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View Full Version : How has your tank faired over a deployment?


Reeferhead
03/25/2014, 09:03 AM
Curious to hear some stories, good or bad. My wife took care of mine while I was gone for about 12 months with the help of a few local reef club buddies. She really wanted to give me one less thing to worry out while I was gone and honestly, I think she took better care of it than I do. Coral growth was awesome but when I got back she lost total interest and all the tank duties went immediately back to me. :lol:

.Marshall
03/25/2014, 12:54 PM
Wow, what a gal!

I have put off starting the build on my 285g in my new house for that reason.. an upcoming deployment!

RandoReefer
03/25/2014, 01:11 PM
I recently returned from an Africa rotation. Bless her heart, she did her best.

I convinced her that, in order to make it easier for her, we needed to upgrade from 60gal to 125gal. The few weeks before deployment, I busted my a$$ to get it setup and running. Luckily my coral stock wasn't heavy, and she really only needed to pay attention to fish feeding and water changes.

Lost one yellow tang and zoas thinned out a bit, but other than that we made it! Used the deployment $$ to automate everything (APEX!). With the auto feeder and upgraded RODI Kit, the next deployment should be MUCH easier!

Yellow05gt
03/26/2014, 04:52 AM
I'm currently on one now and my beautiful wife's taking care of my new 210gal I set up 3 days before I got quick noticed. Already lost a powder blue tang, but she said everyone else is doing fine. Hopefully that's the only loss until I get back.

SGT_York
03/26/2014, 10:42 AM
There has always been a bad connection with time away and freak disasters so after the first separation, the tank has always been scrapped and sold for deployments. The first months on the first deployment I had a complete crash, xenia was all that survived. Every few years I sell of what is alive, pack the rest of the rock, sell the sand, and dry the remaining out for a year. Starts right back up when I come home.

Yellow05gt
03/26/2014, 10:57 AM
SGT_York, If my wife wasn't at the house I would of done the same. Having friends come over and take care of your system while we're gone for that long is cruel to them, and a disaster waiting to happen lol

Reeferhead
03/26/2014, 11:15 AM
Another option is to bring your tank with you. Here's my system that won me Afghan TOTM back in 2009

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3814/13429707883_e8320eb805.jpg

Yellow05gt
03/26/2014, 11:48 AM
Haha that's epic! Good idea lol

chris.scang
03/26/2014, 02:54 PM
My wife did her best but had an unfortunate accident and nuked the entire tank. In her defense though, she completely overhauled the 55 gal setup and kept it a surprise until I got home. We have recently upgraded to a 180 gal mixed reef :spin3:

ir_danno22
03/29/2014, 01:58 AM
So far my skimmer died and the wif gave me an ear full doing a 10 gallon water change on my nano cube while on FaceTime. The Apex controller is awesome for monitoring/managing the tanks while I'm out and alleviates some grief for the wif.

Paul B
03/29/2014, 06:04 AM
I went to Viet Nam for a year and I had a 6" catfish. No one fed it for that time and there was about an inch of water in the tank. The thing croaked a week before I got home.
Oh well.

SoDak
04/05/2014, 10:27 PM
Thankfully my brother in law took care of my tank while I was gone. We had to move it to his place and then back again but it fared pretty well overall.

jjmg
04/05/2014, 10:52 PM
My wife took great care of my freshwater tanks while I made 3 deployments. For two of them she was also taking care of our new daughter and a dog. Of course she also took care of the house A/C unit catching on fire. Several car problems and putting up with doing everything by herself without me there. Those wifes are pretty special things for us military guys!

MrsFoxface
04/26/2014, 01:47 AM
My husband wouldn't let me set up the tank alone. It was bought while he was overseas and set up a few days after he returned home.

Bodnaahh
04/26/2014, 08:35 PM
I had a 36 gallon reef tank set up that my wife tried to take care of while I was in the sandbox and it didn't make it 2 months into the deployment unfortunately. She lost power and then proceeded to go coopers color code black and lost everything.

tonymission
04/26/2014, 08:47 PM
I thank you guys sincerely for your service!!

MacWilliams
05/01/2014, 09:38 AM
If you're going on a deployment or TDY you could talk to your co-workers if you dont have anyone at home that can watch it. Just leave a detailed list on what needs to be done on a daily basis. I did this and came back to a tank with a lot more growth and size in all my fish / corals. Its amazing the difference a few months can do when you're not watching the tank everyday.

chris.francis14
05/09/2014, 06:46 PM
Broke mine down and sold everything before I went out to sea for an eight month deployment. Had no one to take care of it while I was gone. Didn't set another one up until ten months later after I returned to the states... of course, when I set it up, I had been out of the Navy for seven months.

matt_97055
05/09/2014, 07:07 PM
I would just like to thank you to all of you for sacrificing every thing for our freedom.

rgulrich
05/29/2014, 05:36 AM
I decided to put together a "continuity book" (yeh, I know) for the reef prior to a series of deployments and surprise short tours spanning the late 80's through the 90's. Broke it down into the basics, included step-by-step procedures with pictures, and provided emergency phone numbers of local civilian reef keepers that were familiar with my system. Feeding, filter cleaning (including the skimmer), water changes - all covered.

