AIO Sump and Display water level Question

tankman87

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Hello everyone,

I have a 29G Clear for Life Uniquarium (AIO) tank. I have a question on water level and if my tank is behaving normally. Most likely a newbie question as I'm new to saltwater tanks with sumps (coming from tropical fresh water tanks) so please bear with me on this question LOL.

Here is a flow diagram looking at the rear of my tank.

tank flow diagram.JPG


When the pump is running the water level in the display is about 1" from the top of the tank and the water level is maintained as the water then runs through the weir of the tank (top right slots in the flow diagram. The level of water in the sump compartments (the 3 chambers on the left of the flow diagram above with bio balls and pump) is about 1/3 - note there is a cutout at the bottom of the left 3 chambers in the flow diagram above - so the water level is equal among these 3 chambers at all times.

Here is my main question. When I turn the pump off the display tank slowly drains and the left 3 chambers of the sump compartment slowly fill with water and keep doing so until the display and the 3 left chambers are at equal water level. The three chambers on the right (the 2 sponge compartments and the 3rd narrow chamber) level remains at the weir and does not drain or fill - it stays at the same level whether pump is on or off).

Why does the display tank drain into the sump until water level is equal - is there a leak at the gasket at the output of the pump or in the acrylic panels? Is my tank just severely under filled? I think when I started the tank I put maybe 22-24gallons of water in it (not 29 gallons as I heard the sump should run about 1/3 to 1/2 water level). What should the water level in the sump be at when the tank is running?

Please help - thank you! I am 14 days into my cycling.

Pump is running

IMG-3705.jpg


IMG-3706.jpg



IMG-3707.jpg


When Pump is off for about 1 minute and water in display drains to rear sump

IMG-3702.jpg




IMG-3703.jpg


IMG-3704.jpg
 
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tbrown3589

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Hello everyone,

I have a 29G Clear for Life Uniquarium (AIO) tank. I have a question on water level and if my tank is behaving normally. Most likely a newbie question as I'm new to saltwater tanks with sumps (coming from tropical fresh water tanks) so please bear with me on this question LOL.

Here is a flow diagram looking at the rear of my tank.

tank flow diagram.JPG


When the pump is running the water level in the display is about 1" from the top of the tank and the water level is maintained as the water then runs through the weir of the tank (top right slots in the flow diagram. The level of water in the sump compartments (the 3 chambers on the left of the flow diagram above with bio balls and pump) is about 1/3 - note there is a cutout at the bottom of the left 3 chambers in the flow diagram above - so the water level is equal among these 3 chambers at all times.

Here is my main question. When I turn the pump off the display tank slowly drains and the left 3 chambers of the sump compartment slowly fill with water and keep doing so until the display and the 3 left chambers are at equal water level. The three chambers on the right (the 2 sponge compartments and the 3rd narrow chamber) level remains at the weir and does not drain or fill - it stays at the same level whether pump is on or off).

Why does the display tank drain into the sump until water level is equal - is there a leak at the gasket at the output of the pump or in the acrylic panels? Is my tank just severely under filled? I think when I started the tank I put maybe 22-24gallons of water in it (not 29 gallons as I heard the sump should run about 1/3 to 1/2 water level). What should the water level in the sump be at when the tank is running?

Please help - thank you! I am 14 days into my cycling.

Pump is running

IMG-3705.jpg


IMG-3706.jpg



IMG-3707.jpg


When Pump is off for about 1 minute and water in display drains to rear sump

IMG-3702.jpg




IMG-3703.jpg


IMG-3704.jpg
If you don't have some sort of siphon break or check valve, the water level will equalize through the pump.
 
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tankman87

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If you don't have some sort of siphon break or check valve, the water level will equalize through the pump.

Ok that makes sense to me. Thank you for your response. What should the water level be in the sump on this kind of tank? Should the bio ball and return pump chambers be nearly full, 1/2 full, 1/3?

Reason I ask is because I am topping off with more RO/DI water since the water was level dropped near to the inlet of the return pump which to me said I had 2 weeks of evaporation add up and needed to top off. Thanks.
 

