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View Full Version : Tank crash, massive fish death, theories


amcvay1979
08/03/2016, 09:17 AM
Hello all. I woke up yesterday morning to find that the circuit in my basement tripped overnight around 3 a.m. and most of my fish had died.

This circuit will trip every now and again but more often recently, like once every 2 to 3 weeks, typically overnight. When I find it I reset the breaker, everything comes back on and I've never had any fish loss. From my best estimate, the tank was without power from 3 a.m. to about 11 a.m. so about 8 hours. My system is a 150 tall, open top with 35 gallon sump with a skimmer and 2 gyre pumps.

When I woke up and found the fish death I took a water sample of everything I could test for. Temp was 71 (same as the house temp via AC), salinity was 33ppt, a little low but nothing crazy. Nitrate was detectable but not over 2 ppm, phosphates spiked to 0.23 ppm, ammonia was detectable but not overly high.

Ph had dropped to about 7.4 which is what got me thinking the Dissolved Oxygen dropped to dangerously low levels. Here's why I think this. I'm in the midwest and temps are in the high 80's to low 100's in July/August and we run the AC constantly. My system has a fresh air intake but we typically turn this off when humidity gets really high because it becomes a losing battle trying to bring in hot, humid air to cool the house. Anyway, last summer I found my ph dropping to 7.6 when the AC was running all the time so I would have to turn on the fresh air intake more often.

The only other thing that peaked my interest was I began feeding New Life Spectrum Ick Shield pellets just 2 days before. My taller, skinny fish regularly show signs of ich every few weeks, but they're fat and happy fish and it don't bother them, just some minor flashing every now and again and I've always just lived with it. I had this food on hand but never used it, so I tried it and they loved the stuff, so I figured I'd give it a shot for a month.

Anyway, my total losses are as follows; Yellow Longnose Butterfly, Bristletooth Tomini Tang, Mimic Tang, 2 fairy wrasses, 1 cleaner wrasse, 1 clown goby, 1 bengai cardinal, 1 mandarin goby, 1 chromis, 2 tomato clowns. I couldn't find the mandarin, the clown goby or the chromis, but haven't seen them over the past 24 hours.

I'm left with 2 chromis, 1 melanaurus wrasse, and 1 bengai cardinal.

Since I'm 99% sure the mandarin didn't eat the pellet foods, I suppose I can rule out the food being the issue, or...would this medicated food have compromised their health just slightly enough to where a low oxygen event could have killed them?

I did locate the cause of the tripped circuit, I think, and it tripped 5 or 6 times yesterday but not again since I removed it.

Thoughts?

rt67ghy
08/03/2016, 09:31 AM
I think something is leaking electricity into your tank and so the tripped circuit. That could have killed all the fish. Have you tested the water with a tester for electricity?

amcvay1979
08/03/2016, 10:10 AM
I've not done that. The component that was tripping my circuit appears to be a usb powered AI controller. The usb male end was rusty and I think that's what was tripping the circuit. But that doesn't touch the water.

Greybeard
08/03/2016, 10:26 AM
Sorry to hear about your fish.

Definitely check the tank for voltage... Easy to do, and if that's the problem, it's usually easy to fix.

I'd suspect low O2. 8 hours on a fairly heavily stocked tank, especially one with a tall profile, meaning less surface area for gas exchange... yeah, that'd likely be the culprit.

Did the fish that remained show signs of stress before you turned the pump back on?

amcvay1979
08/03/2016, 11:15 AM
Sorry to hear about your fish.

Definitely check the tank for voltage... Easy to do, and if that's the problem, it's usually easy to fix.

I'd suspect low O2. 8 hours on a fairly heavily stocked tank, especially one with a tall profile, meaning less surface area for gas exchange... yeah, that'd likely be the culprit.

Did the fish that remained show signs of stress before you turned the pump back on?

Not really, no. That's the strange thing. The male (smaller) clown was still gasping on the sand when I found it yesterday, and one of the bengai cardinals was swimming erratically and eventually found him on the sand. I pulled him out and he lived another 6 hours or so. No gasping, just acting dead then coming to life. I ended up putting him back into the tank just in case the O2 would help him, but it didn't. Not that I expected him to recover.

louscal
08/03/2016, 11:18 AM
Sorry to hear I would definitely check to make sure nothing is shorting out your tank especially if it is happening more frequently than it has in the past

amcvay1979
08/03/2016, 11:45 AM
I'm 99% sure it was the USB cable on the AI Controller power side. Since removing it yesterday nothing has tripped and it was continually tripping yesterday afternoon. I'll test for stray voltage today but that power cable wasn't in the water and most of my equipment is DC with the exception of the return pump and heater.

Sk8r
08/03/2016, 01:18 PM
What a heartbreak. So sorry. I don't think it was the oxygen in so few hours. My bet is totally on the electrics. My advice now is to start qt while you straighten this out, and give it 72 days of inverts-and-corals only to be sure you're rid of the ich issue. Qt every batch in and you should be free of the pest, the only positive in this mess, besides that it's a pretty good bet it's a fixable problem.

amcvay1979
08/03/2016, 01:55 PM
How exactly do you correct an electronic leakage issue? Simply replace the component as verified with a multi meter? I assume there's no easy fix other than replacement of faulty equipment?

CleanReef
08/19/2016, 10:31 AM
sorry about your fish

amcvay1979
08/19/2016, 10:51 AM
Thanks. Everything is a lesson. I should have had battery backup. Finally traced the reason the circuit keeps tripping to a power bar that must have gotten wet. Removed it 2 weeks ago and changed the USB power adapter that was rusty and no trips since.

Icefire
08/21/2016, 09:33 PM
I saw tanks that crashed in 3-6 hours with no power if O2 is all used or if CO2 get high enought.

Do yourself a favor and split your circuit on multiple breakers.

amcvay1979
08/22/2016, 09:25 AM
I'm about 100% certain that's what it was. I've since split the power demand over 2 circuits and got rid of the offending power strip. Looked into battery backups but those only provide about an hour of realistic running time, so I'd need to invest in the best of the best UPS battery backup, which I'll look into doing, but it'll need to be away from salt water which will be interesting.

Always something on my tank. Since the low O2 event, the ph went down quite a bit, causing a bryopsis outbreak. Several fish died where I couldn't see them or remove them so the phosphate spiked as well, further feeding the bryopsis. I've gotten the ph back up but it'll only go up to 7.8 if you believe API tests? Phos and Nitrate are back to near zero and I added Kent Tech M and the algae has started to diminish, but it's all over the glass and plastic surfaces as well as the rocks, but not as much in the rocks, thankfully.

niladride
09/01/2016, 05:35 AM
Really sorry to hear about your fish. I also doubt it is the electricity being culprit here.