Added Kalkwasser to my ATO and this morning it smells burnt

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry' started by Prisonfood53, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. Prisonfood53

    Prisonfood53 Guest

    So last night I did my weekly water change and switched out the ATO reservoir. I added a 2-1/2 tbsp of kalk+2 to the 5 gallon reservoir. Spectrapure UPLC II adds water for 4sec and off for 6 sec and turns on when the return chamber on my JBJ RL 45 drops about 1/4". This morning I woke up and when I went downstairs I smelt a burning smell coming from the tank. It is pretty distinct but not overpowering, though if you stop and try you can smell it in other areas of the house. I had my dad unplug my ATO and I will probably lose about 4-8 cups of water by the time I get home. Has anyone ever had this smell before? Will it go away or is my Kalk bad somehow? My ATO most likely would have only gone off once or twice last night at most since I did the change at 11PM.

    Thanks for any help.
    ashburn2k likes this.
  2. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    hhmmm I've been using kalk for about a year now and never had that experience...

    I would check your equipment, see if anything is getting wet etc. Kalk + water is some basic chemistry there shouldn't be any weird smell produced unless there's something else in there? I know if you mix kalk & vinegar there's a reaction and it creates heat but that would have to be without dilution even if you did mix those two together.
  3. Spoon

    Spoon Guest

    You sure it's the ATO that smells burned? What heater are you using?
  4. Prisonfood53

    Prisonfood53 Guest

    Spoon good thought I will have my dad pull the heater and check it.
  5. Prisonfood53

    Prisonfood53 Guest

    Spoon/Fidel thanks for your replies. I leave for work early in the morning so I didn't get a chance to do a thorough check. I had my dad pull the heater and it is melted! Spoon you did warn me about this but as the heater was pretty expensive and I couldn't buy another one I left it and hoped I wouldn't be one of those horror stories. Well thankfully it seems it's been taken out in time and I had him replace it with my premix heater, at least it's not winter.
  6. Prisonfood53

    Prisonfood53 Guest

    Does anyone have suggestions on a better heater? the one that fried is a Cobalt neo-therm 200W.
  7. Spoon

    Spoon Guest

    Firstly, hit up Cobalt ASAP. Send them pics and all that. I think they will compensate you to some extent.

    Sorry about this happening too..was just trying to help you out. Hopefully the heater just melted a bit and that's it. I've read that if they crack open, lots of toxins will get released and livestock will be lost.

    Good luck man..let's make sure it's simply melted, and not actually cracked open.
  8. Prisonfood53

    Prisonfood53 Guest

    Thanks Spoon. My dad said the fish look good so far except for the acan he knocked over and put back the the return nozzle he knocked off. How the hell that all happened when the heater is in the back sump I have no idea. Even my Royal Gramma was out and he always hides so hopefully everything is fine. I can't get home til 4PM so I will just have to hope for the best.
  9. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    IMO a 200 watt heater is way too big for a 30 gallon aquarium (assuming the JBJ RL 45 in your signature is correct). My tank is roughly the same size as yours and has a 50 watt cobalt neo-therm that has been in there for 18 months without issue.

    Your heater should be large enough to keep your aquarium warm, but small enough that if it goes on the fritz that it doesn't roast your tank. It's a pretty fine line to keep things between the two. A large heater in a small tank will cycle on and off too often and will cause your tank temperature to fluctuate.

    I see a few posts about the Cobalt Neo-therms melting, but given their widespread use it doesn't seem like it would indicate poor quality. I've used Aqueon heaters and found them to keep the tank pretty consistent temp with the built in controls.
  10. Spoon

    Spoon Guest

    I have a 200w in a 16g. :O

    It comes on about 3 to 4 times during the night for 2 minutes each time. Not ideal of course, but it's Apex controlled so I feel safe. I'm on the hunt for a 50w.

    Anyway is this the reason his heater blew up?

    Look on RC and you'll find a thread or two about the 150w NeoTherms blowing up, and occasionally a 200w as well (as is the case here).

    I swear it's dozens and dozens of guys with this problem. That one main RC NeoTherm thread is about 10 pages of horror stories since February. Wasn't sure if that above issue was being pointed out as a possible cause to this, but I think most of those guys had their heaters explode and they were in appropriately sized tanks. One guy lost over 3k worth of stock, corals and fish. :(

    I'm happy though that this one doesn't seem as bad.
  11. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Hopefully you caught it in time. You might want to do a big water change and add or change your Carbon. Monday after a day at work is a great time for tank maintenance! :(

    For a new heater...
    I use Eheim-Jager. Used to be Ebo-Jager, IIRC. My only complaints are they are really long for the wattage and being glass, you have to use caution and not drop them or drop stuff on them.

