Trident FAQ

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Terence

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Last Friday at our 5th Annual MACNA MeetUp we announced a future product, the Trident.

The Trident is based on a alkalinity testing technology we acquired from Jim Welsh a few months after MACNA 2016 and, with Jim's continued help, we have made incredible leaps forward from just testing Alkalinity. The Trident automates the testing of Alkalinity, Calcium, and Magnesium.

There have been many questions and rumors since we announced last week. In this post, I will provide you with as much information as I can as it stands now, regarding the Trident. Please understand that a number of things either have not yet been decided, or we have yet to finish final testing and do not want to put something out there that we may later need to retract.

So here is the FAQ for the Trident as it stands today:

What does the Trident measure?
The Trident was designed for reefkeepers. It tests for the three things that are the building blocks of coral skeletons in our reef tanks (and what our customers have been asking about for years): Alkalinity (dKH), Calcium, and Magnesium.

What are the connections?
The Trident connects to your Apex via a 1LINK connection, or via the AquaBus with an external power supply. It also has two tubes out the back, one to draw sample water from your tank, and the other to send waste to a container or a drain.

Does it have a pH probe inside?
No, the Trident has no pH probe inside that might require frequent calibration.

How does it work?
The Trident basically automates the proven method that you (and scientists) already know and use - Titration. Since the Trident uses micro-drops delivered via a stepper-motor driven peristaltic pump along with an electric eye, we have taken the human element out of the equation.

So, how accurate is it?
The Trident produces amazingly consistent results. Alkalinity is +/- 0.05 dKH and both Calcium and Magnesium are +/- 15ppm

How long will the reagent last?
The default testing schedule is 4x Alkalinity tests per day and 2x Magnesium and Calcium tests per day. At that rate the reagents will cost about $20/month. That's a per test cost less than any other test kit on the market today.

Can I test more or less frequently than that?
Yes, within limits. There are operational limits on both ends. Obviously the test takes time so only so many can be fit in a day. Also, once unsealed, the reagents will have a more shortened lifespan. That said we are fairly confident that you should be able to run less tests and get two months out of one set of reagents.

How much will the reagents cost?
Reagents will be ready-to-use (nothing to mix up), sold in two-month kits and cost ~$40.

How much tank sample water is taken?
Compared to products that only do alkalinity testing, the Trident uses very little tank water for its samples and produces very little waste. While most testing systems shown to date create 50-90ml of waste per test, the Trident produces under 22ml of waste for all three tests (Alk, Ca, Mg).

Is the Trident a standalone system?
No, the Trident requires the latest Apex to operate. However, the Trident does not require any external devices like dosing pumps and does not require any outside vessels for reagent or rinse water.

Why won't the Trident work with the previous Apex models like the Apex Classic?
With the advancement of technology, many times the resources available in prior systems is just not adequate for new devices. We see that with iPhones, gaming consoles, TVs, and many other devices in our lives. There are two key reasons why the Trident will not work with the Apex Classic. 1. Every Apex system must contain the working software for all the devices in the ecosystem. More complicated devices like the Energy Bar 832 and the Trident take up a great deal of code space. More than that is available on the previous Apex models. 2. The Energy Bar 832 and the Trident require more computational horsepower to operate than what is available in the now 10-year-old-designed Apex Classic hardware.

But you said that you would not leave Apex Classic owners behind?
And we haven't. Since the new Apex was released last year, we have developed a new module (FMM) and many more features in the Apex Fusion cloud service that everyone can take advantage of. At the time of launch last year I said that the only device at that time that would not work was the Energy Bar 832 and that nothing else was in the works at that time - but something could come along. And it did - subsequent to MACNA last year. And remember, we even made the COR compatible with the Apex Classic.

Will the new Apex Base Unit be available separately?
At this point our demand for complete Apex Systems is so great that we cannot shift the supply to selling the Apex Base Units on their own. This may happen down the road, but customers should realize that the value in getting a complete new Apex System will always be greater than buying the components individually. The new Apex System also comes with the advanced Energy Bar 832 and a set of our new double-junction probes that many customers might need to replace anyways. And remember, the new Apex is backward compatible with all of your existing Neptune Systems products.

