-A PERFECTLY SUCCESSFUL FAILURE-

Battlecorals

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One week ago...




There was nothing different about today. I had gone about my daily routine just as I do any other day. Walked downstairs, a quick lights out inspection of the display followed by a couple alk tests, then off to work. It was sometime around midmorning, while in the middle of a text, my phone buzzed. It was my Apex alerting me that one of my power bars had lost power. Odd I thought. Maybe the wife tripped a circuit breaker or something. Could be anything really at this point but it was the first time I'd had a single module power outage like this, so I did not hesitate to call home and ask if there had been any power flutters or anything of that sort. Then I asked her to take peek under the stand and see if the power bar was still on or not, or if anything seems wrong at all. As she got closer, she said she heard something odd. "splashing maybe?" I heard her say.




“There’s Water!" she cried. “It's falling down the back wall!” “I’m on my way” I replied, as I proceeded to rush home. The plan was already in motion. What kind of leak was it and how was I going to deal with it? Hoping for a simple problematic drain, a snail maybe but the realist in me was already preparing for the worst. I thought, well this may be it. The day I had been carefully planning for and dreading at the same time, was here. But she wasn’t frantic when she cried "water" so I was sure it wasn’t a total blow out. When I walked in the door I took my time, abandoning urgency I grabbed a flashlight and put in some new batteries. In blissful hesitation as to what I was about to see, I had already begun executing a plan that had been in my head for years now.

I admit I swore. I swore loudly. Not at anyone or anything. Just out loud. My two sons near, and wife clenching our one year old daughter, I shouted at the top of my lungs, the kind of profanity that no child should should be exposed to. Yes I was mad, but not in a panic. There it was pouring from the freshly separated seam of my external overflow. I saw a small but very real and almost adorable saltwater-fall cascading onto the wall behind, the equipment below and everything inbetween. The sight I had prepared myself mentally for so long now was right in front of me. Real as ever.





Calculating risk and damage control both operating in perfect unison as I assessed the situation and began to execute my contingency plan. Pumps shut off. The acros had to come out. That I was certain of. Was the tank done for? Wasn’t sure about that yet. All I knew is the first thing I had to do was make a little room in one of my tanks downstairs, get those thriving colonies out of there ASAP and into safety. And like a well oiled machine my plan continued to roll. I was calm and I was collected. Once the coral was secure, I had a little more time to assess the seam and the scope of the problem. The tank manufacturer had been called early on in the shuffle and had a sound idea on how to repair it that made perfect sense to me.




Ultimately the actual damage was minimal. I believe that some acrylic pieces in the overflow designed to keep a screen in place had, in the last three years expanded to the point of excess and caused the rear wall of the overflow to pull away just enough to cause a decent leak. The rest of the tank was perfectly in tact. I decided that I did not have to drain it and kept the fish in there with a heater and a pump. I expect to get parts to repair it in day or two and have it back up and running soon after.



So what does this all mean and why am I even chronicling the whole fiasco? I’ll tell you now.


This is a situation that could have easily been a disaster. A fire, a shock, a bad shock, massive livestock losses etc. While still a giant pain, and a ultimately a heartbreaker for yours truly, I feel extremely fortunate that every single mechanism I have in place to avoid massive failure or catastrophe was in place and did its job perfectly. The GFI on the wall that shut down as soon as it got wet. The Apex that instantly notified me that the bar had lost power. And even out of paranoid anticipation, I had always left a generous portion of my halide lit prop tank vacant just in case I needed to do this. So once I set the ball in motion, it all went exactly as I had planned it would go. I was not rushed, hurried or even stressed throughout the entire ordeal. The only thing that wasn’t protected were my children's ears from the river of vulgarity that did flow from my mouth on first confirmation of the gaping seam.


So I’ll leave you with this but I do not want to scare you. Please plan for every possible scenario you can come up with, and and when you’ve thought of everything, think even harder about the ones you can’t and how you’d respond when the time comes. As unlikely as big problems are to happen, unfortunately things can go wrong, and the more prepared you are, the less chaotic and dangerous the situation will be when it does. I have exacerbated many a problem by not having a solid plan and rather than running around like a chicken with its head cut off, as I was methodically scrambling this morning, I thought to myself, this is not so bad, in fact it’s been a perfectly successful failure.

