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Old 01/17/2010, 07:15 AM   #1
bassking16
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Question Tank Crash Causes

Hi All,

I just have a curiousity question. I keep reading about people having tank "crashes", and losing just about everything in their tanks.

Aside from a tank being broken, and losing all the water, or some kind of household chemical finding its way into the tank, what are some of the other causes for tank crashes? I'm just curious so I can hopefully avoid some of these mistakes. Don't get me wrong. I'm not looking for anyone to sell themselves out here. Just curious.

I've been reefing for about 9 months now, and the only mass problem I had was an Ich outbreak that killed six out of the eight fish I had in the tank at the time. I learned my lesson on QTing new arrivals, and have recovered nicely since then.

Thanks for any inputs/warnings.
Bassking


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Old 01/17/2010, 07:29 AM   #2
iwishtofish
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Prolonged power failures, heaters sticking on, stray current in water, kalkwasser overdose, running too much GFO too fast, adding "old" water conditioner that has changed composition, animal dying without removal, skimmer overflowing causing ATO to flood tank with fresh water, stirring/disturbing deep sand bed, macroalgae going sexual...

I'll be following the thread. I'm sure there are many more! I wouldlike to see people post their experiences (especially off-the-wall ones) and what methods they now use to prevent a recurrence.


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Old 01/17/2010, 08:38 AM   #3
shirley386
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I think "crash" is a somewhat generic term that some people use to describe something bad happening in their tank. I've seen people use it to describe a severe algae outbreak, coral RTN, etc. It seems like when they say "my tank crashed" it is some kind of excuse for the neglect or stupid thing that did. But if they describe it as a "crash", then somehow its alright. About like Windows crashing and you have to reboot your system (not my fault!).


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Old 01/17/2010, 08:55 AM   #4
Mattik
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+1 to Shirley's comment...

That said, any true "crashes" I have had are not well understood. My guesses have been:

poor practices - '99 - introduced new fish...with LFS water....probably had medication in store water and that crashed the tank.
overheated - summer '05 (A/C on the fritz and tank went to +/- 90 F)
poor water quality - summer '08 (following hurricane Ike and extended power outage)


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Old 01/17/2010, 09:23 AM   #5
Playa-1
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I consider a crash as a mass die-off in the tank. A few things that come to mind:
Poor gas exchange could lead to a crash
ATO failure
Heater failure in the off or on position
Poor circulation leading to dead zones in the tank
Allowing hydrogen sulfide to form and be released in the tank.
Equipment shorting out and sending electricity into the tank.


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Old 01/17/2010, 09:42 AM   #6
tahoe61
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Crash

Over dosing with vodka.


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Old 01/17/2010, 10:40 AM   #7
sanchoy
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CRASH course 101:

-heat (heater malfunction stuck on/or stuck off),
-lights (overexposure stuck on, or not working)
-chemicals (toxic, introduction into tank)
-parasites/diseases (infects fish, kills fish which kills corals)
-overdose (using too much chemicals killing corals/fish)

most crashes occur when the owner is away from his/her tank for an extended period of time (usually 2 days or more). Other times an automatic feature malfunctions causing an overdose/or underdose feature. Poor maintenance is also another factor that comes into play. An abused tank, over an extended period of time will eventually crash.

Personally, I suffered a major crash in 08 which wiped out my entire livestock. At the time I was away on a week vacation. I had a tank sitter that only visited once when I was away. The MH lights were stuck on due to a failed controller after a power outtage, which sent the temp into the upper 90's. My sitter stopped by on days and did not even realize the MH lights were on for 4 days straight with temps rising. The controller malfunctioned due to the power outage and did not shut off the lights.

To prevent a crash:
1.check your equipment (daily/ weekly)
2.check your parameters
3.quarantine fish/corals/live rocks before intro.
4.get a tank sitter (reliable one) when on vacation
5.wash your hands before/after
6.be patient, dont rush

Always remember murphys law "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."



Last edited by sanchoy; 01/17/2010 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 01/17/2010, 10:46 AM   #8
Dave Harms
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My tank crashes have been caused by:

Hurricane Katrina - 'nuf said

AC going out in the middle of summer - ditto

Nem being sucked into a koralia and getting shredded in the middle of the night - self explanatory!

Foreign chemicals introduced to the tank - stuck my hands in the tank when I just got home from work because my ATO was malfunctioning... forgot I had been using industrial strength cleaners earlier

Ammonia reaching lethal levels - I guess something died but I never could figure out what happened.

Heat is really my main nightmare!


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Old 01/17/2010, 10:51 AM   #9
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+1 on washing hands and arms. NO lotions they will cause skimmers to go wild and overflow. It was a heater stuck on for me. Killed all but two fish. wont happen again


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Old 01/17/2010, 10:51 AM   #10
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User error & acts of nature.


