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Old 05-15-2009, 10:22 AM
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So I woke up to the sound of heavy rain at 3:30am on Friday last week. At first I was just surprised that it had been loud enough to wake me. After listening for a moment however, I was more disturbed by the apparent location of the noise. It sounded as though it was coming from my living room. I forced myself up from my early-morning stooper, and lazily zigzagged my way through my bedroom and as I stumbled through the doorway, and into the dark living room itself, the sound was almost deafeningly scary. Not because it was particularly loud, but because it was now clear where the noise was emanating from – the bottom of my 29 gallon reef tank. Suddenly I was no longer weary from sleep. I quickly jumped from my state of drowsiness, to a state of pure panic. I found the light, flipped it on, and proceeded to completely come apart as I saw my tank quickly draining as it rained a curtain of water through a fracture that stretched from one side of the bottom to the other. At first my sole concern was my floor. That worry was relieved, and replaced with a new one when I found that the water was not actually hitting the flor. It was in fact all being caught by the tank sitting below the now broken reef tank. The bottom tank was somehow, to my surprise, holding water. This was a surprise because this tank was never meant to hold water. It was meant to hold a 4 ft. Honduran Milk snake – and he was currently learning how to swim.

I finally snapped out of my state of shock, and rushed to save whatever I could. I first saved the snake. He was less than thrilled about his aquatic experience. I moved him to another spare tank that I had in a back room –luckily I basically have a zoo in my home, and therefore I am well supplied with spare tanks. The next problem to tackle was whether to focus on the snake tank, which now held every drop of water from the cracked tank above, or to try and save what I could from the reef. I chose the later, and got to work. My living room quickly became a reef ‘shanty town’. Bowls, Buckets, Jars, all were homes to a community of very confused sea creatures.

As The last of the water drained from my tank and filled the smaller, and surprisingly strong, snake tank underneath, I realized I had not fully thought out my plan. I had succeeded in saving my critters for now, but I had no idea what to do next. Since a life in a mason jar is probably not what my peppermint shrimp and emerald crab had dreamed of, I started checking out my options. At first I thought I would have to bag everyone up and take them to my local fish store to be held until I could find a solution. This seemed like my only option until I happened upon a 10 gallon miracle in the back of the closet. Yes, I found a spare 10 gallon tank and it might as well have been a chest of gold at that moment. If nothing else, I now at least had a temporary home for my scared aquatic critters until I could find a better solution. My concern now was that I would have to lose about 100lbs of Fiji rock. However, this was also a problem I was able to solve.

As I started moving a few scoops of the aragonite from my broken tank to it’s smaller successor, I started sizing up the new tank. I wasn’t sure, but I had a feeling I could save at least half of my live rock if I just decided to keep the 10 gallon as a nano tank, rather than a broken tank triage. After considering this, I decided it was a good idea, and I started to add the rock. As I started to add each piece, I noticed that the rock seemed to fit much better in this smaller tank. In fact, I liked the way it was shaping up even more than I had like the previous aquascape. Before, my larger tank still needed a few more pieces to look ‘full’. This smaller tank now started to look like a true reef. I reached for the last piece of rock, only to realize I had no more left. I had somehow fit all 100 plus pounds in this tiny tank, and it looked awesome.

After I finished the initial building and set-up, I had fit the hang on filter, heater, skimmer, koralia, 3 inches of aragonite, and every piece of live rock into my new nano. I actually had to take a moment to stop and look at it to make sure I didn’t do something wrong. It just seemed to good too be true. Now came the adding of the water. First I added water from the buckets that had previously help my live rock. I had hastily mixed each bucket as the water in my old tank poured out of the bottom, but somehow I managed to get the salinity and chemistry right in my mad dash to save my tank. After that, I mixed up some more and added until the tank was at the right level. Then I waited for it to heat up and stabilize a little. Now it was time to add the coral and fish. I had already placed some coral in as I placed the rock. Anything that was attached went right in with the rock it was on. Not I had a few across, a mushroom or two, a few zoas, palys, xenia, and a chalice frag. They all went in fine. After the gluing of the final piece was complete, it was time for the inverts and fish. First went the Peppermint shrimp. They actually went in and just made themselves at home. Next the emerald crab, a few blue hermits, a scarlet hermit, and a reef hermit. All went in fine and seemed to not care at all that their home was now 1/3 its original size. Next came the striped yellow fanged goby. I was worried about this guy. He was already a bit of a spaz, and technically he needs a 30 gallon tank. I placed him, and he seemed to love the new tank. He swam about checking out the place and then found a large, empty turbo snail shell and proceeded to clean it out and make it a home. He even ate immediately after he finished cleaning house.

Finally, it was time for the lights. This was tricky. I have a pretty massive PC set-up and I had to make it fit the small tank until I get new lights. I managed to adjust the legs and it fit nicely, aside from the overhang on the sides. Everything opened, swam, ate, and relaxed. I was quite proud of what I thought was a pretty major accomplishment.

So there is my story. I just thought it was worth sharing.
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:25 AM   #2
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Can I ask why you wouldn't just buy a new 29 gallon tank and transfer everything over the next day?
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PackLeader View Post
Can I ask why you wouldn't just buy a new 29 gallon tank and transfer everything over the next day?
I didn't really have the cash to get a new tank, and I am sure many things would have died before i ever managed to buy the tank, set it up, and get everything into it. Many of the containers i had were extremely small and honestly it was really freaking cold in my house too. That, combined with the fact that i was still a little dazed with sleep and panic made me choose to just scale the tank down.
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:34 AM   #4
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wow, sorry to hear...
glad it worked out at the end
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:38 AM   #5
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Glad to hear it worked out. But I gotta ask, are you sure it is only a 10 gal? Just looking at my 29 and my rock, if you put that much rock in there, there must only be like a cup of water lol? Can I hire you to pack for me when I move at the end of the month?
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by coylee_17 View Post
Glad to hear it worked out. But I gotta ask, are you sure it is only a 10 gal? Just looking at my 29 and my rock, if you put that much rock in there, there must only be like a cup of water lol? Can I hire you to pack for me when I move at the end of the month?
lol. Yeah i am sure it's a 10. I actually got it a few months back to serve as a holding tank for some babies out of my freshwater tank. I was surprised i got it all int, but it fit and there is more than enough water for everything. It actually looks a lot better, and all the critters are loving it. My yellow pollyps actually started opening and spreading out way more than they ever had and everything intensified in color. I don't know why exactly, but it seems to be an improvement for them.

oh and I don't think you should trust my packing skills. I olnly pack things well when animal lives are on the line
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:29 PM   #7
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ok i am a bit confussed how in the world do you fit 100lbs of rock in a 10 gallon tank and still have room for critters to move.

pictures or it didnt happen

Sorry about the broken tank and glad you got it fixed
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:53 PM   #8
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I had a 29 gallon tank with about 60 pounds of rock, and it was so extremely cramped. I could never fit 100 pounds of fiji into a 10, unless it was low grade fiji and not porous at all, and each rock was a solid boulder.

Sorry to hear about your troubles...
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:40 AM   #9
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Well i did fit it all, and there is plenty of space. I can get some pics up tonight hopefully.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:48 AM   #10
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This happened to me 2 nights ago. It was a mad dash with about 40gallons on the floor seeping into the hallway of our apartment building. Lost a beta that had made it's freshwater home in the corner of the fuge (HE LOVED IT DOWN THERE!!!). Fish were without flow for the night but the bf re plumed the entire thing in the morning.
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