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Mishri
08/20/2015, 05:21 PM
A lot has changed since I first started saltwater aquariums.. (not much has changed in the freshwater world)..

For those old school people out there who have done things the old way, and now have all the modern things.. like apex controller. Is it really that helpful? have conditions improved in your aquarium or made things so much easier? Automatic top off, automatic dosage.. do you ever feel you aren't as hands on? Is it actually better/easier or do you get better results?

Based on what some people have said, I suspect that they just enjoy the toys. They like what they can do with the apex controller, but it really hasn't improved their husbandry or anything.. it's like people who want to show you how they can control their home with their phone, from lights, to music etc.. and I just think.. hmm light switches and power buttons are a lot faster and easier..

automatic top off.. was it really that hard to add some RO/DI water every few days? (I guess its more frequent for you open top folks)..

automatic dosage... do you have issues with it? I just don't know if I can trust something that can fail with something fairly important...

What are your thoughts on all of these electronic gadgets we can get now?

I wont deny, the new pumps you can get are so much better than what I had when I first started.. powerheads.. hooked up to a wavemaker power strip.. but I'm not a tinkerer... I'm someone who wants something that works, and then I don't have to mess with it anymore. I just set my gyre for what I think looks best and I leave it... no messing around, no feeding mode.. let those fish chase around for food, it's good for 'em.


I've been doing things the old way for so long.. just don't know if there is a reason to spend potentially thousands of dollars on toys that do what I've been able to do.. Can you convince me otherwise?

EricGRIT
08/20/2015, 05:49 PM
Not that I have been around for a long time, but I can tell you that if I didn't have a controller (Apex) with auto dosing, ATO, etc. my tank would not be as healthy as it is currently. Now, that isn't because it is not possible to have a healthy tank without the controller and automation, but more because I don't trust myself to dose consistently, evenly, while I'm on vacation, etc. I know I wouldn't do it and I'm sure my tank would suffer because of that.

I probably wouldn't be in the hobby without a controller, to be honest. I find that even with the automation, taking care of the tank still feels like a chore from time to time.

I do certainly enjoy having gadgets to play with, though :).

ReefPharmer
08/20/2015, 05:53 PM
Listen old man river...
I answer your question, some things are worth it and some are hype.

Apex: Very useful as a backup and fallback in case of failure as well as controlling lights, powerheads etc. one backup is if my main pump goes out, my skimmer stops and stays off until the main comes back up and keeps working for 7 minutes so I don't overflow and empty the skimmer into system.
The temperature probe turns the fans on at a set temp and for mh folks turns the halides off at some temp.
My calcium reactor is controlled by a ph probe on the apex.
I control my pumps and LEDs via apex but that's possible to do w standalone controllers.
autotopoff is adding to stability of the tank and makes reasonably dosing kalk possible .
I can't manually dose my 300 w any sort of consistency due to my work schedule and these gadgets make having a sps tank possible

cham
08/20/2015, 06:05 PM
I think they are.

My "toys" are controller and dosers and Vortechs and water change station for one simple reason. Automation and ease of use = not only more stability for the corals but more mental stability for me as the reef keeper. When you're doing everything manually, unless you're retired and just have the time, you will eventually burn out.

Life gets busy, things happen. With an auto feeder, auto top off, 5 minute water changes, automated dosing and auto light controls I can have an insane week(s) and my tank is still fine (often better off when I'm not screwing with it lol)


I took a 2 year hiatus and didn't clean any of my equipment or vortechs and they were all perfectly fine as I'm now rebuilding the system. I challenge any pump on the market to go 2 years without being touched and is still running fine without being cleaned.

Spslvr
08/20/2015, 06:14 PM
In 20 years ive never had any sort of automation, I actually enjoy my maintenance, besides if you look through any of the forums they are full of people posting about automation failure crashing their tanks, or a dosing pump that got blocked and they didn't realize until corals started dying then they find out their kh is 4 and then they discover the doser is blocked, or ato malfunction and dumping an entire drum of ro or worse kalkwasser into their system, or theyre apex didn't send a text and they weren't aware their was a power outage and they were on holidays and returned home to a dead tank, or yada yada yada....

