Our in-depth review of the Seneye Reef System

by | Nov 14, 2012 | Equipment | 0 comments

The Seneye system is a new control system, just introduced on the market, that stands out for being extremely inexpensive.
After hearing the price, we were eager to learn how this system can be so cheap. Seneye Reef is sold to the public at 133 € (albeit in Italy).

The Seneye Reef system measures the lumens, lux, par, and temperature of the aquarium, and by means of a slide to be inserted inside and immersed in the water can also measure pH and ammonia.

The slide lasts a month and also allows access to the Seneye Plus system.

The package contains 3 slides and costs 24.5 euro and therefore lasts 3 months.
But before talking about its performance, let’s take a look at how it is made and how it works.

Inside the beautiful box there is the Seneye probe connected to a USB cable to be connected to the computer, a small suction cup to connect the probe to the aquarium glass, and a slide to fully operate the system for a month.

The photo shows the front of the Seneye probe, ie the one that should generally be installed to view

The rear part, from a technical point of view, is much more interesting, since you can see the light sensor that measures Lumen, Lux and Par, and you can see in the lower part of the device, to the left in the picture, the slot where you insert the slide.

In this photo we can see the insertion slot.
Installation is extremely simple. You just have to remember to soak the slide in the water for at least 48 hours before inserting it into the probe.

This seems strange indeed, but the chemicals on the slide needs to be adequately hydrated to read the values of ammonia and pH. In the case of the slide, as we see above, the instructions seem to be that we need to put it in the aquarium for at least 24 hours, but Seneye customer service explained to me that the number actually refers to Seneye Home and Seneye Pond, which are for fresh water. In salt water you need a little longer time, and they recommend 48 hours.

If one immediately inserts the slide into Seneye and immerses the probe in the aquarium, nothing harmful will happen, but the measurements may be wrong (lower) for the first two days; it is enough to know this spec to avoid any problem.
Seneye must be connected to a computer to work properly, where you have have installed the Windows operating system, even if it is virtualized under MacOSX as I’m using right now. Seneye has assured me that a version for Mac OS X will soon be available, which we look forward to testing.

We have the readings in real time after connecting the system to our computer, logging into the site, and activating the slide. If your computer is connected to the internet, and if you’re reading this review I think it is, the values will be sent to the Seneye server. This will have two great results.

The first is the ability to see these values anywhere in the world via a computer, mobile phone, or tablet, you can donwload the app from the apple store directly from here: Seneye app. The app exists in two versions, one for free and another for a fee, but we’ll talk about that later in the review. The display shows not only the values but also a series of graphs to show trends over time and even warn us about the most critical times for the read parameters.
The second result is that Seneye can notify us via email and SMS if the parameters measured by the system are hazardous to our aquarium and suggest several recommendations to solve the problem, this of course if and only if we are covered by the system Seneye Plus or only during the month of activation of the slide. At the end of the month, the services offered by Seneye Plus (SMS or email) will be disabled until the next slide authentication.
The mobile readout is pictured in the screenshot above; it clickable and openable up to a resolution of 2048 x 1536. The screen has been captured by an iPad but the screen is identical for each system. Of course, depending on the resolution used, more information will be displayed.

Above, we see it as it appears on the screen of an iPhone
While I was spending my holiday on the Red Sea, I had Seneye installed on my aquarium, and could constantly monitor, thanks to an Internet connection, the values of my system, which gave me a great peace of mind knowing that everything was working well.

Here we can see a display aquarium set up by Hobby Aquari, an aquarium shop in Bologna Italy, at a recent aqurium fair in Italy, and you can see the Seneye probe in aquarium, which honestly is much more beautiful than the usual probes. Obviously it must be used in the main tank and not in the sump if you want to read the brightness values.

With the app, we can conveniently read the data of our aquarium without logging into the Seneye website. It is much faster, though it is not possible to see the graphs, which I assume are dedicated to the other payment application. The free application works fine, but often has required authentication to access, even though I had previously saved the login data. Maybe by the time you read this review, the problem will be solved.
Final thoughts
I really liked the system because it’s relatively cheap but is very useful, especially for aquarium beginners. It is possible to monitor some parameters at a distance, which can be very helpful to give us peace of mind.
There are obviously many questions that I collected with a comparison with other aquarists about the parameters that are being monitored. The temperature is critical, pH perhaps slightly less important, but in this case it may be useful for beginners to understand if they are doing something wrong, and for advanced users to record some anomalies of their aquarium before it is too late. Of course the value of ammonia is probably only useful for beginners, as in a marine aquarium is virtually impossible to have some trace, especially under strong illumination. But it is certainly true that Seneye Reef is addressed to all marine aquariums, including fish-only aquariums, and thus the value of ammonia becomes essential to monitor the health of the fish.

In addition to this, we now have a probe to measure Lumen, Lux and Par, and to obtain a spectrum, although approximate, of our lighting system. And the probe is fully functional, even without inserting the slide.
And we must not forget that the system will alert us by SMS and email of any abnormalities recorded, within the parameters that we set up for our aquarium. The cost of Seneye Plus and reading of pH and ammonia is 8 euro per month. All in all not a very high cost for what is offered. (Price in Italy).

The only drawback is that the probe has to be permanently connected to a computer in order to obtain the maximum of the readings, which are not continuous but are made at fixed regular intervals, and that the latter has to be connected to the Internet.

If your computer is not connected to the internet the values will be recorded but not sent to the server, and then we could not be notified in case of anomalies. If the probe is not connected to a computer but to a usb transformer, which is not included but must be purchased separately, it will record the values ready to download to your computer and on the server once connected to your computer.

For any questions or insight into the system please leave a comment, we’ll reply to you as soon as possible.

  • danireef

    Danilo Ronchi, aka DaniReef lives in Italy where he is hydraulic engineer, but starting from his love for reef aquarium and photography, he began to write about marine aquariums from 2006 and now he's published his first book "Marine Aquarium". From 2007 Danilo writes on his blog danireef.com where publishes articles, pictures, product reviews, aquariums coverage, reportage and history of his tank. Now he's happy to be part of Reefs.com


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