First Power Failure: Help Talk Me Off The Ledge!!

  • #1
Pretty much one year into the hobby, and I am sitting through my first power failure of more than a few minutes.
Don’t get me wrong, I live in a relatively new community in the burbs with a great electrical grid and power failures are generally rare, so I’m grateful for that.
We are about 2, maybe 2 1/2 hours in, and I think I’m doing pretty well. Tell me if I’m missing anything, or if my assumptions about timelines and red zones are off:
  • I have 3 tanks: 33gal, 10 gal and a 2.5 gal betta
  • To give u an idea of timing, 33 gal usually runs at 77F, now down to 75.2. Meh. Betta at 76 (down from 78). Also meh.
  • I have a minI inverter running off my car, so I’m powering filters on all 3 tanks for 15 mins on, 30 mins off. It’s only rated to 140 Watts, seems incapable of running even a 50w heater. But filters no prob.
  • All 3 tanks are wrapped in blankets to slow down heat loss.
  • Power company keeps pushing power-on eta back, currently 2 more hrs, but I expect that is optimistic, and may be only partial.
  • Indoor temp in house is about 20c or 68f. All windows are closed so I don’t think it will get too much lower than that.
At what temp do I need to start warming water back up? I have camp stoves etc, and plastic bottles to float.

  • #2
The trick is not to bring them back up to temp in a hurry.
Let them warm up as slowly as they cool down.
At 68f I think you will be fine personally.
Now talk you off the ledge ? IT IS NOT WINTER YET !

  • Thread Starter
  • #3
At least cell service is still up! LOL.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Update from power co: 11pm.
  • #5
I'd also whip the water with a whisk every 30 minutes to keep it aerated. Easy to do and will keep everything aerated when the filters aren't on.
  • #6
Oof. If the filters are off for too long, past 10-11ish, try and put the media directly in the tank and right before putting the media back in the filters (when the power comes back on) dump out whatever water was in there because it'll have weird nasties in it. But you do want to keep the BB on the inside sides of the filter wet for as long as possible.
I've had power go out for 6 hours and didn't do the filter thing, everything was fine, no major heat loss


  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thanks all for the tips!!
  • The 33 gal has a tidal 55, which, when running (as said above, 15 on, 30 off) is great at moving water across the surface.
  • The betta tank, well, has a betta, so I’m less worried about O2 there.
  • The 10 gal has a sponge filter, so when running it’s getting its bubble on.
You guys think that’s enough to keep O2 tolerable?
  • #8
Lol if I stuck a whisk in my tank my fish would all try to swim inside
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
  • #10
If power is still out when you go to sleep move bio into tank like Rtessy said ,then no worries .


  • #11
My power went out yesterday night around 11pm and was out until 4:22am when it came back on. (I only know this because my cat was messing with my phone again and woke me up.) I did nothing for aeration as they were in the dark and all my tanks are heavily planted. Across a dozen tanks no one passed due to the power outage.
Breathe is the biggest thing, they can handle more than you think (I mean how many stories of fish in too small or too crowded of a tank for years before anything changes, with this fish being alive and well at the end of that time?). I would keep the media wet but only worry about aeration rather than turning filters on and off (whisk, blow bubbles, there are several thing you can do to break the surface). A slow drop in temp won't hurt them, you just have to raise it slowly once power is back on.
  • #12
One of my last big power outages in my 75 gallow with blood parrot and angels was out for close to 10 hrs, never missed a beat, power came on, filters kicked in and heated tanks back to temp. Get some rest, light some candles and enjoy the time being 'unplugged'
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
I gotta say I really appreciate the "hand-holding" you guys are providing.
Since turning the car on and off a couple times/hour (to get the filters running on all 3 tanks) is a fair bit easier (for me) than 5 mins of making fish-omelette, I'll keep that up until 11 or so.
I probly wouln't sleep anyways if I went to bed now, so, meh.
As for keeping media wet, I keep fairly high waterlines, so even when filters are not running the water level in them keeps the media moist. If the worst happens and we hit 11-12 with no power, and I have to crash, I'll drop the media in the tanks, as y'all have kindly advised.
Thanks again for all the reassurances!
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
So. It’s the morning after.
Power returned at 1130. I was still up, and had just decided the next filter-on cycle would be the last, before retiring.
At that time, our power co was conservatively promising power on by 130am, and I thought I had more to go (more time without heat/air/filtration after going to bed). So I was pleasantly surprised when the fridge gave a click and a hum.
Went about 6-7 hrs total. Temp in 33 gal had dipped to high 73s, from norm of 77. No therm in 10g, but the 2.5g betta tank was only around 74, down from 78.
As luck would have it, due to timing of power fail onset, I was able to elect to not feed any of the tanks last night, so that helped to keep water clean with less filtration.
Also as luck would have it, the house was very warm in the late afternoon (despite cooler temps outside) because we had just used the self-clean on the oven, so ambient was favourable, and I just closed windows to keep it all in.
This am, all creatures seem happy and behaving normally, would never know there had been any disturbance.
Thanks again, dear readers, for comfort and wisdom!!
Hopefully I can return the favour one day, and/or pay it forward.
  • #15
the pleasent sound of power kicking on and everything restarting.. lol, that moment for us was like 2:30 am and we were like "ahhh... the air conditioning is back on"
Lacey D
  • #16
Glad you got power back!
An idea for next time is to get a couple of these to keep on hand: or a similar brand. That way you can keep the sponge and maybe an airline running.

I know your main concern was heat, but all of these fish come from environments where it is expected to dip in the evenings and raise throughout the day. As long as it does it slowly and doesn't drop below the lower 60's, most tropical fish are fine. You did perfectly wrapping them in blankets. Glad you got through it alright!

Similar Aquarium Threads

Nikki Tognetti


Top Bottom