ArmanS
08/20/2015, 06:22 PM
I think they are but I like toys and gadgets so that's just me.

But, I think the most important one is the Apex, with that your control and options are really endless. You can see your TEMP, PH, Salinity, control outlets and setup ATO, AWC and so much more it's really the game changer if you ask me.

ATO is another thing that is great, you don't need a super expensive setup you can use a simple float valve but if you want the best I would get the Tunze Osmolator 3155.

AWC is great for me, I have a large system so I do 4 gallon a day auto water changes, currently with the Neptune Dos but I will be switching to the Genesis Renew System soon. Auto Water Change is great because I never miss a water change, every day I do 4 gallons, and it's completely automated. All I have to do is mix up saltwater once a month in my container and that's it. The other great thing is that it's a small water change and broken up into smaller 500 ml every 10 mins or so that make's it unnoticed really for the tank inhabitants.

Bent
08/20/2015, 06:52 PM
I'm still doing things the old fashioned way. I have an ATO, but I have it set up the same way I did 20 years ago, with float switches.

The only new gadgets I have are jebao power heads and a couple of LEDs.

I would say: don't fear the toys, but don't forget the basics.

dadummy
08/20/2015, 06:59 PM
ATO is definitely worth it, I use a float switch and relay, nothing fancy, when a component fails it's about ten bucks to fix. If the float stick no big deal, 5g of water gets pumped into the sump before pump runs dry. I get to fill the bucket up every couple days when I hear the aqualifter sucking air.

I am with Spslvr, the more fancy gadgets you have the more potential for failure, or an expensive fancy gadget breaking

Indymann99
08/20/2015, 07:24 PM
my first SW tank was 1984. Under gravel "filter" w power heads. Crushed coral, canister filer.

I don't consider a controller a "toy", it is a "TOOL", that helps me do my job (husbandry) better.

So is my mix tank, my RODI system, QT tank, etc. all "tools".

Arthur1
08/20/2015, 09:05 PM
Listen Old Man River lol. Too funny. Automation does have it's ups as well as downs. As some people mentioned, if you like technology and toys, a controller will be for you. I personally don't have any controllers such as an Apex going but as far as automation, ATO with a Tunze or Spectrapure top off IMO is a must. If I had any SPS dominant systems going, I'd be utilizing the "balling method" but you still have to manually test water parameters bc we all know the larger sps corals grow, the more elements they utilize from the water column. If running an external skimmer, I use a waste collection container that will shut the recirc pump down once the container is full. Running ozone, a controller is nice and recommended by most over a meter alone. All in all, if you're a hands on person and home more often than not, an ATO system and timers for your lights may be as hi-tech as you "need" to go, at least that is my opinion for you.

C3hutson
08/20/2015, 11:48 PM
I think it's extremely subjective. My aquarium is in my home office, and I work from home as a pharmacist consultant, so I'm on the phone a lot. It's amazing what I can get done while I'm on hold. Feedings/top offs/testing/cleaning... for me I can't see the automation as a requirement except for MAYBE when I'm out of town, but there's still some comfort in knowing that I have the house sitter checking on things vs relying on technology.

Bpb
08/21/2015, 12:28 AM
Every piece of gadgetry solves a problem. If your life is at a point where your attention to the tank eliminates those problems...then no, technological advancements are not worth the cost to you. If you leave for days at a time, but still like having a teeming reef...then an auto topoff isn't a luxury, or a tinker toy. It's a necessity, unless you just happen to enjoy burning up return pumps and having salinity spikes. How is this hard to rationalize? If your ac happens to go out while you're at work, and you run metal halides in the south in the summertime, do you want to have a temperature spike up to 90 degrees or more? Or would you like the peace of mind that a fan can turn on and your lights turn off until temperature is in an acceptable range? Anyone who has had a tank crash from automation failure is either a victim of unlucky circumstance, or simply forgot that laying eyes on your tank and doing at least a quick once over every day or two you're home is the best way to avoid a crash. I could easily catch a dead dosing pump within 24 hours of the fault. Automation makes for a more stable tank, and gives you some wiggle room in your schedule with keeping livestock you may not otherwise been able. It should never take the place of basic husbandry though.

moondoggy4
08/21/2015, 12:58 AM
Back to the 80's here, I think the trick is getting a tank that can go at least a week on auto pilot, ATO skimmer locker fish that do not need any food or at least not a specific diet that can be dropped by a auto feeder.

