It’s not easy to monitor everything going on inside your aquarium around the clock. With regular care and maintenance, you’re likely to catch problems if they occur but what if you’re too late?
What if the pH is dangerously high or low or the temperature has fallen to a level that caused damage to your coral?
The best way to combat these unexpected problems is to use the best aquarium monitoring systems and controllers available. They can detect and often correct problems before they get out of hand.
Table of Contents
- The Best Aquarium Monitoring System & Controllers
- Aquarium Controller & Monitoring System Reviews
- 1. AutoAqua Smart ATO Micro Automatic Top Off System
- 2. Inkbird Aquarium Dual Stage Temperature Controller + NTC Sensor
- 3. Glass CO2 Drop Checker
- 4. Zoo Med AquaSun Aquarium Timers
- 5. Hydor Smart Wave Circulation Pump Controller
- 6. Milwaukee pH Controller
- 7. Current USA eFlux Wave Pump Kit
- 8. Salinity Refractometer for Seawater and Marine Fishkeeping Aquarium
- 9. Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater with External IC Thermostat Controller
- 10. Malida Water Pressure Gauge Stainless For Aquarium Meter
- Benefits of Aquarium Controller and Monitoring System
The Best Aquarium Monitoring System & Controllers
If you’re looking for some high-quality monitors and controllers for your aquarium, you’re in the right place. There are great options available that can help you control a variety of parameters, from temperature to pH to water movement.
|Pictures||Equipments||Monitor & Controller|
|AutoAqua Smart ATO Micro Automatic Top Off System||Monitors & keep water and salinity levels stable|
|Inkbird Aquarium Dual Stage Temperature Controller + NTC Sensor||Temperature Controller|
|Glass Co2 Drop Checker||Monitoring CO2 Levels in Planted Aquariums|
|Zoo Med AquaSun Aquarium Timers||LED Lights Controller|
|Hydor Smart Wave Circulation Pump Controller||Controlling Circulation Pump|
|Milwaukee pH Controller||pH Controller|
|Current USA eFlux Wave Pump Kit||Wave Pumps Controller|
|Salinity Refractometer for Seawater and Marine Fishkeeping Aquarium||Saltwater or Salinity of water Monitoring|
|Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater with External IC Thermostat Controller||Aquarium Heater Controller|
|Malida Water Pressure Gauge Stainless For Aquarium Meter||Water Pressure Monitoring|
Aquarium Controller & Monitoring System Reviews
1. AutoAqua Smart ATO Micro Automatic Top Off System
In a saltwater tank, water evaporates and leave salt behind which slowly increases the salinity of the tank.
An ATO system replenishes water throughout the day which results in extremely stable salinity. This ATO system can be mounted to most clear, tinted, or painted surfaces.
It’s easy to install and has no moving parts that can fail. Plus, it’s also one of the smallest units on the market.
- Everything you need to maintain water and salinity levels is included.
- The optical sensor works even in complete darkness.
- This system includes integrated Quick Security Technology that provides real-time protection against failure.
- Setup is easy, just move the optical sensor to the desired level using the magnetic mounting.
- This system pumps to a height of about 6.5-feet with a maximum flow rate of about 74 gph.
- LEDs can interfere with the sensor’s ability to monitor water levels accurately.
- The siphon needs to be mounted higher than the water level to function properly and water may drop when the pump is running.
2. Inkbird Aquarium Dual Stage Temperature Controller + NTC Sensor
This temperature controller from Inkbird supports both Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature settings and the dual-display window lets you see the current temperature and change the settings at the same time. The plug and play design are easy to set up and simple to use.
An audible alarm lets you know when the water temperature is too hot or there are any sensor errors. Low-temperature alarms are available as well. You can set the temperature for a wide range: -58 to 210 F/ -50 to 90 C.
- Both the heating and cooling devices can be used separately or connected at the same time.
- The temperature controller sensor is made of stainless and waterproof IP68 material.
