Hair-raising, Horrendous, Horrifying Tales -- Tank Crashes

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by Salty Lemon, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. mch1984

    mch1984 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Hub City Reef Club

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    I don't have any crash stories but I will be following along. All these make me scared to leave town, first time I did after I started my reef my AC went out. I had people to help me still in town and I had no crash. Just seems that's when things go wrong for everybody.
     
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  2. azreeftank

    azreeftank Active Member

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    What part of Az? I’m in Scottsdale. The peace of mind alone is reason enough to get a chiller. My tanks used to fluctuate a lot over the year between 76-82. Once I added a chiller they both sit at 78.5 year round. My downstairs AC went out a few years back and the 12 hours it took the repair guy to fix it the room climbed to 95 and my tank did not skip a beat with a chiller. Your right when it’s 120 outside with no ac it gets hot fast no amount of fans will cool a room. :)
     
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  3. Salty Lemon

    Salty Lemon Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor AZ FRAG Member Hospitality Award

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    I live in Peoria. Glad to find someone who lives in the neighborhood (so-to-speak). I currently shop a lot at Ocean Floor. They set me up with my 210 so I try to stay a bit loyal to those guys. I'm heading there today. I usually pop in on Fridays because it is my day off and they generally get their fish shipment in on Thursday mornings. What lfs to you use?
     
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  4. DivingTheWorld

    DivingTheWorld Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    November, 2017 and we took the family to Asia for a month over Thanksgiving. We had taken several trips for long periods before, so this was nothing new. What was new, is my tank was swinging a little on Alk and my Nitrates/Phosphates were lower than usual. My T5 bulbs were also at about a year and I was too lazy to change them before we left. While we were gone, my Dad was stopping by and I had trained him on how to use my Hanna Alk Checker which he was doing every few days and sending me updates so I could adjust my Apex. He kept giving me updates like, "Everything looks great.". Came home to most of my acro colonies dead and over the next few weeks, most of the remaining died as well. I'm still not sure exactly what went wrong, perhaps Alk swings, perhaps nutrient issues, perhaps T5 bulbs run too long, perhaps a combination of things.

    My Dad still feels bad to this day, but he was just doing me a favor and doesn't know a thing about reef tanks, not his fault. It took me about a year before my tank stabilized again and acros started to grow and show good color. The good news is it wasn't a full tank crash and my zoas, fish, shrimp, snails all went through without a hitch. The bad news is I lost thousands in acros. You have to seriously love this hobby, or be a little crazy, to continue on after these type of episodes.
     
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  5. shred5

    shred5 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I had a partial crash, I basically lost most sps but it was a mixed tank and everything else survived.
    This was also probably like 20 + years ago and maybe more than 25.
    This is when we did not know too much about acros and I had grown some pretty nice colonies for that period.
    I had started to see some STN on a acro so my first thought is a water change. Well I did a water change and it got worse so I did another. I tested my Aquarium water and my alk was way low.
    Tested my new saltwater and it had almost no alk in it. So every time I did a water change I was making it worse.

    Now I test every bucket of new salt and you would not believe how many bad buckets I have got since then.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  6. mch1984

    mch1984 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Hub City Reef Club

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    I am in west texas, probably about 5 degrees cooler than yall in Arizona. I have yet to implement a chiller, I'm too dependent on the AC to do it's job.
     
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  7. Salty Lemon

    Salty Lemon Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor AZ FRAG Member Hospitality Award

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    It has never, ever, occurred to me to test salt. Of course, I was out of reefing for a long time and am recently back into it. I'm still learning quite a bit. I'll have to keep this in mind.
     
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  8. Salty Lemon

    Salty Lemon Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor AZ FRAG Member Hospitality Award

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    We all are until the AC dies. An employee at my lfs was telling me the same thing recently.
     
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  9. Salty Lemon

    Salty Lemon Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor AZ FRAG Member Hospitality Award

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    as @mch1984 said..."all these make me afraid to leave town". I'm glad your tank was able to stabilize eventually.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  10. SkinnyMcGinny

    SkinnyMcGinny Member

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    Oh, boy, I have a few stories here...

    I started with a 55-gallon that I got from a neighbor who had the requisite "Dory and Nemo" set-up for his kids (hippo tang and two clowns), and he quickly tired of it. I inherited it, and had NO clue what I was doing, but stumbled along. I had a canister filter I never cleaned and regularly replaced evaporated water with tap water! But somehow, everything survived. I even bought a colony of hammer coral that seemed to do fine...

