Running an Auto Top Off (ATO) is one of the easiest ways to keep your tank running smoothly. An ATO unit keeps a constant water level in your tank, which makes sure your protein skimmer runs correctly and keeps your salnity in check. The result: happier, healthier tank.
One of the common mistakes I see people make with ATO’s is that they spend WAY too much money on them. The biggest secret of ATOs is that you can get one rolling really cheap – so long as you aren’t a reef junkie.
For tank dabblers and reef enthuiasts, I recommend the Autotopoff.com dual switch unit. Cost: $50 plus the pump. The Tom Aquatics Aqua-Lifter pump works great for the water pump part of this ATO. Total cost for this setup: $65.
Yes, there is nothing sexy about the autotopoff.com unit, but seriously, it is an ATO we are talking about here. It is going to sit in your sump, or in the back of your tank – you’re never going to see it. As long as it works (mine has worked great for the year I’ve had it), who cares what it looks like?
Now, if you are a reef junkie, you’ll want to opt for the Tunze Osmolator 3155 ($213) because you’ll be dazzled by the fact that there is no float switch involved, only a photovoltaic sensor. It also includes a float switch as a backup sensor in that if the osmolator pumps too much water into your tank, then the float switch will rise and turn off the pump. Also, the osmolator won’t run for more than 15 minutes which adds another layer of protection.
As with most things in the saltwater tank world, you get what you pay for.Browse the Store! Questions?