Complete Disaster !!

Plankton Boy

Reefing newb
Hi Guys I`m new to the site but really need some help, awoke yesterday to find that everything in our tank had died due to a heater breaking and overheating the tank. We lost clean up crew, corals, invertebrates and fish the entire fruits of 3 years TLC, to say we are gutted is an understatement it broke our hearts. Anyway we need to move forward and start again so I have some questions that I`m hoping you will be able to answer.

We have several Zoas attached to the live rock which are obviously no more will these decay naturally or do we need to get them out ?

We did have a bubble anemone which I fished out yesterday but I`ve heard they release some nasty stuff when they die which may still be in the water how will I know ?

Will the overheating have killed the live rock ? if so can I get a couple more pieces from the LFS and will this repopulate the old rock ?

I am concerned that as the corals decompose we have no clean up crew to deal with it but I don`t want to put them in if it isn`t safe to do so I am going to check water levels tonight, we did a 20% water change yesterday but do you think it would be better to change 100%.

Sorry to ask so many questions but we really need some help we are still trying to come to terms with what has happened, we are definately going to buy a water temperature alarm for the future so as not to encounter the same heartache again ! that sucks!

I would think running some carbon would help with the anem toxins (if you have any). Water changes and removing everything that's dead promptly should deal with most of the rest.

I don't think a heater failure would kill off your beneficial bacteria in your rock. Unless it was boiling. You might be able to salvage some of the corals as well if they're not completely melted.

I would get a Cobalt Aquatics heater, they have much less chance of failing in the "on" position.
Sorry to hear that.
It all kinda depends on what temp you were up to when you noticed the death. If you were above 90, I'd say you may have had some die off on the rocks.
Best thing to do is water changes and monitoring.
This has happen to me in the past and is the reason I now have a controller on my tank. Like said before me remove what you can, run carbon and do a couple of water changes in the next week. You will come back from this.
Thanks everyone for your advice we are going to take some water readings and do some water changes and see what happens we have left the Zoa in hoping all may not have been lost although no signs of life at the moment
Zoas are pretty tough, they may come back after you get things back to normal.

Have you considered a controller for your tank? They can control outlets ( the ones your heaters are plugged into for example) based on all kinds of things including temp. They also send email/ text alerts based on the same parameters.
i have had this happen too. lost all my livestock and corals except for an amemone and 2 clarkies. i cleaned every dead thing out that i could find. did big water changes every couple days for a couple wks and put a big dose of fresh charcoal in the filter. cleaned my skimmer dayly for a couple wks too cause she was going nuts. changed out the heater for two smaller ones so that way if one stays on then its not so bad. my temp went up to 97 degrees ferenhit. i dont know why the nem didnt die but 5 yrs later i still have him. my rocks came back. the only thing i can say that was good about it was that i was just starting out and i was only running a 40 gal then. i pay a lot closer attention to my gages now though
HI, we run a really simple device that is hand made. Costs about 45 bucks. It is a little box that the 2 x 300w heaters plug into. You set the temp you want the minute it drops too low it turns the heaters on, if for any reason it gets too high it switches bother heaters off. It also is attached to some fans that will automatically switch on once again until tank is back down to normal temp. Much cheaper option than the full controllers available and works a treat.
Heater controller.JPG