How long is too long to let your tank be….alone?

SteveMM62Reef

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If you don't mind, could you elaborate on your homemade battery system. I love a good DIY
Aquarium Battery Back-up
One Salvage Watchdog Battery Controller and Battery Box.

Deep Cycle Marine Battery, I chose one from Walmart.

5.5 x 2.5mm Female Panel Mount Jack w/wire 12VAC
5.5 x 2.5mm Male 90 Degree Right Angle Male Plug w/pigtail 12 VAC

5.5 x 2.1 DC Power Splitter 12Vdc Cut Single Female end off, wire to Molex Pins
Molex .093 Pin & Socket Male & Female Connector

RIBU1C Enclosed Pilot Relay, “Takes the Place of the Float, for the Watchdog 12 Volt Pump.” (turns Mountain Ark Pumps, on during Power Loss.”

Pinfox Plastic Project Box 6.2” x 5.5” x 2.3”

Mountain Ark 2 Pack 63 GPH Submersible Water Pumps 12Vdc 3.6W
Aexit Clear Silicone Tubing 0.31” ID x 0.39” OD X 16.4 ft
Plastic Ratchet Hose Clamps
Lee’s 3/8” Rigid Tubing, heated and bent into a “U”
IMG_0132.png
 

drblank1

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I have let my tank alone for 16 days once. Maybe it’s because when I’m away I’m not looking at it every day, but it seems when the tank is left alone, the corals look so much better when I get back. :rolling-on-the-floor-laughing:
 

GlassMunky

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I’m gone 4-7 weeks every winter for the past 5 years. I have a neighbor that can help in an emergency but otherwise no intervention.
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How are you gone for nearly 2 months with zero intervention?
Top off? Feeding? Filters cleaned etc?
That just seems crazy to me
 

BeanAnimal

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How long is too long? I guess that depends on when something decides to go way wrong! It could be an hour after you leave or a year :grimacing-face:

As it were - my tank ran without any (I mean zero) intervention for 5+ years with absolutely zero maintenance, testing, skimming, water changes, dosing or anything else. I did toss in a few pinches of food once or twice a year. The only "automation" was the ATO and to that end, the filters were never changed. At best I looked at the tank once every 6 months for 2 mins, but that was kind of pointless as blue ridge coral had encrusted the entire front panel. Over the 5+ year period the salinity dropped significantly due to salt creep but that happened so slowly that everything appears to have adapted.
-Scopas Tang
-Coral Beauty
-Arc Eye Hawkfish (no idea what he ate)
-mushrooms
-brain coral
-blue ridge coral
-leather corals
-palythoa

All of the SPS perished.

Since that time I have added automated in the form of a Profilux with dosing (triton). I like to look at the tank when I get a chance, but that can sometimes be 2-3 weeks in between. I still do very little in the way of maintenance. Mostly just cleaning the skimmer once a month or so.
 

1112-425XL

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3-5 Days with zero human intervention, after that I have family or friend top off and feed some frozen food. I've never left it for more than 7 or 8 days. If I'm going to be gone that long I do full maintenance and cleaning the day before I leave.
 

BeanAnimal

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I do full maintenance and cleaning the day before I leave.
That tends to make me nervous - as in unbalancing something right before walking out the door. I now try to make sure I do any maintenance a few days in advance and now that I have a skimmer running, I turn it back a bit if I know I will be gone for a week or more.
 

1112-425XL

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That tends to make me nervous - as in unbalancing something right before walking out the door. I now try to make sure I do any maintenance a few days in advance and now that I have a skimmer running, I turn it back a bit if I know I will be gone for a week or more.
I'm always nervous when I'm gone!! I do water changes and maintenance every 7-10 days anyways, and I do the same thing with my skimmer if I'm going to be away. I also have a Coralvue hydros I depend on, and family I can call in emergencies.
 

