For nearly three years now Reef Kinetics has teased us with the promise of automated water testing, kicking off this far-off future with the ReefBits at MACNA 2016. As a concept, the way all the important parts of ReefBits worked together was difficult to grasp so Reef Kinetics took all the feedback they received and quickly iterated a more streamlined and approachable machine called the ReefBot.
The ReefBot is exactly what it sounds like, a robot that automatically tests your aquarium water, and it is taking a pretty different approach than most machines trying to flesh out this new space in the market. While some machines might use chemically sensitive foils, or ion-specific probes, the ReefBot tests aquarium water basically the same way that we have done for decades, using our tried and tested aquarium test kits.
With the ReefBot Reef Kinetics developed a machine that can dispense reagents, mix them up, and read the resulting values using a specially designed camera. While it might seem a little complicated to look at and inspect, when you watch the ReefBot in action you can easily follow how this machine performs the actions of the aquarist – dispensing reagents, mixing them, waiting an appropriate time until another reagent is added or the results are ready to be read.
What makes the ReefBot so approachable is that it doesn’t use complicated chemistry or proprietary reagents but instead relies on off-the-shelf test kits that we’ve come to know. A wide range of test kit brands are supported by the ReefBot including Salifert, Giesemann, Red Sea, Tropic Marin and API so matter where you live and what tests you prefer, the ReefBot is compatible with many different tests from trusted test kit makers.
The number of different tests the ReefBot can use depends on the number of reagents, and hence vials that are required, and these can be mixed and matched and subsequently programmed into the ReefBot smartphone application on the fly. While the ReefBot might be of great appeal to OCD reefers who want their water tested frequently, this device could also be of great use in aquarium stores who frequently offer water testing services – with one or a fleet of ReefBots new reefers might be able to get their water tested reliably by this machine without having to impose on the staff of an LFS.
The ReefBot itself has been in testing and refinement for over two years now and finally Reef Kinetics has deemed their creation ready for the general (American) public. The ReefBot is now available to buy direct and the early adopter price is $899 plus shipping as well as your own preferred test kits. This connected device will not only remotely report the values that you’ve programmed it to measure, but it will also benefit from new firmware upgrades over time that will continue to improve its precision, accuracy and compatibility with more test kits types and brands. [Reef Kinetics]