Manufacturers in our hobby that stand behind their products (Reef Tanks & Saltwater Aquariums)
I go through a lot of gear and gadgets for my reef tank. I love technology and in this hobby where stability is one of the main keys to a thriving tank - constantly trying new gear and changing the tech on my tank has put me in a tough spot more than a few times.
One of the few benefits of this is that I get to deal with the support departments of a number of these brands and below are my top 3. This is based on my 8 years of being in the hobby.
3. Apex (Neptune Systems).
I consider a controller a necessary piece of equipment on every reef tank I own. It's just in my nature to integrate as much technology into my life as possible. I've had contact with Neptune Systems support on many occasions and I always felt like my issues were dealt with promptly and fairly.
The Neptune Systems support forums (https://forum.neptunesystems.com) is available 24 hours a day and features a very active community of other Apex users who are willing offer their time and expertise to help others with trouble-shooting and solving issues with modules, programming and pretty much any other question, issue or task that may arise. There is also an active help section on Reef2Reef.
Over the years I think I've owned every Neptune Systems module except the PAR & Dissolved Oxygen modules. With the constant changes and swapping modules you can imagine I've had contact with support a number of times. They always follow-up promptly - even when I'm the one that doesn't respond when I open tickets. I get periodic email prompts requesting a status update on my issue. You don't just wake up to one of those dreaded "Your ticket has been closed" email that some of us are all too familiar with. My latest intereaction with Neptune support happened because I got my controller head wet. Instead of having to ship the controller from New York to California, wait for it to get repaired and sent back, I was able to pay a fee and have another controller sent to me that I used until my main system got repaired.
Neptune Systems has high visibility - I've seen company representatives at every major frag swap or reefing related event in the NYC Tri-State Area in the last 4 or 5 years. Tom Dachille who now works for Neptune Systems was the person who first introduced me to the Neptune Apex when he was an employee at Manhattan Aquariums. His career has now taken him to work for Neptune Systems as the East Coast representative and he is still a resource I lean-on when I need help with programming.
So quick re-cap about Neptune Systems - There is always support available at forum.neptunesystems.com and from loyal users on other forums, When you contact Neptune Systems directly, support is very responsive and I see company reps at most reefing events which gives you a sense of comfort that you can always find someone if you need help.
Current Neptune Equipment
- 2016 Apex
- Extra EB832
- Lunar Sim Module
- Apex Jr
- WXM Module
- Apex AFS
I've been using Tunze equipment since my first days in the hobby. My first and only auto top off unit until a year ago was the Tunze Osmolator 3155 and it never failed me - the first powerheads I purchased new were Tunze 6095. These powerheads were almost bulletproof and stood up to the abuse of a new reefer. I going through my extensive history of reef equipment and I've never had a tank with a piece of Tunze equipment running on it. (Tunze Osmolator, Tunze 6095, Tunze Waterprook 6500k light, Tunze Aquawind fans, Tunze 9410 & 94002 skimmers.
Tunze pumps come with a 2 year warranty standard, except for the Tunze stream 3 which comes with a 5 year warranty. Below is a direct quote from Roger at Tunze USA.
We have a standard warranty of 2 years, the 6150 Stream 3 is an exception with a 5 year warranty. Part of what we wanted to do with this pump was change the face of DC pumps which generally have a finite life span of about 5-8 years, we built it to last for 20+ years and wanted the warranty to reflect the confidence that we have built a pump that is the last you would need to buy.
Speaking of Roger, he is the embodiment of Tunze USA. Most of the time when I call Tunze USA's support number Roger answers. And he knows his stuff, he once answered a question about a years old skimmer right off the top of his head. When I message him questions on Reef2Reef they are usually answered in 24 or less.
I haven't seen Tunze at Reefapalooza NY the 3 times I've been there but I look forward to meeting and talking with him at MACNA 2018 in Las Vegas.
In my 6 years in the hobby to date Tunze is the only brand where I recieved an incomplete product in the box and I felt confident enough not to return it but to contact the manufacturer directly. When I get anything brand new, If the parts are not all there, I feel a sense of disappointment BUT i trust the Tunze brand so much that this wasn't an issue and within 2 days I had the parts I needed along with some backup.
Even though I mention Roger by first name here I don't know him personally, so the level of support he provides its not because of some personal connection - this is the same level of support everyone gets.
Current Tunze Equipment
- Tunze 9410 Skimmer
- Tunze Aquawind Fans
- Tunze 6095
- Tunze 6045
1. Ecotech Marine
Ecotech Marine is number #1 on this list for a reason, I'm impressed with the many ways they stand behind their products.
I've contacted Ecotech a number of times on equipment that is far out of the warranty period and I'm always surprised at the lenghts they will go to assist customers who are having issues with their products.
There has been more than a few times where I called support, opened a ticket and they request I send the pumps or lights in for a diagnosis only for me to receive the fixed working product a few days later to my surprise.
One of the reasons why Ecotech is number #1 on this list is because the level of support is not just limited to the US. Paul aka Reef Community Worldwide on Youtube and Facebook recently had an issue where his Radion XR15 Gen 3 were having issues with flickering. He contacted Ecotech US support because of all the good things he heard about them. They helped him contact their local UK representatives and distributors in Wales. He opened a ticket, shipped the lights within two days he had a fully repaired light back on his doorstep. I've heard stories how US and European support for the same products can we wildly different.
Ecotech equipment is not cheap, $350 for a Vortech MP40, $400 for an Radion XR-15 and $800 a Radion XR30. Support like this gives you the confidence that if you are going to pay premium prices for products that the manufacturers are going to stand behind their products.
Current Ecotech Equipment
- Radion XR-15 Generation 4 x 2
- Vortech MP40 QuietDrive x 2