Neptune Systems AquaController Apex Lite System

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This item has been discontinued.

Neptune Systems

A Full-Featured Controller at a Great Price! Dollar for dollar you will not find a higher-quality controller that gives you more features, is easier to use, or has a larger and more active user base than the Apex. For the most part, the Apex Lite System is just like its bigger brother the Apex System. However, the Apex Lite System is the choice for those that want the advanced features of the Apex System but who do not feel that they need a couple of features like the built-in ability to control LED lighting or monitoring an extra pH or ORP probe.



  • Ethernet Interface
  • Embedded Web Server
  • Only controller with web browser Monitoring, Control & Configuration.
  • Email Alarms
  • Most expandable Controller. Up to 240 modules, hundreds of probes, and thousands of controlled outlets.
  • Simple menu driven Configuration No program language knowledge required.
Robust Timers
  • Simulates Sunrise/sunset
  • Simulates moon cycle
  • Wave Maker and Random timed cycles
  • Still water feed mode (multiple modes)
Ultimate Control
  • Monitor/Control Temperature, pH
  • Digital Calibration on all probes
  • Seasonal temp & lighting control
  • Flexible Control Options
Built-in Ethernet
  • Integrated Ethernet port
  • Most advanced web server available
  • Interactive flash graphing application in the web server
  • Interfaces with AquaNotes iPhone application
  • Compatible with all Major web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari)
  • Only aquarium controller with web server monitoring, control, and configuration
  • Compatible with wireless bridges or game adapters (802.11x) so that wireless network communication is possible
  • Email or text message alarms
  • Email alarms or audible alarms when Energy Bar power fails
  • Interactive flash graphing application in the web server
  • Interfaces with AquaNotes iPhone application
  • RSS and XML Support
Very simple menu driven configuration
  • Menus to easily setup pumps, lights, heater, chiller, co2, etc
  • No programming required for configuration
  • Can name the outlets (unlike competing products)
  • Can be configured through LCD Display or a standard web browser
  • In advanced mode an enhanced AquaController programming language is available
  • Sophisticated non standard control available
  • Virtual Outlets allow even more complex control options
Monitor/Control - pH, Temp

The base unit includes software which is capable of monitoring pH, and temperature. The monitored data is continuously displayed on the large LCD display and also logged into the internal nonvolatile memory for later retrieval. All probes support digital calibration.

Galvanic isolation on probes

Galvanic isolation on the probes results much more reliable and accurate probe readings. While these features increase costs we feel that probe accuracy is absolutely critical for monitoring/controlling your tank, unlike many competing aquarium controllers.

State of the Art Electronics Integration
  • Only 32 bit processor on an Aquarium controller
  • Over 16 times more code space & 5X faster than competitive controllers
  • The huge code space means that future expandability is ensured
  • Over 16 times data storage memory than the competition
  • 1 year’s worth of data logs can be stored internally
New Enhanced Control Functionality

  • Day of Week functionality
  • Sub minute control added on EnergyBar controlled devices
  • Default outlet state for all EnergyBar outlets
  • Second resolution control
Sunrise and Sunset Simulation

The Apex has a special control function which can be used to simulate the varying lengths of days throughout the year. This feature is used to make the length of daylight hours longer in the summer than in the winter. This results in a more realistic simulation of natural lighting variations.

Moon Cycle Simulation

The Apex has another special control function which can be used to simulate the moon cycle in your tank. The lunar simulator is used for this feature and is capable of varying the intensity of light emitted from its LEDs. The intensity variations are controlled by the Apex which is preprogrammed with correct intensity values for each day of the moon cycle. The Apex automatically updates the intensity value depending upon the current setting of the Apex`s clock. With this artificial moon cycle, it is possible to induce corals and fish to spawn.


Each pump to be controlled can either have a random or fixed time period. Both the on and off times are fully programmable and can range from 1 minute to 4 hours in 1 minute increments. Four independent variable length feed timer cycle scan be initiated with the press of a button and will disable some or all of the pumps in the system (programmed by the user).

