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Last update: June 7, 2022

Best Aquarium Controller

Owning an aquarium can be one of the best hobbies out there today. There’s something about watching different kinds of fish swim around in harmony (or sometimes not so much) in their little world.

It can be therapeutic and relaxing, and it’s also a great conversation starter when you have guests over. But just like with any hobby, there is a certain level of commitment and responsibility that comes with taking care of an aquarium. This is where an aquarium controller can come in very handy.


Inkbird ITC306T Greenhouse Temperature Controller

Inkbird ITC306T Greenhouse Temperature Controller

5/5
  • WINNER
Inkbird ITC 308S Dual Stage Temperature Controller

Inkbird ITC-308S Dual Stage Temperature Controller

4.5/5
  • RUNNER UP
BN LINK Digital Temperature Controller

BN-LINK Digital Temperature Controller

4.5/5
  • BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
Pymeter Digital Temperature Controller

Pymeter Digital Temperature Controller

4/5
  • BEST HIGH-END
hygger Fully Submersible Temperature Controller

hygger Fully Submersible Temperature Controller

4.5/5
  • BEST BUDGET PICK

In this article, we try to understand the importance of aquarium controllers, their benefits, types as well as our recommendations for some of the best ones out in the market today.

What is an aquarium controller

An aquarium controller is a device that helps to automate the care of your fish tank. By connecting to various aquarium accessories, such as an aquarium heater or water level sensor, a controller can help you maintain the ideal environment for your fish.

For saltwater and freshwater aquariums, controllers can also be used to monitor and adjust pH levels and regulate the flow of salt or freshwater.

In addition, many controllers come with built-in timers that can automatically turn on lights or filter pumps at set intervals. By simplifying the process of keeping an aquarium, controllers can help you create a healthy and comfortable home for your fish.

Benefits of an aquarium controller

Temperature Control

For both saltwater and freshwater aquariums, controllers can help to maintain consistent and stable water temperatures. This is extremely important for the health of your fish, as sudden temperature changes can cause stress and illness.

By connecting an aquarium controller to a heater, you can ensure that your fish always have the ideal water temperature.

pH level control

Another important factor in keeping a healthy aquarium is maintaining the proper pH level of the water. Depending on the type of fish you have, the optimal pH level will vary.

However, in general, most saltwater aquariums should have a pH between 8.0 and 8.4, while most freshwater aquariums should have a pH between 6.8 and 7.8. By using an aquarium controller to monitor and adjust pH levels, you can create a safer environment for your fish.

Salinity control

For saltwater aquariums, it is also important to maintain the proper level of salinity in the water. Too much or too little salt can be harmful to your fish.

An aquarium controller can help you regulate the amount of salt in your tank by monitoring the specific gravity of the water.

Scheduled feeding

One of the most popular features of aquarium controllers is the ability to schedule automatic feedings.

This can be a huge help if you’re forgetful or if you’re going on vacation and won’t be able to feed your fish yourself. By setting up a feeding schedule, you can rest assured that your fish will always have enough food.

Water level monitoring

Another common feature of aquarium controllers is the ability to monitor water levels. This is especially helpful if you have an automatic top-off system, as it can prevent your tank from overflowing.

This is also important in addressing evaporation that happens in slightly warmer environments.

By automating these tasks, controllers can help to make aquarium ownership low-maintenance and stress-free. As a result, they are an increasingly popular choice for both novice and experienced aquarists alike.

Types of aquarium controllers

Knowing the different types of aquarium controllers can help with your search for the most ideal aquarium controllers. Here are the common types:

Single element control

The most basic type of aquarium controller is one that can only control a single element, such as pH or temperature only.

These are typically the most affordable controllers on the market, and they can be a good choice if you only need to automate one aspect of your aquarium care.

Multi-element control

If you want more comprehensive control over your fish tank, you may want to consider a multi-element controller. These devices can automate multiple aspects of aquarium care, such as temperature, pH, and salinity.

They usually come with built-in timers and alarms as well, which can help ensure that your fish are always being properly cared for.