How big is the Trident?
When we designed the Trident we wanted to make it as self-contained as possible. This meant that we wanted all the hardware and all of the reagents to be contained under a single, attractive enclosure. No tubes going this direction or that. No bottles to have to hide. We were able accomplish this in a space of just 4"W x 10"H x 12"D. The Trident should fit nicely under the stands of most aquariums. We intend on having an optional wall bracket available as well.

How much will the Trident cost?
No firm pricing will be released at this time, but we are committed to bring this to market between $500 and $600.

When will it be available?
We hope to have units in the hands of our Neptune Systems Insiders by the end of Q1/2018 and have it available to the general public in Q2/2018.

Trident-main copy.jpg Trident-main2 copy.jpg Trident-main3 copy.jpg
 
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jasonamyers

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Great set of answers. I love that it shows they were watching and hearing what was in the other threads! Excellent job. Now the wait is on...
 

pelphrey

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I thoroughly enjoy any and all advancements in technology. I can't wait to hear more about this and although this isn't in my scope in the near future I am excited to hear user reviews!

Was there anyone at MACNA this year spying on Neptune to see who they were talking to?!?! haha Will Neptune be introducing a line of their own dosing supplements or "balling method" to work along side of Trident! I am reaching here!
 

Sleepydoc

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Thank you for the info, Terrrance. Do you know the lifespan of the reagents once opened yet, or is that something that is still being determined? Also, can you say why you chose to test the paramters so frequently? The cost per test is quite reasonable, but depending on the lifespan of the reagents, the total operating cost may end up being rather expensive compared to current practices, and I think it's safe to say that 2-4x/day is much more frequent than the vast majority of reefers test currently.

I would encourage you to start selling the Apex 2016 brains separately. Even if they are not as good of a buy as buying the entire 2016 kit, I think doing so would help calm some of the discontent.
 
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Terence

Terence

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There is more to longevity than how long they last in the bottles. I gave the value above that we think will hold up. If it gets stretched more than that, at this point, we don't know the impact.

As far as cost, you are comparing testing by hand to testing in an automated sense. I do not think this is a fair comparison. If you want to test your tank once a week to save a few dollars, then I would stick to manual testing. The Trident is intended to give an incredible amount of ongoing feedback so that you can manage your tank more closely, create better balance through dosing, check for dosing impact, water change impact, etc. we don't even know all the positive things we can do with this kind of data yet.

As far as the Apex Base Unit. Please see above for the reasoning.
 

Psymon

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Thanks for the update and clarification @Terence. Very helpful. Will one ever need to clean the electric eye/calibrate the stepper motors inside the trident?
 

puffy127

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How will the user know how much reagent is left or when to empty the waste container?
 

David Cher

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to clarify , to use Trident , we need to change the whole set - power bar and the head unit to the new Apex . is this statement correct ?
 
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Terence

Terence

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All great questions and I appreciate the positive direction this thread is taking already.

Thanks for the update and clarification @Terence. Very helpful. Will one ever need to clean the electric eye/calibrate the stepper motors inside the trident?
There will be a service interval to change the tube on the peristaltic pump. There may be other service to be done as well to tubing or the mixing vial (cuvette) but we have not nailed that all down just yet.

A PID loop would be great for the Trident and the DOS unit? Will this be a feature?
That is part of the plan - basically a way to safely keep your levels in balance with stops if anything is out of line. This is also the reason to do the multiple tests daily. I don't think people have yet realized that part of reasoning.

How will the user know how much reagent is left or when to empty the waste container?
We will keep these values stored and alerts can be generated.

to clarify , to use Trident , we need to change the whole set - power bar and the head unit to the new Apex . is this statement correct ?
No. Only the Apex Base Unit is required to operate the Trident. The Trident can use either a 1LINK connection or a AquaBus connection to the Apex. If AquaBus is used, then an external power supply will be required.
 
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