I went to Dallas for a funeral and not even 12 hours latter my wife states that the floor is flooded and my ATO container was empty. Float switch got bumped. Float holders must have two magnets so they do not rotate.

ceslane13
08/21/2015, 04:12 AM
I'm in the same boat just getting back into the hobby after quite a few years and am amazed at the changes this hobby has made and am looking forward to testing out all the new gadgets.

kenpau
08/21/2015, 06:30 AM
I'm definitely a gadget freak but I find that the gadgets I have make life so much easier:-

Apex:- Probably the most important piece of kit on my tank, my insurance policy! It regulates my temperature down to 0.3C by turning my heaters and chiller on/off, also data logging helps me see trends in the tank, not essential but definitely helps me to see how the tank is travelling.

ATO:- Second most important item in my system, I have a rimless 150G and have a lot of evaporation, to successfully keep SPS I need my parameters as stable as possible.

Apex AFS:- I always had trouble keeping Anthias and Chromis with 2 feedings a day, the AFS gives me the facility to feed 5 times a day, the fish are fatter and more colourful since I installed this piece of kit.

I also run MP40s and high end Giesemann LED/T5 Hybrid lighting which while not essential definitely add to the reef keeping experience for me, seeing sunrise/sunsets, high wave moments and calm periods on lagoon settings add to the enjoyment of keeping a reef for me.
I also run a doser for Calcium/Magnesium/Alk to help keep parameters stable, the Apex helps me log trends in these parameters too.

You can definitely run a successful reef without the gadgets, I'd say for people that work a lot having the gadgets definitely helps maintain a healthy system.

andrewkw
08/21/2015, 07:41 AM
Life would not be worth living without an auto top off.

d-man
08/21/2015, 07:51 AM
I always used to dose by hand, I was inconsistent. Then I got a doser....it failed! Luckily I had the tube only an inch or so into the Ca jug so it didn't empty the whole thing. Nothing was harmed....except my trust in doses. So I went back to manual. I was to inconsistent and my tank suffered. I then reluctantly got a CaRx and an apex, plus an Aquarium plants Carbon doser. The apex is there mainly for the Co2 control, even though the AP does the same thing. I'm into redundancy. The apex also controls my heater when needed.
For this reason I believe in them now. Although there are so many things it can do, but I'm a tech moron and don't know how to do the cool things, but as long as my 2 things that can crash a tank are controlled, I'm fine with that.
I do manually top off. Again, don't know how on apex:)

Wazzel
08/21/2015, 08:10 AM
I think to a point the gargets help out. Something to turn the lights on and auto top off make life significantly easier. When I did everything else manually those two function were always "automated", even if it was timers and float valves. I have a doser now so that has kept my levels consistent.

wicz101
08/21/2015, 08:14 AM
I think I fall in the middle... ATO a must, basics that an APEX provide are just amazing to the over all long term health of the tank and auto dosers are just great... but at the same time none are truly need to keep a nice reef and there is a level were over automation is a bit much/overkill.

Also I need to point out that just as "automation" can fail, so can the reef keeper, for many reasons laziness, work, family,bad luck and pure dumbness, etc... so neither are perfect

DavidinGA
08/21/2015, 08:29 AM
A lot of the "need" can arise from how busy your lifestyle is too. If I were single I probably wouldn't mind being more hands on with topping off, dosing, etc., but being married with kids I don't have the time for all the extra maintenance anymore. I have just enough time to tinker and enjoy the show :)

Greybeard
08/21/2015, 08:29 AM
I'm an automation developer, and like to keep things fairly 'low tech'... Get enough of the high tech stuff in the office, thanks. Been in (and out) of this game since putting a powerhead on your undergravel filter lift tube was the latest thing...

