Help needed with possible power outage!

mlinden84
  • #1
We are expecting a pretty bad winter storm tomorrow... snow first then an expected 1/2 inch of ICE or more. Last winter we only got 1/4 inch of ice in a storm, and lost power for 2 days (luckily this was before I had fish).

Is there anything I can do to prepare for the power going out? (could be as soon as 9 am saturday morning).
I've stocked up on food for us, and feel we are prepared for the power outage, but what can I do for my fish? I do not have battery powered air pumps for the tanks, nor do I have time or a place to get them from on such short notice.

What I am mostly worried about is heat for them. I plan on turning up the heat tonight to make sure the house is nice and warm so when we do lose power it will stay warmer for longer, but other than that I don't know what to do. We don't have a fireplace, or a gas stove (so nothing to heat water with short of heating some over a fire outside)
It's pretty much not a "what if" it happens, but "when" it happens....

Any advice will GREATLY be appreciated!
 
Chief_waterchanger
  • #2
I would suggest wrapping the tanks in THICK THICK THICK layers of blankets. If nothing else hug against the tank for a couple of hours... I'm being serious. Your body heat will assist the blankets with warmth.

I'm guessing you do not have a generator,

If you have a porch or balcony you could heat water over a fire in a metal trashcan. BUT YOU MUST use a BRAND NEW pot for that, dish detergants will not wash completely off with just water.

MAKE SURE NOT TO USE KEROSENE HEATERS, the fumes will KILL your fish.

Your only option is to warm water over a fire and add it slowly to the tanks doing maybe 5% waterchanges with the warm water every hour, and inbetween waterchanges keep the tanks wrapped heavily with blankets and if you can do so lean against them gently. (I am laughing at the mental , but it seriously would help. )
 
Dino
  • #3
Once the power does go out, take the hoods off and seal the tops with plastic wrap.
More heat is lost though the water/air interface than through the glass.
Still, surrounding the tanks with blankets will help.

Best of luck!!
 
Chief_waterchanger
  • #4
I would save up and invest in a generator. We have one in the fishhouse ready for just this kind of situation, but up north where it gets really cold I wouldn't live without a generator.
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
We do have a firepit outside that we can have a fire in to heat water if necessary. I was thinking about adding hot water to big ziplock bags and then floating them in the tanks.

If I wrap the tanks with plastic wrap at the top, do I need to leave a hole for them to get oxygen?

My parents have a generator, so we usually just head out there if we lose power (if its not safe to drive they have snowmobiles and 4wheelers to get us there safely). It's just not feasible to take all the fish. We could take Betta and his 5 gallon, but there is no way we could take all of them and have a place for them at my parents house.

I will round up the blankets this evening and get ready to wrap them around the tanks.

Would it help to do a water change this evening so they have the cleanest possible water? (as I won't be able to add any new water (except freezing cold) to the tanks until we get power back.)
 
Chief_waterchanger
  • #6
No need for the hole in the plastic wrap, there should be plenty of oxygen in the water. (It is not a perfect seal, there will be air exchange, so the hole will only increase heat loss.)

When was your last waterchange?


The floating baggy idea is a good one. I keep forgetting not everyone is on well water, so it is not feasible for those not on well-water to add water straight from the fire. (Boiling would get rid of Chlorine, but not sure if it would rid the water of chloroamine)
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
No need for the hole in the plastic wrap, there should be plenty of oxygen in the water. (It is not a perfect seal, there will be air exchange, so the hole will only increase heat loss.)

When was your last waterchange?


The floating baggy idea is a good one. I keep forgetting not everyone is on well water, so it is not feasible for those not on well-water to add water straight from the fire. (Boiling would get rid of Chlorine, but not sure if it would rid the water of chloroamine)

My last water change was a week ago (I usually do a 10-20% water change weekly).

I was planning on boiling the water, adding to a ziplock, and adding a drop of Prime water conditioner in case the bag should leak. Should I add HOT water to the bags then put them in the tank, or just warm (say warmer than the tanks, maybe 90-100 degrees). If it was boiling water, would it create too much of a temp shock?

Thank you for your help! I want to be as prepared as possible for this event. The news is now saying up to 1 inch of ice is expected with high winds (not good for power lines!)
 
Dino
  • #8
Place water that is 10-20F degrees warmer than the tank water.
 
Chief_waterchanger
  • #9
Incase anyone else reads this and thinks of the boiling water in a baggy idea and doesn't think it through first, boiling water will melt plastic baggies, please do not burn yourself by putting water directly into the baggies, let it cool down some if you boil it first.

