Automatic Top Off System!!

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by Evee, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. EveeValued MemberMember

    Hi, I have a 29g biocube tank. I am looking into getting an ATO system, but I am not sure which one to get. It will be my first saltwater tank. Any suggestions? Something not too expensive since I am sure I will be spending a lot of money with this tank. Also, do I need to get a protein skimmer? Is it ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY? I ordered one, but researching it seems like a lot of people thinks is not necessary. Thank you!!
  2. Trung NguyenNew MemberMember

    I use AutoAqua Smart ATO Micro and I love it. A skimmer is a must if you don't want to spend too much time changing water.

  3. Tony_097Valued MemberMember

    I wouldn’t go cheap with a ato since there is a risk of killing your entire livestock with a miscue. The smart ato mentioned above is cheaper and is a pretty good system and as always the osmolator by tunze is popular.

  4. JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    The problem with skimmers for smaller tanks is that they are hit and miss for effectiveness and honestly they might buy you a couple of extra days between water changes on a tank that size. Personally I would just commit to a weekly partial water change and skip the skimmer.

  5. EveeValued MemberMember

    Thank you!! I will look into that one. It’s driving me crazy not being able to just get one and not worry about if it’s going to work or not. Lol. How long have you been using the ATO smart? And how big is your tank? If you don’t mind me asking :)

    Yes I have been reading about the ATO smart and it seems like it has good reviews. The tunze seems to have mixed reviews, stresses me out . Have you used any of those two??
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2019
  6. Tony_097Valued MemberMember

    I eventually went with the smart ato on my tank and have been using it for a 6 months and I’m pretty satisfied with it.
  7. EveeValued MemberMember

    That’s what I have been reading, I don’t mind spending the extra money for the skimmer if I know it will help, but I personally love to do water changes and work on the tank... I think its part of the hobby, plus I love interacting and watching them swim and all that.

    That sounds good to me. I think I will try it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2019
  8. JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    My first tank was a 36 gallon bowfront and I ran it without a skimmer for a while and then ran it with an HOB Skimmer. The Skimmer was a nice Eshoppes PSK-75H Skimmer. It never reduced my water changes but it did make the water a bit clearer. Given the cost ($155) and the additional work getting it dialed in (very prone to overflowing early on) I don't know if it was worth it given the I only had it a few months before I upgraded. Unfortunately none of the solid skimmers I can think of (Eshoppes, Reef Octopus) fit a biocube and the others IMHO are marginal in thier effectiveness. Stick with a regular water change schedule, don't overfeed and stick with a clean food source (ie LRS Reef Frenzy) and that will go a long way to eliminating the need for a skimmer.
  9. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    If you're not trying to keep high demand corals, then I'd say a skimmer is not necessary. Skimmers really become beneficial when you're trying to maintain very low nitrates, but for simple low demand setups, you probably don't need one. You just need to be more diligent with water changes.
    An ATO, depends on your environment, and how much water evaporates over a day. I don't know what the humidity is like in CT, but generally, the higher the humidity, the less evaporation. In winter here (in Melb, Aus), humidity is low, and evaporation is high.
    I wouldn't worry about either piece of equipment up-front for a 29G, it should be easy enough to maintain without expensive equipment.
    However, do search Fishlore (and the internet) for articles about the biocube, there's plenty of reviews and DIY mod's to retrofit skimmers and other equipment.
    Here's one to get you started:
  10. EveeValued MemberMember

    Thank you!! I will definitely keep all this in mind!

    Hi, thank you for your help. I will not have any high demanding corals I hope lol. I will only have live rocks and maybe just maybe a bubble tip coral? For a clown fish (I really want one) lol. The humidity it does get high in CT. So I believe yes, I will have to get an ATO, but I will hold off on the skimmer for now and see how it goes! I will read the link you sent me tho, just to know.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2019
  11. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    I assume you mean a bubble tip anemone? In which case, these are high demand. BTA's are very sensitive to water parameters and stability (especially temperature). They'll do best in low nutrient setups (0.02ppm phosphate or less, 5ppm nitrate or less), and you need to maintain the big 3, being Calcium, Magnesium and Alkalinity.
    A side note, BTA's are best introduced into a well established system. Some say 6 months or more, others say 8 months or more.
  12. EveeValued MemberMember

    Hi, well there goes my bubble you just burst it :D, but seriously I have been told it was perfect for “beginners” now I will have to wait. I trust people in this forum more. Is there an anemone that is easy to take care of? And do you know anything about the candy cane coral? :angelic:
  13. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Of all the (non-invasive) anemones, the BTA is probably the easiest to keep, but that doesn't mean they are 'easy' to keep. Most BTA's these days are aqua-cultured, and are probably a little more resilient than wild-caught, but they still need stability.
    Candy canes, I never kept them, but I did keep acans (Acanthastrea lordhowensis) and brain coral (Symphyllia sp.). They are all considered LPS, and have similar requirements when it comes to parameters.
    Personally, I didn't have too much trouble keeping any coral (incl SPS), save for my coral beauty occassionally nipping at some of the LPS.
    I think if you understand the requirements, and maintain a stable setup, most corals are easy enough to keep. There are some exceptions, being SPS (acros, montis), that really do demand a higher level of experience and knowledge, and attention to their requirements. It's often said that with SPS, you're not keeping corals, rather you are keeping water.
  14. EveeValued MemberMember

    Wow so much info!! I love it lol . Those acans coral are beautiful. I hope one day to have one. I can’t wait for my tank to be all set so I can finally enjoy it. Thank you so much!!