LED's are the biggest 'new' thing... Quality, controllable lighting, less heat, don't have to replace bulbs every 8 months.

Propeller type in-tank flow pumps... kinda pushed closed loop plumbing off the map.

ATO isn't anything new... and doesn't need to be high tech. A small container and a float valve works just great, and has for decades.

Digital controllers? My light has one, built in, but aside from that, I don't use one...

Hey, toys are fun, and this is a hobby, for most of us, at least.. it's supposed to be fun :)

Mayberry
08/21/2015, 08:35 AM
I too am old school, been doing this for 25 years. I admit, I do have an ATO which is great. I am a strong believer in doing most maintenance myself, for it is these times where you are up close and personal with your tank and discover some things before they become problems. If you are not into taking care of your tank then this might not be the hobby for you. I stay very vigilant in terms of what is going on in the tank and with its inhabitants.

d2mini
08/21/2015, 09:18 AM
There is nothing on my tank that is not beneficial to the inhabitants.
Even if it's a device that just makes MY life easier, it means things don't forget to get done or procrastinated which keeps things stable. My wife and I work full time, we have two little kids, I have other hobbies/obligations. As much as I'm obsessed with this hobby, I'll take all the help I can get in making it easier to manage and safer/healthier for my livestock. Don't blow off new tech just because it's new.

Mr. Comer
08/21/2015, 09:39 AM
Great thread! I've been pondering the benefits of technology lately, more specifically an APEX. I've been in the hobby/addiction for over a decade and love gadgets. I finally bought an Apex a month ago but I think I am going to sell it. My newer build is focusing on euph., lps, and zoas. I don't dose, I have a spectrapure ato, Jabeo controllers have all the functionality I need, basic timers on my Kessils and ATI, house temp is usually around 78 so the heater isn't used much, skimmer is in sump so overflows are not a big issue, if I loose power my sump can handle the water load, and I use a DJ power strip to turn on/off individual items as needed.
I think understand the insurance aspect of an Apex for my basic system. Flood detection, temp monitoring, and being able to turn items on/off via iphone is nice but I don't know if it's really needed. Maybe I'm missing something :)

Mr. Comer
08/21/2015, 09:39 AM
Dennis, I new you would jump in on this thread :) You've used technology to your advantage and your automation is sweet.

lastpikd
08/21/2015, 10:52 AM
I love to tinker with my hobbies. That being said, I am so glad that I went as automated as possible with my tank set up. I have a Neptune which controls everything automatically. The only thing that I have to do is feed the fish, refill the ato reservoir every other day, and clean the algae scrubber once a week. Right now I am still doing manual dosing for cal and alk but eventually that will be automated too. I want to enjoy the system, not constantly mess with things or perform remedial tasks that could be better left to a computer to control without variation.

guserto4
08/21/2015, 05:18 PM
Gadgets can help even out the chores and allow me to do the tinkering I enjoy so much, but if I gadget my way out of tinkering I end up reinventing the system looking for things to tinker. It's a function of maintenance/watchman time and how much enjoyment you get out of gadgets. For me, I get the most out of the hobby when it's equal parts art & science. I want the fish and corals to live if I temporarily forget about them or I travel, but I want them to still need me.

Basically, I like a reef tank somewhere between a cat and a dog.
Gadgets help maintain that line.

sixpackgarage
08/21/2015, 06:15 PM
yes, the toys are worth it.

Sounds Fishy
08/21/2015, 06:34 PM
I am strictly old school to my approach.If it isn't broke don't fix it.I think it is terrific that there is so much new technology and advances.Really it is mind boggling.I encourage hobbyists to take full advantage of it,but I've been doing this,the same way,forty years and I can't change,now.

Mishri
08/27/2015, 10:09 AM
Basically, I like a reef tank somewhere between a cat and a dog.
Gadgets help maintain that line.

Haha, that's a perfect description for what I want.. It's why I own cats and not dogs. Although I do go home everyday for lunch so I can feed my aquariums.

