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Home » Saltwater Aquarium Supplies  » Testing Equipment  » Monitors & Controllers  » Multi Item Monitors & Controllers  »  Neptune Aquacontroller 3 (Backlight) w/ Temperature Probe
Neptune Aquacontroller 3 (Backlight) w/ Temperature Probe

Neptune Aquacontroller 3 (Backlight) w/ Temperature Probe

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Neptune Aquacontroller 3 (Backlight) w/ Temperature Probe Information

Product Manuals & Documentation

The AquaController III base unit contains all the necessary capabilities to monitor and control even the most demanding aquarium setup. All of the features described below are present in the base unit; there are no additional software upgrades to buy.

The AquaController III has an easy to use and intuitive three button user interface. The buttons are used to navigate through the menus and to modify the standard setup. All setup and program modifications are possible through the buttons on the AquaController III - no external computer is required.


The base unit includes a comprehensive owner`s manual, which contains instructions and examples on how to best utilize your AquaController III. No technical background is necessary to setup and operate the controller. The base unit measures 4.0" x 7.50" x 1.10".

To help you perform the initial setup of the AquaController III, the base unit comes pre-programmed with a default setup which requires little if any modification to work with most aquarium setups.

Monitor pH, ORP, and Temperature
The base unit includes software which is capable of monitoring pH, ORP, and temperature. The ORP probe input is modal and can be used to either monitor ORP or monitor pH; The AquaController III can monitor 2 different pH sources simulatenously! The monitored data is continuously displayed on the large LCD display and also logged into the internal RAM for later retrieval. All probes support digital calibration.

Control pH, ORP, and Temperature
The AquaController III also contains the functionality to control the pH, ORP, and temperature in in your tank. The standard control functions for the monitored parameters listed above are possible.

For pH control typically CO2 is injected into the aquarium when the pH rises too high. The AquaController III continuously monitors the pH and can turn the CO2 injection system on or off based upon the user defined high and low set points. Because of the AquaController III`s highly programmable nature, it is possible to control pH in new and nonstandard ways. For example, in reef tanks with a calcium reactor it is desirable to stop injecting CO2 into the reaction chamber if the pH of the tank falls too low. The AquaController III is currently the only known controller on the market capable of this type of control. The CO2 injection system is not included with AquaController III. The modal ORP/second pH connector can used to control the pH of secondary water source.

Similarly, the AquaController III can control the ORP level in your tank with the injection of ozone. If the ORP in your tank drops to an user defined settings, the AquaController III can enable ozone injection into the tank. The ozone injection system is not included with AquaController III.

Also the AquaController III can control both a heater and chiller to maintain a stable temperature environment in the tank. The heater and/or chiller enable and disable temperatures can be set independently. Given the tank has an adequate heater and chiller, the temperature can be maintained within +-.3 °F.

Additionally, the AquaController III has many more features for temperature control. For example, if the temperature of the tank exceeds a preset value, the AquaController III can turn on a fan to cool the tank. If the temperature rises higher, an additional fan or chiller can be enabled. If the temperature rises even higher, lights can be shut off. There is really no limit to the number of ways that the AquaController III can control the temperature.

Also, the AquaController III has a special temperature cycle which is used to simulate seasonal temperature variations. All of the above mentioned features for temperature control are available in this mode as well; only the target temperature set point varies with the day of the year. This mode of operation is most interesting to the serious aquarist trying to induce his corals and fish to spawn.

The timer functionality included in the base unit is capable of turning devices on and off at specific times of the day with one minute resolution. The AquaController III can also turn the devices on or off multiple times per day not just one time per day as with other controllers. The flexible timers allows for the standard lighting control as well as for dosing of various elements. Up to 30 devices can be controlled by the AquaController III.

Sunrise and Sunset Simulation
The AquaController III has a special type of timer which can be used to simulate the varying lengths of days throughout the year. This feature is used to make the length of daylight hours longer in the summer than in the winter. This results in a more realistic simulation of natural lighting variations.

