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Setting up Questions


Its taken me a year since first starting to buy the equipment before i got to the point where i thought i was ready to take the dive and actually get the first water cycle started. I finally did that last week and have since realised how much more i need to understand! Thats not to say i wasn't expecting to have to learn more, just that its somewhat disappointing having carefully prepared for so long!

Anyway, i have an eaReef 900s, Radion XR30 Gen 3, Nyos Quantum 120 Skimmer, Jecod DCT 4000, REEF - Nano Filter 100 and Vortech MP40 among other probably less relevant things at the moment.

Live sand and water went in on Saturday last week and since then its not been the smooth, well planned experience i was hoping for. I have the following issues i was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on.

1) Noise of the drain. The EA Reef tank has the outlets mounted on the back wall ( http://www.evolutionaqua.com/aquariums/images/eareef900-slide-nozzles.jpg?crc=4025885860 ) and because of their orientation ( i think ) they always seem to have air in. This seems to be causing lots of gargling noises which i can't eliminate. I've tried topping up the water so that the outlet is effectively submerged but all that seems to do is put more water in the sump so that it overflows and defeats the point of the various sections in the sump. I've put the pump on full and it still can't keep up despite it seemingly being overpowered for my size of tank. :(

2) Water clarity. I have to admit i was hoping it'd be clear by now, but its still quite mirky. I'm assuming i need the water to be moving so have got the pump on but no idea if thats right or not. I've read various conflicting reviews about the skimmer being on but what about a filter etc etc? Am i being unrealistic.

3) My skimmer seems to suggest that the water level needs to be 8" for ideal operation. Now, this might be oversight on my part but the first compartment in the sump isn't that deep so how can i achieve that? I did experiment and turned it on but couldn't for the life of me get it to bring bubbles to the top not matter what i did. I'm presuming the water level is going to affect this.

I guess with all this, the thing that i've not come across is the 'practical' guide to setting things up. Yes i've read plenty about the things you need, the things to consider but not the actual implementation. For example, i'd love to see a practical guide to managing sump water levels correctly.

All in all, pretty deflated. I thought i had set my expectations low enough and expect some troubles but all this combined with a small leak i've recently discovered has not given me the start i was hoping for.

Could anyone share any wisdom on any of this? I would really appreciate any spare time people have. Thank you.



Never EVER give up we have all been where are and trust me its all worth it, it takes time and you have already been planning so your going in the right direction.

I'm not familiar with your tank so someone will be along to advise.

What skimmer are you using and can you post pictures of your setup so we can take a look and advise.


[MENTION=22376]Scott[/MENTION] [MENTION=20322]warby[/MENTION] [MENTION=20021]penzo[/MENTION] i will try help you tomorrow. Up with crying baby now and have to get ready to go to work 3.5 hrs [emoji23]

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there seems to be 2 variants of the ea 900s a pro and a non pro which one is yours?

1, is there 2 drains? one on each side or a single drain? dont put more water in then recommended as you will flood the place when the return pump is turned off. you need to have additional capacity in the sump to allow water to drain back once you turn off the return pump or if the power ever goes off so dont have your return pushed too far under the waters surface so it can suck air back in and brake the siphon effect should the pump go off.

2, are you using any kind of filter socks or filter media in the tank to catch the fine particles? as you used live sand there will be alot of small bits floating around. personally i dont see the need in live sand as all sand becomes live in time.

3, your sump depth is what it is im afraid unless you change the sump you cant really change the water height due to what i was saying in no.1 about needing extra capacity in the sump if the return pump goes off.

dont feel disheartened we have all had our fair share of problems but thats where places like this come in getting help from people who have experienced it or have seen similar situations over the years.

why not start up a tank diary to track your progress its great way to keep an eye on how your tank is coming along. was only the other week i looked back at my first tank on here and my tanks have come on a long way since then :)


Never EVER give up we have all been where are and trust me its all worth it, it takes time and you have already been planning so your going in the right direction.

I'm not familiar with your tank so someone will be along to advise.

What skimmer are you using and can you post pictures of your setup so we can take a look and advise.

Thank you. I really appreciate anyone who gives up some of their time to help others. I'm not one to be defeated but its frustrating isn't it! Gah! The skimmer is a Nyos Quantum 120 Skimmer. I'll attach a few photos to another post ( once i work out how ) but wanted to reply to your message to say thank you.


Thanks for the reply. I really appreciate people giving up their time to help.

