Blackreef is a new aquarium controller system borrowing heavily from the ease of use that iPhones and other touchscreen smartphones have brought to the market. We got wind of the Blackreef from Aquarama and from what we’ve been able to gather, the Blackreef system uses a 4.3 in. resistive touchscreen device as the main control and display of the device with just one cable to power and communicate with all the modules. The touchscreen control is very reminiscent of a smartphone app making it easy to browse, monitor, control and setup equipment on the system.
The Blackreef system has built in control for dosing pumps and can be easily scheduled and managed quantity control via the device and with the computer software, more advanced dosing features can be tapped into. The Blackreef system also had built in management of the most popular streaming pumps allowing you to simply choose any of the preset scenarios or create your own.
If lighting control is your bag, then the Blackreef has a swanky built in LED control module with all the typical bells and whistles — a full sunrise to sunset scheme, lunar cycle, plus cloud cover and thunderstorms. Each LED module also features two outlets to control T5 lights. There is also a standalone lighting module to control and manage T5 and HQI/MH lighting. The Blackreef system also features add-on modules including an SMS module to send updates, error messages and alerts to you in real time along with an ethernet bridge module.
Sensor control and monitoring is the backbone of most aquarium control systems since steady parameters are a key component of a stable reef system and the Blackreef system sensor control module has several precision sensor components — temperature (heating and cooling), pH, Redox/ORP, and salinity. There is even a way to manage salinity and control the automated top-off of the aquarium and if you really want to get detailed, could even use the system to do automated water changes. Future plans call for nitrate and oxygen sensors to be added.
While using a sexy device instead of a utilitarian box with a simple digital display is refreshing, the obvious nod to the iPhone is appealing but we would rather see a system eliminate the need for a propriety head unit or handset control device, opting for using a smartphone as the main platform. Sure it is a nifty looking device compared to what’s on the market today but with the advanced computing and processing power we have in our mobile phones, one less “device” is always better. Look for the Blackreef aquarium control system to make its full-fledged debut at InterZoo 2012.