My DC return pump failed ... and fish died ...

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Vincerama2, May 17, 2016.

  1. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    So I bought a DC pump when I started Wifebane, because it has a cool controller for speed and "feeding". Unfortunately, it was a Jaebo, which I had read was a good knock off of the more expensive brand (I forgot which).

    So last week, I came home on a Friday, unfortunately after a birthday part so I was home 3 hours later than normal ... and I fed the tank and ... hey, nobody is rushing out to grab the food?! I see only the clowns milling about. Then I see that the water level in the tank is down an inch. Hmm... I check and the sump is almost full meaning the return pump failed.

    So I removed it and cleaned it out, but it was dead somehow. I looked in the tank and !!! OMG !!! the fish are gasping behind the rocks and two look almost dead, a yellow tang and a klein butterfly.

    I go outside where I had abandoned (a year ago or more, that's how lazy I am) my ancient Via Aqua 2600 (or 3600, can't remember) and luckily it's output hose barb fits my plumbing and it fires up (I washed it first of course) right away and gets the water moving again, the water in the sump is very warm, luckily I keep two heaters in the main tank and one large one in the sump. The fish just lie there.

    I took a spare powerhead, and put it in the main tank (and later into the sump) with the air venturi attached and let it bubble the crap out of the water. The tank looks like a jacuzzi. I let it run for ten minutes or so.

    Now everything is running again and one of the almost dead fish revives a bit, but not the other one.

    So in the end, the klein butterfly died and we gave it a burial in the backyard, and the other fish seemed to have recovered.

    I'm quite impressed that the Via Aqua pump, which is not a premium brand, still keeps on working. It ran on my previous 58g tank for 15 years continuously and I almost gave it away with that tank.

    So post-disaster analysis?

    1) The fish suffered due to the return pump not pumping aerated water into the tank (aerated by the skimmer and by the water splashing down the overflow drains) Basically I guess like being in a closed room with no windows and 10 people. Lack of oxygen from lack of gas exchange into the water.
    2) DC pump had a controller and therefore an extra point of failure
    3) I'm lucky I had a backup return pump (I have several pumps that could have been used). And a powerhead with a venturi.

    Disaster plan?

    1) either I must add a pump to the tank that breaks the water's surface or;
    2) I will attach a HOB filter (with no media) to the tank to act as a waterfall that can keep the tank aerated in case of another such failure.
    3) In case of power outage, I need to attach my B-11 (or B-10 or whatever) battery air pumps to my tank, now that I've seen how oxygen depletion is a real threat. In a power outage that could take out the whole tank.

  2. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Yeah, everything can fail, and cheap stuff fails faster.
    Battery backup on a air stone might be a good plan. I should do that .... someday....

    Also consider:
    Dual return pumps. I have two Jaebo's, largely because I do not trust them.
    Alarm on high sump water level.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  3. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    Yeah, I was thinking a high sump level alarm could be just a water flood sensor, but attached high up in the sump.

    In my case though, I wasn't at home when it failed. I mean, it's an easy fix, but it's time sensitive.

    I think the overflowing HOB filter is a good safe guard to at least keep the fish alive until you notice the problem.
  4. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    Dang, I was considering Jebao return pump because it play nice with Apex. Which series did you have? DC or DCT?

    I wonder if there is anyway to detect pump failure in apex? I know there are smarthings power controller you can put inline that can send alert if the current draw drop.
  5. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    I don't recall the model, I'll check at home. The lights on the controller come up and I can't see anything jamming it up, but who can say if it's the controller or the pump that failed?
  6. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Damn and here I thought my SpeedWave was the knock off DC pump, looking at the prices of the Jebao I'm shocked that I paid as I much as I did :D

    Anyways, sucks that you had dead fish issues. A few things come to mind other than a return pump failure though. First, are you sure you have enough water movement inside the tank? Second how dirty is your tank? Lots of bacteria could be consuming the oxygen faster than normal, in an ideal world unless you're mega overstocked with fish, a return pump failure should not cause too much of an oxygen issue in the main tank unless it's also your main source of circulation.
  7. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    The jebao return pump at California reef co has been running for nearly a year now. Seems like a good pump.

