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View Full Version : What would you do? Advice


BIGD0G
02/05/2015, 05:08 PM
I have a 180 gallon mixed reef tank that has been up and running now for about 18 months. All is good with the livestock and corals are doing well. The problem is the return pump.

I have just noticed yesterday that the pump does not start up immediately when powered up by the Apex at the end of a feed cycle like it is supposed to. When powered on at first it does nothing then after about 2 minutes it will start up. Once running the pump runs fine and maintains the correct flow. It is that is has become slow/hard to start. I have a new pump on order that will be here Friday. The exact model currently in use was not longer available so I had to go with one the generates about 30% more flow.

Here is the problem. I am scheduled to leave for vacation on Saturday for a week. I hate to swap out the pump right before leaving especially one with more flow.

It seems I have 3 options:

1. Leave the current pump in place and hope it restarts while gone. The issue could have been gong on for weeks or months even I just noticed it yesterday. My fear is it does not start and burns up starting a fire.

2. Replace the pump with the new one and hope to get the flow dialed in quickly for the dual drain lines. I use gate valves on the drains to control the flow. I do have 2 additional emergency drains that or normally dry so worst case the emergencies drip if the flow is off a bit. Neither of the emergencies have valves so they are full flow to the sump. The other issue is not being home if the new pump fittings leak. Additionally there is the concern that I am putting in a new untested piece of equipment and what if it dies immediately.

3. Change the Apex so that it does not turn off the existing pump and just let the automatic feeder feed the tank with the return running? I only have 2 clowns, two royal grammas and a gobie/pistol shrimp pair in the tank for livestock. The clowns and grammas do catch food if I drop some food in the tank with the pumps running. I am thinking if going this route instead of feeding them once a day I would feed twice a day since they would need to catch the food on the run.

I am now thinking option 3 is the best.

Thoughts? What would you do in this situation? Is there another option I am missing?

Thanks for any and all help/advice.

username in use
02/05/2015, 06:02 PM
I would put the new pump on. Also, for controlling the flow, it is much better to put a valve on the output of the pump instead of the drain lines.

OrQidz
02/05/2015, 06:13 PM
I would think of worst case scenarios and not do those. #1 sounds like the worst case. #2 could result in flooding if the pumps don't work right? so that's bad too #3 I think all the fish would be fine for a week with a possible decrease in food. I would go with that option, as long as the pump is fine while running.
Can you have someone pop in and just look at the tank and make sure it's ok while you're gone?

BIGD0G
02/05/2015, 07:44 PM
I would think of worst case scenarios and not do those. #1 sounds like the worst case. #2 could result in flooding if the pumps don't work right? so that's bad too #3 I think all the fish would be fine for a week with a possible decrease in food. I would go with that option, as long as the pump is fine while running.
Can you have someone pop in and just look at the tank and make sure it's ok while you're gone?

OrQidz your logic is inline with my thoughts and why I am thinking about option 3 as the best. Yes the pump runs fine once it starts and pumps hard never showing any signs of an issue. Yes I do have a tank sitter that will be able to stop in each afternoon to check on the tank and the pump. I also have a float switch in the sump that will alert me if the pump does stop running when it is powered on. In this case I could remotely connect to the Apex and shut off the power to the pump as well.

I also have webcams so I will be able to monitor the DT and sump visually.

Thanks for the replies and validating my logic.

Anyone else have any words of wisdom on the situation?

sticky polyps
02/05/2015, 07:53 PM
if it were me, I would do #3..

JoelA7
02/06/2015, 12:54 AM
Another vote for option 3. Feed light no problem with that stock for a week.

BIGD0G
02/06/2015, 06:44 AM
Thanks for the responses and validating my thoughts on this. I agree option 3 is the best route and with move forward in that direction.

username in use
02/06/2015, 06:58 AM
For what it's worth, working on pool pumps for the last 15 years (I know, not the same, but there are a lot of similarities), when the delayed start begins to happen like you are describing, sometimes the pump will just give out soon after and stop, even when it was on.

I would replace the pump and leave all the drains wide open while you are gone and not worry about the pump.

chaetopreto
02/06/2015, 05:46 PM
Have you a live foods option? live foods don't foul your system and many of them are able to hide for a time from predators.In my experience when pumps behave in that fashion it is,as stated above an indication that the pump is about to stop.Better not to depend on a defective instrument

BIGD0G
02/06/2015, 07:03 PM
Well in the end I put the new pump on. It arrived first thing this morning so with the valid concerns of it dying while running I decided to swap it out. The thing that pushed me over the edge on changing it was the heaters in the sump. I realized that if it failed I would be alerted by the high water in sump float switch and while I could turn it off no problem I would not have any heat in the tank. The powerheads would have provided enough flow to keep the tank alive but with no heat I would have a real issue.

Because of this I decided to swap out the pumps. I figured I would have 24 hours to watch it before leaving so made the change. I was able to get it dialed in fine.

This whole exercise has made me realize I need to reevaluate the heaters only in the sump. May put an emergency one in the DT that I could turn on via the APEX if needed. Will look at that once I return.

Thanks for all the help and advice. I really appreciate it.

tkeracer619
02/06/2015, 07:10 PM
Stop using a feed cycle unless you are dosing something that needs to sit in the water column for a long time.

I've never turned off a return pump to feed. Always seemed silly unless you are trying to feed sps. A bit of food in the sump is nothing to be concerned about.

If you are using an auto feeder use a feeding ring to keep the food in place until it sinks.

OrQidz
02/06/2015, 10:44 PM
Hope it's all working out fine - now go enjoy your vacation! :)