Just another GHL v. APEX (or something else Thread)

Neptune

NoviReefGuy

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I will apologize in advance... but I've read a lot of the threads comparing the two systems; I'm a little confused regarding a few issues... so I will list what I'm trying to accomplish and maybe that will help. BTW, I am using Orphek iCON and Abyzz pumps, Aqualogic heater; Im assuming both APEX and GHL will work directly..

First Im investing a lot in this build, and reliability is VERY important to me; I ve read quite a few folks commenting on the superior reliability of GHL. ..i.e. GHL "looks" really well made. Prob Quality... etc.. APEX , questionable reliability... can someone please describe what they mean by that exactly...

Connectivity seems to be the big issue? Wireless vs Direct connect. I was planning on having a CPU in my fish room. So I'm not sure what the differences are. Please describe how you connect to it...

I will definitely monitor remotely. I certainly like all the data which apears to be captured with the APEX (I 'm a data junkie; I'm the CEO of a data analytics company, so you can imagine i like analyzing data) is GHL comparable. I mainly want to be able to monitor all parameters and I want to have a display showing parameters all the time. ( real time monitoring) APEX can do that, can GHL?

KH/ ION Director vs Trident/DOS? PROS/CONS.... thinking Focustronic, but thats another thread to write :)

I appreciate everyones input... Its "Cyber Monday" I'm trying to decide if i should pull the trigger or not... This has been the hardest decision to make so far....

Thanks Again for your expertise..

Sean
 
Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED bar

nezw0001

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I have an APEX driving most of my system with a TRIDENT and GHL doser 2 running a KHD and 9 doser heads. The Apex has been rock solid and just always works. Technical support has been good to me and always resolved the issue. The GHL doser and KHD operate reliabily but connectivity via remote access as been inconsistent and unreliable. I have opened several service tickets and they try a bunch of things and nothing solves the issue. FWIW my GHL is a hard wired LAN connection and my Apex has been a wifi connection since day one.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

nezw0001

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you need to use an energy bar if you want to control outlets with the apex. I have 8 of them on my system, some are the 4 outlet size, and have never had one fail. I know there are reports of them failing but they have been rock solid for me and my equipment has a tough life, ie water/humidity on the equipment, changing things around all the time, etc.
 

rtparty

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GHL has garbage software and connection issues. Their community based support is basically zero. You pay a lot more per outlet when it comes to control as well. Last I heard the ION Director was a great paper weight.

While I sound hard on GHL, I loved the Mitras light I had minus the connection issues. The hardware was amazing and well built.

I have 7 year old Neptune products with zero issues, ever.
 

PeterC99

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Neptune Apex is stable, with no connection problems and a great dashboard. Only issue is Salinity probe is off 1 ppt.

E1FC9332-57DD-4E1F-9F88-31250B08B18D.png
 
Reef Chasers Aquaculture

areefer01

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Going about it the wrong way. Make a list of requirements first, then budget, then go shopping. The deals this past weekend, and today, are not going to change your mind one way or another. Also know not everyone posts user experience on forums and/or social media. Of those posts are how often is someone going to post positive vs negative and out of those how many users noise override one or the other experience? See the pattern?

Do you want support - if so what time zone?
Do you want to automate testing?
Do you want a monitor?
Do you want actions based on alerts and/or monitors?
Do you want X, Y, or Z module features such as AWC, Sensors, flow meters, lighting, dosing, and more?
Do you want ease of use, pretty?
Do you want data export feature?
Do you want control as it relates to programming or simple like wizards / guides?
Do you want over the counter shrink wrap solution?
Do you want Open Source?
Do you want DIY?

Any of the big three will get you what you need be it GHL, Neptune, or Hydros 'for the most part'. Even open source be it Reef Angel or Pi based systems will. It all comes down to you, the hobbyist, your needs (requirements), budget, and of course comfort level. There are hobbyist using these products for a very long time without issues. Heck I have been using the same ecosystem since I started back in 1999. Doesn't mean I don't have or have had issues, I have.

I know what is critical to my system and I keep spare parts or build in redundancy. That is what keeps my system running. That and of course instructions incase I'm not around. Controller in my case is more about quality of life for me around day to day stuff or notification if I'm on extended travel.
 

telegraham

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For every X controller problem, you will find the antithetical user who hasn't experienced the same. For whatever reason that's real. With several grains, I offer the following:

I have an eKoral, the Hydros Control 2, two Apex (three, but I'm actively using the old Jr and a newer EL), two GHL controllers (P4 and Mini), a DOS (that has since been converted to GHL control), the Sky, several GHL four head dosers, the KHD, the IOND (not connected, but worked great when connected), two Mitras 7206, and the new GHL Maxi (still in its box). Before the others, I used a ReefKeeper.

