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Thread: Overflow and return section of sump empty

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    Registered User Oberst Hajj's Avatar

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    Overflow and return section of sump empty

    Sometime over night something happened in my system that caused the return section of my sump to go low enough for the pump not to push enough water back up into the tank.
    (no water was going over the baffle from the sump to the return section). When I noticed this I turned the pump and skimmer off and a small amount of water drained back into the return section. I'm assuming that is from the return pipes going back up to the tank.

    I also noticed that the overflow area is completely empty (normally just drains down to the two drain pipe levels (a Herbie system). The bottom of my stand had about 2 gallons of water in it and there is some water in the crawlspace below my tank. The floor around and under my tank is completely dry however. There was some evidence of water on top of the doors to my stand, but only a couple of drops.

    Any thoughts on what could cause my overflow area and return section to empty, but nothing else in my system?

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    Registered User Oberst Hajj's Avatar

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    I just tried adding some water to the overflow area and it started leaking up around the bottom of the tanks frame.

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    Senior Member Kirblit's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oberst Hajj View Post
    I just tried adding some water to the overflow area and it started leaking up around the bottom of the tanks frame.
    I doubt it's from the frame itself or the tank would prob drain too. Check the bulk heads on the bottom of the tank in the overflow. My guess is water leaking there, running down the outside of the overflow pipe, and then dripping off that pipe outside your sump.

    Edit, just saw you said leaking "up" from around the frame. I hope this isn't the case because that tank is about to fail if it is. Hopefully it S running down to it from above.

    Do you have an external overflow box or an internal standard tall one?

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    Registered User Oberst Hajj's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirblit View Post
    I doubt it's from the frame itself or the tank would prob drain too. Check the bulk heads on the bottom of the tank in the overflow. My guess is water leaking there, running down the outside of the overflow pipe, and then dripping off that pipe outside your sump.

    Edit, just saw you said leaking "up" from around the frame. I hope this isn't the case because that tank is about to fail if it is. Hopefully it S running down to it from above.

    Do you have an external overflow box or an internal standard tall one?

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    Thanks for the reply Kirblit.

    It is not leaking from the bulkheads. The bulkheads are up high as you can see in this photo (the overflow section is the reflective area in the middle of the tank):






    You can see the water leaking out of the bottom frame on the right hand side.






    It is coming over the frame in a couple of places. What is interesting is that with the display part of the tank empty, the overflow area does not leak. It only leaks when there is some water in the display area as well. I can only assume that the pressure for the display water cause a small leak to open up in the overflow area.

    I was able to break the tank down and get all the fish and corals moved over to a 20 gallon I setup real quick. The rest of the water, live rock and sand are in a 32g Brute trash can an a couple of 5 gallon buckets. The fish and coral should be fine but I need to get a heater and some flow in the Brute still.

    Now, can this be repaired if it is "just" the bottom seam, or do I need to get a whole new tank?

  6. #5
    Senior Member Kirblit's Avatar

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    Glad you had somewhere to put everything! If it was me I would replace the tank and not have to worry about it. You could prob remove all the silicone from the bead inside and redo it if you really wanted to try it. If that bead ever failed again though you would spring a leak again. Once the tank leaks through the bead that is the structural bead that actually holds the panes of glass together you really need to tear that whole pane off and redo everything to do it right. There is obviously a pretty good gap opened up there in the structual bead to make it leak that bad. Looks like a 60 cube? For the price I would pay for the piece of mind.

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    http://www.thescmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=228

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  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirblit View Post
    Glad you had somewhere to put everything! If it was me I would replace the tank and not have to worry about it. You could prob remove all the silicone from the bead inside and redo it if you really wanted to try it. If that bead ever failed again though you would spring a leak again. Once the tank leaks through the bead that is the structural bead that actually holds the panes of glass together you really need to tear that whole pane off and redo everything to do it right. There is obviously a pretty good gap opened up there in the structual bead to make it leak that bad. Looks like a 60 cube? For the price I would pay for the piece of mind.

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    I agree with Kirby, except I would strip all of the silicone and reseal everything (depending on the condition of the tank). Don't get me wrong, this is a crappy project and a lot of elbow grease, but that tank would cost 30 bucks for silicone and a 50 pack of razors. Too easy!

    If your able to dedicate a whole day to prep work and dismantling the tank. A few hours of sealing and a 5 day wait time and you have a brand new tank.

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  10. #7
    Registered User Oberst Hajj's Avatar

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    Assuming I decide to try and repair this tank, I'd want to re-do all of the seals. So how would you go about removing all of the sealant but keeping the tank held together and everything square?

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    Senior Member Kirblit's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by static reef View Post
    I agree with Kirby, except I would strip all of the silicone and reseal everything (depending on the condition of the tank). Don't get me wrong, this is a crappy project and a lot of elbow grease, but that tank would cost 30 bucks for silicone and a 50 pack of razors. Too easy!

