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Don't Trust a Suction Cup.......

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ldrhawke

John
Joined
Dec 20, 2004
Messages
221
Location
Saint Augustine, Florida
:cry: Yesterday was not my day

Just as I thought I was getting a handle on good reef keeping, I went home last night to find my coral in a total state of melt down :(

All my soft coral were covered with white slim and all the SPS had turned white. The blue, gree, and orange montipora capricornis were white,all the acroporas had whited out, green turbinaria lost all color and polyups receded, the frogspawn was covered with white slim and virtually melting, the leather were shrunk up and layed over, etc, etc. None of the fish had died, but it was my own personal tsunami.

I stood there in awe and disbelief, not knowing what do do or what was causing the problem. I had just received a note from the Zeo man warning me to be careful using Vodka. He said some people using vodka had experienced bacteria blooms. My tank and coral had never looked better and the SPS were all white tipped and growing. Maybe that is what happened I thought.

Or, maybe because I had pulled my skimmer out of service for the last couple days to fit up an new one I was building, had caused the problem.

My ORP reading was down with all the death in the tank. Boost the oxygen and export the organic waste as quick as I can. Start to mix an new batch of water for an immediate water change. So, I immediately kicked on my power outage backup airstone. Re-installed the skimmer and started making a new batch of water for a major water change. Now what? :confused:

I sat down and tried to figure out what the problem was visually before starting water tests. What could have caused this? The tank look great the night before. I started closely examining the total system. I couldn't see anything obviously wrong. Then I noticed....the skimmer it wasn't producing very much foam and the bubbles were coarse.................S.G.:idea:

I pulled out my refractometer.......1.1 S.G. :confused: It was 1.35 last night. I checked my RO/DI make up water float in the sump. It appeared fine...no leaking and sealing fine. Then I noticed....the emergency high water control to turn on a very little .5 gpm/2' head pump. I installed this a year ago to keep the sump from over flowing should the make up water float ever start to malfunction. It was controlled my a high/high sensor in the sump. The little tube was held on with SUCTION CUPS. The suction cups weren't holding it and it had slide down an inch. Difficult to even see if I didn't look closely.

With the float level just under the high level setting for the makeup water float; the emergency over flow pump was continuously cycling ON/OFF and the makeup water was continuously feeding to make up for the water being removed. Overnight it caused my S.G to drop from 1.35 to 1.1. :shock:

The fish look fine but the coral are a mess, I've am slowly bring the SG back up to salvage what I can......at least I found the problem and know how to keep it from happening again......HAPPY NEW YEAR:cry:

Double check any float control you may have mounted with suction cups.
 
Last edited:

gobie

dave the gobie
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Messages
366
Location
Auburn
I Feel Your Pain, I Suffered Formthe Same Fate. Extreme Low Sg. Mine Happened When A Friend Had Added A 25gal Of Unbuffered Fresh To My Reef In One Shot. I Left Step By Step Instructions And Told Her To Callme When She Was Going To Do It. It Took Masive Water Changes Some Where Around 200 Gal+ Removing The Sand Bed Or Most Of It. Cause It Fouled Out. Basically I Tore My Reef Down And Salvaged What I Could. I Lost Lps( Frogspawn, Torch And 9year Old Elegance , Cleaner Shrimp, Snails) My Ph Was At 7.75. Good Luck Like I Said I Really Feel For You.
 

The R/C Man

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 20, 2004
Messages
423
Location
Spokane WA
I am sorry to hear about your tank! I hope most of the inhabitants pull through. I had a similar problem a few weeks ago. A hermit crab crawled into my overflow box and blocked the siphon tube. The pump in the sump kept pumping and the float switch let the top off run continously to keep the sump full. Lucky for me the top off tank was needing to be filled and it only had a few gallons in it. It still made a mess on my floor and lowered my salinity quite a bit. I have since added a piece of gutter gaurd over the siphon box to keep out critters. I have also removed the top off tank and now run the RO/DI straight to the sump. Although there is now a continous flow to the tank in the event of a float switch failure (and the back up) it will take all day to overflow the tank rather than just a few minutes. I am also planning to add third float switch on the main tank to shut off the main pump in the event of an overflow. I would rather loose the macro algae in the sump than the main tank.........

I hope these ideas help spark some back up plans for others before something goes wrong for you. It is not a matter of if but when. Build it simple!!
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Oh man that sucks!!! Not much you can do now but save what you can and do it better next time. Let us know if we need to put a care package together once you are established again

Sorry for the pain


Mike
 

wrightme43

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2004
Messages
4,355
Location
bowling green ky
Sorry for your loss, One of my favorite corals is the frogspawn, Its a real shame to lose it, I have real trouble getting them here. I hope everything works out for the good, and Your New Year is filled with joy. Steve
 

Zephrant

Engineer
Joined
Feb 13, 2004
Messages
120
Location
Spokane, WA
Hey Hawke- Sorry to read this!

One thing I can suggest to everyone- Put a needle-valve on your RO/DI feed line, and a timer on the pump/solenoid. Adjust the needle valve to a trickle, then adjust the timer so that in a 24 hour period, it can only barely keep up with evaporation.

For the timer, set it to be on 1 hour a day, and see if your water level keeps up. Keep upping the on time until the water level can be maintained.

I did that to my setup, and it has saved me from several stuck float switches over the last few years. If the float sticks, my water level goes up about a 1/2 inch a day. That is 2.5 gallons in a 200+ gallon system. Still, it might take me a few days to notice (or I could be out of town). But adding 10 gallons of FW to a 200+ gallon system over several days, is more survivable at least.

Redundant float switches would be a good idea too- I plan on doing that someday.

Zeph
 

ldrhawke

John
Joined
Dec 20, 2004
Messages
221
Location
Saint Augustine, Florida
Thanks for the ideas......I had planned something along the same line but never got a round to doing it. The same solenoid valve but on a high level shut off swith instead of a timer.
 
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