JumboShrimp

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Rule #1 would be to never let the particular section holding your return pump run dry— especially if you are away from home. You will get a little heads-up shortly before this happens because the DT will start filling up with air bubbles from the pump no longer being fully submerged.

In time, you will learn ‘your’ tank— especially the evaporation rate— and will know how much top-off water you will need to add (and with what frequency) to keep your water levels where you want them. Best wishes! :)
 

tbrown3589

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Ok that makes sense to me. Thank you for your response. What should the water level be in the sump on this kind of tank? Should the bio ball and return pump chambers be nearly full, 1/2 full, 1/3?

Reason I ask is because I am topping off with more RO/DI water since the water was level dropped near to the inlet of the return pump which to me said I had 2 weeks of evaporation add up and needed to top off. Thanks.
+1 to what @JumboShrimp said above. 1 thing to consider, the higher water volume makes for more stable water parameters if you keep it topped off. I run my AIO almost to the top in my display AND sump section just because it means I have less of a chance for swings in parameters. I tend to top off every 1-2 days after it drops an inch or two in the return section. I don't like seeing bubbles in the display so I stay as far away from that as I can.

Edit: I'd keep the water level above the bio-balls/media at a minimum.
 
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tankman87

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I keep the water level as high as i can in the return section but still allowing it to cascade a bit.

Thanks y'all are awesome. I topped it off so the sump is about 4/5 full. My salinity is down from 1.025 to 1.022 so 4/5 full is just about right I guess from what I originally filled the tank to.

Another question - I'm starting to look at lighting options.

My tank is 30"L, 18" H and 12" W (but display is 8" deep and 4" depth is taken from the sump partition in back of tank).

My LFS recommended an AI Prime 16 HD and light stand and their price was very competitive. The AI primes cover 24"x24". Would I get by with one or would I need two since my tank is 30" Long. Also, is the acrylic lid cover an issue or will I need to get an eggcrate and create a DIY lid.

Or would my tank be better suited to a "bar" light around 30" Long? I want to eventually keep corals in addition to fish. Thank you!
 

tbrown3589

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Thanks y'all are awesome. I topped it off so the sump is about 4/5 full. My salinity is down from 1.025 to 1.022 so 4/5 full is just about right I guess from what I originally filled the tank to.

Another question - I'm starting to look at lighting options.

My tank is 30"L, 18" H and 12" W (but display is 8" deep and 4" depth is taken from the sump partition in back of tank).

My LFS recommended an AI Prime 16 HD and light stand and their price was very competitive. The AI primes cover 24"x24". Would I get by with one or would I need two since my tank is 30" Long. Also, is the acrylic lid cover an issue or will I need to get an eggcrate and create a DIY lid.

Or would my tank be better suited to a "bar" light around 30" Long? I want to eventually keep corals in addition to fish. Thank you!
Anytime you add water to change the water level from where you started, you'd need to add salt water, it's different than a top off where you add to/do water
 

JumboShrimp

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24” spread could work fine for how most people will scape a 30” tank; that’s 3” on each end you will probably have clear anyway for fish turn-around room or at least room for an algae scraper. Few people scape glass-to-glass. :)
 

tbrown3589

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Thanks y'all are awesome. I topped it off so the sump is about 4/5 full. My salinity is down from 1.025 to 1.022 so 4/5 full is just about right I guess from what I originally filled the tank to.

Another question - I'm starting to look at lighting options.

My tank is 30"L, 18" H and 12" W (but display is 8" deep and 4" depth is taken from the sump partition in back of tank).

My LFS recommended an AI Prime 16 HD and light stand and their price was very competitive. The AI primes cover 24"x24". Would I get by with one or would I need two since my tank is 30" Long. Also, is the acrylic lid cover an issue or will I need to get an eggcrate and create a DIY lid.

Or would my tank be better suited to a "bar" light around 30" Long? I want to eventually keep corals in addition to fish. Thank you!

24” spread could work fine for how most people will scape a 30” tank; that’s 3” on each end you will probably have clear anyway for fish turn-around room or at least room for an algae scraper. Few people scape glass-to-glass. :)
Or for lower light corals and for light acclimation when adding new ones.
 
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