Neptune Users: IS IT WORTH IT?

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Gogol_frag

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I dont agree with the sentiment of this post.

Is the Apex worth it? No idea. But plenty of people have beautiful tanks that aren't automated and didn't cost a fortune. Despite the trend of spending a ton of money on equipment and corals, money doesn't equal success in this hobby.
I agree.

But that is extremely dependant on the reefer. Someone, likely in this thread, said ... " i have tried reefing the low-tech way, and the hi-tech way and am more successful in the hi-tech way" ... I am in that same camp as that poster. For me the hi-tech way works better. I have reefed in 2008-2011 when automation and even LED lighting of today's day and age were things of dreams.

I am glad to be back in the hobby as the technology has advanced manifolds and many new vendors have come in with neat products like Phytoplankton reactors - which was all DIY back then.

You may be able to spend a lot less and create a better reef than many. But then, sir, you may be a Reef God, and I am a napulii ;)
 
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Gogol_frag

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To me, the bug detector, (ie compiler) that checks the code, and the resulting errors if you write it incorrectly, means that you need skill to use it. When you are at that level, you are going well beyond the typical tasks set up. At that point, you are customizing functions. So it’s on you to get it right. Neptune cannot assume every single possibility or scenario or tank setup. I highly doubt there’s something better. This is the real deal. This is as close as what you can get to a municipal level water treatment. Maybe that’s a bit exaggerated, but seriously, you can do anything with Neptune. Not so with the other systems. I love that you can do anything you can practically imagine.
There are basic foundations of the Apex system - like network connectivity, which has problems. Neptune support accepts it themselves. There are pages after pages of complaints on Neptune forums on very basic things.

On top of these basic flaws, there are design flaws... first off there is no way to check Ammonia, Nitrates and Phosphates (Amm onia and Nitrates can be checked by competing products). No one to my knowledge can check phosphates via a probe.

Then for every thermomter probe you connect, you need to buy a sepearate PM2 module. And that module may or may not have other ports that have run out of.

As a very real example - i control my ReefBrite XHO lights thorough Apex. I ran out of ports on the Fusion, and had to buy a VM module for $100.

I also grow rotifers and need to control temperature in that tank. However neither the VM module nor the Fusion have provisions for a second thermometer probe for which I had to buy a a PM2 module for $100 bucks inclusive of shipping. And no, the PM2 module did not have the ports that I was using the VM module for. Like dude what the heck?? Who designed your systems??

The coding for Neptune is frankly very, very basic. But I understand why it may feel wonderful. There are plenty of alternatives - with more arriving feels like every couple of months now. Thank God for small blessings.

Ohh and i forgot, their optical sensors and ATO systems also have huge complaints from users. It is not a sign of good company when you are releasing products after products that have serious bugs.
 
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mdb_talon

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I agree.

But that is extremely dependant on the reefer. Someone, likely in this thread, said ... " i have tried reefing the low-tech way, and the hi-tech way and am more successful in the hi-tech way" ... I am in that same camp as that poster. For me the hi-tech way works better. I have reefed in 2008-2011 when automation and even LED lighting of today's day and age were things of dreams.

I am glad to be back in the hobby as the technology has advanced manifolds and many new vendors have come in with neat products like Phytoplankton reactors - which was all DIY back then.

You may be able to spend a lot less and create a better reef than many. But then, sir, you may be a Reef God, and I am a napulii ;)

I agree with you completely. My problem is the people who think/say you cant have a nice sucessful(and even safe) tank without these things. Eventually i will get one. However been doing just fine without one for decades and am in no rush. Playing the long game lol.....but really from what i can tell(just based off observation of others feedback and what i have seen on others tanks) GHL is has really surpassed Neptune at this point. A buddy of mine uses Apex DOS for AWC and it is mind boggling to me that a high end product can be that loud and intrusive.
 

Gogol_frag

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I agree with you completely. My problem is the people who think/say you cant have a nice sucessful(and even safe) tank without these things. Eventually i will get one. However been doing just fine without one for decades and am in no rush. Playing the long game lol.....but really from what i can tell(just based off observation of others feedback and what i have seen on others tanks) GHL is has really surpassed Neptune at this point. A buddy of mine uses Apex DOS for AWC and it is mind boggling to me that a high end product can be that loud and intrusive.
Super! I would advise you to wait, if you can. The Neptune Systems are OK but not great by any standards. There are many competitor companies that are entering this space. However once you sort of get sucked into an ecosystem - and your switching costs may become prohibitive to get out and get into another ecosystem. So far CoralVue, Dosatronic, GHL and Neptune are the competing companies that I know of in this space.

If you are in no rush, then please stay that way. 2021 is likely going to be a breakout year in the reef automation/control space.
 

JCM

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I agree.