BeanAnimal

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My biggest concern when traveling has always been power outages. I have a 22kW standby generator now that puts my mind much more at ease. I Oddly, I tend to check my DIY dashboard more at home (it is a display near the fish room) than I do when away.
 

dwest

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How are you gone for nearly 2 months with zero intervention?
Top off? Feeding? Filters cleaned etc?
That just seems crazy to me
Top off: My Spectrapure ATO is hooked up to 105 gallon RODI tank. The key is the ATO that is very reliable with built in safeties.

Feeding: Two Eheim auto feeders feeding pellets. I run one feeder when I’m home because I supplement frozen and nori then. I use mostly NLS pellets but have tried others.

Filters: I don’t use filters socks. Just liverock and a skimmer. I run my skimmer drain to an Avast skimmate locker when I travel.

I have a camera on the tank and sump when I travel. Obviously reliable equipment is required. I use an Apex to monitor and an alkatronic to help with alkalinity testing and control.

My wife loves to travel so to keep my marriage and my tank, I had to figure out ways to do this. I realize that this probably won’t end well :)
 

knockout

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I have three tanks at home, as of this writing my tanks are "alone" for 142 days,
I don't really stress over it too much as this is the 3rd year I take time to be with my parents who live abroad, normally this would be about 90 days but things did not go as plan this time around and we are still with my mom, in my case the term is almost alone as my adult son does live in the house and can take care of any emergency with guidance.

Tank 1, 120g Reef, SPS dominated, 3 years running, + 3 years prior setup
Tank 2, 35g Reef, LPS/nems, 6 years running
Tank 3, 29g QT, 2 years running

My Routine and Setup:

Top Off Water:
Probably the most important and most challenging varying on your setup, if you have to fill a reservoir while away your days are numbered, in my case my RO/DI reservoir which fills daily serves as my top off storage, I run my ATOs directly from this container via gravity, this is the way the guys at the Reef Builders studio run their tanks, I have now run this way for 5+ years.

Water Changes:
I almost don't do water changes aside from cleaning the sump about every 3 months, this way my tank is not "expecting" a water change. I did have him do a water 15 gallon water change as Phosphates were getting a bit higher than my normal test range.

Nutrient Export:
Fleece Roller & Skimmer
My fleece roller is my main method of nutrient export, ReefMat 1200 runs for about 90-100 days without intervention, this time it ran out and it's currently not doing anything.
Skimmer, I am at the mercy of my son here, does not get cleaned often, I still haven't figured out a way to clean a skimmer remotely.

That being said I don't really stress the skimming, and my fleece roller finished this trip and not really worry about that either, the tank is mature enough it will handle organics on its own.

Feeding:
Two pellet auto feeders, I make sure both are fully charged before leaving, lasts about 6 months without recharge, and lasts about 45 days without reload, this my son handles and I periodically check with him to make sure there is food in them, he also from time to time will throw in a frozen feed or Nori sheet, this is not a daily thing if anything he might do it when I remind him, can't tell.

Tests:
I have a Trident on the 120, modified schedule to test only once daily to make the reagents last 90 days or more.

My son does a Hanna Alk test every two weeks, this allows me to "trust" the Trident daily Alk test, he also does a Nitrate and Phosphate test at this point, then I can adjust dosing remotely if needed.

Automation:
This is the only way I can be away this long, for this I use Apex Controller, Smart Plugs, Dosing Pumps

The Apex controls the pumps and the heating, from there the other outputs are dependent on what are the pumps doing, i.e.. if the pump is running slow the UV turns off, etc.

