ATO Mistake


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  • 2022-08-20 at 7:58 PM #470

    I just attended another call at an office that called saying their aquarium was leaking. They’ve been using another aquarium service company but, I guess, weren’t happy with his response when they got ahold of him. I’m guessing it’s something he did that caused it and that conversation didn’t go so well.

    They typed “leaking aquarium” into google and found our website (the ‘Aquarium Emergency’ service page).

    When I arrived, I found a pile of wet paper towels on the floor. Apparently, they had been mopping up the water as it slowly dripped. The sump had overflowed and slowly was spilling onto the floor. The “leak” actually had nothing directly to do with the aquarium leaking!

      It was the float valve that controls the auto-top-off

    that had failed and just let water keep running into the sump, long after the flow should have stopped! 🙁
    I’ve seen similar setups a number of times where the ato is plumbed directly into the building’s water supply. DUMB!! In this case all that was holding back an unlimited amount of water from flooding. Thankfully, there were people in the office when it failed so as soon as the water started seeping out from under the aquarium stand, it got noticed.

    It’s a saltwater fish-only tank and everything was fine in there. I’d guess about 30-40 gallons of freshwater entered the 300ish gallon system. Just enough to drop the salinity a bit. But, not enough to harm the fish.

    If this had of happened to a reef tank, by the time I would have been able to get there, it would have likely been game over and the tank would be in the process of crashing.

    Thankfully this happened mid-morning in an office setting. So, it got caught pretty quickly. Imagine if that float valve failed on a Friday evening and ran all weekend?

    As it ended up, there was a little bit of electoral damage (the power outlet was in the floor, under the tank) that needed an electrician to fix. But, that was about it.
    Their invoice ended up being 3 hours on-site + travelt time + $80 emergency/unscheduled appointment fee. And, we’ll be back to install a new ATO sensor+pump and a 20-gallon fw reservoir. And, we picked up a new commercial maintenance service client. 2-2.5 billable hours, biweekly.

    The moral of the story… think long and hard about the consequences of plumbing an ATO system (or anything) directly into a never-ending water source if, something were to fail.

    ATO Office Aquarium Emergency Service

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by Chris.
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by Chris.
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