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  #1  
Old 01/09/2008, 09:15 AM
webster.nano webster.nano is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 10
Water level in back chambers?

I got some new, dense (100 um) filter floss from the LFS
a couple of days ago and are having problems stabilizing
my water levels.

I am running a Biocube 14 with
live rock chunks & heater in chamber 1 (rightmost, where the
overflow from the tank enters)
live rock chunks, chaeto, carbon in bag and the filter floss
on top of eggcrate holder in chamber 2 (going from the bottom and up)
MaxiJet 600 return pump in chamber 3.

Since I am running the 2nd chamber as a refuge with chaeto,
I have elevated the water levels in chambers 2 & 3 way past
the regular Biocube Max line (s.t. the chaeto is mostly submerged).

To be able to read off the water level easily, I put in a
styrofoam float with a scale attached to it that is
visible from the Biocube water level indicator window.

The problem I am experiencing is that the water level
in chamber 3 is decreasing considerably as time goes by,
several inches in 2 days, mostly due to the flow
through the filter floss being more restricted as time goes by.

If I lift a corner of the floss up s.t. the water can flow more freely,
the water level increases immediately in chambers 2 & 3,
then comes back down when I put the floss back on the egg crate.

This makes it HARD to gauge if the water level has dropped
due to evaporation or due to the diminished flow!

I managed to mess up my salinity level by adding way to
much RO water thinking that a lot of water had evaporated
when it actually hadn't, just the level in chamber 3 had dropped
due to the above phenomenon.

Should I stop using the 100 um floss and go back to the
less dense floss material?

How do other nano cube reefers with chaeto in the back
chambers keep their water level and salinity constant?
__________________
Martin
  #2  
Old 01/09/2008, 09:23 AM
dileggi dileggi is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: S. Philly PA
Posts: 388
Hi Martin,

I'm running the BC 29 and had the same problem with the filter floss. If you would prefer to try and continue 100 um filter floss, try sliding the filter floss back some towards the chamber behind it..the sump chamber. I had my filter floss flush against the first and second chamber and was having the flow issues as well. I moved the floss about 2-3 inches away from the first wall and it seemed to greatly increase the flow for me.

Good luck!
__________________
Eric
2 green chromis
2 false perc/tr
Indigo Dotty/tr
2 button polyp
gsp
candy cane
zoa
ricordia rock
open brain
5 turbos
5 hermits
30 lb ls / 27lb lr
  #3  
Old 01/09/2008, 09:29 AM
mathias999us mathias999us is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Forest Lake, MN
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Hi webster.nano, and welcome.

Couple things come to mind here. I would probably try to arrange it so that the filter floss is the very first thing the water passes through after going through the overflow. This should help prevent things from settling in the bottom of your filter chambers. I think it will address your flow restriction problem too. Also, you should plan on replacing your filter floss very regularly - at least once per week at the minimum, more if possible.

Also, it sounds like your Chaeto is underneath a bag of carbon? How are you getting light to your chaeto?

As far as keeping the water level and salinity constant, your best bet will be an auto top off. I find these systems invaluable to a nano tank. It keeps the tank very stable, and makes the maintenance a lot easier too. Once you use one, you'll never go back.
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Mathias

Hofstadter's Law -
It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.
  #4  
Old 01/09/2008, 01:45 PM
webster.nano webster.nano is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 10
Clarifications

Hi Eric and Mathias,

Just to clarify where my filter floss is,
the water in my BC 14 flows into the 1st chamber from the tank
(rightmost) through slits at the top and towards the bottom
of that chamber.

It then overflows over an edge to the 2nd chamber,
and the first thing it hits is the horizontally placed
filter floss, sitting on top of a horizontal egg crate piece.

Eric, could you explain a bit more how you had your filter floss
and how you moved it 2-3 inches.
If I move mine 2-3 inches to the left, water will just flow through
the "hole" created, straight through the egg crate that isn't covered by the floss, straight onto the carbon
bag and chaeto.


