So I never thought it would happen to me but it appears that my refugium overflowed last night while I was sleeping and my ATO kept running to fill the tank like a good ATO! I have approximately 20 gallons of water on my floor/carpet around my tank. I think the majority of it is behind the tank and around the first few feet of it. The tank is on a concrete slab but there is no way I can get everything dry and my thoughts are I need to move it to allow the carpet to dry. If anyone has any suggestions on what to do please let me know. My first thoughts are:

Sell Everything!!!


Clean up and downsize


  1. Buy a 150 gallon Rubbermaid tub and put as much live rock and corals in there
  2. Move the tank
  3. Clean floor/carpet and allow to dry
  4. Set everything back up - Maybe a smaller setup

Any suggestions or anyone willing to help??

So, your ATO dumped around 20 gal. of RO/DI water into your system? If so, what’s your SG now? Is your stand sitting in water, or is the floor just wet? I think I’d just clean it up and observe.

Yikes! So your tank sits on carpet which is on a concrete slab, right? Did the walls soak up any of the moisture?

20 gallons is fortunately not nearly as bad as it could have been. I suggest getting a fan at an absolute minimum going and set up a dehumidifier ASAP. You don’t have to move the tank, but it will help you dry things faster. What is the stand made out of?

Also, if you wound up with 20 gal on the floor, did you test your water params?

EDIT: Looks like Jim and I had the same thoughts and hit post at the same time.

Yea specific gravity is 1.022.

I can get my hands on a blower and dehumidifier.

The big question is do I have to move the tank to get underneath dry?

How big is the tank, what kind of stand is it?

[quote=“icecool2, post:5, topic:7904”]
How big is the tank, what kind of stand is it? [/quote]

+1 Something like particle board could be a problem.

It’s a pine stand. The standard marineland one.

How big is the tank?

Does it have the luan panel on the bottom?

  1. Yes the thin piece of wood. It seeped through to the carpet all around the tank. My wife and I were thinking the only real way to do it was to move the tank?

OK, that’s a pretty big tank. I wouldn’t worry about the luan on the bottom and the pine should be able to handle the bit of water also and it should be sealed fairly well on the bottom anyhow.

If it were a smaller tank, I’d say move it and dry under it. With a tank that size, my guess is that you didn’t get water too far underneath since the weight would provide some barrier to the water flowing. My opinion is leave the tank be, don’t take it down.

Do your best to dry the area around it and keep the fan running for a week or more. Run the dehumidifier to help drop the ambient humidity down and pull more moisture out from the carpets. Keep the top of the tank and sump covered (if you can) to avoid pulling a lot of water from the tanks.

While it is extremely unnerving, I think you are in a good spot. You caught it before too much water went into the tank and you shouldn’t see a crash. 20g on the floor can be dried up with a bit of work on your part, but with a concrete slab, you won’t have structural issues.

Sorry to hear that Matt try not to let it discourage you too much.

I've had water from mine soak the old carpet down stairs couple times ,  probably really look at the ATO , if it's not a double float system I'd looked into one of those. 

Adding a lot bigger sump to handle something like that is no a bad thing as long as you have somewhere to put it.

And to really get it dry underneath , sucks as it is but probably gonna need to move the tank to get underneath it good and dry

Ouch sorry to hear man. Lmk if I cam help you out, I’ve had this happen before as well. I believe we all have at one point in time.
Like bill said don’t let it discourage you to much, we are all here to help if we can.

That sucks. It’s frustrating and panic inducing, but is not absolutely terrible. Trust me - I’ve dumped hundreds of gallons of water on the floor 5-10g at a time.

Dehumidifiers are your friend. That will get the bulk of the moisture up in a relatively short time. Running fans will expedite it.

As far as moving the tank to dry under it - I wouldn’t. If you’re really concerned about water sitting under the stand, try drilling 2 1" holes in the luan at either end of the tank. Stick a hair drier in to one of the holes and let it run for a few minutes - you’ll have to do it quite a bit, but it will eventually dry out the carpet without having to move it.


So at the moment I have decided not move/take the tank down. I have a blower, fan, dehumidifier and am manually sucking up as much water as possible with a stream cleaner. I figure I will go over the area around the tank ever few minutes to get more water that the carpet wicks up/absorbs from the pad. I drilled some holes in the luan on the bottom of the tank and the carpet is not soaked just a little damp. There is not much room under the tank however due to the sump and fuge that is under there now but I figured some is better than nothing. All fish/corals do not seem negatively effected and everything is out and normal. I guess its just going to be the waiting game for things to dry out. I appreciate all the comments and encouragement. Please feel free to offer more advice if you think of anything.

Does anyone disagree with not moving the tank to dry it out???

Don’t try to bring your SG back up too quickly. I would use freshly made SW in your top off until your SG is back to normal, then go back to RO/DI water.

I agree and was thinking the same thing. That way it will raise the SG very slowly automatically. Thanks!

Does anyone have any of those blowers/dryers I could borrow?

Home depot rents the floor drying fans. I don’t know how much they run. You could also get away with just an inexpensive fan. The surface drying should be pretty quick, especially with the efforts you’ve already taken.

Sorry to hear about your water spill Matt. I agree with you to not move or take down the tank. You are doing everything right to clean up the spill. Glad to hear your corals and fish are doing ok. Hang in there buddy, most of us have gone thru it, just make this a good learning experience.

i overflow my RO barrel all the time and soak the hall carpet on slab. I shop vac the heavy stuff. then lay old towels on the carpet and walk on it . toss in the dryer and repeat. then let it air dry in a couple days. best i can do. Ive probably done that 50 times over the years.