Power outages - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-20-2012, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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Power outages

What do you do?

I'm in New England. Lots of trees, and all the power lines are on poles with no plans of theme very getting buried.

In the 3 years I've been here there have been two power outages that last longer than a couple minutes. Once was nearly a full 24 hours, the other was about 10 or 12 hours.

I've thought of battery backups, but they only have a max run time of ~20 minutes. Heaters are not on all the time, but I would be surprised if I got more than 1 or 2 hours during winter.

Do most people use generators? That's ~$1000 to get a transfer switch installed. Can always pop the main breaker and just plug the generator into an outlet ... but that's highly against code.
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-20-2012, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geomancer View Post
What do you do?

I'm in New England. Lots of trees, and all the power lines are on poles with no plans of theme very getting buried.

In the 3 years I've been here there have been two power outages that last longer than a couple minutes. Once was nearly a full 24 hours, the other was about 10 or 12 hours.

I've thought of battery backups, but they only have a max run time of ~20 minutes. Heaters are not on all the time, but I would be surprised if I got more than 1 or 2 hours during winter.

Do most people use generators? That's ~$1000 to get a transfer switch installed. Can always pop the main breaker and just plug the generator into an outlet ... but that's highly against code.
You could also run an extension cord from the generator to the necessities. That is what we had to do with our tank when we had a power outage. Our friend who had piranhas had to donate hers because it would have died (we lost power for a week).

We powered the fridge, the fish tanks and some other stuff.
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post #3 of 13 Old 03-20-2012, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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I don't particularly like that idea because you have to leave a door or window open for all those cords. Not a problem in the summer, but in the winter it will get mighty cold fast.

I suppose I could stuff a block of rigid foam insulation in a window and soft foam around the wires to try and block air flow.
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-20-2012, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Geomancer View Post
I don't particularly like that idea because you have to leave a door or window open for all those cords. Not a problem in the summer, but in the winter it will get mighty cold fast.

I suppose I could stuff a block of rigid foam insulation in a window and soft foam around the wires to try and block air flow.
Yea this power outage happened in the middle of an ice storm so everything outside was frozen...trees were falling and all that good stuff. We put it through a widow because the door was tall and required more material to insulate.

In our current house we got a converter installed by our neighbor who is an electrician (no longer an issue). I would say that would be your best bet.
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-20-2012, 01:30 PM
I personally wouldn't worry. Only once you pass the 24 hour mark would I start to get concerned. Filters will be fine, heat loss will be an issue depending on tank size. You can wrap the tank in a blanket to help contain heat.

I've always just let my tanks sit and never worried about them. Sometimes I cycle new tank water through my canister manually just so it doesn't sit in there longer then 8 hours.

My parents house is in the woods so outages are not uncommon there, but they don't last longer then 12 hours usually. The house is on a private well so its a double whammy when we lose power we loose water pressure too.

.... I'm probably drunk.

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post #6 of 13 Old 03-20-2012, 03:17 PM
I hear and relate to your concern as I too live in the Northeast (CNY) and have an all electric house. I have the filter and one heater on a UPS, but expect no more than an hour or so from that. I do also have a battery powered air pump in reserve. However, If there's an extended outage in the winter, w/o heat, a blanket will not do much. I would need to pack up the fish in a 5g pail for a road trip to someplace warm and well lit.

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post #7 of 13 Old 03-20-2012, 03:45 PM
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Run a filter like the one in the video in my sig, just use a battery powered air pump, it will last for a long time.
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-20-2012, 04:34 PM
again filter isn't really an issue IMO. Its the heater which is much harder to run off a external supply as it has a large power draw. It depends alot on the tank size as a larger tank will hold heat much better then a small one.

I live in Wisconsin and it also gets cold here. I have had GBR in a 55gallon survive just fine during a 12 hour outage where room temps dropped to low 60's. I just toss sleeping bags over the bigger tanks.

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post #9 of 13 Old 03-20-2012, 06:29 PM
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I agree with not worrying too much about it then again most my tanks have sponge filters so I need not worry about the beneficial bacteria dying off to lack of food, just do what you can, blankets around tanks in cool weather and lids fully open during hot weather and just weather it out for a couple of days if need be. If you have an HOB or canister I would remove the biological filtration and move it to the tank so all your bacteria survives. At most I would invest in a battery operated air pump for the tanks with out sufficient live plants with access to sunlight.

Also if you use a generator and need to pull power cables through a window just use a towel or blanket in cold weather to seal the gap. And if you want to get more crazy add a layer of plastic wrap to prevent any air coming through. I'd be much more worried about the food in the fridge in warm weather then the fish.
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-23-2012, 09:14 AM
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If after my current living arrangement expires and I DONT have a house yet, I think my fish room, fridge, and furnace are going to get wired into a 2nd subpanel in my basement. In the event of a long term power failure I can tie the genny in to the 2nd panel and stay warm, but we only have a little genny. No well pump ;)

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