The art of stability is an amazing ability developed as you become smarter and learn the signs of change. As we get more in tune with our tanks, technology is being developed every day to allow us to take a more hands off approach. Normally when we have to make a change in the tank we would have to get out the old maintenance tools like measuring spoons and what not. This is a thing of the past now. Complete control over each aspect of our aquariums can be had nearly anywhere in the world with internet access. From simple on/off tasks to precision dosing, Aquarium Controllers can do it all.
NO MORE UNPLUGGING CORDS!
The controllers on the market are basically a display unit, a controlled power strip, and some extra probe modules. The power strip has many options accessible from the head unit. For example: You can plug your pumps into the strip and control wave motions and even have a master standby button for when you want to feed or do maintenance, which will turn the pumps off for a designated amount of time. This helps when you have an absent mind and frequently forget to plug in your pumps. Literally any device that needs to be switched on and off can be hooked up to these units and controlled at the touch of a button.
Whatever probes you have connected will be readable at all times, allowing constant data retrieval. You can monitor how your pH, salinity, ORP, temperature, and more change throughout the day, week, and even month. Not only do these have the option to display data, but they can use it too! To put it simply, the devices work as a range monitor that will turn something on or off as needed. If you are controlling temperature and it gets too hot, the unit can trigger a cooling fan to come on, turn the lights and heater off, or even turn on a chiller. If the pH is out of whack it can dose whatever juice you prefer. Whatever the data, something can be controlled to keep it level.
These units generally hook up to computers or routers to allow real-time monitoring. Some actually build you a graph! This is great for when you want to see how your tank levels out over time. You can log what kind of growth happens during what parameter readings. This is a great tool for the organized reefer and a great way for an unorganized reefer to be less frantic when it comes to gathering data. This data can be shared with others as well who can help you translate it into something you can use.
TELEKENISIS or INTERNET?
You can control these units from anywhere in the world! Not by rubbing your temples and concentrating on that spot on the wall!!! The units that can connect to the web are amazing when you go on vacation and worry about your house sitter’s complete lack of water knowledge. You can monitor water levels with float switches and even refill your ATO reservoir from your phone!
WHAT CAN’T THEY DO?
There are only a few things I have not figured out yet; how to clean the glass, how to pick fish that are compatible, how to buy corals, and how to clean up after I spill water. Quite a short list compared to the tasks done by one who does it all manually. Is the high price worth it? To me it was, but not everyone has the need for stability. Some tanks are fine the way they are. Some of us have less money in the whole tank than the controllers sell for used! It really takes some planning to consider what is right for you. There are multiple versions of each kind. I have used the Reef Keeper Lite as a wave maker and calcium doser and it really helped the tank stay where it needed to be. I liked it so much I just ordered the Elite version, stay tuned for a full walk through on how I utilize a controller!
Most controllers are quite complex, join whatever company’s website you purchased from for direct help from them, they definitely know their stuff. For general help, R2R can help you out here: Aquarium Equipment.
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