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This month's club meeting included a visit from Dave Botwin who did a really nice presentation about how to use inexpensive parts to make your Apex controller more handy. I had to pick him up from the airport and after he was done gazing at my tank, we talked about what kinds of things I'd like my Apex to do that it doesn't do already. The first hurdle was overcoming my trust issues regarding the return pump.  I've always had that plugged directly into the a wall outlet so nothing could disable it other than a full-blown power outage.  No GFCI outlets, just keep it powered at all costs.  

Dave managed to bring all kinds of parts with him on his flight, getting no flack from TSA inspectors.  Crazy.  We wired in three buttons, and hooked up the WMX module I've had sitting in my upgrade/back-up pile of gear. The big button turns off the return pump and one of the skimmer's pumps for a 15 minute duration when I feed my reef.  After 15 minute elapses, the return pump turns on again, and five minutes later the skimmer resumes.  It's a very nice feature, as this allows the water level in the sump to normalize before the skimmer turns back on.

The other two buttons are for the Radion fixture over the Anemone Cube. I have a blue button that will immediately put the cube in Ultra Blue mode for 15 minutes.  If someone visits at an odd time of day and wants to see the tank, I'll use that button to wow them.  The white button puts the tank in 10,000K mode, which is ideal for those times when I want to capture something on video.  It goes back to the normal schedule after 15 minutes.

I see more buttons in my future.  A light over the sump area so I can see what I'm doing.  A virtual switch for water changes that will disable all kinds of stuff for 30 minutes, instead of manually switching each item off.  An additional pH probe to measure the calcium reactor's effluent so I can be notified if the CO2 runs out or the calcium reactor's flow has ceased.  

We also discussed how to connect additional components for the upcoming frag tank system I've mentioned earlier this year. This will allow me to keep it stable with the same Apex controller, even though it will be a stand-alone system.

I'm definitely going to add a strobe warning light as an immediate visual to help me notice when things aren't going as programmed.  I love that.

We also chatted about how to set up my water change system using a dual-head dosing pump. I've been pretty paranoid about that plan, but Dave's seen it all in his 30 years in the hobby.  He told me to drill a hole (seriously?!) near the bottom of my 250g poly tank, and says it will be just fine with a 1/4" uniseal connection.  Hmm.  

Probably the biggest surprise for him was when he got up on the walkboard and looked down into my reef. He said the corals were just stunning, far nicer looking than from the front or back when viewing the tank normally.  This is typical to me, but he recommended I put more blue lighting on the eurobracing. By looking through a swath of blue, the reef should be even nicer looking.  I'm going to order one light next week and see how I like it, and let y'all know if it was a Yay or Nay.