Controller Update Coming Mid July 2020


Robo-Tank is your road to a reliable, affordable and flexible aquarium controller. Now you can keep your kidney and still have a fully automated system for your freshwater or reef tank.

A new era has arrived…

Robo-Tank is a hardware solution for the open-source Reef-pi aquarium controller software that runs on a Raspberry Pi.

DIY projects are fun but can also be daunting at times and quite often cost more than expected. Robo-Tank is a great solution to help bridge the gap.

What can Robo-Tank do?

Robo-Tank can control all the equipment for your reef tank or freshwater aquarium with flexibility, you can use any sensor to control any equipment.

  • AC power outlets 120v – 240v
  • DC powered equipment
  • 0–5v PWM outputs to control factory equipment
  • 0–10v selectable PWM or Analog outputs to control factory equipment
  • Automatic top off system
  • Automatic water change system
  • Monitor temperatures
  • Monitor pH
  • Monitor water sensors

Examples of some DC powered equipment

  • Dosing pumps
  • Water pumps
  • LED strip lights
  • Valves
  • Cooling fans
  • Fish feeders (easy but requires opening feeder and soldering)

Examples of factory equipment that have a port to connect directly to external controllers, these use the 0-5v / 0-10v auxiliary pins. Here's a list of equipment from Bulk Reef Supply.

  • Kessil LED lights
  • Aquatic Life dimmable T5 HO lights
  • Meanwell and other popular brand LED drivers
  • Reef Octopus controllable DC pumps, skimmer pumps and protein skimmers
  • Reef Octopus Octo Pluse wave pumps
  • Abyzz controllable DC pumps
  • Royal Exclusiv water pumps

Examples of sensors you can connect.

  • Optical water sensors
  • Non-Contact water sensors
  • Float switches
  • Water sensor boards
  • Any Arduino compatible analog sensor (resistor/s may be required)

Hardware Design

A lot of thought was put into the controller, I wanted it loaded with features in a compact form and after many revisions I’ve come up with the following controller.

The board has a heavy duty design with high quality components that are over rated for their job, there’s also various levels of protection built in to keep everything running for many years to come.

Deluxe Controller

The deluxe controller is a good choice if you want more automation in your system, it controls more DC power equipment and has a place holder to integrate a pH circuit. The pH circuit is expensive so I’ve left it as an option, if you already have an Atlas Scientific pH circuit you can use it instead.

An additional feature is an optical sensor extension module. This allows you to extend two optical sensors plus the backup float port for DC port 3 without any hassels, just plug the sensors in the module and plug into the controller using a standard USB-A cable up to 15ft.

You can see in the image(better image coming soon) what I have allocated ports for but these are just labels, the comparison table below reflects what can actually be connected.


The deluxe controller 40 ports total. You can connect any combination in the chart below as the board ships up to the total number of ports. With minor modifications you can change other port functions as well.

Robo-Tank controller comparison chart

The controller board is essentially a shield for any Raspberry Pi with a 40 pin I/O header. If you use a Pi 2, 3 or 4 two of the four Pi edges line up with the controller board so you have access to the USB ports, Ethernet, HDMI and audio ports externally when the board is put in a case.

Both controllers have what I call an emergency backup float switch port that will cut the power to DC port 3. The float switch will bypass the Raspberry Pi and most electronics so it’s great for you ATO or any other pump that needs a fail safe backup.

Controller Specifications

Robo-Tank Controller Specifications

Reef-pi Open-Source Software


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