In a never ending attempt to make our aquariums as self sufficient as possible, so that all we have to do is sit and enjoy, someone thought of the brilliant idea of the automatic water top off system. These systems are great assets to any aquarium because they eliminate the need for manual daily top offs, help to keep your salinity levels consistent, and are relatively reliable. There are tons of DIY’s out there for these systems and most are very simple, cheap, and easy to build.
The Battery Powered ATO
The version of ATO I use is the pressure driven, battery powered air pump kind, and hopefully I will be able to show you how to build your very own right here on reefchronicles first DIY! Lets get started.
Other materials you may need:
First, we take our air pump and open her up.
As you can see in the picture, I have already went ahead and cut the wire to air pumps power switch. You will want to cut a little bit of the plastic off the wire so that the bare metal is showing (pictured below). This is where you will splice in your float switch wires.
Next, we splice them together using our wire caps. If you dont have wire caps, electrical tape will work just fine.
Next, you can install your batteries and test the switch to make sure everything is working properly. To do this simply turn the pump on and move the float stone up and down – the pump should come on and off.
Next, you have to make holes in the cap of your reservoir. You will want to make sure that the holes are just a tiny bit smaller than the diameter of your airline tubing so that when you put the lines through, it makes an air tight seal.
Next, you push a piece of your airline tubing through one of the holes in the cap. Make sure the piece of hose you use is long enough so that you can place reservoir somewhere in your stand or on the floor. The piece of tubing that you pull through at this step will be connected to the air pump. You should pull the airline tubing through the cap so that there is about an inch of tubing inside the bottle when the cap is put on (pictured below).
If you are building along, below is what you should be looking at:
Next, you need to take another piece of airline tubing and pull it through the second hole. This time you need to pull the airline tube through the hole long enough to reach the bottom of your reservoir. This tube will be the one that goes to your aquarium, so again, make sure that it is long enough to fit your setup.
Finally, fill the reservoir with your top off water, screw the cap on, and your good to go.
If your feeling a little adventurous, you can make a little bracket to hold your float switch and your tube to the aquarium. I just used some left over acrylic from my 1 gallon build, bent it with a lighter, and glued the hose to it.
And there you have it. Simple, effective, and easy to build. What?…you want more? Alright here’s a video of the thing working. Excuse my amateur movie making skills…Enjoy!
If you have been following along with the All in one pico build, Here is how this system is set up on the tank