Aquarium timers are probably the last item you want to buy for your aquarium hobby. However, a timer can give you a lot of comforts and benefit your aquarium.
Aquarium timers have been developed to help manage your aquarium equipment and make life a lot easier for you and your fish. However, aquariums are more than just decorations; they’re living habitats that require careful attention and care.
One of the most important things you can do for your aquarium is automating it so that you don’t forget when to turn off the aquarium light or start CO2 injection. With an automatic timer, you’ll never forget it again! A timer controls the lighting and other equipment like CO2 regulator, skimmer, etc.
A few other benefits of using an aquarium timer include energy conservation by turning off lights and other gadgets when unnecessary and harmful for the fish and aquarium environment. Keeping all that in mind, I have made a list of the best aquarium timers so that you can enjoy the automated aquarium.
What Is An Aquarium Timer?
These timers are usually simple devices that you set up, and then they turn on or off at preset times automatically without any human intervention required. It is a simple unit directly plugged into a wall outlet or into the light cable having a digital interface to control or mechanical adjustments.
Some aquarium lights can be controlled remotely with the app; those have Bluetooth capabilities, but often the best way is to plug them into a timer.
You must find one that suits your needs before purchasing anything too pricey because many of those have complicated interfaces for manual adjustments.
Types Of Aquarium Timer:
Standard Plug-In Timer
These types are probably the best aquarium timer on the market, straightforward to set up and use! First, plug it into your outlet or power strip, then plug in all of your electrical equipment. Then, simply program this little device so that you can control when everything needs to be turned off/on, turning a chore into an enjoyable experience instead.
Plug-in timers generally have on/off features, are very affordable and widespread. Plug-in timers are great when you have one product that needs to be switched on and off at different times. If, however, your aquarium needs two pieces of equipment with a set schedule, this is not the right option as they only work individually!
The best part is plug-in timers are very cheap, so there’s no problem getting more than one if needed. With this type of timer, you can only turn on/off the light or other equipment. Still, you won’t get the ramp-up feature for lights, like 24 hours day/night cycle, sunrise, sunsets, etc. If you want all of those, you definitely need a ramp-up timer.
Ramp Up Timer
Ramp-up timers are modern, and they are pretty cool. Wouldn’t you prefer to have your lights turn on and off and gently simulate a sunrise/sunset for your fish? With this ramp timer, it can also do the latter. This dimmer is perfect if you want to give a more natural light cycle to all of those plants and aquatic critters!
Rather than having your timer switch between day and night at intervals, wouldn’t it be cool if it could gradually change from an aggressive daytime cycle into one tailored specifically towards evening activity to better suit them? That’s what gives these “ramp timers” their name-it creates a gradual shift over time instead of suddenly turning everything up or down.
You can program a ramp timer to gradually change your aquarium’s lighting intensity throughout the day, imitating natural sunrise and sunset times. This helps create an atmosphere more conducive for both fish and plant life in order to stimulate their growth better.
Why Does Your Aquarium Need A Timer?
If you are a fish-lover, then take note! Limiting the time your aquarium lights stay on is crucial to keeping algae at bay and maintaining healthy sleep schedules for your pets.
Turning off our underwater friends’ light after they have gone to bed prevents them from getting stressed out because it hampers the circadian sleep cycle. In addition, you may experience nuisance algae outbreaks because of too much exposure to lights.
However, you don’t need to buy a timer for aquarium lights if you already bought one with a built-in timer. Nowadays, it’s very common for you to purchase an aquarium light. Then, you’ll get the timer to turn it on/off and allow you to play around with different lighting patterns and intensities.
But, what if you don’t have such a high-tech light, and you have to switch it on/off every day. Moreover, if you have other equipment like a water pump, protein skimmer, UV sterilizers, dosing pumps, and co2 regulators to automate, in that case, you should buy the one that you find best.
My Choice List Of Best Aquarium Timer
Coralife 05152 Digital Power Center
The Coralife Digital Power Center (05152) is a timer and power strip for controlling aquarium equipment such as lights, pumps, filters, and chillers. It features a convenient LCD display to make programming easy and a seven-time cycle setting for creating various day/night scenarios.
The unit has eight grounded three-prong-plug outlets that can be programmed independently or together to manage multiple devices in your system. Among eight outlets, four are white-colored for constant power, two are yellow for daytime, and the remaining two are blue for nighttime.
This 24-hour mechanical timer automatically switches between daytime and nighttime outlets. The UL-listed timer has sliding outlet safety covers to protect unused outlets and contains three-foot-long power cords.
So, suppose you have multiple aquarium equipment. In that case, you need to turn on some aquarium stuff during the day and switch off other things at night, then this timer is an excellent choice. Moreover, It also has outlets to keep things running all the time.
However, the downside is some users complained that it didn’t work at their end at all and found it challenging at first to program. In addition, you won’t get the ramp-up/down feature and can only turn on or off the device.
- UL listed mechanical power strip with timer
- 7-time cycle setting
- Alternating digital timer setting
- Total 8 outlets
- Efficient to handle multiple devices
- The LCD display makes day/night programming fun
- Some users find it faulty
- Programming is a bit difficult at the beginning
- On/off timer only
NICREW Aquarium Light Timer
If you don’t like to shock your fish with bright light from utter darkness, or vice versa, the nicrew aquarium light timers for you. The gradual ramp-up and dim-down features simulate gentle transitions and prevent too much stress on aquatic life without changing their environment drastically.
You can create a unique dawn and dusk effect by altering the light intensity in six different periods. Virtually, you can adjust the brightness from 1-100%; hence it can be helpful as a dimmer as well.
