Hydros Control by CoralVue: The Next Generation of Aquarium Controllability
It’s been almost three years since the initial release of the Hydros Aquarium Controller and ever since CoralVue has been hard at work advancing the technology while developing new accessories designed to improve your aquarium keeping experience. This article serves as a guide to learn everything you need to know about Hydros control and how it may be a fit for your needs.
Some Basic Features of Hydros Control:
Hydros is a line of aquarium controllers from the proven manufacturer CoralVue. Three Hydros models are currently on offer that allows hobbyists to monitor a wide variety of tank parameters including temperature, PH, ORP, and your water level in addition to a large selection of aquarium accessories. All units have built-in wifi and Bluetooth that allow you to view the status of your aquarium from anywhere with a wifi connection using the HYDROS mobile app for both Android and IOS. You can receive constant system updates and enable SMS notifications to alert you to any changes within your system. CoralVue has also expanded the controllability of the Hydros by creating a large selection of accessories that can provide additional capabilities to these controllers. If you are considering diving into the world of aquarium automation and you see the Hydros controller as a potential fit, our guide below will tell you which of them would be a good choice for your needs.
Step One: Understanding your needs
In order to select an ideal aquarium controller, it is important to understand the exact needs that you have. Defining your current needs along with thinking about what you may want in the future will help you avoid expensive upgrades down the road. Then, think about the type of aquarium you have along with the parameters you want to measure and that will also help you differentiate which controller will best suit your goals.
The Sense Port is a generic input port that can accept data from numerous different types of sensors which currently supports:
- Temperature probes, Optical level sensors (single and dual), Capacitive non-contact liquid level sensors, Rope leak detectors, Point leak detectors, Flow rate sensors, Magnetic switches, Push-button switches
The Drive Ports provide switched 12V DC power for running small lights, motors, pumps, fans, and other accessories. The exact current being supplied by each port is continuously monitored by the Control, so if a motor or pump quits drawing current or draws too much, you will be immediately notified. The Drive Ports currently support:
- Auto Top-Off (ATO) pumps, Cooling fans, Cabinet LED lights, Solenoids to control reverse osmosis systems
The Probe Ports feature circuitry based on an ultra-high-quality input chip specifically designed for ORP and pH probes. Each pH input provides digital galvanic isolation from the rest of the system. Galvanic isolation prevents interference with other accessories connected to the system like motors and pumps. Digital Galvanic isolation preserves the accuracy of the measurement by converting the signal to a digital domain before crossing the isolation threshold.
The I/O (input and output) ports allow it to control and receive commands from other HYDROS devices and accessories from other brands. A legacy automation system can provide input via the 0-10V Ports. They can control variable speed pumps and can also be used to monitor simple switch closures, like push buttons or float switches.
The Command Bus is used to power the Control as well as communicate with other HYDROS devices for the ultimate failsafe.
Step Two: Pick a Controller
Hydros Control XS: - Small but Mighty!
If you are looking for advanced controllability on a small aquarium of any variety, the Hydros Control XS is an excellent choice. The compact controller won’t look out of place operating on even the smallest of systems. Similarly to the other HYDROS models, this controller will allow you to manage pumps, powerheads, heaters, lights, algae scrubber, UV sterilizers, proteins skimmers, and more. Additionally, the controller can be fully operated through the Hydros smartphone application. This service will allow you to keep a close eye on your aquarium status from anywhere with a Wifi connection. The included four outlet wifi strip also features four sensor ports that allow for the use of the included temperature probe as well as some optical and leak sensors. If you are looking for a budget friendly aquarium controller that has advanced smartphone controllability and can operate on a saltwater or freshwater aquarium between 10 and 55 gallons, then the Hydros Control XS would be a great choice for your needs.
Hydros Control Two - Great for freshwater aquariums too!
Next up in the Hydros line is the Control Two model which is a great choice for most freshwater aquariums. You can still expect all of the same features that are built into the XS model to be included in the Control Two. The main differences between the XS and the Two are that the XS has four sense ports as opposed to the Control Two having only two of them. That being said, the Control Two has two drive ports compared to the XS that doesn’t have any of them. These driver ports come in handy when it comes to supplying ATO’s, solenoid valves, cooling fans and more with power. The driver ports will also alert you if a motor or pump draws too much power. The Hydros Control Two is considered an ideal choice for a freshwater aquarium for many reasons including these driver ports.
Hydros Control Four - The Most Popular Hydros Kit
The largest Hydros controller currently available is the Control Four model. The Control Four also offers the most controllability options out of all of the models. This system includes four sense ports, two drive ports, and two probe ports. These probe ports are only available on the Control Four and they allow hobbyists to monitor both ORP and PH in your aquarium. Another main difference between the Control Four and other models is the inclusion of the PH probe which is an especially important measurement when it comes to reef aquariums. Similarly to the other controller iterations, this unit can be fully operated through the Hydros smartphone application. This controller allows hobbyists to monitor the most amount of accessories which makes them an ideal choice for both large systems and detail oriented reef tanks.
Step Three: Explore their Accessories:
This power strip comes with each of the controller models and it features four 120V AC outlets and four USB ports. This product allows you to control the plugged in accessories using the Hydros smartphone application.
The smart wifi plug is similar in operation to the Wifi Power Strip but this unit will allow you to control one accessory on the AC outlet using the smartphone application. The main difference besides the number of outlets is that the plug allows you to measure the current and wattage of the accessory that is plugged in.
