2 year update Hydor ATO By Adam on 4/23/2016
Adam would recommend this product to a friend
So for the first week or so this thing drove me nuts. Every time it would top off my system it would fill just above the over fill mark setting off the alarm. This level of suck was only was amplified when the alarm went off at night when i was trying to sleep.
The issue is with the level sensor having a dely in sending the level reading back to the unit causing it to overfill the aquarium/sump. This ATO never caused a flood situation, just over filled just enough to trigger the alarm. Once the issue was identified, now we can fix the problem.
The easy fix was tweaking the fill line from my pump. Once the water flow was slowed down to deal with the delay, this ATO is perfect. Have had it now for two years and working like a dream. If the level sensor would have a perfect response with no delay, this ATO would easily be a 5 star product. So it may not be perfect, but still a solid ATO worth 4 stars and recommended to any reefer looking for a good ATO.
It's not as bad as some reviews say By AndrewAcropora on 4/3/2016
AndrewAcropora would recommend this product to a friend
I've had the Hydor smart level controller for about a year now in my Biocube 29. It functions well and has several failsafe features. I think this is probably the best ATO for smaller aquariums like the Biocube series. You must remember that, as an essential piece of equipment, semi-regular maintenance must be performed. Every three months or before I go on vacation I'll soak the sensor in vinegar to remove any calcium or salt buildup.
I use mine with a tom's aqualifter which seems perfect for my setup. I really think you should use the lowest flow pump you can find that works.
The only annoyance I have with it is when I have my arms in the tank and it causes the max level alarm to sound. You have to turn the thing off to get it to shut up. But otherwise I really like this ATO. As other reviewers have shown, your mileage may vary, however.
Not worf By Cheezybuda on 3/9/2016
Cheezybuda wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
Like many of the reviewers, I had this fail in the on position. It had been working for about 2 months. Thankfully I had a float valve backup, so I didn't have a flood.
Another thing that bothers me about this ATO is the pump situation. I struggled to find a pump that had a slow flow rate....but not too slow, while still having enough head pressure to go into my overflow.
great beginner ATO By Hambone on 2/16/2016
Hambone would recommend this product to a friend
This ato system is not for the large aquarium and sump owners. I have a 30 gallon sump on my 75 tank and had to reduce the pump used in the ato bucket to a 100 gph to prevent over fill and alarms....Also using this ATO my 30 gallon has 20 gallons total water to prevent the 5 gallon from overfilling the sump in case of ato failure. I will get a better ato when i upgrade to the 150 gallon tank and use my 75 gal as a sump.
Meh. It's a maybe. By Fred on 1/21/2016
Fred wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
Mine failed after 6 months. Had to fight with Hydor through email to get them to send me a replacement. After a couple weeks the replacement came, I used it for a few weeks then sold it on eBay, as soon as I got the Tunze unit installed. Like most people say, buy the right piece of equipment first. This may work for you for a little while, or it may fail. The sensor can either be too sensitive, have too much leeway, or be just right, depending on where it is positioned in the sump, the size of your sump/chamber and how the sump is configured. No adjustments. Do yourself a favor, save up a few bucks and buy a known good product, the Tunze.
Failed in the on state By Eric on 12/27/2015
Eric wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
I've had this for about 2 years or so now. Up until tonight it worked fine. I woke up to it alarming at 2am. My sump was full but not yet overflowing. So... I drained the excess and got levels back to normal. Then I checked the sensor, it was in the proper position and not dirty. Over the last hour and a half i have experimented and no matter what i do the ATO powers up, goes though its calibration cycle and then turns on the ATO pump. The top prong on the sensor is dry, the bottom two are submerged, so it ought to think all is normal and not turn on the ATO pump. I'll be looking for an alternative, probably a tunze
Decent By HannSolo on 12/20/2015
HannSolo would recommend this product to a friend
#1 You absolutely need to remember to drill a hole in your tube to break the siphon.
#2 The delayed reaction on the sensor requires an appropriatly sized pump or youll need to invest in a Y fitting and a ball valve to control how much topoff water is pumped into the sump.
#3 I would recommend testing the system with regular saltwater for the topoff and removing water untill it kicks on so you can see it in action.
#4 Whoever decided some sticky tape would work well in your wet sump to keep the cord horizontal must be retarded. You'll need to invest in some extra magnets to keep the sensor from pivoting
not a reliable means of top off in a sump By jake on 12/14/2015
jake wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
This product does not work well. Simply put there is too much lag time in between the sensor shutting off the pump and by the time it does shut off it over fills to the point of constantly setting off the alarm. Even taking it out of the sump on my dt setting it up on my 30 gal qt tank it would let about 3 gallons of water evaporate before even turning on and refilling. At 3 gallons my salinity rose significantly ad well as my copper ppm which is a no go.. if they could fix the lag time in response to the sensor shutting off the pump it would be a great product. I would not recommend this product to a fellow reef tank owner.
Stopped Working after 2 weeks By Kevin on 12/9/2015
Kevin wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
It worked fine for the first week. After 2 weeks it stopped working. My water got low. I had thought that maybe there was in issue with the alarm and it stopped the pump. So, I filled it to the proper height, checked the pump was working, and restarted the unit. Still did not turn on.
Checked the sensor in my sump. Still clean and did not move. Don't get this ATO. I got a Tunze instead and it's working great.
Would not recommend it or buy anthr By Whitedog on 11/16/2015
Whitedog wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
Screwed with it for days and still just about any action in the sump including it topping off sets off that stupid alarm. It's to the point I just ignore it now. One day it will be real and I'll get screwed.