If you are committed to properly taking care of your fish tank, you will want to consider dealing with monitoring the various aspects of your aquarium. From regulating carbon dioxide, oxygen, the water’s pH levels to regulating the lighting systems as well as the entire water temperature in your tank; it cannot be denied that technology has gone so far in making your aquarium hobby a success and something smooth sailing to maintain.
In addition to this, by simply investing in the best aquarium controller, you can effectively maximize and automate every facet of your tank to operate perfectly and this will serve a crucial role in how you prefer it to create the kind of aquarium that you desire to make. Likewise, you can let everything operate on its own with the aid of built-in computer settings.
Be that as it may, the first decision that you will need to make is selecting the appropriate aquarium controller for you. Of course, the right functions and specifications are especially required for the device to work accordingly.
Table of Contents
- Best Aquarium Controller & Monitor System Reviews 2020
- 1. Milwaukee Instruments 716690 ph Controller
- 2. Inkbird Dual-Stage Temperature Controller
- 3. Hydor Smart Level Controller
- 4. Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater Controller
- 5. American Marine PINPOINT pH Monitor + Calibration Fluids
- 6. Inkbird ITC-306T Pre-Wired Electronic Temperature Controller
- 7. Hydor Smart Wave Circulation Pump Controller
- 8. SENEYE Reef Aquarium Monitor and Par Meter
- 9. La Crosse Technology 926-25106-WGB Wireless Monitor System
- 10. Inkbird Digital Outlet Heat Temperature Controller
- What To Look For When Buying An Aquarium Controller
- Other Important Factors To Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Aquarium Controller & Monitor System Reviews 2020
1. Milwaukee Instruments 716690 ph Controller
Searching for a reef controller can be daunting specifically if you do not have much insight about such a device. Luckily, Milwaukee Instruments pH Controller can help you make monitoring your tank’s pH levels quite easy going and hassle-free. This device can be set up in minutes, it starts operating and can be calibrated in a matter of 5 minutes. The best of all is that it can ensure accuracy.
It would have been better if this device’s display was slightly brighter and the doser’s power cord was removable. It surely works fine and this is highly recommended for carbon dioxide injection set up.
This device is very easy to install and utilize, all you need to do is to set the dial to the pH you prefer to keep, place the probe in the tank and afterward plug your carbon dioxide valve into the controller. It only turns carbon dioxide only if pH goes up.
Basically, this unit is very convenient to utilize as it does not require you to gauge your pH most of the time anymore. You can just consider popping your closet open and skim the digits to make sure that your carbon dioxide levels are appropriate in your planted tank.
2. Inkbird Dual-Stage Temperature Controller
The Inkbird Dual-Stage Temperature Controller is a great aquarium control system option in that it is built with SV and PV dual display windows that make it a lot more convenient and easier to utilize. It is constructed with dual relay output which means that its cooling or heating device can be utilized at the same time or separately.
What is more, its dual display window can set the temperature and display the gauged temperature synchronously. It is made of sturdy construction materials that are water-resistant and stainless so it could be useful for many years to come.
It is interesting to note that this unit is quite safe to use mainly because it is engineered with an alarm that notifies you when there is sensor error or over-temperature. Please be guided that the output load’s maximum of this device is 1200W(110V).
It comes with a setting to shift between Fahrenheit and Celsius which is quite helpful. On the other hand, the dual control for cooling and heating could be mounted. The buttons are clicky, the wiring is thick enough and it can also guarantee a bright display. You won’t observe any flex or creaking from this unit’s casing.
3. Hydor Smart Level Controller
Are you exhausted of searching for a reliable freshwater aquarium controller? Then, what about considering the Hydor Smart Level Controller? This unit is designed with a magnetic suction cup that serves as a supporting mount for the sensors. Once you purchased this device, the cable fasteners are already included in the package.
This is specifically useful so as to avoid twisting and turning the sensor as well as to avoid pulling the cable. The good news is that with its unique features, its current selling price remains affordable.
If you follow the setup instructions by heart, this unit is not that complex to set up and mount. All you need to do is to place the sensors at your preferred water level and it will keep it within the minimum and maximum. The alarm setting enables you to discern if the water line goes above the maximum level or when the pump has reached its time limit.
This device will help you keep your salinity in check. As you know, adding some security to the aquarium is always an advantage. It operates superbly so long as you fully understand how it works and its limitations as well.
