Submersible heater exploded -- what killed my shrimp?
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:31 PM   #1
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Submersible heater exploded -- what killed my shrimp?


I had a Stealth submersible heater explode in my tank sometime after the lights were out for the night. It blew the dial & top right off the unit. I have never had this happen before. I suppose the heater was a couple of years old, but had been holding the temps just fine, which is what I liked about these heaters. Dependable.

The temperature was 86 F when I discovered it in the morning. The fish were fine (but hiding, so maybe 'FINE' is not the correct term), the the snails were fine, but the shrimp were all dead. Amano & RCS. There was one small wood shrimp that survived, but it didn't look particularly good until I moved it to another tank.

This is an EXTREMELY heavily planted tank with about 1/3 of the space volume consumed with mosses, so there are a LOT of little dead shrimp. I am watching and treating for an ammonia spike per the dead critters.

Could there be copper or some other elements that were exposed when the unit exploded that killed the shrimp? Why not the snails?
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:00 PM   #2
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What kind of fish do you keep that require a heater? Were you using a temperature controller?

It's possible the heater cooked your shrimp or possible there was copper wiring or some component that caused problems with the shrimp. Remember, shrimp tend to be much more sensitive than snails. Pond Snails and Ramshorns can live through extreme conditions.
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:35 PM   #3
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I was not using an independent temperature control. Just the temperature control provided by the heater. There were German Rams in this tank, that is why the tank was kept at 79-80 degrees. Warm for shrimp, I know, but they had been reproducing happily for 4 years in there. I do have tanks devoted to shrimp, but this was not one of them. The Amano shrimp were several years old. I had them in there for 4 years at least. The tank had been stable in all areas and had had its weekly water change done 3 days before. Yes, I had unplugged the heater. I had wondered if the 86 degree temps were responsible, but some shippers had stated in their online info, that when shipping, shrimp had endured 100 degree temps. My tank got nowhere near that hot. I dropped an airstone in immediately to raise the oxygen exchange.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:35 PM   #4
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It's possible your water was much warmer than 86 at some point. Or possible that water around the heater was well in excess of what the shrimp could tolerate. As water warms, oxygen levels lower, as well, so that could have been part of the problem or could have compounded matters.

If you want to make sure there's no copper in the water, you could always get a copper test kit to be on the safe side.

When you add a new heater, consider using a separate temperature controller in addition to whatever the heater provides. Should be able to get them on Amazon for under $20.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:54 PM   #5
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Like somewhat said, if the water was 86 when you caught it in the morning, its quite possible it was even warmer over the night. Warm enough to kill of the shrimpies but not quite hot enough to hurt the fish.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:19 PM   #6
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This happened to me too. All shrimp perished. They just don't like high temps.

Possible something inside got exposed since the top blew off.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:27 PM   #7
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I forgot to mention that I ran a copper test (API) and it was ZERO. I use Purigen in the filter, but from what I have read, that does not absorb copper....That something inside the thermometer was the culprit was what I was wondering as well. In all of the years that I have been keeping fish, this is the first heater that blew up on me. :-(

I am using Prime and AM Guard to control the (so far) small Ammonia spike. So far so good, as everything is 'normal' this afternoon.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:53 PM   #8
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i would say either heat cooked them or electric shock from it blowing. stealth heaters had a recall on alot of their heaters um want to say first of 2012 cause they were exploding in the tank. i would check with them and see if you have one of the models they recalled.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:52 AM   #9
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If it were electrical shock, the other shrimp, snails and fish would have died. Likely wasn't that.

The recall was in 2011 - information may be obtained here.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:01 AM   #10
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Thanks wicca27 -- I will check that out. I vaguely remember that.....I have no idea where any receipts are -- but the worst that they can say is, "Sorry'.....

I did a search and it seriously bad what these heaters can do. Shatter tanks, no less! This was an acrylic tank that the heater was in. If it was glass, I would have had a flooded living room and a seriously ticked landlord -- and I would have had a tremendous mess to clean up. I will contact them tomorrow and see exactly how many of these 'honeys' I have sitting around. I always have extra heaters -- the one that I used to replace the Stealth was a new one from Finnex. Sweet heater.....it was to go into my 20L, but it is doing the job for now in the 28 gallon bowfront where the Stealth was. Going to order a bigger one tomorrow......to replace the Stealth...

I found on a website that copper IS released when these darn things explode--so that very well may have been the cause of death.....OR concussion from the blast. Either way, thanks folks for the help! :-)

Last edited by paybackranch; 07-28-2013 at 05:16 AM.. Reason: Added info
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
Remember, shrimp tend to be much more sensitive than snails. Pond Snails and Ramshorns can live through extreme conditions.
That's putting it lightly. I had some sand I wanted to sterilize before reusing in another tank. It had been sitting in a tank still wet for a couple weeks. I rinsed it then let it completely dry out in the sun on a hot day and finally washed it with a 10% bleach solution before rinsing it and putting it in the new tank.

The next morning I saw multiple MTS still crawling around, their shells turned white from the bleach.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paybackranch View Post
I had a Stealth submersible heater explode in my tank sometime after the lights were out for the night. It blew the dial & top right off the unit. I have never had this happen before. I suppose the heater was a couple of years old, but had been holding the temps just fine, which is what I liked about these heaters. Dependable.

The temperature was 86 F when I discovered it in the morning. The fish were fine (but hiding, so maybe 'FINE' is not the correct term), the the snails were fine, but the shrimp were all dead. Amano & RCS. There was one small wood shrimp that survived, but it didn't look particularly good until I moved it to another tank.

This is an EXTREMELY heavily planted tank with about 1/3 of the space volume consumed with mosses, so there are a LOT of little dead shrimp. I am watching and treating for an ammonia spike per the dead critters.

Could there be copper or some other elements that were exposed when the unit exploded that killed the shrimp?
Why not the snails?
this depends what snails you've got, if it's malaysian trumpets they could survive a bomb. (exaggeration ofcourse but they are really tough known to survive up to 40 degrees Celsius and high levels of various other pollutants such as heavy metals - copper etc..) even snails in general are quite a bit more adaptable to pollutants than shrimp.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:52 PM   #13
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I would check and make sure you don't have anymore of those heaters.
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:58 PM   #14
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I have pulled all of them out of my tanks and have dug out my 'spares' as well. The only reason that I don't have a mess on the floor is because my tank is acrylic. I did call the company this morning and they were very gracious about it. They will either replace the Stealth heaters with Visa-Therm Submersible heaters or issue me a refund. I will pack up what I have and send them back. For those who might have some of those heaters around, here is the link regarding the recall, telephone numbers and model numbers of heaters. I had all of them :-)
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2011/...ation-Hazards/
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