At about 8 am we had a power out. Glitched the whole house. I went downstairs to administer more buffer and do a water test—and the sump had more water in it than it should—and the "down’ hose wasn’t pouring any more water into the sump—thank goodness. I started investigating and discovered the 300.00 Iwaki 100 pump, though running, had seized up and decoupled its impeller. All of which was to say—those pumps don’t grow on trees and can’t even be replaced without a 4 week delay. And a tank can die in hours without the pump going. I got myself together and went to the fish store in fond hope they had one in stock: no, no such luck. They did sell me a Mag 18, which should be able to push the water upstairs. I brought it home, took things apart, put it on (imagine lots of salt water and crud and plumbing fittings and wrenches and pliers and swearing while working in cramped spaces) and it didn’t work 5 minutes before IT quit. At this point Jane got into the act and pointed out the hose could be clogged. Well, the only thing going to push a clog out of the hose would be, yes, a running Iwaki 100. So we drained the whole sump, overturning its sandbed: (imagine 30 gallons of water that looks like the muddiest stinkiest creek you’ve ever fallen in now in a 32 gallon trashcan, while I now hand-scoop the nastiest smelliest sand and rock you can imagine out of the sump into a bucket, incidentally killing off innocent micro-crabs and the like and swearing the while: no way to save them. The whole system can die.) We have now lightened the acrylic sump enough that we can lift it at an angle so Jane can unscrew the Iwaki, which has its nose threaded through a bulkhead into the sump. Freeing the pump, we then attack it with screwdriver and extract the impeller box, but can’t get at the impeller. A phone call to the fish store proves, yes, just tap it, it should come apart. Well, it did. The impeller assembly inside—remember that brown gunk I was complaining about?—had electrostatically fused itself as pure calcium carbonate gunk to the surfaces of the impeller, and clogged all our hoses like hardening of the arteries. ThAT’s why the pump quit. So we look for a way to clean 15 feet of hose that is threaded through our living room floor. Did I mention I also found a snail blocking the impeller? The final insult that had stopped the system...so we remove snail. Jane brilliantly finds some ribbed black hose just large enough to fit into the other hose and is using it like a bottle-brush, cleaning out gunk you wouldn’t believe. I am using 2 gallons of vinegar to clean the pump guts. We work a long time at this. The clock which had read 0:00 since the power-out read 9:25 by the time we put the whole thing back together and turned it on. No joy. One final set of pipes connected to the tank itself. We disassembled those—which were actually clean—and found one lousy pointed snail shell serving as a perfect stop-valve to the T-joint where the two outlets reach the tank. We removed the snail and tried again. We were soaked in nasty water, the tank was completely cloudy with gunk (I completely despair of the frogspawn) and we headed out to eat...I wasn’t fixing dinner with those hands, no.