Anyone have a DIY auto top off? - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2013, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone have a DIY auto top off?

Looking for a DIY auto top off system. Anyone?

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2013, 09:12 PM
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I had thought about doing my own with an arduino, but didn't really have the time, so I went with a pseudo-DIY top off from autotopoff.com
If the link is removed, just shoot me a PM. The guy that makes and sells them has a bunch of different options to suit whatever needs you may have. Mine was like $50 for a dual-switch sump mounted top off system, which is decently priced, in my opinion. Of course, you could buy the parts separately from the guy and just make them yourself, but it's all a matter of how much time you want to put into a top off.
I can shoot you some pics/a video of mine in action if you would like.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 02:30 AM
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i just went and bought ro water line and a float switch and hooked it up works great and is cheap
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks ngrubich. I'll take a look at that.

aaron, do you have pictures of that? That's more what I may be looking for.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 04:43 PM
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My word of advice would be to plan for the worst case. Think through what would happen if any single component were to fail. Any time you're hooking a potentially limitless water supply to your fish tank you're creating an opportunity for a lot of water to end up in the wrong place.

For instance, if you use a system where a water supply line is running to a mechanical float valve, what happens if a snail crawls into the valve when it's open and jams it?

For this reason, I like to design systems that have some degree of redundancy or fail safe. In other words, if it breaks, it won't cause a flood.

There are a few common ways to do this:

1) Provide redundancy for failure-prone components. In systems with electronic float switches, use two, in series, such that if the "normal" one jams, the water will rise and trigger the backup switch, turning off the water supply.

2) Back up one control method with another. If your system is operating on a mechanical float valve, consider adding an electronic float switch above it, controlling a solenoid on your water supply line such that if the mechanical valve sticks, the float switch will trigger and shut off the water.

3) Limit the total system runtime. If you're using a pump or solenoid run by float switches to supply the water, plug the whole mess into a timer and set it such that it can only run just enough time to do the actual topoff, plus a short interval for variation. For instance, if it takes the topoff system 10 minutes to top the tank off each day, you might plug it in to a timer set to be on only from 12:00 to 12:15 each day.

4) Limit the total volume of water that can be added. Instead of tapping in to your home's water lines, consider adding the topoff water from a reservoir or storage tank. Pick a vessel large enough to provide a few days of top off, then fill it manually on that interval. This way, if the system fails, the worst that can happen is only a small volume of water getting spilled.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 07:24 PM
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Best one I ever saw (for safety) was one of the reef forums out there. No moving parts, just an airtight/watertight container and 2 tubes. The lower tube in the tank sets the "fill" event (low water mark) and the mouth of the higher tube sets the "Stop now, I'm full" level.

Bad thing it is Gravity feed, so it has to be higher than your tank or sump.


Here's one:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=794031

different style, same general idea
http://www.reeffrontiers.com/forums/...-system-65038/


If you really wanted to do it up, an auto water change system would be amazing. You have to be able to run both water and drain lines to/from the tank. you use a drip irrigation system to add water (like a greenhouse uses, slowly drips water into the top of the tank), and put a drain at a pre-set height into the side of a sump. You can also use a drain at the top of a tank (or a siphon overflow) - but the sump method is the slickest. No more water changes! You can adjust how many gallons get swapped a day, from over 100% turn over to just a few percent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrJ3eAE4qQE

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...ge-system.html
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 08:01 PM
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well i dont have many snails and the ones i have stay on the other side of my sump in the filter floss and it helps some one is almost always home incase of flood my floods always happen when im working on a tank and sorry no way to get pics
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the ideas!

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 05:52 AM
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I'd strongly suggest a Tunze Osmolator. You can find them on the reef keeper forums for about $100 used and they are amazing. Our reef tank used to go through 1-2 gallons a day and we had tried a float valve top off and it was just a POS, never consistent and prone to leaking, then we went to the Osmolator and it was ideal for us, and kept our water level within 1/16th of an inch all day every day.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 12:54 PM
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go to bulkreefsupply, they sell a diy auto top off kit for 40$ comes with everything you need to safely assemble an auto top off, i use it on my reef tank and love it. it allows the float switch to only take 12v with the relay and still supply 120v to the pump to prevent premature float switch failure and keep those high voltages out of your tank, i have used an air powered and gravity before but in the end i just dont think its worth it i will never use another auto top off. great product and simple to assemble and use
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 01:39 PM
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I'm a fan of autotopoff.com kits. They do nano kits "custom" for a decent price.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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what price for a nano, Jake?

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 02:30 PM
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Under $50, I think. Can't remember. Check the custom section on their site.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Will do.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 04:58 PM
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Just checked.

Main custom page is here.

Another section here.

Cheaper than I remember.
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