The reef fared better under the care of some more than others, as I'm sure you can imagine. With the ones that weren't afraid of actually doing the housekeeping, the reef did quite well :fish2:. With the others that focused on hosting poker games :bum: and smoking cigars :beer: in the house, well...the dog didn't appreciate that much, either, and I replaced a lot of coral and some fish upon return.

Lessons learned:
Try to clear your house/reef sitter in advance and attempt to gauge their sense of responsibility. If they can't push a vacuum, they won't clean your reef's filter.
Write an all inclusive checklist well in advance (read: now) and use it yourself. If you can't locate a power strip switch or identify what a skimmer cup is from your checklist, provide pictures with arrows, circles, and such.
Have a friend or two that know nothing about aquariums run through the checklist under your watchful eye.
Review and update the checklist frequently (we've all been down that path, right?).

I hope this helps with a little peace of mind during your adventures.

Oh, of course, these days you could also set up a web cam to send out live shots of the reef as well, so you could monitor on the web from pretty much anywhere you could get a connection. Could probably even set up a camera for the family, too...:spin3:

Guillo
09/16/2014, 07:49 AM
Any moves I've done with my tank have been from base to base. Automation has taken care of everything else on very short TDYs. I'm actually deployed now, and it sucks because I had to take down everything. Very sad when I took the last plug out of the wall. Regardless, I did know what was coming when I decided to set it so no worries. Ironically enough I'm putting on paper what i want my next one to be like lol, while im here in Korea. I just wish i knew of some local reef stores to go and look at for fun. This is cool, didn't know RC had a military section.

Brando5185
09/22/2014, 03:56 PM
Parted out my 150 during the first part of my deployment and the the wife knew i regretted it. She has a new 125 set up waiting for me to set up when i get back.

usingthejohn
09/22/2014, 03:59 PM
I just wanted to say thank you all for your service.

Quite a few of my family are currently serving, or have served so I have a deep appreciation and respect for all service men and women.

Again thank you. If any of you relocate to socal, send me a message. I don't have much but I'd like to give you a frag of whatever I have.

Nighthawk17
10/03/2014, 10:26 AM
unfortunately I just came home from a deployment and had a freshwater tank (30) gallon and had a friend watch it. He informed me he knew what he was doing and how to take care of it. I showed him everything he needed just in case he didnt know something. I really wanted to be safe about it. Well hadnt heard from him the entire time while i was deployed. When I got back all my fish were dead and the house smelled something terrible. The water was green and stagnant not only that but the fish were still dead in the tank rotting. Lost a good friend to that and some good fish. I know better next time to not do that and pull better resources for someone to watch it. :(

usmc121581
10/07/2014, 08:32 AM
I have kept my tank up and running through deployments, TDY's, and during moves. The moves where the hardest to complete, especially when moving multiply states.

cody6766
10/30/2014, 03:35 PM
I'm sitting at 3 deployments and a few TDYs in 3 years and my wife has done a great job with each one. The worst that's happened is a big cyano problem from last year's deployment. I should have changed the DI resin and never thought of it while gone, so I blame that one squarely on me. Nothing died and the slime cleared up in a few months after my return.

She added a few corals and a sponge to the tank this time around and the tank looks better than when I left. When I get home she washes her hands with it and I get the fun of scraping the skimmer cup, haha.

Moves can be a bit of a pain. I've moved my setup (smaller tanks then) 3x and, while it was work, all worked out.

Mistersponge
11/13/2014, 06:13 AM
unfortunately I just came home from a deployment and had a freshwater tank (30) gallon and had a friend watch it. He informed me he knew what he was doing and how to take care of it. I showed him everything he needed just in case he didnt know something. I really wanted to be safe about it. Well hadnt heard from him the entire time while i was deployed. When I got back all my fish were dead and the house smelled something terrible. The water was green and stagnant not only that but the fish were still dead in the tank rotting. Lost a good friend to that and some good fish. I know better next time to not do that and pull better resources for someone to watch it. :(
That really sucks, sorry to hear about this. Any future plans for a tank?

Toby_Kourtney
11/15/2014, 02:37 PM
Mine has made it through a deployment fine my wife did a very good job. Luckily(if you wanna call it luck) I'm coded to minot afb nd so I'll probably never have to move my tank.

mlprce
11/30/2014, 10:19 PM
I have a biocube 29 which I got set up a few months before I mobilized. Let's just say it wasn't a good year for the cube lol. Lost all coral(ZOA's,gsp,Xenia's) and one of two clown fish.