Essentially, this unit works as advertised. The water level goes low in your sump and it also activates the pump in your freshwater reservoir.
4. Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater Controller
Are you having trouble finding the best aquarium heater controller? Then, you no longer need to worry because Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater for Saltwater and Freshwater is here to serve you!
It is worth noting that this heater is not only easy to install but it also provides all the necessary information you especially require when keeping your fish tank at an appropriate temperature. Moreover, it is well-constructed as you will be able to figure once you personally hold the titanium heater and the controller.
This device’s cords are not paper thin and are quite durable and it is built with a sturdy titanium tube; as you can see, this makes it highly recommended for those who go for reliability and uncompromised quality.
Once you have properly installed the tank thermometer and heater, all you need to do next is to set the preferred heating temperature, then it will halt from heating when the water temperature reaches the set temperature. In the same way, it will restart in an automatic mode when the water temperature is 1℉ less than the set temperature. Interestingly, this product comes with a temperature setting remember function.
Additionally, this device is designed with a digital LED display that is meant to show the set temperature and water temperature synchronously. Meanwhile, the heating status is shown through this unit’s indicator light. For you to switch degree unit between Fahrenheit and Celsius, all you need to do is to press the ‘up’ button.
5. American Marine PINPOINT pH Monitor + Calibration Fluids
Are you planning to purchase an aquarium pH monitor? If you wish to keep track of the pH level of your tank, this tool can help you make the task a lot easier to handle. It is a high-quality device that is proudly constructed by a trusted firm around the globe. To boot, it is built with premium quality materials that are sure to last for many years.
This product is easy to use, a piece of cake to calibrate and can provide accurate readings. However, it is imperative to ensure that you go through the calibration process prior to utilizing it. You may buy calibration fluid and you could calibrate the device by merely sticking the probe into the packet of fluid- this can be done fast and easy! It is delighting to know that this device is engineered for periodic use.
If you’re going to observe closely, this unit seems to be ideal for use in a pool, aquarium, hydroponics or any condition wherein you specifically require regulating pH level consistently without the need to remove the probe from the liquid. Please be guided that this device requires calibration prior to each use.
6. Inkbird ITC-306T Pre-Wired Electronic Temperature Controller
If you find it a tedious task to shop for the right reef tank controller for you, then you may consider Inkbird ITC-306T Pre-Wired Electronic Heating Thermostat Temperature Controller to work for you.
This device comes with a very convenient design that is quite a kid’s stuff to operate and it can support reading with Fahrenheit and Celsius. It is also capable of showing gauged temperature and the set temperature synchronously with its dual display window feature.
More than that, another specification that makes this unit a great purchase is that it is made with a dual time cycle setting which implies that diverse temperature day and night can be set on the basis of the plants and animals’ needs in a 24-hour time period. Nonetheless, this unit is only a heating controller device that does not contain any cooling function.
It comes with on and off control mode. And, both of the plugs are capable of controlling the heating- please take note that this could not handle something more than 1200W.
Besides, this product comes with various functions such as sensor error alarm, over-temperature, and temperature calibration. Take in mind that the output load’s maximum of this unit is 1200W (110V).
7. Hydor Smart Wave Circulation Pump Controller
Without question, it is not a child’s play to track down the right aquarium controller these days. With a lot of options to select from, it is surely confusing and sometimes misleading which one will work best for you. Fortunately, Hydor Smart Wave Circulation Pump Controller can help you finally reduce the stress you feel whenever you look for the right temperature controller for your tank.
This device works in alternating the operation of the two pumps. From the very start, it could already provide you a reliable and steady operation. The pumps operate silently; however, there are times when it somehow produces some sort of noise- not a serious problem though!
This controller is uncomplicated to install and it can provide you the reliability and functionality you are aiming for. You can easily operate the wave pumps without the controller. The 2 power heads could be set to alternate for crafting back and forth movements. You will definitely appreciate the alternating flow and you will take pleasure in observing the water as it moves in the tank in a more natural way for your livestock. Aquarium hobbyists will absolutely love this.
It is good to note that this controller works quite well even if you disconnect the plug, it is capable of sustaining the same chosen function for the synchronized and alternating flow of water movements.
8. SENEYE Reef Aquarium Monitor and Par Meter
Do you find it hard to purchase a functional, reliable and precise digital aquarium tester? Then, why not give SENEYE Reef Aquarium Monitor and Par Meter a chance to prove its worth and distinction among other brands?