Mathias, I thought the desciption you outlined
"arrange it so that the filter floss is the very first thing the water passes through after going through the overflow"
is exactly as I have it. I have been replacing every 3-7 days.

The chaeto is lit by two fluorescent pucks attached to
a wodden frame that attaches to the back of the tank.
The black paint has been scraped from the back side of the
tank where chamber 2 is so the light shines it from the back
(not from the top).

Regarding the auto top off, as I understand it, it would use
a float switch somewhere.
But with my water level in chambers 2 & 3 varying so much,
how would this work?
If the floss starts to restrict the flow, and chamber 3 level drops
by 2 inches, won't the auto top off pump 2 inches of RO water
into chamber 3, essentailly diluting my water and changing the salinity? It's not that I lost 2 inches due to evaporation.

Please help, I thought this water level stuff is supposed to be simple by either I am doing something wrong or I am seriously confused.
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Martin
  #5  
Old 01/09/2008, 01:49 PM
mathias999us mathias999us is offline
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Location: Forest Lake, MN
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It should be simple... you're right.

Sounds like the filter floss is basically the first thing, and you just aren't using chamber 1 at all? When the level in 3 drops down because the floss is restrictive, where is the backup water collecting, in chamber 1?
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Mathias

Hofstadter's Law -
It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.
  #6  
Old 01/09/2008, 02:57 PM
mokujin22 mokujin22 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Rockville, MD
Posts: 212
I am about to setup a BC8 in my office with the same setup. As I had acquired it used, it was a bit funky when I got it. I ran the thing for a week with diluted vinegar and put the filter floss in the same location that you have it.

At first, I used too think a chuck of floss and this hampered flow considerably. I then used an thinner piece and got more consistent results. I cannot remember if it was here or on nanoreefs, but remember another BC user with the same issue. Try using a thinner/smaller chunk of floss and change it often.

Definitely gonna go with the auto topoff in chamber 3.. they're money!

Good luck.
__________________
26 gallon bowfront sps: 10 gal sump/fuge w/ MAG 5 return on SQWD, SEIO 820, 2 MJ900s and MJ600 on wavetimer, CPR HOB skimmer, Aquamedic 250W 15K MH, URI 18" VHO x2
  #7  
Old 01/09/2008, 04:10 PM
dileggi dileggi is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: S. Philly PA
Posts: 388
Re: Clarifications

Quote:
Originally posted by webster.nano
Hi Eric and Mathias,

Just to clarify where my filter floss is,
the water in my BC 14 flows into the 1st chamber from the tank
(rightmost) through slits at the top and towards the bottom
of that chamber.

It then overflows over an edge to the 2nd chamber,
and the first thing it hits is the horizontally placed
filter floss, sitting on top of a horizontal egg crate piece.

Eric, could you explain a bit more how you had your filter floss
and how you moved it 2-3 inches.
If I move mine 2-3 inches to the left, water will just flow through
the "hole" created, straight through the egg crate that isn't covered by the floss, straight onto the carbon
bag and chaeto.


Mathias, I thought the desciption you outlined
"arrange it so that the filter floss is the very first thing the water passes through after going through the overflow"
is exactly as I have it. I have been replacing every 3-7 days.

The chaeto is lit by two fluorescent pucks attached to
a wodden frame that attaches to the back of the tank.
The black paint has been scraped from the back side of the
tank where chamber 2 is so the light shines it from the back
(not from the top).

Regarding the auto top off, as I understand it, it would use
a float switch somewhere.
But with my water level in chambers 2 & 3 varying so much,
how would this work?
If the floss starts to restrict the flow, and chamber 3 level drops
by 2 inches, won't the auto top off pump 2 inches of RO water
into chamber 3, essentailly diluting my water and changing the salinity? It's not that I lost 2 inches due to evaporation.

