Coralvue Hydros vs. Apex

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ca1ore

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Just so you know, you can configure Trident to test whatever number of times per day at whenever you want. The capability is all there, it's just that Neptune System don't want you to find out of it, and deny its existence. Take your own theory why Neptune don't want us to know about that.

Given the relatively low cost of reagents, I’m cool with four times per day. I guess it’d be nice to be able to adjust the timing, though I cannot really see that it’d make much difference. My ‘guess’ is that the degree to which they can standardize the approach limits the opportunity for reefers to make poor choices .... and then write excoriating posts about how trident is the worst thing ever.
 
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CEReefer

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Personally having a controller that fails at rates seen on some of the stuff out there, is kind of scary.. the only thing I care about in a controller is reliability, it has a mission critical application and ease of use is not fundamental. A controller is in charge of 2-3k of livestock (in my 25g tank) at least, so once you decide to go that route and decide to delegate care to a computer, the computer has to be as reliable (or more) than you are, and price shouldn’t be a concern. If price is a concern than you are better off waiting and save to afford the most reliable stuff. I wish there was more variety but unfortunately there is only a brand that doesn’t have many issues and it’s trusted by zoos and research institutions, to me it’s a no brainer.
 

n2585722

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I feel the hydros will be great from what I’ve heard about them. Do you know when things like a doser or water tester would come out? That’s why I want the controller for the most part. Also don’t you think the hydros additions will be way cheaper? Already the additions are cheaper. That’s also another main reason he loves them is he says they will be cheaper than apex when all the additions come out.
I am currently using the Intllab dosing pumps on the Hydros using the controller drive port. I use the generic output type to control them.
 

shred5

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I am currently using the Intllab dosing pumps on the Hydros using the controller drive port. I use the generic output type to control them.


What I think is some people do not get allot of the stuff is already built into the Control. Just need some creative programing.

For example water change system which is highly requested. There are people that are doing this with it already. It has the capabilities already even if CV has not released a package yet or presets for it yet. Once the sense port is available it will make this real easy.

Same with dosing pumps that are dumb. They just require timers and the Hydros Control can do that..
 
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Hasted

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What I do not think is some people do not get allot of the stuff is already built into the Control. Just need some creative programing.

For example water change system which is highly requested. There are people that are doing this with it already. It has the capabilities already even if CV has not released a package yet or presets for it yet. Once the sense port is available it will make this real easy.

Same with dosing pumps that are dumb. They just require timers and the Hydros Control can do that..
I am sure I am not utilizing my C4 to its potential. Mostly just a monitoring device rather than controlling my tank for me so far. I really should look into adding more and getting more out of it. (Still like it regardless)
 
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[Cameron]

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Apex is the most flexible by a good margin. It has been around a long time and has a larger active customer base so it has a lot more "stuff" to interact with. The interface is easily the most powerful and there are more features. The power monitoring in Apex is unmatched and the programming while sometimes fussy is more robust (even if it still needs the ability to AND/OR in the IF statements). There are valid complaints with Apex but it is still further down the road than any other controller.

GHL seems to be more dependable from hardware standpoint but the interface is horrid. Setting the thing up is absurdly difficult compared to the others. They also are missing some fairly key features the Apex has such as being able to trigger events on conditions such as power usage. They have been around a long time and the entire interface to the application needs a massive overhaul. While a minor nitpick, someone over there needs to learn that people want to mount these units and their accessories and make that easier. Surprisingly the Mini unit is actually the dark horse and the closest to the old ReefKeeper in affordability.

Hydros is so far behind and has design flaws. The first is the remote power brick. The convenience is nice but if the wifi goes down on the control unit, the power brick or the router itself the entire power system is offline. That issue creates a whole new risk category that needs to be managed. The interface is not bogged down with decades of development but it is also undeveloped. Also it isn't any less expensive than an Apex once a PH probe is in the mix and more than 4 outlets are needed. The Wavemaker is kind of slick but expensive for a nice to have. Ultimately the Hydros is just another relatively expensive controller that doesn't really do anything any better.
 
