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Living through Power Outage




Power outages due to storm and hurricane can happen anywhere. While most people will have only air-conditioners and refrigerators to worry about, an aquarist will have an extra problem to tackle; making the aquarium survive. If the power outage is scheduled for a few hours, it will hardly make a difference, but those 3 days or more without electricity can be a real mess for an aquarist especially if you were not expecting one. For fish only aquariums, power outages are lesser painful unless you have a large livestock. Some insulation to keep the temperature steady and some aeration methods will do the work. For reef tanks, the situation is even more challenging as corals need more of water movement, a steady temperature and some source of good lighting if power outage is suppose to be prolonged. If you do nothing other than worrying and biting nails, soon your precious tank will turn into a grave with died fishes that will in turn release toxins that are likely to poison the whole tank killing every other creature including corals. You never know when such an emergency might come up. It is best if you can keep equipments that will be needed in such a misfortune.

• Battery operated air pumps

Weather it is fish only aquarium or a reef tank, you will need to supply oxygen to the tank. Both fishes and corals will die in if there is lack of oxygen. A battery operated air pump is just the thing you need at this time. It will see to the oxygen supply in the tank while also maintain a descent air water movement. Remember to keep in extra batteries or better yet will be the ones that come with rechargeable batteries. It won’t be wrong to say that every reef keeper must have at least one battery operated air pump (more if your tank is larger than 50 gallons). Marina Battery-Operated Air Pump are the most reliable and affordable ones.

Hush Bubble 3V Aeration Pump is also a good battery operated air pump that can aerate tanks for more than 36 hours and are quieter than other air pumps.

• Uninterruptible Power Supplies

You can use the USB used for computers and other devices for keeping the tank aerated and lit for some hours. They can be connected to tank equipments to run pumps, heaters, filters and lights for few hours in alternatively. As it is a very common item used in most homes for preventing data loss in computers during power outage, it can easily be available at an emergency when your tank needs them. The best way during long term power outage is use USB for periodically running each of the equipments in tank. Even if you don’t own one you can get them in easily from a local hardware store.

• Generators

If you already own generators to supply power to appliances at home during power outages, you can use them for running aquarium equipments too. A small sized generator can easily keep your tank aerated and heated for a prolonged period. You can also run the lights of your reef tank using a generator. If you are using a gasoline generator, keep the generator outside where gases cannot be trapped from its combustion. Their drawback is that they are expensive to use especially with rise in gas and fuel prices and won’t sustain a larger tank for too long.

Apart from this Automobile power inverter, Portable power supply and Solar Trickle Charger can also be used to run the equipments and provide the much needed requisites to the fishes and corals.

Other tips

1.Keep the equipments, filters and water as clean as possible. There are chances of more water build up and you can tackle that by performing large water changes of the same ph and salinity.

2.Stop feeding the fishes or lessen on their dietary amount. Most aquatic animals can sustain without food for days without showing adverse effect on health. This will keep the tank free of wastes.

3.Insulate the tank for temperature drop downs. If temperature goes low, they are more of a threat than any other supplies.
Use blankets to wrap the tank to keep water temperature from falling down.

4.If you cannot get a battery operated air pump, you can use a pitcher to scoop up water and dump it back into the aquarium creating some minor flow and gas exchange. If not much, it is far better than nothing.

Once power comes back, you must not leave aside your tank and go for a sound sleep. Do water change and thoroughly clean the filters and check for stresses fishes and if some need to be quarantined. Feed them since the drought has ended. If all goes well congratulate yourself for the good work, you can doze off setting aside your healthy tank.