Tragedy Averted, Proof they are Resilient


2003 TOTM Recipient
Premium Member
For the past week or so, we had been hit hard in the midwest with a winter blast with sub zero temps and surprisingly lots of snow here in Michigan. The temp has been in the single digits all week and negative temps with the wind chill factor. This is common for us and we're use to it, but I was hit with a double whammy within 48 hours. On Thursday my very reliable heater in my fug malfunctioned for some strange reason. The temp was reading correctly, but the heater wasn't working. I keep the thermostat in the house on 72 during the winter in conjunction with my dual 250 watt MH, the tank temp remains at a constant 79 degrees day and night. I didn't notice the malfunctioning heater until Friday evening. Why? Believe it or not, the blower on the house furnace went out at 7 PM on Friday evening. I made a call to get a repairman out as the house temp dropped rapidly to 55 degrees but it was much colder than that believe me. The furnace was repaired and working again by 10 PM that evening. Later that night around 1 or 2 AM Saturday morning, the blower failed again. I made another call and no one could come out until morning. My tank is on a reverse photoperiod as my lights come on in the evening and off in the morning, so the halides would serve a greater purpose in keeping the water temps close to normal. I know that Zoanthids and Palythoas are very resilient and will survive/rebound from the cold much better than excessively high temps. I didn't sleep well the night before, so my eyes were very heavy, so with 4 comforters on the bed, a hat, socks and layer or jogging attire, I hunkered down in bed. With no thermometer on hand, I couldn't check the water temp other than a finger dip for comparison, but I knew my polyps would make it as long as the halides were on. I woke up at 7 AM and checked the tank. Before I did a finger dip, I checked a glass of water I left on the counter the night before. The water was cold enough to drink, oh nooo !!. I did a quick visual on the tank and everything was open and expanding about 80 % of normal, but still, this was a good sign. I dipped a finger and it was cool. I ran to the store and picked up a cheap thermometer to give me a quick range reading. To my surprise, the temp was 69/70, I knew from experience that this was fine as they can definitely tolerate cooler temps as oppose to excessive heat in which they will begin to dissolve and melt away.

Before ordering a new heater, I pulled it out and inspected it. I cleaned the heater probe and the thermostat probe and placed it back in the fug. Still no response from the heater, not even to the touch. Hmmmm, scathing head, I knew this was one of the best heater around as I have had it for years with no issues. I looked closely at the dial on the face of the power pack which the digital read out of the temp. I turned it one notch to the left and it clicked on instantly. The heater is now working perfectly. So what happened? The dial was simply stuck or not making contact I assume or failing to communicate to the heater probe in the fug, not sure. I've watched it for a full day and it is working perfectly now. None the less, a new heater has been ordered as a back up, ....just in case. Tragedy averted !!!!!

Does anyone else have a story to share?

Mucho Reef


2003 TOTM Recipient
Premium Member
The heater has croaked once again. I just picked up a temporary replacement until the new one arrives. Drates, double Drates !!!!


New member
I have a story to share. Didnt happen recently, but the reward of it will happen later today.

About a year and a half ago, my tank caught fire. It was 4 am, and the fire alarm started going off. Me and the wife woke up to check things out. Opened the door, and nothing but black choking smoke was what we found on the other side. I instructed my wife to get my daughter, whos bed room was just next door while I checked out the source of the fire, to figure a safe exit from the second story apartment.

Luckily (respectively) it was my tank, and it hadnt spread far. My stand was lined on the inside with styrofoam for noise reduction, hence so much black smoke. The fire ruined everything on the tank with a cord (not including my MH lights). My water was tinged yellow, and covered in black chemical nastiness. I went for my fire extinguisher, and it wasnt there. The apartments took them for maintenance, and never got replaced. I got the fire out with a waterchange bucket that was close and thankfully full. Very lucky I wasnt electricuted!

I had just topped the water off that night and forgot to readjust my prizm protein skimmer for the new water level. It overflowed onto the power strip and caused an electrical fire. My wife didnt like the exposed cords to be seen by everyone that came over to our place or a hanging powerstrip, so no drip loops and a power strip right behind the tank on the floor. Bad move.....

Along with all the cords getting fried, it did major damage to the stand. After the fire was put out, I immediatly had to tear down the tank for fears of the stand colapsing. I also had to be at work at 9am-10pm that day. I put all my live rock in a storage container, all my corals (mainly zoas) in another container, and the fish in a bucket. Then I had to immediatly get on the phone to find homes for everything.

I could not re set up because I was all set to buy a home and move in 2 months, plus I had no equipment, and the stand needed some major work. I fixed the stand and am using it to this day.

Luckily I had a freind at work with an unstocked 90 gallon tank, who was dieing to get corals in there. I took the container to work with me and it sat in the basement at work un heated for 10 hours. Was in the unheated, undirculated container for aprox 14 hours. I sold him my full bucket of corals for a quick cheap and easy $100 bill. All the fish died very quickly after that and all my sensitive corals perished too. the styrofoam toxins must have gotten to them. The zoas hung in there though. He has taken pretty good care of them since then too (for an extreamly new reefer)

Today I will be bringing some corals over to his house, along with a fish to do some trading for frags of all of my long lost zoanthids. Hope I never catch them on fire again!

I still dont know how I convinced my wife to let me reset up my tank after we baught the new house. It was a very tramatic experiance for her. Needless to say though, this tank has the strip plug mounted on the wall, all cords drip looped and GCFI.

Any others??


New member
I came home from school one day, when i first opened the front door i was hit by the smell of smoke. After opening the door to my room i saw alot of white smoke everywhere. I ran to my tank [the source] to see what was happening.

Long story short, my canister filter had sprung a leak and sprayed my wall socket that started a fire in the wall, along with 2 other power strips. It costed about 100 bucks to repair everything, but i made some smarter improvements.

I have a heavy duty outdoor socket installed in my wall now, "weatherproof". And all my powerstrips are hung high with drip loops.


2003 TOTM Recipient
Premium Member
Glad you both caught it before extensive damage was done. Your stories are bound to help someone who reads this. Thanks for sharing.



New member
Yes I would like to share it was 78 degrees here today in Southern California I actually took the dog to the beach today.....I know I'm not much help .....LOL

I was cool just listening to your stories....burrrrr.....

Glad everyones tanks are ok.