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DonW

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Dec 15, 2003
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Assuming most of us go to work and dont have a full time baby sitter for our tanks. How do you handle the problems that arise.
Does a specific controller deal with these and is there a back-up in case the controller is at fault.

Heater stick on / temp to high
Heater dies / temp to low
Chiller dies
Power goes out
Water starts leaking
Water runs low
PH jumps / kalk reactor went nuts

Any others that you have had happen.

Thanks
Don
 

coolcol

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Dec 12, 2004
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UK
Heater sticks on...problem...easy...use lots of small lower power ones (say5-6 heaters )with low wattage then if one sticks on...it wont raise the temperature that much compared with 2 big ones!!!!

Heater fails....easy...if you apply the above then if one fails you still have a few others to help out with the heating!

power goes out....depending on the cost of your tank/stock it may be advisable to install emergency generator backup!

water starts leaking......screwed! unless you builld a reservoir ubove the tank with complicated valves etc ready to spring into action to fill up the leaking tank (a bit pointless since this would also end up leaking.....but it might save your stock til you got home!)

water runs low?....what in 8 hrs?......itsnot going to evaporate that quick.....anyway you could simply install an osmolator automatic top up device!

all the others are abit pointless since you either use 10 small kalk reactors so if one fails it wont make that much difference to the ph.(not very practical though is it!)

Anyway whats your problem are you a paranoid pesimist who continually dreams up problems that could go wrong?
Relax fella ....enjoy the hobby...the things you mention are very rare and unless you were housing 10's of thousands of pounds worth of stock the solutions are either
a./ to expensive.
or
b./ not practical.
 
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mojoreef

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Sumner
I have great esp powers that give me the ability to have specail powers that control all my equipment.


Mike
 

reedman

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Mukilteo, WA
Some people have their tanks hooked up to monitoring equipment that is transmitted to a website where they can monitor it from work (or anywhere there is internet access).
 

DonW

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coolcol said:
Anyway whats your problem are you a paranoid pesimist who continually dreams up problems that could go wrong?
Relax fella ....enjoy the hobby...the things you mention are very rare and unless you were housing 10's of thousands of pounds worth of stock the solutions are either
a./ to expensive.
or
b./ not practical.
Not to be to defensive here, but to wrap 10k into a reef is easy. Unlike Mojo :) most of us do not have esp and are smart enough to install back-up systems.
I'm not looking for advice. The Idea of discussion is to help others that may have run into problems.

Don
 

gobie

dave the gobie
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Dec 2, 2004
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Auburn
Heres One For You Don,
You Leave The State To Take Care Of Important Business. Suppose To Be Gone 1 Week, But Gone 2 1/2 Weeks. Have Someone Whom You Assume Is Responable Look After Your Pride And Joy, Not Only Over Fill Sump But Add To Main Tank Instead, Way Over Fills Sump Kills Sg/ph/ And Several Hundreds Of Dollars Worth Corals, Inverts, And Sand Bed. Come Home To Tank Smelling Like Somebodies Stinky Old Shoe. There Are Some Things That Happen. And Sad Thing Is That Is One That Did.
 

DonW

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gobie said:
Heres One For You Don,
You Leave The State To Take Care Of Important Business. Suppose To Be Gone 1 Week, But Gone 2 1/2 Weeks. Have Someone Whom You Assume Is Responable Look After Your Pride And Joy, Not Only Over Fill Sump But Add To Main Tank Instead, Way Over Fills Sump Kills Sg/ph/ And Several Hundreds Of Dollars Worth Corals, Inverts, And Sand Bed. Come Home To Tank Smelling Like Somebodies Stinky Old Shoe. There Are Some Things That Happen. And Sad Thing Is That Is One That Did.
Probably not much you can do about human error. Sounds like its time for a top off system.