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CEReefer

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Apex is the most flexible by a good margin. It has been around a long time and has a larger active customer base so it has a lot more "stuff" to interact with. The interface is easily the most powerful and there are more features. The power monitoring in Apex is unmatched and the programming while sometimes fussy is more robust (even if it still needs the ability to AND/OR in the IF statements). There are valid complaints with Apex but it is still further down the road than any other controller.

GHL seems to be more dependable from hardware standpoint but the interface is horrid. Setting the thing up is absurdly difficult compared to the others. They also are missing some fairly key features the Apex has such as being able to trigger events on conditions such as power usage. They have been around a long time and the entire interface to the application needs a massive overhaul. While a minor nitpick, someone over there needs to learn that people want to mount these units and their accessories and make that easier. Surprisingly the Mini unit is actually the dark horse and the closest to the old ReefKeeper in affordability.

Hydros is so far behind and has design flaws. The first is the remote power brick. The convenience is nice but if the wifi goes down on the control unit, the power brick or the router itself the entire power system is offline. That issue creates a whole new risk category that needs to be managed. The interface is not bogged down with decades of development but it is also undeveloped. Also it isn't any less expensive than an Apex once a PH probe is in the mix and more than 4 outlets are needed. The Wavemaker is kind of slick but expensive for a nice to have. Ultimately the Hydros is just another relatively expensive controller that doesn't really do anything any better.
If only Apex didn't have so many failures and tank catastrophes.. ;)
 

jrill

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Apex is the most flexible by a good margin. It has been around a long time and has a larger active customer base so it has a lot more "stuff" to interact with. The interface is easily the most powerful and there are more features. The power monitoring in Apex is unmatched and the programming while sometimes fussy is more robust (even if it still needs the ability to AND/OR in the IF statements). There are valid complaints with Apex but it is still further down the road than any other controller.

GHL seems to be more dependable from hardware standpoint but the interface is horrid. Setting the thing up is absurdly difficult compared to the others. They also are missing some fairly key features the Apex has such as being able to trigger events on conditions such as power usage. They have been around a long time and the entire interface to the application needs a massive overhaul. While a minor nitpick, someone over there needs to learn that people want to mount these units and their accessories and make that easier. Surprisingly the Mini unit is actually the dark horse and the closest to the old ReefKeeper in affordability.

Hydros is so far behind and has design flaws. The first is the remote power brick. The convenience is nice but if the wifi goes down on the control unit, the power brick or the router itself the entire power system is offline. That issue creates a whole new risk category that needs to be managed. The interface is not bogged down with decades of development but it is also undeveloped. Also it isn't any less expensive than an Apex once a PH probe is in the mix and more than 4 outlets are needed. The Wavemaker is kind of slick but expensive for a nice to have. Ultimately the Hydros is just another relatively expensive controller that doesn't really do anything any better.
At least your unbiased. Lol
 

Jon's Reef

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Trident 4 tests per day is to keep the lines clean of reagent precipitation. At 50 cents a day to test Alk, Ca and Mg... nothing to complain about. Can't compare to pennies with Alkatronic because Alkatronic doesn't test Ca/ Mg and I just want to change the bottle when it is out. I don't want to mix this, measure that, use custom reagent blah... Just open box, run the task and it steps me through the process with pictures.

APEX DOS kinda sucks. Good for large volume water change, but way too big for dosing. I use an APEX to control everything, but GHL 2.1 SA for dosing.

EB832 is the best power bar period. Size, form factor, function. It just wins.

HYDROS is in the "infant" adopter phase. Lots of "coming soon" and "We would love to add that", but you can't count on accessories/ extensions until you can purchase them. Same with Mastertronic and Ion director.

In the current state.... what is there right now, GHL and Neptune are the games in town. GHL is more "techy", APEX is more "sexy".

Also, online complaints scale exponentially with product popularity. Why are there more APEX/ GHL "Horror Stories"... because there are a ton more systems out there. Flip side, if you have an APEX question/ issue there is a HUGE user community.
 

[Cameron]

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At least your unbiased. Lol
I did write a direct software interface for Reefkeeper and Neptune way back that had built in web capability before either built that into their hardware. I even sold the prototype to Neptune. I also helped setup three tanks nearly a decade ago that ran on GHL and I recently went through it again. The GHL interface is still terrible, better than it was but some of the most difficult hardware to configure and limiting especially in the programming and power. They could at least allow the user to name the devices and use that in their scripting.