    Sorry your fish died.

    What kind of powerheads/water movement do you have in your tank?

    Just wondering is your tank a closed top tank? Some sort of canopy/cabinet that restricts air entering the top of your tank?
  8. Apon

    Apon Volunteer

    you don't have any pumps in the main tank to help with flow? Add like a Korellia or something, that will help in future in if the return dies. At least you still get some flow in the main tank. I have 2 vortecs in addition to the return on battery backup. Any idea how long the pump was dead for?
  9. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    this is why I always run 2x powerheads inside the tank on a separate circuit than return pump & controller, this way if return pump fails fish can still breathe, if controller somehow shuts down, fish can still breathe. All it took is an extra power strip dedicated to powerheads.
  10. So - this is my issue with Jebao. I've heard many, many good things -- and some bad things. The price is attractive, but any increased chance of failure has to be weighed against what you're risking. When I add in that to a natural distaste for knock-offs I steer clear of them. And if I examine the issue closely enough -- it's the knock-off part that I cannot get by (no matter the cost.) Excellent American and European countries spend a lot of money developing and then building good products. We will lose that in this industry if we choose price over quality and accept the idea that it's a victimless crime. Perhaps it's because I'm a writer and have run into copyright issues and theft of intellectual property a few times that leads to an aversion of Chinese knock-offs. Perhaps I just feel it's the wrong thing to do.

    Anyway I'll crawl off my soapbox now. Just my two cents.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  11. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    Which is worst, buying a chinese product, or buying a product made in china? Local manufacturing industry get screwed either way. It is really hard to find anything not made in china these days. And I do try lol :)

    On another note, I'm still researching for good apex-able dc pump and the only thing I found is Reef Octopus VarioS. Really?
  12. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

    I keep 2 power heads in my main tank for added flow and in case the return pump goes down. Sorry you loss one but sounds like it could have been worse
  13. That's pretty simple -- it's buying a Chinese product that's a knock-off and violates the patent of equipment designed and engineered in other countries. I have zero issue buying Chinese made goods -- electronics, home improvement items, dim sum, etc. I do have a problem when they use stolen designs and are made cheaply. The two things aren't comparable.
  14. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I will be running Red Dragon 3 pumps. They are Apex controllable with the 0-10v output.

    There is the new DC Syncra from Sicce just announced.

    Speed wave or Speedline has DC pumps that will accept 0-10v control.

    And of course the Neptune COR which is yet to be fully released.
  15. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    I did see red dragon, but pricing :( and availability sucks. I want to be able to afford a back up pump lol.

    Speedline pump look just like Jebao with different sticker lol

    Neptune COR, from the troubles that people are going through with WAV, I'm not going to try COR. Stuff with moving parts is clearly outside of their realm of expertise

    DC Syncra - reading up on this. Why did they decide to do their own "wireless" function too. I don't want another crappy app.
  16. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    What issues you are seeing with the WAV?

    BTW, those are allegedly Sicce pumps.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  17. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    Looking at the neptune forum, there a bunch of people with WAV seized within short period of use. The pump is easily jammed by fine sand/detritus. Even Dan's Reef, who was did a nice review piece on the WAV has his jammed.
  18. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

  19. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    I'd love to go the Neptune COR route but I don't know if I can wait for them to put it out.

    As far as all the other comments about pumps in the display tank. It only really helps if they are positioned near the top to create surface agitation.
  20. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

    I have been a beta tester for the WAVs and they had a few issues in the beginning and it took me about a month to find the right placement in my 65g tank to have them run between 5% to 45%.

    Most the issues are people are only updating the Apex firmware and not the individual 1LINK and the WAV modules firmware. The most common issue is the POSSER position error is quite sensitive and some people have had to disable this feature, as for me I have not had to do this.

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