Fishbit launched a Kickstarter for the newest version of their Controller and Monitor last week, and they were in Denver for ReefStock to show off what the new machines can do. If you are not familiar with Fishbit, it is one of the true great success stories of grassroots development in the aquarium hobby, with their ingenious dual monitor and controller shaking up the status quo of what an aquarium controller system can be.
The first Kickstarter for the Beta release of Fishbit controllers and monitors was funded in less than 24 hours and here they are a year later with a much improved design for both parts of the Fishbit system. The Beta Fishbits are pretty basic, with simple on/off control of six outlets on the controller, and a separate monitor that uses inductive charging to power the wet working parts of the pH and sensor probes.
The new Fishbit is a big advancement of features, both for the controller and the monitor. The new Fishbit controller now has eight outlets of control, plus eight channels of 1-10v control for dimming lights and similarly controlled devices.
One of the coolest features of the Fishbit is the indicator LEDs which let you know which outlets are turned on. This feature has been much improved in the new controller with nicer, recessed RGB LEDs which can be custom programmed for color so you can more easily learn which outlets are which.
The new Fishbit monitor is also quite improved, with the biggest change being the omission of the inductive charging through the glass. The Fishbit monitor still uses magnets to affix the wetside of the monitor to the glass, but the cables now wrap around the side of the sump or tank. Using a wired connection to the sensors and probes probably makes the whole setup more reliable, but more importantly it shrinks the size of the monitor by allowing more of the electronics to be on the dry side of the Fishbit monitor assembly.
Fancy hardware is nice and all, but where the Fishbit truly shines is by being designed for wireless control on a smartphone. The Fishbit app makes programming and controlling the Fishbit a breeze with much more modern graphical user interface that even your parents can learn to use, without having to read pages of instruction.
With only a few dozen Fishbits out in the wild working on real, actual aquariums, the company still has a long way to go to prove that the their concept aquarium controller and monitor is legit aquarium hardware. We are already pretty pleased with the Beta Fishbit’s ability to do the most important aquarium tasks, especially how easy it is to use.
So far the new Fishbit is halfway to their funding goal of $71,750 with 25 more days to go and racking up backers at a fairly steady clip. We’ll be watching their new Kickstarter campaign very closely because the aquarium controller space is in desperate need of disruption, and the Fishbit is already on the right track.