Coralvue Hydros vs. Apex

Neptune

Hasted

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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.

Gotcha. Yeah, if you want to get the EB832 type specs, you won't quite get it. But, you can get more outlets for cheap, which was my original confusion. The power bars really don't compare that well it seems since the Hydros doesn't offer nearly the same stuff on it. Yeah, you can get basic power monitoring with the single smart plug (which I got for free as a promo), but that's not quite the same. Or space efficient. It chunky.
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.
Or sacrifice your temp probe... nah. Haha. Please bring us a cheap sensor box 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.
Yes, exactly this!

I almost went the C2 route, but then processed it in my head. Didn't make sense. The C2 (in my eyes) just seems... not good?
 
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n2585722

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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.
The Hydros can do advanced prorgramming. I use one to to control my RODi, Di storage tank, Fresh Salt water tank, Mixing tank. If the DI tank goes low it will refill it. If the fresh water tank goes low it will refill it with the water in the mix tank but only if it is ready to go. After the fresh water tank is full it will refill the mix tank with RODI. It also turns on the RODI unit for 10 minutes every hour to replenish the RO bladder tank for the ice maker and drinking water for the fridge. It also controls ATO and auto water change for the tank. This is all done with a Control 4 and Control 2 in a collective. So far I have not found anything it won't currently do that my Archon was doing other than monitor salinity and that is kinda iffy anyway. If someone gets a Control 2 all they have to do to upgrade is add another Control 2 or Control 4 to it in a collective depending on what they want. I needed the 4 0-10v inputs on the Control 4. I use them to monitor the water level in my three storage tanks with the use of a pressure sensor.
 
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[Cameron]

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The Hydros can do advanced prorgramming. I use one to to control my RODi, Di storage tank, Fresh Salt water tank, Mixing tank. If the DI tank goes low it will refill it. If the fresh water tank goes low it will refill it with the water in the mix tank but only if it is ready to go. After the fresh water tank is full it will refill the mix tank with RODI. It also turns on the RODI unit for 10 minutes every hour to replenish the RO bladder tank for the ice maker and drinking water for the fridge. It also controls ATO and auto water change for the tank. This is all done with a Control 4 and Control 2 in a collective. So far I have not found anything it won't currently do that my Archon was doing other than monitor salinity and that is kinda iffy anyway. If someone gets a Control 2 all they have to do to upgrade is add another Control 2 or Control 4 to it in a collective depending on what they want. I needed the 4 0-10v inputs on the Control 4. I use them to monitor the water level in my three storage tanks with the use of a pressure sensor.
Well I hope you have a LOT of redundancy in that system because if the wifi goes down while that stuff is on... it will stay on until it comes back with a Hydros. A big reason people hate sophisticated controller products is learning a hard lesson trying to use them to automate systems that can kill a tank.

The only controller I will use for ATO is a dedicated proven system with a long track record. The only one that I know of that meets my criteria is the Tunze Osmolator 3155. Auto water changes, the only system I trust is the Reefloat design since it is a closed system that is absurdly simple. I don't like controller automated dosing pumps attached to dosing containers that can nuke the system if they dump their contents.

I recommend using controllers such as Apex, Hydros, GHL, etc as monitors with non-critical system automation. If a system can kill a tank, I suggest making the controller the backup failsafe and not the driver. I have seen too many tank melt downs over stuck controllers, pumps, etc.
 
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jrill

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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.
It is as soon as you start pricing accessories.
 