As for Hydros... they lost me on a wireless power brick with no option for an actual wired one. Their pricing is also out of whack for a new unproven controller. There have been so many new controllers that never amounted to anything most going bust and a few still hanging around but only two have sustained and thrived.

If only Apex didn't have so many failures and tank catastrophes.. ;)
Anything a controller is automating that can sink a tank needs to have serious backups whether that is something as simple as heaters or complex as dosing. Pretty much any disaster from an Apex was a failure of configuration. Essentially anything that can happen on an Apex that sinks a tank can happen on any controller. That said their hardware isn't as solid as GHL. If we could marry the Apex interface and do-dads to the GHL hardware... that would be a winner. I don't know how good the Hydros hardware is.

Currently the best use of an Apex is automating non-critical systems and monitoring. The best use of a GHL is automating somewhat critical systems. The best use of a Hydros... remains to be seen.
 
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Manny’s Reef

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The products are not the same so really isn't a fair comparison. To say one is easier than the other to use is also not really a fair comparison. It is going to come down to a personal preference as we all have our own bias at the end of the day. Reading your post alone it is clear the shops you frequent are biased. I'm biased. However I do try and remove my hat and provide reasonable answers or explanations.

  1. Hobbyist needs to make a list of their requirements, desires, goals, objectives for the tank. Factor in past, present, and future (lessons learned, mistakes, current situation and needs, and future upgrades or desires). If you don't have this you are stuck in the fork in the road and will buy multiple products wasting time and money.
  2. Ignore the noise. Focus on #1 above and do some light reading on the controller manufactures be it GHL, Neptune, Open Source (pI's, Reef Angel), or CoralVue's. You will see product offering, how it may work in your environment, cost of entry, cost of ownership, etc. For example let us say you want to do automated testing. That right there limits manufactures you can choose based on availability today, tomorrow, and what may integrate or be controlled via what product.
  3. Controlling != monitoring and not all controllers on the market offer this. You mentioned controller but honestly you need to be aware of what if and monitoring to be more proactive. Something simple as a Seney for example can send you email notifications if your unit is out of the water. That could mean a leak. It could mean low water level, ATO failure, etc. However, this is all it does - alert you. Neptune and GHL obviously can do more with similar setups.
  4. Be aware everyone is trying to build their empire and take on GHL and Neptune. There is a reason why GHL and Neptune are still in business and others who tried failed. The issue today, in my opinion, is that no one wants to work with other companies similar to the PC market back in the 80's. Everyone creates their own graphics library, cards, chips, and peripherals and no standards. PC end user loses out because nothing talks to one another or it changes (HDR+, Dolby Vision come to mind and TV sets today). Just look at the local apps, dongles, accessories everyone is creating. So to say Coral Vue or Ecotech or Kessil or Insert Company Here is working with one is hit or miss at best even if it is the vendor saying it. Everyone is holding their cards to their chest hoping to get the dead mans hand. No thanks, I'll pass.
I'll end with this. The current trend as I see it is that the manufactures of lightning, pumps, and other key pieces of equipment are doing the hobbyist a disservice by going this route. Not working with key controller players and going alone with their own is hurting the hobby. I know they don't like it. I know they try and spin it with a positive vibe of hobbyist for the hobbyist. But....why can't they just look at the key players and say you know what, you already have an established base. It would save us time and money by integrating rather than building our own from scratch.

TL; DR - make your requirement list and needs then read and see what checks off the most in your budget range. All the best.
Just a question out of curiosity, are you an attorney
 

Hasted

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I want to say I am a Hydros user with Zero experience with the other two (I do have knowledge on them as I have done a lot of research). My opinion IS biased, but will try to keep with facts and experiences only.


Also it isn't any less expensive than an Apex once a PH probe is in the mix and more than 4 outlets are needed.


This is the part I am confused about. If you need 5-8 outlets, you can buy the branded strip for a measly $40. If thats too steep, buy the non branded Amazon one that is 99% the same.

Isn't the Apex power bar like $250 or something crazy? Doesn't that mean way more $$?

