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Piero

Monitors/Controllers: Neptune vs. Mindstream vs. Hydros

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Curious on thoughts. Obviously Neptune has the high ground (Anakin!) but things are getting very interesting.  My requirements are monitoring and controlling though, and it looks like Mindstream and Hydros are only monitoring?

Probably going Neptune at this point, but any news about Neptune next gen? The new system came out a few years ago?
Thx in advance!

😛

eye candy below. circa Waves 2004. (Thx to Shaun Monahan)

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I've been using the Trident for testing and controlling my 2-part dosing for about 6 months now.  It's been running flawlessly and keeps my alk within about 0.10 dKH of my target.  If you haven't seen it, I maintained a detailed write up about my Trident experience here:  

I'm pretty in tune with Neptune and keep up with all their product announcements and rumors, but haven't heard anything about any upcoming new product releases.  I doubt there will be a new model any time soon.

Let me know if you have any questions about the Trident, DOS, or Apex in general.

 

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I don't think it's really what you're after, but there is an open source project for a reef controller. Not as full featured yet, but if you're savvy you can add on to it (did I say open source?)
Reef-pi. Giant thread on reef2reef, adafruit guides, ranthelion HAT on tindie, GitHub code repository, etc

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

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5 minutes ago, Burningbaal said:

I don't think it's really what you're after, but there is an open source project for a reef controller. Not as full featured yet, but if you're savvy you can add on to it (did I say open source?)
Reef-pi. Giant thread on reef2reef, adafruit guides, ranthelion HAT on tindie, GitHub code repository, etc

I sometimes wish I was more of a DIY-type.  I've looked into Reef-Pi for a long time and I think it's really cool.  But while I have over 30 years of IT experience, I just don't have the time or patience to devote to troubleshooting and relying on peer-to-peer support for something that's going to keep my reef alive.  Same reason I buy only name-brand components with dedicated support departments.  But wow, just think of how much money you can save if you do have the passion and patience to do it yourself!

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Honestly, I'm pretty sold on Neptune at this point due to the ability to both monitor and control, with a decent UI (I'm a UX designer).

I'm a bit optimistic re: the Coralvue Hydros in some ways, but not sure if it's just marketing. Clearly they haven't invested in the user experience on the UI side. But I'm interested in their approach.

Actually, one immediate question: The 'rope' style leak detectors that are available with Hydros...is especially appealing. Can I integrate rope-style leak detection with neptune? I'd assume not, but c'mon Neptune get on that!

Edited by Piero

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1 minute ago, Piero said:

Honestly, I'm pretty sold on Neptune at this point due to the ability to both monitor and control, with a decent UI (I'm a UX designer).

I'm a bit optimistic bout the Coralvue Hydros in some ways but not sure if it's just marketing, and clearly they haven't invested in the user experience on the UI side.

Actually, one question: The 'rope' style leak detectors that are available with Hydros...are very appealing. Can I integrate rope-style leak detection with neptune? I'd assume not, but c'mon Neptune get on that!

I'm also curious and optimistic about Hydros, but I wish they would provide more information about the UI and programming features.  I've reached out to them but it sounds like we all just need to wait to see what the final product will offer.

I doubt Neptune will interface with the Hydros rope leak detectors, but hopefully they will come out with their own version of it eventually.  It does seem like Neptune is at least going to be forced to innovate at a quicker pace with the newcomers in the market encroaching on their market dominance. 

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One thing I feel compelled to contribute:
This hobby grade stuff is great, but it is far from perfect. A real chemist's equipment to measure Ca or Mg would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy and require a constant supply of pure argon to operate. No chemist would trust a salinity or pH probe left unattended for days on end.

All of this is to say: I'm 100% a fan of these monitors if you can afford it, but I wouldn't ever have it control my reef. There are two things I give to a controller:
1. Time-based (lighting, etc)
2. ATO, only with failovers to alarm if the level raises or falls too much (redundancy)
I probably wouldn't trust an ATO, but it's just too hard to know I'll stay on top of daily topup. If evaporation was slow enough, I'd take off my ATO.

What happens when something weird happens to the trident or mindstream when it isn't controlling? You say "oh crap", get out a test kit, and realize the tank is fine. When it is controlling and goes wrong? Your tank dies from 18dKH all (or 3dKH).

My $0.02

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1 minute ago, Burningbaal said:

What happens when something weird happens to the trident or mindstream when it isn't controlling? You say "oh crap", get out a test kit, and realize the tank is fine. When it is controlling and goes wrong? Your tank dies from 18dKH all (or 3dKH).

The one thing that's nice about Neptune's approach to Trident Controlled Dosing is that it's up to you to decide the baseline dosing amount, then choose a percentage above or below that amount that the Trident is allow to adjust.  Prior to owning the Trident, I had my DOS programmed based on my daily manual test results.  Now the Trident is testing for me, but I don't allow it to increase or decrease by more than 20% of my manual dosing amounts.  If the Trident makes an incorrect measurement, it can't adjust the dosing enough to kill anything.  If a test result is way out of line, the Trident will revert back to my manual baseline dosing amounts.  Even though it's automated, I still do occasional QA checks to be safe.  After 6 months of use, it's still producing accurate measurements.

Obviously anything can fail, but so far the Trident has a pretty good track record.

