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Power outage: How long is the filter safe

This is a discussion on Power outage: How long is the filter safe within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by 1077 Lost power for five days due to ice storm in midwest a few years back. Floated the biowheels in the ...

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Power outage: How long is the filter safe
Old 12-10-2009, 06:33 AM   #11
 
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Lost power for five days due to ice storm in midwest a few years back. Floated the biowheels in the tank but could not keep temps and lost all but a clown pleco from five tanks. Temperatures dropped to 50 degrees F despite placing camp lanterns under the tanks,floating bags of hot water (still had gas) in the tank,and placing propane heaters under the tanks. I couldn't run the lanterns and propane heaters for more than an hour or two at a time due to fumes that became dangerous without opening windows. Couldn't open windows due to frigid temps. I managed to keep most of them alive with battery operated aerators that I use in bait buckets but by the fourth day, nearly all fish had perished.
That's so sad :( It's one of my big fears about living in the Northeast. It would break my heart to lose my fish like that - especialy after trying everything possible to save them.

We're planning on moving this spring and are going to invest in a big generator when we do.

Crossing my fingers until then.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:02 AM   #12
 
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I've gone two days without power here in New Hampshire with no bad effects in my 65g. (well, other than the tank cooling off -- but that's a different problem.)

Last year during the big ice Storm I was without power for 9 days. I ran my tank off my portable generator for about 6 hours per day, and everything survived. I'm sure they were cold and unhappy, but they made it.

I think our fish and supporting critters are more robust than we give them credit for.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:15 AM   #13
 
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Prolly should have bought a generator but During the Ice Storm , You couldn't find a generator. People were stealing them from the porches of those who were running them. Others brought the generators indoors and at least one family lost their dogs and cats by leaving them inside with the generators running. It was a nightmare. Tree limbs and large 100 year old trees were snapping and falling across houses,electrical lines,and all city streets. Don't think I slept but a couple hours the entire week.
You would have thought that I would have purchased a generator after that expierience but as of yet, I have not (says sheepishly). Just can't afford it .
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:41 AM   #14
 
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Man y'all make me remember the 'good ole winters' back home in CO, that was some serious snow at time...but now we're in TN, only had snow 1's so far few days ago with max 1" so nothing really...Last year thou we still lived on the Mtn and caught the tail end of the ice storm that burried KY - Dang was that more tree damage then I ever seen....
We don't have a generator yet (Honestly I donno how bad power outages will get here or not) but have back up heat & water & gas cooker - so that part is at least safe, I have access to 2 generators so it we really where whipped out for few DAYS i'd get that brought in & started.

But I really guess from what I'm reading now, few hrs or even 1 day I'd not have to worry too much about my tanks, that's good news.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:02 AM   #15
 
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Prolly should have bought a generator but During the Ice Storm , You couldn't find a generator. People were stealing them from the porches of those who were running them. Others brought the generators indoors and at least one family lost their dogs and cats by leaving them inside with the generators running. It was a nightmare. Tree limbs and large 100 year old trees were snapping and falling across houses,electrical lines,and all city streets. Don't think I slept but a couple hours the entire week.
You would have thought that I would have purchased a generator after that expierience but as of yet, I have not (says sheepishly). Just can't afford it .
They are crazy expensive. We were looking at a used one (good size one) bc my boyfriend wants to take care of the humans in the house (whereas I only worry about the fish in the case of an outage). And the used prices is around $3,000.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:34 AM   #16
 
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There were a few articles in Aquarium magazines over the past months on this topic. One suggestion from them is to get one of the battery "generators" and just connect an air pump with airstones to circulate the water and maybe the heater. Throw a blanket over the tank to conserve heat. For a day or two this can work (so they say), but the battery will run out if it extends to several days.

In a prior thread here on undergravel filters this issue came up, and someone asked how long the bacteria will survive before they die (and pollute the tank) after the water stops flowing and bringing them oxygen. I went back through my articles and most say several hours. The recommendation is to disconnect the filter (whatever type it may be) so that when power is restored, you are not pumping the "dead water" into the aquarium. The filter can be rinsed and cleaned and reconnected. The bacteria in the tank will likely still be alive and sufficient. Hang-on-back filters that are exposed to air will likely have bacteria surviving to some extent. And as someone above mentioned, in a planted tank you are safer because the plants will begin consuming ammonia/ammonium immediately they have sufficient light and they are producing oxygen.

Byron.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:59 AM   #17
 
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They are crazy expensive. We were looking at a used one (good size one) bc my boyfriend wants to take care of the humans in the house (whereas I only worry about the fish in the case of an outage). And the used prices is around $3,000.
For a good sized USED generator?? Dang then they're much more expensive up north then here!!!!
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:02 AM   #18
 
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Good point B. I think if it gotten too cold in the tank despite the house having back up heat, I'd cut the insulation vapor barriers to sizes and rap my tanks in it (will prop only make some ~8 degrees diff maybe 10 but that can be diff between life & death for some fish needs).
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:15 AM   #19
 
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There were a few articles in Aquarium magazines over the past months on this topic. One suggestion from them is to get one of the battery "generators" and just connect an air pump with airstones to circulate the water and maybe the heater.
If you're talking about a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) like people use for computers, you'll never be able to run a heater off one - they will run airstones, of course.
I'm a computer systems manager, so UPS's are something I'm familiar with. A decent sized tank requires a 250-300W heater. That's a similar power requirement as a full size computer "server" . If you spend, say, a $1000 on a UPS, you'll get one that will run a system of 300W for 1 hour of runtime.
For that same $1000, you can buy a 5000-7000W portable gas generator that will run your aquarium nearly indefinitely -- as well as some lights, TV and your refrigerator -- maybe even your furnace and other bigger systems if you have it wired into your electrical system.

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Old 12-11-2009, 07:17 AM   #20
 
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For a good sized USED generator?? Dang then they're much more expensive up north then here!!!!

Sounds like that's a price for a "whole house" standby generator. As I posted above a gas-powered portable generator of reasonable size can be had for <$1000.
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