Aquarium equipment is becoming smaller, more efficient and “smarter” to make aquarium keeping easier than ever. Some of the smart aquarium gadgets and apps available today make the bubbling treasure chest of yesterday look like a Neanderthals’ fish tank. There are so many things to consider when setting up a tank — who would have thought one of them would be, “What app can help me maintain a healthy fish tank?”
Some new tanks have a contemporary design using bonded acrylics to create a visually seamless appearance. Some are high tech with all kinds of aquarium gadgets. Most, however, will be somewhere in the mid-range of price and complexity. Before starting to design your smart aquarium set up, consider why you are setting up the aquarium, where it will go, how much space you have and how much time you have to dedicate to it. This will help you decide what gadgets make sense for your home or community common areas.
Is your main goal in setting up your aquarium to create visual interest? In that case, you may want to look at automatic feeders from a company like Neptune Systems or Lifegard Aquatics. Feed your fish consistently, and safely, while home or away. A key component of caring for aquatic animals is regularly providing them with food, but in amounts that get consumed immediately so as not to pollute the aquarium and ruin that beautiful feature in your home. The automatic feeder takes the guesswork out of feeding amounts and feeding times enhancing your likelihood of the tank water staying clear, making the most of the tank’s visual interest.
Perhaps your goal is to integrate your existing aquarium with technology. Try using the Fishbit app! The Fishbit Monitor brings real-time water monitoring to your aquarium. You can log your water measurements in the Fishbit App and see exactly what’s happening in your aquarium. Spend more time enjoying your tank and less time testing your water.
With all the excitement of apps for aquariums, we don’t want to overlook virtual fish tanks. On Facebook, the Happy Aquarium game lets you build your tank, add plants, earn decorations, air stones, filters and yes, even add various fish. They start as babies and grow in your tank as you care for them. It’s almost the perfect marriage between an aquatic community online and your own home fish tank – no cleanup required!
Have you heard of the “nano” aquarium? These compact aquariums are chic little systems that are designed to house delicate reef invertebrates and corals. Integrated into the aquarium or its hood is life-supporting equipment, including filtration and lighting, designed to provide reliable performance without compromising the aesthetic of the aquarium.
Sophisticated water quality monitoring devices have also decreased in size and price. These well-researched monitors boast hand-held convenience and ease of use. The increased use of electronic components within aquarium equipment brings a new, ever improving generation of programmable smart devices that make aquarium care easier and easier.
From electronic submersible heaters that maintain accurate water temperature, to programmable feeders, to canister filters capable of self-diagnosis, smart aquarium products are more reliable and require less monitoring. This leaves more time to enjoy your aquarium instead of time spent on constant maintenance.
No matter why you want a smart aquarium in your home or community, try adapting one or more smart devices and apps and rediscover the joy of home aquariums in the 21st century.
All copy by Alice Hebert, community association manager at 510 Groveland in Minneapolis, Minnesota.