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My entire tank died, overnight!


godadj

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Last night when I flipped on the lights to my tank, and I was shocked to find everything in my tank, all my fish, my brittle star, everything dead. I've had it up and running for about 2 years now, and lately been having problems with an uncontrollable infestation of aiptasia. I am at a total loss as to what happened. One suspect would be that our power went out for a couple of hours while I was out, but this shouldn't be enough to kill everything should it? With everything dead (except the aiptasia of course, which is flourishing), I plan to take the tank down, but am a little concerned. Having everything die so quickly, are there any health hazards I should be aware of for my own safety when cleaning it? Any ideas on what might have happend? Here is my setup

 

33 gal tank

Fluval 304 filter

2x96W compact fluorescents

2 Hagan powerheads

40lbs liverock

 

niger trigger

copper-banded butterfly

2 chromis

2 yellow-tailed damsels

1 perc clown

1 green brittle star

1 moonstone

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Nope, no cucumbers. I just don't get it, I mean everything completely dead. It was so freaky. Normally I'm not a paranoid person, but the thought of tying into a tank where everything dropped dead so quickly kinda freaks me out. If i'm not mistaken the last time I looked, there were even a couple of dead bristle worms in there, and their pretty tough!

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how often did you clean out your fluval? that may have added to the downfall of your tank. you should check for stray voltage though...that may be a good lead.....especially since everything went downhill overnight. goodluck!

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maybe one of the power heads or heater malfunctioned...short in the water or chemical leak. If it killed everything but the aiptasia its probably heat or chemical related. Or it's one of those things we rather not talk about...The Twilight Zone. trying to cheer u up, I know I would definitely need some counseling after that.

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Thanks for all the advice everyone! I am positive it isn't chemical, as my chemicals are stored a long way from my tank and i manually dose it. Temperature in the tank was 77F when I checked it (I kinda thought my Ebo went loco too!), so temp was okay. I'd suspect an electrical short, but everything is on 2 powerbars with resetable fuses (5 amp I believe), which didn't trip, so unless something shorted, then went open and drew less than 5 amps while doing it (which is possible), then I'm still at a loss. Oh well, my momma didn't raise any quiter, I haven't even drained the last tank yet, and I've begun cycling a little 5 gallon. Maybe I can save my moonstone yet! Thanks!

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same thing happened to me - my problem was a wacky heater - from now on I will use two smaller heaters and replace them annually.

I got home, tank was cloudy and water was hot - test on heater seem to be ok now but the heater was NOT sbumersible type and I think that it may have gotten wet that morning ! thus causing the wipeout.. HURTS but I am starting over.

 

BTW I have another tank and all was/is well with that one.

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sabotage?

where's it kept? mine was in my room at uni, a "friend" of mine thought it would be funny to add a small amount of mouth wash, killed everything, sweet

sorry to hear about your loss

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Any chance the glass casing on the heater broke? That happened to my dad's tank. It didn't shock the whole tank, but one hawk got too close and it was electrocuted. We have no idea why the glass broke.

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Always a possibility. I plan to pull the tank apart tonight, clean everything up, and test all my powerheads, heater, filter, etc. A little work with an ohmmeter should shed a little light on this if it is an electrical failure. Again, thanks for all the advice everyone. I'll post a follow up with my findings.

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Originally posted by hagfish

Any chance the glass casing on the heater broke?  That happened to my dad's tank.  It didn't shock the whole tank, but one hawk got too close and it was electrocuted.  We have no idea why the glass broke.

 

 

I was doing a massive water change at a lfs I was working at one day. The 175 watt heater became exposed to the water and cracked the casing. I didn't notice until I filled the tank back up and went to move one of the rocks. Yeah, needless to say I got 175 watts flowing right through my body. Free therapy.

 

Sorry about your loss.

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Originally posted by hagfish

Any chance the glass casing on the heater broke?  That happened to my dad's tank.  It didn't shock the whole tank, but one hawk got too close and it was electrocuted.  We have no idea why the glass broke.

 

 

I was doing a massive water change at a lfs I was working at one day. The 175 watt heater became exposed to the water and cracked the casing. I didn't notice until I filled the tank back up and went to move one of the rocks. Yeah, needless to say I got 175 watts flowing right through my body. Free therapy.

 

Sorry about your loss.

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How long was it since your last water change? What were your test results specifically nitirite and ammonia. That is a relatively high bioload for a 33g tank for a fluval to handle all by itself. For example in my 20g i have a fluval 104, Protein skimmer, and hang on refugium. If you let the nitrite accumulate it can all of a sudden reach a toxic level which could have caused your quick and massive die off. And aptasias can endure low quality water so that maybe why they are still living. Sorry Dude starting over is hard. Goodluck.

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Originally posted by godadj

33 gal tank...

 

niger trigger

copper-banded butterfly

2 chromis

2 yellow-tailed damsels

1 perc clown

1 green brittle star

1 moonstone

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

 

They didn't die overnight, you have been killing them slowly. Save an electrocution mentioned before, you need to really watch your bioload in the future. Did you know Niger Triggers can get to over a foot long, and are not considered reef safe?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with Regal and Ricky, the fluval is not ideal for maintaining a 33g reef system, especially if its not watched closely. Try a HOB fuge, you'll be alot happier in the long run (2+ years).

 

Canister filters are more of a problem than they are worth, IMHO. A nice little fuge for that 33 would be the ideal, use that Fluval for a freshwater livebearer tank! ;)

 

 

Forget about the fish being electrocuted, its barely a possibility.

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i disagree, while there might be an underlying problem with water chemistry, there is no way all of his inhabitants would of died that suddenly. water chemistry would cause a slope effect and a gradual death. i would suspect is is electrical or some shortage in your equipment during the power failure like others have said. sorry for your loss. keep up the faith.

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Just a guess, but a power failure can cause a tank to crash (especially with a heavy bio-load). The problem is due to a lack of oxygen. The heavy bio-load is being handled by your established biological filter. As you know these aerobic bacteria require oxygen (this is why the oxygen rich surface of a bio-wheel is so efficient). A fish can live in a bag for a few hours, but there is no biological filter in the bag with it consuming all of its oxygen.

 

It is possible that the heavy bio-load was already causing low oxygen levels even when all of your pumps were working properly. Now when the power went out, the bacteria and other livestock quickly consumed the available oxygen. As the first casualties died, the ammonia level (which is highly toxic) climbed and the bacteria tried to process it (consuming more oxygen). Ultimately, there was no oxygen for your biological filter or your livestock, plus the ammonia and nitrite levels were escalating. As more life died, the conditions worsened.

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this is what I think went wrong; either; the triger died first, if it was large it could have caused a meltdown in the tank, or your heater malfunctioned and skcoked everything, eventually killing him.

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