The Alkatronic is yet another new Kh/Alkalinity controller, this time coming soon from Focustronic. Although Focustronic is just now starting to cut their teeth in the aquarium hobby with the Focus1 LED, they’ve been working to bring their own version of an Alkalinity monitor & controller to market for quite some time now.
The design of the Alkatronic is quite interesting as it was started as a project by Jonas Roman of Sweden and it might be different from what’s currently, and soon going to be, offered to reefers.
Alkalinity controllers are so new that we collectively don’t fully understand how they work, but there’s one way to measure alkalinity, but two ways to take that reading. Since alkalinity is the capacity for water to buffer against acids, we measure alkalinity by adding a mild acid containing pH indicator solution to a water sample.
When we do this manually we simply look for the change in color from alkaline to neutral. When machines are used to read the pH we can have them imitate the same way we test alkalinity, by optically reading the color of the solution. Alternatively, we can use a sensitive pH probe to determine when the water sample has been neutralized, and this is the method being used by the Alkatronic.
The Alkatronic measures alkalinity based on the ”pH electrode method” which some camps contend is the most accurate and also most maintenance free method. The unit comes complete with all pumps and everything in the box (4 pumps, 2 very precise stepper motors), so you need no extra devices and is completely standalone.
Apparently the Alkatronic has some extra tricks up its sleeves as both Balling method and Ca-reactor users can benefit as this machine also controls the CO2 to the Ca reactor through a power socket which Alkatronic controls. As long as the dKH is below the ”high reference value” this socket will be on and let the calcium reactor be controlled by the pH controller, but if the value is above, it will override the ordinary regulatory equipment and shut off the CO2 until the dKH is back on road.
This is a very cool added functionality in that the Alkatronic can become the ‘overlord’ of your entire alkalinity maintenance solution. The Alkatronic will come with wifi, Bluetooth, USB, Cloud-function, app for iOS and Android and is expected to ship before the end of the year with a retail price tag between $700 and $800.