I'm sure we've all had our share of mishaps when it comes to keeping aquariums. Mixing glass, water, and electricity is a recipe for disaster. I thought this thread about aquarium mishaps was pretty interesting, and I'll share my biggest mishaps to date.
First of all, I've come to the realization that heaters, submersible or not, are probably the most dangerous piece of equipment in an aquarium. They're often glass, and sometimes non-submersible. Combined with electricity...well, it's a bad mixture. Most of the time it's as simple as forgetting to turn the heater off when you do a water change. The heater turns on, heats up much to fast (since it's supposed to be "cooled" by water) and either burns up or, even worse, when you refill the tank, cracks the glass when it comes into contact with water again. Some heaters are designed with an auto-off switch to prevent this. I've killed at least two heaters this way. Luckily, it's fairly easy to notice, given the smoke, steam, and possible fireworks. One of mine just burned up before I raised the water back up, but the other shattered when it contacted the water. Luckily, my fish (and me!) got away without any injuries. I've vowed to never buy cheap heaters again, and always, always use a GFCI outlet or power strip (which should probably added to the 10 Items a Planted Aquarium Keeper Can't Live Without list).
Another mishap occurred when setting up my pressurized CO2 system. I bought a regulator with a bubble counter and filled it with water. I screwed the cap on tight and everything was great for about 2 weeks. Then I noticed that my water level was dropping more than normal between water changes, and the bubble counter was often full of water. It had an integrated check valve, so I wasn't worried about my regulator being damaged. However, I then realized that the floor of the stand underneath the tank was literally mushy and soaked. I examined the CO2 setup for leaks and realized that on the back side of the bubble counter, hidden out of view, was a nice big crack that must have been slowly spreading since I screwed the cap on. Each night, when the CO2 went off, water would siphon back and drip out through the crack. My stand is pretty funky inside now, and the particle board that got wet is deformed and expanded. Let's just say the floor inside isn't exactly flat anymore. I ordered another bubble counter and was extra careful screwing it in.
A few more minor mishaps:
- I've accidentally overfilled my tank while doing a water change and watching TV at the same time. I suddenly had a waterfall in my living room! Don't multitask while filling your aquarium back up.
- I've accidentally run my Eheim filter overnight with a kinked hose. Woke up wondering what the funny burning rubber/plastic smell was, till I realized it was my fish tank. The Eheim took it like a champ though, and still works fine.
I count myself lucky that I've avoided most major mishaps (no cracked tanks, major water damage, etc).
What about you? What planted aquarium mishaps have you had?