We all want the latest and greatest for our aquariums. They are an investment, after all, and we want to make sure that investment lasts. We are constantly bombarded with sales techniques and marketing messages that a certain product is everything we need. How do you know if it truly is something we can’t live without?

As for most technology, there isn’t really anything “bad” per se, yet there are some things that maybe you don’t need to have a beautiful and functional tank.

Optical Sensor

An optical sensor is meant to monitor water level and trigger another pump to refill for evaporation. Neat idea? Sure. Practical? Not necessarily. The ole’ keep it simple method is our favorite. We prefer to simply use a float switch to refill filters for evaporations. Float switches work on toilets all over the world. Do you really need to build a better mouse trap? Plus, float switches cost very little and have no maintenance. The same cannot be said for optical sensors.

Flow Monitors or Meters

A flow monitor does just that, monitors the flow of water through your tank. This is another great idea If you have a monster aquarium or limitless budget. Even if you do have a monster aquarium, there is the eye test of, is water moving or isn’t it? To know specifically what your flow rate is just isn’t that terribly important at the end of the day. Especially if you know your tank, you can see that water flow seems slow. But to spend the money and have the extra maintenance of calibrating the flow meter, I just don’t see it being terribly important.

Water testing monitors

A water testing monitor allows you to continually monitor the water parameters in your tank. Again, it’s a great idea if there is a huge amount of fish and corals to protect in a very large aquarium and a liberal budget, but they should all be looked at with a grain of salt. These monitors all need to be calibrated regularly and will give you false readings if you don’t. The time and energy that goes into maintaining the monitors could simply be spent testing your water with simple test kits. This is something you should do periodically with the fancy electronic monitors anyway, just to make sure they are reading correctly. Furthermore once your aquarium is pretty established, save maybe pH, water tests don’t change all that often and constantly fearing wild changes really isn’t necessary. Again, good idea, critical? Not so sure.

What about you? Have you bought or used equipment you later found you didn’t need? Drop us a line if you have any questions about aquarium technology. 

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