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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I often wonder about tank disasters, either the tank breaking catastrophically or tubing popping off leading to an unattended drain-out ...or a plain old user error like wandering off while your Python is re-filling :oops:

It is certainly something that I think of frequently but also often wonder how often it really happens. When I set up our "Covid" tank last year as a return to the hobby we talked quite a bit about where we would be comfortable putting it, weighing the best place for viewing against the best place for avoiding damage. We ended up with it in the basement "non-gender specific" cave where we have faux wood flooring over solid concrete. It is not a location where we pass by multiple times each day but the oak floors and floor joists in our 1930's home are safe.

My guess is that disasters are far less frequent than our worst fears might imagine.

Thoughts? Stories?
 

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馃榿馃嵒 here's my best horror story.

It involves my now turtle tub back when it was a sump.

I was heading to Florida from Maine to move my dad back to be closer to my aunt (his sister) while she was going through hospice. I left one of my sisters in charge of my entire house and my breeding operation which included flipping the switch to pump out the basement holding tanks, switching off once the tub was drained, turning the tap on to refill and then turning off the tap... She never turned the tap off. When she noticed the next day the damage was done. Contractor had to come out, take everything out and completely redo the bathroom... I'm not going to say exactly how much it cost to repair but I will say this- even with a 6 figure income it still made me squirm.... This is the reason I cannot replumb this tub to reclaim it.

Aquariums are expensive lol
 

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The worst I've had was leaving the RO system running while I left to run some errands. The tub it was draining in overflowed while I was gone. Luckily this was in an unfinished basement on bare concrete near a floor drain so no damage done.

I also had a mystery disease wipe out my whole tank one fish at a time with out visible symptoms. A differnt kinda of disaster to be sure. This was when I was in middle school and almost eneded the hobby for me. Eventually I re setup the tank after bleach bombing the tanks and letting it sit dry for a few months.

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or a plain old user error like wandering off while your Python is re-filling :oops:
Guilty!! Except I was draining water out of a 130g using a gravel vac. I had just started draining into a 5g bucket, and the doorbell rings. It was my wife (girlfriend at the time). Completely forgot about the draining water and when I remembered 5-10 mins later, I had maybe 40 gallons on the floor. The 130g is in the basement, but it's a fully finished basement with carpet and subflooring.. that 10 minute mistake resulted in an hour or two of trying to pull as much water as I could out of the carpet with towels, wringing them out, and then setting up a bunch of fans to get some air moving over the carpet to dry it out. It worked out fine, no lasting damage about six years later, but it's a mistake I won't be making again anytime soon, lol.

I would agree that disasters are much less frequent, but it just sucks so much if/when they happen. IMO the extra planning, possible extra cost of reinforcing, and sacrifices involved in potential placement are sometimes worth not having to deal with such disasters.
 

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I've had random screw ups over the years. Like when I redid one tank and left plants in a bucket for a few days hoping to kill algae only to find everything in the bucket having turned to mush due to what I'm guessing was a massive nutrient concentration from disturbed substrate on the roots and plants rotting compounding the issue. I've over filled a tank once before but only for a few gallons. etc.

The two disasters though that stand out where when then 2 year old daughter decided to feed the fish in my Spec V. She pushed a chair up against the counter, climbed the chair, got to the fish food, unscrewed the top, and dumped the entire container. Most went onto the floor, the counter, the cat tree, but at least 1/3rd (maybe more?) went into the tank. I discovered it about 10 minutes later when I walked by and noticed the substrate looked too bright.... bright because it was now fish food instead of eco-complete.



3 or 4 gravel vacs later and it was back to normal but still it was one of those things.

The other is more recent. I decided to do DIY co2 but with a twist. The twist being that I wanted to brew beer. I am new to beer brewing so I didn't realize that the yeast I was using is crazy fast reacting. I am guessing at this next part but I think the heat from the canister filter next to the container helped to supercharge the yeast even further and the whole thing swelled so big it overflowed the primary container, the secondary bubble counter container and then into my tank itself. I went to sleep and everything was fine. When I woke up the next morning my tank was filled with beer.



