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· Gray Whale
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661 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apparently I can't search for this properly...

I do not have an ATO(automatic top off) for my system, so I top off the tank twice a day. About a gallon(haven't really measured it out yet)Once in the morning, and once at night. I am looking forward to getting an automatic setup so I'm not bothered by this procedure anymore...

My questions are:

How frequent/much do the automatic setups automatically top off?

How fast/slow do the top off systems refill?

If the salinity is supposed to be at a certain ppt/SG, during evap., salinity rises, during the top off, salinity lowers... How much of a change is too much of a change?

How fast is too fast of a top off?

The pH of the RO/DI water is around 7.0... Am I understanding correctly that this should not have an overall affect on the pH of the tank, because of alkalinity and such, pH should equal out?
 

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I just got my float switch with their little pump from autotopoff.com and works famously. Was about $50 shipped. Mounted it in the sump, put the pump in a 5gl bucket next to it. My system evaps about a half gallon a day. It adds water all day 24/7 as needed, steady SG and PH. Their switch is very sensitive and activates a relay to turn on the pump as needed. Their $8 pump runs for just a few seconds when activated.

I went ahead and added kalkwasser to the top-off bucket having read so many benefits of using it. Added a grate at the bottom of the bucket made from lighting eggcrate material so the pump sits about an inch off the bottom. Any settling kalk can just sit there on the bottom. Top up the bucket once a week.

I bought some sheet acrylic to make a nice reservoir that will fit in next to the sump. Calculated to hold about 7gl, figure about 5-1/2gl usable. I can now go away for a few days to a week and not have to worry about it.

I found adding a quart of water twice a day irritated the corals. The sensitive ones would shrink up for an hour or so.

EDIT: as far as the top off water affecting the overal water conditions, a half gallon a day to replace the pure H2O that evaporated will keep it stable. Especially now that it's added as needed, probly a half a cup at a time.
 

· Gray Whale
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661 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, that does sound like automatic is the way to go... I can't add 1/2 cup of water every hour or so to keep parameters in check...

Man I hate that I let my girl run the finances... Every week/day, I come at her with something new that I need:drool:! She hates it! Lol I guess if I ran the finances, we might not have rent or food money... But Man, That tank would be SWEET!
 

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so this is the float switch that turns on a pump in your water reservoir .... what is the pump that goes in the 5 gallon bucket... any pump will do or?
Any small pump will do. Some use dosing pumps, or small fountain pumps. autotopoff.com has a little tiny one for $8.50 so i thought I would try it. Cheap and works good. I figured if they were selling it for their system it must be pretty well tried out. Works great. Buy a length of 5/16 hose with it to reach your sump.

http://autotopoff.com/pumps/ft70i/

 

· Premium Member
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ya I recommend the ATO's, I even added one to my 10g tank, I did a DIY ATO from parts I had around the house, and it works great, and +1 to the double float switch!

I have 2 floats in the return section, and one in the ATO reservoir so the pump dose not run dry...

I also recommend those little 40-70gph fountain pumps, I use them and they work great!

you could use an aqua lifter, but I don't see much reason too, I don't see that much change in Salinity with mine...
 

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It's interesting you can add RO/DI water of a different pH, "pure pH", and it won't have an adverse affect...
just remember we are adding a few cups at a time at most, and a few cups diluted in 90+ gallons will not affect the pH on the system much. but if you lost lets say 3 gallons a day, then toped off once with 3 gallons the pH would start affecting you systems pH...

kalk is good for maintaining pH, but you can add too much, and really get it up there....
 

· Gray Whale
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661 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
just remember we are adding a few cups at a time at most, and a few cups diluted in 90+ gallons will not affect the pH on the system much. but if you lost lets say 3 gallons a day, then toped off once with 3 gallons the pH would start affecting you systems pH...

kalk is good for maintaining pH, but you can add too much, and really get it up there....
That makes sense... A dilution of the addition would be overridden by the ability of the tank to maintain pH. Too much at once, it can't handle the change too well.
 

· Administrator
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Hopefully someone educated in Chemistry will chime in but basically as I understand it since RO/DI is fairly pure with no minerals or anything in it, it doesn't react to pH tests like tap or well or bottled water. Since you are replacing water that evaporates on a fairly steady basis there should be no big swings. keep in mind that you are going to lose some salt to salt creep, and if you run your skimmer wet there will be a slow decrease in salinity over time, another reason to do regular water changes and monitoring.
Also remember to disable the ATO when doing water changes so it's not running and dumping pure water or Kalk water to make up for what it sees as lost water volume.
 
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