Emergency Preparedness: How to Keep Your Aquarium Inhabitants Alive During a Power Outage
Thorough planning and using quality equipment can prevent many hardships and avoid a lot of headaches when caring for a reef aquarium.
Regardless of how much you spend on your equipment or how much you plan ahead there is one thing that can crash an aquarium quicker than anything and that is losing electricity that powers your tank.
With winter fast approaching and severe weather on the horizon, power loss is bound to happen. Today we are going to show you how to keep your fish and coral alive during a power outage and provide you with some helpful tips to reduce the worry and stress caused by losing electricity to you aquarium.
Electricity powers all of the equipment that keeps your aquarium alive and well. Without electricity your water pumps stop pumping water deeming your filtration useless. More importantly is the lack of water flow also prevents proper gas exchange which results in insufficient dissolved oxygen levels for the animals in your aquarium. Therefore, keeping water moving inside your tank is the most important issue to address in the event of a power failure.
|EcoTech Marine Battery Backup|
The best way to get water moving is a high-quality powerhead like the EcoTech Marine VorTech, Tunze Stream Pumps or Maxspect Gyre. When connected to the appropriate battery back-up these pumps can run at a reduced speed for up to 48 hours or even longer, solely off the power supplied by the battery back-up.
|IceCap Battery Backup|
The IceCap battery back-up works perfectly with the Maxspect Gyre pumps and most other 12-24 volt DC water pump such as an AquaMedic EcoDrift or Tunze Controllable Stream Pumps. It includes multiple plug adapters to make connection with various other pumps easy.
|Tunze Turbelle Safety Connector 6105.500|
A large car battery used with a small Tunze pump can last several days during a power outage. Another advantage is that the battery can be easily swapped out. If your main battery back-up is exhausted, you are able to replace it with another battery. Disposable battery used for electric lanterns are good options.
One really cool feature of these battery back-ups is that they will automatically kick-on in the event power is lost so even if you are not home, your animals will be safe.
|Azoo Battery Air Pump|
Another more economical option for aeration during a power outage is a battery-powered air pump with an air stone. As the air bubbles rise they will move water and in turn help oxygenate the water. They are extremely inexpensive at less than $8 each and most of them run on regular C or D cell batteries.
The downside to battery-powered air pumps is that you will probably need a few of them to provide enough aeration; especially in large tanks and most do not have the capability to automatically switch when power is lost.
|Photo Credit: Home Depot|
Finally, you can consider investing in a generator. It is an expensive but foolproof option. Whether it is a portable unit or automatic, a generator can supply enough power to run all of the crucial equipment on your tank and will continue to produce power for long periods of time when refueled properly.
A few other things to keep in mind; do not feed your fish during a power loss to help reduce your fishes metabolism and avoid excess nutrients in the water that consume oxygen. Your fish can live for 4-5 days without food. Cover the tank with a blanket to keep out ambient lighting and reduce temperature changes in the aquarium. If checking on your fish, do not make fast movements or disrupt the tank in any way as you really want to keep stress levels to a minimum.
|Photo courtesy of Eddie Zia|
Preparing your aquarium for a power outage is a great idea, especially for those of you with mature reef tanks housing a variety of delicate fish and corals. If you need help prepping your tank for the impending apocalypse, give us a call at 1-800-566-FISH or send us a message anytime for excellent support from our trained team of aquarium experts.
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