Oops...

It took about 8 or 9 80% water changes to get it back to normal. I didn't loose any livestock but my plants definitely took a hit.
 

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I've had random screw ups over the years. Like when I redid one tank and left plants in a bucket for a few days hoping to kill algae only to find everything in the bucket having turned to mush due to what I'm guessing was a massive nutrient concentration from disturbed substrate on the roots and plants rotting compounding the issue. I've over filled a tank once before but only for a few gallons. etc.

The two disasters though that stand out where when then 2 year old daughter decided to feed the fish in my Spec V. She pushed a chair up against the counter, climbed the chair, got to the fish food, unscrewed the top, and dumped the entire container. Most went onto the floor, the counter, the cat tree, but at least 1/3rd (maybe more?) went into the tank. I discovered it about 10 minutes later when I walked by and noticed the substrate looked too bright.... bright because it was now fish food instead of eco-complete.



3 or 4 gravel vacs later and it was back to normal but still it was one of those things.

The other is more recent. I decided to do DIY co2 but with a twist. The twist being that I wanted to brew beer. I am new to beer brewing so I didn't realize that the yeast I was using is crazy fast reacting. I am guessing at this next part but I think the heat from the canister filter next to the container helped to supercharge the yeast even further and the whole thing swelled so big it overflowed the primary container, the secondary bubble counter container and then into my tank itself. I went to sleep and everything was fine. When I woke up the next morning my tank was filled with beer.



Oops...

It took about 8 or 9 80% water changes to get it back to normal. I didn't loose any livestock but my plants definitely took a hit.
Omg I love that you got a pic of the fish food incident 馃槀馃槀馃槀馃槀 that happened to me too when my kids were young (3 and 5). They got up early and thought it would be fun to feed the fish because I let them out a tiny pinch of fish food in every now and then. It was an entire container of large cichlid floating pellets.

*Edit- I just noticed the the bell full of froth in the beer catastrophe... What a thing to wake up to!! Glad everything was okay there!!
 

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About a decade ago, a Hydor ETH in-line heater failed and cooked a tank of plants, shrimp, fish and snails in under an hour. I was using a temperature controller, which also failed. 191 degrees. It was crazy. Documented it here on the forum. That sucked.

Once upon a time the auto shut-off of my RO/DI system failed while I was sleeping and it caused an interesting situation. At the time I lived in a loft in a massive building, tons of units, tons of people. While there wasn't major water spillage, there was probably a gallon or so - just enough to somehow drip into the fire alarm system directly beneath it and cause it to go off for the entire building in the middle of the night. :eek:

All the firemen on earth (ALL of them) showed up expecting some kinda massive ruh ro situation to find none. I told them what happened, had them come to inspect it and they didn't believe me. They swore up and down it was something else. It wasn't. But whattya gonna do? I did my part and was honest. But I'm glad it wasn't worse. Since then, I've always monitored my RO/DI systems and set timers to check them frequently.
 

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About a month ago, I decided it was time to clean one of my 2 canister filters in my 75. I took the sunsun out and replaced the floss pads and have it a good rinsing (with tank water of course) as I had done 100 times before. Put the top back on, hooked up the hoses, let it run and checked for leaks. All looked good as usual. 2 days later, I noticed the water level was a little lower than it should have been. Opened up the cabinet door and there was water everywhere. Turned everything off and ran and got some towels and a fan. Upon further inspection, I noticed that the area rug that I put under the cabinet stand was completely soaked. Having laminate flooring, I knew this wasn't going to be pretty. Moved all the fish into my aquarium only 8 gallon bucket, removed all the decor and water so I could move the tank and dry everything out. I counted 8 laminate floor planks that were warped and swollen and needed to be replaced. The only problem was that I only had 6 planks left over from when I installed the floor 8 years ago. They don't make the style of flooring I have anymore so my only option was to remove the entire floor from my sons room (which is the exact same flooring I needed) and put new floor down in his room. As for the canister filter I could not figure out why it continued to leak so it's sitting somewhere nearby in a landfill where it will rot for eternity.
 