Wi-Fi control

The latest type of aquarium controller on the market is one that can be controlled via wi-fi. This means that you can monitor and adjust your aquarium care from anywhere in the world using your smartphone or tablet.

These controllers are usually the most expensive on the market, but they offer the ultimate in convenience and peace of mind.

Common mistakes to avoid when choosing an aquarium controller

Not considering the size of the aquarium

One of the most common mistakes is choosing a controller that is too small for the aquarium. This can lead to problems such as lack of oxygenation and an inability to maintain proper pH levels.

It is important to choose a controller that is specifically designed for the size of your aquarium.

Specie of fish isn’t taken into consideration

Another mistake that is often made is not considering the type of fish when choosing a controller. Different types of fish have different requirements, so it is important to choose a controller that can accommodate the needs of your specific fish.

For example, if you have a saltwater aquarium, you will need a controller that can regulate salinity levels.

Improper or lacking ideal features

Another common mistake is choosing a controller that does not have enough features. This can make it difficult to properly monitor and adjust the conditions in the aquarium.

Make sure to choose a controller that has all the features you need, such as temperature control, pH level control, and water level monitoring.

Incompatible controllers with the existing aquarium equipment

Finally, some people choose controllers that are not compatible with their existing aquarium equipment. This can lead to frustration and wasted money.

You may be sure to pick an aquarium controller that is appropriate for you and your fish if you avoid these typical blunders.

Our choice for the best aquarium controller

Now that you know how beneficial aquarium controllers can be for your tank setup, here are our recommendations for aquarium controllers out there today.

Winner: Inkbird ITC306T Greenhouse Temperature Controller

Best Aquarium Controller

Type: Single element controller

Temperature:  -50~99 °C / -58~210 ° F

Watts: Maximum output load: 1200W(110V) / 2200W(220V).

The Inkbird ITC306T Greenhouse Temperature Controller has a plug-and-play design for easy use, with over-temperature and sensor fault alarms, as well as the ability to be calibrated for even more accuracy.

It also has a dual display window so you can keep track of both the set and measured temperatures simultaneously. Additionally, it is outfitted with an ultra-capacitor for up to 20 days of uninterrupted use without electricity.

This controller is designed specifically for aquariums and reptile tanks, with two different temperature settings that are adjustable day and night.

Pros

  • Accurate and reliable heater controller
  • Easy-to-use

Cons

  • Unclear instructional materials

Runner Up: Inkbird ITC-308S Dual Stage Temperature Controller

Best Aquarium Controller

Type: Single element controller

Temperature: -40 °C~100 °C/ -40 °F ~212 °F

Watts: Max. 10A, 100~240V AC

The Inkbird ITC-308S Dual Stage Temperature Controller is an easy-to-use, safe and reliable temperature controller that can be used for a variety of applications, including home brewing, aquariums, pet breeding, and more.

It has a dual display window so you can track both the set and measured temperatures simultaneously, as well as an ultra-capacitor for up to 20 days of uninterrupted use without electricity.

This controller is designed specifically for aquariums and reptile tanks with two different temperature settings that are adjustable day and night.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Perfect for a variety of applications, including aquariums and reptile tanks

Cons

  • The degree control is set in increments of 1 and not in decimal places making the temperature range slightly high

Best Value for Money: BN-LINK Digital Temperature Controller

Best Aquarium Controller

Type: Single element controller

Temperature: -40 ~ 176°F

Watts: 120V 15A1800W(Max)

The BN-LINK Digital Temperature Controller is the perfect solution for maintaining constant temperature. It features easy plug-in operation with LED indicator lights, a simple 6-button interface, simultaneous heating/cooling operation, and support for both Fahrenheit and Celsius.

The dual digital readout makes it easy to monitor temperature, while the waterproof and accurate probe ensures reliable readings.

High/low temperature alerts make it easy to stay informed of temperature changes, making this controller an essential part of any temperature control system.

