Almost all fish died? heater?

  • #1
I am not sure what happened, but as a fish keeper for over 3 years, I have never had this happen. devastated!!!!!!

I work up tonight to find that all my fish in my 60 gallon cichlid tank had died except for my pleco and 1 jewel cichlid.

the tank in my opinion was very warm, and the temp strip had no reading. I pulled out the heater and the tank started to cool down and gave a reading.

I cannot think of anything else that would cause this to happen?

ideas, thoughts?

anyone have a heater that controls temp and shuts off?

I had a topfin sumberisble heater in there.
A Sneaky Fatman
  • #2
Was the heater running when you pulled it out?

If so, then it could have been a malfunctioning heater. They have been known to malfunction in a way that it doesn't recognize the temp of the water and just keeps on heating, although i've never had that problem before.
  • #3
Ive had this happen, I had a 100gal with an Arowana and 2 Oscars. Thankfully, they are very strong and lived through it... But I noticed that they were looking a bit distressed one day, I checked the temp and it was WARM. Our heater had malfunctioned and the water temp was WARM, our thermometer couldnt read it! Poor guys...

If your heater is within warranty, claim it! I'm so sorry to hear about your fish... =*(
  • #4
I'm so sorry for you and your fish. I had that happen when I had my male betta. He was the solitary fish in the tank. Heater malfunctioned overnight and by the time I figured out what had happened, the temp was over 100 degrees. I was so new to fishkeeping at that time that I didn't know how to save him. :'(
  • #5
I've read lots of post like this. Fish tanks w/ faulty heaters that break, usually in the middle of night, and kill all fish.
Seems there should be some sort of saftey system so this can't happen. If I was running an expensive tank I'd get a back up chiller to run if needed. Just in case.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
what I ended up doing was getting Two (2) fluval 100 watt heaters. I like hte color lights on them and the fact I have 2 if one overheats, it won't be enought to fry the fish.
  • #7
what I ended up doing was getting Two (2) fluval 100 watt heaters. I like hte color lights on them and the fact I have 2 if one overheats, it won't be enought to fry the fish.

That's the best option. I would suggest that everyone get 2 smaller heaters then one large one, simply because of reasons like this. If one of the smaller ones gets stuck in the on position then it will still heat up your tank, but not as quickly as if you had one large heater in there.

Another safety measure is to use an aquarium controller. For about $99 you can get a reefkeeper lite that will monitor your temperature. If the heater gets stuck in the on position and the water gets too hot then your controller will shut the heater off.
  • #8
I think I had the same thing happen with one of my old top fin or aqueon heaters! I noticed the water was constantly warm in my 10 gallon betta tank, and I thought it was because the lights were too hot so I was constantly keeping the hood on crooked to allow some air flow. Upon closer inspection, the rubber suction cups had gotten so hot that they had completely melted and been mangled!
  • #9
Good morning,

So sorry to hear about your fish. I know how awful it is.

  • #10
So sorry to hear about your fish.
I just had this happen to me about a 2 months ago. Mine malfunctioned during the night and when I got up to check my frog tank the water was 92-94 degrees. Thankfully they are all right. I am in the process of looking for an alarm that will sound when the temperature goes above or below my desired temperature.
  • #11
My cichlids banged the heaters so often 2 of them broke

I ended up putting the heater inside a tall orniment, with a power head at the bottom pushing water out an exit 1/3 of the way up.

Ciclids are 3",3.5, and 4" long and they were unable get in and bump heater.

My heater's in aggressive tanks are metal not glass, for same reason
  • #12
Good morning,

I would also recommend having a thermometer other than the plastic strip that attaches to the glass of the tank.

I keep my thermometers in my filters. By keeping it in the filter, the thermometer is always covered by flowing water for a more accurate temperature. (compared to placing it in the aquarium) Heat rises as I'm sure you know, so a thermometer at the top of the tank, in the water may vary from a thermometer at the bottom of the tank if you don't have good circulation.

  • #13
Sorry to here about your fish . Very strange what happened to your heater. They normally blow open circuit, (heater doesn't heat up anymore and the temperature drops over a period of time towards cold, worth having a backup incase this happens, or keep a second thermostat in your tank at a slightly lower temperature), or more worryingly short circuit, the heater keeps heating up as if uncontrolled until it reaches a temperature were the heat losses from the surface of the tank equal the amount of heat being put in from the thermostat. This looks like your problem and the only way to stop this happening is to have a further sensor which measures the temperature of your water and breaks the power to your thermostat when a certain undesired temperature is achieved, (an over temperature alarm). I havn't got this on my tank and it looks like you have been very unlucky.
  • #14
a heater problem killed about 20 3 week old dalmation mollies. it was the saddest day in my fishkeeping career I know how you feel
  • #15
Sorry about your fish. I had a heater overheat my betta tank. I caught it and was able to unplug it before it did any harm, and the heater went back to the manufacturer next day. I have a thermometer on my 20 gallon that has an alarm. You program it and it goes off if the temp goes outside the limits you set.

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