Spend my money! I am starting a new 40 gal and have a budget.

thedon986

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I would go with the 4 stage value plus 75gpd from BRS for $214. More than enough capacity and the manual flush is really valuable for extending membrane life.
 
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yourmom

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A heater controller of some sort is almost a necessity given the rate of heater failure. An inkbird or Ranco are your options here. ~$30

Inkbird ITC-308S​

^Is this a good one? If not, which model do you recommend?
 
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yourmom

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I would go with the 4 stage value plus 75gpd from BRS for $214. More than enough capacity and the manual flush is really valuable for extending membrane life.
Perfect, I'll get one coming!

Also - Just saw you're from Denver. We lived there from 2008-2016 and I miss it every single day! Hoping to make it back eventually. Thanks again for all of your help!!
 

thedon986

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Perfect, I'll get one coming!

Also - Just saw you're from Denver. We lived there from 2008-2016 and I miss it every single day! Hoping to make it back eventually. Thanks again for all of your help!!


Moved here in 2017. Loving the change in pace from metro DC and the mountains.

Inkbird ITC-308S​

^Is this a good one? If not, which model do you recommend?

that is what I have and it is dead accurate verified with two separate high quality cooking thermometers. Always check though and it can be calibrated if it drifts in the future.
 

Cell

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I think my model is 306T. Dual heating. The 308S is heating and cooling. There is probably a different model if you are running just 1 heater. Consider running two lower wattage heaters with the idea that one isnt big enough to cook your tank if it malfunctions. If you stick with 1 heater, I think they have have wifi version with app monitoring.
 
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yourmom

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Buy a Tunze 9004. It's the best skimmer I've found that fits in a Nuvo40. The IM skimmers are dumpster fires. Underpowered, unreliable, and loud.

You're going to need more light than a prime. Either buy two, or buy a used hydra/radion.

I'm not a fan of the apex - they're just not reliable enough for how much they cost. Way too many poorly built accessories.
Finally found a Tunze 9004 and it’s on the way. Looking into lighting options or possibly moving my prime to my 20 gallon in the office. Thanks!!
 
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yourmom

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On the Apex front , I run a Robo-Tank (reef-pi) on mine. Most of the functionality of an Apex, none of the shoddy parts, or proprietary walled garden nonsense.

$170 + shipping for the deluxe plug and play unit with a power bar, plus another $40 for a raspberry pi and sd card. Ph probes are like $20, temp sensors a couple bucks , etc.


I'm running a pair of jebao ow-10s in my tank - I think they'd work well in a softy tank turned down - and they're like the size of a golf ball.

I run my 50w heater on an inkbird that's plugged into the robo-tank. Inkbird turns on a fan at 80, robo-tank sends me text messages at 81.
I’m digging into this deeper. Great information and it looks like it will provide the same level of peace of mind as apex without the price tag. Thanks for the suggestions!

Does reef Pi offer other water testing probes beyond pH? I would love to get my tank more automated at some point but realize I need to be hands on especially while it is getting established. I want to be able to look at my phone for my water parameters
 

Kal93

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For me, the Apex isn't worth the money unless you are finanically invested (very expensive corals/fish) or travel for long periods multiple times a year. I have an ATO ($120) and an Inkbird ($60) which address salinity and temp (vs the Apex EL for $500, which will blow most of your budget).

If you can, plumb a sump and put your protein skimmer there. I clean mine every few months. They are sized to your tank volume and there are many used online (if you want to save money towards an Apex).

RODI is a great investment! Test your water's TDS to determine whether you need a 4/6 stage. You will need to estimate your water pressure. BRS has great models. I suggest also getting a brut trash can (if you have a place to put it) or something to store water if you need an emergency water change or to make maintenance easier. Most systems fit under the sink. Expect to spend $150-300. You could always go with a 5 stage from BRS and, if you need extra filtration, buy a separate canister to add on later.

Royal gramma and flasher wrasses are great and relatively cheap and colorful ($25 and $60, respectively).
 
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yourmom

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If you can, plumb a sump and put your protein skimmer there. I clean mine every few months. They are sized to your tank volume and there are many used online (if you want to save money towards an Apex).

RODI is a great investment! Test your water's TDS to determine whether you need a 4/6 stage. You will need to estimate your water pressure. BRS has great models. I suggest also getting a brut trash can (if you have a place to put it) or something to store water if you need an emergency water change or to make maintenance easier. Most systems fit under the sink. Expect to spend $150-300. You could always go with a 5 stage from BRS and, if you need extra filtration, buy a separate canister to add on later.