- The temperature probe can give inaccurate readings over time.
- There are occasional problems with this controller being able to maintain steady and stable water temperature.
3. Glass CO2 Drop Checker
This glass CO2 drop checker is a simple and effective way to monitor the carbon dioxide levels in a planted tank to keep your plants and fish happy and healthy.
It comes with everything you need including a high-quality drop checker, suction cup for mounts, and a 60ml bottle of reagent solution.
Reading the results is simple. If the solution turns dark blue, the carbon dioxide level is low. Green to light green is optimal and yellow is too high. An indicator chart is also included.
- The 4dKH fluid and reagent are premixed for accuracy.
- This set up is really easy to use. The indicator solution comes with a flip-top bottle so there’s no need for syringes or other difficult to use items.
- It’s extremely easy to use. Just fill the drop checker halfway with the solution and use the suction cup to place it in the tank. Wait two hours for accurate results.
- It’s made out of very thin glass that can break easily.
- The results can be difficult to read depending on the lighting in the tank.
4. Zoo Med AquaSun Aquarium Timers
This simple controller from Zoo Med automatically turns your aquarium lights off and on so you don’t have to.
It works with all kinds of aquarium LED lights and uses an easy to program analog design.
It has a 24-hour programmable time that works with all kinds of aquarium lights and can be used to set up a natural day and night cycle for your fish.
- The simple one plug design includes an LED lamp indicator and manual override.
- This automatic timer performs reliably and is built to last.
- The instructions can be difficult to understand.
- The timer can start to tick loudly over time.
- Time settings on the dial are not completely accurate.
5. Hydor Smart Wave Circulation Pump Controller
If you want to create a realistic environment for your fish, this wave circulator is a great place to start.
This controller works with one or more pumps and recreates the natural currents your fish would encounter in their natural environment.
There are two different movement programs, alternating and synchronized. Exchange times are between five seconds and six hours.
- This unit includes a built-in hanger for wall or cabinet mounting and is easy to conceal to maintain as natural a look as possible.
- It’s also set up with two different feeding settings, manual or programmed.
- The Smartwave is compatible with most movement pumps.
- There’s an audible clicking noise when turning pumps off and on.
- This controller does not allow you to control the pump intensity, only the power.
6. Milwaukee pH Controller
This professional-grade controller was specially designed for use with hydroponic systems and aquariums.
Setup is easy and a mounting kit, probe holder, and buffering solution are included.
Using two-point manual calibration, the setpoint can be in the range of 5.5 to 9.5 pH.
- This controller has a range of 0.0 to 14 with a 0.2 pH accuracy.
- A LED visual alarm is active when the pH reading is higher or lower than the setpoint depending on what you choose.
- Power to the controller box is automatically turned on when the reading reaches a preselected level.
- There are occasional problems with this controller not turning on the carbon dioxide pumps when necessary.
- The probes can sometimes be difficult to calibrate.
7. Current USA eFlux Wave Pump Kit
This wave pump kit is an easy way to make your aquarium feel more natural to the fish that call it home.
It provides wide circulation and improves water quality so your coral grows strong and your fish stay healthy.
This kit comes with everything included: a magnetic swivel bracket, foam cover, a pump hub, LED display, remote control, micro-USB, and IR sensor cables, wire guard, mounting clips, and a DC transformer.
- You can easily control the direction of the water flow.
- The remote control lets you program up to three pumps and the LED display shows you the current mode and velocity of each one.
- Installation is easy. You can position the pump anywhere using the magnetic bracket and the silicone pad absorbs any vibrations for quiet operation.
- The remote control and LED lights can be unreliable.
- There are a lot of cables and cords
8. Salinity Refractometer for Seawater and Marine Fishkeeping Aquarium
This is a great salinity monitor that’s ideal for saltwater aquariums and marine monitoring.
