I remember being stressed out about the well-being of my fish.
What if the temperature got too much for them? What if the pH was not suitable?
It kept me awake for quite a lot of nights.
All that changed once I got introduced to aquarium controllers.
These machines make maintaining an aquarium a breeze.
Let me share what I have learned to make things easier for you.
13 Best Aquarium Controllers
|Inkbird ITC-306T Pre-Wired Electronic Heating Thermostat Temperature Controller||Temperature controller||5.5x2.7x1.3 inch|
|AutoAqua Smart ATO Micro Automatic Top off System||Monitors salinity levels||2.8 x 6.3 x 6.5 inches|
|Glass Co2 Drop Checker with 4dkh/PH Solution||Monitors CO2 levels||4.8 x 3.4 x 3.3 inches|
|Zoo Med AquaSun Aquarium Timers||Light controller||4.3 x 3.5 x 8.8 inches|
|Hydor Smart Wave Circulation Pump Controller||Controls circulation pump||7 x 1.2 x 2.8 inches|
Aquarium Controllers Detailed Product Reviews
1. Inkbird ITC-306T Pre-Wired Electronic Heating Thermostat Temperature Controller
- Brand: Inkbird
- Temperature Control Range: -50 to 99 °C / -58 to 210 °F
- Humidity: 20 to 85% (No Condensate)
- Power output: 1200 watt
- Sensor Type: NTC sensor
- Sensor Length: 6.56ft
- Length of input power cable: 5ft.
- Length of output power cable: 1 ft.
- The dimension of body: 5×2.7×1.3 inch
- Dimension of socket: 3.3×1.7×1 inch
- Warranty: 1 Year
- It is provided with quite a convenient design and is quite easy to use as it supports reading with both Fahrenheit and centigrade.
- Features dual display window which allows you to view the measured and set temperature simultaneously
- Allows you to set a different temperature for day and night as per the needs of your fish, ensuring that you provide them with the best possible environment
- Is equipped with a sensor fault alarm that ensures that your fish does not have to suffer
- The temperature probe is not always accurate, which can be dangerous for the fish at times.
- It makes a quiet buzzing sound as it transmits power, which is noticeable in a quiet room and can be annoying for some.
2. AutoAqua Smart ATO Micro Automatic Top off System
- Brand: Smart ATO Micro
- Power: 4.5W at DC 12V
- Flow rate: 74GPH
- Maximum height: 6.5 ft.
- Pump cord length: 5.5ft
- Power cord length 5.5ft
- Inner diameter: 6.5mm
- Outside diameter: 8mm
- Dimension: 2.8 x 6.3 x 6.5 inches
- The unit comprises of all the things you might need to maintain the water and level of salinity of your tank. Thus, you do not have to make any additional purchases for the purpose.
- The optical sensor works optimally even in complete darkness, ensuring that your fish get suitable environment throughout the night.
- Owing to the integrated quick security technology that the system features, it is protected against failure, and thus you do not have to worry about the safety of your fish being compromised.
- It is quite easy to set it up. All you need to do is move the optical sensor to the right level with the help of magnetic mounting, and your work is done.
- The ability of the sensor to monitor the levels of water accurately might be compromised due to the LEDs.
- It is essential that the siphon is mounted higher than the level of water for proper functioning. The water level may drop when the pump runs.
3. Glass Co2 Drop Checker with 4dkh/PH Solution
- Brand: NilocG Aquatics
- Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Dimension: 4.8 x 3.4 x 3.3 inches
- Compatible with 4dkh fluid and ph. reagent
- Waiting period for the result: 2 hours
- Optimal CO2 concentration: 30ppm which leads to green light to green color
- Low CO2: Blue color
- Too high levels: Yellow
- The 4dKH fluid and reagent come premixed, ensuring that you get accurate results.
- It is quite easy to use and is provided with a flip top bottle, which ensures that you do not have to face any trouble with the use of syringes or similar other items.
- It is easy to read the results as you are provided with an indicator chart. All you need to do is compare the color of the solution with the chart, and you will get the results.
- It is constructed from quite a thin glass which is easily breakable.