For me, the Apex isn't worth the money unless you are finanically invested (very expensive corals/fish) or travel for long periods multiple times a year. I have an ATO ($120) and an Inkbird ($60) which address salinity and temp (vs the Apex EL for $500, which will blow most of your budget).

If you can, plumb a sump and put your protein skimmer there. I clean mine every few months. They are sized to your tank volume and there are many used online (if you want to save money towards an Apex).

RODI is a great investment! Test your water's TDS to determine whether you need a 4/6 stage. You will need to estimate your water pressure. BRS has great models. I suggest also getting a brut trash can (if you have a place to put it) or something to store water if you need an emergency water change or to make maintenance easier. Most systems fit under the sink. Expect to spend $150-300. You could always go with a 5 stage from BRS and, if you need extra filtration, buy a separate canister to add on later.

Royal gramma and flasher wrasses are great and relatively cheap and colorful ($25 and $60, respectively).
re: Apex - I do travel for work, pretty regularly but not usually for long periods. Most trips are an overnight or two, occasionally 4 days but rarely longer. My husband is usually home when I'm not around but this is my project, so I do like the idea of automating and safeguarding but I agree, it's an expensive toy and I keep seeing concerns about reliability. Either way, it isn't an urgent need and something I can throw on when I actually have filled the thing with stuff that costs more than the apex itself...

I don't have a sump. I am kind of kicking myself because I got the AIO but I just ordered the Tunze 9004 which is supposed to fit my set-up. We'll see how that goes, it wasn't too terribly expensive and if it helps with water quality that's important. You mention "plumb" a sump, what does that entail?

I am intimidated by the RODI stuff - I would love to have one set up under my kitchen sink because I already have a spot drilled with a spout and I'm guessing switching that to my RODI source wouldn't be too tricky. But I haven't mixed water yet, and it's one thing for me to fill up a jug with distilled water for top-offs, but will I screw up making my own salt water? Aside from the RODI and the big bin(s), what else do I need? Am I foolish to set up in the kitchen instead of the garage? I'm in the Houston area and it gets HOT here.

I think the RODI is my biggest priority of these topics, I probably need to pull the trigger on that sooner than later. Thank you for your help and your patience with all of my questions, this community is amazing!
 
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Hana salinty checker makes mixing salt very easy. The water filters are not as complicated as they look. Have a storage bin for the water with a float switch and your good. As others have said brute trash cans work great. The top is r/o and bottom is salt. Gravity drains into the salt bin when i need to mix salt. You can get away with a small brute can for ro and a pump to pump it out into buckets and just mix your salt in 5 gallon buckets for a 40gal tank. I did it that way for years before i got a large tank.
 

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yourmom

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Hana salinty checker makes mixing salt very easy. The water filters are not as complicated as they look. Have a storage bin for the water with a float switch and your good. As others have said brute trash cans work great. The top is r/o and bottom is salt. Gravity drains into the salt bin when i need to mix salt. You can get away with a small brute can for ro and a pump to pump it out into buckets and just mix your salt in 5 gallon buckets for a 40gal tank. I did it that way for years before i got a large tank.
This set up is an alternative/addition to an under sink system, right? If I put a smaller system (60-75 gal?) under the sink to do 5 gal jugs do I still want/need the brute bins in the garage or is that just for surplus? Does it just flow out too slowly for an under the sink to be functional?
 

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This set up is an alternative/addition to an under sink system, right? If I put a smaller system (60-75 gal?) under the sink to do 5 gal jugs do I still want/need the brute bins in the garage or is that just for surplus? Does it just flow out too slowly for an under the sink to be functional?
Yes this would be more of an alternative for a garage or basement. Depends on your water pressure and how fast your membrane makes water on how much you want to store. It takes my system about 14hrs to fill the 44gal bin with a 75gpd system and water pressure around 55-60psi. If you have room in your house for a bin or bins get whatever size you are comfortable with. I used to use a small recycling tote that held 20gallons of ro di water.
 

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Just don't forget the float switch. I tried to fill multiple 5 gal jugs and remember to switch them before they overfilled. I flooded my basement at least once a month and irritated the heck out of my wife. One bin of an appropriate size with a float switch solves all that headache.
 

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