Very smart to treat the baggy water just in case.
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Incase anyone else reads this and thinks of the boiling water in a baggy idea and doesn't think it through first, boiling water will melt plastic baggies, please do not burn yourself by putting water directly into the baggies, let it cool down some if you boil it first.

Very smart to treat the baggy water just in case.



Hehe yeah good point. I thought of that after I posted.

I've got yet another question. Would it be a good idea to take the filter media out and float it in the tank once the power goes out to save what bacteria I can?
 
Dino
  • #11
What type of media are you using?
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
All the tanks have hang on back filters (whisper brand and pengiun biowheel)
So it would be like the "sponge" part of the whispers and the biowheels.
 
Dino
  • #13
Floating the sponges and wheels would be a good idea.
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
ok! Thank you so much for your help!
 
Dino
  • #15
No problem.
I went thru a 3 day power outage back in 91.
Between myself and my parents, we kept warming water on the gas stove and replacing water in the tanks.
I had 12 tanks at the time and we only lost 1 fish.
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
No problem.
I went thru a 3 day power outage back in 91.
Between myself and my parents, we kept warming water on the gas stove and replacing water in the tanks.
I had 12 tanks at the time and we only lost 1 fish.
\

Wow that's encouraging! I wish I had a gas stove, mine's electric, so it looks like we will have to take turns going outside to heat water over the firepit.

We usually don't get ice here, last years storm was the first major ice storm in 23 years.... and here we are looking at another one less than a year later!! I'm really hoping the storm goes south a bit, and that we end up with all snow instead... but I want to be prepared for anything!
 
Dino
  • #17
I hope it misses you as well.
 
Chief_waterchanger
  • #18
Oh Another idea!!

May not help you on such short notice, but:

Wal-mart carries, in the sporting good department, portable propane cookers. They are like 2 burners on a 2-3 inch thick base with a metal pipe off one side that you screw on a propane tank (small little propane tank the size of a 2 liter bottle minus the skinny portion at the top). I think they are only like 20-40 dollars, and they last a while.

Our betta in the house is only 1 room away from our gas stove, so propane fumes should not harm your fish.


We will wish your fish the best, and hope the storm misses you. (I wonder how many people south of you are hoping it goes north of them.. lol)
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Oh Another idea!!

May not help you on such short notice, but:

Wal-mart carries, in the sporting good department, portable propane cookers. They are like 2 burners on a 2-3 inch thick base with a metal pipe off one side that you screw on a propane tank (small little propane tank the size of a 2 liter bottle minus the skinny portion at the top). I think they are only like 20-40 dollars, and they last a while.

Our betta in the house is only 1 room away from our gas stove, so propane fumes should not harm your fish.


We will wish your fish the best, and hope the storm misses you. (I wonder how many people south of you are hoping it goes north of them.. lol)


Isn't it not safe to run that kind of thing in the house/closed area? I thought the smoke (carbon monoxide) could kill you? Isn't that why they always say not to grill inside or even in a garage?


I am sure plenty of people are praying that the storm misses them.
It will be interesting to see what happens. I don't mind the snow (in fact I love it!) it's just the ice/no power/not knowing that's bothering me! I think we will be ok, as long as the power isn't off for more than a day or two.

I'm interested in how others are dealing with this storm. I think Denver is supposed to get hit pretty good with snow. Then it's headed straight to iowa and on to chicago. Maybe Dave will let me know how much they get there and what's going on = )
 
Chief_waterchanger
  • #20
You could crack a window near where you're doing it. Aren't electric dryers vented to the outside? Do it near there, or ontop of the dryer.

You are correct that the area needs to be well ventilated, but there are places in your home that are, or atleast should be, already ventilated.

But we can hope for the best, since this is a rare occurance for you all.
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
I don't know, I think I'd be a little scared to try it. I've got a 3 year old and I wouldn't want to risk it. We live in the downstairs of the house (its divided up into a duplex, we rent out the top half to pay the mortgage) So i'm not sure how much ventilation we have. I'll just make my boyfriend stand outside and heat the water for me (hes into fish too, so he understands!)
 
COBettaCouple
  • #22
I hope that the ice storm misses you or at the least that you'll have little to no time without power. sounds like you're going to be ready for it.
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
I hope that the ice storm misses you or at the least that you'll have little to no time without power. sounds like you're going to be ready for it.

You're supposed to start getting snow tonight, right? (I've been watching the weather religiously!) LoL you'll have to let me know how bad it is!
 
COBettaCouple
  • #24
actually, I think just the mountains will get snow.. 20% chance of freezing rain is about it for us here in the city.
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
actually, I think just the mountains will get snow.. 20% chance of freezing rain is about it for us here in the city.


