Apex El is a new lower cost, lower featured version of the new Apex aquarium controller launched by Neptune Systems a couple years ago. The just-announced ApexEL comes in at three hundred dollars less than its fully fledged brother with a starting price of $499.
Since the new Apex is practically a “kitchen sink” controller with tons of ports and features, the Apex EL is not the worse for wear by dropping a few functions. We doubt too many reef builders will miss the 4-channel variable speed/dimming port or the BNC connection for measuring ORP.
However the omission of the conductivity measurement port is unfortunate because, you know, saltwater tank. Salinity is the most important parameter of seawater chemistry after temperature, but we also understand that quality conductivity probes are a good deal more expensive than comparable pH and ORP probes. Of course you can always add back the Salinity port by purchasing a PM2 Salinity Module for $85 and Salinity Probe for $125 but then you’re in pocket-change distance from the full-on Apex at $799.
If you’re looking for a more basic and affordable controller from Neptune Systems, the Classic Apex Jr. at $239 is a a less costly option. The only real downside is that you’ll have to use a physical line to network it with Ethernet since it doesn’t have wifi. However if you do see yourself upgrading with additional modules and accessories in the future, especially the various pumps that require 1Link, you’ll appreciate the 1Link module which is built into the Energy Bar 832 of the ApexEL. [Neptune Systems]