 
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TheEngineer

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Geez. Glad you got it worked out. Still sucks though. Any damage to your house from the water? How much do you think drained out?
 

Aquaph8

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Nice job on the save, I gotta get an apex. One of those things I've needed to do for a while. Sorry about the tank, hopefully you get it all going again soon man.
 

buckeye82

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Wow. Glad you were able to salvage and have free ready to go spare tank space. From the pictures I'm shocked the wall and trim is not in worse shape.
 

Reefmon

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Wow..felt like I was reading a suspense. Glad everything worked out for you and it wasn't as bad as you planned for. WHEW!!!!
 

MikeyB

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Wow. Glad you were able to save everything AND it didnt turn into a giant disaster for you. It could of ended up real bad, which im very glad to hear that it didnt. My tank is in my basment so unless im down here id never know if the tank sprung a leak or anything bad happened.
 

Amoo

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Adam, first I'm sorry for your inconvenience, but it looks like due to good planning you were indeed able to skirt a major disaster. I know tanks can fail, it happens, but in this instance, it sounds like the manufacturer was quick to react and responded to your problem appropriately. Would you be willing to divulge who made this tank? I know some may see it as a negative, so I can understand if not, but I personally see it as a positive, that they were quick to respond and react.
 

johnanddawn

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I feel for you, just went through the same thing a month ago and yes after all the disaster control, disappointment, loss, and discouragement, in the end you realize that things could have been much, much worse
You always hear about the tank crashes but tank failures fortunately seem to be more rare

It takes a different sort of person to see a perfectly successful failure
 

Diesel

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Dang Adam!
I hope it wasn't my text that buzzed through your alarm email.
Nobody wants to go through this and if it happens we all say stuff that we later regret.
You're blessed that it stayed just with some minor damage.
 

dodgerblew

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Very relieved to hear that this situation worked out as good as it did for you Adam, especially the coral since its part of your livelihood. Made me think though of my own situation where I don't have any more available space. This hobby can be so daggum stressful!
 
OP
Battlecorals

Battlecorals

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Dang Adam!
I hope it wasn't my text that buzzed through your alarm email.
Nobody wants to go through this and if it happens we all say stuff that we later regret.
You're blessed that it stayed just with some minor damage.


It was daniel LOL were were chatting about nitrate dosing!

But thanks so much guys. really appreciate all the comments. indeed it was a potential disaster and if a single link in the chain had been broken it would have undoubtedly been worse. Even the side that leaked was right over the outlet, with was actually a good thing because it was that gfi tripping that had the apex send me the alert. if it was the other corner I'd have gotten the frantic call about water everywhere for sure. The whole situation would have been much more manic from the beginning.
 

cb684

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Knowing about your backups and quarantine procedures I am not surprised by your preparedness. That's how one can separate amateurs from professionals. Good job man, and thank you for sharing the knowledge.
Camilo.
 

Andyf30

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Nice save Adam! Sorry to hear about it but glad to see it seems like a fairly fixable situation
 

PaulKreider

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Sorry to hear about the tank, but luckily it wasn't a full blow out. When my 120 front panel cracked at 3 am there were more than a few curse words throw around. But luckily I was able to pull it together and get everything under control. It's definitely a very stressful situation. Especially when you're battling saving your creatures and protecting your house from water damage at the same time.

Hopefully it all turns out well for you though! And glad you caught everything in time! It's definitely a situation I wouldn't wish upon my worse enemy!
 
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Reef Pets

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I hate reading things like this because I know how failures generally end up, a total disaster. Good to hear you were able to catch it in time to minimize damage.
 

Jlobes

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dang. sorry to hear about that. every aquarists nightmare, indeed. sounds like you were prepared and weathered the storm fairly well.

maybe its time to have a busted seam frag pack sale!?!? Im sure some of those amazing colonies have some accidental new frags. put me on the list, if so. ;)
 

Russ265

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looks like a well-executed "battle" plan.

while the hobby is rewarding for all our hard work, it could go up in smoke at any minute and murphy's law is always at play.

this truly was the perfect failure.
get those fail safes! and have a SHTF plan of action :)
 

kannon50

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congratulations on not getting a speeding ticket on the way home!!

glad you were able to save the day.

for all the beginner Apex Users out there how about you share your Alarm programming for everyone to see :)
 

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