Heater boiled everything in my 100g tank.

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by juanfdezdc, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. juanfdezdc

    juanfdezdc Supporting Member

    So my heater malfunctioned during the night and I wake up this morning to some bad smell and I realized that my 100g reef tank was all with like white/murky water, I touched the water and it was really really hot, my external thermometer was at 99f and because it can't go higher.

    "Everything" in the tanks died, about 15 fish (tangs, wrasses, blennys, etc), dozens of RBTAs, Zoas, Hammers, etc... only thing that survived were 2 big hermit crabs that were fast and clever enough to go above the water (they were hanging on tubes).

    Oh, is so painful... I have already done 45 gallons of water changes, removed everything I can see that is dead and water is better (now cooled) but is still murky. I think tomorrow I'll do another 45 gallons water change.

    I have had the heater for a year (same time I have had my tank) with no problems. It was a 300W Hygger brand that I bought because it had good reviews in Amazon.
    I just bought an external controller for my next heater. I'll start to do more research on external controllers and equipment to prevent accidents.

    My wife has even told me to dry the tank and forget about the hobby for a year or so, and I have think about it but at the end is my hobby, so I'll try to recover and add simple things in terms of corals and fish.
    Luckily the next coral market is soon so I'll start to replenish there.

    I leave a pic of my tank before Xmas. I'm looking at my tank now and I still can't believe it... be careful with your heaters.

    Attached Files:

  2. Jeff Rehling

    Jeff Rehling Supporting Member

    so sorry
  3. JVU


    Oh man that’s so horrible. Sorry to hear it.
  4. xcaret

    xcaret Guest

    Some of us have been through hart breaking tank crashes or some other kind of emergencies that makes us think twice, trice this hobby. Really sorry about your tank melting on you.
    I support the idea of keep going in the hobby and at the same time advise you to dial back the urge to re-populate the tank; the CFM is around the bend, few mire weeks but the most important part is for your tank to be ready to welcome new life. The high temperature reached has caused chaos, some really bad things may have multiplied (bacteria) and some other microscopic life forms have also died and are lingering in the water column, deep inside the rock and sand.
    Don’t rush it because the event is coming up; I’m possitive some of us can help you restock, perhaps not the ultra-rare-designer-fancy-name but for sure, contribute to you having a beautiful reef again.
  5. juanfdezdc

    juanfdezdc Supporting Member

    Thanks Xcaret again for your help today. I totally understand what you are saying, indeed never before I had seen any type of worms in my tank and after the crash they also boiled and came out from sand/rocks and I'm taking out many dead ones and some of a significant size.
    For quite some time I'm not going to buy fancy/expensive corals or fish, that's for sure.
    Tomorrow after another water change, I'll start doing some water testings to check where I'm at.

    Maybe before the CFM I'll buy a couple of $5 fish and couple of $10 frags to check if they live or not...
  6. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer Past President

    You are quite likely to experience a cycle after this. Check for ammonia and nitrite.
    Ranjib Dey likes this.
  7. jorahx4

    jorahx4 Supporting Member

    wow im sorry to hear this. it looked like a big beautiful tank.
  8. juanfdezdc

    juanfdezdc Supporting Member

    Thanks everybody. I hope that at least this post could be useful to someone in the future to avoid this happening to his/her tank
  9. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Good friend of the hobby Rich Ross once (more than once) said, "tank crashes, problems, mistakes happen, it's ok, just make sure they don't happen twice" (paraphrased). So if you do get up and running again, make sure that can't happen again.
    Ranjib Dey likes this.
  10. Oakland Evan

    Oakland Evan Supporting Member

    Saw Rich at Aquatic Collection a few days ago buying frags just like the common folk. Was too star struck to get a pic/autograph tho.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  11. Oakland Evan

    Oakland Evan Supporting Member

    Got this controller recently, haven't set it up yet though. I like how it can be set by .1 degree instead of others that are only by 1 degree. Only a $35 fix to make sure it doesn't happen again. I had this same thing happen before and now I have a controller on both main and back up heaters, luckily I caught it at around 82 degrees. The 2nd one listed is the one I currently use.



    P.S. Sorry for the loss, let me know when your ready and I'll have some free cheap hearty frags for you to test out your tank with.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  12. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    Spend a little more and get a ranco controller. They are awesome and lasts a lifetime. I have never heard of a ranco going bad. Those cheaper inkbird and others have many bad stories. Just my two cents. I use a ranco and my Apex/ghl to control my heaters. Double and triple redundancy helps a million.

    RANCO ETC-111000 Digital Cold Temperature Control NEW https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0015NV5BE/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_A7AmCbMK7CGN9

    You'll need about $15 more additional parts but it's 10x better than the ink bird.

    It sucks to have lost everything. But don't give up everything is a learning experience.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    iCon and Coral reefer like this.
  13. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    a prime example of the need external thermostat controller
    FOR ALL submersible heaters

    sorry to hear
  14. When you're up and running again (and the cycle is complete) let me know and I can get you some nice size frags. I have a frag tank bursting at the seams as it is so you'd be helping me out. :)

    My advice is to take the rebuild slowly and think through things that you "wished" you had done differently before -- aquascaping, fish choice, etc. Make this a dream tank and it'll be more fun getting started again if you have a plan. Step one -- use two heaters on a controller. I saw a used Apex on CL for $140.00 the other day. It will run your heaters (plus more) and send you an alarm if there's an issue.
  15. tankguy

    tankguy Supporting Member

    Sorry to hear. It can be heartbreaking
  16. Cruz Mc5

    Cruz Mc5 Supporting Member

    Man. That’s rough. Sorry about the tank. The fear of this happening is pretty much the reason we got an Apex.
  17. glee

    glee BOD

    Sorry to hear about this. I can donate an RBTA when you are ready and I can pull one off my rocks easily. Send me a PM.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  18. jccaclimber

    jccaclimber Supporting Member

    I'm sorry for your loss. While not as large a system I have also had a cooked tank due to a faulty heater. I was lucky in a sense that my stuck heater stopped at 94*F, so half the fish and coral survived. It may take a lot of water changing to get your tank cleared up and would consider using algae to clean the system if its resistive. A giant ball of macro in the display can be astoundingly effective at cleaning water over a week or two. I would pick something like cheeto that won't root in to the rocks or a species that tangs readily eat.
    A few things to consider on the rebuild:

    Multiple small heaters are better than one large one. While this increases the odds of an issue it decreases the damage a single heater can do. Second put it on a temperature controller, either standalone or something like an Apex. When you do this be sure the heaters have their individual thermostats set just above your target temperature. I knew someone who set all of their heaters high and relied 100% on the controller. This is effectively a single point of control as they found out when the temperature probe fell out of the sump in to the cold house and the controller then overheated and crashed the tank.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  19. Fox_reefing

    Fox_reefing Supporting Member

    So sorry to hear this. I myself had a near/miss about high temp. Thank goodness for Apex. I received notification through email and text. In addition text message are also sent to family member as back up. I have corals to give you once you're system is up and running.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  20. xcaret

    xcaret Guest

    I've opened up the pump, seems the issue is build-up of calcium; odd thing is that there's rust color inside, the impeller assembly is Titanium, no chance for rust either. Do you run GFO? That might explain the rust color inside the pump.
    Is good to inspect and clean pumps. If the pump does work after cleaning it, will bring it back to you so you can have a backup in case you need it.

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