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Old 12-04-2012, 06:04 PM   #1
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Light Timer & ATO

Hey gang,

Light timers:
I bought an analog timer from home depot on black friday for $5 but it's 2 prong, not 3.
Powerheads: As far as my circulation pumps go, I have two in my tank right now. 1 on each side of the tank. They are both on, facing eachother for the most part, 24x7. Should I time these? If so, let me know.
Lighting: I have 48'' T5HO 4 bulb system with LED moonlights. 2 bulbs are white, 2 bulbs are actnic. I can not use the analog timer because it's prong outlet (1 on each side of the timer for a total of two plugs) is 2 prongs, not 3. Two out of Three power cords are 3 prong. I bought a power strip, 4 timed & 4 constant outlets. It did not say on the box or packaging if the 4 times are seperate or the same time. I tried to follow the directions (electronic settings) to set each timer(1-4) but it either doesn't work or I didn't do it right. What do you guys use for your timers? How long should the above bulbs be on for? Thanks. Currently I am doing it manually. Basically around 10am I turn the white on and around 10pm I turn the actnics on (with our without the daylight too) and then at night around 1am i turn all that off and turn on the moonlights just for my viewing. Even if I can find something online, I need 3 timed items. ( or 5 if I have to do the circulation pumps)

ATO: The water in my room evaporates rather quickly. For ex. I manually topped off my tank w/ r.o. water on Saturday and about 1 inche is missing from the tank already. I am not familiar with ATO's but I do not have a sump. I need some sort of a HOB ATO machine. I saw on autotopoff.com they have a set up for about $41 but I am not sure if it includes everything I need. What would I have to do/buy/put together to have a HOB auto top off so I do not have to make/top off water all the time.

Sorry for the long read, These 2 items ( timer & ATO) I would like to get as soon as possible. Thanks for taking the time and I look forward to helpful responses!
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:42 PM   #2
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I'm sorry about the long read. Anyone?? A link would be the best bet. Thanks.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:08 AM   #3
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Let the powerheads run 24/7.

As for the lights, I would run the daylights for 10-12 hours and have the actinics come on 1-2 hours before and after the daylights. Opinions differ widely on the moonlights from 24/7 to all night to a couple hours after and before the daylights and anything in between.

If you are enterprising you can use the moonlight to simulate the current cycle of the moon. I have read that some fish breed according to the cycle of the moon.

YMMV of course.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:26 AM   #4
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I only have a pair of clowns, I am not sure if they are mated or not. What do you mean by enterprising? like breeding? That would be interesting. I now understand the light cycle for the daytime and actinics, but where can I buy the timer, that is my main concern. I need a timer for 3 outlets that I can plug in to my power strip, or a power strip with 3 seperate timers even two i dont care, that have 6 extra plugs (8 total) 2 timed, seperate.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:20 PM   #5
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What I mean by "enterprising" is this...

We seem to want to make our tanks as close to the real thing as posssible. It would be quite a task to try to emulate the moonlight provided by the cycles of the moon. Matching what is happening in the real world. Like full moon, half moon, new moon, etc., all provide different levels and duration of light.

As far as 3-prong timers, now is the right season (Christmas lights) to find them. All outdoor timers are 3-prong and the water-proofness wouldn't hurt in case of a splash or two. Check Home Depot, Lowe's, Ace Hardware, etc.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:30 AM   #6
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I picked up two analog with the dial timers that had 3 prongs. I tested them and it worked. cost me 10 each. not bad. Now all I need to focus on is an ATO. Any advice. I have a 7gallon tub I can use. How do I set this up and what do I need ?
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:16 AM   #7
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Google is a wonderful means for finding information.
Searched for "aquarium auto top off" to reveal these of many...

For DIY kit:

How to build your own aquarium auto top-off system

For Ready-Made Kit:

Bulk Reef Supply - Search Results for auto top off
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:18 AM   #8
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I have the in-sump model from autotopoff.com, but the in tank version would work just as well. You would need to provide a pump that the system controls though - it is basically just the float switches and relays. An aqualifter pump works really well and they can be had for usually around $14-15.
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