I was out of town for the week and left my tank behind. I had a friend look in on it after a few days to make sure it was doing okay in my absence. Well, the day before I was to return I got a call. My friend does not know much about saltwater so she just told me "I can't find the fish and the corals are turning white!" Of course there I was out of the area and could not do anything about it so I just told her to check the salinity and temp. Salinity was good but the temp was 95 F! Apparently my heater stuck. I told her to do a water change.
I returned the next day to assess the damage. All of my frogspawn, bubble coral, and torch coral were very much dead. My encrusted pagoda polyps had minor die off but is recovering well now. My green stars colony are completely gone...I think, I am not sure yet. There still seem to be the purple crust on the rock where the green stars used to be but I have not seen any reappear yet. I had some pink polyps that look REALLY bad, but it looks like some of them are coming back and the others are getting mushy and dying away. And all of my ricordia died as well.
The day I came home I returned with 4 new zoo frags that I got at my favorite fish store (something I was planning on doing before the die off happened.)
Its a 14 gallon biocube that had been up for about and year and a half with about 25 pounds of live rock and a deep sand bed. I tested my phosphates and nitrates and my phosphates were 0 (thanks to my phosban) and my nitrates were surprising only at 5.
I did a massive water change of 6 gallons, its almost a 100% water change because with all of the live rock in the tank, the tank only hold about 7 1/2 gallons of actual water. I threw out all of the dead LPS and scrubbed off all of the dying mushy zoas. After the water change i slowly acclimated my new frags. I added some fresh carbon to the back of the tank.
Everything seems to be doing pretty good right now. I have not retested my parameters yet though. All my new frags are doing great.
What I need to know is how to proceed now. Since my clown died in the disaster, I have no fish in the tank. I used to do a 1 gallon water change every 7 days. Since I have no fish at this time, do I still need to do the water changes? I am still going to do the one gallon per week for a while to keep the tank clean since there are still some polyps that my be dying off, but after that, how much do I need to change? I heard from someone that if you have no fish in a reef tank that you really never need to do any water changes. I do not plan on adding any fish to the tank for a few months, maybe not even untill next year.
Oh and can someone reccommend a reliable heater?