Automated reef?


New member
I think it is possible even without a controller. We have left ours for 4, 1 week trips in the past year. The limiting factor for us is the ATO reservoir which lasts right at 1 week (20 gallon ATO). If it were 2x the size we could leave for 2 weeks (but would make me nervous!). The other tool in the arsenal is an automated feeder. We do have someone drop in once during the week to give a visual and put a couple of gallons in the ATO reservoir for insurance purposes :)


New member
I got a RKL for this reason. I will be going out of town for a week and dont want to worry the whole time about my reef tank. With a controller for safety and an ATO you will be fine. But things like tanks cracking and power going out do happen and even the best controller cant stop that. But it will keep SG, PH and temp in check for you.

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
I agree that you need not have a controller to leave it.

All you need are timer feeders and an ato with limewater or other automatic calcium and alk delivery.

I frequently leave mine for 2-3 weeks at a time.

Yes, I've had two disasters when away, but I do not want to give up vacations to babysit the tank 365 days a year.


Active member
ATO and auto feeder aside, the only other thing you need to figure out what to do is how to empty your skimmate. If you Remora HOB does not have the drain hole, then for sure it will be overflowing when you return after two weeks.


New member
In 30 years of freshwater tanks, and 5 years with a reef, I have left tanks unattended for 2 weeks at least once or twice every year. Key is to have backup equipment (tried and tested) that can be put in place, on a separate power circuit, to back up all essential systems. Vortech pumps with battery backups. Auto feeders. Think thorough what can go wrong and make sure that there a back up system to deal with it. No disasters yet...


New member
I travel almost 200 days a year all over the world. Things I would suggest....

Apex with Internet access. A cheap IP camera that can access on the Internet.. Auto top off with large reservoir or automated method to refill with RO/DI. Skimmer neck cleaner like the Avast Swabbie along with a skimate container with auto shutoff. I am also a big fan of vortech with battery backup. I also dose 2part with dosers controlled by the Apex with 2.5 gallon containers of solution.

That is a lot of stuff butbit works for me. Just some ideas.


New member
Nothing beats a good reef friend to check your system a couple times a week. The IP camera is a really good idea though. Peace of mind is worth a lot.