Don
 

wrightme43

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Jul 1, 2004
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bowling green ky
Maybe a small statue of budda, LOL. I get what your trying to do ED. I just buy quality equiptment. I was on submarines, we handled that problem with redundant systems. It becomes unfeasable on reef tanks with limited budgets, and space. I believe for me peace of mind comes from preventive maintence, and listening to the equiptment run. I dont know about you but for me when something is about to break I usually get some sign, sometimes I figure out what it was after its broke but usually before. Like this that pump that used to just start and purr, now goes chuk chuk rattle rattle purrrrrrr, and starts to pump water. Do you keep using till it breaks or buy a new now and put in the spare parts pile. The hose that you have had to tighten the last time you moved it a little, do you wait till it cracks and leaks or go buy new and replace 6 months before it leaks. Fire is my real worry. FIRE sucks!!!! I have lived through two house fires. I throw old fans away, lamps that flicker or wont turn on and off easy, in the trash. I put a fire alarm over the top of my tank for just that reason. I want to recomend one to everyone else as well. Yeah there ugly, but so is a dying while you sleep. Dont buy chincy stuff. It will break at the worst possible time, and in the worst possible way. Sorry about my rant. HTH someone. These are only my opinions and should be taken as such. Steve
 

o2manyfish

o2manyfish
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Nov 29, 2004
Messages
188
Location
Los Angeles, CA
You have to try to plan for some things. However, nothing is guaranteed -- FECES Happens.

Start with higher quality equipment. Spending money in the beginning will save money in the end.

You mention both chiller and heater woes -- Most people have either a chiller issue or heater issue but few people have to deal with both.

The thermostats in both are not always the best quality. For a minimal investmend ($100) buy a dual stage Ranco controller. This is a controller designed to control commercial units for food storage.

You could add a second Ranco with a relay to back the first up. However that may be overly retentive. **** Note the Ranco probe is water resistant not waterproof- So make sure you water proof the probe
**** Note #2 The Ranco is rated at something like 15amps - I just had my second Ranco catch fire from running a 15+ amp load through it. If you are going to have large loads use a relay to protect the Ranco

For the event of power failure get yourself a nice Computer UPS and hook it up to either a power head at the surface of your tank or an air pump with a stone at the bottom of the tank. With a trip to Radioshack you can make a reverse latching relay so the airpump turns on when the power goes out, and is then powered off the UPS.


Water Leaks --- Buy a nice Wet Dry Vac -- This is not something that can be avoided. If your system was properly designed and installed a leak is going to be the result of some type of catastrophe and these can not be planned ahead for.


pH jumping. Take a listen to how most Kalk reactor issues happenl. Most can be avoided with regular maintenance. Float switches stick cause they are not cleaned and don't have a double redundancy. General regular maintenance and cleaning of the switches and valves will avoid this.


Anything else :)

Dave B
 

Maxx

Staff Housemonkey
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Jul 31, 2003
Messages
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Cool thread.....
Anybody who's looked on my thread about building up my 58 gallon tank, knows I'm paranoid. This is with good reason though. I originally had a 125 FO set up in this house, and the dog chewed through a sump return line that was poorly placed and drained the entire system. Landlord was not happy.
I've built up a waterproof box in the base of the stand that will hold about 10 gallons of water, (21 gallons w/o sump, about 10 after sump in place), I bought a watchdog water alarm (120 decibels of sheer screamin notice that you have a leak baby!), I've bought American DJ PC-100A power centers so I can shut down anything quickly in the event of an emergency, and finally, I bought a bunch of Penn-Plax B-11 Battery powered air pumps ...(these are plugged in, and when the power goes off, they kick on via batteries, until the power kicks back on again. Sposed to be good for 5 days of continuous use according to Richard Durso in an article titled Disaster Readiness.
I can understand CoolCol's viewpoint about kicking back and enjoying the tank....making sure I'm covered for everything but earthquake lets me do that.
Nick
 

coolcol

Active member
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Dec 12, 2004
Messages
44
Location
UK
hi DonW, sorry wasnt trying to be cynical......yes its a worry for all of us....and the cost of tanks/inhabitants etc can be very high...I AGREE with that one!

I really dont think apart from the obvious and whats been stated that there is a 100 % foolprove and secure setup.

Maybe in the near future ( even now if you are rich!) you could have a totally computer controlled setup with backup systems in place if needed....as for leaking tanks etc i think you know the answer to that question yourself....unless you have some form of Artificial inteligent robot with emergency sealants in hand ready to go to work and fix it before you get home!! ....there is no solution...so why include that senario anyway?.....

i wasnt trying to be funny but your questions are like .....'what precautions can you take in the eventuallity the airplanes wings fall off in flight''!!!

