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Old 01/02/2018, 07:18 PM   #1
JRBaker
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Autoaqua smart ato micro vs. Tunze Osmolator

I'm in need of an ato and am considering the tunze or autoaqua. I've got a 20 long without a sump, so it will have to be placed in the display. I've heard good things about both, with the Tunze seeming a bit more reliable. I really like the small size of the smart micro, though. What do you guys think would work better for my display? If possible, I would like the tank to be filled past the black trim so I don't see the waterline. Will this be possible with either of these?


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Old 01/02/2018, 07:28 PM   #2
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I would recommend the AutoAqua, especially since you want the waterline higher than the trim bottom, and the AutoAqua sensor is so small, except there is one potential issue - the AutoAqua is not recommended for displays that are lit with LEDs.


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Old 01/03/2018, 04:34 AM   #3
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I would recommend the AutoAqua, especially since you want the waterline higher than the trim bottom, and the AutoAqua sensor is so small, except there is one potential issue - the AutoAqua is not recommended for displays that are lit with LEDs.
Unfortunately I have leds. I hadn't heard of that issue before. I'm assuming it messes with the sensor? Any way to make the Tunze work with the waterline above the bottom of the trim?


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Old 01/03/2018, 04:42 AM   #4
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Have a look at the osmolator nano instead of the regular osmolator.


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Old 01/03/2018, 06:52 AM   #5
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Unfortunately I have leds. I hadn't heard of that issue before. I'm assuming it messes with the sensor? Any way to make the Tunze work with the waterline above the bottom of the trim?
Yes, my understanding from reading up on the AutoAqua is that overhead LEDs may disrupt the internal LED used in the optical sensor.

As for the Tunze (or Tunze Nano), unfortunately the only option may be to try it and see it it will work as intended for your application. You may have to trim back the upper trim piece possibly...


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Old 01/03/2018, 08:27 AM   #6
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I looked at the Tunze nano, but I was concerned that it only had a single float switch. That's why I was considering the regular osmolator. Wish I would have gone with a rimless tank...oh well


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Old 01/03/2018, 09:29 AM   #7
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i personally have an the larger tunze osmolator and have had no issues with it. that being said i recently asked my lfs owner why he didn't recommend the nano version and he basically said that they have proven to be unreliable in more cases than he's comfortable with.


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Old 01/03/2018, 03:39 PM   #8
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As for the Tunze (or Tunze Nano), unfortunately the only option may be to try it and see it it will work as intended for your application. You may have to trim back the upper trim piece possibly...
Yep. It took me a while to decide on the tunze 3155. I use it in my 40B DT. You cannot see the water line unless the wave makers are on. Depending on how thick is the trim, it may work for you too.

Another thing you should consider is how strong the ATO pump needs to be. My top off water has to go from ground level up and over the rim of the DT, about 4.5ft high.


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Old 01/03/2018, 04:15 PM   #9
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I may just go for the Tunze. Hopefully it will work. I'll keep everyone posted!


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Old 01/03/2018, 04:30 PM   #10
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I looked at the Tunze nano, but I was concerned that it only had a single float switch. That's why I was considering the regular osmolator. Wish I would have gone with a rimless tank...oh well
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I may just go for the Tunze. Hopefully it will work. I'll keep everyone posted!
Another offering that runs dual sensors is the IceCap ATO, but unfortunately, both are optical, although I see no warnings of LEDs lighting associated with it. I run one on my IM Nuvo 20 (in the rear compartment of course), and it performs well, and is a lot less expensive than the Tunze.

I too have run into issues with the Tunze Nano (3 failed over the last couple of years, including 2 within the last couple of months, which is why I tried the IceCap model). I am still using four of the Tunze Nanos (out of current necessity), but will probably retire them in the near future if the IceCap ATO continues to do well.

I have not come across the same percentage of issues with the larger Tunze model, and it enjoys better reviews overall.


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Old 01/03/2018, 05:21 PM   #11
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Another offering that runs dual sensors is the IceCap ATO, but unfortunately, both are optical, although I see no warnings of LEDs lighting associated with it. I run one on my IM Nuvo 20 (in the rear compartment of course), and it performs well, and is a lot less expensive than the Tunze.

I too have run into issues with the Tunze Nano (3 failed over the last couple of years, including 2 within the last couple of months, which is why I tried the IceCap model). I am still using four of the Tunze Nanos (out of current necessity), but will probably retire them in the near future if the IceCap ATO continues to do well.

I have not come across the same percentage of issues with the larger Tunze model, and it enjoys better reviews overall.
Thanks for the tip! I hadn't run across that one before. I don't care for the color (since it's going in my display), but I think I could live with it at almost $70 cheaper than the Tunze.


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Old 01/03/2018, 08:00 PM   #12
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Thanks for the tip! I hadn't run across that one before. I don't care for the color (since it's going in my display), but I think I could live with it at almost $70 cheaper than the Tunze.
No problem. but just a word of caution - just because I find no warning for display use like the AutoAqua, doesn't mean there isn't a possible issue, especially since they use the same technology (optical switches and internal LED).

