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DIY Auto Top Help


Paratore
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I am looking to add a DIY Auto top off to my system to help maintain constant salinity. I have heard of a few different ideas but I was wondering what you guys have found works for you? I am open to all ideas so please share what your set up is to help me figure out what will work best for my system. I have a 55 gallon tank with about a 20 gallon sump/refugium. 

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I have a gavity fed float value. The water container is clear so if it is empty, i can see it. I bought the 1/4in tubing, small ball value, and a small sheet of acrlylic from home depot. The float valve i bought at ocean in the box. I used the acrlylic sheet to make the holder for the float value. It is not perfect but no ATO is perfect. It works alright, i had a few small issues that happen. I just need to fine tune it a little more. My ATO is only a few months old.

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I have the Apex take care of that.  I use a 55gal food grade drum to hold the ro/di water and when needed, the power head (1200)  will be turned on and pumps top off water thru the kalk reactor and to the sump.  I use a redundant float switch and adiy  BOB on the Apex

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Also have the gravity fed to float valve in the sump.Water supply is a 5 gal bucket filled thru the Ro/Di unit, solenoid is turned on by apex twice a day for 20 minutes, keeps 3-4 gallons in the bucket 24/7. There is a float valve in the bucket also and I made a clear plastic tube water level gauge on the outside of the bucket since it's under the counter in the tank room. Been running for 4 years now without a problem.

Steve

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  • 2 months later...

For a budget this is the best deal I've found it is very reliable and simple to set up.  and it comes with two protected sensors for added reliability.

 

http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/aquahub-diy-top-it-off-kit-premium.html

 

For the not so budget restricted this one is great.

 

http://www.marinedepot.com/Tunze_Osmolator_Nano_3152_Electric_Powered_Dosing_Pumps_Top_Off_Plug_In_Units-Tunze-TZ4114-FIDPETPU-vi.html

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  • 5 months later...

I think you can do it for even cheaper than that if you enjoy DIY. I went one similar to these:

 

http://www.tmart.com/Liquid-Water-Level-Sensor-Right-Angle-Float-Switch_p100472.html?cc=USD&fixed_price=us_us&gclid=Cj0KEQiA-ZSzBRDp3ITHm5KO_JYBEiQA1JjHHOkhZFjrIxZsAdKq-GD2e9zBgaB29ng9M717mZU8vngaAojI8P8HAQ

 

It is really cheap compared to many alternatives. I then found an old pump and spliced the wire of the plug, soldered it, and heatshrinked the wires to waterproof it. Now I just have a bucket that has water with a hose into my tank, when the water level is low, the float switch starts the circuit and pumps in fresh H20.

 

2ihtaw4.jpg

 

Some people do a double float valve, that will shutoff the pump if it gets too high, but I just leave the sump empty enough to accommodate a bucket if need be. Single point safety is a bad thing. Most definitely.

 

I can always post pictures of my system if you want.

 

Edit: The setup works, but be warned. It isn't the most electrically stable setup. Keep those fish alive.

Edited by milesmiles902
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My rodi has a pressure tank for drinking water.  I simply ran a 1/4" line to my 1000 gal sump and put in a float valve.  No pumps, no storage tank, just a valve and a little tubing.  I also have a 65 gal rodi storage container in my fish room for water changes.  I feed it the same way and it also has a float valve.

 

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I just got an aqualifter and spliced a float valve onto it.  Cost maybe 15$ and has worked for over a year with me! 

 

I used to run that setup too a few years back on my son's tank.  It is low cost and quite effective for the most part.  

 

Unfortunately the high voltage/amps running through the float switch eventually caused the float switch to fail and overflow the tank with freshwater.  It is much better to put low current through the float using a relay.  The stuff from autotopoff.com is great, apex is great, etc etc...

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I used to run that setup too a few years back on my son's tank.  It is low cost and quite effective for the most part.  

 

Unfortunately the high voltage/amps running through the float switch eventually caused the float switch to fail and overflow the tank with freshwater.  It is much better to put low current through the float using a relay.  The stuff from autotopoff.com is great, apex is great, etc etc...

 

Relays are pretty handy. You will need another power source though. I imagine a low volt battery would work. In the past I have used an arduino mega for the power source.

 

That one I posted does have a max of 0.5 amp and 100V switching voltage, or in total 50 watts switching power. Just keep the pump small and there shouldn't be any issues. As a safety, use a second float switch.

 

I have never setup a RO/DI auto topoff. What are peoples opinions of that kind of setup?

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  • 1 month later...

I used to run that setup too a few years back on my son's tank.  It is low cost and quite effective for the most part.  

 

Unfortunately the high voltage/amps running through the float switch eventually caused the float switch to fail and overflow the tank with freshwater.  It is much better to put low current through the float using a relay.  The stuff from autotopoff.com is great, apex is great, etc etc...

 

It happened. Be careful!! I went to my auto topoff smelling burnt plastic to find the pump melted from the inside-out . It was smelling of burnt plastic even though it was submerged in 6 inches of water. A relay is a better option.

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