Philly Reefer

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Just to add for apex outlets, you don't need to buy another eb842.
They also have EB4 ($120) and EB8($160)

Additionally, apex modules can be bought used. In my experience, the modules are pretty durable. Probes.. of course it would be better for new probes
 
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n2585722

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The only things on WiFi at the moment are two pumps in the mixing tank, RODI input solenoid and DP1 power brick for the Archon DP1's. Also three more that are not aquarium related on another power strip are the lights for my wife's light houses and globes. I use the 4 drive outputs directly from the controllers for the others. The RODI has a ASOV valve so leaving it on should not be a problem unless it was to spring a leak but not likely at the same time of a WiFi problem. One drive port drives the two AWC pumps. One drive port for ATO. The other two are solenoids to refill the mix tank and DI tank. Those tanks also have float valves on the DI inputs as a backup. These were there before when the Archon had control and it has wired power strips.
 

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I have had zero disconnects the entire time I have had my Control 4 unit (outside of me physically unplugging my stuff when testing things) for what it is worth.
 

Jon's Reef

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It is as soon as you start pricing accessories.

That is not true. You have to price out the complete system to know how many ports you need.

Components:
Level sensor: APEX:25-35, HYDROS: 40
Flow Sensor: APEX: 20-100, HYDROS: N/A
Leak Sensor: APEX: 30, HYDROS: 40
Solenoid Valve: APEX: 30, HYDROS: 25
Temp probe: APEX: 30, HYDROS: 25
PH and Orp probes: APEX has them available, HYDROS uses 3rd party which both can use.
Accs pump: APEX: 40, HYDROS: 25
Alk: APEX: 600(TRIDENT Alk, Ca, Mg), HYDROS 900 (Alkatronic, Alk only)

For expansion to support accs, APEX modules $100. Only option from HYDROS is another $350 controller.

No use in comparing power bars as there is no equivalent to the APEX bar.

Top off kits are simlar in price (~$80) if you do not need modules (ex you already have FMM for APEX and ports for HYDROS). If you need FMM, $200 for APEX ATK. If you need ports for HYDROS $430.
 

[Cameron]

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I have had zero disconnects the entire time I have had my Control 4 unit (outside of me physically unplugging my stuff when testing things) for what it is worth.
A great number of people on a several different controller platforms had this exact same experience until they didn't. Everything mechanical or electrical will eventually fail... everything. The more sophisticated the design and/or implementation the faster it happens which is why general controllers are dangerous when attached to mission critical systems.

Designing the Hydros power brick to require wifi to be operational is just another design choice the end user will need to account for. IMO that design choice is unnecessary, likely adds expense and is more prone to failure. I am not saying they shouldn't have a wifi power brick but they should also have a wired one and they all should have power monitoring capability. As long as person understands this going in, more power to them but a lot of users will buy these never considering how it might screw them over when their router goes down, the head unit gets blocked or the power brick gets blocked. This entire setup is susceptible to DDoS attacks on the router if it is exposed to the internet which it likely is.
 

Jon's Reef

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The Hydros can do advanced prorgramming.
They all can do these thing (APEX, GHL, HYDROS). But what is the key differentiator? If it were price, HYDROS 4 starter pack should be $300 and they should have probe, drive and sense breakout boxes for $50. But it isn't and they don't.

"If GHL is too complicated and you hate NEPTUNE, HYDROS is the right product for you!"?

The support of Coralvue on the products they rep is great, but when you develop something it needs to have a clear value statement: Unlike other controllers on the market, HYDROS offers....
 
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Hasted

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A great number of people on a several different controller platforms had this exact same experience until they didn't. Everything mechanical or electrical will eventually fail... everything. The more sophisticated the design and/or implementation the faster it happens which is why general controllers are dangerous when attached to mission critical systems.

Designing the power brick to require wifi to be operational is just another design choice the end user will need to account for. It is unnecessary, likely adds expense and is more prone to failure. I am not saying they shouldn't have a wifi power brick but they should also have a wired one and they all should have power monitoring capability.
I would still 100% pick a wired one over wifi if both options were available to me.

Adds Expense: Yep. I have a dedicated repeater so I did end up spending $50 for that reliability.
 

jrill

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That is not true. You have to price out the complete system to know how many ports you need.