Pros

  • Multi-use case scenarios
  • Accurate thermostat
  • Has a higher amperage than most of the controllers

Cons

  • Complicated instructional materials for the first time users
  • Slightly difficult to read digital display

Best High End: Pymeter Digital Temperature Controller

Best Aquarium Controller

Type: Single element controller

Temperature: -50~99.9°C / -58~210°F

Watts: 10A – 1200W to 16A 1920W

Pymeter digital temperature controller is a reliable and easy-to-use product that can control two sockets for heating and cooling at the same time.

It features dual probes, an independent temperature-controlled switch for each outlet, high and low temperature alarms, power-off memory, power-on delay, and temperature calibration.

This product is also suitable for a wide range of applications, including Kimchi refrigerators, garage freezers, carboy heaters, home brewing kits, chicken coop water heaters, water chillers, swamp coolers, seedling heat mats, reptile heating pads, heat lamps, oven thermostats, beer brewing kits, fermenter fermentation buckets, heat mats for plants, and grow tent heaters.

Pros

  • Multi-use case scenarios
  • High and low temperature alarms
  • Power-off memory
  • Power-on delay

Cons

  • Some users experienced the alarm being too loud
  • Occasional issues with temperature shifting consistency
  • Occasional issues with durability

Best Budget Pick: Hygger Fully Submersible Temperature Controller

Best Aquarium Controller

Type: Single element controller

Temperature: 59~93°F (15~34°C)

Watts: 10A – 1200W to 16A 1920W

The Hygger submersible fish tank heater is a great choice for those looking for an efficient and effective way to heat their fish tank. With its double heating element, it quickly and evenly distributes heat, creating a comfortable environment for your fish.

The LED digital controller allows you to easily monitor and adjust the water temperature, and the preset function prevents accidental overheating.

The PC plastic guard protects your fish from getting burned, and the 500 watt or 800 watt option is ideal for 66-120 or 80-190 gallon tanks respectively.

The multi-function feature also includes a temperature setting that remembers your last setting, as well as running-dry and overheating protection.

Pros

  • LED digital controller
  • PC plastic guard
  • Overheating protection

Cons

  • Some users found the Hygger to be difficult to set up
  • There have been reports of inconsistency with the temperature reading

Alternative 1: Hygger Digital Temperature Controller

Best Aquarium Controller

Type: Single element controller

Temperature: 61°F to 90°F (16°C ~ 32°C)

Watts: 200 watts, 300 watts, and 500 watts

The Hygger Digital Temperature Controller is one of the best aquarium controllers on the market. It is 100% waterproof and fully submersible, making it ideal for use in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

The controller features a blue LED digital display that is easy to read and shows the water temperature accurately. It also has a durable quartz tube that is resistant to corrosion and double sealed material that prevents scalding and punching.

The controller is available in three different sizes: 200 watts, 300 watts, and 500 watts. Choose the size that best fits your fish tank.

Pros

  • 100% waterproof and fully submersible
  • Blue LED digital display
  • Durable quartz tube

Cons

  • Some users found the Hygger to have a questionable life span
  • Bulky cords

Alternative 4: NICREW TC-321 Digital Temperature Controller

Best Aquarium Controller

Type: Single element controller

Temperature: -40°F – 200°F

Watts: 1100 watts

The NICREW TC-321 Digital Temperature Controller is a highly accurate and reliable option that features dual outlets for heating and cooling control, as well as a waterproof sensor.

It also has an audible and visual alarm function, in case the temperature strays from the set point range of -40°F to 200°F. Additionally, the controller has a compressor delay protection feature to keep your fish safe and healthy.

Power off memory function ensures that all your settings are saved even if there is a power outage.

Pros

  • Highly accurate and reliable
  • Audible and visual alarm function
  • Compressor delay protection

Cons

  • Instructions are unclear making it challenging for first-time users
  • There have been reports of inaccuracy with the temperature readings

Conclusion

Aquarium controllers are a great way to automate your fish tank and ensure that your fish are always getting the best care. There are a variety of different types of aquarium controllers on the market, so it is important to choose one that is right for you and your aquarium.

By considering the size of the tank, the type of fish, and the features you need, you can be sure to find an aquarium controller that fits your needs.

Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.

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