How good is the apex?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Controllers' started by Sethdarkus, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. Sethdarkus

    Sethdarkus Member

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    Im currently in the enlistment process for the army national guard. Just got my medical waver and well while I’m doing basic training I want peace of mind because I will be away and my family will be taking care of my tank. I’m looking into a digital refractometer and well the apex for what it monitors seems quite worth it and kinda cheap when you think of the cost of every digital monitor, a good digital salinity reader is like 130 dollars and ph wise that’s like another 120 etc. with the apex im thinking I can have nutri seawater delivered twice a month for my family to do water changes and keep peace of mind the apex will keep proper salinity. If the apex controls the ATO than that means my salinity can not go up I could install a fan in the sump to help cool the tank etc so I’m thinking its a good buy for $800 dollars. I know it’s been out nearly 2 or 3 years with the current controller so I’m sure a upgraded monitor will cone out at some point. I haven’t been given a basics date yet however I can presume within 8 months from now. Once I pay off my PayPal balance from work on my new control freak tank I’m working on to be low maintenance I plan to buy the apex or a similar system if something better comes out. At it’s price point im sure PayPal will give me a year financing plan making it like $66.76-$75 dollars a month depending on tax. Which is quite affordable. Edit: P.S i don’t trust my family to accurately mix salt to the proper salinity however I do trust Nutri seawater to be exactly 1.027 salinity and be good for soft corals and invertebrates since it’s fortified natural seawater. I use to use the stuff 100% on my saltwater 10g nano now I use it 2x a month and the other 2x is coral pro. I’m upgrading to a 40 gal breeder and treating it as a isolated system nothing substrate or rock wise is coming out of the nano just my two clounds my blood red fire shrimp and maybe the timid emerald crab who afraid of my falco hawkfish maybe the snails, will add a starfish to the nano it’s bio load will be reduced and well I may try using it to raise amano Zoe’s to juveniles and just grow plytoplankton and more types of copepods in as a good source. I don’t trust starfish at all I trust crab more than I trust a starfish.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
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  2. Reeferdood

    Reeferdood Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    First off,
    thank you for your service! As far as controllers go, the Apex is the best money can buy and for someone that travels a lot (myself included) it is an awesome piece of equipment. They are expensive but this entire hobby is! So, I would bite the bullet if you don't trust others to keep a watchful eye in your absence, you will be glad you did! ;)
     
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  3. Sethdarkus

    Sethdarkus Member

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    I kinda don’t see 800 as expensive when you add up the cost of Hanna checkers and well battery back up supplies and the automation behind its brain so I may indeed buy one in the near future.
     
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  4. Reeferdood

    Reeferdood Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Just wait until you begin to venture into exotic corals... ;)
     
  5. Sethdarkus

    Sethdarkus Member

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    True I guess but the only corals at the time I like are considered pest like Kenya tree and green finger coral. I like the tree like appearance. Kinda feel they give a nice contrast.
     
  6. Mudder

    Mudder Active Member R2R Supporter

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    If the apex is something you want and can afford it is well worth the money..and is great for monitoring the tank when out of town..I use the apex for baseline though..I test everything separate..The apex just lets me know when something jumps out of wack all of a sudden and needs my attention and has been a tank saver a few times
     
  7. Nathan Milender

    Nathan Milender Active Member

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    While I am too fat, lazy and old now, I used to be in the Army, and I have an Apex. First, going to initial training you are going to be gone a lot. I would wait until you return to start a tank. If you really want to get one going feel out who is going to be taking care of it and ask maintenance questions. If that person cannot really answer them I would be cautious and start with educating that person. I have heard that there is more communication these days with family during training but assume you are going to be unreachable for that training period (used to be letters only with 1-2 opportunities to use the phone during basic). If the recruiter tells you it's no big deal and family will be able to email text etc, you know it's crap.