- The lighting in the tank can make reading the results difficult at times.
4. Zoo Med AquaSun Aquarium Timers
- Brand; Zoo Med
- Weight: 2.88 ounces
- Dimension: 4.3 x 3.5 x 8.8 inches
- Provided with LED lamp indicator and manual override
- It is compatible with all types of lights that feature in aquariums making it quite a versatile option.
- You can use it to set up a natural cycle of day and night for your fish without having to stress about remembering to set the lights.
- It offers reliable performance and is quite durable as well.
- Beginners might find it hard to understand the instructions
- With time, the ticking sound of the timer can increase in intensity, which can be quite annoying.
- The time settings on the dial are somewhat accurate at times.
5. Hydor Smart Wave Circulation Pump Controller
- Brand: Hydor
- Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Dimension: 7 x 1.2 x 2.8 inches
- The maximum power that can be handled by each channel: 100W
- Features 2 different feeding programs, manual or programmed
- It is provided with a built-in hanger making installation quite easy. It is also quite easy to conceal.
- Features two movement programs, alternating and synchronized wherein the exchange times are between five seconds to six hours ensuring that your fish gets a natural environment
- It is compatible with most of the movement pumps, ensuring that you can buy it without any worries.
- It produces a clicking noise when the pump turns on or off which can be distracting
- You cannot use it to control the intensity of the pump. It merely controls the power.
6. Current USA eFlux Wave Pump Kit
- Brand: Current USA
- Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Flow range; 132-660 GPH
- Range of power: 1-5 watts
- The maximum thickness of glass: 10mm
- Maximum capacity of saltwater tank: 40 gallons
- Maximum capacity of freshwater tank: 65 gallons
- Dimension: 6.3 x 5.7 x 3.7 inches
- The kit includes everything you might need, including a DC transformer, LED display, remote control, foam cover, IR sensor cables and much more. Thus, no additional purchases are required.
- It allows you to control the direction of water flow with ease.
- You can program three water pumps via the remote control, and the LED display will provide you with information about the velocity and current mode of each making it easier for you to control the tank environment.
- It is easy to install the unit owing to the magnetic bracket that comes with it.
- It is provided with silicone pad which ensures that it operates quietly
- The remote control cannot be wholly relied upon.
- A large number of cables and cords might become challenging to handle.
7. Malida Water Pressure Gauge Stainless For Aquarium
- Brand: Malida
- Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Dimension: 3.5 x 3.2 x 1.3 inches
- Features Stainless Pressure Gauge 220 PSI with fitting
- Installing it is quite easy, and it is highly unlikely that you will face trouble understanding it.
- You get reliable and accurate readings via the gauge.
- It also includes a connecting tube with quick connect T making setup all the more easier.
- If you do not ensure proper securing of the plastic fitting, it can leak.
- The gauge is quite heavy and thus additional support will be required for mounting.
- The gauge has an air bubble which might make it difficult for you to read the results.
8. Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater
- Brand: Hygger
- Power: 50W
- Length of heater rod: 8.7inch
- Length of the power cord of heater and controller: 5.5 ft.
- Length of thermometer cord: 4.4 ft.
- Temperature control range: 32℉to 104℉
- Suitable for tanks with a capacity of up to 5 to 10 gallons
- It is quite easy to use, as it is automatic.
- The tube is compact, making it quite easy for you to conceal it in the tank. Furthermore, as it is made from titanium, you would not have to worry about using it in a saltwater tank.
- You get to view the water temperature and the set temperature simultaneously giving you clear information about the condition of the tank.
- The wide temperature range makes it easier for you to get your desired setting.
- The unit can slide down the side of the tank as the suction cup mounts are not fully effective all the time.
9. Milwaukee Instruments 716690 ph. Controller
- Brand: Milwaukee
- Weight: 1.85 pounds
- Range: 0.0 to 14.0
- Set Point Range: 5.5 to 9.5 ph.
- Dimension: 10.3 x 4.9 x 4.8 inches
- With a range of 0.0 to 14 and 0.2 ph. accuracy, this controller ensures that the ph. levels of your tank are within your control to the maximum possibility.
