Overheated Tank please help quick!

Jul 6, 2004
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#1
I was just looking at my fish tank and noticed that somehow it has become WAAYY overheated to well over 90 degrees!!! I don't know when this happened but I noticed that a lot of the fish were kind of hiding and I went to test the water, and noticed that the water was very hot. To my knowledge this has never happened before and I don't know why it did today.

I am going to do a water change, but I don't want to shock my fish!! How much cooler should I make the water? Please help!!
 

Jul 6, 2004
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#3
I did a 20% water change and added a couple of ice cubes. It was almost up to 100 degrees. I don't think that it was that hot for very long. Its almost down to 90 now.. I know that that is a big drop, but I think that it rose quickly and I think that it was necessary..

I turned off my lights and my heater. My lights aren't that hot, so I have a feeling htat my heater went nuts. Time to get a new one maybe?

I don't have an air pump. How else can I oxygenate the water?

Anything else I should do? I was thinking about doing another small water change in about an hour. One of my cherry barbs is swimming really funny. I'm freaking out..
 

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Jul 6, 2004
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#6
I am probably going to go get a new heater tomorrow afternoon. For now I am leaving the heater unplugged. I am worried about leaving it for almost 20 hours with no heater, however. My house is cold. I think I might put in the new 25w heater that I got for my new 3g tank, just to try and help. I can set it for 78, the normal tank temp, just to make sure that it stays there.

So far the temp is down a tad under 90 (after over an hour and a half.. I know.. its still quick.. but the fish are looking much better). I've lost my larger male cherry barb. The lights are off, so its hard to see, but as far as I can tell, the tiger barbs, my gourami, and the tetras are more active than they were before. I can't see the other cherry barbs or the loaches.
 

Lotus

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Aug 26, 2003
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#8
Unfortunately heaters sometimes get stuck on "on." I hope the rest make it. You can put a fan blowing across the surface to help cool it. You should be careful not to cool the tank too quickly, with ice etc. Probably cool it no more than 2 degrees and hour.
 

Purple

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Oct 31, 2003
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#9
saw this thread to late to chip in at the time - but for future ref - just remove the lid, switch off the heater and lights, and let the tank cool down by itself - major sudden changes are the real problem.

heaters fail all the time - i lost two recently - one said it was on but wasn't - the fish where at 62 for a few days - no losses, they just went quiet - the other spare heater started to give off bubbles (as it slowly filled with water).

Just as common are heaters sticking on - that's when it gets fatal

just touch the front of the glass ocassionaly, it'll tell you if things are ok in there
 

charleigh

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Jan 20, 2005
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#10
Sorry to hear about your barb loss, hopefully you won't lose anything else.... Both my tank and my roommates tank did the same thing at the same time 4 days ago, where we both noticed our tanks soared to over 90 degrees each. We ended up to doing a 2 gallon water change every hour with cold water until we brought it back down to a norm temp.... Heaters sometimes malfunction like they said, but I ended up putting my spare heater in and running the "malfunctioned" heater in a another tank for 3 days and its working fine still... considering using it as the spare again. Hopefully you can bring your temp back down slowly and don't lose any more fish, keep us updated!
 

Jul 6, 2004
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#11
As far as I can tell, I haven't lost any fish other than the cherry barb last night. I was able to count all my fish except the loaches, because they are generally hiding during this time of day anyway.

The temperature dropped to about 80 overnight and is now about 78 (normal). I might go get a heater tonight. Do you think that the heater malfunction was just a one time event? If it might be, I could plug the heater back in for now, and watch my tank carefully. Then, I would be able to save some money by ordering a new heater online (because I would like a new one anyway. :) )

After this is over and done with, I need to start working on my blue-green algae problem. :p I should get a phosphate test kit..
 

Kuroshio

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Jan 29, 2005
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#12
Hey Salty fish, sorry to hear about barb, I have had a few heaters go postal on me before. Most of them did as yours did. I tried, on two occasions, to salvage the financial loss and reuse the heaters. Both of them worked for a while (few days to weeks) but did the same thing again. The financial loss wasn't worth the life loss. Sometimes it is safer to play it smart and break out the wallet. Good luck to you
 

Jul 6, 2004
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#14
My tank was starting to get sort of cold yesterday afternoon (towards 76) so I decided to give the heater a shot and plug it back in. I realized that before there was a thick sheet of algae covering the little light that turns on when the heater is heating the tank. So.. I cleaned off the algae and hoped for the best. I watched the temperature carefully until I went to bed. Today however, the tank started to get above 80 again :mad: so I unplugged the heater again. So much for ordering one online! :p oh well, it was worth a shot.