The beauty of a Neptune Systems Apex Controller is the ability to customize the monitoring and control solutions to suit the specific needs of your aquarium.  The OS-1 Optical Sensor is a digital fluid level monitoring sensor that plugs right into your Apex's FMM module and allows you to monitor the water level in your sump, additive container, saltwater mixing station, skimmer cup, or anywhere else you need to keep an "eye" on the fluid level.

What is an Optical Sensor?

The most common application for an optical sensor is with an ATO - automatic top-off system like the Neptune Systems ATK. The sensor is placed into your sump and monitors the water level digitally.  When the water level falls below the sensor, it can trigger a pump to add water and/or send out a notification via the Apex to notify you.  

Optical sensors serve the same purpose as your classic float switch, but instead of relying on a mechanical float and relay, they digitally monitor the presence of infrared light through the water. The sensor contains an infrared LED that projects light outward through a prism, the amount of infrared light detected by the internal light transistor allows the sensor to detect when the fluid is above or below the sensor. This is all possible thanks to the way light travels through air and water differently.

Optical sensors are compact, affordable, and won't pose the same risk of failure you get with mechanical float sensors. When combined with a mechanical float sensor, you can achieve a redundant level of protection in a variety of different situations. 

More Than Just an ATO Sensor

As mentioned above, the OS-1 sensor is included with the Neptune Systems ATK Auto Top Off System and serves as the primary water level detection sensor.  You can also purchase the sensors individually for connection to the FMM module to set up a variety of additional fluid monitor solutions. The sensor will detect the fluid level wherever you need it and can be programmed to send you a notification and/or perform a particular task like switching off the skimmer or running a fill pump.  

  • Monitor additives inside your dosing reservoirs to notify you when they are low
  • Monitor your protein skimmer collection cup and shut down the skimmer in the event of an overflow
  • Monitor and auto-fill your RO/DI reservoirs
  • Monitor Saltwater Mixing Station
  • Monitor an Automatic Water Change System
  • Trigger an audio or visual alarm

Setting Up an OS-1 Optical Sensor Is Easy

As with most Neptune Systems accessories, the setup is extremely simple via Apex Fusion. Simply plug the sensor into your FMM module and it will automatically show up on your Fusion Dashboard. Rename the sensor outlet if you desire, then you can configure the sensor outlet to whatever task or program you desire.

When configuring the outlets, the word OPEN is used to reference when the water level is below the sensor. The word CLOSED is used to refer to when the fluid is below the sensor. Here are some examples of basic Apex configuration you might use with the optical sensor. 

  • Configuration for email outlet to send a notification when the water level is below the sensor
    • Set OFF
    • If (sensor name) is OPEN then ON
  • Configuration for email outlet to send a notification when the water level is above the sensor
    • Set OFF
    • If (sensor name) is OPEN then ON
  • Configuration for skimmer outlet to turn off the skimmer when the cup fills up
    • Set OFF
    • If (sensor name) is OPEN then OFF