The ReefBot Lab is the latest automatic aquarium water testing machine from Reef Kinetics, makers of the ReefBot which was one of the very first full range testers to be offered to reefers. At a time where other testers were only focused on measuring alkalinity using their own proprietary methods, the first ReefBot used widely available and trusted test kits and reagents to measure everything from minerals to nutrients and even trace elements.
We haven’t heard much from Reef Kinetics in the last handful of years, especially during the global shutdown and while the interruption may have stalled their plans for the ambitious ReefBits project, Reef Kinetics is back with improved versions of the ReefBot with the Lab and Pro versions. One interesting feature of the ReefBot Lab is that since it uses liquid reagents from a wide range of test kits, the only limiting factor to how many tests it can perform is the number of vials the machine can hold.
With only eight vials the original ReefBot was usually limited to between two and four different parameters but the ReefBot Lab steps this up to 12 vials which should theoretically be able to cover the major values like calcium, magnesium, alkalinity with room to spare for nitrate and phosphate. Since different test kits use differing amounts of reagents, and the ReefBot only works with liquid reagents, your mileage will vary based on your choice of test brand but the ReefBot Lab is compatible with more than ever before.
With the new ReefBot Lab Reef Kinetics was able to make some improvements to the mechanics including a new dosing syringe and more precise actuators for improved accuracy and reliability of the test results which are all reported to the cloud for review online or on the smartphone app. One comforting aspect of the ReefBot Lab is that it tests water using the same test kits we’ve always enjoyed and trusted, but then uses a more precise colorimeter to determine color changes and values much better than the human eye.
The one downside to the ReefBot is that since it undertakes the tests with conventional tests it can be quite slow to perform each test, which is not really a problem if you set it to cruise-control the chemistry of your reef tank. The new and improved ReefBot Lab will start shipping in around four weeks for $1299 but you’ll still need to consider the cost of each specific testing kit, and for even more flexibility the ReefBot Pro will hold 21 vials and be able to test multiple tanks at the same time – ideal for coral farmers seeking a single solution for multiple aquariums.