Components:
Level sensor: APEX:25-35, HYDROS: 40
Flow Sensor: APEX: 20-100, HYDROS: N/A
Leak Sensor: APEX: 30, HYDROS: 40
Solenoid Valve: APEX: 30, HYDROS: 25
Temp probe: APEX: 30, HYDROS: 25
PH and Orp probes: APEX has them available, HYDROS uses 3rd party which both can use.
Accs pump: APEX: 40, HYDROS: 25
Alk: APEX: 600(TRIDENT Alk, Ca, Mg), HYDROS 900 (Alkatronic, Alk only)

For expansion to support accs, APEX modules $100. Only option from HYDROS is another $350 controller.

No use in comparing power bars as there is no equivalent to the APEX bar.

Top off kits are simlar in price (~$80) if you do not need modules (ex you already have FMM for APEX and ports for HYDROS). If you need FMM, $200 for APEX ATK. If you need ports for HYDROS $430.
I think leaving out the price for the fmm is a bit misleading when comparing add ons. I know I'm a good $300 ahead doing what I wanted to do going with hydros as opposed to Apex. Which is why I went with Hydros. It does everything I want it to do. Thats not to say that I don't appreciate the value of Apex.
 

shred5

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WiFi is so stable now a days if yours is dropping fix it.

Do you have a land line for phone? well what if your cell drops you could die. I wouldn't trust it better get rid of your cell phones.

Anything can fail. What if your plug strip fails. What if the power goes out. What if your wall outlet fails? What if what if. I can use my Hydos Control to control something clear across my house without running wires.

Why don't we go back to horse and buggy, it's safer.

Do you run two main pumps? what if one fails? Actually it is a good idea but how many do?

I do not even know how long I have been running my Hydros Control and never has it lost Wifi and two of them are beta units..

You have so little trust I would not even use a controller if I were you. Too many fail points.

The nice thing about the Control is if you have more than one you have redundancy. Most modules will do the same it looks like. Sense ports is a fully functional unit and can act as a control.

Apex the main unit goes down you loose everything. Pm1 unit take over no.. Pm2 take over no...
 
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Jon's Reef

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I think leaving out the price for the fmm is a bit misleading when comparing add ons.
Expansion is handled differently in the 2 systems. APEX, missing a port ~$80-100 to add more. HYDROS you have to buy an additional HYDROS 2 or 4 for $160-$350.

4 sense ports are used up quickly when 1 is already used by the temp sensor.


Pricing has to be done on a "complete system" level. That is why I said:
You have to price out the complete system to know how many ports you need.

For expansion to support accs, APEX modules $100. Only option from HYDROS is another $350 controller.
 

jrill

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Expansion is handled differently in the 2 systems. APEX, missing a port ~$80-100 to add more. HYDROS you have to buy an additional HYDROS 2 or 4 for $160-$350.

4 sense ports are used up quickly when 1 is already used by the temp sensor.


Pricing has to be done on a "complete system" level. That is why I said:
Partially true but hydros is just beginning to release components. A sense box has been planned since the release. Just like Apex not everything came out at once.
 
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shred5

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Partially true but hydros is just beginning to release components. A sense box has been planned since the release. Just like Apex not everything came out at once.

A nice thing is the sense port will add redundancy.. If the control fails and you have them as a collective it can take over. The sense port is a full functional unit and can act as a Control.
 
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[Cameron]

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Adds Expense: Yep. I have a dedicated repeater so I did end up spending $50 for that reliability.
A repeater doesn't work if the router goes down. It also doesn't solve a router blocking connections. Oddly adding a repeater to a wireless network creates another potential failure point on a wireless network.

I think leaving out the price for the fmm is a bit misleading when comparing add ons. I know I'm a good $300 ahead doing what I wanted to do going with hydros as opposed to Apex. Which is why I went with Hydros. It does everything I want it to do. Thats not to say that I don't appreciate the value of Apex.
Most reefers head two directions with setups. They either break them down and quit or they upgrade them. The Hydros 2 doesn't have a good upgrade path which limits its resell and essentially makes an upgrade expensive. The Hydros 4 is just too new, lacks the features and has some reasonable concerns for its price point compared to its very established competition.

