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Cultivated Reef

Auto top off without flooding


Nstocks

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Hello,

 

I'm making final preparations for my upcoming tank build where I've planned to manually top off my water. Reasons for doing this is to save money, but also because of the dreaded fear that it could flood my system.

 

If for instance both drains were to clog in the display (dual standpipe - near impossible), the water level in the sump would drop triggering the ATO to add more water (sensor in return pump chamber). I've calculated my top off chamber and there is enough space in the rest of the sump to hold the water but it's an extra risk if the return pump fails as well.

 

Is there a ATO that can prevent this? I would think the only way for this to work would be to have an additional sensor in the display tank? (total volume is around 240L)

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porkchop-rob

Your concern would be better handled by a tank controller.

 

For example if both drains clog, then the water level in the tank rises, triggers a level sensor and it shuts down the return pump.....that should be the primary concern, as it would empty the return chamber until it burns up your pump.

 

As well, you can use a level sensor to turn off the ATO system completely, if it were to stick "on" and over fill your return pump chamber of the sump.

 

and lastly, there is always the water sensor that can be placed under/beside the sump and be used to turn off as many things as necessary should there be an overflow of any kind.

 

I think a controller (and the appropriate sensors, breakout boxes, and trinkets) is the only real way to be "SURE" that you don't have a failure.

 

 

I hope this made some kind of sense....LOL

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Your concern would be better handled by a tank controller.

 

For example if both drains clog, then the water level in the tank rises, triggers a level sensor and it shuts down the return pump.....that should be the primary concern, as it would empty the return chamber until it burns up your pump.

 

As well, you can use a level sensor to turn off the ATO system completely, if it were to stick "on" and over fill your return pump chamber of the sump.

 

and lastly, there is always the water sensor that can be placed under/beside the sump and be used to turn off as many things as necessary should there be an overflow of any kind.

 

I think a controller (and the appropriate sensors, breakout boxes, and trinkets) is the only real way to be "SURE" that you don't have a failure.

 

 

I hope this made some kind of sense....LOL

 

The return pump burning up was a concern when designing the setup; a lot of people don't use controllers so burned out return pump it's probably something they have to live with?

 

I agree that the controller would be ideal, but that's another £500+ I don't have. Are there any standalone failsafes systems for this?

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porkchop-rob

 

The return pump burning up was a concern when designing the setup; a lot of people don't use controllers so burned out return pump it's probably something they have to live with?

 

These are really "worst case" scenarios. Most of the time, they are not an issue.

 

That said, the Tunze is a good top off, as it has a built in fail safe.

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Well "sure" is a bit of a misnomer IMO as you'll never be 100% protected... but I think what pork said is right...

 

 

It's easy to design an ATO that will turn off when it hits a certain level, but you would need a more complex system/controller to shut off the return pump in the case that the drain(s) back up...

 

Personally I think that having dual drains and having an ATO that shuts off if it hits a max level in the sump is adequate protection considering the benefit to your livestock in having a stable salinity as well as to your free time!

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I use a timed topoff via my Apex. It requires fine tuning if evaporation changes but for the most part it's more reliable than anything else. I will never trust float switches.

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Another idea, albeit, not as good as a controller and good visual watching, is to figure the amount of "extra" water your sump could hold in the event the ato got stuck in the on position to drain the reservoir into the tank before overflowing, and only keep your ato reservoir filled to that point. If both of your drain lines clogged, without a controller and sensors, the DT will more than likely overflow anyway you look at it.

 

Example: You have a 10 gallon reservoir for your ato. Your sump can hold 6 gallons of extra water before overflowing, only keep 6 gallons or less at a time in the reservoir. You have to make sure to account for the pump turning off and how that affects the level in the sump as well.

I did this for a while when I first set up my ato until I was able to set up a controller. I never had any issues, but it was another small peace of mind for not flooding my house, lol.

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Another idea, albeit, not as good as a controller and good visual watching, is to figure the amount of "extra" water your sump could hold in the event the ato got stuck in the on position to drain the reservoir into the tank before overflowing, and only keep your ato reservoir filled to that point. If both of your drain lines clogged, without a controller and sensors, the DT will more than likely overflow anyway you look at it.

 

Example: You have a 10 gallon reservoir for your ato. Your sump can hold 6 gallons of extra water before overflowing, only keep 6 gallons or less at a time in the reservoir. You have to make sure to account for the pump turning off and how that affects the level in the sump as well.

I did this for a while when I first set up my ato until I was able to set up a controller. I never had any issues, but it was another small peace of mind for not flooding my house, lol.

 

Great idea! My sump can hold an extra 20litres and the RO chamber is around 25 litres so I can control it that way.

 

I'll see how I do with manually topping up the tank for a few weeks and decide from there if it's better to use a ATO.

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When I built my system, I designed the return chamber to be small enough that it will run dry before overflowing the DT, the RO reservoir is also sized so that if it were to dump its entire contents, the sump can handle it.

 

Absolute worst case scenario is both overflow pipes are 100% clogged AND the ATO fails open(also at full capacity) and pumps the full contents to the sump. If this happens, I will get 1 gallon of water overflowing the DT. I can live with that. I don't keep my Gutenberg bible and Rembrandt paintings sitting on the floor next to my tank so 1 gallon of water is an unconvinirnce, not a disaster

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