- You can select the set point following which a LED visual alarm will activate if the ph. reading of the tank is higher or lower, ensuring that you remain up to date with the tank conditions.
- When the reading reaches the preselected level, the power is automatically turned on.
- You might find it difficult to calibrate the probe at times.
10. American Marine PINPOINT pH Monitor
- Brand: American Marine
- Weight: 290g
- Dimension: 22.1 x 10.4 x 6.3 cm
- Monitors the pH of the tank and turns the carbon dioxide system on and off automatically as per requirement.
- Using it is quite simple. All you need to do is select the high and low set points. If either of the set points is reached, the related power outlet is switched on automatically. Thus, you do not have to worry about your tank conditions.
- High-quality materials have been used for the buttons, power outlets and case making it sure that the unit will last for a long time.
- It is provided with a compact design which makes it easier to handle it.
- It does not record the levels of ph.
- The monitor does not have an alarm, and thus, you are not alerted if there is some fault in the tank conditions.
11. Salinity Refractometer
- Brand: Agriculture Solutions
- Reference temperature: 20 Celsius
- Length: 195 mm
- Range of scale of salinity: 0 – 100 ppt. (0 – 10 %)
- Scale range of salt solution density: 1.000 to 1.070 g/cm3
- Dimension: 2 x 3 x 8 inches
- The system is quite easy to use. You will need merely a few drops of the liquid on the optical part of the Refractometer to get the results.
- It includes everything that you might require for use including a plastic case, suction tubs, cleaning cloth and even a screwdriver. Thus, you would not need to buy any accessories.
- The calibration can be somewhat tricky for some.
- Those with bad eyesight might find it difficult to read the results as the numbers are quite small. Good lighting will be required.
12. Bluelab CONTPH pH Controller
- Brand: Bluelab
- Weight: 2.19 pounds
- Control Range: 0.1 – 13.9 pH
- Dose Rate: 10ml per minute
- Resolution: 0.1 pH
- Operating Environment: 0 to 50 ̊C / 32 to 122 ̊F
- Screen Display Languages: English, Deutsch, Española, Francis, Nederland
- Dimension: 8.2 x 4.2 x 7.7 inches
- The ph. probe does not require buffer refills.
- If you make sure that residue does not buildup, it can last for more than a year.
- The display and controls are easy to use. You can view all the adjustments on the display screen along with a guide on how to change it.
- It is compatible with the temperature control probe.
- It shuts off dosing automatically when overdosing occurs.
- High acidic levels cause activation of the alarm and locking of the device.
- It does not dose as per the ph. of the tank.
- The green LED panel cannot be turned off.
13. Seneye Home Aquarium Monitor
- Brand: Seneye
- Weight: 4.6 ounces
- range of monitoring: 6.4 and 9
- Dimension: 6 x 8.5 x 2.1 inches
- Constant monitoring of water temperature
- Monitors the levels of ammonia
- Installing it is quite easy as it follows a simple drop-in system.
- The data is downloadable.
- The monitoring information can be accessed via mobile phone from the cloud.
- It merely alerts you about the tank conditions but cannot control any device to change the settings
- The slides that have to be replaced monthly are quite expensive
- The customer service is not satisfactory
What is An Aquarium Controller?
Aquarium enthusiasts will appreciate the importance of the controllers.
Aquarium controllers are vital tools for maintaining the conditions of the tank and ensuring that the fish get the best environment to thrive.
Beginners might feel that the tools are a tad bit pricey and not really required.
However, once you start maintaining an aquarium, you realize how difficult it is to monitor all the aspects of it.
To sum it up; an aquarium controller functions as a brain for the tank.
It keeps an eye on its conditions and acts according to the information it receives.
You have put in quite a lot of money in your aquarium.
You would not want your negligence to cause harm to your fish.
And this is where the aquarium controller will come to your assistance.
It will alert you if anything is amiss with the tank so that you can take appropriate measures.
Why Should You Get An Aquarium Controller?
The function the aquarium controller performs depends on the type you buy.
However, one thing is unanimous in all the types of controllers.
