VIDEO: Neptune System’s New Fluid Monitoring Kit (FMK) for Apex Controllers
02 Mar, 2017
Neptune Systems has just introduced their new Flow Monitoring Kit (FMK) for the Apex Aquarium Controller systems; it’s the latest expansion module for the Apex controller line, and is backwards compatible with all Apex systems. The FMK includes the FMM (Fluid Monitoring Module), one 1″ flow sensor, and two 1/2″ flow sensors.
With 4 ports per FFM (one used per sensor), you’re free to add an additional sensor (also available in 2″ and 1/4″ sizes), or other peripheral devices like the Optical Water-Level Sensor, or the new Leak-Detection Modules (there are two variations, one sensor for solid surfaces and another slimline version for use under carpets). Individual components, including the FMM and its peripherals, are all available for individual purchase, allowing advanced aquarists to create a tailored expansion for their individual needs. Visit https://www.neptunesystems.com/fmm-accessories/ for a full listing of all the peripheral devices and accessories available for the FMK/FMM.
The ability to monitor the flow rate of fluids opens up a wide range of benefits to aquarists, most obviously the ability to detect pump failures and filtration media clogs. Of course, that is only the beginning…
Watch the Introductory FMK Video from Neptune Systems
Neptune Systems has furnished this quick Q&A covering the FMK/FMM product introduction, which will address many of the questions you may be asking.
Q: What made you guys at Neptune Systems decide to develop a product like the FMK?
A: Well, there are a number of key parameters in an aquarium, and should they fall too far out of the norms, things go bad — sometimes very quickly. With the Apex, we already had tackled monitoring and alerting aquarists on most of these, like: Temperature, pH, Salinity, PAR, etc. But there was one key component of keeping an aquarium alive that was missing: water flow. If this is not adequate, the animals will suffer. If it ceases altogether, it could be a matter of a few hours before all is lost. So we decided that having that key parameter monitored was a missing piece of the puzzle. That is what drove us to develop the FMM and the FMK – Flow Monitoring Kit.
Q: Is this mainly just for return pumps, then?
A: Well, that is how we started out, for sure. However, once we went down that road, we realized how little people understood about the flow in their aquariums – not only the return pump, but all the various filters and devices they use as well. Things like carbon, GFO, biopellet reactors, UV, etc. all require a specific flow amount to operate optimally. Also, that flow changes over time due to various factors in those devices, so a lot could be learned by the aquarist if they had access to this data. This made us realize we should offer smaller sensors as well. We even have sensors for 1/4” tubing, so even the input to RODI systems could be monitored by the Apex.
Q: This seems kind of complicated. Is this just for the advanced aquarist?
A: No, with a little bit of simple plumbing work, any average aquarist can install these sensors and add the FMK to their Apex in under an hour. One could even say that the average or less experienced aquarist could benefit the most from the FMK, since it helps them take out the guesswork in so many things that require flow on an aquarium.
Q: What is the cost for the FMK?
A: The FMK costs $199.95. When we created the FMK, we looked at other standalone flow monitoring options, both in and out of the aquarium market. Most cost at least double what the FMK costs, and that was just for one sensor and electronic readout — no text alerts, no logging on your smart phone, none of the advanced features you get with the FMK and your Apex. Since we believed this could be one of the most valuable pieces of equipment for creating a long-term successful aquarium, we wanted to get this technology into the hands of the most people possible. This is why we worked hard to develop something that would give our customers multiple sensors for a very reasonable price.
Q: Are there other sized sensors than what comes in the FMK?
A: Yes, in addition to the 1” and 1/2” sensors that are in the kit, we also have available flow sensors for 2” and 1/4”. In fact, there are even more sensors available that you can plug into that FMM module for functions like leak detection and optical water level sensing. There are four ports on FMM where you can plug in all of these various sensors.
Q: I have 1 1/4” return plumbing from my pump and I use 3/4” off my manifolds for my UV. Do you have sensors in those sizes?
A: No, we do not. But we thought this through. You can easily adapt down a 2” sensor to 1 1/4” using a reducer bushing with no negative flow side effects. Similarly, you can step down the 1” sensor to 3/4”.
Q: What is that ACC connection on the FMM?
A: That is a DC24 Accessory port just like the ones on our Energy Bar 832 and 1Link module. Accessories such as our PMUP utility pump as well as our solenoid valve can be attached there. You then plug in a power supply to the other port next to it, and you now have a new outlet available in your Apex Fusion dashboard that you can configure for control to your liking.
Q: Can I just buy the FMM and mix and match sensors a la carte?
A: Of course you can! However, the FMK was put together so that you actually get a pretty decent cost savings if you buy the kit as opposed to buying things piecemeal.
Q: Will the FMK only work on the new (WiFi) Apex?
A: No, the FMK will work on ALL Apex systems. We knew when we released the new Apex last year that no one would really believe us when we said that we wouldn’t immediately leave them behind. The FMK is proof that we care about all our customers, not just the ones with the latest gear. It took a lot of work to make the FMK work with the Apex Jr. and Apex Classic (which are now over 8 years old), but we heard loud and clear this was important to our customers, so we did it.
Q: Will there be more “kits” released in the future?
A: Yes, we have a lot planned for the FMM module. The FMK is just the first “kit” that uses it. Out on YouTube you can go see interviews Terence did at MACNA where he also demoed the ATO solution we will launch in the very near future. That product will be the next kit released and will be called the ATK, which stands for Automatic Top-off Kit.
Q: Where and when can I buy the FMK and accessories?
A: The FMK is already being shipped to resellers in North America, who will be receiving them over the next week. Many LFS and online dealers will have them. In fact, many of them are taking pre-orders right now. Sales outside North America will begin in about 8-10 weeks.