this is me

I like turtles
BRS Member
Woke up to this this morning. Vectra L1(return pump) power supply cord crapped out.
You see that float switch on the left side of the tank? It was supposed to turn off the skimmer if the water gets above the level to trigger it. Turns out, the float has gone bad after ~10 years.
So if you think you can rely on a piece of electronic to prevent a flood, think again. I luckily have enough headroom in the sump to handle most of the foam.
Basically, a week of skimming got dumped back into the sump. We’ll see the damage if any in a couple weeks. I’m due for a water change lol

this is me

I like turtles
BRS Member
After about 30minutes later of finding out the issue and clean up.
Time to really think about replacing equipment that are 10years old even if they’re still running.


YT/GreatBeardedReef IG/GreatBeardedReef
Staff member
BRS Member
Luckily, you were able to catch it. Good call on replacing equipment periodically.


Wow. Lucky that wasn’t worse. I wonder how long ago the float switch craptout. Perhaps we should all be checking our saftey systems on a scheduled frequency.


_____Reef Junkie_____ BRS Vice President
BRS Member
I’ve had same issue multiple times, and I still haven’t implemented the preventative solution of automating the skimmer drain, as in another float switch in the skimmer head to turn on a pump to suck out the gunk from skimmer drain and dump into a floor drain or bucket or something.

Has anyone done this? If so how’s it working out?

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this is me

I like turtles
BRS Member
I’m not sure how the skimmer will perform with wires and object in the skimmer body. Most design is designed for the smoothest and uninterrupted water flow.
Float switch in the skimmer cut itself will never work because the skimmate will gunk it up.
You can just tap a drain on the skimmer cup to dump it into your drain. However, that will stink up the whole space pretty quickly.


The life reef skimmers draw air from the cup so when it’s full, skimate flows into the ventury effectively shutting down the skimmer.
Anyone else watching Chernobyl on HBO? I think a test of a catastrophic failure is now going on my schedule for next weekend.

this is me

I like turtles
BRS Member
Hey Greg,
This is not a failure in ATO. It's a failure in the return pump which raise the water level in the sump which cause the skimmer to overflow with foam.
I use a GHL controller with the float switch in the sump to detect the sump water level to turn off the skimmer in such event. The float switch has failure after about 10 years of usage.

Greg Hiller

BRS Moderator
Staff member
BRS Member
I guess I didn't read completely. I saw a photo of a float switch. Figured it failed, cause they always do. The AT-1's are essentially float switches with no moving parts, nothing to get encrusted or precipitated.

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