Logging Data, Monitoring and Aquarium Controller Devices, Part 2


In Part 1 of Logging Data, Monitoring and Aquarium Controller Devices we covered why it is vitally important to maintain and provide a stable environment for our aquatic friends. We listed various data logging software products that help track water chemistry, fish records, income & expenses, manage photos, trend analysis, dosing and more.

In this installment we will expand  products which can help us to electronically monitor our aquariums.  Monitoring equipment provides necessary data for use to make adjustments to aquarium chemistry, temperature, lighting, salinity and other functions.  Some aquarium monitors will provide alerts when there is a problem with a particular parameter.  There are virtually dozens of aquarium monitoring devices available but our discussion will be limited to the companies, devices and software which have the most significant market share and thusly, more experience and feedback from end users.

What follows is a listing of products and manufacturers providing quality monitoring, data collection/analysis, and testing equipment.  Any of these will help you to modernize and streamline your maintenance duties and provide more free time to enjoy your beautiful marine display.

American Marine (Pinpoint) Battery operated stand alone monitors. 2 year warranty.

Conductivity Monitor & Probe – Both freshwater fish keepers and those who use deionized/reverse osmosis systems often rely heavily on this meter. (Street Price: $114.95)

ORP/REDOX Monitor & Probe – The Pinpoint ORP/REDOX Monitor & Probe is popular with those who use ozone gas or potassium permanganate as an artificial oxidation agent in fresh or saltwater.  (Street Price: 124.20)

Pinpoint Salinity Monitor & Probe – accurately and immediately measure the amount of salt in any marine or freshwater system. The reading is fully temperature compensated, which is difficult or impossible with nearly any commercial hydrometer.  (Street Price: 123.50)

American Marine Pinpoint PH Monitor & Probe – 24/7 monitoring of pH.  (Street Price: 99.20)

Apogee Instruments

MQ200 PAR Meter – Measures PAR radiation up to 2000 µmol photons m−2s−1.  PAR radiation is normally quantified as µmol photons m−2s−1, which is a measure of the photosynthetic photon flux (area) density, or PPFD.  Useful for understanding when it’s time to replace T5, VHO and metal halide bulbs.  Also useful for understanding when to adjust LED lighting intensity as LED diodes decrease in intensity over time.  Very useful for coral placement in the aquarium.  (Avg. street price $349.00 – $380.00)

BioTek Marine

BTM3000 PAR Sensor/Meter – Made by Apogee Instruments for BioTek Marine.  Measures PAR radiation up to 3000 µmol photons m−2s−1.  Similar to the MQ200 but has a 15′ USB cable that connects to a computer with custom software for aquarium use.  (Street Price $195.00)

Hanna Instruments

Hanna Instruments HI96713 Phosphate Meter is an auto diagnostic portable microprocessor meter that has the advanced optical system based on a special Tungsten Lamp and a narrow band interference filter that allows most accurate and repeatable readings.  Range 0.00 – 2.50 mg/L.  (Street Price: $213.00)

Hanna HI96822 Digital Seawater Refractometer – a rugged portable, water resistant device that utilizes the measurement of the refractive index to determine the salinity of natural and artificial seawater, ocean water or brackish intermediates.  This digital refractometer eliminates the uncertainty associated with mechanical refractometers and is rugged and portable enough to be used at home, in the lab and out in the field.  (Street Price: $169.00)

Lifegard Aquatics

Little Time & Temp, Big Time & Temp, Digital Time & temp.  The Lifegard Aquatics Time & Temps feature a Digital Clock and Temperature Indicator with backlit display and battery. Features digitally correct readings of aquarium water or room temperature.  Wide temperature range (-58°F to 158°F). 1 Year Warranty ($15.00, $18.00, $35.00 respectively)

Milwaukee Instruments

Milwaukee MA887 Digital Seawater Refractometer – The Milwaukee MA887 Seawater Digital Refractometer encompasses 3 different types of user selected scales for the measurement of seawater providing for a much more precise evaluation. Each scale is temperature compensated. (Street Price: $109.95)

1.     PSU — The newest type scale standard — Letters stand for Practical Salinity Units and is fast become the universal standard for seawater measurement
2.     ppt — The old standard of Parts Per Thousand of saturated salt. This is the oldest of the 3 seawater measurements scales
3.     S.G. The current standard of Specific Gravity hydrometers and refractometers.

Milwaukee MW100 Portable PH Meter – The MW802 is a compact portable meter with fast microprocessor. This easier and faster to calibrate portable meter has a smaller, ergonomic and lighter case design.  pH meter, range: 0.0 to 14.0, with 2 point manual calibration, and accuracy of ± 0.2 pH. Supplied with a MA911B/1 double junction pH electrode, 9v battery, 20ml pH 7.01 packet buffer solution and screwdriver for calibration.  (Street Price: $109.95)


Tunze Conductivity Meter – While not very popular in the states because of it’s price point, this meter is powered by a 9 volt battery and it precisely determines the conductivity value in fresh, brackish and saltwater. In salt water this conductivity meter displays the salt content through conductivity several times more accurate and simpler than a laboratory aerometer.  (Price $327.92)

Tunze Water Level Alarm – The water level alarm comes with three sensors, a run-dry sensor and two overflow sensors. Each sensor comes with a holding device which can be attached with silicone or can be clamped to horizontal or vertical panes. The holding devices can also be combined. The control unit has an optical indicator for each sensor and an alert sound emitter. The switched socket outlet has a switching capacity for pumps of up to 230V / 1,800W (at 115V / 900W). (Street Price: $203.87)


Check these products out, let us know about your experiences, and share your pictures and comments.



About Author

Scott Groseclose is the owner of AquaNerd, Aquarium Specialty, Aqua Specialty Wholesale, BioTek Marine, & The Carolina Reef Experience. He has a degree in Biology from St. Andrews University and he has been a passionate reef keeper since 1988.