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Gore15

What automation platform to use for a 20 gal shallow tank

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Gore15

I am looking to change my current setup, a shallow 20gal reef, with few soft corals and two fish and a small CuC, to a more automated lower maintenance unit.  I have a maxspect razor nano 70w, JEBO RV4 streamer and the a basic heater and another return pump in the back.

 

What I am trying to setup is a more automated maintenance and so far I have seen APEX as an integrated system but I cannot be sure if that is suitable for my need. What I have been thinking is to get the automation and set it up for this tank and slowly look into buying and setting up a larger tank and move the automation to the bigger tank.

 

I have no skimmer, have been running it without a skimmer. I have Mangrove on one side of the reef where it is not directly under the light. Otherwise this is a very basic unit as far as I can compare it with the reefs that I see here.

 

What I want to automate and monitor:

 

- Dosing

- Feeding (would it even be possible to have automated feeding for such a small tank?)

- Auto top off

- Auto water change

- Monitor temp, ph, ca, etc

 

 

And of course I am looking to use the monitoring information to trigger something like dosing or water change.

 

 

Thank you,

The Gore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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paulsz

Apex has most of what you need. It can just get expensive to have it all done through Apex.

 

- I have the basic Apex stuff. Monitors pH and temperature. And the EB8 (8 outlet power bar) that I can program if i need to. For example, I have the heatere plugged into it. The heater does it's own ON/OFF. But the Apex is programmed to not let the heater turn on if temp goes over 80F (on summer days it may get up there on it's own) and allow to turn back on at 78F. Again, this is just an example.  

 

- I also have my ATO hooked up to the apex. My ATO is the basic float switch method, with a second float switch to prevent flooding should the first switch get stuck for some reason. That's plugged into my Apex, and is programmed to be on all the time. The ATO controls itself. But i have it plugged into to the apex so that during water changes, it won't turn on. that way i don't accidentally have a few gallons of freshwater dump into the tank during a water change. 

 

- Feeding - I have the Eheim auto feeder. Can be programmed up to 4 times a day I think. You wouldn't need anything more special for auto-feeding in my opinion. And yes you can have it on a 20 gallon. you can adjust it to feed minimal amounts. The amount is not controller super precisely, but enough for our needs. 

 

- Auto water change - i'll let others speak of this. I have zero experience with it.

 

- Dosing - you can get a bunch of dosers, from cheap to super expensive. Some apex ones which could be controlled and monitored through the Apex app, but it gets expensive. I have the Jebao 4 head doser. It's cheap but I haven't had issues with it yet. I know some people hate it, and i'm sure there's a bunch of defective ones out there (compared to the expensive dosers which probably have a better build and better quality control). But if you don't have a super expensive tank with very precious and sensitive corals, i think it's sufficient. 

 

4 hours ago, Gore15 said:

- Dosing

- Feeding (would it even be possible to have automated feeding for such a small tank?)

- Auto top off

- Auto water change

- Monitor temp, ph, ca, etc

 

 

 

 

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mcarroll
14 hours ago, Gore15 said:

Otherwise this is a very basic unit as far as I can compare it with the reefs that I see here.

 

What I want to automate and monitor:

 

- Dosing

- Feeding (would it even be possible to have automated feeding for such a small tank?)

- Auto top off

- Auto water change

- Monitor temp, ph, ca, etc

 

 

And of course I am looking to use the monitoring information to trigger something like dosing or water change.

Easy to say....

 

I suspect this automation would cost more in total than either of the systems you intend to put it on....unless you DIY a lot of it.

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Gore15
On 11/21/2020 at 2:40 AM, mcarroll said:

Easy to say....

 

I suspect this automation would cost more in total than either of the systems you intend to put it on....unless you DIY a lot of it.

Do you use any automation yourself. that you could recommend that cost less?

 

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aclman88

Hydros 4 is out now from coralvue... cheaper that apex and looks promising.  You might want to wait a bit until it is in more people's hands, though.

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mcarroll
17 hours ago, Gore15 said:

Do you use any automation yourself. that you could recommend that cost less?

 

I was on Digital Aquatics, but they folded a year or two ago.

 

Presently no overall automation.  Separate controllers for lights (Kessil), pumps (Tunze 7096), doser (Jebao) and ATO (Tunze Osmolator).  All tied into a DJ power strip so it's pretty livable.  I can't say I really miss the Reefkeeper, but it was really nice for the 9-10 years I had it running.  👍

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Gore15

Thank you @paulsz and @mcarroll for the input. I will keep an eye for Hydros 4 @aclman88

 

How do you generally do measurements? Using automation or test kits?

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mcarroll

Even when I had the ReefKeeper running, temperature was the only thing it was measuring – for backup temperature control of the system's heaters.  It would have been interesting to have pH monitoring, but only for my curiosity's sake....the tank was always fine without it.  I did use the ReefKeeper for an A/B wavemaker as well...it was a really nice way to control my old set of Tunze 6045 AC pumps.  But in terms of measurement, everything else has always been test kits.  I've always had at least one analog thermometer on the system to monitor temperature.  Usually I have one glass thermometer or one digital as well as one LCD thermometer (no, not LED...LCD) for direct comparison.

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farkwar

Wifi power strip are very useful for non critical timed appliances.  And run about $25 for 6 switched outlets

 

So nice, that the whole Hydros control system is based on cheap Chinese $25 wifi power strips

 

I use the Geeni wifi strips, but only for non critical devices

 

I have decided on the GHL line of controllers, for critical devices. The Wifi Mini for my nano tanks. And the Profilux 4 for the big system

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farkwar
1 hour ago, mcarroll said:

Usually I have one glass thermometer o

Always

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