So one of the casualties (sort of) of the remodel is the fact I haven’t been able to reach my tank to do maintenance, or when I can, we’re decorated for Christmas, or I’m too tired. But a reactor (tube) of gfo (granulated ferric oxide) has been filtering water since October and has cleaned up the algae (gfo binds phosphate which is released by the rocks and fuels algae) in the tank. So on that level, it’s improved. But getting a little algae now and pretty sure the rocks are still leaching phosphate. Our makeup water is 0 tds, (total dissolved solids) so it’s got none.

A tub of water below provides freshwater to make up for evaporation; and the skimmer (a bubble chamber that produces froth that binds amino acids) cleans the water. And the gfo reactor is the third part of what goes on down in the basement sump that improves the tank water. Well—say I—we change out the gfo for fresh and that’s my deed for the day, while I run some more reverse-osmosis filtered water for the tank. So all is well. I rinse off the new gfo to be sure we’ve got the rusty dust off, I put everything back together, and—the water pressure blows the hose connector loose. A fountain of salt water is erupting. Right into the power strip. I make a move to stop it, I’m standing there with, yes, rubber soles, but wet—and zap! I got bit by electricity. Just as the GFI circuit blows (ground-fault-interrupt). GFI’s are a great idea around water. It could have been much nastier.

And I could have blown a pretty spendy skimmer, and the topoff monitor—but apparently (and to my great relief) the only damage was to the pump for the reactor. I popped the gfi button back in (now that it’s dried out down there) and everything works except that pump, which either had an impeller (fan blade that pushes water) break off or is just pretty limp.

Can’t believe that I didn’t double-check that hose before I turned the power on. You really wrestle with that reactor getting it reloaded and all the tubing and interior plates where they need to be, (you have to stick a pencil through one restriction plate to get it seated on a contrary tube, and if you don’t know that trick you can spend an hour swearing at it)—but at least it’s running at a trickle. In a few days, I’ll have a pump that pushes it as it should be. And a spare impeller in case I can repair this one.

Adventures in tank culture.