Deciding on a controller

SuncrestReef

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I am extremely happy with my Apex. I enjoy it's flexibility in programming, ease of access from multiple devices and from anywhere with an Internet connection, reliable alerting, and modular expandability. Like everything, it does have some drawbacks (like the salinity probe as mentioned by others), but in my research on other brands I think the Apex is an excellent choice for both beginners and advanced users.

The Apex user support community is very active both on Neptune's Community Forums and the Neptune Facebook Group (and I do my best to help answer other's questions in both), there are numerous quality YouTube videos available, and I even wrote an 8-part Apex programming tutorial here on R2R:

Part 1 Introduction
Part 2 Timers
Part 3 Automatic Top-Off Kit (ATK)
Part 4 Power Monitoring
Part 5 Virtual Outputs
Part 6 Alarms
Part 7 Feed Cycles
Part 8 Lunar Schedule and Lighting Profiles (Conclusion)

Feel free to reach out if you have specific questions.
 
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PiggyPuffin

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The GHL P4 does "monitor" the per outlet amperage but you cannot use it to control any events or send alerts. All you can do is look at the amps per channel when you open the app. It's pretty much useless! You can't even look at historical graphs of the data. A sad state of affairs at GHL that they can't get it implemented and delivered as it was on their "to do list" and expected "very soon" (back in mid 2018).
 
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boacvh

boacvh

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I have both platforms (I have three tanks run by Apex, one run by GHL). Over the years I find myself preferring the Apex over the GHL for ease of use (that's why there are three Apex tanks!).

I have a controller to make my life easier, so it should be easy to use, right? For me, the Apex is more intuitive, has a larger group of users to answer questions, has more responsive online support, and is easier to get my hands on. I tend to buy stuff used, and there is always a ready supply of Apex stuff from people that are upgrading. Used GHL stuff is harder to come by, perhaps because they have had fewer upgrade cycles over time (which in itself may be another factor to consider).

In terms of the list of features you are interested in, I would first suggest that although you may think you want to use the controller to monitor salinity, you will eventually realize that it isn't worth the hassle, regardless of which controller you choose. The probes are notoriously finicky. And it isn't the kind of thing that varies a lot over a short period of time unless something like an ATO has gone haywire, and there are other ways to check for that, such as float valves for water level, etc.

That said, either platform can handle the rest of your list, although GHL's KH Director only monitors Alk whereas Apex Trident measures Ca, Alk, and Mg. You have to ask yourself: do you really need all three? In theory it seems like it would be great to just look at a screen and see what Ca and Mg levels are at, but in practice, they don't change nearly as much as Alk and, for me, I don't mind the few mins it takes to measure them. Monitoring daily Alk levels, on the other hand, seems like a natural for a control system - but both platforms offer it.

Bottom line - either will probably eventually do what you need them to do. My advice: if you don't mind starting with used gear, look for a starter Apex system that you can play with to get to know what you really want out of a controller, and then decide if you want to stick with Apex or switch. Depending on the timing, odds are that you'll be able to sell off the used Apex for close to what you have to pay for it, and it works out to be some hands-on education that helps move you forward.
Thanks. I think the advice to start with a used controller is great, I actually hadn't considered that.
Also, hear you on the salinity, I think that's a nice-to-have and not a must-have for me. Also, right now I test for alk maybe every other day but Calc and Mg not that often, probably every other week. So not sure I need the trident, just think it would be a really nice addition down the road.
It is great to hear from someone that has both, most of the posts across the other forums/posts praise one or the other with perhaps a bit of personal biases infused into whichever one people use and like, so having the opinion of people who have experience with both is great.
In reading all this advice, (THANKS EVERYONE!) I think I am starting to lean towards the Apex, just because of the user base and support I could get, plus a higher chance of good value on a resale, so if I don't like it, it sounds like it would be easier for me to switch to the GHL later, than viceversa.
 

Ditto

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There are some major differences between the two platforms, in this thread you can see some of those differences along with examples about how both do tasks, and some good comparison charts.


The GHL community here on Facebook, do answer a lot of questions and answers along with GHL support staff. As a person who has multiple tanks running GHL, and one with both an Apex and a GHL I do try to answer a many questions about the GHL when asked either in PM or when I am tagge also.