The tank is just the normal ea 900s, not to pro version. There are 2 drains each side of the tank. I have since removed a bunch of water to reduce it down. I'd say the drains are 80-90% under the water now. Having seen a few examples in my LFS i've now drawn lines on the sump for the 'low water line' and next time i turn off the pump i'll mark up the high water line. There seems to be plenty of capacity for when the power goes but i do take your point.

Re: #2 - i haven't got any filter media in at all at the moment. Nothing in the filter and no filter socks. I have read things suggesting it affects the first tank cycle so didn't do anything. As with anything though, you'll always find counter arguments so would welcome your opinion.

Re: #3 - There is a reasonably high baffle in the sump ( photos to follow ) but what i don't understand is if the recommendation is for the water line to be 8" on the outside of the skimmer ( ie, the surrounding water ) or inside the skimmer as its pulled up into it. At the moment the water level inside the skimmer is higher than the water level in the sump but its not clear what it should be.

A tank diary sounds like a good idea. Thanks for the link.


Just a few photos on the sump setup.

The water level inside the skimmer is actually right up to the white 'arm' that is holding the two adjustment screws. This is much higher than the sump water level but as you can see no bubbles. I understand it can take a few weeks though.

Currently the main screw is fully open, but the smaller thumb screw is all the way down.


Staff member
Try adjusting the big blue ball valve to get it to run quietly, looking at the picture it could do with closing a bit, it's a bit like tuning a radio, get it nearly there then make minute adjustments. I have the ea reef 1500 pro and it took a bit of fiddling with but it's completely silent, no reason why yours shouldn't be.

Yes all skimmers need to bed in before they work properly but it should be producing bubbles straight from the off,
Yours is not a skimmer I'm familiar with, but try opening the little valve on top of the clear plastic bit I can see its blocking the air intake from the picture.

Welcome to the ea reef owners club, once you get these things sorted I'm sure you'll be more than happy with it.


If your skimmer is on in pictures which you suggest it is it should be bubbling like a good un straight from the off looks like it's not getting any air.Go through manual and double check your set up instructions if it was new and you had to do a bit of building out of box .


I think the murkiness in the water will settle once the fine particles in the sand settle or are filtered through, this can take a while. I would put some filter floss in the inlet to the sump to catch some of the dust as it is a pain if it begins to settle in the sump.
Not familiar with the skimmer but apologies for a silly question. Have you put salt water in as fresh water doesn't produce bubbles? If so can you check your salinity?


Thanks all. :)

Think the water is starting to clear which is comforting. As mentioned above, there is quite a lot which has settled in the sump. At the moment i have nothing else ( ie media etc ) in the sum. Is it something i should be worried about? Its all settled in the bottom at least.

Water is certainly salt water but didn't know that fresh water doesn't bubble! Tinkered with the settings a little and now getting bubbles. Still not at the top but going a little at a time to avoid overflows!

Been able to make some improvements to the noise but still not what i'd call silent. Added a few extra pieces of pipe to the outlet in the sump to experiment pointing the outlet in different directions. Also adjusted the valves a little. I certainly get less noise from the bubbles now which i think was the main problem but still some investigations needed.

Do people do anything to silence their equipment as well? Ie, its not loud but is it worth trying to reduce noise from the pump / skimmer / filter etc?

Thanks all! Nice to have a found a friendly community to help out!


The sump can be cleaned as part of your usual maintenance some people suck out the crud during water changes, I usually leave mine until I do a big sump clean out so I don't disturb it to much. I have a layer of filter floss across the top of the course sponge in the last baffle so not to much gets into the return compartment.

The skimmer will need to bed in for a while and I don't think you'll have a lot of impurities for it to pull out anyway at the moment as no fish etc in the tank. So it sounds normal to me.

My RSW often needs the valve adjusting to stop the drain noise especially after doing maintenance or w/c, I never seem to find the sweet spot for long but can't stop tank tinkering for long either.

I don't use anything to silence my equipment as it all seems to run ok without needing to much, I think others on here will be able to advise you better with this.

I am looking forward to seeing your tank develop over time, I am relatively new to this too and I'm trying to get my FOWLR tank ready to stock with SPS at the moment. Hope you start a tank thread so I can follow your progress and help where I can.


The drain will no doubt quieten down after a few weeks, mine certainly did with the Oceanlife Overflow.

Again, skimmer doesnt look like it's getting air into it as no bubbles, so I'd be looking into that.

As suggested, filter socks can help clear the water a lot, as can some floss rammed in the last baffle before the return pump


Also, I see jubilee clips in your RO res. Please dont use them on the tank

Good spot! I managed to replace those below the water level over the weekend but must have taken the photo before i did! Thanks for taking the time to point it out though. :)