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What happens when a tank gets too hot!


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Just wanted to share my experience with high temps in reef tanks. I have 2 nano tanks at work that overheated this past weekend when we had a heat wave. The building AC turns off after hours. Never had this problem before and you can be sure it won't happen again. I didn't see the damage until I arrived at work Monday morning. Here are some very sad pix of my dying corals, not to mention a couple of small bleached Acro colonies.





Ice blue chalice



Used to be neon green blastos



Lava red chalice



Pink chalice



Pink tip frogspawn


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Sorry for the loss of all that livestock. Hopefully one or two corals may be able to revive themselves. Although, that’s may be wishful thinking.


Best of luck with the future.

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do you know/estimate what the temp got too. Thats a sad story, and it looks like you had some really nice peices too. I guess its chiller time?

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I don't really know how hot it got, but it was still above 84 on Monday morning at 8 a.m. My best guess would be 86 or higher. Not all of the corals in both tanks were affected. Some didn't show any signs of distress. I still have about 75-80 percent of the corals in both tanks that are doing fine. Unfortunately, the pictured corals are all likely doomed. The ice blue chalice has about 50% of it's tissue left. The neon green blastos are essentially skeletons since the pix were taken yesterday.

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Sorry to hear about this.


I think the tank must have been higher than 86. Last summer I was running 85 constant and I was OK.


Good luck with rebuilding. This happened recently to a few locals...with good local support you can have your tank stocked again before you know it.

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wow, that's really crazy.


my pico tank at home is getting to about 84.4 degrees, =X everything looks happy, but it's starting to scare me.

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The tanks were probably running higher than 86, but that's just my best guess. The only reason I said that was because all my fish survived and based on past experience, they don't fare well at all when the temp climbs above 86 or so.


kinetics, use a fan on your pico. It really helps with the cooling. The only thing you have to pay attention to is the increased evaporation rate so more frequent top-off is required. I bought a couple of small fans yesterday at $10 each and both tanks are running at <78 degrees right now.

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i had a really great tank setup that had been running for months... had hammers, frogspawn, plate corals, zoos, bubble coral, mushies... until one day the heater went skitzoid and cranked itself up to 50degrees celcius (im not sure what that is fareheit) and 'boiled' my tank for 12hrs while i was at work... got home, opened the door and i could smell it straight away...

wandered over to the tank, and the water was whtieish green... bits of coral flesh floating around.... all the plates had had tyhe flesh stripped straight off them. the polyps from my zoos had detached and were floating around.... everything had gone white... not a good look... it also killed a few fish



all in all not a good experience...

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thats not good.



LOL......understatement of the year :P



Man, who said this hobby was easy. With the tank crashes I had this year, I probably lost over $2000 in corals already :angry:

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  • 1 month later...

desperately lloking for more information on overheating, and whether i can expect to pull through (10G no skimmer/sump/55PC half actnic/7kg LR/4mo).


i run a fan during lighting hours which has managed to keep my temp from going above 30 during the hot weather, but the power to it came lose yesterday and i didnt notice until nearly lights out today at which point the water temp was 36. (~97F)


the only reason i noticed was that I hadnt seen my six-line or my blue damsel swimming around for a little while and they are usually pretty active during the daytime. Also a sinularia I have which is usually thriving was looking rather unhappy.


I am gutted as everything was going so well. I've lost the wrasse, the damsel, and a peppermint for sure, and have yet to locate a red star and an arrow crab.


Im hoping that i can salvage what is left, the sinularia has some bleaching at the base of its trunk and is looking very sorry for itself - wil the zooaxanthelle repopulate the bleached area?.


Amzingly (or maybe not) my clown seems to have pulled through and is now 'asleep' on the mag float and seems to be ok. I managed to pull the temp back down to about 32 using ice in freezer bags over the course of an hour, and over the next few hours things have calmed down to a reasonable 29.


I've stuck a bunch of carbon and a polyfilter in to try and help with any excess byproducts from die off.


I just want to cry.

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I just had my 3 gallon tank crash over the weekend at work - rather disheartening to see first thing monday morning -- lost about 1/2 of my tank so far -- I did a 100% water change and am hoping my zoas bounce back - none of my hermits died or my nassarius snails, but I also lost 3 astrea snails, 3 sexy shrimp, a porcelain crab and a few corals (including my lone PPE polyp :( )

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my AP24 hit a record high of 88, everything is still hanging on! (sps, lps, clams, fish, macro)

my eclipse runs at an average of 86.5, everything still growing strong!

at night, it hits 79 degrees, with a 7 degree swing, i think zoas are really really tough...along with my YWG and fire shrimp and blasto!

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I run my lights starting from 5pm until 1am to avoid lighting during peak heat during the day. Previously I had them turning on around noon and my tank temp would get over 90F while I was at work. Killed a frogspawn and xenia that had recently been added but nothing else.


Now with the changed lighting schedule, even on a day when it's 34-35C outside my tank only gets to 82-84F (sorry about switching between temp scales) during the day, and maybe 88 just before the lights turn off. Everyone seems happy even at 88F.

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Sorry about the loss, how big are your nano's at work?


I would love to have a nano for work, as the temp is always a nice 72 ambient which is like having a free chiller.


However I always hear things like A/C maintanence or failure during the weekend, same at my work place. That's a big problem relying on the office A/C. Maybe I could have some livestock that are super hardy and no corals.


I also started my light schedule at 6pm at home, now moved to 9pm to 6am in morning and it's even better taking care of the cooler temperature, I imagine that is good for winter too, keeps the tank warm in the colder part of the night.

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86 isn't that bad of a temp, short term.


My highest is 94 (without deaths).

i agree, i hit 90 and all i had was a bad algae bloom a few days later.


sorry for your losses :(

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Those pics look a little like my tank now... batchy tissue loss all the way to melting...


Sorry to hear about this! I hate the heat!!!! >_<

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