I guess it really depends on the person and their lifestyle if it's worth it or not. For me, even if I had an apex, when I go out of town it's usually out in the mountains for camping/hiking, no cell service so I still wouldn't get an alert if something did go wrong. It doesn't make much sense for me.

PH/Temp/Salinity are all stable in my house.. I keep my aquariums in the basement in montana.. it stays cool down there. I keep lids on all of my aquariums so evaporation isn't an issue, go around every 2 days and top off manually for my 4 aquariums(24, 40, 55, 75). My dad setup ATO, AFS, on his tank.. but that was because he was leaving town for multiple weeks at a time, and had to setup some automation..

(I do use a low tech automatic feeding system when I go out camping, but I don't run it day to day.)

I guess whether or not you need the gadgets depends on your lifestyle.

Harry_Y
08/27/2015, 10:34 AM
While it is not 100% necessary it truly lightens the load for me.

Johnseye
08/27/2015, 03:02 PM
A lot has changed since I first started saltwater aquariums.. (not much has changed in the freshwater world)..


Actually a lot has changed in the freshwater world. I had a planted tank prior to my reef. When I did, I used the following in addition to a Planted + Light, powerheads and Eco-complete gravel.

Iron Chelate
Mono Potassium Phosphate [KH2PO4]
Plantex CSM+B
Potassium Nitrate [KNO3]
Potassium Sulfate [K2SO4]
Fluval Peat Granules
Seachem Flourish



For those old school people out there who have done things the old way, and now have all the modern things.. like apex controller. Is it really that helpful? have conditions improved in your aquarium or made things so much easier? Automatic top off, automatic dosage.. do you ever feel you aren't as hands on? Is it actually better/easier or do you get better results?


Old school only means without today's knowledge and understanding of science. Real old school would be what the first aquariums were; salt water hauled up from the ocean into a tank. Are the Amish better off without their tech? Dunno, maybe they're happier. Would our fish and coral be happier without this new tech? Doubt it.

Yes, ATO, auto dosing, having a controller helps. It helps create stability which is critical for the livestock.



Based on what some people have said, I suspect that they just enjoy the toys. They like what they can do with the apex controller, but it really hasn't improved their husbandry or anything.. it's like people who want to show you how they can control their home with their phone, from lights, to music etc.. and I just think.. hmm light switches and power buttons are a lot faster and easier..

automatic top off.. was it really that hard to add some RO/DI water every few days? (I guess its more frequent for you open top folks)..

automatic dosage... do you have issues with it? I just don't know if I can trust something that can fail with something fairly important...

What are your thoughts on all of these electronic gadgets we can get now?

I wont deny, the new pumps you can get are so much better than what I had when I first started.. powerheads.. hooked up to a wavemaker power strip.. but I'm not a tinkerer... I'm someone who wants something that works, and then I don't have to mess with it anymore. I just set my gyre for what I think looks best and I leave it... no messing around, no feeding mode.. let those fish chase around for food, it's good for 'em.


I've been doing things the old way for so long.. just don't know if there is a reason to spend potentially thousands of dollars on toys that do what I've been able to do.. Can you convince me otherwise?

If you can afford the "toys" or technology or tools, whatever you want to call them, then they can help you. They aren't cheap and they add up, but they will help. They help the fish, the coral and you.

Mishri
08/27/2015, 04:00 PM
Explain how an apex controller helps the fish, coral, and me. Considering what I said about my ph,/salinity/temp.. or any other new gadget... (I'm not talking about things that replace things, like the gyre vs a power head or LED vs MH).. talking about using something that we never needed before. The dosers.. which can fail.. the monitors that monitor things that are stable in my aquariums... systems that alert to a system that I don't have access to when I do what I do when I leave town... how can they help me? Is there something else I can use them for?


also.. you don't use Co2 on your freshwater planted? (supplements depend on what you are keeping-we used to call it fertilizer if you are now using specific things... I guess that's different, i don't have problems keeping what I keep though) I am using LED's on my freshwater planted, they seem to work well.

