Aquaponic Gardening

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Is anyone using automatic water top-off on their water systems?  For anyone who is not aware, an ATO is something that adds water from a reservoir when it evaporates from the main system.  It keeps the water level at a constant, exact level.  It's just another way to save time.

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Yeah, basically the same mechanism that refills your toilet tank. I have for years, they work great.
i use a toilet fill. works great.
Ahh ok.  That's cheaper than an aquarium style ato I would guess.

Hi Jay,

Sure cuts out another aspect of manual labour. Just wanted to mention that the top up water should be dechlorinated so as not to interfere with system bacteria.

I had never heard it called ATO.

But YES I highly recommend a float valve top up for a system!!!  Make sure it is a float valve that can handle the water pressure you will subject it to.  I've had some cheap little ones fail before.  I like the plastic stock tank top up valves personally.

 

And though it is generally not good to use chlorinated water in a system, if you are only topping off a tiny bit at a time, most large mature systems can handle small top ups of treated water without trouble.  However, if you have treated water you top up with, the automatic top up actually becomes even more important.  How many stories have we heard of some one running the hose in to top up and forgetting about it, overflowing and changing out all their system water with treated water, killing fish and bio-filters.  So at the very least a hose timer to shut off the hose after a certain amount of gallons or time is handy but the automatic top up valve is even easier.  I've got one system where the top up valve runs from my well water and the other two systems have top up valves from rain water tanks.

 

autotopoff.com

 

I know this is probably more expensive than a toilet float but they stock precision parts to DIY an ato for reef aquariums etc.  It might be more reliable. 

Here is the one I use.  The hose fitting is at the top left and I don't install the metal clamps that are supposed to hold to the side of a stock tank.  I just use a plumbing adapter to go from the hose threads to regular plumbing and the pipe going through a uniseal into the tank is pretty good at holding the valve at the height I set (granted, it requires re-doing the plumbing to adjust the height.)

 

Those valves are round about $10 at tractor supply.

I use these as well and they work great in ponds and my system.

TCLynx said:

Here is the one I use.  The hose fitting is at the top left and I don't install the metal clamps that are supposed to hold to the side of a stock tank.  I just use a plumbing adapter to go from the hose threads to regular plumbing and the pipe going through a uniseal into the tank is pretty good at holding the valve at the height I set (granted, it requires re-doing the plumbing to adjust the height.)

 

Those valves are round about $10 at tractor supply.

What's that thing called?

Little Giant® Trough-O-Matic™ Plastic Float Valve

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