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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been searching ATO setups and have seen prices from $30 -$300. I know I can build one with a bucket, a switch and a pump but that'd cost $30 alone! Are these "kits" worth the price? Or is DIY the way to go? The longer I'm in this the prices on reef equipment are becoming more justified in regards to reliability.
What's the best kit under $100?

FYI... If it matters I'm evaporating 1-1.5 gpd.
 

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Depends if you are a DIY kind of man than the kits would be worth it but for someone like me that likes a polish item/less work for me i'd pay for the ATO setup. I personally use the Hydor ATO + Toms Aqualifter and it is working like a charm!
 

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I bought a relay, extension cord and project box from radio shack, a double float switch from Amazon, and a Tom's aqua lifter pump. Probably 35 bucks. Looks neat, works great. Year and a half and still going strong. I use a 20 gallon tank for ro/di reservoir and top that off about once every three weeks.
 

· Shark...fish are friends
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I'm running the JBJ with a maxi-jet 1200 in a 5 gallon bucket. Have only had it for a couple months, but it is so easy to use... and think I only paid about $72 for it on amazon. Well worth the investment. The biggest issue I see with DIY is how you wire the float switches... I guess for someone with an electrical background it probably wouldn't be that hard, but I know just enough about electrical design to be dangerous...

I have not lifted/carried water for top offs or water changes since I bought the ATO. I have a 34 gallon trash can that my RO/DI is stored in, then I gravity feed that in to a 5 gallon bucket under my tanks. The ATO keeps my saltwater tank topped off, and whenever my freshwater tank gets low I just move my top off line to the freshwater tank and I lift my low level float and run water in to the freshwater tank.

For water changes I just siphon from the RO/DI bucket under my stand in to a mixing bucket, add salt and let it mix for a bit, then I can move the ATO pump in to that bucket and turn my ATO back on and have it refill my salty tank.
 

· Shark...fish are friends
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the jbj just has a plug in... you could plug a light in to it if you wanted to... it won't cause your tank to get topped off, but it might serve as a reminder to yourself that you need to top the tank off... it will run any pump you want to use, just make sure the pump has enough power to fight the head height (distance from the pump to get in to the top of your tank) and call it good.

NFSkids' recommendation on a smaller pump I'm assuming is just due to the speed that it adds water, if you had something that pumped 1000 gallons an hour it might put too much water in your tank before the high level float switch shuts the pump off...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
:mmarine9

I had looked at that but didn't realize it was a all in one kit! Now that I see it does I am having second thoughts..... and it has LED's!!! That means it's gotta work better...right?:D
All the reviews are great and the photo eye intrigues me... No moving parts to fail. 150 is pricey but not too bad
 

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:mmarine9

I had looked at that but didn't realize it was a all in one kit! Now that I see it does I am having second thoughts..... and it has LED's!!! That means it's gotta work better...right?:D
All the reviews are great and the photo eye intrigues me... No moving parts to fail. 150 is pricey but not too bad
yea man i had it setup and running in 5 minutes and then literally had to do nothing after that it works as soon as you plug it in. and the fact that it is a whole set is GOLD everything can fit in your hand. It has good fail safe methods too with it is filling like tripple the normal time it fills it will auto shut it self off and stuff like that so i really see no down side unless the controller malfunctions which seems very unlikely.
 
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