You should know that I am a GHL fanboy, so filter accordingly.

I do not have the GHL connectivity issues that others experienced. I know they exist, and I've asked others to send me their devices so I can experience that myself, but that's not yet happened. My P4 and lights are connected via WiFi. The reliability of all of the GHL equipment has been great, but I don't have anywhere near enough time to speak to the IOND's reliability. The GHL power bars are like my four-outlet Neptune unit. Bulletproof. Of the two Powerbar 6 units in use, one has a lot of heater control cycles on it. They are solid. The four head dosers use friction rollers, that's not my preferred head design, but as long as you use them for other than large liquid movement, the heads last quite a while. No water changing with them. I maintain a bag of pump head spares just in case. The DOS and original Maxi shared motors and pump heads. GHL moved away from that design when Neptune grabbed a supply agreement with Honlite, hence the new Maxi release. I can say that the DOS is much quieter when driven by a GHL circuit board. The steppers don't sing under GHL control.

I'll occasionally have to reset the power to the ApexEL to reconnect it to WiFi. It's generally solid, but it does drop off. The old Apex Jr is hardwired and is indestructible. It always works. It never drops its connection. As for the EB832s, I repair, for free, users' EB832s that have suffered T/R failures. That's a simple internal power supply swap that Neptune expects users to fund. I've been sent one of the newer EB832s to repair, it did have the better Meanwell T/R, but it was fried. It failed in a way that allowed AC power to enter the 12VDC circuit. I think that's an outlier. The newer EBs seem solid.

As for software, I lean GHL. I find it easier to use over Neptune, but I've already self-identified my GHLness.

Data...GHL is by far the winner here. Three years worth of data is easily accessible via the app/web. Neptune gives you three months. Hydros gives you one week.

The Trident uses a sampling method similar to Hanna's, you can get reagents from Neptune, but ABC Reagents sells the same reagents for less. Substantially less if you buy the dry mix from ABC. GHL and Focustronic use essentially the same process. The standalone GHL KHD is a little less expensive, and consumables will cost the same over time.

eKoral is a no in my book. Nice hardware, and easy to use software, but it's not in the same class as GHL nor Neptune.

This will ruffle feathers, but I feel the same way about Hydros. CV, like eKoral, is using a 3rd party's WiFi power bar, and connection issues are a thing for me. For others, it works perfectly. YMMV. I've not used other collective devices, as I've not jumped into the ecosystem beyond the Control 2 and WiFi devices. I personally know others who use the XP8 and love that bar.

Simply put, GHL has consistently been tops in reliability and unmatched data availability. I think you'll find the same from polls here on R2R.

Did I cover everything?

You're going big on gear, that's cool, so it will be interesting to see which way you go. Or ways. There's no reason to not run multi-ecosystems.
 

d2mini

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Here's my 2 cents...

I'm not what you might call a "power user". I don't care what gizmo, gadget, tech piece, etc that I own, I end up using like 10% or less of what its actually capable of. :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes: It's just my nature I guess. I'm an artist, not an engineer so different side of the brain I guess.

That said, I can tell you that I've been a GHL Profilux user since 2012. So 10+ years now. Except for a short break this past year, I've had it running on a tank (multiple through that time) ever since. In that time, I have had ZERO issues. ZERO. Nada. Not a dang thing. I may not delve into much of the programmable logic or do more than the basics of monitoring, dosing, setting up alarms, etc... but regardless, the system (both hardware and firmware) has been so rock solid. I had a screen go out on me once so I replaced it. Had a socket on a powerbar die on me once (probably my fault) and replaced it. But neither was a big deal and easily remedied with no harm to my tank.

Before I first purchased the Profilux back then, I did a ton of research. There was no r2r, just reef central. Google was smaller, probably used Yahoo too. :rolling-on-the-floor-laughing: But I just could not find ANY instance of a catastrophic failure. The hardware just didn't seem to fail. Couldn't say that about the competition! And still can't! And sure, the user base here in the states was much smaller than some of the other controllers out there so that was always used as a defense, but it was very popular on the other side of the pond. But now it's far more popular here, and 10 years later I STILL don't see people coming here and saying their Profilux died or bricked and all their livestock is dead.

