Habitat - Indoor :: My basement flood story

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Sat May 20, 2017 12:29 am   My basement flood story

So, this is the story of coming home to 50 or 60 gallons of aquarium water in my basement. The house is old. The basement floor has settled, so of course my drain is in a high spot.

Four or five years ago, when I posted a description of my setup with a 55 gallon tank with an overflow into a 55 gallon tank converted into a sump, someone predicted I'd regret the overflow and would come home to a flood.

Thus far they're still wrong.

So, like many of us, I started with a "turtle kit" 20 gallon long that consisted of a tetra filter corner rock and filling the tank less than half full. I found this forum, found out how wrong that was and converted it to a fullly filled 20 gallon with an ABTA and a Fluval 304.

The next upgrade was a 55 gallon during the dollar a gallon sale, but I didn't get a stand. I figured I'd watch Craigslist. I found a cheap stand that came with a 55 gallon tank. I said I just wanted the stand. They insisted I take the tank too. So, after failing to give it away to my son's friend who raised snakes, I converted it into a sump/refugium and upgraded to a Fluval 404.

At the time, one or two here warned about the dangers of an overflow. I figured, it's in the basement, so no worries.

A later upgrade converted the Fluval 404 to an FX6, but Tobie's growth meant that the nearly 90 gallons of water volume wasn't quite enough to make water changing something I could ignore every week.

Last summer I scored a Craigslist 150 gallon tank and stand. I was done: large tank, overflow to 55 gallon refugium with tons of media and plants, and a FX6. All I really needed was a larger ABTA, but what I had would suffice.

I was finally done.

I'd had occasional issues getting the FX6 running again after cleanings, but nothing serious.

Unfortunately, a few months ago, after cleaning, I had some media caught in the impeller and the motor died. Just after the warranty had run out. I considered buying a new motor, but thought about all the issues I'd had with starting I the past and decided to try something else.

I bought a very large SunSun, knowing it's more cheaply made then the Fluval, but I figured "What the heck!" Well, actually, that's a bit of a lie. I'm a nerd who reads and researches all this aquarium chemistry stuff and I'd heard about fluidized sand beds. One of the "benefits" is that they can promote denitrifying bacteria. Cool. I wanted one.

Unfortunately, theFX6 ribbed tubing wouldn't allow for plumbing a fluidized sand bed in-line. A SunSun would. So, a SunSun I ordered.

I wasn't worried about not having a canister filter for the delivery time because my refugium had the biocpapcity to handle the bioload.

And, no, this long story isn't one of a cheap filter leaking all over my basement.

For the price, the SunSun is a decent filter. It's certainly not as well built as a Fluval, and with the fluidized sand bed inline, I have more problems starting it than I did with my FX6. But, I'm happy with it, and I do feel the fluidized sand bed cuts down on nitrates a bit. Not significantly, but I think there's a difference. Besides, it looks cool.

The tubing, however, does not. My return for the fluidized sand bed is nothing more than a series of vinyl tubes with connectors.

The FX6 has impressive intakes and returns that clamp securely on to the sides. Even my sump return is a solid plastic piece with a directional nozzle. The fluidized sand bed is just tubing with plastic angles holding it together.

That's worked fine for almost a year. Until earlier this week, when while I was at work Tobie shifted the angle on it just enough that half of it was spraying out.

I came home to an odd noise in the basement. The sump return pump was running dry as was the SunSun. Luckily, the SunSun intake was cheap plastic sections that let in air as the water level dropped. I'd only lost about 1/3 of the 155 gallon before it sucked in so much air that it stopped siphoning.

After mopping up the basement, both the sump pump and the SunSun pump were fine. It can't have been too long because my water tests are good.

I've yet to redesign the return, but that's coming soon.

Years in and I've still had no issues with the overflow.
Tobi a RES born in 2012
1 dog, 1 teenager, 3 aquariums filled with fish, snails, shrimp and a bit of algae
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Post Posted: Sat May 20, 2017 1:56 am   Re: My basement flood story

Sorry to hear about the flood! I hope the damage was minimal. I used to have issues with my RES going after the filter nozzles, but fortunately they have lost interest. I have to admit, if they wanted to do damage, I would face a mess too. How will you address the nozzle situation?
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Post Posted: Sat May 20, 2017 9:05 pm   Re: My basement flood story

Had my lesson about 14 years ago in my living room. Ever since my return is 4-5" above water surface and over secured just in case Piggley has some dolphin in him.
NOTE : this is in a stock tank !
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Post Posted: Sun May 21, 2017 1:45 pm   Re: My basement flood story

Another thing I like about stock tanks... not a big deal to modify!
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