Just like the poster above I have done quite a few examples of how do things inside Profilux Controller. GHL has there own YouTube channel also where they also have examples.

Below are just a few of those examples:



Quick Tutorials for the P4/P4e

Quick Tutorial – How to Configure A Heater

Quick Tutorial – How to configure your Refugium Light

Quick Tutorial – How to Configure Feed Pause for Your Skimmer

Quick Tutorial – How to Configure Notifications/Alert Sending

Quick Tutorial – How to Configure Power Cut

Quick Tutorial – How to Configure Advance Program Logic Delayed On

Quick Tutorial - Quick Easy Steps on Installing an Expansion Card

Quick Tutorial - Adding and Configuring a new PAB Device to your GHL ProfiLux Controller

Installing and Configuration a Kessil Light with the use of a GHL 1-10V Breakout Box

Installing and the configuration of the 1-10V for Tunze Powerhead

Initial Connectivity to the Network:

GHL ProfiLux Mini (WiFi) connecting to your home network using your iPhone

LX7206 connecting to your home network using your iPhone

GHL Doser 2.1 - Connecting to You Home Network using your iPhone
 
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boacvh

boacvh

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There are some major differences between the two platforms, in this thread you can see some of those differences along with examples about how both do tasks, and some good comparison charts.


The GHL community here on Facebook, do answer a lot of questions and answers along with GHL support staff. As a person who has multiple tanks running GHL, and one with both an Apex and a GHL I do try to answer a many questions about the GHL when asked either in PM or when I am tagge also.

Just like the poster above I have done quite a few examples of how do things inside Profilux Controller. GHL has there own YouTube channel also where they also have examples.

Below are just a few of those examples:



Quick Tutorials for the P4/P4e

Quick Tutorial – How to Configure A Heater

Quick Tutorial – How to configure your Refugium Light

Quick Tutorial – How to Configure Feed Pause for Your Skimmer

Quick Tutorial – How to Configure Notifications/Alert Sending

Quick Tutorial – How to Configure Power Cut

Quick Tutorial – How to Configure Advance Program Logic Delayed On

Quick Tutorial - Quick Easy Steps on Installing an Expansion Card

Quick Tutorial - Adding and Configuring a new PAB Device to your GHL ProfiLux Controller

Installing and Configuration a Kessil Light with the use of a GHL 1-10V Breakout Box

Installing and the configuration of the 1-10V for Tunze Powerhead

Initial Connectivity to the Network:

GHL ProfiLux Mini (WiFi) connecting to your home network using your iPhone

LX7206 connecting to your home network using your iPhone

GHL Doser 2.1 - Connecting to You Home Network using your iPhone
Thanks for all this info!
 

Sleepydoc

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First, figure out what you want the controller to do now.
Then, look around the forums and come up with an idea of what you might want the controller to do in the future. The thing with controllers is you tend to find new ways of using them to automate things and make your life easier, so it makes sense to try and plan what you can.

I have an Apex and have been very happy with it. I'm happy with the salinity probe, too, but that's because I really don't use it. Happily, salinity probes are really not necessary, either. (There are many threads on salinity probes if you feel compelled to research the issue)

There are certainly other controllers around that may be fine, but as a newbie, I think sticking with GHL or Apex would be wise, just because they have the most robust support communities around as well as a longer track record.
 
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boacvh

boacvh

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First, figure out what you want the controller to do now.
Then, look around the forums and come up with an idea of what you might want the controller to do in the future. The thing with controllers is you tend to find new ways of using them to automate things and make your life easier, so it makes sense to try and plan what you can.

I have an Apex and have been very happy with it. I'm happy with the salinity probe, too, but that's because I really don't use it. Happily, salinity probes are really not necessary, either. (There are many threads on salinity probes if you feel compelled to research the issue)

There are certainly other controllers around that may be fine, but as a newbie, I think sticking with GHL or Apex would be wise, just because they have the most robust support communities around as well as a longer track record.
Thanks. Yes, that's my intention, not in a rush at all so taking my time to do my research for now
 

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