In desperate need of help. Can't figure this out.

Discussion in 'New to Saltwater & Reef Aquariums? Post Here' started by esloan88, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. esloan88

    esloan88 Well-Known Member

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    I posted a bit ago about micro bubble jets occurring randomly. I thought I had it figured out but I didn't. I have some more info. Hopefully someone can figure this out.

    I have a 44 gallon Planet Aquarium tank with overflow in the tank. The pipe going into my wet dry filter is 1 inch and a .75 return.

    The wet dry filter below has 3 chambers. The first chamber is where the flow enters. It also contains a HOB skimmer. It then overflows into the front chamber and down, through filter floss and other media. From there it flows into the back chamber, which is the return.

    Here's what I'm seeing. The overflow box above, in the display, will occasionally drop the water level in the box really low. It gets lower than the u- shaped return pipe. It will then make a loud gurgling noise.

    When that happens, the return chamber below will fill up to almost overflowing which then overflows through the other chambers. After that, the first chamber will get really low, low enough that it can't flow into the second chamber and into the return. When this happens, the return pumps water out until the pump hits air and that causes the micro bubbles.

    The first chamber then fills up and overflows and starts that sequence all over again.

    The strange thing is that it doesn't always do it. Sometimes it will run fine for hours and sometimes it will do the above over and over again.

    The added issue is that I can't use an ATO because the water level in the sump is never consistent.

    I have no idea what is causing this. The overflow above looks fine. It has an air hole in the overflow pipe, which I understand is supposed to stop the gurgling sound. The plumbing looks fine. What am I doing wrong?

    Any advice would be great. If you have questions let me know. I work nights so I may not answer immediately but I will answer when I wake up.

    Thanks guys!

    Edited to add: I'm getting a new sump with refugium in the next week or so but I want to figure this out so I don't have the same issue with it.
     
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  2. Scott.h

    Scott.h Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Sounds like it could be an inconsistent issue with the overflow box itself. Is it undersized for the tank or flow of the return pump?
     
  3. esloan88

    esloan88 Well-Known Member

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    No its not. The overflow was built into the tank. It's a tank from planet aquariim, the overflow is made in the tank against the back wall
     
  4. Scott.h

    Scott.h Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Maybe try filming what it's doing
     
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  5. Aaron4890

    Aaron4890 Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like your overflow is not vented correctly. Without pictures it's hard for me to understand exactly what type of overflow you have
     
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  6. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    A picture of this would help. Do you have a tube that comes out of this hole to make sure it is never covered with water?
     
  7. esloan88

    esloan88 Well-Known Member

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    Here is a video I made showing what is going on. Unfortunately, it did not do what I am describing while making the video. That figures. It is really random and I can't figure it out.
     
  8. Scott.h

    Scott.h Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Id think it has to be somehow related to that air vent in the overflow. Any way you can at least take it temporarily? It may quiet it down but as long as the overflow and handle the volume of the return pump eliminate that and see
     
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  9. esloan88

    esloan88 Well-Known Member

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    I have removed the air pipe completely from the overflow and just left the hole in the pipe. It still does it. I have made sure the valve pipe was clear and then put it back in.
     
  10. ndrwater

    ndrwater Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award SCMAS Member Partner Member 2018

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    Sounds like some sort of blockage in the black pipe in the overflow. Could be a snail or something.
    I know if the hole for the vent in the top of mine gets clogged with algae, I get the same thing. Yiurs, because of the hose, shouldn't get clogged, which leads me to think of some other sort of blockage. Sometimes the easiest answers are best.
     
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  11. esloan88

    esloan88 Well-Known Member

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    I will check that. I don't think there is a blockage but I guess it is possible. What is the easiest way to check that without taking everything apart?
     
  12. ndrwater

    ndrwater Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award SCMAS Member Partner Member 2018

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    See if you can take the first 90° elbow off. Hopefully it isn't glued.
    Beyond that, you should be able to unscrew the standpipe in the overflow
     
  13. Fishfinder

    Fishfinder Well-Known Member

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    Is the U shape pipe in the overflow glued together?
     
  14. esloan88

    esloan88 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I believe so. I bought the setup used (I saw it running, so I know it was working fine) and I believe that piece and the pipe to the bulkhead were glued.
     
  15. Fishfinder

    Fishfinder Well-Known Member

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    The reason I ask is because next time it happens go over all pull the 90 degree coupling off and look in it. Mine does this once every couple of weeks and every time there is a snail in there. In my case a snail crawls in and blocks the vent hole
     
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  16. Fishfinder

    Fishfinder Well-Known Member

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    Nothing in my overflow box is glued
     
  17. esloan88

    esloan88 Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I will try that. I am buying a Trigger Sump/Refugium this week, so I will be replacing the wet/dry filter and will need to take the plumbing apart anyway. I can definitely check then. Can you put mesh or something over that pipe opening to keep things from crawling/swimming in?
     
  18. ndrwater

    ndrwater Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award SCMAS Member Partner Member 2018

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    You can, but run the risk of a clog that way too.
    Just thought of this, but you could also enlarge the hole in the top of the standpipe.
     
  19. Fishfinder

    Fishfinder Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure you can, I've never thought about it. It's not a frequent enough problem for me. And it's been an easy fix as only snails have gotten in.

    Have you ever noticed a snail getting into your sump or filter socks?
     
  20. esloan88

    esloan88 Well-Known Member

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    Nope. never seen one in there.
     

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