I know its a daft example but it just shows the extent of such senarios....

To be fair to you some of your points are good and shows we still have some potential weaknesses in our systems with room for improvement or modification...

Anyway ...if we were in a bar i would buy you a drink!......soz again if hit a delicate nerve...i can sound a bit cynical at times i know....

Jesus you watch after this i bet my tank springs a leak ...first thing i will remember will be your post......hope you havent jinxed us all!!! anyway...i have enjoyed your other posts...keep it up Don........
 

DonW

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Tacoma, WA
coolcol said:
Jesus you watch after this i bet my tank springs a leak ...first thing i will remember will be your post......hope you havent jinxed us all!!! anyway...i have enjoyed your other posts...keep it up Don........
No problem at all really. People around here have alot of great ideas. I bring up these discussions as a new topic and for folks to get new ideas.

Tank leak, been there done that. The water sensor let me know. Tank was patched and then replaced. Expensive, NO not at all less than $50. Saved 5K worth of hardwood floors not to mention the tank inhabitants.
Rbta blocking overflow, no problem $6 float switch shuts down the return pump.
Hi ph no problem ph controller shuts down my top off containing the kalk. Expensive, again no just a few extra bucks on a controller instead of just a meter most have anyways.
Oops forgot to fill the top off. I evap 7 gallons per day. After going to work for 10 hrs my $200 iwaki would junk. No problem again since I spent the $12 on high and low level switches. Pump shuts down and both CL systems handle the flow.
Heater stuck, since the controller is set 1 degree higher than the heater stat it should not be an issue. Otto controller $30.
Heater dies, second one should do the trick since my house is always 70.
Dont need a chiller yet so havent run into that one yet.
Power goes out, 5kw generator should do the job. Expensive, that depends on who you talk to. I got mine dirt cheap but the same one can be had for $500. I'd say my clams alone are worth the investment.
What if these problems arise while at work. A $99 phone dialer and some extra wire will be happy to call your cell phone or pager. A simple $5 relay will trigger a power outage call.

As you can see there are many ways to deal with issues. Alot of folks are unaware that there are many affordable options. Unless they get talked about some will never know they exist. :)

Don
 

reefer

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Jan 25, 2004
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Olympia, WA
Everytime I leave home I loose something. It's like a curse. I have competant people watch and feed but I always seem to have a disaster of one kind or another. It's my punishment for leaving them is all I can guess.
 

Maxx

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A $99 phone dialer and some extra wire will be happy to call your cell phone or pager. A simple $5 relay will trigger a power outage call.
I'd be interested in learning more about this?
Who do you talk to get this installed or find out what it takes to get installed?
Nick
 

coolcol

Active member
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Messages
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Location
UK
Ahhh Don...BUT!! what if your heater AND controller both fail at the same time!!!?...........ah got you there! hehehe. :lol:

And Power goes out, 5kw generator
...thats what i advised! :)

Tank leak, been there done that. The water sensor let me know
...What!!! the water sensor lets you know whilst your at work?...have you got it wired into some radio james bond style mini pager or something?........
What if these problems arise while at work. A $99 phone dialer and some extra wire will be happy to call your cell phone or pager. A simple $5 relay will trigger a power outage call.
you said how to deal with these problems when you were at work.....come on don your doging these issues now... a simple $99 phone dialer and simple $5 relay...come on explain how you would set this up ! were not all electricians....help us out here Don :D

Dont need a chiller yet so havent run into that one yet.
...but whats your solution on this one...what IF your chiller failed...come on..you posted it!!! after all you said yourself
The Idea of discussion is to help others that may have run into problems.
...so come on dont dodge the issue..whats the solution..so you can help us!!!! :badgrin:

As you can see there are many ways to deal with issues
What a cheek....youve dodged half of them!!!

oh and while we are at it...what if you worked as an airline pilot....no pager...and couldnt get home anyway....what would you do then?

I feel that you have started a post that you have no real sensible answers for yourself.....Duh......... simple $99 phone dialer and simple $5 relay....dont give us that!!!!


And WHAT IF ALL THESE cheap $5 relays and phone dialers etc Malfunctioned
BEEP BEEP BEEP......Whats that Don?(says workmate) oh its the Stupid tank sensors malfunctioning again!!!

