I could know when my LED is starting to go. The LSM module is a lunar mode, which for someone like me that wants to eventually dabble with trying to get coral to sexually reproduce is a big plus. The 1 link system allows for reduction in cables and plugs. There's also a visual display module. The COR pumps can literally diagnose themselves within the system - giving you alerts about overheating, clogs, etc. Do all of these cost money? Yes. But it's the options and ecosystems robustness that ultimately swayed me towards the apex. The Hydros is still young, and it's still not robust enough for my current and future plans. Add to that the Apex's coding, which while daunting at first, allows for greater control due to the ability to actually code it. This might not be desirable for most, but for me it was a plus. I also like that Apex appears to be going towards the "preventative" side, with most apex and compatible equipment getting more and more nuanced with alerts, hopefully preventing disasters, not just monitoring the tank. I hope that helps. That was my logic when I chose to go with apex.
 

Jon's Reef

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Agree with above. Also Hydros is missing:

Salinity probe (if it is not for sale it doesn't exist, and yet it works fine if you calibrate and use it correctly)
1" and 2" flow sensors
Kessil and Sicce IOTA
WXM (Still works for Vortechs... might be replaced in next version but as before, if it is not for sale it doesn't exist)

I have heard that the power monitoring is not as thorough as APEX. Does it show V, A, W and allow graphing over many weeks?

Similar question does HYDROS store all/ any values for months (I don't know the apex limit)?
 

n2585722

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It's the advanced programming through their scripting language. This allows through either lots of research or asking someone who know the language well, like myself, you can do basically any automation task you could imagine.

One example that is not possible with a hydros from what I have been able to gather: control calcium reactor to maintain a pH between 6.5 and 6.4. When alkalinity is below 9.0, automatically adjust the pH setpoint to 6.3 to 6.4, when above 9.5 automatically adjust setpoint to 6.5 to 6.6. When return pump is off, stop reactor temporarily. Additional pH failsafe if tank pH gets too low. Also stop the reactor if a leak is detected. Using another virtual output, detect when the solenoid has been on for less than the typical amount of time and alert me my reactor might be clogged. If the solenoid has been on for far too long, alert me that my CO2 bottle might be empty.

Other examples are hybrid dosing ATO control for things like kalwasser that effectively doses the water but is supervised by float sensors and other failsafes.

For the most part, if you can imagine it, the apex can perform it.
I don't use a calcium reactor but Hydros has a calcium reactor output type. The first 2 screenshots from the calcium reactor output settings. It has both pH and alkalinity inputs. The last 4 are settings for my ATO. There are two outputs associated with the ATO. One is ATO which drive the ATO pump and uses a float switch for the full sensor. It depends on the second output which will turn it off if the sump is overfull, sump is low, there is a leak detected at either the tank or where the ATO pump is located in the garage. It will also turn the ATO off if the DI storage tank is low or the return pump is off. I also have a minimum off time set for 30 minutes so it will not run any quicker that 30 minutes after it runs. There is a minimum on time set for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. So it will run at least that long once triggered on. It has a maximum on time set of 5 minutes. If the ATO runs that long it is set to turn off and send an alert for maximum on time has been exceeded. I also have a maximum off time set for 6 hours. So if it does not run for that long it will send an alert. I use a dosing pump for my ATO. They do have a kalk reactor output type. So if you wanted to alternate between the two depending on pH you could do that.

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Shooter6

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Just to put the costs on the Trident and Mastertronic together:
Trident:
Upfront: $640
Reagent: $210 for 1 year, 1460 Alk tests, 730 Mg and Ca tests
Maintenance: $200 every 2 years to maintenance exchange (exchange for a refurbed unit, $100 for diy maintenance kit)

Mastertronic:
Upfront: $1300
Recommended Reagent per manual:
Alk: $15/ 31 tests... 1 per day = $176
Ca: $13/ 32 tests... 1 per day = $148
Mg: $23/ 50 tests... 1 per day = $168
NO3: $27/ 70 tests... 1 per day = $140
PO4: $29/ 150 tests... 1 per day = $70
Recommended Maintenance per manual:
Replace 2 needles and syringe monthly: $28 per 6 needles/ 4 syringes ($125 per yr)
Replace vials every 6-8 months: $7 per vial (~$70-$168 per year)

Of course you may not test as frequently, but the benefit of auto testing is to see trends (need a few measurements to see a trend develop). Recent forum posts show you can also reduce trident testing (ex reduce to 2 alk, 1 ca mg per day means $105 for reagent per year)

Neptune salinity probe performs well for trend analysis if used with proper flow (VCA SPS kit or set a pump to flow on it).

