Sump return chamber mystery dropping water level

carnivorouswombat

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I have an aqua one 326 and the level in the return chamber has suddenly begun to drop. It's not evaporation as I can watch it drop, it drops a cm maybe in half an hour. It is screwing up the ATO (red sea) and I have turned that off for the minute. Overall the chamber is down maybe 4 cm now again since I stopped the return pump and cleaned it (it didn't need it)

The water level and overflow system has been working fine for about 4 months now. No dramas, maybe a little noisy from the filter socks but no dramas. The pump is 2000Lh or thereabouts, it came with the tank.

I checked the setup manual online and the level in the overflow box is where it should be. No one has touched the gate valve. I have looked for wayward snails. There is no water on the floor.

The tank level might be a little higher but not enough I can notice and I have cleaned all the teeth on the overflow out.

Where is my missing water getting held up? I attached a photo if that helps, the chamber on the far left to can probably see where the water was and where it is now.

20240506_210244.jpg
 

KrisReef

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Hmm. Do you have any hoses that can be siphoning periodically to lower the dt and fill the sump? Otherwise I would have guessed the skimmer but I don't see any other obvious source of the flux.
 
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carnivorouswombat

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Hmm. Do you have any hoses that can be siphoning periodically to lower the dt and fill the sump? Otherwise I would have guessed the skimmer but I don't see any other obvious source of the flux.
There's nothing really like that, I wonder if the gate valve just needs adjusting, but it's very strange, nothing has changed from what I have been doing eg I haven't touched anything to effect the flow
 

KrisReef

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Maybe a gate valve causing fluctuations? Maybe open them all the way up and see if it stabilizes at one level. A variable speed return pump that ramps up speed might also cause something like this?
 

MnFish1

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So you're saying that when the pump is off the level is lets say at 'x' and when you turn it on , the level of the return chamber rapidly decreases to x-y?
 

tharbin

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As @Lavey29 said. It is the balance between the intake and return, either the media is dirty, the gate needs to be opened slightly or the return needs to be turned down slightly. Basically, the tank is filling more quickly than it is emptying.
 
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carnivorouswombat

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So you're saying that when the pump is off the level is lets say at 'x' and when you turn it on , the level of the return chamber rapidly decreases to x-y?
Yes

So

2 Days ago
Pump off: level X
Pump on: level Z

Today
Pump off: Level X
Pump on: Returns to level Z briefly and then over an hour reduces to level Y where it has remained stable overnight,

I think it must be in my display and I have to maybe play with the gate valve, I just am cautious to play with anything especially if I don't have a "why". Looking in my overflow box there seems to be more water than usual, the flow is noisier and there seems to be less flow down through the filter socks.
 

MnFish1

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Yes

So

2 Days ago
Pump off: level X
Pump on: level Z

Today
Pump off: Level X
Pump on: Returns to level Z briefly and then over an hour reduces to level Y where it has remained stable overnight,

I think it must be in my display and I have to maybe play with the gate valve, I just am cautious to play with anything especially if I don't have a "why". Looking in my overflow box there seems to be more water than usual, the flow is noisier and there seems to be less flow down through the filter socks.
it could be any blockage from where the water leaves the tank to the sump. However - the other questions is what happens to the level in the tank itself
 
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carnivorouswombat

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it could be any blockage from where the water leaves the tank to the sump. However - the other questions is what happens to the level in the tank itself
So I experimented with adding a small amount of water to the return chamber and its volume is now collecting into the overflow box. So seems like I might have to adjust the gate valve. I don't know why that flow rate has changed though
 

homer1475

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What form of overflow?

Bean animal
Herbie
durso
????
Bean animal is the only one that is set and forget. Small fluctuations are handled with the trickle down the emergency.

Herbie and durso setups need to be "played" with once in a while to keep the flow, and levels steady.
 

Dburr1014

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No one has touched the gate valve.

The tank level might be a little higher but not enough I can notice and I have cleaned all the teeth on the overflow out.

Where is my missing water getting held up? I attached a photo if that helps, the chamber on the far left to can probably see where the water was and where it is now.

20240506_210244.jpg
Open the gate valve a full turn and then return it back to where it was. Mark where it is before hand.

Most likely you have food and debris built up if you haven't touched it in a couple months.

I do this about once a month myself. It clears the block and returns to normal.
 

MnFish1

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So I experimented with adding a small amount of water to the return chamber and its volume is now collecting into the overflow box. So seems like I might have to adjust the gate valve. I don't know why that flow rate has changed though
The other possibility is are you sure you don't just need more water in the tank (i.e. there has been more evaporation than usual? Also - do you have a sponge or anything just before the return chamber that may be keeping water from flowing (i.e. something that could be cleaned.
 

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