Aquarium Controller?

maxxII

Super Housemonkey!
I’m looking at getting a controller for my little 40 breeder.
I’m not a computer programmer, and I dont need the ability to launch fish into space or live stream the tank at a moments notice.
I’m wanting to be able to monitor pH, monitor/control temp (I want to be able to turn off the heater if it fails on), I want to know if the power fails, or the return pump fails. I will eventually want to be able to auto test dKH via alkatronic/Trident/KH Director/etc, but that isnt an immediate thing…

Right now, the choices are Apex, GHL, and the new Coral Vue Hydros.

What are you guys using, and why?
 

michealprater

Angelfish Nerd
Premium Member
I personally use Apex. I have been adding modules and like it, but it is pricey. I haven’t used the others so I don’t really have a basis of comparison.
 

michealprater

Angelfish Nerd
Premium Member
Not at this point. Some of the setup can be confusing at times, but that’s typically my fault. Once set up, so far it’s been pretty good. I do love monitoring my tank from my phone. I just added the trident last night. Neat gadget! So far it has caught an ATO failure for me, so it’s serving it’s purpose. Fun part is there is so many add ons. While pricey, they make the hobby fun… for the control of nothing else.
 

maxxII

Super Housemonkey!
I am a Hydros Beta tester. Hit me up with any questions you might have.


Mark,
The main complaint I see mentioned about the Hydros is that there is no hard wire connecting the controller to the outlets.
My my concern is what happens when power/wifi go out...what do the controlled items do?
Apex has what they refer to as the Heart Beat check where the system is supposed to check in with itself to ensure power has not been lost/and it hasnt lost wifi connectivity.
Does the Hydros have something similar?
 

Markk96

Premium Member
I have had 5 WiFi strips for almost 2 years with no issues of outages. If your internet is out the wifi is still connected all is good. If the wifi router goes out then the default program setting for the output is used. I recently got the xp8 and turned off 3 wifi strips. I can give you other wifi tips if needed.

The XP8 is its own controller and 8 outlets. You can cable it with other controllers and create a collective.
 
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maxxII

Super Housemonkey!
Does it have a setting to tell you if power or connectivity has been lost (with the controller)?
 

Markk96

Premium Member
Not sure what you mean. You can get alerts that the controller has lost cloud connextion. You get alerts for almost anything. There is no coding.

The controller will alert you if you loose connection to a wifi strip..

The XP8 has outlet power monitoring. It ahowed me i had a bad heater that i was not aware of.
 
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shred5

Premium Member
XP8 is a wired solution and it is relatively new so you may not have seen it.
Also wifi is just as reliable if set up correctly with a good router. The problem is allot of people rely on their isp equipment which is garbage.
 

maxxII

Super Housemonkey!
Shred5, are you in St Louis? If so, I need to get with you and Mark and pick your brains….

Mark,
It sounds like you get the notifications that I was looking for.
 

Markk96

Premium Member
We could do a webwex and I can show you the app online with my setup. Or you can come see it, but my wiring job sucks.
 

maxxII

Super Housemonkey!
Hate to say it, but I'm one of those folks who does better visually seeing something. And I promise you my wiring job(s) arent any better.

I'm not in a giant rush, I have a few other things that have had to jump up in priority for purchase lately...so I've got time to pick your brain (and hopefully Shred5's as well) in person and see how things work and what can be done with the Hydros.

According to this video, the Hydros is pretty comparable to the Apex. He states Hydros is cheaper for smaller systems but will be probably be more expensive for larger systems.


I dont have a large system and probably wont ever go larger than a 120, so that is something to consider.
 

Nanook

Ancient Eskimo Legend
Staff member
RC Mod
I’ll tag along with you Nick! I haven’t seen my friend Mark in years.
 

Markk96

Premium Member
I won't point you to either control. I can only tell you my experience of 2 years with the Hydros. It has saved my bacon more times then I can care to remember without any coding. My tank overflowed a couple months back from what I dont know. My leak and rope sensor caught it instantly and with all the dependancices I have it shut the entire tank down. My phone started going nuts with alerts and the audible blaring alarm was enough to get me off my couch and go downstairs.

