The ATI Dosing pump is a great way to dose liquids, from major and minor supplements, like calcium, magnesium and iodine to nutrients and bacteria, like nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon. However, improperly setting up a dosing pump can result in a failure to dose how much or how often is needed, or worse, drain your entire bottle of product into the tank potentially killing everything. Here are some tips for safely setting up a dosing pump and getting the most out of its performance.
Tip #1: Make Sure Your Solutions Containers are Lower than End of Output Tubing
To prevent siphoning your entire bottle of dosing solution into your tank, it is paramount that your containers of solution are lower in elevation than the end of your dosing tubing as indicated by the orange arrow in the image below.
Tip #2: Use Check Valves to Ensure Your Lines Stay Primed
Install a reliable check value on the output line right after the dosing pump head as shown by the red check valves in the image below to ensure your tubing / lines stay primed at all times. Make sure the check valve is set-up in the proper direction, so that liquid can pass through it correctly during normal pump operation and so that it prevents back-flow when the dosing pump is off. Most check valves will indicate the direction of flow with a small arrow imprinted on the side of the valve. This arrow indicates the direction of normal flow. Without a properly installed check valve, liquid will drain back into the container leaving your tubing dry and no longer primed so that when the pump starts you end up dosing air to your system instead of an important nutrient.
Tip #3: Use a High Quality Silicone Tubing
Cheap, non-silicone tubing can kink easily and even worse crack and leak when exposed to chemicals, like calcium, for a prolonged period of time. Don’t risk it just to save a few dollars and use a high quality silicone tubing that will not easily kink and will not crack due to exposure to chemicals. Also, you will want to ensure your tubing is properly routed to avoid snagging during maintenance which could cause your dosing pump to fall into the sump.
Tip #4: Dose Small Amounts More Frequently Throughout the Entire 24 Hour Day
It is often said “nothing good happens fast” in a reef tank. The same is true for your daily additions of the elements your corals crave. You may think it is a great idea to only dose alkalinity at night to prevent your pH from dropping, however most of your corals consumption is during the day, which means it may plummet all day and go up at night. This daily change is not going to help your coral growth. It is best to dose frequently throughout the day and night to both keep alkalinity stable by day and assist pH at night.
Tip #5: Do NOT Dose Calcium and Alkalinity at the Same Time
Nearly every supplement on the market has alkalinity and calcium in 2 different bottles. This is because if you combine the two together you get calcium carbonate which corals are unable to use. The same thing can happen if you dose part 1 and part 2 supplements without enough time between them. To prevent this from happening, you will want to dose your supplements in a high flow area with plenty of time between the calcium and alkalinity to allow each supplement to fully mix with the all of your aquarium water. To achieve this, we recommend dosing alkalinity on the even hours and calcium on the odd hours.
Tip #6: Frequently Inspect The Ends of Your Outlet Tubing
Once your dosing pump stops running, it is common for a drop of liquid to be left hanging on the end of your dosing tube. This drop will typically dry up and leave some “crusties” (ie dried chemical) behind. Over time build-up can occur and restrict or clog the end of your dosing tube which can prevent the correct amount of liquid from reaching your tank. To prevent this, simply pick it off and toss it out. Please do NOT leave the end of your dosing tubes submerged underwater as this can create a siphon which can create a much bigger problem.
For complete, step by step instructions for setting up your ATI Dosing Pump, please review our step by step set-up guide here: https://www.atinorthamerica.com/how-to-set-up-your-ati-dosing-pump/