Worth the Money By DAVID on 9/10/2015
DAVID would recommend this product to a friend
The only thing that I would buy with this ATO is a ball value to adjust the water flow so the it will not fill the sump too much when the levels go low. Doing thing this works great. I have see someone complain about the calcium deposit on the sensor after 8 months. I am going on 9 months now. It must be safe to amuse that they DON"T clean their equipment with Tunze Citric Acid which can be purchased on BRS. I try to clean all the equipment every 3 months.
alarmed failure with the pump in the on position By Charles on 8/31/2015
Charles wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
after running this for 8 months, it failed in the on position flooding the sump and the resulting room. i found that the max level sensor was covered in calcium deposits. i removed it and reset the water level. it cycled and stopped correctly. on the first natural cycle after the cleaning it failed the same way flooding the room again.
the alarm sounded both times and the pump was not turned off by the controller.
i have opened a warranty case with hydor that has not been responded to yet. Prior to this failure i would have rated this as a 4 out of 5 star item. the false alarms from this unit are numerous. now that it is having real alarms and not stopping the pump, i have real concerns.
Do not do it By Joesreeftank on 8/23/2015
Joesreeftank wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
Mine was less than one year old and failed on, Yes good thing My fish room has a shower liner that contained the 5 to 10 gal of water.. but what realy bothers me is no phone number to call!! you need to communicate via email, very frustrating. I still have not been able to take care of this issue. I went ahead and purchased the Tunze... Much better item it will really keep your water at the level you set it.. The Hydor had to drop i a
half inch to kick the pump on and in my sump that's about 1.5 gals
Works great. By Jonathan on 7/25/2015
Jonathan would recommend this product to a friend
I've had it for about 6mo and it works great. I had to use a 100gph pump.
Good could be Great By Steve on 7/1/2015
Steve would recommend this product to a friend
Super easy no moving parts. Only draw back suggestion is make the "space between the High water sensor and the alarm sensor bigger. It is too easy to trigger an alarm.
A great ato system, works well By Laurie on 5/18/2015
Laurie would recommend this product to a friend
I have this ato in my Red Sea max 250 rear sump, the level is critical for the protein skimmer to work properly and it keeps it spot on. Because the Hydor use's conductivity to operate it's very important to keep the sensor clean for proper operation as I found out when I had a low water alarm after approximately 2 weeks from the original new set up. But like any ATO system it has to be kept clean, so every water change I'll clean the sensor with RO water. It's called maintenance and not a huge concern. Glad I went with the Hydor ato.
Love it! By Steve K on 4/15/2015
Steve K would recommend this product to a friend
I have wanted an auto top off for a long while. I purchased the Hydor because there are no moving parts to jam. It was easy to set and forget!
Great ATO By James on 3/23/2015
James would recommend this product to a friend
I decided to go with this one over making my own and i am very happy with it. The only thing to be aware of is that when you turn it on after doing maintenance it will still give high water alarm for a few seconds to a minute as the temp of the sensor normalizes so that it accurately senses water level is lower than the alarm level. Give it time and alarm will stop.
There is a switch on the unit so you can turn it off when needed with out having to unplug it.
Also I use it with a dosing pump so it fills slow and have the sensor in my return chamber so it is only about a 1/4 gallon between the two min/max sensors to help with stablitiy.
Not the best auto-top-off on the market. By Luke on 3/10/2015
Luke wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
The hydor smart level controller is something I bought out of necessity when my Tunze ATO stopped functioning properly. I don't particularly like Hydor because most of their products seem big and clunky like the Koralia Wave Maker for example.
One major design flaw I noticed with this ATO is that the power cord on water level sensor is positioned horizontally. The problem with this is that when you run the wire up and over your sump it has a tendency to pivot the sensor 90 degrees so that all three water sensors are facing down, thus becoming ineffective at measuring the waters level. I had to zip-tie the chord to the sump using a stick-on bracket so the sensor wouldn't pivot.
The second problem I had with this ATO, which many others have, is the alarm function. While it is nice to have an alarm to warn you when the sump is too full, I thought it was rather annoying whenever I did a water change or other maintenance. Usually when I do a water change I am not exact on replacing the water volume, usually 1/2 to 1/4 of a gallon off. When I filled the tank with this much extra water my ATO would alarm me for hours until that much water evaporated. I would end up unplugging the ATO until the water was below the sensor.