It is hard to quantify the other apex vs hydros costs as you really need to determine what you want it to do... then compare the module cost. In particular, check the number of power outlets/ power ports as the EB832 has 8 outlets, 2 24V ports and 3 1link. Example: DOS has 2 pumps and uses one 1link port. 1 hydros dosing pump requires 1 drive port or 1 outlet.

Also note that # of apex users is much higher, so number of online complaints will scale exponentially.

Don't base your descision on what a vendor may release in the future, rather what they have now. For example, the original marketing for the Ecotech Versa said it could be used for ATO.... but the rumored mobius compatible level sensors never materialized.
You forgot to add the price of the apex in with the Trident, it won't work as a stand alone tester. The alkatronic and mastertronic both can. So that 650.00 Trident is useless without at least another 400.00 for the apex. Add the apex doser in and compare that with either the kamoer or alkatronic doser options. Then the math will be complete.
 

Jon's Reef

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Op question was concerning a full ecosystem purchase of Hydros with Alk vs Apex with Trident. Was previously stated that full cost will depend on needs.
 

Tamberav

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I have apex as it came with a used system I bought. The dashboard works nice. The components feel very cheap. I’d probably go hydros if I purchased a second for my nano. I think it just depends what all you want it to do.

Hoping the next apex is more robust and stylish.
 

92Miata

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Sure I can answer that....first, I could pair my reefbreeders light with the APEX via the VDM module, with the BRS mergers it's a no brainer that ecotech and the lot will pair easily and be functionally complete via the apex so any future equipment I buy will probably be in that ecosystem so it pairs easily, the DOS system is a big game changer for me as it can be linked to trident results (far cheaper than an alkatronic and dosatronic setup) and it'll allow the holy grail of "auto water changes", it's also a brute, it can pump water up to 24' vertically and is very reliable - I know hydros sells a dosing pump but it's pretty average from what I see - a dos is built to run for a long time using different motor setups. There's the PAR monitoring pack which is cheaper than buying a PAR meter outright plus allows constant monitoring of PAR so I could know when my LED is starting to go. The LSM module is a lunar mode, which for someone like me that wants to eventually dabble with trying to get coral to sexually reproduce is a big plus. The 1 link system allows for reduction in cables and plugs. There's also a visual display module. The COR pumps can literally diagnose themselves within the system - giving you alerts about overheating, clogs, etc. Do all of these cost money? Yes. But it's the options and ecosystems robustness that ultimately swayed me towards the apex. The Hydros is still young, and it's still not robust enough for my current and future plans. Add to that the Apex's coding, which while daunting at first, allows for greater control due to the ability to actually code it. This might not be desirable for most, but for me it was a plus. I also like that Apex appears to be going towards the "preventative" side, with most apex and compatible equipment getting more and more nuanced with alerts, hopefully preventing disasters, not just monitoring the tank. I hope that helps. That was my logic when I chose to go with apex.
Aside from the specifics of Ecotech, none of these are things that can't be done with Hydros.

Seriously, all of this stuff is trivial in the Hydros ecosystem. ALL OF IT.
 

n2585722

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Aside from the specifics of Ecotech, none of these are things that can't be done with Hydros.

Seriously, all of this stuff is trivial in the Hydros ecosystem. ALL OF IT.
The Wave Engine v2 will control ecotech MP series pumps if you install a ecotech RF module in it. I have one on my Hydros system controlling 2 MP10's. I agree that the Hydros can do advanced things without coding using the generic and/or combiner outputs. Those outputs can have up to 9 inputs and can be ANDed or ORed together. Doing that you can create latches and have an output triggered by an input to on and have another input trigger it off. I have mine controlling the normal things along with my RODI to auto fill my DI storage. It also will auto fill my fresh salt water storage from the mix tank if the mix tank is ready to use when the fresh salt water tank goes low. it also refills the mix tank with DI from the RODi when the transfer completes. All I have to do is add the salt mix and press a button when it is ready for use. It controls my feeder and my dosing of All For Reef. The storage tanks are in my garage 35ft from the tank. The ATO ( Hydros doising pump ), AWC( modified Intllab dosing pump ) and dosing pumps are also in the garage. I have had the Hydros dosing pump which is a rebranded Kamoer for almost a year doing ATO without any issues. I used ATO to try it out since that pump gets more use than the AWC pump. The AWC pump I modified with a new motor and dual pump heads just for AWC purposes.
 

srobertb

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I have both. If you’re tired of reading: Go with the Apex. The bottom line is that living creatures (worth literally thousands of dollars) deserve a reliable, rich, well thought out, and mature system. Save the Hydros for small side project tanks and basic setups where problems won’t end up in death.

I use the Apex for my big boy tank. I have all the stuff- Trident, a couple EB832, a satellite saltwater mixing station 70’ away, all the modules, flow monitors, a few feeders, PMUP’s, refugium lights, etc. it is hardwired via Ethernet.