If you are operating LED’s with a number of settings for spectrum as well as intensity, or if you are reestablishing a LED array and are altering LED types, this is the ideal device for you! This unit is surprisingly straightforward and the sensor is plain sailing to utilize.
Aside from all these, it can keep track of several key parameters and can consistently watch your tank, in reality; this device is capable of generating a total of 5,600 readings every month. It is engineered with smart software prediction specifications regarding your tank’s future water condition so as you can see this could greatly aid promote healthier coral in your aquarium.
You will also be amazed by its PAR and Kelvin light meter early warning and integrated LUX features. Users can even access their results around the globe since the information is stored on the web for more convenient and easy viewing. Alternatively, you may receive some alerts too on your mobile phone or e-mail.
In like manner, you can monitor your results with the aid of automatic graphing, optional USB power adaptor or through utilizing USB connection with a number of connection choices.
9. La Crosse Technology 926-25106-WGB Wireless Monitor System
The best aquarium temperature controller must be simple and to-the-point. Needless to say, we often look for items that can provide us much convenience and ease of use. Then, if this is what makes a good device, you may refer to La Crosse Technology 926-25106-WGB Wireless Monitor System.
The probe is water resistant and is certified stainless steel. You can utilize it with your tank to monitor the temperature over time as well as in tracking the aquarium temperature when you’re at work or away from home. There is a tendency that it may lose connection but it will reconnect on its own sooner.
Likewise, you’ll love the fact that it works as a great and steady heater that will make you less stressed regarding the temperature of your tank. Take note that the app requires to be restarted every time in order for you to obtain the most current reading; nevertheless, that is quite easy for you to handle.
This device requires a total of 2 AAA Alkaline batteries, but these are not included in the package once purchased. The battery life seems to be short as it runs out instantly even if it is just 2 weeks of use. This product is not so expensive as compared to other similar brands but there are times when it appears to be unreliable.
10. Inkbird Digital Outlet Heat Temperature Controller
If you’re going to check out some of the best aquarium monitoring system reviews, you will uncover that many consumers prefer Inkbird Digital Outlet Heat Temperature Controller. Thus, even if it comes with pricey selling cost, still, many aquarium newbies and pros prefer it over other brands out there.
In truth, there are many probable reasons for this, and perhaps some of these reasons include the fact that this device appears to be the top-drawer version for aquariums and it comes with a sealed probe. Furthermore, you won’t have any issues in setting it up and it can work exceptionally in the Fahrenheit setting.
This unit could be set for 2 temperatures with a clock to regulate the number of hours for the initial temperature with the balance of a 24-hour time period at the second temperature. Alternatively, it is also possible to set the number of degrees below the preferred temperatures when it will turn on.
Undeniably, many consumers find this tool a wise investment because it does a great job at monitoring the temperature in an aquarium and regulates how hot the heater gets and it surprisingly shuts off by itself at the preferred point. Both of the plugs could regulate the heating but be reminded that it could not be more than 1200W.
Therefore, if you have this device, you will be worry-free that even if the heater overheats, this will shut down and keep your fish safe.
What To Look For When Buying An Aquarium Controller
If you are contemplating on purchasing a fish tank, you have to bear in mind that there are a lot of options available to you. Furthermore, the kind of fish tank you require is reliant on both the kind of space you currently have to shelter your fish as well as the type of fish that you prefer to keep.
When getting a new fish tank, you need to ponder on what type of fish you want and from there you may select an aquarium setup that shall not merely fit them comfortably but could help keep them healthy and happy.
Controlling and monitoring the temperature in your fish tank is quite indispensable. And, this is one factor that you must not take lightly because it could considerably affect the well-being of your tank occupants.
When buying an aquarium controller, here are some of the considerations that you need to take note:
- Tropical fish, in particular, necessitate specific climate control in order for them to feel comfortable and ensure their wellness. It is a must to look into the temperatures required to keep your fish healthy and decide on a kind of heating setup if you require one.
- The size of the heater or aquarium controller will rely on the size of the aquarium that you presently own. Examine the heater packaging to ensure that you are buying a heater that is suitable for your aquarium size.
- In case a heater is not necessary, it is still advised to utilize a thermometer to ensure that that climate inside the tank is stable for the tank inhabitants to be safe, healthy and happy.
