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Apex or Reefkeeper? Lite or Full?

I think its about time to dive into a controller. But which one?

I don't have any exceptionlly complicated equipment at the moment (list below)

40G (Upgrading to a 90G as we speak, build thread coming)
20L sump
Coralife Aqualight Pro (LED fixtures for new build, Radion or AI, not sure yet)
GFO Reactor
Carbon Reactor
ROE 200 Skimmer
MAG 9.5
Finex Titanium with built-in controller

I top off with Kalk and dose Calc and Alk when needed but not as a two part daily.

The RK lite has a nice price tag, but is limited compared to the full version of the Reefkeeper.

Apex seems to be the standard in digital controllers, which also offer as lite model, but I am unsure what is in my best interest.

Is it better to go with the full Apex or RK or is it cost effective enough to start with a "lite" model and then upgrade when I feel that I need more performance?

what are you looking to do? If its simple turn stuff on and off, I'd go with the RK. If you want to do other stuff like top off, or any other dry contact actuated switch go with the apex. By dry contact switch I mean something like one of those window alarms that when a window gets opened the alarm goes off. That can be practical for when say you opened a cabinet door, it turns a light on for you. Apex has an app for iPhones, and droids(blah). The app allows me to turn my outlets on and off, shows me a graph of my temp and pH throughout the day, the week, or the month. It also lets me know when power went off, and can send me alarms (emails/text) With the alarm, you could program it to send an audible alarm if there was water dripping on the floor. The possibilities are endless. I could go on for a while, if you want more examples shoot me a PM or ask here.

Apex. I have heard from several very reputable people as of late that think RKs products are garbage. I have also heard from numerous people, their customer service is flat out rude. I haven't personally used one, but I trust what I hear from them.

Every Neptune product I have used has been great.

Interested in a neptune as well... just need to find one place for a good price.

I would second the apex. Right now I have a rk2, older reefkeeper model, that isn't too bad, but I think the expand ability of the apex is really a big key. You might not need everything that an apex can do, but it's nice to have a piece of equipment that can grow with your system. On top of that there is a strong community of support for the apex so I think you would be able to find help when you need it.

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What about an AC Jr? What am I going to find out later that I'm not able to do with a Jr that I am able to do with a full module?

[quote="aaronnohren" post=10387]What about an AC Jr? What am I going to find out later that I'm not able to do with a Jr that I am able to do with a full module?[/quote]
I have an ACjr running my 120 and never found it lacking.

If you are planning on LEDs use the Apex full over the lite version. I dont think the AC jr has the variable speed(0-10 volt signal for LEDs) I have an apex and have had a couple small issues with it but I would recommend one for sure.
Never used a RK but they seem considerably less common and I agree with skipper on the support for the apex.

I will respectfully disagree with any negative comments made about the Digital Aquatics products. I have never had any issues with mine and when I first got the device and had some programming questions, their support forum was quick to respond.

For me, the Lite version is all I need...I control my TEK 6 lamp fixture timing schedule, and my refugium alternating light schedule, heaters and fans based on temperature measurements, and my ATO using the DA dual float switch. I monitor, temperature, pH, and can do salinity if I choose to get the salinity probe. I have thought about getting the Elite for the "cool" factor, not because I really need it. It does what most of the upper level versions of the controllers do with text messaging and internet access to parameters, etc...and gives you more options to expand with different modules if you want to.

I'm not going to tell you which controller to buy...ultimately that is your personal decision based on your research. Everyone who owns a particular product is going to tell you to get that one because it is a self validation thing for the purchase they made...lol
I will say that I really don't think Nebraska Aquatic Supply would carry the Digital Aquatics brand if it was junk...its not, far from it...and for what its worth, I don't think Marine Depot would give the ReefKeeper the "Best Controller" award if it was junk either...they carry just about every type of controller so I think it says something that they put their reputation on giving it an award like that.

Good luck on your decision...a controller is a great thing to have on a reef aquarium

I concur with jb61264, I have had really good luck with RK Lite. It controls some of my lights, my two part dosing pumps, and my heater. A controller is a must for me since I travel and the two (2) years I have been running the RKL it has worked perfectly. Good luck!

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