So you could possibly be in the same boat I'm in. Good luck, hope the power stays on and that the weather isn't too nasty!
 
COBettaCouple
  • #26
Denver's so close to the foothills and has so much pollution that we don't get it too bad with ice or snow. Funny thing about power here is that we never lost it during the blizzard in 2003, but a couple days ago we lost it when there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

So you could possibly be in the same boat I'm in. Good luck, hope the power stays on and that the weather isn't too nasty!
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
So far so good...we're just getting the storm now.... some really big (and beautiful I might add) snowflakes.
I've decided to take my daughter out to my parents this morning before roads get too bad. (her and Grandma are going to make a gingerbread house). I don't mind driving on the snow and ice covered roads, but its so different when there is a child in the car (if only everyone who drove felt like this and drove safely). I'm sure anyone with kids can relate!
I hope anyone involved in this storm stays safe and warm!

Just a little update (if anyone cares):
I just got back from my parents house. They lost power at about 12. Luckily they have a newer house with a built in propane generator (goes on about 30 seconds after power goes off, and it powers the entire house) So they are all ok out there. So far here at home the power is still on (we live about 3 miles apart, but they have a different electric company).
We got about 1/4 inch of ice, then we have probably 3 inches of ice pellets. But so far so good, the power is still on and all the fish are ok!
 
COBettaCouple
  • #28
glad to hear the power is still on for you. hopefully it will stay that way. ;D
 
Dino
  • #29
Good to hear things are still ok for your fish.
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
Power was finally restored after about 30 hours. Unfortunately we did lose 1 fish, one of the yellow lab. cichlid babies (he was about 4 months old). The tanks ended up getting down to about 74, even with my hot water bag floats, but I thought that was pretty good considering it's 2 degrees outside (-15 with windchill).

I just wanted to thank everyone for giving me great tips and ideas for how to deal with this. Hopefully I won't have to deal with it again this summer (although we are supposed to be getting more snow/ice on weds!) Crazy Iowa weather!
 
Dino
  • #31
Sorry to hear about your loss.
Glad it was not worse.
 
MudHog
  • #32
Amazing pictures. Glad it all worked out and only one fish lost it's life.

May consider saving up some money for a small 5500 watt genetator or even one of them super quiet 1000 or 2000 watt honda generators.

Honda EU1000i:


Coleman 5000w:


You can see the difference in price, but the Honda is so quiet you can literally sleep next to it.
 
paswed
  • #33
I really like the pictures of the snow and I am gald the fish are ok wish we had some snow here in Kentucky
 
COBettaCouple
  • #34
Glad to have you back and to hear that the tanks did well. :'( sorry to hear that you lost 1 young cichlid, but it sounds like you did really well given a 30 hour power loss in such cold weather.
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #35
I'm glad to be back. I was lost without power! I had my mp3 player, other than that it was super boring... I ended up doing a ton of studying for finals next week!
It's still really icy here. Everything melted off the trees, then refroze (and its not going to get above freezing in at least the next week). The community college that I go to even closed... which it never seems to do! We're expected to get 4-7 inches of snow this afternoon, and another 3-5 on thursday. But the snow is much easier to deal with than the ice. At this rate we may have a white Christmas after all!
 
COBettaCouple
  • #36
In 2004, after one of the hurricanes blew through we went 6 days without power and yea, it's boring city! (plus super hot & muggy) I don't know what we would have done if we'd had fish then.
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #37
In 2004, after one of the hurricanes blew through we went 6 days without power and yea, it's boring city! (plus super hot & muggy) I don't know what we would have done if we'd had fish then.

I can't imagine. It's not like you could just keep the tanks cool with ice, I'm sure that was scarce. It's a good thing you didn't have fish yet! I'll take snow/ice storms over a hurricane any day.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #38
yea, I imagine anyone without generators in the county lost their fish.

I can't imagine. It's not like you could just keep the tanks cool with ice, I'm sure that was scarce. It's a good thing you didn't have fish yet! I'll take snow/ice storms over a hurricane any day.
 
Taylor1430
  • #39
Has anyone ever tried using something like a computer UPS? They are only good for a couple of hours but I was wondering if it could be used as a backup as a tank begins to cool too much. When it starts to get dangerously cold, I wonder if there is enough juice to warm things back up a little bit.

I live in an apartment and generators here are out of the question.
 
mlinden84
  • Thread Starter
  • #40
Has anyone ever tried using something like a computer UPS? They are only good for a couple of hours but I was wondering if it could be used as a backup as a tank begins to cool too much. When it starts to get dangerously cold, I wonder if there is enough juice to warm things back up a little bit.

I live in an apartment and generators here are out of the question.

I'm not sure I know what that is....
 

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