Johnseye
08/27/2015, 04:32 PM
Explain how an apex controller helps the fish, coral, and me. Considering what I said about my ph,/salinity/temp.. or any other new gadget... (I'm not talking about things that replace things, like the gyre vs a power head or LED vs MH).. talking about using something that we never needed before. The dosers.. which can fail.. the monitors that monitor things that are stable in my aquariums... systems that alert to a system that I don't have access to when I do what I do when I leave town... how can they help me? Is there something else I can use them for?


Who's to say what you never needed before. We never needed live rock before. We never needed a sump before. We never needed a skimmer before. Now that we have them our ecosystems are better for it.

There have already been some posts as to how an Apex helps the fish, coral and you. They provide stability in that when there is a problem they can shut down devices and email or text you. Without that your tank could crash. Water overflowing could drain your tank and damage your house. A heater could malfunction and fry your livestock. An Apex can shut down pumps and heaters if preset parameters go out of line.

Are you on the fence about buying one and having trouble committing yourself to the spend?


also.. you don't use Co2 on your freshwater planted? (supplements depend on what you are keeping-we used to call it fertilizer if you are now using specific things... I guess that's different, i don't have problems keeping what I keep though) I am using LED's on my freshwater planted, they seem to work well.

CO2 is for carbon and I dosed Flourish Excel instead. Ferilizer, dosing, minerals, vitamins whatever. Stuff our livestock needs or helps it to grow and be happy. I had a Finnex Planted + LED light on my freshwater and it was enough. Corals are more demanding.

Mishri
08/27/2015, 04:51 PM
I'm a no sump crew member.. don't believe in 'em either.. have had them, useful for somethings, but not necessary. skimmers help depending on what you are keeping.. if you want sponges and gorgonians(anything non-photosynthetic) , or softies in general you don't need one.. in fact, your system would be better without a skimmer in those cases. so no water overflow issues here either.. except for possibly my HOB skimmer, but once it gets a few inches out of the tank there wont be anymore left.. no big hassle.

So, I was looking at apex controllers and wondering if I was missing something they could do.. shutting off a malfunctioning heater sounds like the best thing it could do.. but I've only had 1 heater ever do that.. was one I got from petco, and I noticed it was warm when I walked by the tank (it was radiating heat, was in the upper 80s).. disconnected it and no losses. that was the one and only non-eheim heater in my house.. sticking to eheim from then on.

So.. 1 thing that can be useful for me.. I think there could be a less expensive option over an apex.

I'm not saying my situation fits all, obviously some people need more automation and couldn't do it without it.

broadwave
08/27/2015, 05:46 PM
As an "Old Salt" myself, I can say that a controller, regardless of brand can help with stability by controlling you calcium reactor (if you have one), your lights, heater, etc.... And provides for a central power source for your equipment

That being said, if the way you've been doing things for the past 15+ years is working for you, well there's really no need to change for the sake of having gadgets.

Harry_Y
08/27/2015, 07:34 PM
It really boils down to what do you like to do with your time.

I would rather spend more time looking at the tank and less
time maintaining it; Others enjoy the maintaining portion.

Only you can really answer the question of what you like to do more.

I automate some things, and others I do manually.

laga77
08/27/2015, 09:05 PM
I had my first saltwater tank in 1987. If I did not have my ATO, AWC, and dosing pumps, I would not be in the hobby today.

Allentown
08/27/2015, 09:44 PM
If I were truly home all day I wouldn't need nearly have the crap I have.

But I do think an ATO is worth its weight in gold. As was mentioned, pumps and wave makers can run on their own controllers.

The Apex (to me) comes into its own with its ability to detect water on the floor and automatically start shutting down things like external media reactors, ATO pumps, and even main pumps. Their ability to go ahead and send you an email is great. I am taking mine one step further with a water proof cabinent and a separate leak detector that once it senses water has gotten out of the stand and into the floor, will activate an emergency sunk pump and clear the stand of the water its holding.

UPS back up batteries and generators work...but the vortech with back up battery is just soo easy, for not much more than what a UPS cost and a bit less head ache.

