Simple DIY Auto-topoff:Why is no one doing this?

WhiteCloud

New member
I have a simple RO/DI (The $100 WaterDirect from Ebay), which has an autoshutoff Solnoid.

I only have 20 feet from where the RO/DI filter in the basement is to the 90 gallon aquarium upstairs. Probably 2 ft total hight from where the DO/DI is to the top of the Sump.

Why can't I just put a simple mechanical float valve...like the Kent valve...in the return section of the sump...when the water level drops...the the valves open....and lets water in...then when it is high enough it closes. There should be enough pressure to push the water into the sump.

I see most ATO posts dealing with electrical pump based solutions where pumps turn on and off with reservoirs.

Is there any reason that this simple method would not work??

Thanks

Steve
 

verper

New member
It will work, however.....

The it has been said in other forums that the first water coming from a ro/di is not as pure so the longer you let the water run the better. Short fills give you more disolved solids (TDS).

The float valve will get salt creep on it and fail at some point. This will either a: not top off the system, or most likely b: continue to fill the system until you find lots of water on your floor and a tank with low salinity and a lot of dead fish/coral.

Most top off units are pump based because you can put the pump on a timer. A properly set timer will only let the pump run for a short time (if the float is calling for it to run) limiting any potential problems. You can set the pump to top off several times a day if necessary. A reservoir also limits how much water can be pumped as a backup.

Good luck which ever way you go.
 

waldomas

New member
Just use a Rubbermade "Brute" trashcan as a reservoir instead of direct feed from the ro/di. Raise it above the sump and use gravity with the same float valve. Ive been using this for a year and it works great!
 

RicGio

New member
Yup...I've been doing same as waldomas for over 5 years. NEVER had a failure due to salt creep. Kalk I can see causing a problem, but not salt creep.
 

wife no likey

New member
I have my topoff running directly from the RO. However, I have a bladder tank, and the float switch triggers a solenoid via a relay. Only 9v dc is running through the switch.

Additionally, the feed line goes through a float valve that is positioned slightly higher than my water line. This way, if the switch or solenoid were to fail the valve should cover me.

I also have a second line coming off of the RO that goes through a kalk reactor. This one has an industrial needle valve before the reactor to control the drip rate.
 

waldomas

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8084284#post8084284 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by RicGio
Yup...I've been doing same as waldomas for over 5 years. NEVER had a failure due to salt creep. Kalk I can see causing a problem, but not salt creep.
yeah...salt creep isnt an issue, but... you might want to watch out for snail etc. "jamming" the float valve! I havnt any snails in my sump.
 

drummereef

Team RC
I think some people don't like the RO/DI connected directly to the sump/tank is for safety reasons. If something should fail, regardless of whether it is electrical or not, the RO/DI will keep feeding water to the tank causing major fooding. The rubbermaid method is basically a limited top-off supply to the tank.
 

8BALL_99

New member
I've got my Topoff connected Directly to my RO/DI, I've had it like that for a few years works great.. IMO though if your going to do it I would use a Dual float switch setup insted of just a Kent float switch.
 

grochmal

New member
I have a 5 gallon bucket sitting above my sump with a float valve it in connected to the ro/di output.
Then a line runs from the bottom of the bucket to another float valve in my sump.
When the bucket gets low/empty I turn on a ball valve so that it fills up and stops when the float valve get's lifted. When I see that it's full I turn the ball valve off again.
So if the float valve in the sump ever fails (and it never has in 4 years) the most that will get dumped into the sump is 5 gallons.
I used to have my ro/di connected directly to the valve in the sump but using the 5 gallon bucket in the middle helps cut down on TDS creep.
 

dngspot

Premium Member
I have been using a mechanical float valve in my refigium that is fed by my RO/DI. I have not had a problem to date. I would like to mention that all things can fail. We all live in this type of world no mater how protected we like to think we are.
 

WhiteCloud

New member
I think I may bite the bullet and do a direct connect to the RO. I have a reservoir in under the tank next to the sump, but that is my reservoir for making salt water.

I will monitor things closely. I will install a shutoff valve incase of an emergency.

Thanks for the help!

Steve
 

exoticaquatix

In Memoriam
i had a float valve connected directly to my RO/DI for about 8 months with no problems. then, in a one month span i had 3 overflows due to an anemone, a power inturruption and an anemone. all the times the ro/di kept running as water was pumped onto my floor. luckily my roommate or myself were home and the problem was solved quickly. after that i installed a solenoid on a timer on the feed to the RO/DI filter so that it only ran for 2 hours at night, while i was usually home. i have not had a single problem since. ALWAYS have AT LEAST one safety mechanism inbetween your tank and your water supply. if not you may have the only freshwater reef on the block.(briefly)
-nick
 

grochmal

New member
You had your float valve directly in your display tank?
I assume you don't have a sump then?
I'm not surprised you had problems.
 

RichConley

New member
I dont thinkn I can count the number of tanks we've lost around here because a floatvalve sticks, and you end up with a salinity of 1.009 in your reef.
 

ReeferAl

Premium Member
The key to using a direct to RO system is having redundancy in the flow path to interrupt flow. If you don't have it set up so that at least 2 things would have to "go wrong" before an overflow occurs then you will eventually have a disaster.
Allen
 

jon575

In Memoriam
DONT BE AFRAID!!! I have installed and maintained MANY aquariums involving Kent flw valves and only once did it fail. and that was because the valve was so old that over time the little stopper corroded. We are talking at least 6 years old. I have infact to this day know many commercial and residential aquariums that have not had any problems of failure of the kent valve. Also, on the ro/di units , add a check valve and adjust the flow restrictor. dont worry about all that crap about it failing....EVERYTHING FAILS EVENTUALLY.....
 

jon575

In Memoriam
i will also like to add that you can also build a box out of acrylic on a small stand that can fit underneath the aquarium inside the stand or to the side. Built it with a brace that goes across in the inside to keep it from bowing. do a bit of math before you start to design it to figure out how many gallons it will hold in the area you have to work with.
 

bdelaney

New member
I've been doing this with a Kent float valve for over 5 years using a gravity fed container placed on a shelf above the sump. Dosing Kalk can be an issue, but it just requires periodic cleaning of the valve. Manually opening the valve and blowing air through it is usually sufficient.

I'm not sure why more people don't use this method. I fill the containers once a week with fresh water and I'm done. No pumps, switches, or wires.
 

Zoom

Premium Member
I have my RO/DI set up with a Oceanus systems auto top off .
I set it up to pump water directly from the RO/DI BUT.
Like you all said, some day I may get a problem with the top off system .
First the main float switch have to fail and then the Back up float switch have to fail and then if the whole system fails I still have one more BACK UP :D I run the lowest RO/DI water maker I can find 24 Gallons in 24 hours and is only pumping about 20 GPD right now it will get lower as the whether get colder so in a 250 Gallon system it will take about three days strait run to effect my reef .
Yes I do have a 75GPD RO/DI for my water change .
But I also saw some 15 GPD RO/DI systems "after i got my 24 GPD" for smaller tanks for a direct feed to your sump that is only about 7 gallons in 12 hours . I will not do this in a very small tanks with a small sump.
 

izzypop

New member
just get yourself a spectrapure liquid level. Direct Connects and has a backup failsafe float just in case. Used for 2 years with no problems. The hole rubbermaid tub is a waste of space time and hassle. IMO.
LINK
 
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