Some people with bash the wifi strips but I have not had any issues. Hower with the new hardware powerstrip XP8 I moved my critical systems to the xp8. I removed 3 wifi strips so I am down to wifi strips now.

I have the following all connected as a collective brain.
X4
X2
x3
sense
Wave Engine
Wave Engine le
xp8
2 wifi strips
1 single wifi outlet
wifi feeder

Mutile sensor inputs.
Water level
Tds
Leak
Ph
temp
skimmer sensor


Several outputs

I have just started to venture into the dynamic dosing for the two part balling method with 3 hydros dosers .
 
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maxxII

Super Housemonkey!
I like hearing about the alarms...sorry you had an issue that demonstrated how effective the alarms are.

The "collective" thing confuses me a little.
I need to watch some more videos to try and wrap my brain around it. I understand the concept of a collective, just unsure how it applies here or how that would even "look".
I

Nook....more the merrier as far as I'm concerned.
More people participating in the conversation means more questions asked.
Based solely on the video I posted on the previous page, you might be more interested in the Apex.
The reviewer states that he feels Hydros is lower cost for smaller systems that dont require or need as much automation/monitoring.
However, he states that he feels Apex is lower cost for people with larger systems due to Hydros design requiring multiple controllers for the "collective" for larger systems.

Mark, Shred5, and michaelprater will all be able to give you more insight into the video reviewer's opinions than I will as they have actual hands on experience with both.

One thing I will point out about the "Reef Automation" guy on youtube....he's obviously pro Apex and not afraid to show it which I feel slants his opinion on this topic.
For example - he compares Apex, GHL, and Hydros against each other.
One of the Pro's he puts for GHL is the reliability of GHL.
He states pointedly that GHL is regarded as the most reliable controller.
Then he turns around and states that a negative for the GHL is that it doesnt have any hardwired connections and relies on Wifi outlets which are less reliable and an issue.
Wee bit of a mixed message there....


Not a big deal, but something to be aware of when watching his videos and something I felt worth noting.
Unbiased opinions on this topic would be great, but I cannot seem to find any.
I get it, it's a Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge thing....I'm sure I'll eventually decide on a camp and pitch my tent on their field, so there's that to look forward to.
 

MperRluvR

Member
I like hearing about the alarms...sorry you had an issue that demonstrated how effective the alarms are.

The "collective" thing confuses me a little.
I need to watch some more videos to try and wrap my brain around it. I understand the concept of a collective, just unsure how it applies here or how that would even "look".
I

Nook....more the merrier as far as I'm concerned.
More people participating in the conversation means more questions asked.
Based solely on the video I posted on the previous page, you might be more interested in the Apex.
The reviewer states that he feels Hydros is lower cost for smaller systems that dont require or need as much automation/monitoring.
However, he states that he feels Apex is lower cost for people with larger systems due to Hydros design requiring multiple controllers for the "collective" for larger systems.

Mark, Shred5, and michaelprater will all be able to give you more insight into the video reviewer's opinions than I will as they have actual hands on experience with both.

One thing I will point out about the "Reef Automation" guy on youtube....he's obviously pro Apex and not afraid to show it which I feel slants his opinion on this topic.
For example - he compares Apex, GHL, and Hydros against each other.
One of the Pro's he puts for GHL is the reliability of GHL.
He states pointedly that GHL is regarded as the most reliable controller.
Then he turns around and states that a negative for the GHL is that it doesnt have any hardwired connections and relies on Wifi outlets which are less reliable and an issue.
Wee bit of a mixed message there....


Not a big deal, but something to be aware of when watching his videos and something I felt worth noting.
Unbiased opinions on this topic would be great, but I cannot seem to find any.
I get it, it's a Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge thing....I'm sure I'll eventually decide on a camp and pitch my tent on their field, so there's that to look forward to.

Ya not a fan of his videos TBH.
Either controller will be fine. I like the Hydros, have had it for about a year and a half. Previous to that had an Apex classic that failed several ways. For either option my advice is add as much redundancy as possible. And monitor as much/control as little as possible.
 
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