Major Sump water level issues for 2 years

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Eggpaul

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Hello everyone, I posted a thread about this about 2 years ago and I gave up , but now I am hoping someone can help me. I have a 150 gallon tank with a sump below. I have a Hydor ATO system in the sump with a 5 gallon reservoir. I gave up using the ATO system and have been manually adding RO water, and this is why.

Every time there is evaporation and the water level drops the ATO system correctly fills water and then shuts off. A few minutes later for some reason the water level in the sump (return chamber) drops a little and rises in the DT, so after a while when there is more evaporation, the ATO system starts again. I usually come back home from work and the ATO reservoir is 3/4 empty. I know for sure there isn't that much evaporation. When water is added to the return chamber I don't think it should raise the DT correct? What am I doing wrong? Do you think it is the filter sock? I do leave them in quite a while before I change them (maybe 1-2 weeks).
Maybe it gets clogged and when water is added it is causing balance issues. It is a felt sock. Maybe I should change to a mesh sock so it lasts longer?

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Fritz

Beefyreefy

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I would start off by measuring the amount of top off you need in 24 hours when you are manually adding. Then measure how much top off is used if you are relying on the ATO. This will tell you if the problem is real. The other question I have is: is the overflow pipe outlet submerged in the water or above it?
 

fish farmer

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I would start off by measuring the amount of top off you need in 24 hours when you are manually adding. Then measure how much top off is used if you are relying on the ATO. This will tell you if the problem is real. The other question I have is: is the overflow pipe outlet submerged in the water or above it?

Are you thinking maybe an air lock? Water goes up in the sump from ATO and blocks overflow.
 
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Eggpaul

Eggpaul

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I would start off by measuring the amount of top off you need in 24 hours when you are manually adding. Then measure how much top off is used if you are relying on the ATO. This will tell you if the problem is real. The other question I have is: is the overflow pipe outlet submerged in the water or above it?

the overflow pipe outlet is not submerged, it is above the water line.
To measure the top off amount, should I remove the filter sock so it will be more accurate? I feel like the filter sock gets clogged and changes levels.
 

Travis Stewart

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Do you have any other filter media inside the sump? Between chambers? I had this issue at first when I started tank because the rate at which it went through the filter wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the return.
 
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Eggpaul

Eggpaul

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At what rate is the ATO adding water into the sump? When you're manually topping off do you notice the sump drop in level and overfill DT?

The ATO adds water through a 1/4 inch hose, not really fast. With a small maxi pump. And yes, even if I manually add water the sump will drop after a while and raise DT.
 
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Eggpaul

Eggpaul

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Do you have any other filter media inside the sump? Between chambers? I had this issue at first when I started tank because the rate at which it went through the filter wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the return.
Hmm, good point. I don't have anything. Chamber one is the drain and a skimmer, and chamber 2 is the Fuge (chaeto and one live rock I had thrown in there), and chamber 3 has the return and a BRS carbon and GFO canister which is usually not on. Would the chaeto block the flow?
 

Travis Stewart

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I would advise at least removing the filter sock if not to test the theory. At this point that is very easy to try before diving deeper. The water level in your sump should be controlled by your return. The more water that goes in the display is the same rate that it’s pushing it to the sump.
 
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Hmm, good point. I don't have anything. Chamber one is the drain and a skimmer, and chamber 2 is the Fuge (chaeto and one live rock I had thrown in there), and chamber 3 has the return and a BRS carbon and GFO canister which is usually not on. Would the chaeto block the flow?

only thought with the chaeto would be if its clogging the holes your water moves through on the baffle. If it’s going over the top of the baffle, should have no affect.
 

Hydrored

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Drain pipe should be submerged and a gate valve will help a ton. I dealt with an issue like this and didn’t have the drain pipe below the water line in the sump. Even if you put a pipe to pipe adapter and a piece of pipe without glueing it you will see the level in your sump change
 

Travis Stewart

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Drain pipe should be submerged and a gate valve will help a ton. I dealt with an issue like this and didn’t have the drain pipe below the water line in the sump. Even if you put a pipe to pipe adapter and a piece of pipe without glueing it you will see the level in your sump change

think he’s referring to the overflow drain pipe inside the overflow being above water line, not the drain into the sump being above water line
 

Hydrored

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Another stupid thing that I figured out was as the day went on and MP40’s got stronger it would push more water in the wears causing the level to change. Lowered the pumps and that helped solve it also
 
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Eggpaul

Eggpaul

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Drain pipe should be submerged and a gate valve will help a ton. I dealt with an issue like this and didn’t have the drain pipe below the water line in the sump. Even if you put a pipe to pipe adapter and a piece of pipe without glueing it you will see the level in your sump change

Drain pipe in overflow and sump are submerged.
 
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Eggpaul

Eggpaul

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I would advise at least removing the filter sock if not to test the theory. At this point that is very easy to try before diving deeper. The water level in your sump should be controlled by your return. The more water that goes in the display is the same rate that it’s pushing it to the sump.

I can try that. I'll remove the sock and add water to test it out.
 
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Eggpaul

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Another stupid thing that I figured out was as the day went on and MP40’s got stronger it would push more water in the wears causing the level to change. Lowered the pumps and that helped solve it also

Is that common? I don't usually have the MP40s on a wave setting. Usually they are on the Reef setting where it changes a lot.
 

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the overflow pipe outlet is not submerged, it is above the water line.
To measure the top off amount, should I remove the filter sock so it will be more accurate? I feel like the filter sock gets clogged and changes levels.

Well for good measure you could start with the filter sock in place, because thats how it is with the problem you are experiencing. I wouldn't change any variables just yet. Draw a line somewhere on the sump so your measurements are fairly precise and record the volume of water you top off with manually in 24 hours. Then rig up your ato, and completely fill the top off container, and measure how much water is used in 24 hours. If its reasonable the same amount of water I'd say not to worry about it. If its mismatched then I suggest the same experiment with the filter sock removed and see if that fixes the problem. The other thought I had is that if the ATO is truly adding too much water your salinity would go down over time. Have you ever noticed that happening?
 
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Eggpaul

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Well for good measure you could start with the filter sock in place, because thats how it is with the problem you are experiencing. I wouldn't change any variables just yet. Draw a line somewhere on the sump so your measurements are fairly precise and record the volume of water you top off with manually in 24 hours. Then rig up your ato, and completely fill the top off container, and measure how much water is used in 24 hours. If its reasonable the same amount of water I'd say not to worry about it. If its mismatched then I suggest the same experiment with the filter sock removed and see if that fixes the problem. The other thought I had is that if the ATO is truly adding too much water your salinity would go down over time. Have you ever noticed that happening?

I like this plan. I will start today and let everyone know tomorrow. About the salinity, I haven't used the ATO system in so long that I don't recall. I am trying to stabilize salinity because I am gone all day and I get back home and it is usually .001 higher because I am manually adding in the evenings.
 
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