The Barrel Tender from Avast marine is such a unique product, it’s hard to compare it to anything else that is available in the aquarium market. Simply put the Barrel Tender is a high precision “float switch” that includes a high and low water level sensor, and a heavy duty solenoid to open and close the flow of top off water.
In its current inception, the Avast Marine Barrel Tender is intended to be a reliable and precise float switch for reservoirs that are replenished by a reverse osmosis unit. What is different about the Barrel Tender relative to a typical float switch is that instead of constantly keeping the R.O. machine working to keep the reservoir full, it only activates the water purifier when the water level in the reservoir gets below a certain set point.
The purpose of Avast Marine’s unique ATO device is to preserve the lifespan of your reverse osmosis unit and especially the deionization resin by reducing wear and tear on the entire unit. Avast’s take on providing a reliable ATO top off switch sounds great for people who tend to go through a lot of reverse osmosis water, or access the vat frequently, but we’ve employed to another use.
In our set up we are using the Barrel Tender to automatically top off the reservoir we use to feed our Two Little Fishes KW 300 kalkwasser reactor. In essence we are automaticaly topping off the auto top off used to dose life-giving kalkwasser to an SPS tank which benefits from having a consistently higher pH, but now there’s a lot less to fiddle with, no more topping off the top-off.
Since the Barrel Tender is kind of a mission-critical device, Avast Marine calls for the Barrel Tender to be firmly fastened to the lid of whatever container you happen to be using for a water reservoir. A template is provided to drill seven holes, four for bolting the ATO device down, two for the high and low water level sensors, and the last one for the incoming make-up water. The solidly built Barrel Tender is fitted with two indicator lights, one for power and one to notify when the solenoid is on, and there is also a single button for engaging the machine to fill the reservoir to the high water level, for those times when you are expecting to need a full water volume.
At $199 the Barrel Tender is not a cheap accessory that you might pick up because you “might” need it. However, its unique feature set makes it an ideal device for managing water level volumes in a range of applications; we’re already using it differently from how it was designed so there’s no telling what other uses reefers might have for the Barrel Tender.
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