Aquarium Technology: Automatic Top off Systems (ATO)

For your aquarium to function at its optimal level, it’s important that the level of the water inside it is monitored. Automatic top off units help you with exactly that!  Regardless of temperature, water evaporates all the time. Over time, the gradual evaporation results in considerable water loss which consequently causes an increase in the salinity of the water for saltwater tanks. If you run a freshwater tank with a sump, the evaporation over time will also mess with your filtering and pump compartment.  This problem is particularly evident in reef tanks because corals are highly sensitive to salinity.  So what can you do about it? Well, simply install an ATO system in your aquarium and never worry about the depleting water level again.

How ATOs work

An automatic top off unit monitors the water level periodically. As soon as, it finds that the water is below a certain level, it switches on an ATO pump. This ATO pump fills the tanks with fresh RO/DI (without salt) water until it reaches the expected volume.  The water level sensors of an ATO act like switches. They turn on only when they are submerged in water. A reef-pi is configured to periodically check the state of these switches. As the level of water decreases, the switches emerge out of the water and turn off. When the reef-pi detects a switch in off state, it immediately turns on an ATO pump to replenish the lost water.  A reef-pi can be set to check the state of switches, as frequent as, every minute. In this way, you can ensure that the water in your aquarium is never below the expected level.

Let’s have a look at some of the best Auto top off systems for your aquarium.

Tunze USA 3155.000 Automatic Top off Osmolator for Aquariums

Osmolator is a safe and reliable ATO system. It is produced by Tunze Company that has been making ATO systems since 1985. Osmolator is small in size and weighs around 3 pounds. It uses two sensors to detect the decrease in water level.  The main sensor is an infrared sensor while the second sensor is a float sensor. The float sensor serves as a back up to the primary infrared sensor to ensure effective regulation of water in your aquarium. Osmolator comes with magnetic mounts and a full package of tubing and power supplies. It is convenient to use and easy to install.  Tunze Osmolator is a bit pricey because it is a top-notch product in the market. However, it will not disappoint. The effective and efficient working of this ATO is worth the price tag!

Hydor Smart Level Controller

Hydor Smart Level Controller is designed to be used in marine, as well as, freshwater aquariums. This 5.5 x 1 x 2.5 inches device weighs around 14 ounces and has proved to be very energy efficient. The quality of the product effectively prevents it from rust.  This ATO system comes with an amazing dual alarm system that has light and sound. It will not only alert you about the decreasing water level, but it will also alert you if something is wrong with the ATO itself because its sensors are designed to be functional, as well as, smart!  The Hydro SL Controller is also capable of differentiating between the movement of waves and the actual decrease in water level. This functionality makes sure that you are never wrongly alerted and the tank is never mistakenly filled.

So, when are you going to get an ATO system for your aquarium?

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