Thoughts on ATO


New member
So I have my new tank up and running and other than some typical algae battles things seem to be going well. The next thing I am going after is an ATO system of some sort. Mainly because I tend to leave for medium lengths of time on occasion, and the 28g Nano Cube evaporates a lot more water than what I expected. Usually i'm putting in fresh water every other day.

Due to how the nano cube is set up I figured an electronic ATO system would be best so that I could "lock" it during water changes and not have to worry about it going crazy dumping fresh water in. I had seen a lot of good things about JBJ ATO system, but then realized that for 30-40$ more I could probably get a RKL with some float switches. Definitely getting more for my money.

I was wondering what people's thoughts are on the matter, and if they have a preference, or idea that I may have overlooked.


habitual line stepper
I use a perstalic pump sold by They dose a little at a time all day long. This type of pump does not have the problem of sticking and dumping a ton of freshwater into the tank. They cost a little more, but are worth the money.


New member
I went the old school manual method with my ATO. I've got a 5G bucket with a lid that seals air-tight. Put a bulkhead with valve towards the bottom of the bucket. Filled the bucket with kalkwasser and put the lid on making sure it was sealed air-tight. Placed the 5G bucket next to my tank and raised high enough that the bottom of the bucket is higher than the water level in my sump. Run a line from the bucket into my sump where it terminates with a 90 degree PVC elbow and a 4" length of PVC pipe. The pipe was cut so that the end of it lowered into my sump and stopped right at the water line that I want to maintain. Opened the valve from the 5G bucket. As long as the water level is at the desired height, the end of the PVC pipe is dipping into the water and nothing comes out of the 5G bucket. But when the water evaporates and the level drops below the end of the pipe, air is allowed into the 5G bucket and enough water comes out to raise the level back up to where I want it to be. My ATO follows the same principle as one of those pet water bowls with the water bottle inverted on top that auto fills the dish when the pets drink the water.


"feed ur reef...feed it!"
I am running a Reef Fanatic ATO system on my BC14 and I couldn't be happier!
Even with the small footprint of the BC14 and stand, I was able to place a 2.5 gal tank in the bottom section of my stand and along side of the top off tank is both the ATO controller and Aqua Lifter pump...
1/4" tubing runs up the back of the tank and is mounted into third chamber of rear sump, along with (1) one of the two supplied float switches...
Set up took all of 10mins :D