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Old 08-26-2014, 10:38 PM   #16
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I will go ahead and quote myself at the end of my mini write up. I fully agree that if I already did not own one from my reef tank I would probably not drop $525 for one. In the reefing world the apex can control cal reactors, power heads (in my case Tunze), skimmers, ato, lights ect where in planted world no so much.

Tell you this much no more heading to the LFS to pick up 50 gallon buckets of salt is a nice thing. However, I still wonder if I should of just downsized my reef. Part of me has some regret and the other part of me knows I will go back to it some day just not now.
I probably will buy a web controller eventually, for no other reason to check on things when I'm out of town.

I miss my reef, but I don't miss the cost of salt, GFO, carbon, replacement pumps, and emptying the nasty skim mate daily. Not to mention the water bill. To create 90-100 gallons of RODi every week wasted hundreds of gallons of water.

I miss the sump/refugium the most. I could spend hours staring at all of the life in there. I fed it phytoplankton, so I had feather dusters everywhere in addition to thousands of little copepods, snails, worms, and a few scavenger crabs living in the coral rubble and chaeto macro algae. Many of those in turn, would get sucked into the tank, where they would feed a very happy mandarin fish.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:48 PM   #17
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I just purchased one about 2 weeks ago, and have it in place where I want it, but have not setup yet. I have been trying to decide if I should order a wireless extender or just hardwire cat5e. Not sure if I want to crawl under my house. I know firmware has to be done with hardwire. What do you guys suggest? Cannot wait to start using it.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:01 PM   #18
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I just purchased one about 2 weeks ago, and have it in place where I want it, but have not setup yet. I have been trying to decide if I should order a wireless extender or just hardwire cat5e. Not sure if I want to crawl under my house. I know firmware has to be done with hardwire. What do you guys suggest? Cannot wait to start using it.
As a network professional, I can offer you this general advice: Hardwire is ALWAYS preferable to wireless, if it's at all feasible. Crawl under your house once, and you'll never have to worry about it again.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:07 PM   #19
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As a network professional, I can offer you this general advice: Hardwire is ALWAYS preferable to wireless, if it's at all feasible. Crawl under your house once, and you'll never have to worry about it again.
That what I was thinking as well. I have read some stories online and seems like wireless extender always fail when someone goes out of time so on. I guess it will give myself and the father-in-law something to do this weekend.

Thanks
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:23 PM   #20
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I just installed an Apex Controller last weekend on my planted tank.

I travel a lot for work and we rarely spend weekends at home in the summertime. So for me, I got it to keep an eye on the tank when I am not home, and so that I do not have to rely on anybody to take care of it. Not only is my tank now self sustaining, but I can adjust virtually every setting on it from anywhere, including my fert doses and co2. I also really enjoy technology and this thing is just a lot of fun to play with.

My setup has 2 drews dosers, 1 auto feeder, leak detector, and the lunar module along with the main Apex unit.

I have thought of at least a couple of new things each day since saturday to do with it. I expect I will find many many more in the future. After some time reading the manual, I don't think programming it is difficult at all. And with a little help from google you can find help on anything I have thought of so far if needed.

You are correct, it is a luxury purchase and high priced, but it was worth every penny to me. If I do any more tanks they will have it also, I highly recommend it.

Now if they could just give me sensors for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphorus, potassium, iron, etc. etc. etc. Oh, an invisible par meter in the bottom of the tank to adjust my leds to correct for the cleanliness of the glass top would be nice too. lol...
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:31 PM   #21
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^^ The auto-feeder capabilities are nice. I wish there was a good comparable system for freshwater tanks. I don't really trust that style of autofeeder, though, and it doesn't seem to be optimized for my preferred flake food.
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:44 PM   #22
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What food do you use?
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:52 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crimson View Post
I will go ahead and quote myself at the end of my mini write up. I fully agree that if I already did not own one from my reef tank I would probably not drop $525 for one. In the reefing world the apex can control cal reactors, power heads (in my case Tunze), skimmers, ato, lights ect where in planted world no so much.

Tell you this much no more heading to the LFS to pick up 50 gallon buckets of salt is a nice thing. However, I still wonder if I should of just downsized my reef. Part of me has some regret and the other part of me knows I will go back to it some day just not now.
Funny you mention the saltwater making as I used to dread that too. Now that I live in San Diego I can get free filtered ocean water from Scripps Institute but have yet to setup a reef again. The itch is slow coming back though. This time around if I do it thought I will stick to a smallish (25g cube) and just have wavemakers and a Tunze 9004 inside the tank.
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:57 PM   #24
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What food do you use?
Omega One flake.

I've seen a lot of rotary drum-based feeders, and while they've clearly gone through a lot of effort to minimize the inherent issues, I simply don't trust the design, particularly with smaller tanks (and therefore, smaller amount of food... one accidental large dump could cause a serious nitrate spike in a smaller tank).