IF you need more probes (2 pH + 1 Temp for example), yeah... You are forking out a ridiculous $350 currently just to get more probe spots. I agree fully with that. They need to make a cheap module that has probe ports. I find the C2 absolutely worthless for me due to no probe ports. For me, I only need 1 pH and 1 Temperature currently. The C4 was a solid fit for my application.

I really think Hydros (with its current options), is for people who are newer to the controller game or with a single small to medium sized tank. The tank I use it on is a Red Sea XL300 (65g display). It monitors everything I currently want it to monitor minus a salinity probe.

With that being said, I have a 15g nano tank also. I absolutely find no reason to waste money on the C2, let alone the C4, for it. I don't feel like it would be worth it at all. They are on separate floors which means I wouldn't be able to connect them anyway.

Lastly, the wifi strips don't bother me. I have had zero issues with them locally. I DID set up a repeater that the C4 connects to. That may be a factor to my success? I HAVE lost connection to the cloud (internet) a handful of times, but has popped up no probs. I CAN see how it would be a huge red flag for many people. Definitely don't buy this if you are going to be stressed about your wifi connection. If you DO buy the C2/4, think about buying a repeater to connect it to.

Closing. Is the Hydros the best controller? Nah. Is it the best for me? I think? Do your research, watch videos on each, and ask owners. I am hopeful for Hydros.
 

Jon's Reef

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Isn't the Apex power bar like $250 or something crazy? Doesn't that mean way more $$?

Not equivalent. If Coralvue wanted parity, this would have been a better 3rd party buy in: Link

EB832 specs
8 relay switched outlets (Rated to 7 amps).
3 1 link connections (com + power for TRIDENT, DOS, etc)
3 Aquabus connections (com only or com+power for accessory modules)
2 24V connections
Power monitoring one each individual outlet.
Individual outlet indicator lights
Power bar indicator light
Configurable Fail Safe state if connection is lost

For better comparison, GHL 6 outlet is 230 vs EB832 280

Also for starter pricing HYDROS 4 starter pack... 449, APEX EL 499

Definitely up to individuals to decide what is best for them, but those are the facts. Price is not substantially cheaper.
 

[Cameron]

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I want to say I am a Hydros user with Zero experience with the other two (I do have knowledge on them as I have done a lot of research). My opinion IS biased, but will try to keep with facts and experiences only.





This is the part I am confused about. If you need 5-8 outlets, you can buy the branded strip for a measly $40. If thats too steep, buy the non branded Amazon one that is 99% the same.

Isn't the Apex power bar like $250 or something crazy? Doesn't that mean way more $$?

IF you need more probes (2 pH + 1 Temp for example), yeah... You are forking out a ridiculous $350 currently just to get more probe spots. I agree fully with that. They need to make a cheap module that has probe ports. I find the C2 absolutely worthless for me due to no probe ports. For me, I only need 1 pH and 1 Temperature currently. The C4 was a solid fit for my application.

I really think Hydros (with its current options), is for people who are newer to the controller game or with a single small to medium sized tank. The tank I use it on is a Red Sea XL300 (65g display). It monitors everything I currently want it to monitor minus a salinity probe.

With that being said, I have a 15g nano tank also. I absolutely find no reason to waste money on the C2, let alone the C4, for it. I don't feel like it would be worth it at all. They are on separate floors which means I wouldn't be able to connect them anyway.

Lastly, the wifi strips don't bother me. I have had zero issues with them locally. I DID set up a repeater that the C4 connects to. That may be a factor to my success? I HAVE lost connection to the cloud (internet) a handful of times, but has popped up no probs. I CAN see how it would be a huge red flag for many people. Definitely don't buy this if you are going to be stressed about your wifi connection. If you DO buy the C2/4, think about buying a repeater to connect it to.

Closing. Is the Hydros the best controller? Nah. Is it the best for me? I think? Do your research, watch videos on each, and ask owners. I am hopeful for Hydros.

If you want PH on a Hydros it will cost $450 then another $40 for 8 outlets. That puts it squarely in the ApexEL $500 pricing and above the Profilux Mini which is $350. The $200 Hydros cannot do PH... it has no probe ports.

Even worse a new aquarist buys the Hydros 2 then later decides they want PH... that is going to be another $350 because the only way to add probes onto the Hydros 2 currently is to buy a Hydros 4.

