The Flipper Auto Top Off is a new device that has just been launched by the aquarium scraper people. Like the bottle refill ATOs we’ve seen recently the Flipper ATO doesn’t use any electricity, float switches, optical sensors, or even float valves and instead uses simple science to deliver fresh water to your reef tank as and when it evaporates.
Like with the bottles, you fill it with RO, place it over the water surface, and as the water level in the tank lowers the device draws in air from underneath and releases top-off water. When the surface level in the tank is restored, the flow stops automatically. The process is sound and as we’ve said before this low technology has been used since forever for everything from chicken drinkers to cat water dishes.
Where the Flipper device differs from the rest of the aquarium glug jug pack though is in its form factor. As simple as they are, the water bottle style ATOs like the Aqua Medic Refill Fix are only as pretty as the water bottle that screws into them, they stick up quite high and are at risk of being knocked or applying localized pressure to tank rims. With the Flipper ATO though, a lot more thought has been given to its form factor and mounting and it looks much more like a square skimmer cup or a purpose-built reservoir than a drinking water bottle so even if costs more we think the market will much better receive it. It has width adjustable mounting legs too.
Due to the nature of these devices, they only work on non-fixed water levels that are liable to water level change via evaporation. That means they won’t work on the main display tank with a fixed water level via a weir. But they can work on pump chambers in sumps or nano reefs without weirs and rear chambers and we’re guessing this one is aimed at small open-topped fresh and saltwater tanks without any sump or fixed water level.
The Flipper Auto Top Off is so new that we only have the image dropped on their social media, and no dimensions yet, water volume, or importantly, price. Because of the simplicity of manufacture and consumer use, however, we expect to see more variations on this theme in the future.