Sorry again.... :badgrin: :badgrin: :badgrin:
 
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DonW

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coolcol said:
Ahhh Don...BUT!! what if your heater AND controller both fail at the same time!!!?...........ah got you there! hehehe. :lol:

...thats what i advised! :)

...What!!! the water sensor lets you know whilst your at work?...have you got it wired into some radio james bond style mini pager or something?........

you said how to deal with these problems when you were at work.....come on don your doging these issues now... a simple $99 phone dialer and simple $5 relay...come on explain how you would set this up ! were not all electricians....help us out here Don :D

...but whats your solution on this one...what IF your chiller failed...come on..you posted it!!! after all you said yourself ...so come on dont dodge the issue..whats the solution..so you can help us!!!! :badgrin:



What a cheek....youve dodged half of them!!!

oh and while we are at it...what if you worked as an airline pilot....no pager...and couldnt get home anyway....what would you do then?

I feel that you have started a post that you have no real sensible answers for yourself.....Duh......... simple $99 phone dialer and simple $5 relay....dont give us that!!!!


And WHAT IF ALL THESE cheap $5 relays and phone dialers etc Malfunctioned
BEEP BEEP BEEP......Whats that Don?(says workmate) oh its the Stupid tank sensors malfunctioning again!!!

Sorry again.... :badgrin: :badgrin: :badgrin:
Again my first post was the opening of a discussion. I offered no answers, only opened up a topic. No there is nobody that has the perfect fool proof reef except maybe Mojo with his special ESP. :)

The simple solutions I did offer are just that, simple and reliable. Most leave this hobby due to the problems associated with it and the financial responsibility. Most of my solutions can can be connect to a dialer with no real skill. As long as you can read and turn a screwdriver. For me to recieve a cell call and listen to a recording saying that the power is off would be no big deal. I'd rather run home or call a neighbor to fire the generator than loose my reef. Nothing close to James Bond more like Barney.
As I stated I do not use a chiller. If I did I would buy two adjustible alarm alarm temp sensors. One for High and one for low and connect to a dialer.
These are easy solutions that would easily work for me and possibly alot of others. No, not the best for the pilot. I'm sure that he/she has a neighbor that could stop by. Alot of folks have alarm systems in their homes, most monitoring companies install water sensors and will call you instead of the police if that sensor is tripped. Non emergency alarm zones are becomming very popular. Although usually for washer hoses and under sink areas (Nikki :) ) why not if you cant diy. Maxx gave an example of the dog chewing on a drain hose. His solution was the water alarm. Works for him and his situation. That same sensor could be used to trigger a dialer or his security system. Whatever works for the individual.
I'm sure we all could sit around and come up with senerios that just plain cannot be avoided. Not taking ANY steps to protect you investment is just plain stupidy.

How to set up the power outage sensor and dialer. Since you asked.
You need a United Security products dialer, a dpdt 120v relay from Radio shack and an old male extention cord end. The wiring diagram for the relay is on the package. When plugged into an outlet the relay is latched. When the power goes out the relay switches and the other side latches. This is connected with two wires to the dialer. When the circut closes the dialer places a call to one of four numbers that you preprogrammed. When you answer it plays the message that YOU recorded in your voice. You can either hang up or you can sit and listen with built in microphone.
Not sure how much good the microphone is but may be handy for something. If you need more instructions just ask.

Don
 

wrightme43

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bowling green ky
I just use my trained monkeys. They are able to perform minor plumbing and electical work. The only problem I really have is the feces fights. LOL I like your idea for a dialer Don its a very good idea. thanks for sharing how it works. Steve
 

o2manyfish

o2manyfish
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
188
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Forgotten Items

You guys have forgotten some of the major safety items to have around for fish emergencies

1) Always have enough salt to handle a 50-100% water change at 1am on a Holiday weekend

2) Spend 20 dollars and put a smoke detector above the aquarium and in the stand

3) Spend another $25 and buy a small kitchen size fire extinguisher and mount it across the room from your tank.

4) Replace every outlet the tank is using with GFI's

5) Throw away crappy powerstrips and lil extension cords - But a couple of good heavy duty ones.

6) Don't like the salty end of a lit VHO bulb while standing in the puddle of water created from the leak you have been ignoring.

Dave B
 
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