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Unread 12/04/2019, 08:30 AM   #1
Registered Member
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 141
My experience with Reefbot by Reefkinetics

Hi all

I wanted to document my experience with Reefkinetics and their new ReefBot for any of you out there considering this purchase. I am fairly new to this hobby and was thrown into the deep end with all this. In the beginning I diligently checked levels manually three times per week. Initially this was kinda cool, like a science experiment, but months into the process I found myself thinking how can I make this easier. I then came across Hannah testers, which certainly had their advantage but this was only for Kh and PO4. Made it much quickers but I still needed to physically do the testing and was still using redsea kits for the other testis (Mg, Ca, Nitrates).

As I learned the tank I quickly saw that levels were generally very stable and I could reduce to weekly testing. This was my Sunday ritual for several months. In July I went away on holiday and so needed to get the tank guy in to check for me. Well when I returned, levels were all good but my bank balance did drop by several hundred $$ which then really made me think there must be a more automated solution.

By this time I had heavily invested into Apex Neptune which had been performing reasonably well. I become very interested in their Trident but a few things bothered me. Firstly maintenance every 6 months by back to base shipping (not so good if you live in Australia), 4 times per day testing (total waste) and limited testing (Alk/Ca/Mg) which meant I still needed to test PO4 and Nitrates.

While researching all this I then came across the Reefbot. Seemed too good to be true, plenty of cash to buy and too be honest found few reviews on this. My other big concerns included accuracy, support and reliability of this product. I vacillated between trident, reefbot, trident but the pro's of unlimited testing, no need for back to base, use of standard reagents, ability to customize testing intervals and an impression that this device was built for self maintenance with youtube videos, I thought lets take the risk. Additionally I had been dealing with Reefkinetics over e-mail asking them millions of questions which they answered promptly giving my some reassurance.

Now handing over $1400 Au was a big deal given this was a company not under Australian jurisdiction and that such little was written about this company in many forums with little long term follow-up (mostly short term videos of unpacking and initial experience).

Once payment made, communication with this company was A+. Tracking was immediately available and only 3-4 days later it was at my door step in perfect condition. Things were looking great at this point.

The device was very well packaged and very easy to assemble and setup with their instructional videos. I setup the reefbot in my fish room on a little shelf just above the sump and configured 4 tests. Kh (Redsea), PO4 (Redsea), Calcium (API) and Nitrates (API). The reefbot pulled RO water from my RO container (always kept full by my RO system), dumped effluent directly into the drain and sampled water from the outlet into the sump (i.e. all I needed to do was fill reagents when empty).

My initial concern was connectivity with WiFi for which I had a powerful wifi antenna that it connect to without issue. Everything configured and off I went with my first testing.

This is when my heart dropped. The readings were WAY WAY off compared to the manual tests. This is when I thought there goes my cash!!! An e-mailed was fired off to Reefkinetics and within hours I had a response from their head chemist. Through detailed instructions I was guided to checking calibrations settings for the testing chamber which was off and then following calibration we were back in business! Tests were perfect and accurate when compared to manual and Hannah testers!

So now I was up an running testing Kh on a Mon, Wed and Friday with Ca/PO4/Nitrates on a Friday morning. The scheduler is a bit buggy and currently being worked on by reefkinetics (I think something to do with day light savings) but I managed to get it to test at 8am on the days above. Testing continued without an issue for 2 weeks and then suddenly the Reefbot went offline. A re-boot did not correct the issue and eventually required me to reset the wifi and try again. This issue continued intermittently which in the end prompted me to install router wi-fi extender adjacent to the reefbot and connect via LAN. Since then it has been mostly perfect apart from one disconnection fixed with a device reboot (now on a Lenovo switch for remote cycling of the unit of this occurs again).

During one of the reboots however I managed to corrupt the operating system of the Reefbot. Again my heart sank, but the customer service from this company was again just truly amazing (probably the best customer service I have experienced in any industry). Through remote access and instructional videos, it was sorted within 1 hr.

The reefbot was now months old and working reliably and accurately with no manual testing performed for over 2 months at this point when all of a sudden the readings were again all out. Amazingly the system picked up the fault saying that the reading received was out and often seen if no stirring magnet was present. I went to investigate and found that the stirring magnet from the testing chamber had flung out during the rinse phase of the device.

Again I thought now what! An e-mail to Reefkinetics was sent off again and true to the service I had come to expect they were logging into the system and adjusting the speed of the magnetic stirrer once again resolving my issue.

It has since been 4 months with this device and it has been working flawlessly. Results have been accurate and most importantly I have not needed to do manual testing for months. The next big test is my next trip away coming up soon so let's see how we go.

I would say at this point that I have no hesitation in recommending this product and this company to anyone wanting to automate testing. The comparison of the customer service from Reefkinetics to Neptune is day and night. Having recently dealt with Neptune over a faulty flow meter I must say I am so relieve I did not go with the Trident.

My only criticisms would be the wifi reliability and so I would recommend using LAN (or wifi extender to LAN) as well as the scheduling bug's but these I am sure will be sorted.

I will declare at this point that I have no conflict of interest with any of these companies and just wanted to document my personal experience with this product and my experience with Reefkinetics. Great service and an excellent product deserves word of mouth which prompted me to write this.

I would also be very happy to answer any questions other general forum users may have.

Happy automated reefing!

Last edited by Rafty; 12/04/2019 at 08:36 AM.
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