    If your able to dedicate a whole day to prep work and dismantling the tank. A few hours of sealing and a 5 day wait time and you have a brand new tank.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    I agree with JJ that this is a perfectly good option and not that hard to do and would 100% stop the leak if done properly. Plenty of people do this to old tanks that have damage to the exposed bead of silicone on the inside of the tank. However, I do want to point out the reason I recommend getting a new tank or truly rebuilding the joint on that pane of the tank instead.

    Myself being overly an:al, after analyzing the whole picture of what is going on leads me to be overly cautious. The actual leak part itself is the real red flag for me. People that redo the silicone on an old tank do it mainly for prophylactic and aesthetic reasons. When they redo it they scrape all the silicone inside that form the 'wedge' bead on the inside between the sides of the two panes of glass where they meet. In all reality you could remove a majority of that silicone and never even put it back and the tank should never leak. It would be compromised somewhat structurally but it would prob be fine. The reason that this is possible is because the silicone that is truly between the panes of glass where they butt together at their ends make the main seal and structure of the tank (with the frame being the backbone).

    The fact that the tank is actively leaking, and that it's not a small leak either, tells me this main structural seam is compromised and has separated from the glass. Unless this seam is repaired it will likely separate more over time with stress from water pressure. The inside 'wedge' bead of silicone could get damaged in the future and the leak could be even worse. With all this being said, repairing the inside 'wedge' bead will work just fine and the tank could be good forever. I just wanted to give all the details on why I say start with a new tank if you can. I know what 50+ gallons of water look like on the floor and it's not pretty!

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    Last edited by Kirblit; 12-10-2017 at 11:22 PM.
    Kirby

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    http://www.thescmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=228

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    Don't counter my counter with a well written BOOK! Agree with all (again).

    Water on the floor is never a good thing. Because it busteed a seal at the bottom, my best gemuess is that it was a bad seal job, a constant awkward pressure from the stand or tank not being level, a poor initial seal, a warped pane of glass, or a protrusion in the bottom frame. Either way, I will stick to my guns and recommend a reseal the tank with an extremely in depth analysis of the glass.

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  13. #10
    Registered User Oberst Hajj's Avatar

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    One of the concerns about repairing I have (beside the worry of rather or not it is going to hold long term) is where it is leaking from....



    There is only about a two inches at the widest point of the overflow. So there is no way I can get down there to do any work with out taking the whole overflow off the back glass. From what I've read, you can't really just silicon plastic to glass. So how would I get the overflow reattached to the back glass after doing the repair.

    Also, would I not want to redo all of the seams? Is there not a chance for the new silicon not to make a good bond with/over the old where the other two sides meet up?

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    I have a 60 gal cube if. You need a different one. It’s reef ready and we can definitely work out the deal if you just need the tank

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    Registered User Oberst Hajj's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by moerena View Post
    I have a 60 gal cube if. You need a different one. It’s reef ready and we can definitely work out the deal if you just need the tank
    I am at least interested in getting the details on it. Where is the overflow located and is it framed or rimless? Thanks.

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    Silicone does not bond with silicone. In other words, the entire tank has to come apart. Then you have to strip all the old silicone off with razor blades. After silicone removal, you need to clean the glass with rubbing alcohol. Then apply new silicone to the outside edge of the bottom glass and smush the outside edge together utilizing clamps via jigs inside. You can do a few sides together at a time or individually. Lastly, tape off your edges and seal the interior. Piece of cake right?

    *If you decide to do this, make sure you are working in a well ventilated area. The silicone is extremely potent and toxic.

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    Senior Member Kirblit's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oberst Hajj View Post
    One of the concerns about repairing I have (beside the worry of rather or not it is going to hold long term) is where it is leaking from....



    There is only about a two inches at the widest point of the overflow. So there is no way I can get down there to do any work with out taking the whole overflow off the back glass. From what I've read, you can't really just silicon plastic to glass. So how would I get the overflow reattached to the back glass after doing the repair.

    Also, would I not want to redo all of the seams? Is there not a chance for the new silicon not to make a good bond with/over the old where the other two sides meet up?
    Yea silicone doesn't like to stick to plastic in a structural sense but it will hold the overflow to the glass to make a seal. Structually it's not a good idea but for overflows that's what the factory uses as well. There are two slightly different silicones for it though. You want silicone 'adhesive' not sealant. They are slightly different; Sealant is more like an rtv silicone gasket if you know what that is.

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    http://www.thescmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=228

  18. #15
    Registered User Oberst Hajj's Avatar

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    Right now I think I'm leaning towards getting another tank and trying to repair this one a little later on. We are still not completely setup in the new house and I've got other projects that I should be working on. Throw in Christmas and things are tight both money and time wise right now

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    It is center overflow, reef ready and it is framed with a screen top.

  20. #17
    Registered User Oberst Hajj's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by moerena View Post
    It is center overflow, reef ready and it is framed with a screen top.
    Thanks. I'm very interested in it. Where are you located at? Can you email me details at bkupton AT Comcast.net please?

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