By design, water should be able to go from the media basket over to the intake pool, but not the other way. Check the intake tube and make sure it is all the way in the groove above the impeller and seated correctly on the pivot area to adjust the flow.
I have a Aquaclear Mini and a 200, I run sponge - carbon - sponge. Seems to work pretty good, however I am going to try mixing it up with some filter floss soon since I do not think the sponges are too good at catching finer particles. I am going try using volcanic rock instead of the carbon to give the bio bugs a place to live, I just need to find the media bags locally. The arrangement would be sponge - floss - volcanic rock (bottom - middle - top). If I ever needed to use carbon, it would replace the floss as a temp.
2x Sunburst Platys (2M, 2F) // 3x Neon Tetras (?) // 2x Cherry Barbs (1M, 1F) // 2x YoYo Loaches (?) // 1x Bushy Nose Pleco (M) // 1x Clown Pleco (?) //
-30# Live Rock
-Mixed Snails (Nassarius // Cerith // Astrea // Black Turbo // Mexican Turbo)
-8x Blue Leg Hermit Crabs // 1x Banded Serpent Star // 1x Cleaner Shrimp
-1x Royal Gramma // 1x Percula Clownfish
-2x Mushroom Leather // Metallic Green Star Polyps // Pulsing Xenia // Striped Xenia // Blue Mushroom
-Remora + Maxi-Jet 1200 // 2x Maxi-Jet 600 // Maxi-Jet 400 // Visi-Therm Deluxe 50 // Current USA Orbit 2x 40w PC