Hydros should have created a single head unit kit at say $200 then make the probe ports a cheap add on at say $50 or $100 with the probe. Then someone could comfortably buy the Hydros 2 kit and upgrade later if they chose. In that scenario, there is no Hydros 4 just a bigger bundle with the probe expansion, PH probe and two power bricks. I would also offer an optional hardwired power brick or even better if the bricks maintained the program so the wifi is just there for statuses and updates. Throw in some advanced programming, power monitoring and now we are talking!

What the community needs is the Reefkeeper Lite back. Something basic, expandable and inexpensive.
 
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ReefBeta

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If you want PH on a Hydros it will cost $450 then another $40 for 8 outlets. That puts it squarely in the ApexEL $500 pricing and above the Profilux Mini which is $350. The $200 Hydros cannot do PH... it has no probe ports.

Even worse a new aquarist buys the Hydros 2 then later decides they want PH... that is going to be another $350 because the only way to add probes onto the Hydros 2 currently is to buy a Hydros 4.

Hydros should have created a single head unit kit at say $200 then make the probe ports a cheap add on at say $50 or $100 with the probe. Then someone could comfortably buy the Hydros 2 kit and upgrade later if they chose. In that scenario, there is no Hydros 4 just a bigger bundle with the probe expansion, PH probe and two power bricks. I would also offer an optional hardwired power brick or even better if the bricks maintained the program so the wifi is just there for statuses and updates. Throw in some advanced programming, power monitoring and now we are talking!

What the community needs is the Reefkeeper Lite back. Something basic, expandable and inexpensive.

If you need two ph probe, it will cost you $800 on Apex. If you want more temperature probe for the display, that's another $85 for the module. Want some flow sensors? $100 module then $35 sensor. The upgrade cost in Apex is way worse. It's only competitive in price if the Apex EL is the exact combination of outlet/probe/sensor you need. It's a lot more flexible on Hydros. Add a temp sensor or optical sensor is just $25 away.
 
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[Cameron]

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I want to say I am a Hydros user with Zero experience with the other two (I do have knowledge on them as I have done a lot of research). My opinion IS biased, but will try to keep with facts and experiences only.
Let me boil all this down; currently the Apex has a feature killer that rules out pretty much every controller for a lot of people. Outlet power monitoring and management... the ability to monitor, alert and shut on/off devices that are consuming abnormal amounts of wattage that are either too high or too low from their norm. IMO the main function of a controller is monitoring and power monitoring of devices that are plugged in is a big one.

The Hydros as far as I know has none of it except for very basic monitoring on the smart plug. The GHL to my knowledge still doesn't allow programming on watts or amps. I know it was on their list a while back so hopefully I am wrong and this in the system now. I didn't go and dig it out when I got to play with one a while back.
 
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[Cameron]

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If you need two ph probe, it will cost you $800 on Apex. If you want more temperature probe for the display, that's another $85 for the module. Want some flow sensors? $100 module then $35 sensor. The upgrade cost in Apex is way worse. It's only competitive in price if the Apex EL is the exact combination of outlet/probe/sensor you need. It's a lot more flexible on Hydros. Add a temp sensor or optical sensor is just $25 away.
What? The Apex PM1 module is less than $100. ApexEL for $500 and then another $85 for the PM1 and a few bucks for a probe.

The Hydros costs $450 plus another $350 for a second probe if you want it further away and then it can only be 15 foot away.
 
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Jon's Reef

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If you need two ph probe, it will cost you $800 on Apex.

Also, to make sure there is no misinformation. You do NOT need the $800 APEX to add an expansion module.

APEX vs APEX EL ---> Difference is that APEX has ORP, salinity and 0-10V.

APEX EL is fully compatible with all of the expansion modules, it is just lacking those 3 features above.
 

Spieg

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I'll just say that Neptune will never get another penny from me...
Hydros looks interesting but I don't really trust wi-fi controlled power switches when it comes to a reef tank.
If you can afford it, I'd go with GHL.
 

[Cameron]

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I'll just say that Neptune will never get another penny from me...
Hydros looks interesting but I don't really trust wi-fi controlled power switches when it comes to a reef tank.
If you can afford it, I'd go with GHL.
I think what you are trying to say is they are all lacking in one way or another. I feel like the choice is meh, meh, and meh?
 
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