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I've had 3 that I can think of, and they were all "user error". When I first started keeping tanks after a decade-long hiatus due to college, moving around, etc- I set up a 20 gal on a sturdy dresser (it had a metal frame) and plugged all the equipment into a power strip, which I then stupidly set on the dresser top, right alongside the tank. It had an Aquaclear HOB filter, which started dripping- luckily I was home and noticed from across the room, that the light on power strip was flickering- I went over and it was sizzling- water had leaked from the filter straight into all the power strip outlets. I flipped the switch off with a wooden handle from something in the kitchen, and had a big mess to clean up- there was a gallon or two soaked into the carpet- I was lucky I could lift up the carpet and dry it out enough w/fans, because I rented at the time. I think if my landlord had known, they would have made a no-aquariums rule.

Few years ago, my ten-gallon betta tank was starting to show wear at the seams. It sat on a nightstand and had a thin wood plank and some shims under the tank to level it. I saw that it was settling a bit (probably because the nightstand was on thick carpet) so one day when I was doing a wc and the water level was lower, I thought I could push on the side/bottom of the tank with my hands to lever it up a bit and slide another shim under. Um, NO. NEVER DO THIS. It was a day I was short on sleep. Lesson learned: don't do tank stuff (other than feed the fish maybe) when you're too tired to think straight. It seemed fine at the time but a day or two later I found the top of the nightstand was all damp, the tank had started seeping at one corner. Lucky again, I caught it before more than half a gallon leaked out onto the floor, but then my betta had to live in temporary quarters elsewhere until I could set him up in a new tank on a proper stand.

Third almost-catastrophe: I was doing a water change on a large tank in the basement (45 or 60 gal, I forget which I had down there at the time). I was siphoning into a 5-gal bucket and carefully watching what I was doing in the tank. Didn't pay attention to how full the bucket got. When it started overflowing I kinda panicked and accidentally bumped the bucket and a gallon or more slopped out onto the floor. It was fake wood (laminate I think) over concrete slab, so not a huge deal, except the flooring was new, our basement had just been recently remodeled, and my husband was not happy about it. Some of those laminate planks are still a bit warped and loose when you step on them now. Because we never did get around to replacing them yet, actually.

I've also had power outages, heaters fail, fish jump out of a bucket where they were waiting while I did a substrate change, kid sister visiting my roommate dump tons of food in the tank ( to watch him eat "because it was so cute!") and the fish bloated up like a balloon (but didn't die, I fasted him for days after), knocked an open bottle of Prime over with my arm- it went all over the counter and into the bucket I was filling so I had to dump that and start over. . . Never anything so bad it made me think to quit the hobby, but definitely incidents that made me act a lot more carefully, and learn especially to avoid doing tank work when I'm tired, or distracted- My family sometimes gets annoyed because I tell them they can't talk to me while I'm doing "tank stuff". To them it looks like a simple procedure I guess so they stand there having a conversation with me and then I do something dumb like put too much prime in the water or siphon a fish into the bucket. I either insist they stay out of the room, or make sure to do tank maintenance when nobody's around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I went to sleep and everything was fine. When I woke up the next morning my tank was filled with beer.
Oops...
It took about 8 or 9 80% water changes to get it back to normal. I didn't loose any livestock but my plants definitely took a hit.
Probably had some very happy fish!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The worst thing that ever happened to me was also a user error. I live in Washington DC and frequently they crank up the chloramine. I mean so high that I can smell it when I walk into the bathroom as it sits in the toilet bowl.

I did my weekly water change and then took off for several hours. I came back to floating fish and those that weren't dead were gasping. I had neglected to add Prime which normally is all that separated my fish from death. This was a true "Bad Dad" moment.

I now have my pump connected to a Kasa AC outlet. I can use Alexa to either turn the pump off and then automagically back on in 8 minutes for feeding or I can say "Turn off pump" and then "Turn on Pump" when doing my water change. When I say "Turn on Pump" Alexa now replies "Did you add Prime?" (y)
 

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The worst thing that ever happened to me was also a user error. I live in Washington DC and frequently they crank up the chloramine. I mean so high that I can smell it when I walk into the bathroom as it sits in the toilet bowl.