The apex versus a heater controller such as a finnex? Its a wash other than the email notification I guess...but if you already have an apex for other reasons, you get that functionality free. The ability to run leak protection and feed cycles on multiple tanks with a single unit is something I'm looking to take advantage of. I consider the ability to control LEDS, wave makers etc a bit of a gimmick but again, if you already bought the system why not? The auto feeder to work in conjunction with your feed cycles and with the potential to hold feeding say if the ORP or total dissolved oxygen and or PH are way off (say something fouled the tank and you are out of town and you would rather it not dump food in the take at that time) would be a feature I don't think anyone would argue with. I don't know of any way for a tank to monitor its dissolved oxygen and turn on extra pumps and wave maker either. The salinity monitor is probably a must have if you are doing automated water changes etc etc.

Basically it snowballs. Its not hard to find one "must have" feature of the toys and then before you know it...its snowballed into a half a dozen other functions because you already invested in the initial set up.

PhillyGeeks
08/27/2015, 10:26 PM
I appreciate the technology for giving me the confidence to jump into the hobby with my erratic and occasionally incredibly busy job. I had been toying with the idea of starting a mixed reef for the past 10 years and have learned quite a bit. Learning about the possible automation made me more comfortable that a couple days away from home or a couple days of work burnout may not be catastrophic in husbandry.

I realize there is likely to be plenty of potential hurdles in starting this up, but at least I don't feel like its going to be something related to my unpredictable schedule...at least, I hope.

SaltieG
08/27/2015, 10:36 PM
I believe the toys are well worth it when it comes to this hobby. My system is no where near as intricate as some, but I love my toys such as the controller, vortechs and ATO. I mean they aren't needed but they make things run so much smoother on a day to day basis and therefore give me more time to enjoy the tank with a little less worry.

Mrclayakasins
08/27/2015, 10:56 PM
Automation is definitely great, it opens the doors so many things in this lifestyle the only words of wisdom I can really give though is don't put all your eggs in the automation basket check your settings check your numbers calibrate manually take the measurements and repeat just because you have automation don't neglect the hands-on part of this hobby and you'll be amazed what you can do

moondoggy4
08/27/2015, 11:14 PM
There are dissolved oxygen sensors that can turn on pumps but they cost about 1k for the sensor.

mr9iron
08/27/2015, 11:25 PM
I think they are but I like toys and gadgets so that's just me.

But, I think the most important one is the Apex, with that your control and options are really endless. You can see your TEMP, PH, Salinity, control outlets and setup ATO, AWC and so much more it's really the game changer if you ask me.

ATO is another thing that is great, you don't need a super expensive setup you can use a simple float valve but if you want the best I would get the Tunze Osmolator 3155.

AWC is great for me, I have a large system so I do 4 gallon a day auto water changes, currently with the Neptune Dos but I will be switching to the Genesis Renew System soon. Auto Water Change is great because I never miss a water change, every day I do 4 gallons, and it's completely automated. All I have to do is mix up saltwater once a month in my container and that's it. The other great thing is that it's a small water change and broken up into smaller 500 ml every 10 mins or so that make's it unnoticed really for the tank inhabitants.

Just out of curiosity, why are you switching form the DOS to the Genesis? I am going to set up the DOS for this same reason.

ArmanS
08/27/2015, 11:30 PM
Just out of curiosity, why are you switching form the DOS to the Genesis? I am going to set up the DOS for this same reason.

Genesis gives me the option to do a water change from 1 to 99 gallons on the fly.

For example, If I needed to I could do a 40g water change in about an hour or so with the flip of the switch.

With the DOS, I'm not sure on the exact numbers but I don't think you could do more then a 15g in one day with a DOS without it running non stop for 24 hours.

My DOS currently does 4 gallons a day, from 7pm-12am and it does a small does every 10 mins, so every 10 mins its on for about 2 minutes.

I think the DOS is great for AWC if you want to do anything less then 2-3g a day. It also takes up much less space. If you have a larger system and want to do larger daily water changes, and have the ability to do large water changes whenever needed the Genesis is a much better system.