WiFi is so stable now a days if yours is dropping fix it.

Do you have a land line for phone? well what if your cell drops you could die. I wouldn't trust it better get rid of your cell phones. ...
These are absurd comparisons. If someone wants to risk their livestock on a new controller with "interesting" design choices, that is certainly their business.

BTW a consumer grade router locking up from a heavy port scan happens thousands of times a day. I spend the better part of a week troubleshooting router, firewall and general networking issues. I mostly work on enterprise grade hardware and even it requires someone to go press a reboot button occasionally. Too many connections on a consumer grade router from tablets, phones, computers, TVs, fridges, etc will cause the router to prioritize and drop connections or straight lock up. Most don't even update their firmware so many home routers are security nightmares that are relatively easy to hack.
 

n2585722

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Don't forget the 4 0-10v inputs on the Control 4. They can be used with a variety input types. Also one input can be used with multiple switches. There are also third party breakout boxes for these inputs if you need one. Below are a few screen shots of inputs using the 0-10v inputs. The first is using it as a switch and also show the possible notifications you can set.

A82798E8-72A0-4775-80A7-E2542EB09249.png


The screenshot below shows possible types of analog things you can hook to the port. The generic is the type I use with this input which is a level sensor.

5EE11EBD-1E61-48B6-8DA3-5B9E7A3E6D67.png

This is the same input showing the available types. I use analog on this input. You can set a scale factor and offset for the input.

1E4C68A5-D1E2-42D8-B6D7-0F4B33843C19.png
 

shred5

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A repeater doesn't work if the router goes down. It also doesn't solve a router blocking connections. Oddly adding a repeater to a wireless network creates another potential failure point on a wireless network.


Most reefers head two directions with setups. They either break them down and quit or they upgrade them. The Hydros 2 doesn't have a good upgrade path which limits its resell and essentially makes an upgrade expensive. The Hydros 4 is just too new, lacks the features and has some reasonable concerns for its price point compared to its very established competition.


These are absurd comparisons. If someone wants to risk their livestock on a new controller with "interesting" design choices, that is certainly their business.

BTW a consumer grade router locking up from a heavy port scan happens thousands of times a day. I spend the better part of a week troubleshooting router, firewall and general networking issues. I mostly work on enterprise grade hardware and even it requires someone to go press a reboot button occasionally. Too many connections on a consumer grade router from tablets, phones, computers, TVs, fridges, etc will cause the router to prioritize and drop connections or straight lock up. Most don't even update their firmware so many home routers are security nightmares that are relatively easy to hack.
IT is a part of my job along with electrical engineering, used to install DSL and owned part of a ISP.

Better get used to it because everything is going WiFi even light fixtures. Not having to run control wiring saves a fortune. We are starting to install more and more light fixtures that are WiFi. Eventually everything is, so get used to it. Move forward or fall behind.

It is funny now we have to worry about routers. If you are seriously worried then use a controller as a way to monitor and not control because anything can fail.

People should always have a backup plan because stuff fails no matter what it is.

Also the Alerts let you know so much more than a heart beat.

Not to mention Cloud.

Hydros is newer so yea they have to prove themselves long term. But they are also backed by a good company that seems willing to do what needs to be done.
 
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Spieg

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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?
Not really what I was trying to say.
To be blunt - dealing with customer service at Neptune reminds me of a used car dealership... they blame the customer for every failure regardless of the facts. I wouldn't use one of their products if you gave it to me for free.
The Coral View Hydros is still pretty new and it's hard to say where it will be in a couple of years.
GHL is top notch in my opinion, but comes at a price (both $$ and a degree of complexity that can take a while to learn).
 
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