frequently asked questions

s a l e s  &  d i s t r i b u t i o n

Our current target for shipping the MindStream monitor to customers in North America is summer, 2017. We will do our best to let you know how things are progressing as we get closer to that date. If you are interested in learning more about when we will be taking pre-orders, feel free to sign up for pre-order notification.
We are committed to shipping the MindStream monitor to our supporters all over the world as soon as possible. Partly due to the inclusion of wireless communications in the monitor, there are regulatory hurdles to cross in many regions and countries. In order to best serve the larger global market, we need to set up and test regional cloud servers and deal with the necessary logistical, tax, and legal/export challenges of shipping the MindStream monitor and replacement discs internationally. We also need to establish an international service network. We will expand our international distribution as quickly as possible.
We will be enhancing our current website to include online ordering. For updates on the status of product launch, please, sign up for pre-order notification, and/or “like” us on Facebook.
Although we have not conducted testing in extreme shipping temperatures, because the MindStream sensor discs are shipped dry and sealed in a water tight pouch that blocks out light, a wide range of shipping temperatures are not likely to adversely affect the sensor discs.
We will initially sell the MindStream monitor on our company website to customers in North America. We welcome the opportunity to get in touch with you when we are prepared to build out our distribution channels. Please subscribe and indicate you are a Distributor.
We will initially sell the MindStream monitor on our company website to customers in North America and therefore are not currently building out a retail presence at this time. But we would be very interested in speaking with you when the time is right. Please subscribe and indicate you are a Retailer.
We will initially sell the MindStream monitor on our company website to customers in North America. We welcome the opportunity to get in touch with you when we are prepared to build channel partnerships with service firms. We recognize that the MindStream monitor may represent an important opportunity for you to enhance your service offerings to your customers, and we look forward to working with you. Please subscribe and indicate you are an Aquarium Service Firm.

p r o d u c t  p r i c i n g

We are still developing the final pricing structure for the MindStream monitor, but we expect it will likely retail for less than $900. A monthly subscription fee of approximately $35 will cover real-time, 24x7 access to monitor data and free replaceable sensor discs.
We recommend that the sensor disc be replaced at least every 30 days in order to maintain optimal accuracy. Some of the sensors on the disc have longer useful life than others. We believe that the sensors will ultimately be capable of being accurate for longer than 30 days, but we need more test and operating history to be able to reliably determine that.

w a t e r  p a r a m e t e r s

We know Magnesium is an important parameter especially for reef keepers. During our testing we have achieved very good results measuring Magnesium in freshwater, but our confidence level testing magnesium in saltwater tanks is not as high as we want it to be yet. We don’t want to hold up product launch and need more time to test Magnesium in saltwater before we can feel comfortable including it on the monitor. We are still very hopeful to add Magnesium down the road and we will provide updates when we know more.
We understand that Nitrate is an important parameter when establishing a new tank or making changes to an existing tank. We have been investigating a Nitrate sensor and have achieved very promising results for freshwater tanks. We believe an accurate Nitrate sensor for saltwater tanks is technically feasible and it is a very high development priority for us. Phosphate is also a key reef tank parameter and it is an important development priority for us as well. However, we anticipate developing a Phosphate sensor that does not use reagent technology will be especially complex and difficult to achieve. We have populated the introductory MindStream monitor discs with sensors that monitor important water parameters for maintaining optimal saltwater tank chemistry. This includes Carbonate Alkalinity, Calcium, Salinity/TDS, Temperature, and pH because they are critical to maintaining the health of fish and corals. Also, the ability to measure Oxygen and CO2 together is revolutionary because these two parameters provide important insights into the biological activity and respiration of the livestock in the tank.
The MindStream monitor measures Carbonate Alkalinity using equations that have been well established and commonly accepted by oceanographic research studies that incorporate CO2, pH, temperature, and salinity as the primary input parameters. This is one of the reasons we have been benchmarking pH and CO2 against extremely accurate marine grade scientific instruments – we want these parameters to be accurate so the Alkalinity measurement will also be accurate.
The MindStream monitor calculates Carbonate Alkalinity using equations that have been well established and commonly accepted by oceanographic research studies that incorporate CO2, pH, temperature, and salinity as the primary input parameters. All commonly used aquarium titration kits measure Total Alkalinity, which is a combination of Carbonate Alkalinity, Borate Alkalinity, and small contributions from other ions. Since Borate and other ion concentrations may vary in an aquarium tank, Total Alkalinity measurements can be misleading to aquarists, who are most interested in the Carbonate Alkalinity that is critical to keeping healthy corals. This ability to monitor Carbonate Alkalinity is another reason why the MindStream monitor offers a significant advantage over current test methods.
The MindStream monitor was specifically designed to minimize biological build-up on the monitor and inside the sensor disc. Each disc includes a small wiper brush that keeps the optical lenses and salinity electrodes free of organic matter. The monitor and disc are made out of a space-age plastic called Zeonex that is Teflon-like with 16 times less adhesion to protein than regular black plastic. The spinning disc is designed to block ambient light penetration and in doing so, it also minimizes the chance that algae or other things will grow on the interior sensor side of the disc. In the unlikely event that organic matter is detected on the sensors, they may be rinsed in deionized water to remove any build-up. Finally, since the sensor disc is constantly spinning, it eliminates the possibility of “freeloaders” like snails from taking a ride.
Yes. We are currently focusing on launching the saltwater version of the MindStream monitor and disc. Many of our sensors also work well in freshwater and we plan to develop a freshwater version of the MindStream monitor at some point down the road.