It has a 99.9% up time hardwired and a 99.5% up time when on Wi-Fi. It is incredibly reliable in that regard.

I just replaced the Trident and Neptune was awesome about it (no one could figure out what it’s problem was) so waaayy out of warranty they swapped it for me. This is my 3rd unit (one went in for cleaning).

The leak sensors are just ok. They’re backed up with Ring leak sensors (which call me, my wife, and everyone else on earth). The flow sensor is great for seeing my ATO throughput and alerting me to issues. I can use solenoids to control fresh air intake to maintain CO2/Ph.

the DOS pumps are excellent at AWC. I recommend an in-line filter as well but still they only need to be serviced every 6-12 months. Some dosing pumps (looking at you ecotech) have a pin-sized input which gets clogged very quickly.

Apex is not the easiest to learn to program but once you figure it out, it’s easy, your options are close to limitless. The basic ports mean you can wire almost anything in you want (you can easily even step down power for 5v USB, 12v, etc).

the trident has been the key (knock on wood) to me being able to keep giant acro colonies alive and thriving for years. It isn’t perfect, you have to change the reagents sooner than instructed, but coupled with dosing pumps and control intervals it keeps my parameters far more stable than I would alone. Looking and tweaking from my phone is so much easier than testing and dosing. It’s a true game changer. I adjusted my alkalinity on vacation and it took 5 seconds.

Adding units is incredibly easily.


my problem with it: Stuff breaks. I lost an EB832’s 8 plugs about 6 months ago. No big deal, I just needed the side ports, not the AC power. Yesterday morning, while I was 1000 miles away, the *other* EB832 blew the DC ports. I got a “volt” error on my return pump. So after walking around a theme park for 6 hours, flying for a couple more, I got to play “what’s wrong with my tank?” Luckily I had a module in backup so I just plugged it in, updated the firmware, moved the devices over, and boom! Good to go.

HYDROS: I have the wave engine on the big boy tank. I kept blowing out XF350 controller. I don’t know why. Coralvue replaced 2 then cut me off so I use the wave engine now. It works ok. The pumps are finicky and if you don’t put them back together just right, they throw off errors (not a wave engine problem I don’t think). Up time is decent but it does inexplicably just disconnect itself sometimes. I wish it had Ethernet. It’s a bit buggy and programming is counter intuitive, limited, but just fine once you get things set. If you’re a tweaker, I wouldn’t recommend it.

in the beginning of owning it I would wake up to a brick and I’d have to troubleshoot it for hours, reset it repeatedly, etc. They've done a good job fixing the software so it’s more reliable. It still decides it just wants to disconnect sometimes.

I have two smaller tanks next to each other that I use the Hydros control modules for. I didn’t want to deal with the expense of a Apex. I wish I had. This software NEEDS MAJOR WORK. It’s buggy, doesn’t always upload changes (it gets fatigue and will give errors during programming).

They control the heater/temp, leaks, CO2 (one is a FW), fans, return pumps, ato’s, etc. I have 2 modules + 2 of the 4-port power bars. I hate it. The software is a nightmare. Sometimes the collective will just “break.” Sometimes I can reset it. Sometimes I have to rebuild it. If you don’t plug everything in correctly (don’t forget the terminator ends!) it breaks or explodes (per instruction manual). It appears to use a token Ethernet ring or something which as an old person, was frustrating and awful 20 years ago and is a technology that should have been left in its grave.

The powerbars CONSTANTLY disconnect. To the point where I just ignore it now. I get 10+ emails a day “your upper bar is disconnected.” “Your upper power bar has reconnected.” It’s close to a router. My 2.4ghz network has no issues.

I bought the larger hardwired 8-outlet bar and it’s sitting in my cabinet waiting to get wired (or sold with the rest of the crap and replaced). I know that installing it will inevitably break the collective or cause drama and so I need to block 3-4 hours to install it….vs the Apex which literally took me 30 seconds to add a module.

The Hydros “front end” is easy to use and looks good. I can see everything clearly on the screen with big “feed, normal, clean” buttons across the front along with temps so my wife can use it. Unfortunately, despite having an always on tablet next to the tank, the screen doesn’t refresh itself so I can’t just glance at it. I have to refresh and wait a few seconds vs the Apex which constantly updates on its dedicated tablet.

It’s just cheap. Cheap cheap cheap. The hardware is ridiculous. The lack of Ethernet port makes it a hard pass for anyone on an expensive tank. Less glowing lights and a better radio would have been smart.

the power strip fees like a repurposed Chinese Wi-Fi strip. The USB ports can’t be controlled separately. It’s just a mess.

I think they’re trying to hit the low-end market with the Hydros and that’s fine.
 
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How much do you care about having a display FREE of wires, pumps and equipment?

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  • No care at all! Bring it on!

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