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Avoiding a tank crash

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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 24 2005 at 3:01pm

Recently I've seen or heard of WMAS members who had various tank crashes. Whether it's a crash of fish sickness, algae bloom, chemical balance or problems with dieing coral, I was wondering what y'all do, or think you should do, to keep your tank stable and looking good?



Edited by Mark Peterson - August 04 2014 at 10:21am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfinch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2005 at 3:17pm

Pay attention to the tank.  Don't neglect it for too long.  I don't think I've really had much of a crash (I did loose a handful of acros at the end of summer due to my neglect), but almost every problem I've had was from neglect.  Like right now, look at my skimmer...

Filthy, not working at all, needs some attention.  But rather then clean it I'm on my way out the door to fly my rc plane .  I'll try to get to it tonight...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RockStarFish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2005 at 3:24pm

I will get to it tomarow, I will get to it latter,it can wait, that is how things crash.

JK  I don,t know what I'm talking about I haven't done my water change yet and I was suposed to do it yesterday.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bbeck4x4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2005 at 4:11pm
i was supposed to do my water change last week.

this weekend is also going to be tough.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Will Spencer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2005 at 4:14pm
Originally posted by RockStarFish RockStarFish wrote:

I will get to it tomarow, I will get to it latter,it can wait, that is how things crash.

JK  I don,t know what I'm talking about I haven't done my water change yet and I was suposed to do it yesterday.

In many cases this is exactly what causes these problems.  It's easy to do to.

In my case where I lost a lot of fish the one thing that definitely could have helped is a quarantine tank.  I know Mark is not really fond of these, and neither am I, but it would certainly have helped in my case.

The other cardinal rule I broke and I think the one that causes the most problems is the patience rule.  I got impatient and added a lot of fish over a short period of time.  I think if I had been more patient the loss of 1 fish may not have created a cascading problem that killed all of the fish.

Three rules to a successful salt water aquarium...

1) Patience

2) Patience

3) Patience

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jeffras Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2005 at 5:11pm
Don't over react if something bad happens.

Do plenty of research before doing anything like adding chemicals, livestock, etc.

Do everything slowly, if you have a very low ph, raise it slowly. I think the drastic changes to correct a problem that probably took weeks  is one of the major crash causes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote smatney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 26 2005 at 10:47am

I know that lack of time is a reason but I also think that lack of knowledge is a reason as well.  I've got many examples of stupid stuff I did because I didn't know it would mess things up.  The yellow goby is one of the biggest mistakes - I didn't know they dined on SPS. 

This message board is a great place to ask questions and learn.  Its better to ask before doing the stupid thing though.  I could have avoided a lot if I would have asked first instead of thinking that I was smart enough to know.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Crazy Tarzan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 26 2005 at 12:19pm
Know the capacities limits and or basics of your tank's system, How many fish inches can you have without a skimmer, with, how much of a deep sand bed do you have, how much live rock.  Know how often and how much of what you feed.  Udnerstand what each inhabitant of your tank does to it.  USE the message board for tips, suggestions, experiences, and rules of thumb.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2006 at 9:25am

Watch for buildup of detritus which can occur when circulation is inadequate or a pump fails and goes unnoticed.

Watch for changes in color or packing in the substrate from the top or the side. Don't be afraid to scoop out some sand. Look at the sand and share it with another tank or spread it somewhere else in the same tank. Some changes in the reef aquarium are normal and part of maturation, others can signal organism stress or death. Respond to the need for sand disturbance by a stirring stick or the addition of sand sifting organisms.

Watch for and respond to the need for more herbivores and notice when snails are dieing.

At the death of any organism, do a check of all parameters and try to piece together if there was some change in the tank conditions over the last weeks or months. Try to determine the cause for that change, if any, by asking questions of yourself and on this WMAS MB.



Edited by Mark Peterson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shane H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2006 at 2:08pm
Don't try to squeeze more time out of your bulbs. They do have a life span and when its over - its over. No matter how hard you wish they would last longer, they don't.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 16 2007 at 9:23am
It's been a while. Has anyone anything to add to this?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cl2ysta1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 16 2007 at 9:30am
Do research on the fish you are planning on adding to your tank. How large will they get. Do they get along with the other fish  you already have or are planning to add. Can you provide adequete food for them (tangs are grazers and need to be fed quite frequently)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote taylorwaldron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2007 at 12:17pm
frequent water changes...on my 20 gal I did 3 gallons every week. I did not have a skimmer or anything so i did it more. My 90 I am starting with 20% a month.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 13 2008 at 4:31pm
A recent loss of many fish by a couple of very good hobbyists due to a 10+ hour power outage, prompts me to add this post to this old thread.
 