Please help, I thought this water level stuff is supposed to be simple by either I am doing something wrong or I am seriously confused.
Hey Martin:
My water enters through the first chamber...chamber to the far right. It goes thru my protein skimmer and filter pad. It also overflows into the second chamber. I have the filter floss sitting on top of the second chamber. My filter floss sits on top of the black cover to that chamber. I did not remove the original black cover. I had my filter floss sitting on the overflow tray right up against where that water was overflowing from chamber 1. What I basically did was moved the floss 2-3 inches away from the overflow. While in front of the tank, I basically moved it 2-3 inches to the left, closer to chamber 3. The water still goes thru my filter floss because I'm using the overflow tray and not egg crate. My media bags...carbon & phosban, are at the bottom of the 3rd chamber.
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Eric
2 green chromis
2 false perc/tr
Indigo Dotty/tr
2 button polyp
gsp
candy cane
zoa
ricordia rock
open brain
5 turbos
5 hermits
30 lb ls / 27lb lr
  #8  
Old 01/09/2008, 10:54 PM
webster.nano webster.nano is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 10
Thanks for all your feedback!

Thanks for all your feedback!

Mathias,
you are right.
Chamber 1 is filled up a couple of millimeters
above the overflow edge to chamber 1.
I believe that when the floss starts to fill up
with gunk and restrict flow, the backup water
is collected at the full surface of the tank
(since tanks 2 & 3 are connected at the bottom,
their level is essentially the same. If their level drops
2 inches, this must mean chamber 1 level which is the same
as the main tank level must rise somewhat).
I should put a water level mark on the outside of my tank and see if I can verify this.


mokujin22,
I think you are right too!
I wasn't experiencing this problem when I was running
a different, less dense floss.
If I can get the water level stable, I will definitely look into auto topoff!


dileggi,
I think you are educating me!
My Biocube only came with an eggcrate near the top
of chamber 2, no black cover !
Since you use the black cover, which I assume has some
small holes in it, water spilling onto this doesn't just run through,
but spreads and flows through the floss too.
(some of the water flow does miss the floss though,
but this is probably not a big deal, it will flow through the floss again on a subsequent pass through the chambers...).
Now I understand how your setup works.

My Biocube came with some kind of black cover plate that
goes towards the bottom of chamber 2, roughly 1-2" above
the bottom of the aquarium.
I put live rock chunks under this one, and this cover plate over the
live rock chunks and the chaeto on top of this plate.
Maybe I should just move this plate up
and place it where I have the egg crate??? (and move the eggcrate down to support the chaeto)?
__________________
Martin
  #9  
Old 01/09/2008, 11:04 PM
dileggi dileggi is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: S. Philly PA
Posts: 388
hey Martin, I'm not sure about moving that plate up. I am still using the bio balls in chamber two. No LR or LR rubble, cheato etc. At least not yet because I haven't figured out a way of getting light to that chamber for the cheato.

I'm wondering that if you move that bottom plate up, will it restrict your cheato from getting enough light?

Also, I wasn't even aware that the BC's could differ. You're educating me as well. My overflow tray that came with mine, basically looks more like a vent with small slits in it. So, yes, by me moving the filter floss a little further away from the overflow, all the water is not passing through the filter floss, at least not on first pass. But, my thought was that it was at least going thru the skimmer, filter pad, filter floss and then sponge in bottom of sump before returning to tank. I was kind of hoping that there wouldn't be a big problem by moving the floss. It's only been about two weeks since I've moved it and haven't noticed any change yet nor a difference in my water parameters.
__________________
Eric
2 green chromis
2 false perc/tr
Indigo Dotty/tr
2 button polyp
gsp
candy cane
zoa
ricordia rock
open brain
5 turbos
5 hermits
30 lb ls / 27lb lr
  #10  
Old 01/10/2008, 02:09 AM
coast2coast7390 coast2coast7390 is offline
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