    One day my daughter (about 6 at the time) calls me and says "Dath, your fith tank is smoking, at the fith keep, umm, dancing."" (she had a lisp). Smoking? Dancing? what the heck?! I race home to discover that a heater was shorting out, and the tank was very "electrified" (?). My wife had caught the fish, who were in a bucket. They seemed okay. So I unplugged the offending heater, and assuming the tank was now not lethal, put the fish back in. Mistake. They immediately began to struggle-- the water had been fouled. So I pulled the fish out, put them back in the bucket. But, of course it was night and my LFS was closed so now what? How to maintain temp, aeration (I had learned a little by now). To maintain temp I seriously considered microwaving small amounts of the salt water to keep adding! Then I remembered high school chemistry and "temperature baths". I filled the bathtub with 78 degree water, and then let the bucket of salt water float around in that all night, adjusting the temp as necessary. For aeration, I used a camping mattress pump with a tube, and blew bubbles into the bucket every half hour.... all night! (Still didn't know all I needed to do was break the surface tension). Anyway, after a long night of me in the bathroom, every fish survived! I was very proud of that rescue. (And my love of the hobby was revealed...)

    Abut a year later, I had added some more fish to the tank, a diamond goby, pajama cardinal, a few others (yes, that hippo tang was probably pretty miserable in the 55, but I still didn't know much). Anyway, my family was leaving for a long weekend, which was fine because I was staying home to write a script, and was looking forward to a quiet house. When I write, I like everything in the house to be clean (helps my brain), so as they loaded up the the car for their trip, I cleaned up, including wiping the algae film off the tanks glass with my dedicated sponge. Well it turned out my sponge was not dedicated. A handyman, testing for leaks in a gas line, had filled it with dish soap! A minute later I walked by the tank and almost fainted when, when I saw it, like a washing machine in a cartoon, overflowing with bubbles! Tons of bubbles running down tot he floor!! what the heck!! I could barely comprehend what I was seeing! The fish were all in bad shape. I still didn't keep spare salt water back then, so I got in my car and drove a million miles an hour to a local beach (a mile away), ran across the sand, filled some 5-gallon buckets with ocean water, heated them in bathtub, dumped all the fish in... Nope. Not this time. No survivors. Complete wipeout. BTW, imagine my mood, I had a script to write, my family had left, and instead of peaceful house, it looked like a scene from Titanic; water, destroyed towels, soap everywhere, and dead fish. That one was tough. But I hung in there...

    Since then I have suffered more disasters, including not one, but two terrible Ich outbreaks that took down about half my fish. The second outbreak even came came after a 90 day fallow period and complete QT! But somehow something go through, and once my Powder Blue Tang got it... Oh man, that was rough. btw, I am done with PBTs -- I call those fish typhoid Mary's. Never again. And the WORST challenge for my was a bad dino outbreak, because I tried SO many things to fix it, and it lasted about 8 months!!! But I finally beat it...

    And now, now I have a gorgeous, stable, 290 gallon mixed reef with very healthy fish, and tons of coral, including delicate acros thriving all over, and I LOVE IT. Those tank crashes were tough, but I "just kept swimming." My tank has been literally trouble free for about 4 years. If it goes down (and some day I'm sure it will, I have had a few close calls!), I will shrug, appreciate the time I had, learn, and start again. Thanks for reading.
     
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  11. SkinnyMcGinny

    SkinnyMcGinny Member

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    Two more things I forgot to add-- That one hammer coral frag that I got way back when survived it all! It is now a watermelon sized colony of over 100 heads (I have to keep giving them away). And the later "soap" crash caused me to just take the tank and leave it in the garage for about six months with a couple if inches of fetid water in the bottom. So no heat, no circulation, no light... Just inert. and when I pulled some rock out of it and put it in my new tank, some dragon eyed zoas appeared. They survived soap, darkness, cold, stagnant water in a garage for a winter! Sometimes, life is so tough!!
     
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  12. Salty Lemon

    Salty Lemon Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor AZ FRAG Member Hospitality Award

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    I love this one. It shows that things can change in a blink of an eye. Glad to hear your tank has been basically trouble free over the last few years. :)
     
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  13. Salty Lemon

    Salty Lemon Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor AZ FRAG Member Hospitality Award

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    Wow!
     
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  14. Homebrewer

    Homebrewer Member

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    In the early days of LED, I switched out my halide/T5 combo for a sub-par (pun intended) LED fixture. I did this assuming I would have the same or better results with the LED I chose. Needless to say I chose wrong. Just before the lighting switch I started dosing phytoplankton to the tank to feed my already well-established reef. Everything was great up until those two changes. My nitrates went through the roof, I suspect it was do to me overdosing the tank with the plankton (random additions vs. the instructed 1 or 2 drops every few days (as I think it was)). Anyway, by the time I did enough water changes to get parameters stable again, the corals were already suffering, and because of the poor lighting (didn't know HOW poor until years later), I ended up losing everything but the fish, and believe it or not, an anemone. Amazingly, through all that, my two original cinnamon clowns I've had since my first tank over 12 years ago are still with me today, they are hosted by that anemone (which has since split about 10 times), and I'm in the process of a re-boot to get my tank back to its glory days.
     
