Interview with Brad Hsu, AutoAqua’s Sales Director
AutoAqua, the Taiwanese manufacturer of aquarium devices and accessories, made a name for itself in the industry by producing a line of inexpensive, easy to use, plug & play gadgets, namely the SmartATO and SmartATO Micro Automatic Top Off Devices. For this year’s MACNA show, AutoAqua debuted two products that are designed to provide new levels of security and automation to the saltwater aquarium without the high price tag normally associated with such devices. One is called Smart Security System, the other, Smart Flow & Leak Monitor. I sat down with Mr. Brad Hsu, the company’s Sales Director, to talk about these and other new products AutoAqua is releasing to the American markets. Me: Hey Brad, nice to see you again. I see you have a table full of new products. Please, show us what new stuff is coming from AutoAqua… Brad: Hey Marcin, certainly! Let’s start with our latest new product, the Smart Security System. It’s basically a security system for your tank. It prevents catastrophic events happening in your tank without the need of investing in a full-fledged controller. Me: Excellent. What does it consist of? Brad: It is a set of three sensors- a temperature sensor, water level sensor for the sump, and another water level sensor for the skimmer. How it works is when the water in your sump or skimmer gets too high, it automatically shuts down the pump and sounds an alarm. Everything is built into these sockets [see picture below] so there are no extra controllers or wires to operate these things. You just plug in your device to the socket and the socket to the power strip and you’re good to go. When the sensor detects an anomaly, it will shut down power to the equipment and sound an audible alarm. To reset it, you simply pull the plug and plug it back in. Everything is pre-programmed and ready to go right out of the box. Me: I especially like the skimmer sensor, I know from experience that skimmers sometimes go haywire and having an overflow sensor in the skimmer is a neat idea. Brad: Yeah, I assure you, it works very well even in the dirty environment of a skimmer cup. Me: Great. What is this thing [pointing at a small controller labeled “Smart AWC Touch”? Brad: This is our ATO/Auto Water Change System. It combines water change procedure and the Auto Top Off in one unit. Normally, with a device like our SmartATO Micro, it keeps your water level in the tank stable. With AWC, in addition to the ATO function, you can also do a water change. Me: How? Brad: There’s a set of sensors for the water change function, one in the dirty water tank and one in fresh saltwater tank. When you want to do a water change, you just press a button and it replenishes the exact amount of water it pumped from the tank. Again, everything is kept as simple as possible, the only thing you set up are the sensors, there’s no programming or setting up the device involved. Me: Is there any level of customization built into the controller? Brad: Yes. You can change the intervals between water changes, you can set it to change water every day, every second day, and so on. Me: Are you using the same tiny pump as with your ATO devices? This thing is a monster [laughing] Brad: Yes, it is the same pump, but we also sell an adapter if you want to use a larger pump, for instance if your ATO reservoir is in another room or in the basement. Me: Tell me about these cool little TDS meters Brad: Everybody is familiar with those boxy TDS meters. They are kind of clunky and hard to read and so we decided to make a much nicer looking TDS meter with a large, backlit screen. What’s cool about it is that the back is magnetic. As you know, most RO/DI brackets are metal so you can just stick it in there and reach for it whenever you need to read the TDS of your water. Even if the bracket is plastic, both sides of our meter’s bracket are magnetic so you can still clip it on easily. Me: I see there are different models too… Brad: Yes, we have three models: single, double, and triple TDS meters. Me: Everything looks cool man, I’m glad I talked to you. Thanks for showing me your new devices and I hope we’ll be able to do in depth reviews of them in the future. Brad: Sure thing Marcin, thanks for stopping by.