Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Spot of Bad Luck

It seems like I've been having nothing but bad luck lately with the aquariums. I came home from Thanksgiving with the family only to spot the remains of a brownish puddle on the floor by the big aquarium. Sure enough, I opened up the stand to find the auto-doser jug was absolutely empty. Turns out the tube that ran from the pump to the top of the aquarium had fallen off and fallen behind the stand (it was only held on by a suction cup) and without all that height to slow down the pump, 30 days of fertilizer slurry (yeah, I had just topped it up a few days before I left) emptied onto my floor over the course of two or three days in one minute intervals. I guess it could have been worse...but all those fertilizers wasted and a big stain on my floor now have taught me not to trust a single suction cup again.

Just two weeks earlier I bought a brand new Marineland heater for the big tank (exactly like the one in the photo above), since the one that I had in there was damaged in the move. After a few months of doing weekly water changes without a heater, I had gotten too used to just siphoning the water out. In the middle of my first water change since getting the heater, I heard some weird popping noises and saw an unfortunate leaf being cooked on the outside of the heater glass. I had forgotten to unplug it before I drained the water down and it had gotten so hot it had cracked the glass. The brand new heater was thoroughly fried, but the cracks in the glass were nearly invisible. Luckily, I didn't tempt fate and unplugged it and took it out to examine it. Sure enough, just handling it, it fell apart. Needless to say, I bought a Theo heater that's supposed to offer some protection against running dry, but I'm also going to be much more careful in the future. Heaters are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment in an aquarium (as Jestep found out recently), so be careful with them!

Sometimes small accidents this hobby can be a real drain on the wallet. I'm just glad I haven't had a near catastrophe, like a leaking tank! (knock on wood)


  1. I have my pump and heater both plugged into the same three way adapter for that same reason. Now when I unplug the pump it unplugs the heater too. Lessons learned.

    I also used to work in an aquarium store where the heaters would constantly explode in the sumps under the tanks because employees (me) would forget to top off the tanks at night after a day of selling fish with bags of water and of course eveporation. Once you got a good jolt from sticking your hand in a tank to catch a fish for a customer, it was alway necessary to go get a fellow employee in the store and ask him for a little help catching a fish for you. More lessons learned.

  2. I bought a wall mounted fish tank (wall aquarium) from Bayshore Aquarium and haven't had those problems yet. But, then again my wall aquarium is only 10.5 gallons. I do know exactly what you are talking about. I guess with a larger tank they just burn out faster since they have to heat 100 gallons? My heater at home rarely comes on my small tank (I only have it set to 72 degrees, which is roughly the same temperature of my house). My clown fish are pretty happy with the temperature - yeah I know they prefer 78, but no problems so far.


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