- Internet connectivity. The actual real advantage of today’s contemporary controllers is their capability to receive notifications, they enable users to easily check in on their tanks, and help them reprogram the system wherever they are in the world.
- Easiness of set up procedure and easy to utilize. If a controller lets you configure it utilizing your tablet or computer, this is definitely a good option to utilizing a small display and 6-button input.
As you know, this is not solely essential for the initial setup, but this is also helpful when you wish to execute simple things such as adding a new module or altering your lighting cycle.
- Expandability. Pick a controller that enables you to instantly expand as your needs grow in your aquarium hobby.
- Support. Support here refers to three things: Installed base and user community, bug fixes and software updates and of course it must always be backed up by technical support from the manufacturer.
- A controller must be rugged and as much as possible it must be constructed for a saltwater environment.
Other Important Factors To Consider
What is an aquarium controller?
Aquarium controllers significantly help in easing the burden that countless of aquarium owners or aquarists feel about periodically examining their water conditions. These are not really alternative for regular aquarium test kits; however, these tools can relieve you of examining key parameters, for instance, pH, salinity, ORP and temperature through simply providing you with consistent readings and logging the data so as to assist you to determine the trends.
Not to mention, the most outstanding approach to sustain a healthy tank is through keeping your water parameters stable. This is the reason why it is substantial to periodically monitor the quality of your tank water so to ensure that the key parameters are at maximum levels for coral and fish.
How does it work?
Aquarium controllers do not merely keep track of and log your water parameters, but these could also be programmed to administer some valuable tasks in order to free you from many manual works linked with keeping a fish tank.
Moreover, tasks like shutting off your filtration equipment during feeding periods, turning your lights on and off to come up with dawn or dusk effect, refilling evaporated water and also dosing your aquarium could all be done in an automated mode with the aid of aquarium controllers.
Aside from these, some aquarium controllers are built with electrical outlets so users can plug in the device they prefer to control. There are some instances too when an expansion module is sold separately and this may be necessary to regulate a specific piece of tank equipment.
Some models give users the ability to keep track of and regulate their aquarium with the use of their mobile phones so they can monitor their aquarium even when they are away from home.
What are the different types of aquarium controllers?
Aquarium controllers can be divided into 4 categories:
pH monitors. This controller monitors the salinity of your aquarium. And, this is essential if you keep freshwater and saltwater fish. pH monitors to aid in stabilizing the alkaline in water according to your predefined specifications when the acidity content of your tank alters.
Temperature monitors. Many water plants and fish species won’t be able to thrive for long if your aquarium’s temperature inside is not set at the levels pointed out for saltwater and freshwater animals to survive. A monitor for the water’s temperature can help guarantee that all fauna remains at safe levels.
Bundles. These are compatible with automatic feeders that disburse food into the tank at established intervals. These are ideal options for reducing the risk of a daisy chain, the possible fire danger of wiring that utilizes an enormous amount of adapters in the same outlet synchronously.
Spectrometers. These gauge the amount of electromagnetic radiation that is emerging from light. If your tank is filled with aquatic planets as well as reefs, it is advised that you use spectrometers because these depend on photosynthetic properties to thrive.
Why do you need an aquarium controller? (Benefits)
If you are a very busy aquarium owner or aquarist, aquarium controllers are great aids that could fulfill your duties whenever you’re not around. Of course, keeping a fish tank could be demanding and as a tank owner, it is your responsibility to keep your fish and other tank inhabitants safe, healthy and happy no matter how hectic your schedule is.
So, if you think you can’t stay with your aquarium most of the time, you do not need to worry because by simply investing in a high-quality aquarium controller, you can have a device that will keep monitoring and regulating ORP, pH, lighting, and dosing in your tank. Thus, wherever you are in the world, you can keep track of what’s happening in your aquarium.
These devices are so convenient, useful and practical to use. Some models even give tank owners the capability to monitor and regulate their aquarium with the aid of their mobile phones or gadgets. And, you can instantly gain the data of what is currently happening in your tank even when you’re on vacation or not in town.
Since these controllers make use of avant-garde technology, the system is quite high-tech and can help you ease the burden of keeping an aquarium.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted aquarium controller brands?
- Inkbird Dual-Stage Temperature Controller + NTC Sensor
- Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater for Salt Water and Fresh Water
- Hydor Smart Level Controller
- Inkbird ITC-306T Pre-Wired Electronic Heating Thermostat Temperature Controller
- SENEYE Reef Aquarium Monitor and Par Meter
How to make an aquarium controller?
