Building a new aquarium monitor & controller

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Alex Uribe, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. Alex Uribe

    Alex Uribe Guest

    As a few of you learned at the tank tour earlier in the month, I've been working with a team on a new saltwater aquarium monitor and controller specifically for saltwater enthusiasts. We’ve been working with PCH International out of Highway1 (a hardware incubator for tech companies) since September.


    We’ve spent a lot of time listening to aquarium owners (initially in Chicago and Miami, and now SF), learning (or in some cases, relearning) the chemistry inside our tank, and designing and developing the electronics, physical enclosure and software that a product like this requires.

    But now we are approaching a milestone where we need to solicit feedback from aquarium owners, and this is where we circle back to the community! We’d really love to show you what we’ve been working on, how it works and talk to you about your experience of owning an aquarium.

    If you’re interested in joining the conversation, feel free to message me :)

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  2. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    PM Sent.
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  3. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I say I say, there is quite a lot of room for competition on the controller market :D would love to see another local brand take off.
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  4. Alex Uribe

    Alex Uribe Guest

    We think so too! And thank you to those who reached out so far :)

    We're working toward a December deadline, so I'll definitely share some details before then because we're planning to crowd fund the first 30 pre-manufacturing devices (and if you back us for one of those, you'll also get a final production model!)
  5. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Wow, I remember you talking about this during the tour but to be honest you were talking gibberish to me :D And this from someone who understands how the Universe works! I thought you were just talking about making one for yourself, not that you want to produce one. Bravo on that though.
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  6. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Wow, December. That is quick.
    Do you mean this December.... :rolleyes:

    Dang, I was hoping to talk you guys into building my design
    on automated Calcium and Alkalinity testing.
    But looks like you will be focused on boring things ... like selling products.
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  7. Alex Uribe

    Alex Uribe Guest

    Haha, yes this December; but these will be classified as "working betas" so we can start capturing data and testing equipment compatibility. We would be thrilled to talk to you about your design more thoroughly :D
  8. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Let me know if you need guinea pigs for the testing phase :)
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  9. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    Interesting to hear any details when they're available. :)

    Surprisingly, I haven't heard of PCH International.
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  10. Alex Uribe

    Alex Uribe Guest

    Can't wait to share! :D

    And that's not surprising! PCH is a product & supply chain company, but they work on products you've definitely heard of ;)
  11. Alex Uribe

    Alex Uribe Guest

    Hey everyone! Just wanted to share a link, we launched FishBit Beta earlier today :)

    Definitely PM me any questions or thoughts!
  12. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    Looks great Alex :)

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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  13. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

    Interesting .....will be following your progress
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  14. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Very cool!!!
    Glad to see you made your target.
    But sad I cannot get a Beta. Although I have too many controllers around anyway.

    So what is with the Ammonia and Nitrite on App picture, but not in product???
    (Not like anyone really needs those anyway though)

    I really like the wireless power/comm for the Monitor!
    Less wires dangling in the tank is a big plus.
    Assuming I am understanding the pictures correctly.
    Curious though: What is the range? My sump with insulation is > 1 inch.
  15. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member


    I was think the same thing last night and was debating if I should get it and test it out on a new small tank, because I am already running with an Apex on my main

    I also was looking at the screen shot of the Ammonia & Nitrite and was wondering if they were going to try to offer any thing like Nitrates & Calcium probes, understandable they are expensive and that is why most controller companies don't offer such a probe, but had wishful
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  16. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Looking great.

    Can you confirm what parameters are going to eventually be monitored? I'm interested in the parameters where it takes a testing kit to determine levels (Ammonia, Calcium, Alkalinity, etc)
  17. Alex Uribe

    Alex Uribe Guest

    Hey guys! Sorry, for some reason I didn't get the notification (and didn't sign in till now) o_O... I'm about to run out but will respond tonight!
  18. Alex Uribe

    Alex Uribe Guest

    Great questions! And change of plans so I'm staying in tonight... so first, you can use the FishBit app with or without the hardware as a journal to track your parameters manually (or set reminders); i.e. including parameters like ammonia, nitrite, nitrate or alkalinity.

    As for the range of the inductive power, this is something we're going to test thoroughly leading into the beta (both the engineering and usability); but as of right now we are targeting about 0.75" -- but both sides of the monitor (so the inductive side typically on the outside) are water-proof, so I wonder if that helps in your setup? But we're hoping you put one of these inside your tank so everyone can see it ;)

    Back to the parameters, we've been toying with some neat sensor technology coming out of the biomedical and environmental space; but we're too young to have full R&D just yet :D

    FishBit ver 1 is hopefully just the beginning :)
  19. BAYMAC

    BAYMAC Guest

    From looking at the oribe side, I see two sections... one for probes, and one for the electronics.

    1. will the electronic side be encased in resin for further protection beyond that of a seal/o-ring?
    2. Will the probes be replaceable and cleanable? ie. accessable?
  20. Alex Uribe

    Alex Uribe Guest

    (1) That's correct! those electronics will be ready for saltwater (I have to dig up which level of water proof they'll be).
    (2) Yup! and calibration will be pretty easy, right now we're toying with a "tool" that has two discrete containers that you just drop the probes into, then hit a button on the app.

    Keep the questions coming! And some of these answers are going to change a bit over the next few months, so I'm taking note and will review them and post updates as we get further along :D

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