I am thinking of getting another one to use in my mini rock flower nem tank on my home desk (only 4.5 gallons), and since it would be in the display (no sump of course), I might run it on a timer so that it is only on at night after the light have gone out. Something to consider as a work-around...


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Old 01/05/2018, 07:21 AM   #13
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I think I'll try the icecap. Once I get it, I'll let everyone know how it goes!


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Old 01/05/2018, 02:51 PM   #14
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I think I'll try the icecap. Once I get it, I'll let everyone know how it goes!
Good luck, and keep us posted...


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Old 01/25/2018, 08:24 AM   #15
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I bought the icecap ato and have had it running for about two weeks now. I'm very happy with it! The only issue I had was getting the pump to run for the first time after initial setup. I disassembled and reassembled the pump, and it's worked fine since then (not a big deal, I've had to do this on several pieces of new equipment on my other FW tanks). The led lighting doesn't seem to mess with it at all. The bracket holding the sensor is smaller than I thought it would be, so it really isn't that noticeable in the tank. It keeps the water line just above the black trim. I still may end up trimming the inside of the black trim to raise the water line about 1/2-3/4" so it is even with the bottom of my aquaclear 50 HOB (I use it for my chemical media since I don't have a sump). The waterfall effect from the filter gets on my nerves due to the bubbles it makes in the display. Very happy with this ato! Thanks for the tip, zooman!


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Old 01/25/2018, 04:07 PM   #16
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You are welcome, and I am happy to learn that it has worked well for you.

I will pick up another one for my little flower/ rock nem tank when I get my taxes back...


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Old 01/25/2018, 05:59 PM   #17
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Unfortunately I have leds. I hadn't heard of that issue before. I'm assuming it messes with the sensor? Any way to make the Tunze work with the waterline above the bottom of the trim?
Either Tunze or Autoaqua smart ATO micro all use the Infra red optical sensor, the wave length is different from the normal LED lighting. I think it's no issue to use in the display tank.


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Old 01/26/2018, 07:37 AM   #18
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I use an AutoAqua micro on an LED lit tank and have no issues.


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Old 01/26/2018, 07:52 AM   #19
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Either Tunze or Autoaqua smart ATO micro all use the Infra red optical sensor, the wave length is different from the normal LED lighting. I think it's no issue to use in the display tank.
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I use an AutoAqua micro on an LED lit tank and have no issues.
There is no guarantee of issues when using the AutoAqua under LED lighting, but some have noted it, and the manufacturer even cautions users about the risk. The optical water level sensor is also not infrared in the AutoAqua to my understanding - not certain in the Tunze, as the manufacturer mentions it is not affected by light.

Also, the OP has already employed a different option...


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Old 01/26/2018, 07:32 PM   #20
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There is no guarantee of issues when using the AutoAqua under LED lighting, but some have noted it, and the manufacturer even cautions users about the risk. The optical water level sensor is also not infrared in the AutoAqua to my understanding - not certain in the Tunze, as the manufacturer mentions it is not affected by light.

Also, the OP has already employed a different option...
As I know, every optical level sensor uses Infrared lighting including AUTOAQUA, Tunze...

For Led lighting, it is no problem unless there is infrared led inside it. For T5,T8 lighting, it's a full spectrum lighting and there is a few portion of infrared, so this could influence the detection. I think the lighting should be very close to the sensor to provide the enough power to sensor.


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Old 01/26/2018, 09:27 PM   #21
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As I know, every optical level sensor uses Infrared lighting including AUTOAQUA, Tunze...

For Led lighting, it is no problem unless there is infrared led inside it. For T5,T8 lighting, it's a full spectrum lighting and there is a few portion of infrared, so this could influence the detection. I think the lighting should be very close to the sensor to provide the enough power to sensor.
Point 1 - I stand corrected, as it appears that all commonly employed OLSs do use LEDs primarily emitting IR wavelengths to trigger the sensor within the unit upon submersion of the prism.

Point 2 - It appears that not only do some manufacturers of these ATO units caution against LED and other lighting sources overhead in concert with their sensors, but that even light reflection from within surfaces within/ around the structure housing the sensor (i.e. aquarium or sump) can interfere with the sensor. Again, this is not my actual experience leading to a warning, but what is coming from the manufacturers (ex: AutoAqua specifically notes this in their instructions).

Also, since these sensors would be near the top of an aquarium (if not used in a sump), and that is where the lighting for that aquarium typically is, I believe that this may be a fair warning, especially as some aquarists have noted issues when using them directly in the aquarium in some instances. Light intensity, angle of incidence, and spectrum varies, and this is why some may find issues, and others not. I still find it prudent to at least be aware of the potential issue, especially if one encounters problems, as repositioning of the sensor may yield relief.


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Old 09/11/2018, 05:42 PM   #22
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I wanted to update this thread in case anyone else was considering buying the Icecap ATO. I'm happy to report that I haven't had a single issue with it so far! I have since upgraded to a 40 breeder and am still using it in the display without issue.


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