The most unique element of the Innovative Marine HydroFill ATO system is the controller’s magnetically-mounted sensors. Instead of physical float switches, IR sensors, or pressure sensors, the HydroFill uses low voltage electrical circuits to detect water. When water comes into contact with a sensor’s two miniature graphite electrodes, it completes a 5V circuit to signal the controller to deactivate. This is a similar design as water detection alarms some aquarists may have used in the past. But unlike previous electrode-based sensors which were made of metal, the inert graphite electrodes of the HydroFill allow it to work reliably in marine environments.
The HydroFill ATO Controller System has more stages of redundancy than we’ve seen in any ATO system. In the photos, you see two electrodes per sensor. These actually are not separate positive and negative electrodes but two fully-functioning +/- electrodes. In other words, each sensor is actually two sensors. Then there is the second supplied sensor (with two more electrodes) which act as additional redundancy to make sure your controller turns off when it’s suppose to. That’s a total of four sensors for anyone counting. The two sensors also allow for flexibility setting the water levels in tanks with sloshing water to prevent the ATO pump from constantly cycling on/off.
The HydroFill ATO Pump is like a Tom’s Aqua-Lifter on steroids. This diaphragm pump outputs five times more water (through 1/4″ I.D. tubing) with a max head of 60″. It’s also thermally protected to insure the pump will not burn out if ran dry.
Overall, the diminutive form factor (especially the sensors and return plumbing), apparent ease of installation and operation, and multi-redundancy/safeguards make this tidy ATO system very promising. We hope to review this unit for you in an upcoming article.
The HydroFill ATO Controller and ATO Pump are sold separately. Aquarists can choose to use both parts for a complete ATO system or pair each part with other pumps or controllers. Note: The HydroFill controller comes with a standard 3-prong grounded power plug so you can use most standard pumps.
Innovative Marine has provided Advanced Aquarist with their literature and pricing for the HydroFill ATO products:
HydroFill – ATO Controller System
Automate freshwater replenishment, and say farewell to heavy lifting, unstable water parameters, and the need to frequently watch your water line.
Topping off evaporated water for our aquariums is a tedious but essential task that every hobbyist encounters to maintain stable specific gravity & salinity levels.
The HydroFill ATO Controller System takes advantage of your water’s conductive properties to complete a low voltage circuit and cause a control relay to actuate and replenish water as it evaporates. This departure from outdated float sensors, offers the latest automation in electronic sensing for precise accuracy, repeatability, and no-moving part reliability.
Customize your own “High and Low” set points to prevent constant On/Off cycling prone to single sensor design
Sensors utilize rare earth neodymium magnets for stationary placement and simple out of the box installation. Small form factor makes it the ideal choice for nano to full size aquariums. Two chemically inert graphite electrodes are housed in each sensor for redundancy & consistent long-term performance in harsh marine environments.
- 2 Year Warranty
- Conductivity Method
- For use in Fresh & Marine Applications
- Controller Dims: 3.35” x 1.18” x 5.12”
- Includes Double Sided Adhesive
- 1000W, 8Amp/120V Pump Capacity
- Power Consumption: 1 Watt
- Visual LED indicators
- Power -Red
- Level – Green
- Low Level – Green
- Water Filling – Pulsing Green
- Small Form Factor: 0.91” x 1.06” x 2.64”
- (2) Sensor Design
- Safe 5V Low Voltage
- 6 foot sensor cables
- (2) Rare Earth Neodymium Magnetic Sensor Holders
- Chemically Inert Graphite Electrodes
- AUQA Gadget ATO Controller System – 9
HydroFill – ATO Pump System
Pair your auto top off with the industry’s first low voltage air lift pump specifically designed for ATO controllers. The HydroFill ATO Pump System eliminates the guess work, and comes complete with a lift pump, acrylic bracket, return pipe, 10 feet of silicone tubing, 3 hose clamps, , and an optional hanging mount.
Engineered for high performance, this external positive displacement diaphragm pump, outputs up to 15 gallons per hour and max 5 feet of head. This self-priming pump is equipped with a built-in check valve to safeguard against back siphoning.
The HydroFill diaphragm pump is the smart alternative when compared to submersible pumps, diaphragm pumps offer the benefit of safely running dry and are thermally protected against heat build-up.
Versatile design offers 3 options for pump placement: hang-on, cabinet mount, or simply place on noise dampening rubber feet.
- Positive Displacement
- Diaphragm Pump Method
- Built-in Check valve
- Dry Run Protection
- Thermally Protected
- Low Voltage
- ¼” Barb Fitting
- Up to 15 Gallons per Hour
- Pump mounting bracket
- 10 feet of silicone tubing
- (3) ratchet clamps
- Acrylic mounting bracket
- Return pipe
- Inlet Hose Strainer
- AUQA Gadget ATO Pump System: $99