But that is extremely dependant on the reefer. Someone, likely in this thread, said ... " i have tried reefing the low-tech way, and the hi-tech way and am more successful in the hi-tech way" ... I am in that same camp as that poster. For me the hi-tech way works better. I have reefed in 2008-2011 when automation and even LED lighting of today's day and age were things of dreams.

I am glad to be back in the hobby as the technology has advanced manifolds and many new vendors have come in with neat products like Phytoplankton reactors - which was all DIY back then.

You may be able to spend a lot less and create a better reef than many. But then, sir, you may be a Reef God, and I am a napulii ;)

That's fair. I'm not trying to imply high tech is bad, just taking issue with the idea that it is necessary for a nice tank. Not even referring to myself necessarily but some of the most beautiful tanks on here are still running that equipment we used back in 2010.
 
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Cell

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I think this question is completely subjective. If you have a lot of free time, are home a lot, and enjoy working on your tank, then a high end controller probably isn't worth it. Something like the Kasa smart strip might be completely sufficient or even excessive. But if you have little free time, hate tank maintenance and/or travel frequently, then a controller is arguably an essential tool.

Do you pay to have your car washed/detailed or do you do it yourself? For some, the cleaning and detailing of their car is an enjoyable hobby/art. For others it's an absolute chore. Paying for a detail would be a waste for the former but totally worth it for the latter.
 

Biologic

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There are basic foundations of the Apex system - like network connectivity, which has problems. Neptune support accepts it themselves. There are pages after pages of complaints on Neptune forums on very basic things.

On top of these basic flaws, there are design flaws... first off there is no way to check Ammonia, Nitrates and Phosphates (Amm onia and Nitrates can be checked by competing products). No one to my knowledge can check phosphates via a probe.

Then for every thermomter probe you connect, you need to buy a sepearate PM2 module. And that module may or may not have other ports that have run out of.

As a very real example - i control my ReefBrite XHO lights thorough Apex. I ran out of ports on the Fusion, and had to buy a VM module for $100.

I also grow rotifers and need to control temperature in that tank. However neither the VM module nor the Fusion have provisions for a second thermometer probe for which I had to buy a a PM2 module for $100 bucks inclusive of shipping. And no, the PM2 module did not have the ports that I was using the VM module for. Like dude what the heck?? Who designed your systems??

The coding for Neptune is frankly very, very basic. But I understand why it may feel wonderful. There are plenty of alternatives - with more arriving feels like every couple of months now. Thank God for small blessings.

Ohh and i forgot, their optical sensors and ATO systems also have huge complaints from users. It is not a sign of good company when you are releasing products after products that have serious bugs.
Oh totally, I am on Wi-Fi, but I hard wire everything. So I ran a specific Ethernet cord just for my Apex. The wifi controlling of peripherals, has been discuss often as a pain point. However, I understand the logic of hardwiring using aquabus. I come from an industry where we have people requesting to make measurement instruments Wi-Fi, but there’s a lot of trouble that comes along with that for the customer and the company. So knowing where I come professionally, I hard wire everything because I know 99.999% it works without fail.

Not sure if you can call that a “flaw”. I agree that they should make a “””Tident NPK (nitrate, phosphate, potassium)””” but that’s going to have to be a while. I’d consider getting a Mastertronic if they don’t. Ion specific probes are very expensive (~$600), and if the average hobbyist has trouble with a pH probe or salinity probe, there’s no chance it will be a consumer level solution. It would be great if they could use Hanna’s reagent based measurement technology for at least phosphate measurement.

Temperature and probes and ports — I think that’s an issue about with any system. Even with Coral Hydros you still have to buy additional control 4 systems to do monitoring. I don’t disagree the Apex 2016 brain needs to have at least one more temperature port. Ideally another pH port. Some folks don’t need all that so they can go to an Apex EL. Like eventually, if you are doing custom stuff like you are, you are going to run out ports. I’d love to grow to rotifers one day, that’s not typical to most reefers.


You are right, the coding is very basic, so why do so many people have trouble writing simplified if-than statements? Then the complier tells you if you did something wrong and on what line?

I haven’t had any trouble with my optical sensors. They are not the best quality granted, but I do clean mine every other month. There’s not many consumer level optical sensors out there. Only in the past few years have we seen affordable sensors.
 
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Biologic

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Again, agreed with all of that but none of those features are limited to the Apex.

There are cars that can park themselves and to some extent drive themselves. Our vacuuming is automated now. So, it is hardly magic when we can remotely control our Aquaria. It was a long time coming. Thank God for these controllers, but none of that makes Apex a superlative product. There are others, and the competition is great for us the consumers.

