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Old 10-12-2005, 12:17 PM   #1
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Help! My sump water levels are out of whack

Hoping someone here can give me some advice on this problem I cant seem to solve. Its driving me CRAZY!

Background:
I bought a used 80 gal bowfront tank from my LFS that they had up on consignment for a pretty good deal about 2 months ago. I'm not 100% sure of what brand all the equipment is but I have a skimmer, a wet/dry, PC lights and a 5 gallon sump (might be a little more than 5 gallons, not sure). In my tank there are two long vertical tubes, 1 is a return and one is a send from the sump under the tank (someone just told me this is an 'old' system that they dont make anymore???)

My problem:
At least a few times a day, the water level in the sump will go start at the Max line, and then go down to the Min line. Sometimes the water level will even below the min line, thus choking my pump, and then after a minute or 2, it will rise back up to the Max line.
This is so frustrating because on more than one occasion I checked the sump level when it was at the Min line, added top off water, only to find that a few minutes later it started to rise and now my sump level is waay past the Max line.

Anyone experience this? How do I fix it? Bad pump? Old system?

Any advice appreciated.
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Old 10-12-2005, 12:21 PM   #2
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What kind of overflow do you have to take the water to the sump? If it is the hang-on-back versions you might have something blocking the tube or an airbubble in the U-tube.

Another possibility is that you have a bad pump and it is not pumping at a consistent rate.

If you could describe the system a little bit better we should be able to help.

tripper
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Old 10-12-2005, 12:26 PM   #3
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Almost sounds like the pump. But like trip said it could be your overflow
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Old 10-12-2005, 12:27 PM   #4
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its not the hang on type. i have two long vertical tubes, one sends the water from the sump, the other sucks the water down (tank was drilled and has a hole in the bottom for each send and return). one the send tube has a long straw-like tube that i can move up and down, which i have played with until no end, but still the water level is inconsistent.

sorry, im new to the hobby and since i got the entire system used, im not sure of the technical names of what i have, i can only describe it.

i do know that i have a wet/dry and a skimmer also.
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Old 10-12-2005, 01:08 PM   #5
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think you could take a snapshot of your plumbing? we might be able to spot an issue.

Fluctuating water levels in your sump mean that your drain and return are not opperating at an equal level. The best way to ensure consistant running is to be sure your overflow/drain can move water faster than your pump can move water. IMO, your drain should be able to handle 2x the pumps expected flow. THis gives you some room for error if something blocks part of the drain etc.

The fact you got the entire system used makes me believe something isn't setup or adjusted properly (or as mentioned above, something is blocking your drain)
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Old 10-12-2005, 02:13 PM   #6
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thanks. i will take some picts tonite and post.
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Old 10-12-2005, 02:25 PM   #7
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I would think that the pump is moving more water than the drain from the tank. It might be a faulty pump too, but you could try restricting the flow of your pump a bit to see if this might be it. HTH
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Old 10-12-2005, 02:31 PM   #8
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how would i do that? just close the plumbing on the pvc a little? i def want to avoid overflowing my sump and water spilling everywhere!
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Old 10-12-2005, 03:40 PM   #9
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Sounds like a reef ready type set up. Pics would help a lot here... Like the others are saying it could be the pump or the overflow return.
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