If you have ever thought about buying a controller for your saltwater aquarium, then don't miss today's episode of BRStv. Aquarium controllers are a great way to create redundancy to avoid tank issues as well as automate certain functions like temperature or an auto top off - resulting in less maintenance for you.
So why choose a controller? Reefers put so much time, energy and money into their reef tanks to trust the entire life support system to a $4 power strip from the hardware store. Additionally, temperature related issues are easily the single biggest cause of tank failures out there because unfortunately, your heater will fail at some point. Your best bet is an external temperature controller to add redundancy as well as alert you when the heater fails. Since heaters are often hidden down in our sumps it is really easy to not know when something goes wrong so the alarm is pretty critical. So after all that, it really doesn't make any sense to buy a couple power bars, bulky timers and slew of temperature controllers when you can pick up a Apex Jr. for less and it's a platform you can build off of for additional controls and redundancy.
Neptune systems make several models of controllers with various features so a reefer can find the level of control and redundancy they need. Issues can occur with your saltwater tank - temperature failures, leaks, top off failures, power outage. Most reefers have hundreds to thousands tied up in their reef tanks and more valuable, an emotional connection to the fish, corals and how the tank has evolved over the years. A tank crash and starting over is just too tragic to think about it. Additionally, you have large glass boxes of saltwater in your home - replacing carpet, hardwood floors, ceilings, walls, furniture... can all be extremely expensive. While nothing is fool proof there are a bunch of features on a controller like this that can help protect your home.
By adding a controller like the Apex from Neptune Systems, you can monitor and control pH, be notified of leaks, control pumps shut off and on, heater/chiller on and off. For example, by monitoring your pH can quickly tell you if something is wrong with the tank or equipment. Maybe your calcium reactor needs attention, your auto top off system failed and is over dosing kalkwasser, a cheap timer running your two part doser failed or something large died in the tank. Having a pH monitor which displays the pH is nice but a good one costs $100 and isn't helpful unless you are actually looking at the tank when something bad happens which is pretty darn rare. What we really need is a controller with an alarm. So "A" it turns off the equipment like the calcium reactor that may be causing the issue and "B" notifies you of the problem. A good stand-alone controller with an alarm you can rely on is anywhere from a hundred and twenty bucks to two hundred.
The Apex Controller has this feature built in. Even better, you can run more than one pH probes on the same controller so you can monitor and control your calcium reactor and the tank itself. Better still, you can hook it up to the internet so it can email or text you if there is ever a problem which in the end makes it much more valuable than a stand-alone controller.
What about Leak Detection? Anything can develop a leak at some point or various issues could cause the sump to overflow. Apex have these leak detectors which you can put on a flat surface or slide under a carpet. This could easily save many you thousands of dollars replacing carpets and hardwood floors.
And now for the fun part, the Apex is capable of controlling your LED lights like the popular Aqua Illumination models, sunset and rise effects on your Kessil LED's, controlling ORP if you ever decide to use ozone. Control your VorTech pumps, add lunar lights to the tank, even operate an automatic feeder.
An Apex Aquarium Controller can not only save you money in separate equipment purchases but even more, it can help you avoid all the most common issues reefers encounter.
What do you think? Do you own an aquarium controller? How has it helped you?