Aquarium controller for total grow room automation

Discussion in 'Growing Marijuana Indoors' started by yerbamate, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. Some people are probably doing this, but I didn't really find anything when searching so I figured I'd mention it. I had a large saltwater reef tank for a long time, and I had it automated with a device that is very much like the controllers used for greenhouses or grow rooms, but it is likely easier to find and less expensive because more are around used. The model I use is called the Reefkeeper 2, and although it is now discontinued in favor of a new model, you can find the information here.

    Aquariums and grow rooms have a lot of things common when you break it down. They both use high wattage HID lighting, heaters, coolers/chillers/fans, need timers, temperature monitoring, and ph (if you're doing hydro).

    The unit I was using has a couple of features that make it totally ideal for a grow space.

    1. Two dedicated light sockets that are additionally fused
    2. The ability to assign each of the eight channels to individual purposes (presets include heater, chiller, light, multi-timer).
    3. Each channel has an on, off or auto function. On/Off are obvious. Auto allows you to set an on/off time or temperature (heater/chiller functions allow an on/off high and low temp). This allows you to set on-off times for lights and fans, and also set temperature safety cutoffs so that those items will kick on-off when a certain temperature is reached.
    4. A remote screen that can be mounted several feet from the main control panel, so the plug strip can be mounted in or outside the tent/room and the display can be mounted high and in sight for easy viewing.

    Here's a potential application (how I'm running my areas).

    I have two enclosed spaces, one for veg and a separate for flowering. Veg running 175w metal halide, flower is 400w hps. Both are plugged into the controller and set for independent times (veg is on/off 20/4, flower is 12/12). In each there are internal fans set to cycle on and off during certain periods of the day. In the flowering tent there is an intake fan that pulls cold air from outside, which is set to come on when the temperature in the room gets above a certain number. There's also a large extractor fan that kicks on at a higher temperature if that doesn't cool things down properly. Right now in the veg tent I'm running a heating pad that is temp regulated to turn on and off

    If you had a hydro setup you could use the pump multi-timer setting to do anything from topping off your reservoirs (which could also easily be accomplished by means of a simple aquarium float switch), dose nutes, regulate your water temperature - a hydro setup would make even more use of this system. If you were using soil you could still literally automate just about everything - watering if you were out of town (not advised but if you absolutely had to), temperature or time regulate just about everything (heaters, air conditioners, fans, etc). Some of these systems even allow remote monitoring and alarms via the web (which you would of course have to keep super down low but if you were running some serious shit, a private domain & ip address and some good security and you could control your grow from anywhere over the internet).

    Here are a few models to look out for, and it's handy to search aquarium forums like and other forum classifieds for stuff like this (you can also snag T5, T12 and metal halide fixtures and ballasts this way legally and with much less sketch). I'm linking to each manufacturer so you can see some of the models and do your own research from there. Just about any of them are suitable for basic automation. You could of course by some of these new, and they would still be cheaper than some commercial controllers for growing, but the great part about these is they are much more widely available used, and people just assume you have a fish tank.

    - Digital Aquatics Reefkeeper (1, 2, Lite, Elite)
    - Neptune Systems Aquacontroller (Apex, AC Jr, 3)
    - Limulus Aquasmart
    - Elos Biotopus
    - Profilux Controller
  2. That's kinda slick, thanks for the info.

  3. This seems to be just for underwater? corals etc..? does this work for growrooms - like i could plug co2, dehums, lights, heaters and everything into this? and isit like timers that control the lights, and sensors to control everything else in the atmosphere?
  4. The post explains the applications for grow room management. Look for the line in the post that reads:

    "The unit I was using has a couple of features that make it totally ideal for a grow space."

    And reads onward from there.
  5. I'm pretty new to this. Could you convert something like this for growing? Are Metal Halides to hot/not the right spectrum?

    JBJ HQI 28 gallon tank
  6. Metal halide lights are frequently used for vegetative growth, but not for flowering. I have several metal halide fixtures (175 watt and 250 watt) from my old reef tank that I have used for growing at one time or another, and I am using my old reef tank's controller to run both fluorescent and High Pressure Sodium lights in two separate grow boxes, on two separate lighting schedules.

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