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ATO on a budget


bpounds1991

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That's the exact switch I'm using. Keep in mind, if you plan to use it in a display that snails could jam in there. I made an enclosure out of an old pill bottle to solve that problem. If it's in the sump it shouldn't be an issue. Also, I keep it on a timer and run it two times a day for 15 minutes on a Tom's aqua lifter.

 

It's basically a float with a magnet in it that activates a switch and turns on your pump. Pretty simple and pretty reliable. I don't even clean mine.

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I just ordered the Tunze 3152. A friend of mine has it, and is happy with it.

 

Just like all things with hobby, nothing is maintenance free, so proper cleanings and care, anything should last a long time.

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I've got some terrible pics I just took (keep in mind it's like 2yrs old)

 

here it is mounted to magnets in my sump, it's got the pill bottle top on it (it's like a vitamin bottle) but not the actual bottle, there isn't any risk of snails getting to it where it is. also, notice the holes in the lid, they let air out when the bottle is on it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/115806844@N04/12512265824/'>12512265824_4399e9b4d4_b.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/115806844@N04/12512265824/'>Untitled by http://www.flickr.com/people/115806844@N04/'>GHill762, on Flickr

 

here is the bottle, plenty of holes to let water in and air out

http://www.flickr.com/photos/115806844@N04/12511892403/'>12511892403_26045a5279_b.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/115806844@N04/12511892403/'>Untitled by http://www.flickr.com/people/115806844@N04/'>GHill762, on Flickr



lol, my pics are terrible..



you could also route the wires a little neater, but I'm not that fancy :lol:

 

and the wire nuts are because I had to cut the wires a while back because of where I placed the switch, long story..

 

bottom line, it's a nice and easy way to get an affordable top off unit. it's all quality parts..



this has a built in snail guard and has a lot more adjustment room as far as water height (but it's a little bulkier) and shows the product a little better:

http://autotopoff.com/products/SS1/



the "double switch" version has a shutoff switch if the water gets too high (if you're afraid of flooding).

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also, the top of the float where the wires enter the switch is all sealed, so if you shut off the return you're not going to damage the switch or shock anything in your tank.

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I think I may get a double switch JUST incase, I know they are not all fail proof but even a little extra helps when you sometimes work 12 hour days ;)

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I think I may get a double switch JUST incase, I know they are not all fail proof but even a little extra helps when you sometimes work 12 hour days ;)

the peace of mind would be nice.. but that's why I put mine on a timer, it can only run 15 minutes twice a day and it's using a tom's aqua lifter as the pump, at that rate it can' flood my sump, it takes like 5 minutes to fill just the evaporation. I've never had a failure in 2 years and have gone on several week long vacations..

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I love your idea, got me sold and meets my budget needs thanks so much for your replies!

no problem, we all wanna save a little dough in this hobby..

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I love your idea, got me sold and meets my budget needs thanks so much for your replies!

One thing you should know about the top off is that the float magnet is one directional, learned that the hard way. There is an up and a down, if you put it together upsidedown it won't shut off.

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That hydor ato has a minimum run time of 25 seconds so unless you have a really slow pump it will trigger the alarm for a typical nano

either a Tom's or a peristaltic pump would easily take longer than that for most tanks.. Especially the peristaltic at either 1.1 or 5.5 ml per second..

 

That's interesting though I didn't know that. I've heard they're not very reliable. They weren't getting very good reviews when they came out, dunno if they've fixed the bugs or not..

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either a Tom's or a peristaltic pump would easily take longer than that for most tanks.. Especially the peristaltic at either 1.1 or 5.5 ml per second..

 

That's interesting though I didn't know that. I've heard they're not very reliable. They weren't getting very good reviews when they came out, dunno if they've fixed the bugs or not..

A lot of what I've read involves the female socket not being polarized so certain pumps don't fit.

 

As for the complaints about reliability i imagine a lot of that involves people hooking up pumps that are too strong. Not 100% on that but i tend to gives a lot of reviews a healthy dose of skepticism if they aren't descriptive or the problem is uncommon.

 

On marine depot the reviews are overwhelmingly positive except for two people that couldn't plug their pump of choice in.

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The tank size i'll be setting up will be 15.5 gallons, so would you recommend the 1.1 or 5.5? and could you elaborate a little more on placing the float valve upside down? Hopefully it comes with instructions :D:D

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A lot of what I've read involves the female socket not being polarized so certain pumps don't fit.

 

As for the complaints about reliability i imagine a lot of that involves people hooking up pumps that are too strong. Not 100% on that but i tend to gives a lot of reviews a healthy dose of skepticism if they aren't descriptive or the problem is uncommon.

 

On marine depot the reviews are overwhelmingly positive except for two people that couldn't plug their pump of choice in.

it's got 2.5/5 stars on amazon. half of the reviews are 1 star, granted there are only a total of 10 reviews..

 

 

 

 

The tank size i'll be setting up will be 15.5 gallons, so would you recommend the 1.1 or 5.5? and could you elaborate a little more on placing the float valve upside down? Hopefully it comes with instructions :D:D

 

 

I don't mean the whole unit, I mean when you go to clean it, make sure you put the float back on the switch/rod correctly.. otherwise it won't turn off.

 

as far as pumps, I'd go with a tom aqualifter.. you could do a peristaltic pump but they're kinda pricey.. you're looking at $70-$100 for a peristaltic dosing pump or $17 for a tom aqualifter. the tom only pushes 3.5 gallons per hour (so at 15 minutes on a timer shouldn't be able to overflow anything, that's 0.875 gallons), the only problem you might have with it is head height, it can only pump water like 30" vertical.

 

Tom:

http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/aqua-lifter-vacuum-pump.html

or

http://www.marinedepot.com/Tom_Aquatics_Aqua_Lifter_Dosing_Pump_Accessories_for_Aquarium_Overflow_Boxes-Tom_Aquatics-OE1137-FIOFOA-vi.html

 

"dosing" pumps:

http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/brs-2-part-doser-1-1-ml-per-minute.html

or

http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/brs-top-off-doser-50-ml-per-minute.html

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I'm sure I can find a way to manage getting water a little over 2 feet up to the tank lol. When I get everything settled and setup in a few months ill pm you GHill about setting everything up if you don't mind!

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What's the purpose of having 2 switches? Is it just redundancy?

if the first one gets stuck down for whatever reason (pretty unlikely), the second one shuts it off. it's unnecessary IMO, but it's one more fail safe..

 

you can't just have two switches though, it's got to be an on and and off..

 

personally, I prefer just to keep the float clean, keep snails away from it, keep it on a timer, and use a slow pump.. zero chance of a flood with my setup.

 

I'm sure I can find a way to manage getting water a little over 2 feet up to the tank lol. When I get everything settled and setup in a few months ill pm you GHill about setting everything up if you don't mind!

that's fine.

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