NICREW Aquarium Light Timer is compatible with all Nicrew lights and any aquarium lights (0-30 VDC light up to 120 Watts, maximum current is 4A) having a standard 2.5mm/2.1mm power connector. This timer can be operated on three modes; you can use straight on/off or ramp up/dim down features.
The timer has its own memory card, so your settings won’t be lost if power interrupts. When power is restored, you will continue to enjoy your preferred settings. A large LCD display makes the operation easier for anyone.
The timer is easy on the wallet, and a tiny piece takes up very little space, which you can easily hide behind a cabinet. The only downside is, it’s a little complicated to program for the first-timers, and if you follow the instructions correctly, you’ll get there.
- 0-100% intensity control feature
- Very affordable
- Gradual ramp up/dim down options
- Internal memory card remember your setting
- Not compatible with all aquarium lights
- Little challenging to program when you’re using it for the first time
Zoo Med AquaSun Aquarium Controller
The Zoo Med AquaSun Aquarium Controller is a timer & power strip. It is the ideal way to keep your aquarium automated. This aquarium controller combines the features of an 8-outlet surge protector with a programmable timer to provide a natural day/night cycle for your fish.
The Zoo Med AquaSun Aquarium Controller is easy to set up and use, allowing you to control the length of time that your aquarium light stays on each day, as well as when it turns off. Moreover, It is suitable for all kinds of aquarium lamps and accessories.
The analog design makes programming simple while providing flexibility. There are two rows of outlets: one row is timed, and the other is always available when the switch is on. You can have multiple devices programmed at a time, such as you can plug your lights on timer outlets and filter /heaters into the always-on outlets.
It’s a mechanical timer (not digital nor battery) and is loveable to users. Although some users mentioned they received faulty units, replacement works excellent, and it’s super simple.
This simple but effective timer can help you organize the equipment more systematically. You will never have an issue with your forgetful mind because it will happily take care of you.
- Mechanical timer, efficient and easy to use
- 08 outlets, out of the 04 are times, and 04 are always on
- The 24-hour timer provides a natural day/night cycle
- Suitable for all types of aquarium lights and accessories
- Buttons are tiny, need more cautions while setting the timer
- No ramp-up/dim down option
- Not possible to program different times on different days
BN-LINK Short Period Repeat Cycle Intermittent Timer
The BN-LINK Short Period Repeat Cycle Intermittent Timer is perfect for those who need a simple timer that can be set to repeat. This interval timer has two knobs – one for the running time and the other for off-time.
The running time can be set from 5 seconds to 30 minutes, while the off-time can be set from 5 seconds to 1 hour. So plug your equipment into this easy-to-use timer and walk away!
Suppose you want to run a device for one minute at a time, every half an hour; this repeating timer gives you that opportunity to precisely do that. Also, you can do that at a low price because for the price, the unit rocks.
It is equipped with a photocell sensor that can be operated in Day/Night/24-hour modes. You can set the designated on/off duration then the timer will continue to repeat the cycles to automate your appliances.
This timer is perfect for anyone with a DIY aquarium! In addition, the handy device can be used to regulate the dosage of medication or CO2 injection, which would make the process easier and more precise.
- Intermittent timer
- Three operation modes (day/night/24 hours)
- Helps you to precisely turn on and off a device
- Relatively cheaper
- You can’t run a device for more than 30 minutes at a time
Timer Module for Beamswork or EVO Quad LED
The Timer Module for Beamswork or EVO Quad LED Aquarium Light Fixture is the perfect way to get more control over your photoperiod. This small and reliable timer only has two simple buttons, making it easy to program an hour-long on/off cycle with just a few seconds of button pressing.
It controls the daylight and moonlight separately with two buttons. But you can set only one on/off cycle each (what more do you expect at this price!). It works just fine, but few people mentioned instructions are hard to understand although written in English.
It’s a pretty good timer if you own a Beamswork or EVO Quad aquarium light since it is not compatible with other aquarium lights. Before buying, please make sure if it suits your light or not.
- 24 hours lighting cycle
- Simple and easy programming automatic on/off
- No ramping up or dim down option.
- Compatible only with Beamswork and EVO Quad light
Fosmon 24 Hour Programmable Timer
Suppose you want to go on a vacation or are too busy to take care of the aquarium equipment operation. In that case, I suggest buying this Fosmon 24-hour programmable digital timer. Then, simply plug the device into the timer and set the timer to control the equipment for you following the 24 hours cycle.
The digital timer features a sleek, white design that doesn’t take up any floor space. The large numbers are easy to read, and programming the schedule is quick and straightforward – even for beginners! In case of a power outage, there’s an internal battery that will hold your settings for over 100 hours without external power.
You can safely use any light fixture as long as it is in the range of 125V/15A and is compatible with incandescent, CFL, and LED lights. The timer doesn’t offer much flexibility, only one ON and OFF setting, making it easy to use. However, other timers having multiple functionalities often make the thing complicated.
Some mechanical timers may cause irritating sounds while it’s turning on and off any device, but this Fosmon timer is super quiet. Unfortunately, you can’t program multiple devices with a single timer; you need a separate timer.
- Easy to use and program
- Safe for any device (range is 125V/15A)
- Elegant, sleek design
- Doesn’t take much space
- Quiet operation
- Only on and off function
I hope this best aquarium timer article will help you to find a suitable timer for you. All the timers listed here are cheap but of great quality.
The aquarium timer will help you to operate your aquarium on auto-pilot, especially when you are on vacation or not at home.
Share your experience; I would like to hear that; please leave a comment below.