Mid-Columbia Saltwater Aquarium Club

Club Talk => Hear Ye! Hear Ye! => Topic started by: Ed on January 05, 2012, 09:10:29 AM

Title: Importance of having a Tank Buddy!!
Post by: Ed on January 05, 2012, 09:10:29 AM
Tank Buddy or in other words a trusted friend to monitor your property when gone.

My tank has a auto top off with 30 gallon supply.   My lights are automated.
I have no temp issues.   My system has been stable for a long time.  That was until I went on Vacation.  I was 2000 miles away.   I get a phone call.   I do not want to worry you.   I usually worry when this happens, lol.   No worries your help, Superman is here.   I am not saying any names.  But I am very thankful.
I spent the most of the time wondering what could have gone wrong.   I had no issues for months.   

When I got home I noticed my skimmer height was lower than usual.   The stilts I had built had malfuntioned.   That is all it took.   No issues for months, everything stable...then poof, filter system not working properly.   

Always have a good back up or Tank Buddy to support you.   
Another reason I am thankful to have such smart friends in this club.

Thank you very much!

 :)
Title: Re: Importance of having a Tank Buddy!!
Post by: Nate C. on January 05, 2012, 09:33:21 AM
First and foremost, glad to hear you were able to determine the issue Ed.  Glad to hear your tank buddy was able to help you out and keep things stable until you could get home to look over things and determine the issue!  I know from experience that nobody knows a system like the person who deals with it on a daily basis.
To add to this same line of thought, this is also where having a tank controller with ability to monitor paramters can be a huge plus.  Colleen and I go off camping for the weekend quite frequently during the warm months, and if we are going to be gone for only a night or two we typically don't bother to have anyone come by to check on the tank.  Typically that isn't any big deal, like Ed said, things run pretty stable for months at a time when I'm there doing the daily checks, and often times I can go a couple days without having to do anything at all other than look at things quick and assure that everything is well.  BUT, a couple years back - the first summer the 270 was running as a matter of fact, but a good 6 months after it had been started up - we were in Seattle for a weekend and had stayed one extra night.  Sure enough, 4AM Monday morning I get the dreaded sound of the alarm telling me the controller for the tank has detected an issue and sent me a text (yes, I have a special ring just for the tank).  I jump out of bed to check it and am praying it's not the low water condition that triggered it.  No such luck, that is exactly what it was.  I had to call someone in the club at 4 in the morning, ask them to drive 15 minutes to my house and check the tank.
The good news is, they were able to determine why the tank was losing water, and apply a bandaid fix until I could get home.  If we hadn't had the controller, we would have come home to a dead tank at 7PM that night.
Also, this was the SECOND time the controller saved the tank.  The first time was earlier that same year when we were moving from the rental to our new house.  The house move happened one weekend and the old 155 gallon tank was scheduled to move over the following weekend.  Well, 11PM on one night during that week between the alarm went off telling me the tank was too cool.  After trying to convince myself that this could be just a bad temp probe false alarm (with no success), I got up and made the ˝ hour drive to the rental.  I get there and lo and behold the chiller is running and I can’t make it turn off, the relay in the control had frozen.  So, again, total tank disaster averted thanks to the controller.
Yes, controllers are a bit expensive, but when you figure that all you have in your tank can be gone by the time your tank buddy happens to get to your place to check on things a few hours after an incident…you will never see me run a tank without a monitoring & controlling device of some sort.  We have a totally separate controller (identical to the one on the 270) that runs the 29 gallon tank and, if we ever get the frag system back up and running, it will run that as well through use of the expansion module that allows additional temp and pH to activate devices and alarms as necessary.