As technology continues its onward march, household objects are more commonly being connected to the internet. Refrigerators are becoming aware of what they have inside of them, washers and dryers can text you when they are done running, you can turn on the lights in your home from the other side of the world with your phone. The question is, do we need this type of technology on our aquarium, or are we better off to keep it simple? Many in the aquarium hobby still prefer to keep things as simple as possible, and haven’t even moved up to some of the more modern filter and lighting systems let alone partial or full automation.
Keep It Simple Stupid
Regardless of whether you are in the low tech or high tech camp, it is necessary to learn the basics of keeping an aquarium before going down either path. One must not just learn how to use a piece of equipment, but also why you want one for your aquarium. It is important to know what a particular additive, chemical, or piece of hardware will do for you and your aquarium before throwing money at it. The aquarium hobby can become unnecessarily expensive if it isn’t properly planned for.
The principles are the same for all aquariums, they are a glass or acrylic box filled with water and bacteria which are careening toward a complete loss of control at all times, and due to the diligence of the aquarium’s owner they are kept just within the boundaries of jumping the tracks and going completely out of control. Learning the basics of water chemistry including ammonia nitrite, nitrate, PH and more are absolutely crucial in both a high tech and low tech setup. It is this fish keeper’s opinion that anyone starting out in the aquarium hobby needs to start out fairly low tech. Beginning with the basics will teach the new fish keeper about biology, chemistry, and how all the pieces and residents of an aquarium work together to keep a precarious balance.
Give Me More Power Scotty!
When you plug in all of the accessories for your aquarium, do you have a certain sense of pride when your house lights dim and the local power plant has to increase output to accomodate the power spike? If so, then the newer, more high tech aquarium devices which are maturing or are appearing for the first time in the market are probably for you. There are monitoring systems which connect to your aquarium using a series of probes to measure every parameter of your water quality and can be connected to dosing pumps and water top off systems so that a calcium supplement or water top off can be done automatically. The devices chart the aquarium over the long term, so the owner can track the trends with ammonia, ph, nitrate, nitrite, hardness, dissolved oxygen, or any number of other things. Lighting systems can be made to simulate thunderstorms, cloudy days, or changing weather either with the use of a controler, or it is a feature actually included with the light. These things may not be necessary, but they do add some entertainment value to the aquarium. Tech gadgetry will continue to merge into the aquarium space, and who knows what the future may bring.
One thing is true for certain: no matter which route you are on with your aquarium, either the traditional route or the super high tech route, you will always need to know the basics of fish keeping in order to fully understand what is happening with your aquarium.
Do you have a low tech, or a high tech aquarium? Let me know what you think!