20 Gallon Tank Power Outages - How To Stop Fish Dying

Convictlover

What does everyone use to keep their tank heated and the filter running during an extended power outage? I already have a battery operated air pump but I need to buy a second one cause the one I currently have does a sad job.

We just had a power outage here and luckily it was only for 3 hours, but I realised I am really not prepared for one that lasts longer than a couple hours. Wrapping my tank in blankets is only going to keep the heat in for so long. So what do you recommend to keep the tank heated, filter running and air flowing?
 

BigManAquatics

Generator is probably the easiest way, though not necessarily do-able for everyone.

Most of my tanks are in my bedroom, as for some reason, that is always the warmest room in our house. I would maybe start running a sponge filter in addition to what you have if you don't already use sponge filters, so that way you have a cycled filter you can use a battery operated air pump and then filter and airflow would be taken care of at least for awhile.
 

GlennO

The air pump will be sufficient for oxygenation and the BB in your filter can survive for a very long time. The biggest issue in a cold climate is temperature. I don’t have a solution for that other than keeping the room as warm as possible.
 

Convictlover

Generator is probably the easiest way, though not necessarily do-able for everyone.

Most of my tanks are in my bedroom, as for some reason, that is always the warmest room in our house. I would maybe start running a sponge filter in addition to what you have if you don't already use sponge filters, so that way you have a cycled filter you can use a battery operated air pump and then filter and airflow would be taken care of at least for awhile.
Yeah a generator is not really doable for me because the tank is upstairs in an inclosed room.

I do like the idea of a sponge filter though that can act as air and filtration at the same time. I’m assuming it can run off a battery air pump? How big would the sponge filter need to be for a 65L tank?
The air pump will be sufficient for oxygenation and the BB in your filter can survive for a very long time. The biggest issue in a cold climate is temperature. I don’t have a solution for that other than keeping the room as warm as possible.
Only thing I’ve found for heat is either generator (which is not doable for me) or hand warmers and a thermal blanket. I read you can buy hand warmers and stick multiple ones to the side of the tank and it will heat the tank for a couple hours when the temp drops and then you put a thermal blanket (silver ones used for camping etc) over top.
 

BigManAquatics

Yeah a generator is not really doable for me because the tank is upstairs in an inclosed room.

I do like the idea of a sponge filter though that can act as air and filtration at the same time. I’m assuming it can run off a battery air pump? How big would the sponge filter need to be for a 65L tank?

Only thing I’ve found for heat is either generator (which is not doable for me) or hand warmers and a thermal blanket. I read you can buy hand warmers and stick multiple ones to the side of the tank and it will heat the tank for a couple hours when the temp drops and then you put a thermal blanket (silver ones used for camping etc) over top.
Sponge filter rated for 20-25 gal should do you OK for emergencies and act as a little extra filtration the rest of the time.
 

altermac

You can get small USB-airpumps from china or Aquarium coop. These pumps can be powered by a powerbank for days. Sometimes i use them with more than one sponge filter for longer in rooms were normal airpumps are too loud.

As long as you can keep your water above 15°C, even tropical fish do not have problems with the temperature. Stop feeding immediately, even for some days without power. For planted tanks, normal daylight should work. Light could be a problem, when there is no light for more than a week. Plants will consume Oxigen with no lights.
 

Marlene327

I worry about my HOB AC filters, especially if I'm not home when it happens. The water drains out of them, leaving the filter without water and I'm afraid bacteria would die off. If I were home and knew it was going to be awhile, I'd put tank water into a bucket and get the filter media into it.

Along with the HOB, I do have sponge filters in my tanks as well, and have several battery powered pumps tucked away to use on them. If the bacteria died in the HOBs, just MAYBE there's enough in the sponges and substrate, everything else in the tank to restore the cycle quickly.

I also save empty 1 gallon water jugs for this occasion. If power is out awhile, I'd be putting hot water into them and floating them in larger tanks. In the 10 gallon tanks, I'd use a regular sized water bottle or 2. We have a gas stove and can at least heat water to do that.
 

altermac

It is no problem when the Hob filter media dryes out. The bacteria will get more oxigen and will restart as long as there is still moisture in the filter media.

Canister filter will have more problems. After some time the bacteria can die when there is no fresh water flowing through the canister filter media.
 

TClare

We recently had a power cut for 15 hours. We do have a generator, but it was stored at the back of a shed, and as it was very dark when the power went off it was too difficult to get it out and running at that point. We set it up in the morning for the biggest tank, although the temperature had only dropped a couple of degrees C. I was more concerned about the filter. My smallest tank went down to about 20 degrees C, and I gradually added a little warm water to prevent it dropping further, the others dropped to about 22 degrees. I have polystyrene underneath and at the back of all the tanks to retain the heat as much as possible and save on electricity bills. This probably helped so that the temperature did not drop too rapidly. All the fish were fine afterwards, even the fry. Even the brine shrimps survived!!. However if the power had been off for longer we would have looked out some more extension cables and set up the generator with all the tanks - in fact we were just about to do this when the power came back on. Definitely a good idea to get a battery operated pump...
 

cosermann

Need to determine the electrical load you want to keep running, and then for how long. Then you can size a backup system.

In my case, I only run the an air pump and HOB filter on backup UPS, 7.5 watts total (about as much as an old school night light). My thinking is the temperature should be ok for any outage less than 8 hours (our home is insulated) so I don't have the heater on the UPS as it's by far the largest load in my setup.

It's on an APC UPS (BN675M1) which should run it for about 5 hr 45 min (in theory). This should cover most of our typical short term outages. Longer term and we'll have to crank up the generator.

None of this is really aquarium specific. Backup power is backup power. Lots of options. Lots of degrees of complexity from turnkey solutions to building your own custom backup. For small loads like mine, solar could extend thetime a fair bit, but I haven't messed with it yet (more complexity, more cost).
 

AndEEss

1) Get a filter with a below-water pump, like a Tidal or an Aqueon. That way, when power DOES come back on, the pump automatically restarts.

2) Get an sponge filter running off an air pump with a battery backup. Plenty of them on Amazon. Mine has actually been tested when our basement plumbing burst and we had to shut off the power for 12hrs a month or two ago. Worked flawlessly. Other than the lights going out a bit early for the night and the tank temperature dropping a degree or two, I don't think my fish had any clue that something was amiss.
 

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