‘Straight outta Poland’ (see what i did there?) shining light on all things Aquarium related, Pacific Sun, have been exciting us saltwater reef hobbyists for a number of years with a variety of products aimed at improving and simplifying the way we care for our Saltwater aquariums.
Based (as the opening line suggests), in Poland, the company specialises in a number of aquarium related electrical components ranging from ATO (auto top off), T5 & LED lighting and then supplementation aids, like dosers and calcium reactors.
I am no stranger to Pacific Sun products, having previously utilised their Sentry Auto Top Off (and liking it rather a lot), their Kore 5th Doser and also for using their T5 range of lighting, the Diuna. It always struck me how well finished the products were and how appealing they were to look at. An anodised white finish with its glittery like effect always had me eager to see more or to take the cabinet doors off and see products in more of their glory. Think of it like an ‘Apple effect’, shiny new products in fancy new cases, maybe its just a love of technology, but they look pretty great.
Having previously been a fan of some existing products, the opportunity arose to take an early look at the brand new Kore 7th kHLab edition which Pacific Sun claim is their most advanced doser to date.
Now this is particularly interesting with the surge of kH testing products coming to market, It’s an accessory thats fast becoming a ‘must have’ in the reefing world. With the success of other products, this one had certainly peaked my interest!
Taking a look at the products ‘blurb’, Pacific Sun state:
“It is a completely wireless, 7 channel doser with optional integrated ATO (auto top off), automatic water change and temp sensor, 2xpH electrode ports and KH lab (alkalinity measuring module). Our control software allows users to not only connect to the doser wirelessly WI-FI, but also to set precise dosing schedules for any number of supplements or elements. Kore 7th gives users the ultimate control of dosing almost anything your reef may need!
Additional equipment such as DC AWC pumps (pumps set for automatic water change), dedicated Magnetic Stirrer or KH lab make this station the ultimate solution for all advanced aquarium reefers!’’
The Kore 7th kHLab edition retails for approximately £736 in the UK when exchange rate is taken care of and i was curious to know if the advanced features makes it worth its bang for the buck.
Firstly the unit itself, as before with all Pacific Sun products is beautiful. The ‘Pearl White’ finish is tremendous and really makes it stand out and look premium. I know that we don’t buy equipment to look good or to dribble over, but it sure helps when the kit your using looks the part, and this, looks the part! So on first impressions, I’m satisfied and the first glance made me grin.
Control of the unit is fairly simple, you need an Android app for your smart phone or tablet and you’ll be on your way. I was disappointed to see at first Pacific Sun don’t make an iOS equivalent app, but when i reached out to them i was told one is being developed and so this shouldn’t be an issue for anybody long term. In the short term i purchased a small 7” Android based tablet from a local electrical store to do the job for me, which actually turned out pretty well as it displays the app beautifully on a screen of substantial size.
That app itself is actually also fairly beautiful. I really liked the colour illustrations showing how much fluid is left in each dosing container, a field in which the user can edit and adjust. This means you can tell the doser how much fluid you have in your dosing vessel and have it alert you when it gets low, neat feature! It also looks great on the screen giving you a visual representation of whats left or what you’ve used. I particularly like the feature that tells you how many days of fluid is left in each vessel, a figure calculated knowing how much you dose each day and how much is left in the container, handy to know when you need to head to that LFS and buy extra supplies!
The dosing function i found to be highly accurate with the doser able to deliver doses as minimal as 0.01ml. A single drop of fluid is approximately 0.04ml and so this is wildly precise! The unit as the name suggests has 7 channels, albeit 3 will be utilised by the kH Lab function. You can programme each pump with its own name/label to make it easy to remember what does what and the built in calibration functions will keep the dosing accurate.
For those that purchase the ultimate version you’ll get included an ATO pump allowing you to use the doser ALSO as an RO top off, again pretty neat feature.
The unit has a number of alarms and alerts for notifying you when fluids are low or needing refill.