Apex is good for 99% of the times. But for that 1% that it is not good, it is quite unecceptable for something that is supposed to be reliable. Frankly, I have no intention of giving them a free-pass when their glitch kept me offline for a week, and they kept blaming my network ... to which the Fusion and 20 other devices were connected. It left a bad taste for me when i had to do their bug fixing for them. That's not what I paid for, nor do i expect such cluelessness.

Products have problems, won't be the first time - and unfortunately the Fusion is buggy. Not to mention that the UI feels like it was built by engineers who have little sense of presentation. For what its worth - GHL's UI feels worse.

I am not unreasonably hating on Neptune. Their product was found to be wanting by many. Hopefully, we get a better quality product either by them or someone else soon.

Gee, I am glad I’ve have had nothing but good experiences so far. Hopefully things get better for your set up. Willing to buy anything off of you if you make a switch lol.
 

Jason Yahr

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I will echo pretty much what everybody else is saying. When I first started I told myself there is no way I’m spending that money to monitor my tank. Fast forward a little bit and my goodness I wouldn’t be without. I have the el version and recently added the Trident. All set up with no issues and I am not computer savvy. Super easy and the piece of mind it gives me. I don’t have to worry about anything. My controller does it all. I’m constantly on Fusion just checking on my tank. If anything goes wrong I’m immediately sent an alert. That has saved me a few times already. In my eyes yes it is worth it!! Every penny of it. Good luck with your choice. You will not be disappointed trust me
 

Stephen

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I really like mine. It's been sound since I installed it. We picked up a hydros for our discus tank and freshwater side of the fish room and that thing is pretty solid also so far. Definitely a good option if you don't need the full scale control of the Neptune. The only complaint I have about the Neptune is it feels pretty cheap. For the price I expected a little more solid feel.
 

Biologic

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I will echo pretty much what everybody else is saying. When I first started I told myself there is no way I’m spending that money to monitor my tank. Fast forward a little bit and my goodness I wouldn’t be without. I have the el version and recently added the Trident. All set up with no issues and I am not computer savvy. Super easy and the piece of mind it gives me. I don’t have to worry about anything. My controller does it all. I’m constantly on Fusion just checking on my tank. If anything goes wrong I’m immediately sent an alert. That has saved me a few times already. In my eyes yes it is worth it!! Every penny of it. Good luck with your choice. You will not be disappointed trust me

See I kind of wish I got the Alex EL. It’s great for about 90% of what you’ll ever need. If you need more, you can always buy the modules you’ll need. Like I am never going to need variable dimming.
 

GregOyeah

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The apex has been worth every penny to me, I have a 6 year old sps reef that most likely would not be functioning bc of it. I’m NOT a trident user, I’ll leave my opinion of it out of this post and just say that I chose Alkatronic over trident and I don’t regret the decision one bit

i’ll spare you the detailed analogy’s that other users provided and just say that there are times where my interest in my tank goes through lull’s. I either don’t have time to pay as much attention to it because of other things I have going on or just because I’m burnt out and need a break. It’s because of these periods that tanks I’ve had in my past ultimately fail. because of the apex though I can go through these periods and the controller is able to hold the fort down until I come back around to be obsessed with every detail again.
That itself has made the purchase worth every penny. Set up is not difficult at all, there are some components that can frustrating regarding the system design but the Pros far far outweigh the cons
 

Willis19

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Hi,

Are automates system such as apex or neptune useful during dinos/ich (or other pest/disease) breakout?
 

ca1ore

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I heard the "coding" aspect of it is kinda complicated, but I wouldn't be diving into that per-say.
I’ve had various incarnations of the apex from before they added in all the programming wizards. I still program the outlets the ‘old fashioned’ way, but am told the wizards work fine. Even line programming is pretty simple because the commands are really pretty basic.

As to whether the apex is worth it or not, only you can really decide that. I just added my 33rd module, so clearly in it for the long haul. Mostly monitoring though. Will tell me if there’s a problem, but usually not be able to fix it.
 
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marin8n

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My large FOWLR has had an Apex from day one. I don't utilize all the newer functionality (Trident, etc...) but just the alerts alone are a huge peace of mind in case something goes wrong or needs your attention. Breakout box is awesome way to get creative with low level alerts, door sensors, chimes, etc..
 

Shankpa1

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So, I am largely on the fence right now. I am very close friends with my LFS owners and have the opportunity to get a Neptune at a very good price. I am however iffy if its worth the time and money? From what I've heard its somewhat difficult to use. I mainly was considering it for the 24/7 Alk, Cal and Mag watch, being able to always see where I'm out without constantly testing. My question is, IS IT WORTH IT for the price? Even though I will be getting it for about wholesale.

Thanks for the help!Yea
 

Montiman

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The brain is available and less than the EL. If your probes, energy bars and the rest of your system is good why not go with the brain only?
 
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