No task in the aquarium hobby is more annoying than having to constantly top off your tank. There's really only two ways to go if you want yourself an auto top-off system, either spend hundreds to thousands on all-in-one systems with controllers, pumps, and sensors, or you can fasten together some hillbilly, apocalypse inspired contraption. Well, one day, while scouring the interwebs for cheap, auto top-off solutions, I found one particular product that caught my attention. Meet the ESHOPPS Float Valve.
Okay, you got me, float valves are old news, but ESHOPPS did it a bit different. ESHOPPS has designed a brilliant float valve, connections plug-n-play, fits perfectly to most tanks, adjustable water height, and compact enough to fit in your sump. Bingo! Add a gravity-fed water reservoir and you've got yourself an extremely affordable auto top-off solution! You can pick one of these up for about $25-30. You can buy the special "ESHOPPS Water Reservoir"... or you can just build your own reservoir, and I'll show you how.
So here's what you'll need:
A 5 Gallon bucket or water reservoir of your choice (Ensure it can be drilled)
A 1/4" OD threaded airline tubing input OR.... something like this. Go to Lowe's or HD
A 7/16" Drill bit and a drill to use it with
Once you've installed the float valve itself into your sump and adjusted the float to your desired water level (which is pretty self-explanatory), you can start on your reservoir. First, drill you a small pilot hole with a smaller drill bit, about half an inch from the bottom of your reservoir. This will keep you from cracking your bucket. Work your way up with bigger and bigger drill bits until you've got yourself a 7/16" hole. Screw that airline tubing input into the outside of your water reservoir and silicone the gaps just to make sure you don't leak. Once it has dried, connect your airline tubing that should have been included with your ESHOPPS float valve and fill her up with water. Put your water reservoir on a surface that's higher than your sump and... ta daaa! Watch your float valve top off your tank like magic.
*Note: If you're having issues with your float valve leaking, make sure that the airline tubing is pushed in enough to create a good seal.
Once that's all said and done, it should something like my setup, if not better...
Okay, so this isn't exactly state-of-the-art, but it's definitely affordable! And unless you're ballin' like Thomas Brown, all-in-one top-off systems aren't always in the budget. So, what's my take on the ESHOPPS Float Valve? I love it, guys! It's affordable, durable, and gets the job done. Now, I only fill up a 5 gallon bucket about once a week or so rather than topping off every single day. Usually, as we all know, you get what you pay for; but the ESHOPPS Float Valve is going to go above and beyond what you paid for.
As always, if you've got any questions, concerns, or criticism, feel free to like, share or comment below!