September 14, 2017

DIY Automatic Aquarium Top-Off System

DIY Aquarium Top-Off System overview

A short reference to one of the many automated aquarium top-off systems I have built, comprised of easy to find components and maybe some not so easy ones. :)

The aquarium top-off system has naturally a water tank and communicates with the aquarium via a 12/16 mm hose, equipped with a Fluval double shut-off valve so the water tank is easily removed for cleaning, a water non-return valve so aquarium water doesn't get sucked back and a U pipe to be attached on the aquarium glass.

The Reservoir Tank

A food grade non-toxic plastic container with screw on lid was chosen for the role of the reservoir tank. A closed reservoir does not allow water evaporation inside the aquarium cabinet where it is supposed to be hidden.
Nonetheless a small air valve was installed on the lid to allow for air suction while the water is pumped to the aquarium.
Special holes had to be opened for the water hose, the power cable as well as one low on the side for the water level sensor.

DIY Aquarium Top-Off plastic reservoir tank
Food grade plastic reservoir tank with openings for hoses and cables. 

The Pump

A low power 12V DC Bilge Pump was chosen to send water up to the aquarium. Somehow this one has a quite high pumping capacity of 400 G/h or 1500 L/h. which in turn requires a more powerful AC to DC adapter since it is rated at 3A.

DIY Aquarium Top-Off Bilge pump
Aquarium Top-Off Bilge pump with hose 90° adapter and aquarium grade hoses.

The AC/DC Adapter and Water Level Controller.

A massive 3A 220-240V AC to 12V DC adapter was chosen as the base. The adapter housing offered ample space for the water level controller circuit, the connectors and LED lights.

DIY Aquarium Top-Off AC/DC adapter and controller
AC/DC adapter with water level controller connected.

The Water Level controller works with 3 Stainless Steel sensors deepen in the aquarium, operating as neutral, minimum and maximum level.
There is a 4th contact available for those that would like a Ground contact for stray currents in the aquarium.
Sockets for the water tank level sensor and pump power are on either side with their relevant LED lights.
The power switch has double action as it can shut off the circuit completely, stay in auto or force operation of the pump overriding the water level controller circuit.

Thank you for viewing.
All Photos © 2007-2017 S.C.Vlachos

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