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Tank blew a seal

Posted 04/07/2013 at 09:48 PM by ACBlinky

The title says it all. I was sitting on the sofa with my son; he was watching a cartoon, I was dozing, and the sound of gushing water brought me fully awake. The bottom front seal of the tank blew, and water was spurting and pouring out at an unbelievable rate.

My husband was home, doing some work at his computer. I yelled for help, and he came running. We threw hoses in the tank to drain the water as quickly as possible into the sink and a large bin, and once we had the water out I removed the coral and rock to bins, adding powerheads to keep the water circulating.

I was in a state of near shock, I couldn't quite believe that this had happened; the tank is less than eleven months old. I spent a lot of time on the phone, going between the retail store that sold me the tank and the company that manufactured it. They're honouring the warranty, but we weren't able to get the replacement tank any sooner than the store's next scheduled delivery, which happened to be exactly two weeks from the day that this disaster took place.

So the fish are in the QT (which actually made this process more bearable), the corals are in a large Rubbermaid bin, and the majority of the rock is in another, even larger bin. As of this entry it has been 12 days, and everything is okay; we lost our urchin, an emerald crab, and a number of Stomatella snails, but the corals all seem alright and the rest of the animals are still alive as well. Even the macroalgae is fine; it's in a ball at the top of the rock bin, under a desk lamp.

The day after the chaos, our apartment absolutely STANK. The carpet was soaked and despite wet-vacuuming it, the dampness created a lovely wet-dog/old carpet/bacterial nastiness small that was still nothing in comparison to the smell coming from the tank itself.

The rock and coral recovery effort and carpet cleaning took most of the day, the rest I spent on the phone, and as a result I left the sand to rot overnight. Yeah, don't do that. Pods, bacteria, worms, and whatever else died in the sand and holy moley does that ever make one hell of a stink. The sump had quite a sponge population, and draining the sump left the sponges high and dry; each one was small, but collectively they created an ungodly stench when they perished.

Because I was tired, sore, and also had to work, it took me a couple of days to fully clean everything out. I tossed the sandbed, rinsed out the tank and cleaned it as best I could, and then removed the sump and plumbing. I tossed it all in the bathtub, filled everything with hot water and a LOT of bleach, and let it sit. A bit of scrubbing and rinsing, and the sump almost looked like new!

Once everything was out of the stand I took the opportunity to climb inside and clean out the dust, salt creep and spiderwebs. I washed down the outside of the stand, which was covered in salt from the day the tank burst, and then put the clean sump and plumbing back inside the stand. Now everything is ready and waiting; as soon as the new tank gets here, we'll be all set to hook things up and start again.

I decided I'd like to try going barebottom with the tank this time around -- it's easier to add sand than remove it, so if we decide we're not happy we can always toss some sand in later. It took me ages to find a source for HDPE cutting board material in this city, and once I found it I had to buy small sheets and cut them to size on my own, but I enjoy a bit of DIY so I don't really mind. We bought a small pull saw and after measuring and marking the boards, I cut the quarter circle for the overflow and the end off one of the boards so the length was right. I need to get another board to make up some space at the front of the tank, because the sheets we found aren't wide enough, so we're doing that tomorrow.

We have hired a friend who happens to be a contractor to move the old tank to the store and bring the new tank home. He has built a type of cradle/carrying rack for it that will prevent any possible twisting motions during transport. We need to pick up some glass-movers suction cups from a rental place tomorrow, and the next day is moving day.

For anyone following along, I plan to take some pictures and post everything from the move to the Starboard installation and re-build of the tank, re-introduction of the livestock, and (I hope), our smiling faces at the end of it all once it's gone off without a hitch. Stay tuned!
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    that sounds terrible!!! glad to hear that your biggest loss out of a busted tank was an urchin and emerald crab 8-)....
    Posted 04/26/2013 at 04:09 PM by MediTank MediTank is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Great that you handled it so well and so fast, i bet that warrantee does not cover livestock loss does it? Any chance you could mention the manufacture so we can never buy from them again?

    I would probably just jump up and start screaming, while just staring at the tank until someone came along and slapped me out of it, could not imagine
    Posted 05/06/2013 at 10:36 AM by Adamw327 Adamw327 is offline
 

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