Also, the DOS is extremely loud for my liking, my tank is silent apart from when the chiller is on, literally you cannot hear anything. I have the DOS located in the room behind the tank where the majority of my equipment is, and when it runs it is very loud compared to the other equipment on my tank, especially when you have it at a higher speed. This was easy to fix, I set it to do the AWC when I'm not at work in my office. Having said that, for small AWC amounts the DOS is super easy to setup,takes up minimal space, very accurate, and hooked up to the Apex for data logging. I think both systems are the best available currently, but if you have a larger system or want the ability to do larger water changes when needed and have the space get the Genesis Renew System.

mr9iron
08/27/2015, 11:42 PM
Genesis gives me the option to do a water change from 1 to 99 gallons on the fly.

For example, If I needed to I could do a 40g water change in about an hour or so with the flip of the switch.

With the DOS, I'm not sure on the exact numbers but I don't think you could do more then a 15g in one day with a DOS without it running non stop for 24 hours.

My DOS currently does 4 gallons a day, from 7pm-12am and it does a small does every 10 mins, so every 10 mins its on for about 2 minutes.

I think the DOS is great for AWC if you want to do anything less then 2-3g a day. It also takes up much less space. If you have a larger system and want to do larger daily water changes, and have the ability to do large water changes whenever needed the Genesis is a much better system.

Also, the DOS is extremely loud for my liking, my tank is silent apart from when the chiller is on, literally you cannot hear anything. I have the DOS located in the room behind the tank where the majority of my equipment is, and when it runs it is very loud compared to the other equipment on my tank, especially when you have it at a higher speed. This was easy to fix, I set it to do the AWC when I'm not at work in my office. Having said that, for small AWC amounts the DOS is super easy to setup,takes up minimal space, very accurate, and hooked up to the Apex for data logging. I think both systems are the best available currently, but if you have a larger system or want the ability to do larger water changes when needed and have the space get the Genesis Renew System.

Do you think that doing 1-2 gallons a day on a 210 is sufficient? I looked at the Genesis, but I just don't have the extra room for it.

DamonG
08/27/2015, 11:45 PM
Well here is my take, being in the hobby the majority of my life(well over 30 years messing with tanks, and over 20 in saltwater)..

I have an apex, but I have a Jr. This is after having a full blown on my last system.. It does help me, but then,I have a job,a life and I keep sps. Not to mention, the alerts, top of, auto feeders,for me, are very critical, as I do vacation quite a bit. I understand some love lugging jugs, sitting tinkering all day, doing all those manual things like when we first got into the hobby, but that's not me. I honestly have better things to do and that have to be done on a daily basis. So it's not a toy for those of us that don't have time to babysit a tank. Blunt, but the truth..

To each their own, but a skimmer, is a great thing to have. But then, you have to have a "good" skimmer.. And maybe, for those that believe in going skimmerless, that it's to the detriment of some animals, but, if you want to keep dirty water animals, then, with a skimmer( once again a good, target your skin type whether it be dry or wet.. Simply solved) type, you can control that.

And for sps, yes, tech is immensely helpful..

So to answer the opp question: honestly, you don't sound like your interested in a controller or anything besides just doing everything manually. So why even ask, and then argue someone else's view or experience? Not knocking, but really, there is room for everyone and everything in this hobby. Kudos to you for being "able" to do everything by hand continuously.. But most of us cannot do that. On top of,a lot of us, from the way it sounds, are attempting to keep(and have them thriving) more delicate or specific parameter animals than you might be or want to. If that is the case, then, you can't expect to really "get or understand" what we are trying to do.

ArmanS
08/27/2015, 11:46 PM
Do you think that doing 1-2 gallons a day on a 210 is sufficient? I looked at the Genesis, but I just don't have the extra room for it.

I think 2 gallons a day is fine. Thats about 60 a month, or just under 30% a month.

Remember, you are doing 2 gallons a day, every day. Most people are not always able to keep up with their routine.

With the DOS though, you could easily do more then 1-2 gallons a day if desired, mine does 4 gallons a day in 5 hours. Just you would want to set it when no one is going to be close by.