Although they’ve been used on reef systems for many years, peristaltic dosing pumps (or ‘peri’ pumps) have become a much more common sight in the last few years being integral to a number of relatively new supplementation regimes. Whereas once, a single peri pump with no particular control, slaving away in some far corner of a cabinet was the norm, modern units offer multiple pumps, digital control, slave options and a range of other features. One such unit is the EASI-Dose from TMC which we look at in this review.
Part of a much wider ‘system’ aimed at advanced reef-keepers, the EASI-Dose 3 is, as the name suggests, a triple pump dosing unit. Also in the REEF range by TMC, we have single and double pump units (EASI-Dose 1 and 2 respectively), a 4 pump slave unit, and there are also bespoke shelves for each pump plus a container system which comes in different sizes and can handle aggressive chemicals. In terms of modularity, taking the EASI-Dose 3 as an example, you could feasibly connect 2 slave units to this ‘master’ giving you 11 pump heads in total… easily enough to cover a vast range of systems. Coming with a generous 3m of spare tubing, each model also has a 12 month guarantee and the components all seem of reasonable quality… certainly durable in a cabinet environment anyway (we do suggest it would be wise to make sure the pump heads are firmly clipped onto the unit though as the heads on similar systems are known to ‘pop-off’ if not seated correctly).
In operation, the EASI-Dose 3 is capable of 24 separate doses per head per day with each dose being adjustable from 0-199ml. The unit uses just 3watts in operation and runs on a low 12v DC power supply so is very safe. The front-mounted digital display (top mounted on the EASI-Dose 2) illuminates nicely once activated but normally runs non-illuminated so it isn’t particularly easy to just ‘check’ visually unless you have it mounted somewhere with high visibility. The display is slightly larger than on some rival units though. Programming the unit is fairly easy, even if you want to go for the maximum number of doses per day, but you’ll definitely want to keep the manual in case you forget the exact procedure. One thing we will say is that our unit was certainly not silent in operation, but this isn’t something that is promised, indeed dosing pumps generally do make a little noise in operation.
Perhaps the biggest concern with this range is the inability to calibrate the exact delivery. However TMC is currently developing an “EASI-Dose Calibration Kit” (sold separately) which will be available later in the year. This means the user will be able to download the app from TMC’s website and then connect the EASI-Dose to a computer and calibrate the dosing unit quickly and easily.
In our tests though, on our current uncalibrated unit, it proved to be reasonably accurate in delivering the same amount we had ’told it to’ (TMC does quote an accuracy level of +/- 5%). We can’t comment on accuracy over the long term so we’d certainly suggest that, as well as checking each head on purchase, you periodically use a small measuring jug to check the right amount of fluid is being delivered. Of course, fluids vary in their viscosity, so be sure to check it with the substance you are intending to dose. It’s also worth noting that settings are stored in the event of a power outage so it should save you the hassle of reprogramming in that event. Also, the unit will automatically stagger doses from multiple head units, so you won’t have to worry about chemicals mixing during delivery.
Overall, the EASI-Dose range impresses us with its generally good build quality, ease of use, modularity and flexibility despite the slightly noisy operation and ‘current’ inability to calibrate the unit. One of the least expensive solutions on the market at the present time, the unit would perhaps suit those making their first foray into dosing, and who are looking for a solution that is easy to use, expandable and well-supported.
Available widely, RRP pricing (correct at time of review) is as follows: EASI-Dose 1 – £89.99, EASI-Dose 2 – £129.99, EASI-Dose 3 – £179.99, EASI-Dose 4 Pump Slave – £139.99. Click HERE to visit TMCs website!