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Old 07-30-2013, 08:10 PM   #1
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Starting over after EPIC FAIL

It's been a couple of years since I've visited this forum.

About 2 years ago, I set up my first saltwater tank (after a year of research and planning). It was 60G with a 14G refugium. Modest size for many but pretty ambitious for a novice like me. I invested a bunch into the tank because I wanted it to succeed so I bought the best equipment I could afford. I took my time, monitored my water, added corals and inverts very slowly. I was at the point of adding fish (I had the tank 6 months by this time - like I said, I was moving slowly and carefully).

Long story short, I awoke at 2 AM to the sound of all hell breaking loose. The stand failed. The tank slid forward then fell, punching a hole in my wall and another in my floor. 60G of water rushed forward like a tidal wave and the carpet in that room was flooded and seeped into two adjacent rooms. I had a pool of water in the basement and I just stared at this scene completely dumbstruck for what felt like an hour. Then, my husband and I staggered and slopped around picking up what animals we could and throwing them into buckets of saltwater that I mixed on the spot. As luck would have it, the following morning was the first day of my new job and there was NO WAY I could call off ;p

On hand, I had a quarantine tank that was unused. I set that up stat and put the corals and crabs, peppermint shrimp, urchin and snails into that. I didn't have much in the way of livestock, little beyond a clean up crew but I had some nice corals that were really doing well before this disaster.

We patched the wall, the carpeting was unsalvageable and was ripped up. I needed to replace a section of subflooring. I opted to go with hardwood but (get this) it took MONTHS for the subflooring to dry out enough to lay it down. This was with dehumidifiers running 24/7. The cost of repairing this mess rivaled the amount I invested in the tank. Thousands of dollars down the drain.

I was in shock for a long time - years. I didn't even want to think about this hobby. Never again I said. NEVER. I quickly lost the corals except for the mushrooms. The crabs lived for about a year under the simple fluorescent lights you get with an inexpensive 10G tank. I didn't feed the tank or heat it. I used plain tap water to fill it when it got low. When hurricane sandy blew through, I lost power for nearly a week and the remaining livestock still lived through that - mostly snails, hitchhiker limpets and starfish, bristleworms and the mushrooms and chaeto algae. I was stunned that these animals were surviving/thriving in this hostile environment when the original tank had been pampered and spoiled as best as I could. Life certainly does go on. It freaking blew my mind. Out of curiosity, I took the first salinity reading since the accident and the it was 1.025? I had expected it to be brackish by that point. I somehow struck a balance on a self-sustaining tank (apart from adding water). I also grew to really respect those mushroom corals. They weren't doing great but they were hanging on 2 years after the fact. I began spending time with this tank and looked at the inadequate lighting and everything that was wrong with it and began to feel a pull toward the hobby again.

This is a longer post than I intended so I will start wrapping it up. I bought this 24G cube: JBJ Lighting Nano Cube Next Generation LED Aquariums | Nano Aquarium Systems & Aquarium Kit It should arrive Thursday. I'm ready to begin again. Although my 60G didn't crack (haven't water tested it though) and I still have all the equipment, I want to ease back into this with a small tank. I know fish choices are limited with the nano but ironically, I found fish were secondary to my interest with the hobby. I greatly enjoyed the inverts and found them extremely interesting.

Anyway, now for my question. I have a good 40lbs of dead rock. I've washed and brushed off anything dried and organic on it that was left over but there is no way I can get it perfect. Is this going to behave like bleached rock or liverock gone bad? I have maybe 10 or 12 lbs of live rock in the Q tank to add. Not sure what to expect for the cycle. I barely had one at all with the 60G but the ratio of live rock to water was higher, I think.

Also, as I was brushing off the dried stuff off the dead rock, I was reminded of the rhodophyta outbreak I fought for most of that tank's life (red macro algae that smelled really bad and swarmed my rock). It's dead right? It can't reseed my nano tank?

Thanks for reading.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:38 PM   #2
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One hell of a read on what happened! I wish you luck & welcome back.....
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:56 PM   #3
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Wow that's.. absolutely awful to have happen to you. Its also crazy to hear about your mushrooms and inverts.

With the dead rock it will have to be cured again to pull off all of the ammonia that it will produce. As for the algae, I haven't the slightest clue if it will return or not but if you wanted to be safe about it you could always dip the rocks in a 1 part bleach to 10 part water solution for a day or so.

As for the cycle it will be a 100% from scratch cycle that will take a while to complete but hey, you already have all the rock

Btw, welcome back
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:43 AM   #4
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I would add all the now dry rock in the new tank and just let anything left over kick off the cycle. You don't need to cure it since it will do so while cycling the tank. Awesome restraint going slow and smart the first time.

Horrible story, glad you're getting back into it though. It will be worth it.

You can still get some neat nano fish in that tank.
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:59 AM   #5
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Oh wow, that's terrible! I can't believe the tank didn't break. I definitely can't blame you for getting discouraged after all that, but I'm happy you came back to the hobby. It really is amazing how some of the creatures survived all of that, though. You have some hardy crabs and mushrooms.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:59 PM   #6
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That is nuts. You really got me thinking about my stands. What were you using for that tanks stand? I am building a stand for my new 90 and I'm pretty sure it is going to be completely over built after reading that.
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:43 PM   #7
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Thanks!
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:45 PM   #8
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Thanks - I think I will try that.
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ericwm View Post
That is nuts. You really got me thinking about my stands. What were you using for that tanks stand? I am building a stand for my new 90 and I'm pretty sure it is going to be completely over built after reading that.
I'm glad that you're thinking about your stand. I think it gets overlooked during the excitement of everything else. If you are building your own, I imagine it would be out of solid wood and you wouldn't have the exact problem that I did. Mine was that pressed board garbage with laminate over it. I bought the tank and stand together and they said it was rated for the weight. With pressed board, moisture will wick upward and compromise the integrity of the stand. Although my carpet always felt dry, there must have been moisture seeping into it unnoticed. There was NO WARNING. It just collapsed. I'll try to attach some pics so people know what to run from. Just a note, I frayed and split apart the layers after moving it out onto my porch. The laminate hid what was happening to the chip/particle board/whatever it's called - underneath the black sheet. Also, the stand is upside down in these pictures. It was only supported on three sides which was a bad design imo.





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Old 08-01-2013, 01:41 AM   #10
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Wow that sucks. The tank might have had a tiny leak on the most damaged side which could have put enough water into the wood to weaken it. Still a bad design though.
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