Overall I think Hydor could make some easy adjustments to improve this product.
Love it - hope this one lasts By bigtang1 on 3/8/2015
bigtang1 would recommend this product to a friend
Does a great job My only issue is that this is my second one I bought one as soon as they were released and it failed recently I bought another one but if this one goes I'll move on
Simple and efective By James on 2/19/2015
James would recommend this product to a friend
I have mine connected to a 55 gal. reef tank. I have a canister filter so the sensor is in the tank. I adjusted water flow from the top up tank with a ball valve so as to give the sensor more time to detect temperature change. Right now the pump turns off when the water reaches half way up the max level sensor there by giving me added distance from the alarm sensor so as not to cause a false alarm from wave action.
Love it By David on 2/10/2015
David would recommend this product to a friend
An accurate ATO. What I like about this product is that if it is left in the "on" position for more than a couple of minutes it will beep. A great fail-safe addition!
Great product By Eric on 2/8/2015
Eric would recommend this product to a friend
This is my first ATO after using an unreliable gravity drip system for the past 10 years. Easy to set up and operate. Love not having to worry about float switches sticking. I am using the Tom Aqua Lifter pump which provides the perfect flow rate and quiet operation. The only complaint I have is that the volume of water between the low and high point sensors is on the high side in my current un-baffled sump. My new sump, that is under construction, has a smaller return pump chamber and will fluctuate volume faster thus keeping salinity more constant.
Works like as advertised. No problems. By Ron on 1/27/2015
Ron would recommend this product to a friend
Using the Hydor to top-off my sump from a small bucket that is sourced from my ro/di system, Using a float valve to control the ro/di input to the bucket adjacent to the sump
Great sock By Jordan on 1/19/2015
Jordan would recommend this product to a friend
This was my first automated addition to my tank, and works great. Setting up took only a few minutest and has been very reliable. Adjustments are easy and I plan on adding one to my other tanks.
Love it mostly By Dennis on 12/29/2014
Dennis would recommend this product to a friend
I got this because I needed something that didn't have a mechanical switch that constantly went off and on (I hate noises). This is great because it waits til it drops to a certain level, then pumps in water until it reaches another level. The only issue I have is there is a min. pump time that has to run and since my evaporation compartment in my sump is small, it constantly reaches the third sensor which sets off an audible alarm... I may just disconnect the speaker but other than that I love it. Not really a design flaw, if you have a big enough evap compartment you will be fine, mine is just small. It would be nice if it didn't have a min pump time however.
A+ By Fred on 12/13/2014
Fred would recommend this product to a friend
Great product. best design on the market. Low profile,sleek designand highly efficient. I had been searching for an ATO and hated float switches and bulky sensors. As soon as i saw this, i jumped on it. Glad i Did! works flawlessly.
I have mixed feelings about it, By joesreeftank on 10/5/2014
joesreeftank would recommend this product to a friend
Easy to install and works like designed, Problem for me is I use it in my 45 gal sump, My home made ATO would keep the water right in my mark at all times, This system reqiers the water to drop almost a half inch from my mark, the reason I like it to stay right on the mark is so my Protein skimmer operates at it maximum setting. Ill give it a couple of months to see if I need to upgrade or not. Joe
works exactly as it should with very easy configuration By Kevin on 8/23/2014
Kevin would recommend this product to a friend
I recently bought this auto top off for my biocube 29 hqi it works perfect. it took me less than ten minutes to install and the sensor is small enough to be placed anywhere. it seems like the other day something splashed on the high water alarm so its alarm went off but after wiping it dry everything went back to normal. works so simply I bought a second for my other aquarium.
Nice Product if you mate it with the right pump By Rafik on 7/24/2014
Rafik would recommend this product to a friend
I must say that i have had mixed feelings since i got this product. At first, i tried connecting it to Maxi-jet 1200pump which was too powerful and the water ended up getting to the max level and the alarm would sound. On contacting hydor, they reocommended a pump of max 30 gph and one that would do the job in 10 minutes before the ATO turns the pump off. I ended up getting a hydor seltz 185gph with a flow control knob (also because the ATO only accepts 2 prong plugs).
I have been using it in my 40g long (48"), the sensor is very reliable and not interrupted by salt creep or snails or anything. However, there is about ~ 0.6 "between the min and max level so the ATO ends up kicking in every 3-4 days (without any drastic effect on salinity.
That is the only could be considered a disadvantage really.
