HELP Tank SOP to help your tank sitter?

Users who are viewing this thread

Been thinking about taking a month long vacation but as I’m sure many of you are aware only bad things tend to happen when we leave our tanks for extended period of times!!

Has anyone actually written a tank Standard Operating Procedure where they detail how the tank works, equipment and most importantly do X when tank alert Y alerts!

I only have two small tanks but nearly fully automated that runs with minimal effort except when things go south!

FFBE945C-5C2B-4673-8E46-E15D54F5ABD8.jpeg
 

Gentlefish

🇺🇦 Solidarity with Ukraine 🇺🇦
Location
Canada, Ontario
Country flag
I do love your idea. I have been trying to explain reefkeeping to my early adolescent kids for the last 10 years or so with my son having a nano myself and also tried to explain to my fishsitter. I left pages of notes if/then. It left me frustrated to say the least, and some things are hard to foresee.
Left my freshwater tank with a sitter. Explained, wrote… did not convey you need to replace evaporated water. Thank was a 1/3 full by the time I came back (3 months).
Had a power grid outage when away… send text to the kids to buy batteries to power power heads and charge them out of the house where the grid was not off.
I kind of feel when I talk tank my kids zonk right out.
 

Plankton

Well-known member
Thread starter
Location
Pleasanton, CA
Country flag
I do love your idea. I have been trying to explain reefkeeping to my early adolescent kids for the last 10 years or so with my son having a nano myself and also tried to explain to my fishsitter. I left pages of notes if/then. It left me frustrated to say the least, and some things are hard to foresee.
Left my freshwater tank with a sitter. Explained, wrote… did not convey you need to replace evaporated water. Thank was a 1/3 full by the time I came back (3 months).
Had a power grid outage when away… send text to the kids to buy batteries to power power heads and charge them out of the house where the grid was not off.
I kind of feel when I talk tank my kids zonk right out.
Yikes! I’ve trained my youngest (21 years old) and he can do basic maintenance but is not comfortable and not really interested in advanced support. I’m thinking if I can write up a SOP and work with LFS that my son could work with in the event of a major event like equipment failure / power outage
 

Pneumatic_Addict

New member
Country flag

Here’s a thread of my woes recently posted on R2R. About 4 pages worth of different recommendations.
 

Plankton

Well-known member
Thread starter
Location
Pleasanton, CA
Country flag

Here’s a thread of my woes recently posted on R2R. About 4 pages worth of different recommendations.
Im not worried about feeding fish but if/when equipment or power goes south and must be repaired, replaced or worked around. Eg just recently my trident on my 25G failed and had to create ticket with Neptune and send it in for service and default to salifert alk tests to make sure all is stable.
 

Pneumatic_Addict

New member
Country flag
Im not worried about feeding fish but if/when equipment or power goes south and must be repaired, replaced or worked around. Eg just recently my trident on my 25G failed and had to create ticket with Neptune and send it in for service and default to salifert alk tests to make sure all is stable.
Suggestions on the information you seek lies within. Gotta read past the first post.

Webcams, Apex, Monitors etc.
 

Plankton

Well-known member
Thread starter
Location
Pleasanton, CA
Country flag
Suggestions on the information you seek lies within. Gotta read past the first post.

Webcams, Apex, Monitors etc.
Already read four pages on R2R and most posts are related to feeding and again im not worried about feeding fish but how to handle and recover from equipment failure. Again my tank is 90+ automated with webcam, apex, manual monitors and manual backup testing kits procedures, etc
 

Plankton

Well-known member
Thread starter
Location
Pleasanton, CA
Country flag
Great idea if your going to be away. Likely not fun to write though.... Sounds like work.
Like you said work and most likely can’t address every possible negative outcome but given I’ve only had two minor tank crashes and both when I was on vacation worth the investment! LOL
 

Plankton

Well-known member
Thread starter
Location
Pleasanton, CA
Country flag
Well it worked.

To answer the question, yes, I've written SOP, but mostly due to feeding and brine shrimp than something else. They're a pain to write.

You could also consider hiring an LFS employee to take care of the tank(s) as well.
I’m very interested how other people have prepared for and dealt with issues as they vacationed - assuming tank owners have taken a vacation! My son has done a good job but when the power went out alarms started going off and emergency batteries kicked in my son said it was too stressful to be a tank sitter. I totally agree that a LFS employee is probably best but even so they will need a detailed orientation to our tank setups in particular any special equipment and what to do when this go wrong. Yes I know my CaRX output flow, effluent alk, CO2 bubble rate but what happens if this leak, clog, run out of CO2, dosing tube cracks etc etc etc. Definitely going to a crack at it as my wife said no sitter no vacation and I know I need something written down! LOL
 
Location
SF Bay Area
Country flag
I’m very interested how other people have prepared for and dealt with issues as they vacationed
I have someone who comes to feed and has a general idea of what to look for in the tank. They check that the 3 fish are in there and swimming, and will let me know if anything looks obviously dead.


I can monitor most things from my controller app and will make some adjustments to dosing remotely.