Moon Cycle Simulation
The AquaController III has another special type of timer which can be used to simulate the moon cycle in your tank. A special lamp control module is used. This control module is capable of varying the intensity of light emitted from an incandescent bulb. The intensity variations are controlled by the AquaController III which is preprogrammed with correct intensity values for each day of the moon cycle. The AquaController III automatically updates the intensity value depending upon the current setting of the AquaController III`s clock. With this artificial moon cycle, it is possible to induce corals and fish to spawn.
Each pump to be controlled can either have a random or fixed time period. Both the on and off times are fully programmable and can range from 1 minute to 4 hours in 1 minute increments. Up to 20 pumps can be controlled by one base unit. A variable length feed timer cycle can be initiated with the press of a button and will disable some or all of the pumps in the system (programmed by the user).

2 External Switch Inputs
The AquaController III comes equipped with 2 TTL level external inputs which can be used to activate/deactivate equipment in response to an external stimulus. Applications for these inputs include connection to water level float switches, water pressure and flow sensors, and water on the floor sensors. The AquaController III program can be set up to signal alarms or turn on/off appliances in the event of external switch open or closure.

Programming Language
One of the AquaController III`s most compelling features is its simple to use yet very powerful programming language.

The extensive owner`s manual thoroughly describes the installation and customization of the AquaController III for use in your tank. The manual also contains many programming examples which illustrate many of its unique features. With this system the control of your aquarium is limited only by your imagination.

The AquaController III can be programmed to enable an audible alarm when a monitored condition exceeds a preset value. The AquaController III will immediately let you know when your tank needs attention. With an internet connection (cable or DSL connection) and alarm email can be sent. The information received in the email includes the current pH, temperature, and ORP, power status, and the state all the controlled devices at the time of the alarm.

Data Logging
The AquaController III has data logging for the aquarist that wants to keep an accurate log of the conditions in his aquarium. Temperature, pH, and ORP are sampled and stored into battery backed RAM. The sample interval is user programmable and can be from 1 minute to four hours in 1 minute increments. The data log can either be viewed on the LCD display or downloaded to a PC or Macintosh via a standard RS232 serial connection or an Ethernet telnet or HTPP connection.

Web Interface
When the AquaController III is connected to your local network by its ethernet port, the controllers status and configuration settings are available through a standard browser.

Notice that not only can the current status be access, but also any of the controlled devices can be manual turned on or off. Also available through the web interface are the ability, view/modify the current controller program, view the datalogs, set the clock, and view the seasonal table. If an internet connection (DSL or cable modem) is available where the AquaController is installed, then your system can be checked on in almost any location in the world. Of course all access to the controller is password protected to ensure security. Note that a PC is not required for the AquaController to serve web pages; the webserver is built into the AquaController III.

Computer Interface

The AquaController III can be optionally connected to PC or Macintosh via a standard RS-232 cable (available from Neptune Systems) or Ethernet cable. The computer interface allows you to download the datalog log as well as retrieve the current status of the monitored parameters and controlled devices in the aquarium. A computer is NOT required to program or operate the AquaController III.

In addition the III also supports a standard telnet server, so that the current status, datalogs, etc. are also available by a standard TCP/IP Ethernet connection.

Battery Backup
An internal lithuim battery powers the AquaController III`s internal real time clock in the event when no external power is present. In the event of a power failure on both the primary AC adapter or the optional secondary power backup source, no configuration, program state, or clock settings will be lost. After power is restored all controlled devices will be in the correct state within five minutes after power is restored.

The internal battery is only used to retain the time of real time clock; the program and settings are stored in non-volatile memory. Since this is non-volatile memory, the AquaController III retains the program and settings even during a power outage or failed internal battery. Once the AquaController III is configured no more setup or reprogramming is required.

Power Fail Alarm
In the event of power failure the AquaController III can signal by email or a local audible alarm the fault condition. The III has a second AC adapter connector which should be plugged into an external UPS to power the controller internal circuitry. The AquaController can sense the loose of power on the primary AC adapter connector and signal either a local audible alarm or send an email through its Ethernet internet connection. In addition the AquaController III logs the time that power failure started and when the power was restored.