I did my weekly water change and then took off for several hours. I came back to floating fish and those that weren't dead were gasping. I had neglected to add Prime which normally is all that separated my fish from death. This was a true "Bad Dad" moment.

I now have my pump connected to a Kasa AC outlet. I can use Alexa to either turn the pump off and then automagically back on in 8 minutes for feeding or I can say "Turn off pump" and then "Turn on Pump" when doing my water change. When I say "Turn on Pump" Alexa now replies "Did you add Prime?" (y)
馃槀馃槀馃槀 and here I am with my hand written notes taped to the boxes and bins devoted to each tanks' maintenance. You guys make me feel like a dinosaur!!
 

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I've popped hoses off a canister or two and dropped a couple of gallons of water on some hard wood flooring, nothing major, but it pisses off my wife. So, I move all the fish to the basement except for her one betta fish tank. The other day I was filling the 29g in the basement and wasn't paying attention and slightly overfilled it. Pulled out the shop vac and cleaned it up quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
馃槀馃槀馃槀 and here I am with my hand written notes taped to the boxes and bins devoted to each tanks' maintenance. You guys make me feel like a dinosaur!!
Well at least with that 800 gallon tank you are squarely in the T-Rex category! ;)
 

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Speaking of power outages.. Two days ago, an inexperienced driver collided with a concrete-pad-mounted electrical transformer near my parent's house. It knocked out the power in the general area for 10-12 hours. My parent's fish tanks were fine, but her next door neighbour (who happens to be her sister) suffered quite a few losses. They have a bunch of smaller tanks (10g or less) and one big tank that is probably 180+, which housed 9 or 10 koi, all of which were about 4 years old. For some reason, during the power outage, all of their fish died except for one koi. :(
 

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Speaking of power outages.. Two days ago, an inexperienced driver collided with a concrete-pad-mounted electrical transformer near my parent's house. It knocked out the power in the general area for 10-12 hours. My parent's fish tanks were fine, but her next door neighbour (who happens to be her sister) suffered quite a few losses. They have a bunch of smaller tanks (10g or less) and one big tank that is probably 180+, which housed 9 or 10 koi, all of which were about 4 years old. For some reason, during the power outage, all of their fish died except for one koi. :(
Oh no, your aunt's (?) poor fish!!! That stinks!!
 

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Had a python hooked up to the kitchen sink, took the stopper out of the drain but left it in the corner of the sink tub. I heard an odd dripping sound from the kitchen so ran in only to slip and bust my hip/elbow on the wet floor. The stopper had floated back and plugged the drain letting about 20 gallons of water to flood all over the counters and down to the floor. A couple of hours of towel drying had me wishing I had a shop vac.

I recently also overfilled a tank in the basement by maybe 10 gallons. Girlfriend called me away with "I just need you for a minute", which turned into 10 minutes. So another couple of hours of toweling and wringing while thinking about the shop vac I never did get.

You know what? I'm going on amazon now to order a shop vac.
 

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Had a python hooked up to the kitchen sink, took the stopper out of the drain but left it in the corner of the sink tub. I heard an odd dripping sound from the kitchen so ran in only to slip and bust my hip/elbow on the wet floor. The stopper had floated back and plugged the drain letting about 20 gallons of water to flood all over the counters and down to the floor. A couple of hours of towel drying had me wishing I had a shop vac.

I recently also overfilled a tank in the basement by maybe 10 gallons. Girlfriend called me away with "I just need you for a minute", which turned into 10 minutes. So another couple of hours of toweling and wringing while thinking about the shop vac I never did get.

You know what? I'm going on amazon now to order a shop vac.
馃槀 my dad has been an aquarists since the 60s and when he found out I was getting back into the hobby he gifted me a shop vac and told me "Now that you're an adult and it's YOUR house you're going to need this". I didn't understand at that very moment but my first busted tank seal made me call him and thank him a million times over
 
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