120g has 2 ReefDose4, and 3 Kamoer total 11 Dosers
1 All for Reef (main source of major elements)
2 Bacto-Balance (my magic bullet of algae prevention)
3 Trace KZ (dose sparingly, reset when lab tests are completed)
4 NoPox (adjusted remotely when Nitrate test is completed)
5 Trace Potassium (this I no longer dose)
6 Elimi-Phos (adjusted remotely when Phosphate test is completed)
7 Magnesium (supplement A4R)
8 Acropower (Amino acids)

3 Kamoer dosing pumps, two are on the Kalk stirrer, now this is no longer viable since the Kalk has not being replenished
the other is on a Alk supplementation semi-manual, I say that because I only dose 5ml a day to keep it from clogging and I do a manual dose from if any adjustments come from the Hanna Alk test

The 35g has 1 ReefDose4, total 4 Dosers
1 All for Reef (main source of major elements)
2 Elimi-Phos (adjusted remotely when Phosphate test is completed)
3 Trace KZ (dose sparingly, reset when lab tests are completed)
4 Acropower (Amino acids)

Sometimes a device stops responding, in my experience a power reset does the necessary to bring it back to life, this is why I put everything needing a reset on Smart Plugs, if for example a doser stops responding, I can remotely turn it off and on

There is a chiller on the system, for this I am usually home for the summer months, this year will be different, won't return home until after mid July.
there are alerts on almost everything I can think of, I have a camera pointed at the tanks, and as I am sure most do I do a health check on every fish in the tanks.
what else, can't think of anything else,
I hope this helps anyone who has to leave their tank for some time.
KO

this is all I can see, but the fact I can still see inside the tank, thank you my son!
WhatsApp Image 2024-04-18 at 10.23.51_b950cbcc.jpg


apex.png
 

Paul B

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I have left mine for a week probably a dozen times but that was with someone coming in every 2 days to feed. If I have no one for that, I will leave it about 4 days by itself.

I have a DIY leak detector under the tank and skimmer so if there is a leak, it will turn off the pump that feeds the skimmer and in the event of a tank leak or burst tank, there is an alarm that warns me to get a new hobby.
 

BeanAnimal

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I have a DIY leak detector under the tank and skimmer so if there is a leak, it will turn off the pump that feeds the skimmer and in the event of a tank leak or burst tank, there is an alarm that warns me to get a new hobby.
Paul is old and low tech. His "DIY leak detector" is the same concept as the kid that kept the eternal engine running in the belly of Snowpiercer...
 

Paul B

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Paul is old and low tech. His "DIY leak detector" is the same concept
It is as low tech as you can get. I have a wire from a GFCI under the tank and when it gets wet, it shuts off the receptacle. :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:
 

BeanAnimal

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Seriously - I don't know why I would use anything else. I even got the 'cube' blocker for it so it blocks algae in the chamber. It's a must for folks who rely on feeding with automation.
Cube blocker? As in the cannonball?
 

Wayofthereef

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I work for a utility company and when storms roll in power goes out. Unfortunately I have zero say in whether I go or not and I would walk in the door at 7am on a monday and be told go home pack a bag for 2 weeks and be back in 2 hrs. Well the wonderful thing about working for a utility company is all the perks. Like 3 square meals and LAUNDRY SERVICE! BECAUSE, GUESS WHAT YOUR STAYING 4 MORE WEEKS wash your clothes.

So it was a must at automate every single aspect of my system.. I'd come home, pack, put a fresh roll on the roller mat and go. I have apex and hydros running everything. Auto top off that comes from a 55 gallon fresh tank that has float valves that consistently keeps it full. 1 gallon jugs with all the minor elements on a dosing schedule that run almost 3 months without being changed. A custom made kalk stirrer that pulls off the ATO and coded to run based on the parameters that the trident tests. My stystem pulls nutrients out till that hits zero constantly so I have to dose daily phosphate and nitrates which when I leave I lower by 30% so the worry Im over dosing is gone. Auto feeders in all the tanks in the system which is 4 total. The drains to the sump have to drains each. One is the main drain and if anything happens it fills and hits the backup then theres a level sensor that slows the pump if it reaches the sensor.. even the protein skimmer in the house has a drain that goes through the wall to a 12v normally closed ball valve that once the skimmer is filled it notifies me and I press a button on my controller app and it opens the valve to a drain. It also had a camera that i can see if its simply dumping into the cup and needs to stay off for a while.

I know that was long winded lol but it allows me to stay away for up to 2 months and not be a dead mess when I get home.
 

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