Couple of questions:
I guess you don't have any LR
in the system? I have had my canister stop for 24+ hours before and no ill effects. Just turned it back on and all was fine (well no deaths or visible issues anyway).
How did a new filter alleviate the issue? As new, the media wasn't cycled so unless you used old media to shove in the new can I'm unclear how the new can could have helped the situation. Cycling that media would take awhile. So it seems your tank should have been right where it was when you found it.
Perhaps more than one thing happened and the can failure was a co-inky-dink to something else?
BTW: Fluvals are my favorites too.. using them fresh and salt
Either way, glad it all is working out