Reefbits is a new automatic water testing device which promises to automate much of the water testing for our aquariums. We’re generally way too optimistic about cutting edge technologies and promising new products but somehow the Reefbits really fell short of gaining a foot hold in our imagination.
Initially, Reef Kinetics was formed to develop a product called the Reefbot, which was essentially a miniaturized version of the Thrive Water Lab, minus the whole reverse-ATM aspect. With Reefbits, it seems that the concept was split up into several different modules, each of which are capable of testing a few different water parameters.
Some of the Reefbits use reagent based testing, some of them use probes and sensors, but all of them are fed aquarium water from a central hub called the Bridge. Presumably, the bridge has a series of peristaltic pumps to feed water to the various Reefbits, and it serves a central communications hub with a built-in web server to see and monitor your parameters.
Before we could even get into the functionality of the Reefbits, we couldn’t get past this awkward sprawling tangle of hoses coming to and from each of the Reefbits. Each Reefbit is encased in a huge acrylic dome which greatly inflates the space needed to house just one of these. And if you want the whole ecosystem, you could expect to need upwards of several square feet of space for all of the modules and the Bridge.
Don’t even get us started on price, which begins around $600 for a single Reefbit and the Bridge, before you even get to the reagents needed for this machine, or additional modules to test something more than phosphate and nitrate. But most of all, Reef Kinetics really failed to offer a compelling demonstration of their new product – a handful of static domes and a very basic text-based smartphone app is not a very convincing way to show reefers your vision for the future of automatic water testing.
Besides the sprawling nature of the Reefbits, it’s very possible that the water testing functions are very accurate and work very well, but the thing is we didn’t see this machine do anything. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and with a machine like Reefbits, the onus is on Reef Kinetics to make its case for such an unconventional aquarium device.