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Old 01/17/2010, 10:52 AM   #11
Dave Harms
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkeracer619 View Post
User error & acts of nature.


TRUE DAT


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Old 01/18/2010, 06:06 AM   #12
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Heater / chiller failures are a pretty common reason.


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Old 01/18/2010, 08:23 AM   #13
Emoney
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people doseing stuff that they can NOT test for!


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Old 01/18/2010, 09:09 AM   #14
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"Crash" #1 - Faulty heater.

"Crash" #2 - Extended Power Outage.

With "crash" being defined as a major loss of corals.


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Old 01/18/2010, 09:11 AM   #15
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All good reasons. I think there are times that we just do not know what caused it.

I had a 600 completely crash many years ago. With many years of live stock and many thousands of dollars invested. It was devastation beyond words.

We never found anything wrong. There were no mechanical or electrical failures. All parameters were near perfect. (as best as a test could read)

I even had the water sent out and tested for bacterial, chemicals, whatever they could test for.

The lone survivor was a Blue Tang that was not doing so good when I got home. I caught him (as he sliced my hand) and placed him in a bucket of freshly made salt water. He lived for another 6 years after that. To this day though, I have no idea what crashed that tank.


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Old 01/18/2010, 09:16 AM   #16
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well, I would think if you were driving the tank for too long without changing the oil, or maybe if you were texting while in the tank, it could cause a tank crash. Maybe not using your blinker?

haha had to.

good answers already above...


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Old 01/18/2010, 09:34 AM   #17
Playa-1
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I agree with NeverlosT on this one. I've seen many people cruising along and not paying attention to where the tank is going. Putting on the Make-UP, Reading a book, or whateva and next thing you know CRASH!!!


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Old 01/18/2010, 09:35 AM   #18
DThompson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Playa-1 View Post

I agree with NeverlosT on this one. I've seen many people cruising along and not paying attention to where the tank is going. Putting on the Make-UP, Reading a book, or whateva and next thing you know CRASH!!!
Now that's funny!


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Old 01/18/2010, 10:21 AM   #19
chat2BREWSKY
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same on the heater. don't skimp, buy a good reliable product.


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Old 01/18/2010, 11:14 AM   #20
DThompson
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Originally Posted by chat2BREWSKY View Post
same on the heater. don't skimp, buy a good reliable product.
There is no such thing as a reliable heater. All heaters fail. There are however, reliable controllers that can keep your non reliable heater from crashing your tank.


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Old 01/18/2010, 12:23 PM   #21
davenia7
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My heater cracked, but I was paying attention and caught it when it was only up to 85. Didn't lose anything (although EVERYTHING was ****ed, hence why I checked the temp in the first place) but when i stuck my hand in... got electrocuted and shot across the room. FYI, unplug first.


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Old 01/18/2010, 01:12 PM   #22
lucidheights
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skimmer overflowing is a pain! thankfully the ATO has a feature that shuts the pump if its on for more than 3 minutes. since the pump i'm using is rated at 30 gal an hour i dont have to worry about adding too much fresh water.


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Old 01/18/2010, 01:33 PM   #23
Fizz71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Playa-1 View Post

I agree with NeverlosT on this one. I've seen many people cruising along and not paying attention to where the tank is going. Putting on the Make-UP, Reading a book, or whateva and next thing you know CRASH!!!
Actually it happened to me ONCE..kind of. I was re-acclimating my fish to a new tank (took down a 75g, put up a new 75g with rock from two systems combined). I made the mistake of storing fish and an anemones in the same tub. The anemone stressed and I watched my fish die in front of my eyes. I'll never do that again.

Also made the newbie mistake of owning a sea apple that got sucked into a powerhead and wiped out a lot. Lost A/C and the MHs burned a tank out (on two different setups). Left an RO topoff on and flooded the tank (and my capret) although surpisingly there was very little death there.

After about 20 years in this hobby I've learned a lot of "hard lessons".


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Old 01/18/2010, 02:01 PM   #24
superfirefly
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I had two stealth heaters break open in the tank within two months. You think I would have learned a lesson after the first one. I lost all but two fish, my BTA's and a few zoa's. The upside was it knocked out my vermatid problem. I still have a few left but they were 95% knocked out. What is left I am manually removing.


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Old 01/18/2010, 02:40 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superfirefly View Post
I had two stealth heaters break open in the tank within two months. You think I would have learned a lesson after the first one. I lost all but two fish, my BTA's and a few zoa's. The upside was it knocked out my vermatid problem. I still have a few left but they were 95% knocked out. What is left I am manually removing.
Were these the stealth heaters with the black plastic tube or glass?


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