Due to the rapid expansion of technology used in our hobby, more and more aquarium keepers are adopting controllers and monitors to get a better look at water parameters and make moves to the water quality in order to provide their fish and corals with the best environment available. While the technology is nice and usually effective, it all hinges upon one key factor…proper maintenance. As with anything, pH probes, temperature probes, conductivity probes and the like all age like milk, rather than a fine wine. Over time, their abilities to report accurate and precise data degrades, leaving hobbyists with numbers that may not be truly representative of what is going on in the aquarium.
To bypass this issue, routine maintenance, calibration, and replacement of probes is a key to long-term success. Probes should be calibrated regularly, a relative term I know. Additionally, they should be cleaned on occassion and replaced as needed. Some probes have definite life spans, while others can last much longer or much less depending on how they are treated. In any case, follow the manufacturer recommendations as much as possible and you’ll likely not encounter too many issues.