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32 minutes ago, Burningbaal said:

I don't think it's really what you're after, but there is an open source project for a reef controller. Not as full featured yet, but if you're savvy you can add on to it (did I say open source?)
Reef-pi. Giant thread on reef2reef, adafruit guides, ranthelion HAT on tindie, GitHub code repository, etc

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
 

Thx for this. I feel like long term endgame is in the hobbyists' hands for hardware and software...and open source will eventually prevail since the probes/sensors are essentially commoditized. Software can be open-sourced along with UI design... and conditional language solutions for controlling are free. BUT, Neptune does deserve a round of applause as long as they can hold on. They're OG ofter all.

That said, there's always demand from consumers who aren't excited about anything DIY and just want and can afford plug-and-play solutions.

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Track record yes, but I just read an "oh crap" on a Facebook group yesterday, his trident had apparently crept the dosing up slightly over time and he going it was now 13 dKH without him knowing.

Sort of unrelated, apparently he lost wifi to fusion at the same time and the only thing he could do to fix it at the time was unplug it.

THE POINT/QUESTION: Is that threshold (say, 20%) total adjustmentor per unit of time? I assume the latter since his got out of whack

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5 minutes ago, Burningbaal said:

Track record yes, but I just read an "oh crap" on a Facebook group yesterday, his trident had apparently crept the dosing up slightly over time and he going it was now 13 dKH without him knowing.

Sort of unrelated, apparently he lost wifi to fusion at the same time and the only thing he could do to fix it at the time was unplug it.

THE POINT/QUESTION: Is that threshold (say, 20%) total adjustmentor per unit of time? I assume the latter since his got out of whack

Yes, I saw that too.

The percentage is absolute, so if your DOS is programmed with a baseline of 100ml per day, and you set the limit to 20%, it will never dose more than 120ml per day.  If that guy let his alk get up to 13 dKH without realizing it, he either let it go unchecked for a very long time, or he made some other mistake that he's not divulging.

That's why I still check manually every couple weeks, but I've never had any problem.  

Even though the Trident is still in short supply, there are currently thousands of them in use, so if there was a major design flaw you would see more than one or two people on Facebook ranting about it.

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17 minutes ago, Burningbaal said:

Track record yes, but I just read an "oh crap" on a Facebook group yesterday, his trident had apparently crept the dosing up slightly over time and he going it was now 13 dKH without him knowing.

Sort of unrelated, apparently he lost wifi to fusion at the same time and the only thing he could do to fix it at the time was unplug it.

THE POINT/QUESTION: Is that threshold (say, 20%) total adjustmentor per unit of time? I assume the latter since his got out of whack

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
 

Not shocked on the Ca/Alk/Mg automation early-adopter-syndrome.  I feel like it's a bit early if you're not sponsored. They clearly have wrinkles to work out. Needless to say you cannot be conservative enough. Warrantees will not replace livestock.

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I finally got an Apex for my new build. I will tell you when I was having setup issues and I called support, had a rep on the line in 5 mins, and has the problem resolved in less than 10 minutes basically made it worth getting. 
 

my background is in ReefKeeper. Had a lite for a long time and when the Archon was released I jumped on board after hearing all the great plans for it. I can tell you from experience, DON’T BE A FIRST IN LINE CONTROLLER BUYER! You are basically a paying beta tester. Nothing sucks more then dishing out your hard earned cash and not being able to get the thing working right, having shotty support (DA basically had 1 guy who was near impossible to get ahold of plus some part time online support people), and being stuck troubleshooting yourself. The issue is we are usually doing things like this as a system replacement or new addition to a running reef, not a separate setup to test first, so you need your reef gear running NOW. Makes things super frustrating when you feel like you can’t go to bed because your controller keeps rebooting or won’t figure out a function correctly. Let new stuff be vetted before giving it too much credit (talk is cheap). Mindstream after all, took like 5+ years to be released, sure glad I didn’t lay down cash 2 years ago hoping for a chance for it to work out and sitting around wishing you had it.
 

There is a reason why Apex is the “gold standard”. It’s not going to be cheap but you have customer support, large volume of users to leverage knowledge from, and years of testing backing it all up. From personal experience, you will be years ahead sticking with that then holding out for the promise of the next great controller.

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Yes, I saw that too.
The percentage is absolute, so if your DOS is programmed with a baseline of 100ml per day, and you set the limit to 20%, it will never dose more than 120ml per day.  If that guy let his alk get up to 13 dKH without realizing it, he either let it go unchecked for a very long time, or he made some other mistake that he's not divulging.
That's why I still check manually every couple weeks, but I've never had any problem.  
Even though the Trident is still in short supply, there are currently thousands of them in use, so if there was a major design flaw you would see more than one or two people on Facebook ranting about it.
That's fairly compelling... I'd be likely to set a very narrow band it's allowed to be in... presumably it can alert you if it hits the edge of the band?
Not that I'm shelling out the moolah, just curious, I guess

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8 minutes ago, Burningbaal said:

That's fairly compelling... I'd be likely to set a very narrow band it's allowed to be in... presumably it can alert you if it hits the edge of the band?
Not that I'm shelling out the moolah, just curious, I guess

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Yes, if the Trident tests outside the range you specify, it will send you a notification.

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For anyone reading this thread, and new to the Apex, feel free to read my 8-part Apex programming tutorial series to learn some innovative ways to get the most from your investment:  

 

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12 hours ago, Piero said:

Thx for all the replies! **** nerds. 😛

Yeah, the geek factor is high in these parts.  You didn't even get TheClark to weigh in yet!

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