b e t a  t e s t i n g

We are currently conducting another round of internal beta testing. If you are interested in participating in future beta tests, please subscribe and indicate you are interested in Focus Groups/Beta Testing.

m o n i t o r  &  o p e r a t i o n

The Mindstream monitor functions equally well in your tank or sump. For optimal monitoring, we ideally recommend placing the monitor in your tank because oxygen levels often differ between tank and sump. Oxygen levels are usually higher and more stable in the sump than they are in the tank where fish and coral reside. If a circulation pump in the main tank fails and oxygen levels drop quickly, there may be a delay in the MindStream monitor picking it up if it resides in the sump.
No. If your WiFi connection is lost, the MindStream monitor will store it’s raw measurement data locally until the WiFi connection is re-established (as long as it has power). Once the WiFi connection is re-established, the monitor automatically uploads all raw data to your cloud profile and updates your tank parameter charts. The MindStream monitor is capable of storing many months worth of data while the Internet connection is down.
The MindStream monitor comes with a power adapter that is a DC 12V, 1 Amp AC/DC converter. It uses an industry standard 2.1mm ID x 5.5mm OD round DC connector. Off the shelf 220/240V to 120V converters are available from hardware stores.
The MindStream monitor does not use any reagents in the system. There isn’t anything to leach into the water. The fluorescence dye molecules are very large and immobilized in a very thin plastic substrate and therefore they cannot leak into the water.
The MindStream monitor is 5.7 inches tall, 3.8 inches wide, 2.8 inches deep. The inductive power transmitter is 4 inches tall, 3.5 inches wide, and 1.5 inches deep.
Because the MindStream monitor was specifically designed to minimize biological build-up on the monitor and inside the sensor disc, the need to clean should be infrequent. See the FAQ above in the Water Parameters category related to algae build up. If necessary, the monitor can be cleaned with a toothbrush or soft sponge under water on all surfaces except the lenses and the electrodes. The lenses and electrodes should only be cleaned with water or alcohol with non-abrasive materials like a soft cloth or very clean sponge that won’t scratch. If the electrodes or lenses are scratched, the accuracy of measurements will be affected.
Yes, Step Ahead Innovations will offer a 1 year warranty on the MindStream monitor.

s y s t e m  c o m p a t i b i l i t y

We are currently devoting our development resources to getting our first MindStream monitor to market. The first version will not be integrated with other systems, including Apex controllers. We will certainly consider the merits of working with other aquarium tank system providers, including Neptune Systems, to provide integration down the road. If we do decide to provide integration with Apex controllers in the future, these enhancements would be implemented in the cloud-based infrastructure and no modifications would be required to the MindStream monitor itself.