That was my main concern at the time and the reason I decided to spend the extra bit of cash. I wanted the most RELIABLE system available. I didn't want to ever lose thousands of dollars worth of livestock, not to mention all the time and hard work, to a piece of hardware or firmware.

Now is GHL always the first to implement new features? No. Is GHL's programming the easiest? Not IMO. Does it spit out fancypants graphs and have a fancypants graphics/web interface, not really. I still don't like that I can't use my macs to do the initial programming without installing some kind of pc emulator (i just use a little netbook). So in the past 12 years I've dealt with these minor inconveniences because I know my tank is safe and it just works. And keeps on working. And does everything (and way more) than I need it to do. When away from home I can usually connect to the tank either via the app or through my phone's browser. Usually one of the two will work fine but when I am away all I really need to know is that it's running fine. And if I lose power or something I want to know that it will start back up ok. And it ALWAYS does. Sometimes I think there is such a thing as having too much control. I don't change anything unless I'm standing in front of the tank.

I've even been approached by competitors willing to sponsor my tanks with their controller and I've refused. It's not worth it to me.

So there, take all that for what you will. Sorry for the ramble but hope it helps a little in your decision. :)
 
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BiGGiePauls33

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Haven't owned an Apex in years been running GHL since 2019ish and haven't looked back. It does everything that I need it to and then some. I have 3 powerbars, tunze pump control, lighting, dosers and kh director. All bulletproof since day one.
 

Zach B

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I have run my Apex for over 1.5 years and also a ghl system for over half a year. Both of my systems have been great so far. Ghl seems to load faster on my end but once they are dialed in they are both solid systems. I suppose if I had to pick just one it would be apex. Best of luck to you :)
 

n2585722

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I have been using Hydros for 2 years and love it. So far I have been able to do everything that my Archon was doing other than salinity and that is coming sometime next year if you really need it. It will link with Matertronic and Alkatronic if you need auto testing. From what I heard they are working with Kamoer to link with the KH Carer also. To expand you add another controller with the inputs and or outputs that you want and start a collective if you don't already have one started.I have 9 controllers in a collective. I have at least one of each one that is available at this time. I only have 4 of the wifi strips and do not use them for any critical things like ATO, AWC and RODI control. Those are all done from drive ports which are 12 volt DC outputs directly from the controllers. All controllers in a collective are wired together with control buss cables so wifi is not needed for the controllers to communicate with each other. I can unplug my router and the tank will continue to run without an issue. The only thing I would loose are the wifi strips, but I have a couple of controllers that have 8 AC outlet each so I have 16 outlets that are not dependent on wifi for control. My suggestion if you want to go with Hydros is get one of the pro packs to begin with and add to it as needed. The pro pack come with either an X3 or X4 controller and a XP8 controller. It also has a command buss cable and two terminators so you can connect them together and create a collective. I have several photos and screenshots of the app in my build thread here if interested in checking them out. The Hydros stuff starts on page 7. Just click on my Build Thread Contributor banner to get to my build thread.
 
Tidal Gardens

nvcheeko

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I was in the same boat went with GHL just due to things from Germany are usually good quailty, I had a few issues setting up but that could have been Wifi, Other then that its solid never had issue, I plan to get KHD next but if your little computer savy im sure it wont be issue sometimes i need to restart app as it times out.
 

HuneyBear

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I have full GHL but with a twist. I run Jebao
Sw-15’s controlled by 0-10v from Profilux. I am using a Hydros Wave engine that takes commands from my Profilux for feed/maintenance pause it runs a mixture of power heads. The only issues I’ve ever really had have been mostly by my own fault trying to run or set odd things lol.
I have Wifi connection issues sometimes but it’s of no fault of my controller side of it, it’s all in my home network setup and it’s a simple reset button and about 2 minutes of time.
 