If the controller shuts off I have it on a WiFi power strip from a different company so I could power cycle the controller remotely. If that doesn’t work I can have my tank sitter check the tank and if needed we can video call for basic troubleshooting

If I had a major issue I have a friend from a local club who does aquarium maintenance and I’d call them and ask the tank sitter to let them into the house to address the issue

In summary, Best case scenario the sitter can just check on the fish when they feed and the rest can just run as normal. If something goes wrong I have a maintenance pro as backup.

I think it’s too hard to teach someone how to handle the edge cases. I’m away from the tank now and am running low on kalk, but I have 2 part connected to supplement and am just going to increase the 2 part dosing
 

Plankton

Well-known member
Thread starter
Location
Pleasanton, CA
Country flag
I have someone who comes to feed and has a general idea of what to look for in the tank. They check that the 3 fish are in there and swimming, and will let me know if anything looks obviously dead.


I can monitor most things from my controller app and will make some adjustments to dosing remotely.

If the controller shuts off I have it on a WiFi power strip from a different company so I could power cycle the controller remotely. If that doesn’t work I can have my tank sitter check the tank and if needed we can video call for basic troubleshooting

If I had a major issue I have a friend from a local club who does aquarium maintenance and I’d call them and ask the tank sitter to let them into the house to address the issue

In summary, Best case scenario the sitter can just check on the fish when they feed and the rest can just run as normal. If something goes wrong I have a maintenance pro as backup.

I think it’s too hard to teach someone how to handle the edge cases. I’m away from the tank now and am running low on kalk, but I have 2 part connected to supplement and am just going to increase the 2 part dosing
I love that you thought about and incorporated redundancy - internet access, layers of support including club friends and LFS staff!

I have full Neptune apex on both tanks, reef cam on main tank but not on sump (yet). I have battery backup for ecotech pumps, ups for each tank (only 15min run time) just for brown outs here in CA and two 100AH deep cycle batteries charged by solar cells for longer term outage then gas generator outside that could be hooked up for longer outage. I only have one internet source and thats xfinity but maybe I could rig a cell phone hotspot as emergency backup? Also working on spare parts storage locker so if something fails I can instruct or have LFS person swap out instead of debug/clean. Eg for ecotech wetsides, icecap gyre wet sides etc
3EB9D64B-CFAA-47C3-853E-B94104808AF9.jpeg
 
Location
SF Bay Area
Country flag
have full Neptune apex on both tanks
I only have one internet source and thats xfinity but maybe I could rig a cell phone hotspot as emergency backup?
Does the apex not continue to operate in an offline mode?

My thought for internet loss is that yes I’ll lose the monitoring, but the tank will stay on track. I have other connected devices I could use to see if the issue was with my controller vs an internet issue and if it was an internet issue it either should be resolved automatically or there’s nothing a tank sitter could do
 

Plankton

Well-known member
Thread starter
Location
Pleasanton, CA
Country flag
Does the apex not continue to operate in an offline mode?

My thought for internet loss is that yes I’ll lose the monitoring, but the tank will stay on track. I have other connected devices I could use to see if the issue was with my controller vs an internet issue and if it was an internet issue it either should be resolved automatically or there’s nothing a tank sitter could do
Right I guess both give local guest access to Apex Fusion app and/or access via display module?
 

Attachments

  • 861B00CC-AB14-4B64-8235-B3E16D3BF426.jpeg
    861B00CC-AB14-4B64-8235-B3E16D3BF426.jpeg
    150.6 KB · Views: 1

saf1

Well-known member
Country flag
Maybe to make the task of writing this start with the most critical and work backwards. This way it may not be so overwhelming. Me personally I would probably go something like:

  • Monitor, alarm, alert & notifications - what causes the action and who gets the notification. Add guest user, or user, and see if one can add multiple for redundancy. Test before flight of course
  • What actions to take based on notifications - is it network, or out of water, or water/wet, etc. Easy to create a sheet, add protector, and place on display while also on shared doc site (teams, google, etc)
  • Dosing - pre-stage containers with proper containers so all they have to do is swap. If not available then list instructions on what to fill. Another option is to just double or triple up container so it will stand on its own while you are away. Increase container size for wiggle room.
  • ATO - again preset with larger reservoir or document how to fill. I personally just go with a larger container for less risk.
  • AWC - similar to dosing and ATO can you increase water reserve and waste containers? Otherwise forgo while away. Less risk
  • Dry good inventory - do you have enough food frozen and dry? Do you have salt for emergency?

More difficult area
  • Power failure - what happens if AC or circuit fails. Document how to check as it will be needed above in monitor, alarm, etc.
  • Equipment failure - spare for hot swap, take skimmer offline to use pump, etc. Are your pumps the same such that you can move skimmer to return, etc? If not do you have one in a box and if so document how to swap.
  • Take failure - do you have straps / bands to try and temporary seal? Rubbermaid stock tanks for emergency storage?