6 Digital Inputs

The Apex comes equipped with 6TTL level external inputs which can be used to activate/deactivate equipment in response to an external stimulus. Applications for these inputs include connection to water level float switches, water pressure and flow sensors, and water on the floor sensors. The Apex can be configured to signal alarms or turn on/off appliances in the event of external switch open or closure.

Modular Expansion through AquaBus
  • High reliability protocol with robust error correction
  • Virtual unlimited expandability. The most expandable controller.
  • Plug and Play – AquaBus modules are automatically recognized and configured
  • Cable lengths over 200 feet
  • Expandable to 240 AquaBus modules
  • Add optional modules to monitor Hundreds of Probes
  • Add additional EnergyBars to control thousands of outlets
  • All AquaBus modules allow for easy firmware updates
  • Probe modules available (or in development) for additional Temperature, pH, ORP, Conductivity, and dissolved oxygen probes
  • Module firmware updates done through AquaBus. No need to disassemble controller, and individually update modules
Backward Compatibility

All AquaController 3 accessories work with the AquaController Apex. One major design consideration was to maintain backwards compatibility to protect existing customer’s investment in AquaController compatible equipment.
  • I/O port expansion backwards compatible with PX 1000
  • Compatible with the breakout box
  • Integrated control port - All control port accessories (DC8, DC4, DC4HD, AquaSurf, Lunar Sim)
AquaBus Features
  • Two AquaBus connectors for easy expansion, and flexible cabling options
  • Plug and Plug bus allows for modular expansion.
Updateable Firmware
  • Firmware updates via Ethernet
    Flash memory so new features can be easily added
  • All AquaBus modules allow for easy firmware updates
  • No need to unplug/rewire devices to perform the firmware update (unlike the competition)
Alternate power port on Apex Lite Base Unit
  • In power failure situations Alarm emails can still be sent
  • Can detect power failures in EnergyBars
  • Internal rechargeable backup battery retains clock
  • Graph probe/device data on the LCD display
Compact Size

7.5" x 2.6" x 1.10"

Product Manuals & Documentation

Neptune Systems AquaController Apex Lite System

Owner's Manual available for download in Adobe PDF file format

Manufacturer Info

Neptune Systems Aquarium Supplies
Neptune Systems is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of aquarium controllers. The company was founded in 1995 for the purpose of developing affordable water quality monitoring and control instrumentation. Their engineering team has extensive expertise in computer hardware and software system design as well as a background in water quality analysis. Neptune Systems uses these finely-honed engineering skills to develop innovative monitoring and control solutions for use in reef and fresh water aquariums, aquaculture tanks, hydroponics systems and general laboratory use. Neptune Systems is best known for their AquaController line. The company is known for their innovation and customer centricity.

18 Reviews



Experience Level: Intermediate

Great investment!

I think a controller was a great investment for my 90 gallon mixed reef. I bought two dosing pumps, the PH probe, and I'm working on a an auto top off with a breakout box. I also get piece of mind making sure my heater will shut down if it were to malfunction. Programming this was simple enough, although the setting up the email was a pain. I had to create an email with my ISP since this didn't work with any of the big email sites. Build quality is great, but I do wish it was a little cheaper, especially now that its discontinued and its either the Apex Jr. or the full Apex as your only options.

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Experience Level: Intermediate

Great product

All i can say is i wish i got this first before i even started reefing. Its a bit pricy and the programming is a bit difficult but all in all its a great product, i love the remote access, it keeps me in tune with daily changes. Havent got into the streaming camera part yet but it looks good from other videos and pictures ive seen.

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Experience Level: Expert

Apex Lite

Great controller, I'm only using it for basic functions, like lights and pumps, pretty easy to set up, I wish it came with a written manual but it only has a CD ROM disk, I guess they wanted to save paper because the manual is very long. I recommend getting the pH probe to make use of the feature, and monitor your pH, some of the programming instructions, can be a little difficult,to follow. If you can't run a wire to your router buy the Actiontec Powerline Network Adapter Kit, it works the best, It's supposed to be hardwired through your house somehow I got mine at Best Buy $50 dollars. Can't figure out all the feature like email alerts and alarms and feed mode these basic features should be more user friendly.

