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Old 04-18-2009, 08:19 PM   #1
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Cascade canister

I'm setting up my canister, and am at the part in the instructions where you are supposed to pump the primer button four times and let the chamber fill with water. I've pumped mine about 50 times and can't get the water moving. I know i could just empty a glass of tank water in there to get it started the old fashioned way, but can anyone suggest what I'm doing wrong? I've checked to make sure all the hoses are screwed in securely.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:04 PM   #2
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Do you have the valves open?
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Old 04-19-2009, 12:10 PM   #3
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Yep, valves are open. I'll just try filling a glass of water and manually doing it I suppose.
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:59 PM   #4
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Yep, valves are open. I'll just try filling a glass of water and manually doing it I suppose.
good luck locking down your lid again. i forgot to put the cover on top of the trays one time after i cleaned it and figured i'd just slide it in. watery mess all over my floor.
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Old 04-19-2009, 03:07 PM   #5
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Bah, I'm starting to get frustrated. When I pump the primer, water is filling the motor part of the filter, but only small bit of it. I thought maybe that was all that needed to be filled before plugging it in, but I just heard a dry grinding noise when I tried that and immediately turned it off before I broke something. I place a call to their help line but I'm not sure anyone is really working down there.
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Old 04-19-2009, 03:46 PM   #6
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Nope. Filled up the canister manually and tried plugging it in that way. Same dry grinding noise but no output. I really wish these things came with a trouble shooting manual. Maybe I'm just being pessimistic now but I get the impression the Pennplax help line won't be returning my call either.
I'm just going to walk away from this whole mess for a few days and pretend I can't hear all my friends asking me how the new tank is running .
Is there any threat to leaving standing water in an aquarium? There isn't any light comming in so hopefully algea won't grow.
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:35 PM   #7
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is there fish in there? is not should be fine. never had that filter so its hard to help. i always take things apart and try to reset it back up hoping i missed something the first time or 4th 5th some times in my case. call back tomorrow.
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:55 PM   #8
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Nope no fish. That is the troubling part. I'm so excited to finally get this tank up and running and the lack of filter really has me stopped. I'll try and forget about it for the day then get a screwdriver and see if I can't figure out how it works. failing that, I'll probably contact big al's and see if I cant get some store credit perhaps. Wish me luck!
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:01 PM   #9
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I have a cascade too. Had to pour water in it manually and although thankfully no grinding noise, it overflows back out the chamber over the vacuum stem as well as the waterfall. It works fine but you can definitely tell cascades are the cheaper end of the spectrum.
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:44 AM   #10
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Yeah, I suppose I should have expected trouble. The hose connections seem fine. I blow air through them and see the bubbles all comming into the tank. I just cant seem to get the flow started. I wonder if there isnt a small connector peice missing somewhere that is breaking the airflow from the motor to the tank. I'll cross my fingers and hope their customer service department returns my correspondance, but after that will try calling Big Al's to see if they will let me return it.
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:58 AM   #11
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The griding noise sounds like there is an issue with the impeller. Did you take the top off and pull out the impeller? Making sure it was installed properly? Sometimes they get knocked around during shipment. Be sure that the baskets are secured properly and that the top snaps easily. You shouldn't have any issues. I've only had the grinding issue when the impellar was knocked out of place. The initial setup takes a little bit to prime because you are pulling water into the tubes too. The next time you do this it won't be a big deal since the tubes will already be filled. Try that before returning.
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Old 04-20-2009, 01:45 PM   #12
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Thanks, I'll take the impeller out and see if it might have gotten loose. Because pushing the pump button does nothing, I'm thinking the connection isn't entirely secure somewhere.
In the instructions there was a step where I was supposed to stick a connector and rubber ring into the motor opening so it connects to the tube that runs through the baskets. It looked as if that connector was already assembled on my motor, but now I'm wondering if that connector peice just wasn't included in my box and that is why nothing is pumping. I dont know...
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:23 PM   #13
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No, the connector shouldn't be already assembled. It is a white hard plastic tube that has the black ring on it. It connects to the hole in the top basket. Do you have that or were you missing the small tube? I say small but it is the diameter of the hole in the basket and maybe 2" long.
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:32 PM   #14
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Aha! I knew it! No I certainly don't have that peice. There was a black rubber ring about an inch long that was already attached to the black motor. That ring on the motor fits fairly snuggly into the long white tube that runs the length of the canister (through all the baskets) but there is no 2" tube that connects those peices. That must be why there is no suction. Grr. Ok. I'm placing another call to the company that makes it. Thanks!
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:37 PM   #15
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Ok, wait a second. haha They have changed the design slightly. I don't have a tube that runs the length of the canisters. They must have replaced the small tube with the long one. Makes sense to do that though. Check the impellar. If it still doesn't work, contact the company because I'd be at a loss.
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:51 PM   #16
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Actually, you're right. I appologize. I've thinking about this so long I'm jumpting to conclusions. I don't have one long white tube either. each plastic basket has a few inches of tube built into it as once peice and when the four baskets are stacked together this creates one long tube.

Looking at the instructions online though, I notice I placed the black rubber ring on top of the mesh basket cover rather than underneith it. Perhaps that could be where the connection is failing. I hate to get my hopes up again, but at I'll fix that oversite when I get home tonight and let you know.
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Old 04-20-2009, 04:58 PM   #17
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Keep me posted. Like I said, once you do the initial prime, you won't have to do that again until you empty your tubes. Definitely check the impeller and the sealer.
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:10 PM   #18
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Pennplax didn't give the impression that they would ever be available so I tried Big Al's where I purchased it from. Before I got half of my problem out, the girl was already looking over the instructions for the Cascade 1200. I don't think I've ever experienced better customer service. She's mailing out the missing part express. I really hope that's the problem. She has never used a Cascade before but had plenty of experience with canisters so we'll see. Again, Big Al's is amazing.
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:53 PM   #19
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As far as starting the water fill, since you've definitely got a sealed system if you can blow in the intake and get bubbles at the exit tube, you should be able to suck on the exit tube to get the water flow started, and then it's physics, just like a siphon - the water should travel to the point of least resistance through the intake into the bottom of the tub, and when that fills completely, then the water should rise to the level of the tank in the exit tube. Why the pump feature isn't working is certainly strange, because no matter what, the physics of a siphon should apply!

So did you have a missing part after all? I would think even if you did, the tub would start filling on it's own, and the impeller sound would be a totally separate issue...
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Old 04-21-2009, 12:07 AM   #20
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I did try sucking on the end and getting the flow moving. It worked (yay physics!) but seems to only fill up the top motor part of the filter. In other words the part where the baskets go remains dry. I'm hoping only that top motor part is meant to fill until you turn on the power and then the impeller will move the water into the lower chambers and back out the exhaust. Otherwise I guess this is just one of several problems I have in front of me.
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