They alert you about an impending problem in the initial stages.
This is not all; the controllers also play a vital role in maintaining a stable environment in the tank.
It is not easy to keep tabs on the various aspects of the aquarium.
It is quite common for aquarists to worry that they forget something.
Controllers relieve you of this stress.
The best thing;
You can find a vast range of types of controllers.
Thus, whether it is the lighting of your tank or the Ph and the temperature of the water, you can be assured that an aquarium controller can monitor it effectively.
You need to select the type of controller according to your tank.
For instance, if you frequently forget to turn the light of the aquarium on and off, you need to look at a lighting controller.
On the other hand, if you wish to make sure that your precious fish feel at home in the tank, you can get water motion controllers to keep the environment natural.
Why is it Necessary to Monitor The Tank Conditions?
Imagine this; you sleep after ensuring that your precious fish are well fed and taken care of. However, you wake up to find them dead.
Sounds alarming, doesn’t it?
This is what happens if you do not monitor the conditions of your aquarium.
Fish cannot tolerate changes in their environment and thus can incur health problems owing to them.
How should I select An Aquarium Controller?
Considering the wide variety of options available, determining which aquarium controller you ought to opt for can be a challenging feat.
However, some factors must be given attention to.
How do I Decide Which Type of Controller I Should Opt For?
To ensure that you find the right type of controller, you first need to be aware of the categories.
Generally, the aquarium controllers can be categorized into four groups.
If you have a hectic work schedule and often tend to forget about maintaining your tank, perhaps this is something that would be suitable for you.
Is There Anything I Should be Cautious About while Using Aquarium Controllers?
There is no denying that aquarium controllers are highly beneficial.
But there is another side; controllers are, after all, a device and thus there is always a room for error.
There are some things you will need to be careful about while using aquarium controllers.
Does it Matter if my Tank is Freshwater or Saltwater?
Most controllers are designed to be compatible with both, freshwater and marine water.
However, it is still essential to make sure of this.
Those with freshwater tanks can use any waterproof probe without any worries.
On the other hand, saltwater tanks have a bit of a problem.
This is because salt water causes corrosion of a lot of metals and since probes are constructed from metal, you will need to make sure the one use is made from an anti-corrosion metal such as titanium.
The good thing is;
You can swap out the probes in most controllers.
It is advisable to buy a titanium probe if you have a saltwater tank.
Sealing the probe in epoxy or covering it with heat shrink might also work.
Can I Find A Product that can Monitor All The Parameters of The Tank?
This might be a challenging feat.
There are very few controllers that can measure all the parameters, such as temperature, pH and lighting.
Many brands are trying though.
However, it is rare to find pH controllers on multi-use devices.
Should I Get A Controller with A Built-in Alarm?
Yes. This will ensure that you are alerted about any problem at the earliest.
Whenever there is a change in a tank that can harm the aquatic life, you will be notified.
This will make sure that you can check if the controller has done its work of rectifying the change when there is time.
Is The Performance of The Filter System Affected by The Controller?
No. The controllers do not inhibit the performance of the filters.
The purpose of filters is to remove waste and debris from the tank, and the controller has no impact on it.
On the other hand:
The performance of pH controllers is improved owing to a sound filtration system.
This is because the water contains lesser impurity to influence the results.
Does The Size of The Aquarium Affect The Performance of The Controller?
Controllers usually have specifications about the tank they are suitable for.
Therefore, make sure that you read the specifications carefully to determine whether the controller is compatible with your tank.
Why is light important in a fish tank?
Most people tend to think that lighting merely enhances the viewing experience and makes the tank look beautiful.
This is far from reality.
Lighting is also a source of oxygen and energy for the fish.
It is vital for the development of aquatic life.
If you want to make sure that your fish remains healthy and grows optimally, you will need to give due importance to the lighting in the tank.
How do I lower the pH in my freshwater aquarium?
There are specific measures that can be taken to lower the pH of a freshwater tank.
- Adequate filtration
- Adding driftwood, peat moss or almond leaves to the tank as they are natural neutralizers of ph.
- Decrease aeration
- Use reverse osmosis filter