1 out of 1 found this review helpful

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Experience Level: Intermediate

Good unit, poor setup info

Apex Lite does exactly what it claims, but the setup process is nowhere near as easy as advertised. The default IP address does not work if you've altered any settings in your home router. You will have to know how to get the address of the Apex via pinging & know EXACTLY what devices are on your home network. That may seem easy, but if you have kids and they have Nintendo DS/DSi, an Xbox 360 or a PS3, not to mention the BluRay players that are tied in (and have any tablets that will pop up on the wifi), you are in for some 'fun' deciphering which device corresponds to which address. For the real fun, if you attempt to use this device wirelessly by tying it to a wired to wireless adapter...GOOD LUCK. This device repeatedly caused issues on the wireless side of things in my home. My ultimate resolution was to purchase a 'desktop network switch' to share the ethernet cable to my home office with the PS3, laptop and the Apex. Once hardwired, the learning curve for programming is fairly high. There is an easier way to do things than the advanced window, and there are help forums and videos on Youtube...but the process is not intuitive. Forget about programming it with the display...just not user friendly at all. I also own a Digital Aquatics Reef Keeper Light, and I programmed the chiller, heater, lights and pumps with EASE on the two line display of the RKL. If you have need an inexpensive unit for a tank, the Apex Lite is NOT FOR YOU...the DA RKL is the better unit for that, and at 199.99 for the RKL with the SL1 and PH probe, you can't go wrong. If on the other hand you want to remotely control and monitor your tank (I use my phone or my tablet...both Android based), plus see trends plotted over time, then the Apex Lite is your answer, just be REALLY PATIENT and have a PC handy to find a support forum or look up videos on YouTube.

3 out of 3 found this review helpful

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Experience Level: Expert

Apex how did I live without it

Apex how did I live without it: I am not sure how I ever kept a tank looking so good without this Apex. It does anything and everything you can think of. End of story.

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Experience Level: Intermediate

Very nice

Lots of choices in programs and also expandable to whatever i might want to add

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Experience Level: Beginner


Just purchased this and got it up and running. It has already been great on getting my tank temp. under control. My tank was heating up as the heaters did not turn off as they should. Now the heaters are controlled by the Apex and my tank runs at a the correct temp. Still learning how to set everything up. I think this is the best purchase I made for my tank so far.

1 out of 4 found this review helpful

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Experience Level: Intermediate

No regrets

Tank controllers are just a must own no matter how big or small of a reef tank you have. The Apex is a bit overkill for some I am sure but there are less expensive options out there. This system however is great. Easy to use, easy to set up, and easy to program. I have since added a pH probe and the VDM unit to control my DIY LED fixture and this system has added a great deal of flexibility and the sunrise/sunset effects are fantastic. I have had very few issues, just some quirky lag or sometimes it not wanting to load the main page on my computer when running firefox, but seems to work better with internet explorer. Overall, no regrets. This system is great and I plan on continuing to expand it with a breakout box for auto top off. And getting some dosing pumps to take full advantage of this excellent piece of hardware.

7 out of 7 found this review helpful

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Experience Level: Expert

another hit from neptune

this one does it all. very easy to use and setup

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Experience Level: Expert

Priceless peace of mind!

I purchased the lite version of the Neptune Apex back in May, 2011 and it has given me the peace of mind to enjoy traveling again. As any reef aquarist knows, we invest a lot of time and money into these delicate ecosystems. I cannot tell you how awesome it is to check the status of my tank, or even change an outlet program from my phone. We visited my family a few weeks after I installed the Apex and it helped me avoid disaster! While I was away, the plastic shaft broke on my chiller pump, rendering the chiller useless and causing extra heat in the process. I promptly received an email from the controller once the temp exceeded the high point I had established. I immediately shut off all pump and light outlets, until I could get home and troubleshoot the issue. The old saying, 'ignorance is bliss' need never be uttered again, once you experience the peace of mind this controller will give you. I can finally enjoy traveling again and still be a part of this amazing hobby!

3 out of 3 found this review helpful

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