The real show stopper here though, is this is not just a Doser. Now other manufacturers exist of course offering solutions to dosing and alternate solutions to kH monitoring, but none yet, to my knowledge, offer this in tandem. This device however, doses and it measures! Now i know other companies make dual solutions, but this is the only product to my knowledge that does BOTH in one device.
The included kH Lab module uses a PH probe and some precise and advanced calculation to measure the sample PH and reagent during testing to deliver precise results. In short, water is taken from your aquarium, delivered to the kH Lab, the alkalinity is tested using the reagent before the waste water is returned to the tank. Pacific Sun state it is perfectly safe to return this test waste water back into the aquarium, which goes in line with other manufacturers who with their own proprietary products state the same. This means you won’t have fluctuating salinity and you wont have to worry about emptying containers of waste water before they overflow and spill.
This on its own is pretty special, a doser that can now AUTOMATICALLY test your dkH. Nice! But this doser not only tests it, but it can then using its intended purpose, dose to correct it too! Tell it what your target dkH is, and what your maximum and minimum amount is and the unit will pretty much take care of itself. Its like magic!
My testing of the unit has found it to be accurate and showed a solid performance. The unit operated well and i really like the 7 channel approach meaning that for those using a regular Balling Method approach this unit can:
A) Dose your Mag, Cal, Alk
B) Test your dkH automatically
C) Correct your dkH using its test results and the Alk dosing channel of your doser
D) Operate as an ATO
This means that standalone this unit can virtually run an entire aquarium unaided and without the need for further equipment beyond home test kits.
The set up may appear daunting, but the illustrations included within the manual should make it easy to follow, and once you pluck up the courage to plug wires in and try, you’ll realise just how straight forward it was after all. I particularly like the number of clear illustrations included within the manual that accompany instruction based text. I am able to follow instructions much more clearly when they are illustrated and so this for me was a huge plus.
Reagent is also a pretty decent deal! 65 Euros for 5L of reagent which when mixed with RODI creates 20L of reagent test solution, that equates to almost 900 tests! Thats around 6 months if you test 6 times a day or close to a year if you test 3 times a day!
Overall I’m pretty impressed and i see it difficult to give any great criticism. The unit looks great, works well and the App looks good. Set up ‘could’ be difficult if you are not technically minded, I’m a bit of a gadget geek and so i found it reasonably straight forward, but technophobes amongst us may struggle. Thats no fault of the unit however, given the instructions are thorough and precise.
With the market becoming more saturated with kH testing products and more advanced dosing equipment, i felt Pacific Sun have achieved a great task with their own development and this product must be a serious contender for anybody considering which doser/kh monitor they wish to invest in.
I would like to see an iOS app developed soon as i think this would take it to the next level. Purchasing an Android tablet or phone to control the unit is an added expense, that whilst not necessary for all, will be necessary for those who currently do not use an Android device and are iOS users, BUT it was not a game changer for me and it was an obstacle i was able to relatively easily overcome.
Pacific Sun also have no current UK whole sale and so all retail is direct with them on their website, this does not present any problem as they aren’t far away and they do ship worldwide, but given their growing array of pretty nice products, i would like to see somebody in the UK put them on their shelves soon.
My overall determination was that this product rocks, its a fantastic piece of equipment, the software is well presented and works well. Id like to see iOS integration soon, but what we do have works, and it works particularly well. Would i recommend you buy one? Well if you need a new doser and a solution to testing AND adjusting your dkH (and after all, what reefer doesnt?) absolutely!
You can find more information on the Kore 7th Doser here: http://pacific-sun.eu/shop/dosing-stations/kore-7th-khlab-edition/
And a copy of the user installation manual in English here: http://pacific-sun.eu/pliki/Kore7th_kHLab_manual_EN.pdf?
As a lifelong adult hobbyist, making it almost 15 years in the making, Danny has been keeping Saltwater for quite some time. As one of the biggest passions in his life in 2014 he combined that with his second biggest passion, photography and videography.