How do I get the water level above that side hole with out turning the pump down?
You don't. It's supposed to be there. As far as noise in the sump, try putting an elbow on the end of the drain. If that doesn't work and you don't want to turn down the pump, I would consider sound deadening material on the inside of the stand. Celotex insulation sheets from home depot might be of use.
i HATE salt creep... the single most annoying part of sw. thank you to Mr. X, im plagued with the "noisy drain" syndrome. im now going to go home after work and place an elbow on my drain, that should help.