Holy crap! Emergency help!

Discussion in 'Reef Fishes' started by d2mini, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. d2mini

    d2mini VIP Member

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    WOW, so i just got home this afternoon after being away for a long weekend and about 5 minutes ago my tank starts overflowing just as we were about to go out to dinner! I pulled the plug on the return pump and let the water settle back down into the sump. I plugged the pump back in and seems like I have restricted flow in the line that runs from my overflow to my sump. The opening of my overflow standpipe is wide open. And the bottom portion of the line under my cabinet is clear and fully open. I have a feeling the clog might be at the base of the standpipe. Should i just get a snake and feed it up from under the cabinet? And how long will everything be ok with just the powerhead's running? I have one Tunze, two K1's and two K2's.
    Damn! I'm so lucky this happened when it did. Especially with my auto top off just feeding it more water! :shock:
     
    d2mini, Mar 30, 2009
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  2. d2mini

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Sure there's no large turbo stuck in there? I would think it should be ok to feed a snake through there, as long as it's clean.
     
    wontonflip, Mar 30, 2009
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  3. d2mini

    d2mini VIP Member

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    I have no idea what's stuck in there. I can't see inside the standpipe or behind the tank. All i know is both ends are free and clear. And about half of the water is getting through.
     
    d2mini, Mar 30, 2009
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  4. d2mini

    Oscarsdad608

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    I have had to hook the return pump up to the drain pipe because I had a turbo die in mine. If that is what happened to you the clothes hanger wouldn't work because I couldn't push it back over the down turn.
     
    Oscarsdad608, Mar 30, 2009
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  5. d2mini

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    If the snakes clean,it wont hurt anything.Probably a snail in there.
    I think it'd be alright untill you get back from dinner.But I'd try to fix it before bedtime.
     
    yote, Mar 30, 2009
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  6. d2mini

    d2mini VIP Member

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    well I skipped dinner but even the home depot that stays open later closed a half hour ago. So i came home and removed the standpipe. That was clear but flow still seemed slow. Then all of a sudden it seemed to start flowing normal. I can't figure out what's going on. Something is or was in the one little section of pipe that goes out the back of my tank at the very bottom, 90 degree elbow and then several inches of pipe and a gate valve before it becomes clear tubing under my cabinet. At the moment it seems to be clear. Have to wait till tomorrow to get the snake to make sure. Worse comes to worse i can adjust the flow of my return pump with the gate valve so I at least have some flow.
    To be continued...

    Oh, and I would have been screwed if I wasn't home to catch this!!!
    Anything I can do to prevent this kind of thing in the future? This is the first time I've used a standpipe, I think I'm gonna ditch it. Last time I had the hole at the bottom of the overflow but right above it was a piece of eggcrate plastic like we use for frag racks. I might just do that again. Seems like less pipe to have a chance of clogging.
     
    d2mini, Mar 30, 2009
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  7. d2mini

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    I always do the scooping out method....I have my tank set up so if either the u-tube or the return pump fail, nothing till flood. Cut the return power off, and see how much water flows back into the sump...as it rises, start scooping out water until the backflow stops (make sure your return isn't sucking water back down the tube!). mark your max water level.

    Then, turn the return back on, and cut the u-tube (or whatever you're using for your intake). the amount that the return puts back into the main tank should only be enough so that your main tank doesn't overflow. So if you have this problem again, you may break your return pump from drying out in the sump, but at least you won't have a flood.

    My water line in my main tank is actually 1/2 in below the trim. Doesn't look as pretty to see the water line, but at least I know I won't have a flood.
     
    wontonflip, Mar 30, 2009
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  8. d2mini

    sen5241b

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    I travel all the time (I'm in Austin right now, I live in Virginia). Never make any big changes to the system or do a water change right before you leave town. Let the system run --as though you were gone-- for at least 2 days before you leave on a trip.
     
    sen5241b, Mar 30, 2009
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  9. d2mini

    acerhigh just a reefer

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    do you see a snail in your overflow box? as stated that is the most common cause of a restricted overflow..... make sure your box is clean..... (no snails) get some gutter guard and put it around the top of the box...... this will stop any snails or critters from getting into your overflow and will not restrict the flow of water into the box... just make sure you check the gutter guard every week or so and remove it and clean it as necessary.
     
    acerhigh, Mar 30, 2009
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  10. d2mini

    d2mini VIP Member

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    I'm not sure I understand.
    My sump is definitely set up so that if water backs up into it from the main tank, the sump won't overflow.
    But if my overflow clogs, the return pump will keep pumping water into the main tank. And then as the water level drops in my sump, my ATO starts pumping more water into the sump. I need the ATO in order to go away for more than two days.
     
    d2mini, Mar 30, 2009
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  11. d2mini

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Yeah, that does present a dellimma Guess there's no way around that. The scoop out method definitely only works if you don't have an ATO.

    Gives me an idea for my upcoming 125g project though :) Since we're building the cabinet, maybe I can have the cabinet's surface be a little wider around the tank, I can create a small drain in into a tub in case I have overflow from the main tank. Cuz I'm also going to have an ATO.

    Sorry, hijacked....hehehe. But yeah, i guess unless you have a way to get the excess water out of the tank automatically, you will have a flood. Bummer.
     
    wontonflip, Mar 30, 2009
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  12. d2mini

    project5k

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    well, welcome to austin, thats where i work every day.. isnt the traffic fun?!

    anyway, i had a similar issue, and did turn out to be a snail in the tubing going from the overflow down to the sump.. fortunately i didnt have major issues, just got him out, put him back in the tank, and havent had a problem since. I did just pick up a sheet of the eggcrate light diffuser stuff this weekend, a part of that is going to find a home in my overflow box so this can't happen again...
     
    project5k, Mar 30, 2009
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  13. d2mini

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Actually, my husband had a great idea, if it were doable... why not add a 2nd ato switch at the top of the tank (if you have room between the waterline and the top of the tank) and have it shut off the ato for the sump? Connect it to a powerstrip where the sump ato is maybe. Dunno. Sounds simpler.
     
    wontonflip, Mar 30, 2009
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  14. d2mini

    project5k

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    well that is defintely a thought.. an extra layer of protection against the overflowing.. one thing to think about, is that is another step of complication, and if it were to fail, your ato wouldnt activate, and thus your water level would drop..

    i guess its something you gotta weigh out the pro's and con's on and see which is better.. but its definately a neat idea...
     
    project5k, Mar 30, 2009
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  15. d2mini

    d2mini VIP Member

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    Yes, the extra ato switch for the tank to control the return pump was my only idea.
    It would have to be an extra ato, not the same one that is filling my sump.
    The one in my sump uses two switches, one is mounted a little higher than the other so if the first one fails, the second one will take over.
     
    d2mini, Mar 30, 2009
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  16. d2mini

    project5k

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    what, and or where, are you getting these switches, i was wanting to mess around with one of them and see if i could adapt it to something i wanna try....
     
    project5k, Mar 30, 2009
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  17. d2mini

    d2mini VIP Member

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    I got mine here because it's all plug and play and I had no prior experience with anything like this.
    http://autotopoff.com/
     
    d2mini, Mar 30, 2009
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  18. d2mini

    project5k

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    ahhh ok, i get it, ok, well i can build that cheaper than i can buy it... all it is is a floaty, magnet, and some reed switches, relay and stuff i have all laying round...

    sounds like another project! ehehhehe
     
    project5k, Mar 30, 2009
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