Its been some time since we first laid our hands on our shop use Alkatronic device but what do we think of it several months on.
First what is the Alkatronic.
Alkatronic is an all in one product for serious reefers to automatically monitor and stabilize alkalinity for your reef system. The product works straight out of the box without the need of any other equipment. This product was originally designed by Jonas Roman from Sweden and is commercialized together with FOCUSTRONIC.
- All-in-1 (Standalone) Alkalinity Controller
- Maintains and Control dKH below or above desired levels
- Measure Interval: 1-12 hours
- Connectivity: WiFi / Bluetooth
- Cloud Server Function
- iOS App (Android to follow soon)
- High Precision Stepper Motors and DC Motors
- pH Based Titration Method
- dKH Measuring Range: 4.48 - 15.40 dKH
- Direct Control 3rd Party Calcium Dosing Systems (Ca. Reactor or Balling)
- Compatible with 3rd Party Aquarium Controller (ie: Apex, GHL) via BNC Connector
- Hardware Ready for upcoming DOSETRONIC (our new dosing station)
- Low Maintenance Required
- Size: 22x14x27 cm
- Power: 12V DC
So in essence its a device which continually monitors your KH of your water, we have it set to check parameters every 6 hours, if its out of our set range of preffered KH then it checks it every two hour. On top of this if your KH is low it can be used to automatically dose some pre made KH Solution.
Different ways it can be used
So the Alkatronic primarily is just for measuing the KH of your tank, it can then be used to dose some pre made solution to stabalize your KH, but with so many of us using dosers or calcium reactors this may not be best way of working for us but theres several ways you can set your unit up
1. (This is how we use the alkatronic in house) The alkatronic comes with a bluetooth adapator power socket, we use this socket to power our Kamoer 4 head doser which runs our balling method dosing solutions. We have the doser set to dose a higher rate than we would do without the Alkatronic, as the doser injects KH (and other elements) into our system the Alkatronic monitors the KH levels, when they get above 7.9 (our desired set point) it says, enough is enough and turns off this bluetooth plug which therefore turns off our doser. When the levels drop back down the switch is deactivated and our doser turns back on. This allows our KH to bounce along within a small degree at our desired level.
2. As above you can use the Alkatronic to turn on and off your calcium reactor, you could then also add the desired KH buffer solution for those times when your levels may drop a little low.
3. You can connect your Alkatronic to your Neptune apex unit via the BNC Connectors and use the values to programme your DOS dosing system.
4. Dosetronic. Another option is to use the newly released Dosetronic, this is a 5 headed doser that works in partnership with the Alkatronic, you can set it with a set dosing system like Triton, Ati or Aquaforest and they will continually monitor and dose your system to keep it as stable as possible
The running cost is low, a bottle of reagent is going to set you back £120, but its going to last a year so thats only £10 a month which is cheaper than a test kit.
What are our thoughts
For us using the Alkatronic on a large SPS coral system where corals are taken in and out of the system on a daily basis so consumption constantly changes its invaluble, it allows us to manually test less and get on with other jobs around the store (pretty much mainly cleaning) We would love to run it in combination with a dosetronic to get full and most accurate results but its a cost we cant justify when its working superbly alongside our Kamoer doser so we have no plans to do this.
Would we have one at home on our reef system? Well this is debateable, if cash wash no object and we were SPS and high end coral heavy then YES absolutely it would definately help keep the system stable the corals happy and our reef looking at its best. For smaller softie and lps dominated systems where KH stability is desirable but changes are less detrimental we might not want to fork out the £1110 its costs. But as with anything its relative, if you spend a lot of time and money on your reef and having an alkatronic helps protect that investment.
Issues we have faced
We had some issues with the bluetooth connectivity to the Alkatronic, now im told this is an android issue and that Iphone users dont have this problem, theres also a Lite app for android which negates this issue and connects to the alkatronic via the cloud. That aside we still had some issues when we have to re calibrate the pumps (which it reminds you to do a little too often) calcibration is a little bit of a pain so set some time aside for this.
That aside we have found the Alkatronic to be accurate and time saving, not to mention coral saving.