Fogvalley
12/11/2014, 09:53 PM
Ha I traded a buddy my Xbox for his 125 some years back. Moved the tank and water whole setup. Got the call within 2-3 months, moved the tank back to his place for deployment, he bought a 60 square, and jacked my water and didn't move all the fish, killed a 8 yr naso. :( he came with the tank so I think he felt worse then me. Lol got home moved it back alone except for the glass and stand. Remember this a 125 no fun to move, retired and it was in storage for almost five years and just bought another house and set it back up! Again I plan to get a new stand and hood built some day, so I will be draining it again one more time but I had to set it up!

philr21
12/31/2014, 06:33 AM
My 125g fish only was fine during my Afghan tour, but during my year in Diego Garcia the drain side of the sump overflowed due to clogged filter. After a few times of overflowing the filter onto the floor, she ended up emptying the tank where it has sat since. Just getting ready to try and reset it back up.

dabob79
01/28/2015, 09:48 AM
My ex never would take care of my tanks for me, so every time I deployed I had to tear down and sell or put it in storage :/ Now that I'm out I can't wait to put together my new tank and leave it up for more than a year! lol

madcanary
03/21/2015, 09:58 AM
wife did her best, unfortunately lack of knowledge on both parts, feeding with pump on etc ATO taking a crap and skimmer not keeping constant, lost a few fish nitrates and phosphates through the roof, everyone is happy and moved to LPS corals...now apex in my future..

nmotz
04/16/2015, 12:34 PM
Set up the tank with sand/dry rock before I left. Talked my wife through everything else. Making the RO/DI water was the most "exciting." I forgot to tell her to close the valve on the cold water line leading to the washing machine before she loosened the screw. Water went spraying everywhere. Hahah it was great because we were on FaceTime through the whole thing. She managed to close the valve and did a great job making RO/DI water.

She did it all though....put the powerheads on, dosed pure ammonia to start the cycle, added BioSpira. She's even done pretty well keeping up with top off water (i have a glass lid so that helps) When I get back it'll be there waiting for me, all cycled and ready to go. I can't wait!

hotelbravo
04/16/2015, 06:52 PM
I am worried about when I deploy. My wife says she wants to go back home while im deployed. That leaves the tank by itself in an empty house... I cant seem to convince her to stay and look after it. I am considering letting an airman from my work who lives in the dorms look after my tank and it would give them time away from the dorms but that brings up a whole bunch of other problems. I might only have one option.. tear down..

nmotz
04/17/2015, 12:35 AM
I am worried about when I deploy. My wife says she wants to go back home while im deployed. That leaves the tank by itself in an empty house... I cant seem to convince her to stay and look after it. I am considering letting an airman from my work who lives in the dorms look after my tank and it would give them time away from the dorms but that brings up a whole bunch of other problems. I might only have one option.. tear down..

Yeah that sucks man. I'm trying to avoid a larger tank until I'm out of the military for this very reason. If I have a small tank, I feel confident that most of the daily stuff can be taken care of through automated equipment (ATO, lights on a timer, etc). Water changes are small and fairly straightforward so it's less risk for a spouse. I know my wife gets herself all stressed out by doing too many things while I'm away so adding in tank-keeping responsibilities is a tough ask. I was lucky my wife agreed to it this time, but then again I'm on my first deployment.

danrobberg
06/13/2015, 09:12 AM
I had to tarey tank down and set it up at my brothers apartment. The whole time I was deployed he said the tank was doing great. Then I return home and go to his apartment to find two inches of water in the dam thing. He let everything die. I was pretty ****ed off about that.

Harleyguy
07/07/2015, 03:29 AM
I've been delayed a couple of times and in each instance I had to tear dow my system. After the last deployment I never set it up again. I will set up again some day after I get out. It is too costly and sad to have to get ride of all my corals and fish.

Navymedic
07/10/2015, 03:20 PM
My last deployment (14 months) I came back to most of Corals covered in algae, LMAO. after some good cleaning, water changes, and aggressive skimming and phosphate removal, i saved a bunch of my stuff. fast forward 2 years and I have a very established tank and better trained helper ;)

littlec984
07/28/2015, 10:07 PM
My wife took real good care of my 200 gallon during my last deployment. Taking care of it made her fall in love. Now she is just as much into the hobby as I am.

daquan44
01/21/2016, 07:42 PM
I just came off of a deployment myself. The Apex and my wife kept the tank in good order until I returned. I tried to automate as much as I could before I left. ATO, AWC, dosing pumps, Auto fish feeders. I used aqua medics water testing since my wife doesn't know how to use the hanna checkers, or Red sea test kits. All she had to do was fill two bottles put them in the addressed return box, and put the box in the mail. I received an email on the ship with the results, and surprisingly the parameters were great mid way through the deployment. When I returned home, I was surprised to see how much the corals grew. The only thing I had to contend with was a cyano problem. I have another 6 to 9 month deployment coming up. I just invested in a calcium reactor to help better automate dosing alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium.

Itz_Koolio
04/02/2016, 03:51 PM
Thank you guys and gals for your service! :D

CaseysAquariums
10/27/2016, 08:21 PM
Honestly when I left home for the first time I left my 2 30 gallons in the watchful eyes of my father. All my fish died.