Me - I like working back from can I send alert or notifications and what does that mean. How do they act. Document that and then go from there. Make sure you can share access so everyone gets it and their mother for safety. I do some checks before, meet to discuss and show the lay of the land. Then I freeze everything a month before leaving. No changes. This is the window I would enable notifications for all to work out that. But no changes to the system or equipment - nothing. Because change before leaving means in my opinion the risk is elevated and I don't want any mistakes :)

TL; DR - I don't have any SOP but I would start with monitors, alerts, and notifications. Then move to things that need resupply to see if I can increase storage so they don't have to do it. Then emergency procedures that are not covered by alert and notifications. Everything goes in a binder by the display and on shared document site.

Apologies I don't have anything :(
 

Plankton

Well-known member
Thread starter
Location
Pleasanton, CA
Country flag
Maybe to make the task of writing this start with the most critical and work backwards. This way it may not be so overwhelming. Me personally I would probably go something like:

  • Monitor, alarm, alert & notifications - what causes the action and who gets the notification. Add guest user, or user, and see if one can add multiple for redundancy. Test before flight of course
  • What actions to take based on notifications - is it network, or out of water, or water/wet, etc. Easy to create a sheet, add protector, and place on display while also on shared doc site (teams, google, etc)
  • Dosing - pre-stage containers with proper containers so all they have to do is swap. If not available then list instructions on what to fill. Another option is to just double or triple up container so it will stand on its own while you are away. Increase container size for wiggle room.
  • ATO - again preset with larger reservoir or document how to fill. I personally just go with a larger container for less risk.
  • AWC - similar to dosing and ATO can you increase water reserve and waste containers? Otherwise forgo while away. Less risk
  • Dry good inventory - do you have enough food frozen and dry? Do you have salt for emergency?

More difficult area
  • Power failure - what happens if AC or circuit fails. Document how to check as it will be needed above in monitor, alarm, etc.
  • Equipment failure - spare for hot swap, take skimmer offline to use pump, etc. Are your pumps the same such that you can move skimmer to return, etc? If not do you have one in a box and if so document how to swap.
  • Take failure - do you have straps / bands to try and temporary seal? Rubbermaid stock tanks for emergency storage?

Me - I like working back from can I send alert or notifications and what does that mean. How do they act. Document that and then go from there. Make sure you can share access so everyone gets it and their mother for safety. I do some checks before, meet to discuss and show the lay of the land. Then I freeze everything a month before leaving. No changes. This is the window I would enable notifications for all to work out that. But no changes to the system or equipment - nothing. Because change before leaving means in my opinion the risk is elevated and I don't want any mistakes :)

TL; DR - I don't have any SOP but I would start with monitors, alerts, and notifications. Then move to things that need resupply to see if I can increase storage so they don't have to do it. Then emergency procedures that are not covered by alert and notifications. Everything goes in a binder by the display and on shared document site.

Apologies I don't have anything :(
Thx saf1. Will take your template and start working on support doc for my main tank. I know each tank is unique like a snow flake but maybe others will find some commonality with their tanks.
 

Gentlefish

🇺🇦 Solidarity with Ukraine 🇺🇦
Location
Canada, Ontario
Country flag
Just a list of my encounters.(and solutions)
Electric grid failure. (Add power head/battery)
Apex loss of connectivity.(nope)
Trident alkalinity drift due to low reagent. (Remotely adjusted, was then 11 on Hanna, fill reagents)
Failure to feed ( low nitrates-Dino, add pellet feeder)
Failure to add water to freshwater tank.(find fishsitter with ears and brain)
Failure of ATO pump.(add mechanical system)
Waste full Trident .(use own brain)
Heater fail on on.(inkbird)
 

Plankton

Well-known member
Thread starter
Location
Pleasanton, CA
Country flag
Today woke up to alarm going off because tank was at 75 deg F where acceptable range is 77.5 - 78.0.

I keep backup BRS titanium 200W heater and have backup EB832 just in case so no issue right?

Luckily only my 3 year old heater failed and swapped it out with back up in a minute done. Procedure worked.

Now for the bad news. I noticed that the power bar port LED panel was off and looks like heater port wasn’t in yet logo light was a nice green. So my backup 832 that I have plugged in and running same program failed. Backup plan failed and created ticket with Neptune to have it serviced.

PS since I only had one backup heater I went to BRS cuz it’s Black Friday and found my favorite heater was on sale. It used to be $35 pre pandemic then priced jumped to $69.99 and now is $48.99 So bought two.
 

Attachments

  • 97697424-ACB6-4F8D-A12E-77C502385F71.jpeg
    97697424-ACB6-4F8D-A12E-77C502385F71.jpeg
    84.1 KB · Views: 3
  • 7FFCF544-1343-4138-90EB-A7FD92983D5A.jpeg
    7FFCF544-1343-4138-90EB-A7FD92983D5A.jpeg
    112.4 KB · Views: 3
  • 1DDBDAE8-B92D-4C23-ACF0-040F87D4CA29.jpeg
    1DDBDAE8-B92D-4C23-ACF0-040F87D4CA29.jpeg
    56.3 KB · Views: 4
Top