Large LCD Display
The large and informative display on the AquaController III is capable of displaying 16 characters by 2 lines of text/special characters. In the status mode the display shows the current conditions in the aquarium, the date and time, and the status of all the controlled devices. The large display also makes it much easier to program the controller as well as look at the data log. The AquaController III comes standard with a backlit LCD display.

Display Lock with password protection
To keep unauthorized users from accessing and modifying the AquaController III`s configuration, the display can be locked. To unlock the display a user settable password must be entered.

Flash Updates
You never have to worry about the AquaController 3 becoming obsolete. The software internal to the controller can be easily updated through your a PC on your local network. Just download the firmware update from our website and install it on the controller.

Expandable Hardware
The AquaController III has been designed so that additional probe interfaces, digital inputs can be easily added via the I/O connector. Expansion modules with pH, ORP, and temperature inputs are currently under development, and will allow a single controller to have multiple probes of the same type. The expansion possibilities are virtually unlimited.

The AquaController III comes with a built-in self test diagnostic program which lets you know if the system is operating correctly. Also displayed on the self test screen are the revision and date of the firmware.

Manufacturer Info

Neptune Systems Aquarium Supplies
Neptune Systems is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of aquarium controllers. The company was founded in 1995 for the purpose of developing affordable water quality monitoring and control instrumentation. Their engineering team has extensive expertise in computer hardware and software system design as well as a background in water quality analysis. Neptune Systems uses these finely-honed engineering skills to develop innovative monitoring and control solutions for use in reef and fresh water aquariums, aquaculture tanks, hydroponics systems and general laboratory use. Neptune Systems is best known for their AquaController line. The company is known for their innovation and customer centricity.


90 Day Warranty on probes. 1 year on other equipment.

Neptune Aquacontroller 3 (Backlight) w/ Temperature Probe Reviews

Average Rating
(7 reviews)
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Awesome Product

Reviewers Rating Excellent!

Posted: 3/4/2009 from DADE CITY, FL UNITED STATES
5.0 5
Experience Level: Intermediate

Comments: It's easy to use. Easy to setup. Great product all round. Haven't had any complaints with it. It's made my life soo much easier maintaining my tank.

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Gob bless neptune

Reviewers Rating Excellent!

Posted: 2/14/2009 from NEWBURGH, IN UNITED STATES
5.0 5
Experience Level: Expert

Comments: Hands down the best investment I've every bought for my aquarium. Piece of cake setup.

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AquaController 3

Reviewers Rating Excellent!

Posted: 5/26/2008 from SALINAS, CA UNITED STATES
5.0 5
Experience Level: Intermediate

Comments: I don't know how anyone keeps a well maintained aqaurium without one of these.. It does everything.. maintaing temp and water parameters is no longer a problem..

2 of 3 People found this review helpful, did you? Yes No


Reviewers Rating Excellent!

Posted: 4/18/2008 from ANNA, TX UNITED STATES
5.0 5
Experience Level: Expert

Comments: I just got my Aquacontroller 3 along with a Direct Connect 8 and a Direct Connect 4 Heavy Duty. And it totally rocks. It took all of an hour to get everything switched over and to program my events. It replaced all my existing timers and controllers. I wish I had bought one years ago.

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Reviewers Rating Great

Posted: 3/30/2008 from HOPKINTON, MA UNITED STATES
4.0 5
Experience Level: Intermediate

Comments: This is a really great device. I do love the built in web server, but was disapointed that yo can not program everything from that interface. It is a pretty simple interface. I have not tried their software yet, but I think you can do more from there. Overall a great device and gives me full control of my 10+ devices. Well worth the money.

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Exceptional Controller

Reviewers Rating Excellent!

Posted: 7/10/2007 from ALEXANDRIA, VA UNITED STATES
5.0 5
Experience Level: Intermediate

Comments: I've been very pleased with my Aquacontroller III. Absolutely no complaints. Their customer service is outstanding!

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Great product, great service!

Reviewers Rating Excellent!

5.0 5

Comments: Great product! within 30 minutes I had the product from the box, to calibrated and installed in my reef tank with a PH, ORP, tmperature gauge. 30 more minuts and it was programmed to control my tank.

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