Power Outage / Loss of circulation/aeration
 
1. Place the tank close to a window which provides light to produce O2 to keep things going. I believe my tank in the window of my St George home could survive for days without power, but the 100+ degree heat of the summer would kill it as the house heated up in a few days. For that I would use a fan run off of a battery and/or a power inverter hooked up to the car.
 
2. Ensure some macroalgae in the sunlit tank, in a caged area if necessary, to provide better oxygenation.
 
3. Connect a powerhead to a Universal Power Supply. This powerhead would be set to push water along the top or up to the top of the tank to maximize it's air-water exchange effectiveness.
 
4. Add a bubbler that is built to turn on when power fails.  A few bubbles can make the difference between life and death for fish.
 
5. Be cautious about the number of fish. It's cool to have a lot of pets, but each fish places additional demand on the Oxygen supply.
 
5. I don't know why I'm saying this next one, I'm sure many people will take objection, but I have a strong feeling that a sand bed acts in a positive way to ensure the survivability of a system during a power outage. I can't say why, it's just a gut feeling. I have a lot of trust in the sand beds I've had over the years. I can't remember ever losing fish to a power outage in my tanks or those I've set up for others. Perhaps some thought and discussion will shed some light.


Edited by Mark Peterson - July 13 2008 at 5:21pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 13 2008 at 5:14pm
I just got a call from a hobbyist that made me think of addding another way tanks crash:
 
Overheating
 
I've come to think of a heater as a safety measure to keep the tank from dropping below an acceptable temperature. What is an acceptable temperature? Well, as I muse about this I can think of some variables in conditions that would determine a course of action. In summer the worry is mainly that the tank will overheat. And in the winter the worry would be that the tank could get too cold. We rarely hear of cold tank mishaps but often hear of overheating mishaps.
 
The best range of temperature I can suggest is 70-82 though I've never seen anything die after being at 65 for a short while. Most SPS will die above 82 so that's a good top of the range, yet most other organisms can survive a short jump to 90. It's very important to recognize that quick changes cause death so if a tank reaches the extremes, be sure to bring it back within range over 2-3 hours.
 
Usually, the only time the heater comes on in my tanks is during the winter. The WMAS business card indicates ideal temperature as 76-80, but I have my heaters set at about 72-74. I could feasibly have them set at 65 but I really don't want to have to adjust the setting each spring and fall so I just set it once and leave it. Most tanks are heated as the lights turn on, especially MH. Starting at a lower base temperature, like 72-75 gives a greater safety margin as the tanks heats up during the day.
 
It doesn't hurt fish or coral to have a 5-7 degree daily swing in temperature within the range. Depending on other tank conditions, even a 10 degree daily swing can be tolerated for short periods during the summer. I'm of the opinion that organisms are genetically inclined and/or behaviorally acclimated to withstand higher temps in the summer.
 
If the tank is consistently reaching above ~80 degrees, a simple $10 clip-on fan is a wonderful solution. Set the fan to blow diagonally down across the top of the water in the main display to create the best evaporative cooling. This can drop a tank temperature by 10 degrees depending on set angle and heater setting. If a fan over the main display is impractical, place the fan over the sump/refugium. Setting a fan on the same time control as the lights can start the cooling as soon as the lights turn on. This is especially useful with MH lighting and it's less trouble and cheaper than a chiller unit.
 
I hope this helps.Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 1fishkeeper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 14 2008 at 10:20pm
Some really great points taken here on my half.  Everyday I learn something new and you know what I can be doing this for the rest of my life and there will always be something that I can learn.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 11 2008 at 11:33pm
Bump

Edited by Mark Peterson - August 11 2008 at 11:39pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cameron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 07 2008 at 2:12am
Good stuff. Read it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bbeck4x4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 07 2008 at 8:07am
you should have this information available as a booklet for when a new member signs upThumbs Up

Edited by bbeck4x4 - December 07 2008 at 8:11am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote base762 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2011 at 10:27pm
as far as heaters ... what is used  by most in tank or in the sump??
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