    For instance, my wife who wanted the tank (not that I don't like it) and initiated the startup 6-7 months ago just did a top off a few days ago on my QT with salt water instead of RO. It was a 15-20 min conversation to get her to understand the problem and it was not catastrophic. Reviewing history it turns out she intervened a few times (which is good), but incorrectly (which is bad). SG was only up 3 points in the QT so nothing died. It was annoying to correct with having to re-dose cholorquine. Follow up question "so you just fill the ATO with RO water?". I have a library of books on maintaining aquariums. There is opportunity to learn, but it takes a while for some and it does not help that many sources are not detailed. Also, if you are competent, it is easy to just come along for the ride. She enjoys the fish and coral, and loves to shop for new ones, but I cannot get her to engage in the science of it. Someone needs to be competent. If knowledge is waning, see what everyone is exited about and consider a fish only tank. Damsels are fun and a good start (although not very compatible down the road). They can help break in someone who will have to make decisions with a good chance of success when you are unavailable.

    Should I get an APEX? I like the apex. Depending on the size of the aquarium and how I was going to run it would be how I would determine whether or not I need it. You still have to understand the aquarium and what is happening, it won't maintain your tank without a person through basic or AIT. I do not run the salinity probe, maybe I should, but I do enough water changes I am just not sure it is necessary. I have so much crap running on my tank the apex lets me downsize and add features with built ins such as the wav which save space. I like the leak detector and the auto feeder (can be a good start to control input and regularity when you are out of town). I run two part, but for the cost I went with BRS pumps vs the DOS and those do not even run through the apex. Most lights have built in controllers, if over-heating is not an issue you may not need this feature. I have a hybrid so the apex controls the T5, the AI LEDs run themselves. Feeding mode is nice. Do not want worry about an interface monitor with APEX fusion, use a smart phone or get a cheap old tablet for it. As the tank gets established I am not sure the ph meter matters much. It can be useful as an alarm for parameter swings but again, in a fish only tank the fish would likely survive everything but a godzilla level disaster.

    For me, in your situation, I would get a Tunze ATO with a fish only tank. In my opinion, the ATO is the best upgrade to tanks since the 90s. I appreciate it everyday, it even seems to keep the salt creep down. You couple that with a good RO system and I bet you have some happy fat fish when you return plus a partner who understands maintaining the water in the tank. Once you complete AIT and get your signing bonus (if they still do that), then see what type of lights and controller you want to blow it on. Most likely, you'll want to get a tank 4x the size and then you'll want an apex and a standby generator for the house. Good luck and have fun.
     
  8. Sethdarkus

    Sethdarkus Member

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    I have a nano and well it’s maintenance is a bit more difficult for the inexperienced I wanna transfer my livestock to something more controllable that is near a complete automated system that just requires a twice or once a month water change and a freshwater Container to be filled to keep steady salinity as evaporation happens. Zero coral and a extremely low bio load I don’t think it be an issue. Like I don’t trust them to mix salt and I do trust nutri seawater which is pricey saltwater that is fortified natural ocean water that has been filtered and has a steady salinity of 1.027, so I can trust a water change if they do it with this stuff if I keep it to 2 a month shipments charged to a credit card that bills my bank account monthly. Ie no issues if I can trust a apex to keep the salinity near static.
     
  9. Sethdarkus

    Sethdarkus Member

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    I can afford it though PayPal credit 12 month payment plan which makes it like $70 a month along with being interest free and in completely in my budget. I could even set it to automatically charge my bank account while I’m away.
     
  10. ca1ore

    ca1ore Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award CTARS Member Reef Tank 365 R2R TV Featured Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    Apex is solid. Whether it's the bet money can buy is entirely subjective LOL. I have 'invested' in a quite complex set of modules and found them mostly useful. Be careful about using it to actually control too much. I use mine mostly to monitor and alert.
     
