Auto top off (ato) no mechanical part and not visible? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Auto top off (ato) no mechanical part and not visible?

Losing nearly 0.5-1 gallon per day or two days. And would like not to do manual top off anymore.

All the kit or guide I have looked that are using mechanical switch. Some two to prevent flood. This works great in a sump, like in salt water.

In planted tank, we rarely have sump. I also want my tank to look as minimalist as possible. I am already disappointed to not have look further and purchased a filter with included heater instead of in the tank.

Is there diy kit or even one we can purchased that have nothing in the tank? With proximity or ultrasound sensors? (as and engineer, I am using a lot of theses but price for industrial is same as the full tank).

If anyone have something to share, i would be really happy!

Thank you!

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 02:26 PM
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I do not use them but one way to deal might be open to thought. If you have space behind the tank for a container, adding a siphon from the main tank to the container will keep the levels the same. Water self levels? So then one can add the equipment to the container in back which is hidden if the tank back is painted black, etc.
It does require a siphon but it doesn't need to be any larger than what will handle the flow from your added water without overflowing the container in back. Also, do some thought on backup plans, in case the siphon does get stopped up or whatever other gremlins may attack!
If the tank/house situation fits, the spare container can even be in another room like a closet behind ---if it fits your layout.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 04:52 PM
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The Flood Guardian by XP Aqua sounds close to what you may be looking for granted you have an RO unit you can hook it up to. The sensor unit is quite small but not invisible. It’s electronic over mechanical connected to a solenoid. Really a neat device I have it on my reserve tank set up for one time filling but you can set it for ATO.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 05:06 PM
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You have three options: Gravity feed (place water above tank and control flow with a solenoid), siphon feed (container at same level as water line), or pump feed.

I think gravity feed is your only option for that much top off.

Physics are against you on pump feed, so you'll need some way of lifting liquid. Traditionally we would use a peristaltic pump, but you are trying to avoid that.

The only other method I know if and have used is pressure driven. This works ok for small tanks, but I don't think it will scale to your size. The concept is to use a large container (gallon Apple juice container in my case), an air powered airstone is used to create pressure, and that forces water through a second tube into the tank. I used airline tubing through the cap and a smart outlet to make it run for 4 minutes (what I needed for my use).

I used this to top off a Spec V at work while I was out for over a month, and it worked well. Do some trial runs to measure volume, run time needed, and test.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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The tank is on outside wall.

Was going for a reserve tank in the cabinet with pump on a timer. Works 15min, 2 times per day.

But it's minimizing the parts inside the display tank. A mechanical float is highly visible and easy to jam with snails or plants.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 10:23 PM
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When I hear outside wall, I think of adding a drain to outside. Any chance that would fit your situation? Add an overflow drain and a pump on timer to move water from a reserve to the main and treat any excess as simply more water changed. Lots of details that may interfere like how the tap might be treated ,etc. but might be worth a thought to avoid the float, etc.
At one point I found this works well for me as a way to do water changes without me being there.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-25-2019, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Watever View Post
The tank is on outside wall.

Was going for a reserve tank in the cabinet with pump on a timer. Works 15min, 2 times per day.

But it's minimizing the parts inside the display tank. A mechanical float is highly visible and easy to jam with snails or plants.

Sent from my LG-M470 using Tapatalk
Depending on how often you do water changes, you probably don't need a float valve. You already have an estimate of how much water is lost to evaporation, and you just need the pump to run long enough to replace that amount. It doesn't have to be exact since you can reset to an exact water level at water changes (unless you run right up to the rim or something).

For simplicity, I would just hook an airline tube and have it above the water line feeding from the back. That way you don't have to deal with siphons or check valves. If you really don't want to see an airline tube, you could tap the airline tube into your canister tubing and rely on check valves to prevent siphon. That would keep all equipment hidden.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-25-2019, 08:27 PM
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The easiest mechanical is an inverted water bottle over the top of the tank, like an automatic water bowl for a cat. BUT it's highly visible.


The other options are a lid too reduce evaporation, lower the temperature of the tank or raise the room temperature to reduce the temperature difference and slow evaporation. Floating plants will slow evaporation but a dense cover is needed for best results.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 01:19 PM
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I have a large tank that requires a good bit of water daily as well. I have a system that keeps things topped off and changes the water daily. You will need RODI line to the tank. Send pic of tank. Is it rimless? Do you have a fixed light bridge over it?

I have experimented with all of the various level sensors and can discuss the pros and cons of each. Personally I settled on air pressure via a 1/8 ď dip tube in the tank. Because of my tank type I could not use the through the glass sensor as my full level was above the frame.


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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The tank is rimless.

I live in Canada, so water outside would just froze

I will keep thinking and come up with something that look good and is relatively safe.

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