The only design I've come to trust is the rotary style (works like a slide projector). 14 individual slots hold however much food I want to give per day, all pre-loaded in exact amounts. Then it simply rotates the carousel compartments over a hole and the food drops. Simple and trustworthy design, but only one I've found on the market (
www.amazon.com/Fish-Mate-F14-Aquarium-Feeder/dp/B000YK5W18/ www.amazon.com/Fish-Mate-F14-Aquarium-Feeder/dp/B000YK5W18/
) doesn't really lend itself to automation without disassembly and serious hacking into the mechanism. Works well enough on it's own, but it would be cool to see something like that integrated into a controller-based system so it could be controlled externally.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:30 AM   #25
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Tell you this much no more heading to the LFS to pick up 50 gallon buckets of salt is a nice thing. However, I still wonder if I should of just downsized my reef. Part of me has some regret and the other part of me knows I will go back to it some day just not now.
There's that, or making your own water/marine mix. I use RO for drinking if the tap is hard etc, high KH. Tap is insanely high grade where I live now.

Good skimming and other methods can avoid weekly or water changes every 2 weeks. I do water changes every 2 weeks, about 50%. But, the tank is small............larger reef tanks require different management to be a decent trade off with water changes. 30 Gallon vs 300 gallon etc.

Not so with Freshwater plants, I'd say the FW planted tanks require more labor.

But as mentioned, for many, the techy stuff is 1/2 the fun.
I use to be that way, but.........over time...........I've KISS, less stuff to go wrong, and more design based on redundancy. But also choosing really nice tanks, light, stands, placement in the home, high grade equipment etc.

Since you are not out of the Reef idea totally, do a smaller frag tank and grow those out and in 1-2 years you'll have nice stock to add to larger tank. A couple of 5 gallon buckets, a small RO system, you can do the water changes once every week or two and not have to do much else other than feed and add traces etc, light etc.

Also, if you have ample planning time, hire a plumber to add a tap water line (hot and cold) and a drain to the FW plant tank, then with a sump, you can do an easy automated water changer.

Done for a reef tank, you can simply plumb a line for the drain and refill to the reservoir and a float switch etc. 101 ways there.

Use the Apex for the FW plant and the Reef stuff then.
Since you are already using it and like to use it, no sense in NOT using it.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:00 AM   #26
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Also, if you have ample planning time, hire a plumber to add a tap water line (hot and cold) and a drain to the FW plant tank, then with a sump, you can do an easy automated water changer.
Curious about this: Using metro tap water, how are you supposed to dechlorinate the water, if it's going directly into the tank from the tap? (and of course I mean with Prime)
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Old 08-28-2014, 02:53 AM   #27
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Curious about this: Using metro tap water, how are you supposed to dechlorinate the water, if it's going directly into the tank from the tap? (and of course I mean with Prime)
On a timer with a dosing pump? You can add prime to the tank (a full tank dose) and then fill the tank right from the tap. Only downside is that it would always smell like farts.
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Old 08-28-2014, 03:03 AM   #28
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Curious about this: Using metro tap water, how are you supposed to dechlorinate the water, if it's going directly into the tank from the tap? (and of course I mean with Prime)
I have been using my RODI for water and supplementing it with equilibrium (only if doing a water change). I know... its overkill (again, left over reef gear) BRS 6 stage RODI with 2 stages for DI. It comes out at 0 TDS to the tank. Before water enters the DI stage its around 4 TDS.

House water --> electric solenoid --> RODI --> Tank
.................................l
..............................Apex <-- Float switch

I need to buy another float switch as a backup and maybe even another solenoid in-line just in case.

Think my New Years resolution for this forum not to use the word "Reef" in my posts
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Old 08-28-2014, 04:51 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mflander View Post
What food do you use?
Omega One flake.

I've seen a lot of rotary drum-based feeders, and while they've clearly gone through a lot of effort to minimize the inherent issues, I simply don't trust the design, particularly with smaller tanks (and therefore, smaller amount of food... one accidental large dump could cause a serious nitrate spike in a smaller tank).

The only design I've come to trust is the rotary style (works like a slide projector). 14 individual slots hold however much food I want to give per day, all pre-loaded in exact amounts. Then it simply rotates the carousel compartments over a hole and the food drops. Simple and trustworthy design, but only one I've found on the market (
www.amazon.com/Fish-Mate-F14-Aquarium-Feeder/dp/B000YK5W18/ www.amazon.com/Fish-Mate-F14-Aquarium-Feeder/dp/B000YK5W18/
) doesn't really lend itself to automation without disassembly and serious hacking into the mechanism. Works well enough on it's own, but it would be cool to see something like that integrated into a controller-based system so it could be controlled externally.
Thanks for the info!
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Old 08-28-2014, 04:43 PM   #30
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Curious about this: Using metro tap water, how are you supposed to dechlorinate the water, if it's going directly into the tank from the tap? (and of course I mean with Prime)
Carbon pre filter on the incoming line.

Or do small daily water changes, say 5-10% slowly.

Bump: Another item for the list of APEX items: automated feeding timers.

Yes, you can buy others with timers etc, but it's nice to integrate.
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