AUTO TOP OFFS AND LEAK CONTROL
Keep your aquarium water level at the proper height using the Hydros Control ATO Kit. This system is durable and does not contain any moving parts and it uses optical sensors to ensure an accurate water level. You can enable notifications on the smartphone application to alert you to changes in your water level.
If you want added protection for your ATO, you can use multiple water level sensors to give you peace of mind. Many hobbyists use one as a low level alert and another as a high level alert.
This rope water leak sensor can be placed around your aquarium and if it comes into contact with water or moisture at any point on the rope, you will be alerted. Like many of the other accessories, you can be sent push notifications on your smartphone if any moisture is indeed detected.
If you need more ability to detect moisture or a leak then, you can purchase this 9 ft extension for your Rope Water Leak Sensor. It will allow you to cover more ground and increase the likelihood of alerting you to a possible leak.
In order to plug your Rope Leak Sensor into one of the Sense ports on a Hydros controller then, one of these adapter cables will need to be used. This is a direct replacement for the cable that comes with the Rope Water Leak Sensor Kit.
The Hydros control water leak sensor can detect when any water or moisture is beneath it and it can send an alert to your phone letting you know. This sensor plugs directly into any sense port on your Hydros controller.
VALVES AND PUMPS
Use this solenoid valve to control the CO2 output on your calcium reactor or, to regulate CO2 injection for a freshwater planted aquarium. This accessory uses the drive port on your Hydros Controller and therefore will not need a separate power supply.
This pump is the perfect choice for your Hydros ATO system. The pump can also be used in order to power a small reactor. The pump receives power through the controller’s drive port in which it needs to be plugged into for proper operation.
This solenoid valve is the perfect way to turn on or off the water flow from your RO/DI unit. You can use this as a way to top off your system without having to have a separate ATO reservoir. The control water solenoid valve plugs directly into one of the drive ports on your Hydros controller.
This temperature probe is compatible with each of the Hydros controllers and they are known for their reliability. You can protect your aquarium from dangerous temperatures by allowing this probe to turn off and back on your heater while sending you a push notification of the current status.
Keep a close eye on the temperature within your aquarium with the control temperature sensor. You can program this sensor to alert you to when your system is either too hot or too cold. This sensor plugs into any sense port on the Hydros controllers.
Prevent your skimmer from overflowing by using the control skimmer sensor. Simply mount the magnetic sensor inside the top of your collection cup and if the skimmate ever makes contact with the sensor, it will send an alert to your phone letting you know.
Keep your powerheads organized and easily controllable through the Hydros WaveEngine Multi-Pump controller. You will no longer need individual power supply’s and controllers for a wide variety of pumps. This controller allows you to manage powerheads from Maxspect, Reef Octopus, Ecotech, Tunze, and more. The WaveEngine also helps you control each of these pumps through the Hydros smartphone application. Another incredible feature of this unit is that you can control all of the pumps at once or, they can be programmed individually.
This WaveEngine model has all of the great features of the standard model but, this system provides wireless control for Ecotech Vortech and Vectra pumps without the purchase of any additional equipment. In addition to these Ecotech pumps, all of the other pumps compatible with the WaveEngine Standard will be able to be controlled separately or in unison using this Wireless model.
This cable will allow you to plug the WaveEngine directly into a Neptune Apex controller in order to use the system through Apex Fusion. This cable will also allow you to control Jebao pumps through Apex Fusion.
This 0-10V Quad Cable allows hobbyists to control their pumps through the WaveEngine that require a 0-10V connection in order to be controlled externally. This cable provides four outputs that allow you to connect up to four pumps.
The direct drive pump adapter allows those with IceCap Gyre series pumps to connect directly into the pump head of these powerheads. The adapter will also allow you to avoid having all of the large power bricks creating clutter with your system. You can select the exact pump you need to control from our options.
This direct drive pump adapter is capable of connecting any Tunze pump to the Hydros WaveEngine. Each of these adapters can connect one single Tunze powerhead or return pump to the WaveEngine in order to be controlled wirelessly.
OTHER ACCESSORIES AND CABLES
If you are looking to feed your fish wirelessly from anywhere in the world with a Wifi connection then look no further than the Hydros Automatic Fish Feeder. The feeder is USB powered and comes with both a mounting clamp and double-sided mounting tape.
The sense port extension cable will allow you to attach your controller accessories into one of your sense ports on your Hydros unit.
Why Hydros Control:
CoralVue began creating the Hydros line in order to make aquarium controllability accessible for anyone in the hobby. Whether it's for a nano freshwater aquarium or a 7,000 gallon reef tank, the Hydros controllers will be capable of thriving. Each controller and accessory has been developed and maximized to fit the goals of being reliable, scalable, affordable, while allowing for growth. When it comes to making these controllers scalable, Hydros has been able to accomplish this feat by allowing each of their controllers to pair with multiple units. Therefore, if you outgrow your initial controller and need the ability to use more Hydros accessories or probes, then you can simply add another controller to make that possible. CoralVue’s main goal with the Hydros line is to continue to bring aquarium controllability to all hobbyists at an affordable price point. At Marine Depot, we look forward to continuing to watch CoralVue develop the Hydros line and bring new, affordable, and exciting technology to the market. If you have any questions about which controller or accessories make the most sense for your needs, our customer care team would be happy to assist you.