This is the journal to the design & build of my new Coral Reef Aquarium Controller & Installation of the Reef Aquarium

 UPDATED Aug 24th 2013

I have used various photos, found on the internet to help illustrate areas of my project. If you see any of your personal photos on here and object to me using them, please feel free to contact me at and i will happily remove them.  Happy Reefing!!!

 This website is aimed at people with lots or no knowledge of electronics or reef keeping. I hope i made it easy enough for you to follow!!!

Please use the tabs at the top of this page to navigate to the various topics of this website.

Each page contains a contents section which allows for quick jumping to the relevant part.



This is the journal to the design & build of my new Coral Reef Aquarium Controller. 

Before becoming a helicopter pilot i spent 12 years as an electrical engineer. Ive always had an interest in electronics and automation and decided to design and build my own automated aquarium controller.

I have never done this kind of programming, design or in-depth electronic build before,  so im excited to see how it all goes.



Many years ago i owned a large coral reef tank back in England. It was great fun but took alot of time and money up keeping such a large tank. 


 Very early tank shot before corals were added.

I have since found a new breed of technology called Nano-Reefs. These are basically, fish tanks about the size of a microwave oven, that can support a full coral reef system. The technological advances in the last 10 years has come on leaps and bounds and now allows a small reef to be kept with relative ease and little expense.

This project started with a Nano Reef in mind, but has since increased and i now have a 75 Gallon aquarium ready for this build.

Basically this webpage is about documenting my designing and building of an automatic aquarium controller, the aquarium installation and the progressive growth of the reef.

Here you can see an image of an example tank, which had been growing for just over a year. 

This is an incredible tank and one i would be so proud to own! 

 :Internet photo:



It is a small piece of coral reef  kept in a home aquarium. It contains mainly corals, it has a few fish ( Big water polluters ) and lots of crabs, shrimps and snails ( Clean-Up-Crew ).

Keeping an aquarium, especially a reef, is all about keeping water. If you keep the water at correct parameters, then the sea life will thrive.

Some of these parameters are:

    Temperature                            ( Water Temperature )

    Salinity                                       ( Salt/Water Ratio )

    Ammonia                                  ( Decaying Matter Releases This )

    Nitrites                                       ( Bacteria Start Changing Ammonia Into This )  

    Nitrates                                     ( Bacteria Start Changing Nitrites Into This )

    PH                                                ( Acidity/Alkalinity Level )

    Calcium                                     ( Used By Corals To Grow )

The more stable these are, the better the sea life will be. Just like our living world, pollution, heat and lack of oxygen don't go down very well!!!! Most of these parameters can be maintained by doing a 10/15% tank volume weekly water change on the tank. The water will be filtered using a Reverse Osmosis and Distilled filter setup to remove the crap in our house water. Again it comes down to keeping stable water parameters.



Now alot of the joy of this hobby is working on your tank on a daily/weekly basis. Its all about husbandry and many find it very relaxing and theraputic. But then what about vacation times, times of human illness etc.

This is where an Automated Tank Controller comes in.





A reef controller is exactly what it sounds like. Its a machine that controls equipment that look after parts of the reef aquarium. These controllers can be very basic, right through to very complex. Mine will become very complex, but is going to be designed and built in simple sections and brought together in the final product.

The commercially available units can start from a couple of hundred dollars and go up into the thousands. Associated with this is the capabilities of each controller. The more you pay, them more functions you get.

 :Internet photo:

Because i didn't want to pay thousands, i wanted to have a controller for my exact needs and at a very low comparison budget.



 Top of Page