Emergency Procedures:
Things to try when I’m not available

Emergency Chiller

The temperature is rising and your tank is too warm.  Plan ahead.  Leave your stand and canopy doors open all night. [There better not be a heater in this picture.]  Cool with fans if possible.  If you still need cooling then find about 20 feet of 1/4″ or 3/8″ clear vinyl tubing, a smaller insulated cooler, ice to fill it and a couple cups of salt – any type – aquarium / table / rock. Somehow connect one end of your vinyl tubing to your skimmer air hose.  Coil your tubing and put it in the bottom of the cooler with other end of tubing sticking out   Your skimmer should still be getting plenty of air flow.  Dump in some ice followed by sprinkling some salt – repeat – then cover with a towel  The salt lowers the freezing temperature 19 degrees Fahrenheit to 13 degrees

Monitor your tank temperature  Disconnect hoses at 70.  You should be ready for the heat.

Ammonia / Nitrites are too high

Symptoms
The fish is lying on the bottom – nitrites
The fish is at the surface gulping for air – ammonia

1   Change water – several times if needed – 75% or more each time
2   Add some live sand from another tank
3   Add live rock from another tank
4   Increase circulation – especially water surface movement – they need oxygen
5   Don’t feed for a couple days.

Your problem is not enough good bacteria and/or overfeeding or decaying organic matter.

Your main pump shuts off

Symptoms
I hope you don’t need help here

Using powerheads, keep the surface of the water moving.  This can provide all the oxygen for the tank indefinitely.

Your problem is either an old pump died from old age or you haven’t been doing regular pump maintenance.  Pumps should be cleaned at least 4 times per year.

You ran out of DI water and you’re pump is running dry

1   If you have an adjustable overflow elbow like we use in our setups, you can lower it to a horizontal position and let the level of your tank drop.
2   You can shut the pump off – using powerheads to keep the surface of the water moving.  This can provide all the oxygen for the tank indefinitely.
3  Buy distilled water.  Do not use super market “RO/DI” WATER.

Your problem is lack of attention to your system, poor planning and not having enough water on hand or you need an automatic top-off system.
A simple auto top off can be made with a float valve, timer, plumbing parts and a small Maxi Jet 1200 pump.  First you install a float valve in your sump.  Then run a hose from the float valve to the powerhead that is in a reservoir of water.  Put the powerhead on a timer such that it runs only a half hour per day.  During that time it fills your sump.  When the sump is full, the pump pushes harmlessly against itself until the timer shuts off.  This does not require your reservoir be higher than your sump.

You have a fish that’s a bully.

If you can catch him easily.  Put him in a large net and him let sit there until the lights go out.  Then let him go.  The “fish jail” often mellows them out.  Be sure to put a small rock in the net so the fish doesn’t get tangled.  Remove the rock before letting the fish go.

If it’s a real problem catching him.  You can keep him in the net until you have a better home or put him in your sump if you have one.

Your child pours something in your tank.

1   Change water. 90% or more 3 or more times.  Use tap water if necessary.  Speed is essential.  The temperature only needs to be close.  De-chlorinators are not needed.  They are in the salt mix already.  This is one reason to maintain a supply of salt at home if your are buying our saltwater.
2   Change all filters.
3   Keep skimmer at maximum output.
4   Use carbon

Share This