Prepare Your Aquarium For Power Outages

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Lucy, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Hi everyone. :)
    The weather is beginning to change it's time get prepared for those power outages that bring a fish keeper to panic.
    Of course outages can happen anytime of the year so it's great to always be prepared.

    There are several threads with great suggestions, but they're kind of spread out.
    I'd like us to compile suggestions for outages in one thread.

    (A good reason to use the search feature before asking a question)
    Here's one:
    What to do in a power outage?

    Our power went out last night. I wrapped my tanks with blankets to keep the heat in, luckily it wasn't too cold.

    Last winter, I wrapped my tanks with blankets and used those hand warmers that you shake to activate. I put them in a zip lock baggy and floated them in my tanks.

    *Edit: 8/18* Since then I have cut insulation foam board and tape them around my tanks.

    For aeration I have a couple of battery powered air pumps.
    Enough tubing an a couple of gang valves will serve several tanks.

    A battery operated air pump can be used with a sponge filter.

    From ctkevin108:
    From JRC3

    From Dave125g's thread
    Back Up Power During An Outage.
    Edit 11/2013:

    I have seen people suggest generators.
    It's important to know that it is dangerous to use gas generators in doors due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

    How have you and your fish survived power outages?
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  2. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Great Thread Lucy. I had to learn a lesson the hard way by losing 15 Discus during a 3 day power outage years ago. I have 2 generators now. I can light up this house like a Christmas Tree at any given moment! :;laughing I have so many candles I could heat my aquarium room for days on end with no other heat source. :)

    If you have the means a generator is the way to go.
  3. ABCDemily

    ABCDemilyWell Known MemberMember

    I'm really lucky when it comes to power cuts. We're hooked up to the same system that runs the countys only hospital, and if it's out, then it's normally for an hour max. Our heating isn't hooked up to the mains, we run off an oil tank, so normally the ambient temp of the rooms never drop below 73 on a super duper cold day.

    I'd advise those who aren't luckily 2 miles away from a massive hospital to always have some of the hand wamers as Lucy said. Also, battery powered anything.

    If the fpower's out for a long time, do a few water changes and stir the water around a bit to make sure it's not stagnating. I'd also hold back on feedings as there isn't a filter in use.

  4. Tony G.

    Tony G.Fishlore VIPMember

    My aquarium light is battery powered (it works when unplugged and charges when plugged) it causes my tank's temp to rise about 3 degrees which can be life saving.
  5. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  6. CHoffman

    CHoffmanFishlore VIPMember

    Our heat for our house is gas, as is our water heater. So i guess if need be I would be doing lots of wc with warm's a whole lot of work and I'm hoping I don't have to do it..My hubby is a Power lineman so hopefully I can sweet talk him into getting us back on asap. :). We also have a wood burning stove and a fireplace. This summer Walmart had 5 buckets with battery powered airpumps for fishing use on clearance for $7.00. I picked up two of them. Most of my tanks are in the fishroom which i can close off and turn our gas heater on in there and keep the temps just right. The only tank that isn't is my 120 and that is in my dining room right by my fireplace. :)..I've thought this through like a thousand times so hopefully I'm prepared. Great thread Lucy!!.
  7. iloveengl

    iloveenglWell Known MemberMember

    OH Thank you so much for this reminder Lucy and for all the helpful suggestions everyone. My power flashed off during a bad storm last night (we get some doozies in Iowa) and of course the first thing I started worrying about is what if that happened during the winter. :(

    Great advice! I'm going to Walmart today to get those hand warmer thingys. That sounds like the most economical option for us. Maybe this is a good excuse to go all the way to Petsmart for some battery-powered stuff.... ;D
  8. bolivianbaby

    bolivianbabyFishlore LegendMember

    Lucy, thanks for starting this thread and everyone, thanks for the great information and advice! This is definitely some information I will keep within easy access in case of emergencies. I'm also going to be putting the motion controlled hand warmers on my shopping list.
  9. Tavel

    TavelWell Known MemberMember

    my tanks are on battery back-ups. I have 6 hours of runtime (no lights, no heater)..and can easily add more by plugging in car batteries ;D
  10. OP

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Can you link to what you use?
  11. BassNFool

    BassNFoolNew MemberMember

    I have two inverters. I hook them to marine deep cycle batteries. I can use my everyday equipment with them. I have not had a power outage since I got my tank. I have, however, run my 32 inch TV all day during outages along with my DirectTV receiver.

  12. Betafish305ca

    Betafish305caValued MemberMember

    any ideas for what you should do for a bottomless fish tank???
  13. sirdarksol

    sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    I've never had a long-term power-outage, but it certainly is possible. Like Aquarist, I've got tons of candles. My in-laws also have a dozen of the rechargeable hand-warmers. All it takes is boiling water to get them to work again. If need be, I can borrow most of those.