  15. SDK

    SDK Reef Diver R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Two of note. Only one marine, and both a long time ago.

    I had a literal "crash" with a 30 long SW tank when I was a teenager. The combination of a crowded bedroom and being young had me lean a fully loaded barbell against a wall so I could slide my bench out. The barbell fell sideways and went right through the side of the aquarium. The ensuing tidal wave washed most of the water and livestock into the closet. It was a total loss. I thought my parents were going to ban aquariums after that one..

    I also kept a Discus tank back then, and at the time Discus were extremely expensive. I had to pull my little cousin away from the tank at a holiday party one evening, and did not notice that he had been playing with the heater knob. This was back in the days before submersibles were popular. It was a hang on back type with a clear plastic cap that just lifted off to expose an adjustment knob. I woke up the next morning and the fish were actually partially cooked. My room smelled like seafood soup. My uncle wrote me a check, but I was heartbroken. There were fish that I had for years in that tank....
     
  16. saltyhog

    saltyhog blowing bubbles somewhere R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019

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    Nothing as dramatic as these but in early 2018 I had a battle with dinoflagellates which I eventually won. Not, however before almost every coral in my tank was wiped out. The last few months I've finally started to like looking at my tank again.
    DSC_0031 (2)_edited.jpg

    After the dinos...about 4 months ago.
    Background2.jpg

    Last week

    19-1-1 FTS.jpg
     
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  17. Brian1f1

    Brian1f1 Well-Known Member

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    About 8 years ago I had a 150 g reef that’d I’d been running for more than 8 years. I didn’t have kids during that time, had a good job, and was really into fish collecting. I even had a “friend” collector in Hawaii that sent me stuff. In fact, he had sent me three golden dwarf eels for $99 each, 3 flame wrasses for $49 each. Those fish are many many times that now. I also had a true long nose black tang (amazing beauty, picked it up small at an LFS for $250, most expensive thing I bought, but they are over a grand now mostly at retail), I had a female bellus Petco sold to me as a Lemark’s, my 8 year old purple tang, 8 year old big hippo tang, a peppermint hog, and some other nice wrasses. Tank had always had low level ick, the hippo would get spots if stressed then they’d clear. One day a friend broke down his tank, and gave me a few things. Velvet (and I imagine the ick flared too) hit like an absolute monster. I didn’t have a qt, had coral, and didn’t want to rip out the rock and didn’t know where to put the fish anyway at that time. I used kick ick, not recognizing it was velvet at first (or that it’s snake oil). Things began dying within a day of visible symptoms. Day 2 most everything was dying or dead. Morning of day 3 all dead but one dwarf eel, the sole survivor. I was so disgusted by my losses I quit the hobby until I finally jumped back in last spring. Much of what I lost is now prohibitively expensive, I have to be more responsible now, and the collector I knew died of the bends in 09. It still bothers me, and I absolutely QT everything but coral now (financial constraints on doing it well). Which has worked so far.
     
  18. dbraun15

    dbraun15 Well-Known Member

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    My semi-crash happened last June...had a Merten's Anemone(S.Mertensii) that had been with me about a year and decided to move while we were on vacation at Disney(Why do these things happen when we're away) into a Vortech. Nem was liquefied and sent nemocysts throughout tank killing 15 fish, all except my pair of clowns. Tank sitter called me to let me know that fish were floating/dead. She removed what she could and I expected to come home to a complete crash. All other nems(S. Gignatea, S.Haddoni) and corals all looked great and survived. Have had major algae issues since and my reef fire still hasn't returned to this point. Just don't like seeing that much loss of life on an accident. Hopefully I'm get the bug back soon and restock as the clowns have the tank all to themselves.
     
  19. Mark Gray

    Mark Gray Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Had a 55 gallon that had an under gravel filter. t had been running for about 2 or 3 years I think like 1986. We where watching TV and the front bottom seam blew, water hit the celling and drained in less than a minute
     
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  20. larisa Raykh

    larisa Raykh Member

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    Hirricane Sandy happened to me. Beautiful 75 G dead ..nothing I could have done, had evacuate family. Now it is generac! Beautiful generator in hopes to never lose a tank again. Not at least to a blackout .
    Also had ich to almost do the same. Once you start treating you turn off your skimmer and all off, parameters go heywire, then you lose fish, and half of your coral with it .Awful .
     
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