From what i think, this sensor would be perfectly suited or better suited for a tall as opposed to a long tank if you know what i mean.
Nice simple system that needs a few tweaks to be perfect By Greg on 5/9/2014
Greg would recommend this product to a friend
I think this is mentioned in a couple other places, but one key thing to getting this ATO dialed in is to either pick a pump that will fill the water from the min level to the max in 25 seconds to 10 minutes. Otherwise if you'll be constantly triggering the alarm function on this ATO (for either overfilling or it think the ATO reservoir is empty). Once you have the return pump dialed it is a great ATO.
The setup that I have that is working nicely is using an Aqua Lifter with a valve from one of my drip acclimators to limit the flow of the pump. This way I can top-off the return section in my 13.5 gallon AIO in around 1-2 minutes. This prevents it from filling to fast; overfilling and thus tripping the alarm.
Great product By Swisher on 4/27/2014
Swisher would recommend this product to a friend
Really nice ATO system. The sensors keep the water level spot on in my sump.
good product By mnight on 4/27/2014
mnight would recommend this product to a friend
This is a good auto top off system, with a few tweaks it works perfect.first of all the margin between the max level sensor and alarm sensor is very small about 8mm. The system tends to overfill setting off the alarm constantly. To correct this problem install a syphon break in your return line, which is simply a pin hole in the return line in your top off water reservoir above the water line. Water will squirt out off the hole so it must be in your reservoir. This will force air into the line breaking the syphon that's created once the pump shuts off. You can also add a ball valve to the line to slow the flow coming from your pump. I recommend using a small hose around 1/4 in for your return. With these small tweaks you will never have any problems with this system.
good product By mnight on 4/26/2014
mnight would recommend this product to a friend
This is a good auto top off system with a little tweaking you should not have any problems.the system tends to overfill and make the alarm sound, by adding a syphon break which is simply a pin hole in the return line above the waterline in your top off container. This will force air into the line and breaks the syphon.this will keep the pump from over filling.also I found its best to use 1/4 hose or something close to it. You can aalso add a ball valve to the return line to slow the flow down a little. With these small tips its a great controller.
Have to power cycle often By Jordan on 4/20/2014
Jordan wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
More often than not, the product works fine. However, I have been awoken in the middle of the night to its alarm several times because the water got too low and for some reason it did not turn on the pump to top off. A power cycle always fixes the issue. Also, it has overfilled several times. Not overfilled to the point of a problem, but overfilled enough to make it audibly alarm for several minutes.
EXCELLENT By Z28 on 3/31/2014
Z28 would recommend this product to a friend
HAVE THIS FOR A 75 GAL WITH 45 GAL SUMP/FUGE. HAVE IT IN MY RETURN PUMP SECTION WORKS GREAT. WAVES OR TURBULENCE DOESN'T AFFECT IT.ALL WARNINGS WORK. I ESPECIALLY LIKE THE AUTO TURN OFF AFTER 10 MINUTES OF RUN TIME.
A great ATO for smaller systems By gwbh on 3/31/2014
gwbh would recommend this product to a friend
I use this for my 14 gallon nano reef tank and it has been one of the essential tools to keep my tank healthy. My salinity has been at a stable level for the past 6 months because of this ATO. I tried manually topping of for the first month or so and it was just too hard to keep my salinity consistent, no more worrying about manual top offs. I highly recommend!
TOP COMMENT INCORRECT By ??????? on 3/27/2014
??????? would recommend this product to a friend
This does work for saltwater my friend above. You can place the sensor were ever you need it to adjust for that? It does not just sit in one place obviously you have yours too high so it evaporates more before filling. If its filling to fast then you add a smaller or slower pump for kalk.....Same as almost all other ATOS?.
Not a ideal solution. By trey on 3/13/2014
trey wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
This review is split.... good product vs practical application.
This product works EXACTLY as described. If you are looking for an ATO for a REEF <60 gal or so I would buy another system though. The water level sensor is impervious to waves, salt creep,algae, snails etc. It always works as it shoud. however in my 55 FOWLR the amt that must evaporate for the system to top off is about 2 GALLONS. There is no way to adjust it.YOU CAN'T USE IT SAFELY IF YOU MIX KALK IN YOUR ATO WATER. In my opinion this one is probably best suited to top off FRESHWATER systems, as there will not be a drastic change in salinity or Ph with top offs.