OP
NoviReefGuy

NoviReefGuy

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I have been using Hydros for 2 years and love it. So far I have been able to do everything that my Archon was doing other than salinity and that is coming sometime next year if you really need it. It will link with Matertronic and Alkatronic if you need auto testing. From what I heard they are working with Kamoer to link with the KH Carer also. To expand you add another controller with the inputs and or outputs that you want and start a collective if you don't already have one started.I have 9 controllers in a collective. I have at least one of each one that is available at this time. I only have 4 of the wifi strips and do not use them for any critical things like ATO, AWC and RODI control. Those are all done from drive ports which are 12 volt DC outputs directly from the controllers. All controllers in a collective are wired together with control buss cables so wifi is not needed for the controllers to communicate with each other. I can unplug my router and the tank will continue to run without an issue. The only thing I would loose are the wifi strips, but I have a couple of controllers that have 8 AC outlet each so I have 16 outlets that are not dependent on wifi for control. My suggestion if you want to go with Hydros is get one of the pro packs to begin with and add to it as needed. The pro pack come with either an X3 or X4 controller and a XP8 controller. It also has a command buss cable and two terminators so you can connect them together and create a collective. I have several photos and screenshots of the app in my build thread here if interested in checking them out. The Hydros stuff starts on page 7. Just click on my Build Thread Contributor banner to get to my build thread.
Thanks you.. I have been watching videos and reading about Hydros ... I think im going to pull the trigger on the X10 when it comes out... Im pretty impressed at which what appears to be very regular upgrades, etc..
 
World Wide Corals

Lucas815

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I've been a GHL user for about a year and a half, and everything is going great.

I have a P4 with 2 power bars, 3 dosers, an IonD, and a bunch of water level sensors for automated water changes.

I've had a few minor issues, which turned out to be caused by myself most of the time.
No connection issues whatsoever.
Note that the vast majority of people reporting connectivity issues are using the Standalone 2.1 Doser without the P4 controller, which has an older and less reliable wifi chip than the P4.
The brand new 2.2 doser has a new wifi chip, with supposedly far better wifi performance.
It's pretty much a non issue when using a P4 as the controller, instead of the standalone doser.

The only exception was with the IonD, which was absolutly incredible for 5 months, and then the sensor died.
GHL offered to replace the sensor under warranty without any fuss, when their new sensor design will be available in a month or 2.
In the meantime it's not being used, but that's not unreasonable when you're buying stuff on the bleeding edge of tech. I'm very confident that the new sensor design will fix most issues and i'll be back to automatically testing my tank once a day.

Every time I contacted GHL support, i've always had a reply in less than 48h, usually less than 24h.
The best word I can use to describe my support experience is "Stellar".
You do have to use the correct channel though, which is through their ticket system.

Otherwise, their hardware and software are VERY WELL documented, with detailed written articles for pretty much everything, as well as detailed setup videos from their youtube channel.

I have to say though, that while very reliable, the software UX is rather clunky and "old school". It's absolubly usable and it gets better once I got used to it, but let's say it's far from the modern cloud softwares we're used to these days.
You WILL need to read the user manual.
This is an area where having IT experience will help immensly.

For data junkies, there is also a brand new API feature which can be used to extract data from the P4 and use it pretty much anywhere.
It's still in beta though and I havent found documentation since it's not officially launched, but it's available in the interface.

I'd rate my overall experience at 9/10 so far.
 

ArtisticReef

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If you are a Mac user do not get a GHL. You won’t be able to do firmware updates. After that there are pros & cons. I use apex fyi.
Software - Apex
Hardware - GHL has better quality
I also recommend listing your requirements then looking at features.
 

R-balljunkie

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Best reefing decision i ever made, sell my full GHL stack. Outdated interface, coding and logic. sorry, dont want to have to watch tutorial after tutorial to get something to work. Total headache, poor design (stacked, non-IP rated.) if and when a leak occurs taking out everything underneath. If i had no budget (kinda dont, but anyway) I'd get 2x Hydros XP8 power bars, wait for the Kraken to release and an Alkatronic, possibly Mastertonic. Soooo much info, so much redundancy available on every device....iphone, ipad, computer etc since cloud based.

Idiot proof coding and setup and tons of supported DIY options with a robust support system.

I've ran Apex in the past. This is better.



Screen Shot 2022-12-14 at 10.49.50 PM.png
 
AquaSD

d2mini

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If you are a Mac user do not get a GHL. You won’t be able to do firmware updates. After that there are pros & cons. I use apex fyi.
Software - Apex
Hardware - GHL has better quality
I also recommend listing your requirements then looking at features.
I'm a 25+ year mac user. Can't stand PC's.
But I use a cheapo windows netbook just for GHL for the initial setup and occassional update.
It's also required to change the lighting project for my Mitras.
Or you can run an emulation on your mac but that's a hassle, IMO.
 
Neptune

How difficult is it REALLY to keep Acropora corals?

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  • 3

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  • 4

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  • 5 - average

    Votes: 141 27.0%
  • 6

    Votes: 46 8.8%
  • 7

    Votes: 134 25.7%
  • 8

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  • 9

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