Fish tank disaster! Broken heater. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2018, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Fish tank disaster! Broken heater.

Walking by my 10g neon tank, I noticed there were a bunch of floaters. [censored][censored][censored][censored]! The population has been stable at 25 over the past six months.

Yesterday I did a water change, and this morning they seemed fine, were attacking their food. Just four hours later, decimated.

Turns out that somehow the heater stuck in the ON position. Temperature was 98*.

Did a transfusion of water from another tank, brought the temp down to 84* and letting it sit.

I am angry but also surprised that there are more alive (for now) than I thought. Some of the floaters may have improved, at least they aren't floating on their sides and swimming in circles.

BTW, this was a cheap amazon heater for what was originally supposed to be a QT. Never again.


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2018, 05:07 PM
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On the bright side there's definitely no Ich in your tank....


Sorry about your loss 😞 it sucks to have 1 piece of equipment cause so much death so quickly.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2018, 06:10 PM
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So sorry to hear that. I highly recommend you get a temperature controller as a safeguard. Inkbird makes some great ones, several different models to choose from (they are also a forum sponsor). I have this one - https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ANCB24W.

I hope they recover.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2018, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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So sorry to hear that. I highly recommend you get a temperature controller as a safeguard. Inkbird makes some great ones, several different models to choose from (they are also a forum sponsor). I have this one - https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ANCB24W.

I hope they recover.
Four deaths. The others are schooling although I suspect there will be more losses.

Then there were 21. Will check out the temp controller.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2018, 07:52 PM
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Four deaths. The others are schooling although I suspect there will be more losses.

Then there were 21. Will check out the temp controller.
ChrisX sorry to hear about that.

Temp controller is a good idea. Offers insurance against failing heaters. This was in your 10 gallon. While painful enough, imagine if it happened in the big tank fully stocked, could really cause some havoc.

I've used one for for quite some time. Don't think it's ever gone off, but peace of mind is worth it.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-15-2018, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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ChrisX sorry to hear about that.

Temp controller is a good idea. Offers insurance against failing heaters. This was in your 10 gallon. While painful enough, imagine if it happened in the big tank fully stocked, could really cause some havoc.

I've used one for for quite some time. Don't think it's ever gone off, but peace of mind is worth it.
The sad irony of this is that it appears the tank doesn't even need a heater. Between the lights and the in-tank filter motor, the tank stays at 74* which is just fine for Neons.

There are still 21 but they are sluggish and not eating. I feel horrible about this, if they don't recover I'll have to euthanize them.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-15-2018, 11:47 PM
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I'm guilty of almost preaching to try to convince people it hurts too much to not go with a controller. I got whacked in the head and the purse three times before I finally said enough! I pass the idea on very frequently but I might guess more than fifty percent of the forum has no controllers.
Everybody listening? You may think it will always be the other guy---until it's really your fish that die! When does the controller cost more? Now or after the fish are dead?
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 12:11 AM
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I think reading a post from @PlantedRich many many months ago inspired me to get the controller when I was originally setting up my tank.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 12:22 AM
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I'm guilty of almost preaching to try to convince people it hurts too much to not go with a controller. I got whacked in the head and the purse three times before I finally said enough! I pass the idea on very frequently but I might guess more than fifty percent of the forum has no controllers.
Everybody listening? You may think it will always be the other guy---until it's really your fish that die! When does the controller cost more? Now or after the fish are dead?

I am listening. I have several Inkbird controllers for the exact reason Chris discovered. Don't want to go down that road.

Chris, sorry for your situation. Odd part that occurred to me is I have broke more heaters doing water changes cause I left them on and they overheated.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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I am listening. I have several Inkbird controllers for the exact reason Chris discovered. Don't want to go down that road.

Chris, sorry for your situation. Odd part that occurred to me is I have broke more heaters doing water changes cause I left them on and they overheated.
I have heaters on same power strip with filters. If im doing wc, turn off filters and heaters automatically.

Honestly, the school of neons have been fascinating pets, probably the best display for a 10g, and until this mishap, quite happy.

There is one neon that i got without a tail. Must have been bitten off in the lfs community tank. The tail has regrown, but without the same shape. That fish is a survivor, i hope she pulls through.

There were alot that were circling the drain, swimming in loops. I suppose 98* water doesnt have much oxygen. They seem to have lost a step, although oddly their color is still good.


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 01:30 PM
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Good show on the fish recovering! Sometimes they really are tough little buggers.
On the heater front, one of the things that has always been something of a pain is keeping the heater in the water during water changes. My mind wanders off and it seems like the heater is not too well designed to cover my failures! Even those who advert that they have safety built-in and shut down seem to have a problem. Those I have used do shut down, but what they did not mention was it still ruined the heater! The last one of those I tried was a long time back and they were using a form of the old bi-metal spring gizmo and once the heater got hot enough to have shut itself down, it had already warped the spring too far for it to be reliable. So, that leaves me no longer looking for brands of heaters but looking at features and how they do things.
So to avoid the heater going out of the water, I changed types of heater control. I now use one with controls outside the tank that can be laid down fully horizontal if I want. They look show less and last longer if I put them down in the last few inches of water at the bottom.
It's the bumps and grinds of figuring what works best for each that can really get ugly!
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 05:55 PM
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I do the same as ChrisX and simply have my filters and heaters on the same power strips. One less thing for me to forget!

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