    Is there a pump that continually keeps the water in the upper tank? If not, if it's just keeping filled by basic physics, then you don't have any more problems than a normal tank.
    However, if you've got a pump that's keeping the upper tank filled, make sure that there's enough room for the upper tank to empty into the base tank without spilling.
  14. Tigerfishy

    TigerfishyWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, this was a good thread. I had a power outage recently, and I wrapped 3-4 newspaper layers around my tanks (good insulator) with towels round that and this kept them warm for hours. It's good as a first defence anyway, I was surprised. Thakns for bumping this Lucy, I'm gonna favourite it cause our weather is set to get worse and I'm going home to order some stuff for prep since it went off a couple weeks ago too!
  15. Bucket289

    Bucket289New MemberMember

    I have a 10 gallon tank with 3 corys, 2 guppies, and 2 snails. Our power has been out about 3 days. I didn't really do too much for the fish because there were other pressing matters, but I did not feed them because I knew it would just make a mess with it being so cold. The electric company said that they wouldn't have it back on for another 2 or 3 days so I put about 2.5 gallons of the tank water into a 5 gallon bucket and moved the fish in that to my office. When I got there I hooked up the filter (it still had water standing in it so I am hoping the media is still ok) and the heater and filled the bucket up the rest of the way with treated water. Is there anything else that I should do? Thanks for your advice!
  16. OP

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Good thing you were able to take the fish to your office!
    Sounds like you're doing what you can. Keep an eye on your parameters just in case.
    Good luck, I hope your power is restored soon. :)
  17. bruiser

    bruiserValued MemberMember

    I agree with Ken. If you have the means a generator is by far the way to go.

    I have a 8000W industrial Diesel generator out back. Picked it up at an auction last year for $500.00. A quick tune up and it was good to go. Now its sitting out back on a cement pad, Hardwired into my main panel. Power goes out, I flip a switch on the panel, go fire the old girl up, and its like nothing even happened! (as long as I'm here when it

    But you could easily pick up a little gasser at Princess Auto or someplace for $100.00 or less that would be more than enough juice for the average fish keeper..
  18. TedsTank

    TedsTankWell Known MemberMember

    We use 100% wood stove during the winters. The oil prices forced me to!!
    A generator is on my list.
    Now, if we get an outage for any length of time, we close all the auxillary rooms, sleep in the living room and crank up the stove!!! far all tanks have survived a 2 day outage.
    Can heat water for the tanks if and even coffee....what outage?
  19. bruiser

    bruiserValued MemberMember

    If your looking for something big enough to run your house off of, Try to get to a repo/police or foreclosure auction. I found mine through a Drilling Company that went belly up.. The bank that loaned them all the money, seized and sold off everything. Same with police auctions.. I've seen a ton of generators go for next to nothing from narcotics busts..

    Total cost for me to be up and running was just shy of $1000.00. Which really isn't bad at all.. And maintenance is about 50.00 a year.. Oil change, fuel filters, the usual.. And diesels cheap if you can get ahold of dyed diesel.
  20. jcahow

    jcahowNew MemberMember

    Building Foam can be used in cold weather

    If you leave in a cold weather climate (it can get -30 degrees F here) I have found that instead of blankets you can get a 8' sheet of 1/2" thick insulating foam board from a local building supply for around $10 (alittle more if you go thicker). I had them cut it down the middle for free to make it easier to put in my vehicle.

    Then when you get home you can easily cut two 6' pieces for front and back and two smaller pieces for the ends of your tank. it is really light to carry and can be stored behind the tanks or in the garage. When the power goes out just place them around the tank and tape everything tight together and it really locks in the heat for quit some time. You can throw another piece over part of the tank top as well but make sure you leave space open so some oxygen can get in.

    I also read one thread where a Discuss owner had this foam on three side of his tank all the time to help keep his water temperature high and to keep heating cost down.

    I personally run multiple filter/heater combinations on my tanks and always have one set connected to a UPS which give me a couple of hours of runtime which covers all but extended outages. I also use Power/Backup pumps which run off normal power and then switch to battery backup when power drops. These can be connected to airstones or sponge filters and will run for many hours even after the UPS has run out of power.

    It takes quit awhile for your cycled bacteria to completely die so unless the outage is over 8 hours just try to keep the water temperature tolerable and the water circulating somewhat or at least agitated. Your bacteria will stay alive longer if you remove it from a canister and place it in the tank itself as it can get more oxygen there than in a non circulating canister.