Fortunately, you can build your own aquarium controller; and to do so, you may refer to various DIY procedures that are available on the web. To provide you some basic ideas, you may go over the following steps:
- Arrange all the necessary materials. These materials can be bought online, in pet and fish stores both online and offline. You just need to decide what kind of controller you wish to create.
- Prepare the project box. You can look for varieties of means to configure your project box; nonetheless, the fundamental one is that there has to be adequate space to surface mount the controller (STC-1000) as well as the outlet which typically comes with wall plate. Note this depends on what type of controller you want to make.
- Connect the wiring to your aquarium controller. It is practical to get a description of what is happening so it is imperative for you to pass through all the connections. In the event that you feel uncertain, you may utilize a chart on the STC-1000 and use it as a layout for what connections are suitable.
- Program the STC-1000. The programming instructions are available in the box. All you need to do is to read the directions carefully and follow all the guides accordingly.
- For the controller to work appropriately, it is important to put the sensor where it could precisely report the temperature of the aquarium. Do not put it close by the heater or neighboring the water supply outlet. The most ideal spot where to place your sensor is close by or in the return out of the aquarium.
How to use it?
Aquarium controllers are quite easy to use these days. To make them work, all you need to do is to connect them to your Wi-Fi to have them installed. The setup process surely takes a few minutes and the device will provide you an immediate automatic control of your equipment.
Once it is connected, with just a single click on the gear, you can enable it through a single check box. If you wish to have a better amount of control for the salinity, ORP, pH, and temperature level or anything that you want to keep track of where it will notify, all you need is to refer to the advanced tab and shift the sliders.
These tools are specifically designed to help aquarium owners look after their fish by means of automating the maintenance as well as control tasks that emerge in ponds and aquariums.
Open aquariums generally composed of 2 distinct and complementary kits known as aquaponics and basic and with the aid of a number of additional accessories.
Apart from these, there are available five sensors in the program that are meant to gauge the key parameters in the aquarium like conductivity, pH and temperature and others that are intended to regulate the appropriate state of the aquarium; for instance, leakages and level.
Also, there are a total of 4 diverse actuators that work to automate tasks like feeding the fish, cooling or heating the water, administering medicines, activating pumps for water replacement or regulating the intensity of light to resemble night or day cycles.
How to care and clean?
Aquarium controllers are not difficult to clean and maintain. For a fact, you only need to take proper care of them when in use. It is a must to strictly adhere to the instructions when setting them up and always follow the dos and don’ts that are commonly indicated in the product’s manual. Luckily, most of these tools are built with durable and waterproof features that make them withstand rugged and prolonged usage.
While cleaning and caring for aquarium controllers isn’t a burdensome task, what matters the most is you follow what experts say; for example: experts advise 80°F as the maximum temperature for corals even though older sources unadvisedly suggested lower temperatures. It is worth mentioning that corals could frequently take cooler water as compared to water that is too warm. Pumps as well as lighting could add more heat to a system.
It is recommended to equip your aquarium with a chiller in order to neutralize warmer periods and heat from pumps and lights. Not to mention, chillers are costly; however, heat accumulation could endanger and may even exterminate corals, thus their worth is quite evident. Due to this, prudent selection and placement of pumps and lighting could tremendously aid ward off problems from occurring.
Where to buy?
You can find great deals on aquariums online. You can search and shop on various online shopping sites like petstore, Amazon, eBay and other legit and trusted sites. There are various pet stores and other major online retailer and you can check if they have aquarium controllers to meet your requirements.
Alternatively, you may refer to offline fish stores and pet stores near you to personally check them out.
It could be daunting to monitor all the things that are happening inside your aquarium around the clock. By happy chance, with proper care and maintenance, you can potentially capture the problems if they take place; however, what if you are already too late?
What will you do if the pH is alarmingly low or high or the temperature has dropped to a level that already caused harm to your coral and other tank occupants? Without a doubt, the most excellent approach to beat all these unforeseen problems is to utilize the best aquarium controllers and systems that are available on the market nowadays.
As you have read in this article, these devices play a very valuable role when it comes to detecting and correcting problems before they become even more serious and more damaging. It is crucial that you mull over the product reviews aforementioned so you can figure the kind of temperature controlling device or tool that can help you best!