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  11. JEREMY82

    JEREMY82 Active Member

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    Leaving a tank for a period of time is a risk,the apex is a great tool for the reef tank,I left the country for over a month and my tank was fully stocked,when i got back it was still great,what I did was make a break down sheet of stuff i do to my tank. And with the help of the apex controller and little notes everything went smoothly.its a great investment and helps with peace of mind. Reefs are expensive and lot of work,having more control over stuff helps ,and if you dont end up happy with the apex they usually resell pretty quickly .I would buy it if i was in your shoes,and as you learn the system take notes so if for some reason your family cant get ahold of you rt away ,they got notes on how your system is and how to use apex. Its worth it
     
  12. saf1

    saf1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter

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    Controllers are nothing more than a tool. A means to the end. There is no best like others suggested - it is a personal choice. There are two main players with similar price points. Then there is the DIY route which is also viable. Reef Pi's and also Reef Angel. I've used Apex and also a Reef Angel - love both. Both do different things and each does something better than the other believe it or not. Cost points of DIY is cheaper upfront cost but by the time you are done you are pretty much where the over the counter / shrink wrap entry point is.

    I'm currently running the Apex and enjoy it. It works. It is a pretty solid ecosystem. Worked well when I travel, etc. Like I said just another tool. I'm sure the GHL would also work for me but this upgrade I went Neptune and feel it was a good choice. Apex unit, ATO, and Cor return and skimmer pumps.
     
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  13. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I have mixed feelings. - I also use mine to monitor and alert. Without fail - each time I have tried to use it for more automation there was a problem - lights that stayed on for 2 days (randomly) Gyres that would lose their program. Multiple networking problems. That said - If you have one - have a back up plan (i.e. just because the number says the temperature is 78 on the apex dashboard - doesn't mean its so - ditto with salinity, etc. Make sure that when you're gone you have people that can manage the alerts when you get them. Etc. All in all I like it - as a back up and think its worth the price.
     
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  14. ca1ore

    ca1ore Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award CTARS Member Reef Tank 365 R2R TV Featured Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    I think part of the 'problem' is hobby-grade sensors. I employ them as double or even triple redundant because sensors malfunction. Probably 90% of my alerts are a bad sensor of some kind.
     
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  15. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    PS - the main benefit (to me) is the ability to turn off/on various pieces of equipment - for maintenance, etc.
     
  16. Sethdarkus

    Sethdarkus Member

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    I don’t plan to keep anything that can’t handle salinity changes till I get back. Falco Hawkfish, snails, 2 clowns and a blood red fire shrimp. Idea is for the system to try and keep steady Salinity while away sure it could be off by x and x however so long as it is Not over 37ppt and not under 30 i think it should be fine. So long as it’s keeping the same salinity value it should be ok.
     
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  17. Sethdarkus

    Sethdarkus Member

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    aren’t the apex probes lab grade?
     
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  18. DJF

    DJF Member

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    My 2cents: I went all in with Neptune a couple years ago and now have an entire shelf I call the apex graveyard. The graveyard includes 4 wavs, 2 1links, a dos, 2 fmm modules, eb8 and a few pmups and I also had a cor20 that leaked electricity. I do like apex fusion and the overall connectivity is great when it works but imho they are not built to last- I’m not doing this to start a complain session or to ruffle fanboy feathers but sharing my experience- if I were starting over, I’d go a diff direction.
     
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  19. saf1

    saf1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter

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    If you truly have that amount of failed products either you are doing something wrong or have extremely bad luck. I would be curious what your conversations with Neptune resolved. That list you provided is a bit of money out of your pocket so I can understand the frustration but somewhere in that chain I struggle with what the vendor did to assist or correct or help.

    My biggest complaint with Apex is it looks like a toy. I like the look and feel of GHL and their overall design.
     
  20. DJF

    DJF Member

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    I will take partial blame for some of the items, but not all. I’ve spent hours on the phone with tech support; they have always been responsive but after hours of troubleshooting to be told it’s not covered and it will cost $ to repair is disheartening. You mentioned the competitor I would go with.
     
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