    If the tank is not in a cold room you could probably get by with two 50w heaters. If you can only fit one in, a 100w should be enough.
  12. Prisonfood53

    Prisonfood53 Guest

    Thanks everyone for the help and advice.
    Aquanut I have a 150 j├Ąger in there temporarily. Seems like everything is okay. Did a small water change with the water I took out of the tank yesterday. As luck would have it used all my premixed water doing a change last night. Gotta mix more up tonight and do a big water change.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  13. gunit

    gunit Guest

    Holy cow. I plan to switch to a 50w,but I'm getting by with a 25w neo therm I had from my old tank. I run at 77F and my house rarely gets colder than 64 so maybe my heater has slightly less work than others but the general rule of thumb I've heard is 5w per gallon.
    bluprntguy likes this.
  14. Prisonfood53

    Prisonfood53 Guest

    Actually I took my wife to diablo yesterday for the Apex tour and she didn't get what the big deal was. She just said to me "So that is what that controller protects." Maybe I can talk her into an apex!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  15. Spoon

    Spoon Guest

    Yes, it should be easier to talk her into it now! There's a silver lining for ya! ;-)

    The Apex wouldn't have prevented your heater from exploding though...well actually, although indirectly, maybe the heater was on, but not "heating". Circuits were frying on the inside of the heater but the actual heating element was not functional as a result.

    You can program Apex to turn off after a predetermined amount of time. For example, as mentioned earlier my heater (way to big for my tank) cycles on for just about 2 maybe 3 minutes at a time, max (confirmed via Apex data logging). You can program Apex to shut off the heater outlet after 4 minutes of being on, because anything beyond that would indicate something that may need investigation (heater not functioning properly, dumb roommate leaving AC on full blast all day, etc.).

    Imagine you get an email telling you that your heater stayed on longer than usual! That would at the very least give you some time to swap in a new one, or perform some tests as soon as you got home to confirm whether it's heating like it's supposed to or not. Explain that to her and maybe she'll even pay for it. ;-)
  16. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    I don't think it's the reason your heater failed. However, having such a large heater in a small tank is less than ideal and kind of a waste of money. The larger heaters have much larger heat sinks, so even when they turn off, they will continue to heat the water.

    I checked Reef Central. It looks like a handful of people with the problem and a cobalt rep even came on and said that they have sold 13,000 heaters and only 3 confirmed failures at the time. The problem heaters seem to be with a specific run of heaters and a manufacturing flaw. It might be that people are just chucking the heaters, but I just don't think this is a widespread problem since these heaters continue to have 4.5-5 star reviews on BRS and MD. Even on the RC thread, everyone that was having problems is giving the company props for their service and handling of the issue.

    The guy that posted that he lost 3K of fish has 1 single post on reef central (the one bashing the heater). One other guy claiming problems had 12 posts, most in that thread. Another guy claiming to have problems only had 18 posts. RC is full of trolls, you can't trust everyone that posts there.

    Heaters suck. Heat, water and electricity are a bad combination over time regardless of how well the heater designed and manufactured. When I first set up my tank my Eheim heater failed after about 3 months. The replacement Eheim heater (purchased from a different LFS) exploded about two minutes after putting it in the tank. Other people have phenomenal experiences with Eheim, but googling "eheim heater failure" would make you think that the company is purposefully trying to electrocute every aquarist on earth by selling the crappiest heaters known to man...

    My suggestion is for the OP to call Cobalt and ask for a replacement. From what I've read, they are going to take care of you. They'd probably give you a more reasonably sized heater as a replacement if you ask...
  17. Prisonfood53

    Prisonfood53 Guest

    So my response back from Cobalt is that they will replace the heater but they are out of stock on the 200W (thankfully, they must have stopped production) and will send me 2x 100W heaters to replace it. I have to decide if I will keep one and sell one or sell both. I need a heater in my premix Brute since the one I had went into the tank, so if I can't rustle up a heater from my buddy 1 Neo-Therm will probably go in there.
  18. Spoon

    Spoon Guest

    It's worth it to note that I've never read of 50w or 100w NeoTherms exploding. You'll be just fine with those.

    Glad they're helping you out. Keep them, and use the second one as a backup. Once you convince your lady on a controller purchase, hook them both up, and set one heater to have it's thermostat 1 degree lower than the main heater. Just a layer of redundancy in case the main one fails, the backup will kick on. Set your controller to email you if that second heater ever kicks on, and when it does, you can yell at your roommate for leaving the AC on full blast all day. ;)
  19. Prisonfood53

    Prisonfood53 Guest

    Spoon I also could not find anything bad about the smaller heaters.

    So there is still an odor coming from the tank but I think it's mostly the filter floss catching the some of what was put into the water. Floss was pretty dark after only 2 days so I changed it and did a 50% water change last night. I also added 2 bags of fresh carbon and will switch those out again probably on Thursday. I will probably do another water change tonight to use up what's in the Brute and then make some more premix.

    As of last night the Birdsnest had lost some polyps off of one branch and had no polyps showing yesterday. The torch was not fully extending it was about half way. The Hammer was barely extending also but the color was good. And the acans seem to be fine. All of the livestock seem fine and eating well except my Yasha goby didn't come out but he was out a lot the day before so hopefully he's okay.
  20. BAYMAC

    BAYMAC Guest

    I have ran all sizes of Cobalt since they started selling them, with zero issues. I have sent dozens upon dozens of customers of ours the way of Cobalt NeoTherms and none have reported any issues to me. There will always be failures with heaters, its the nature of the beast. If consumers were willing to pay a decent amount more, we wouldn't face these issues as much. In my multi decade experience in working in the aquarium industry, I've had probably 60 heaters fail on me and my customers. Mainly Ebo's. I still highly recommend Ebos.

    Prisonfood53... run a Polyfilter to remove any metals that may have been released.

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