It gives results in two different scales, specific gravity and parts per thousand. The metal probe is made of chromium which is extremely durable and does not rust.
It measures salt content in a range of 0 to 100 parts per thousand and a specific gravity of 1.000 to 1.070 g/cm3.
- This monitor automatically compensates for temperature.
- This easy-to-use system requires only a few drops of water to get a result.
- Everything you need is included. It comes with a plastic case, refractometer, cleaning cloth, three suction tubs, and a screwdriver.
- Calibration can be difficult.
- The results can be difficult to read if you have bad eyesight. It requires good lighting as the numbers are pretty small.
9. Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater with External IC Thermostat Controller
This is an ideal automatic heater that’s made for fish tanks from 5 to 45 gallons.
Long power cords make setup easy and there are even mounting holes to hang the controller to the wall.
A wide temperature range lets you choose a setting between 32 and 104 degrees F in one-degree increments.
- The controls are fully automatic, reliable, and easy to use.
- The tube is compact and easy to hide in your tank. It’s made of seawater resistant titanium and can last three years or more.
- This unit displays the water temperature and sets the temperature at the same time as has an indicator light to show heating status.
- The suction cup mounts are not always effective and it can slide down the side of the tank.
10. Malida Water Pressure Gauge Stainless For Aquarium Meter
This pressure gauge has quick-fit connections for a ¼” water pipe and is a great choice to use with reverse osmosis systems and marine systems.
Using a pressure gauge with your setup as maintaining proper water pressure can prevent a lot of problems before they happen.
- Installation is pretty straightforward.
- This gauge provides reliable and accurate readings.
- A quick-connect T and connecting tube are included.
- This setup can leak if the plastic fitting isn’t properly secured.
- Additional supports are needed for appropriate mounting because the gauge is really heavy.
- There’s an air bubble in the gauge that can make it a little hard to read.
Benefits of Aquarium Controller and Monitoring System
Depending on the type of controller you use, the biggest benefit is that it can catch a problem as soon as it starts. It also helps maintain a more consistent environment and lets you be a little more hands-off between cleanings and testing.
One of the great things about these gadgets is that there is a range of different types of controllers and monitors available.
In fact, you can find products that monitor and control all of the following:
- Temperature, both heating and cooling
- Water motion
The first thing you have to decide is what you want to control. That will generally depend on what kind of tank you have.
For example, if you have a small 5-gallon tank with a few small fish, you could benefit from something that turns the light off and on automatically.
Water motion controllers are also great for larger tanks because they’re designed to mimic the natural underwater environment and can help keep your tank as healthy and natural as possible.
That said, if you have a larger, more delicate reef tank, you might consider something that can monitor salinity and pH to maintain a balance between cleanings or regular testing. For heavily planted tanks, you may also find it useful to use a controller that monitors pH and corrects it using carbon dioxide.
One thing to be careful of when installing any device in your tank is what happens if there is a power failure. While your tank can survive the lights not turning on at a preset time, if you’re relying on a controller to adjust pH or salinity, power issues can be a little more pressing.
It’s important to also note that, while these machines can alert you about and help correct some problems, they’re no substitute for proper maintenance. You should always be actively involved with your tank so you still need to monitor all the parameters that these machines do not.
Secondly, there’s always a chance that controllers and monitoring systems can malfunction so you should do regular checks to make sure they’re operating properly. It also helps to use a product that has good technical support staff on call to help with troubleshooting is needed.
Using an aquarium monitoring system and controller is a great way to make sure everything is being taken care of between cleanings and when you’re not at home. Because there are so many options to choose from, you can pick the one that’s right for your schedule and setup.
Whether you want a simple timer that can turn your aquarium light off and on or something that can keep the pH levels just right, there’s a system for you. The important thing to keep in mind is that these systems don’t replace hands-on maintenance and care.
When these products are used to help you make tank maintenance easier, they can be a real time saver and make sure everything stays just right when you’re not around.