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Disaster . . . and Recovery

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Thought I'd detail what I did to save a system that lost most of the animals when power was out for over 3 days during the recent freeze this last February.  With no heat in the system dropped to about ~57° - 60° F. 


For refference, here's a video from last September, 2022:


And this is what it looked like about 15 hours after power was restored. 

TSLR 20230205_095139.jpg

Note the difference in color of the red Chalice.  Shifts in color giving a coral brighter appearance often indicate a compromised colony.  The daughter colonies on the sand were removed hopefully to recover but ended up dying quicker than the mother colony.  Most of the Xenia was compramised.  Also lost was the Purple Stylo, Sinularia foliata (black lump bottom left middle), Brown Finger Sinularia, most of the frogspawn, about a third of the GSP and a lime green Toadstool.  The Texas Trash Green Palies were upset week or so but all appear to have recoverd.  Not shown here are two colonies of Protopalythoa grandis but they're going to get their own post.  Curiously most of the sponges did just fine as well as some clams on some maricultured Florida liverock.  Fish lost included 15 year old Flame Hawk and Yellow Tang, Damsels and Niger Trigger.


Initial work included 25 gallon water change siphoning any loose animals and removing corals clearly dead (purple stylo and S foliata).  A reactor with a couple cups of carbon was added as well as a diatom filter.


Diatom 20230205_125824.jpg

Diatom filter after 3 hours (It was white).



Tslr 2nd 20230205_131109.jpgA second 25 gallon water change was done and the carbon and diatom filters were cleaned and reinstalled.  Our 29+ year old Purple Tang LIVES!  The red chalice is clearly sloughing off and it was removed.


Tslr left 20230210_124316.jpg

Tslr middle 20230210_124320.jpg

Tslr right 20230210_124324.jpg

Here's after 5 days of 12-20 gallon daily water changes.  Xenia and GSP both starting to open up.  Rainbow BTA added is open.  Urchins are crussing around cleaning algae off rocks.  Purple Tang is skittish and seems to have a bit of a swim bladder problem.



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That chalice really looked sad.  :( 57F is not a good temp.  Losing 15-year-old fish sucks.  :(

Cool to see so much stuff made it through.

FWIW I know hindsight is 20/20.   I'm not trying to be that guy.   Just offering ideas.

The generators at Harbor Freight are great for the price and use very little fuel.  My mid-range one runs for like 8 hours on ~2g of gas.  Super quiet.  I bought it for RV and construction work.   It's came in super handy.  I've run my RV air conditioner and microwave off of it.  (For reference, the RV is 30A and the gen is rated at only 20A and did fine for many trips.   Never tripped the breakers.)   

Something like that would be more than enough for an Eheim heater and a power head for a few days.    It may not run the full system but can handle emergencies and keep the temps up and some flow going. 

Also, good for summer/hurricane season.    Great to have a window unit in one room, and plug in the fridge, when the power is out.    

The catch with those generators is you have to use them.  Don't let them sit up unused and let the fuel dry up.   You will have a carb job on your hands.  

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Year, this is the most I've lost in a system and still been able to recover and not start over.  This system is in an office building that's considered "critical infrastructure" so it was a bit of a surprise as it didn't have any issues 2 years ago.  I'm not sure how much it actually helped but I was able get into the building Friday afternoon when we found out there wasn't power and run a heater off solar batteries I had on hand.  


Good points about generators and I've seen really good prices on internet sites auction sites for returned items from big box stores.  I run mine through a tank of gas every couple months either running equipment or an AC unit.

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