Okay, obviously I have power back now that I'm posting this, but I just wanted to share with everyone what I did in the case of a power outage of un-known duration.
Okay, so yesterday morning I woke up at 8am and the power was out! I live in Detroit, so the temperature was a balmy 30 degrees Fahrenheit. I found out from a neighbor that the power left at about 5am. So it had already been 3 hours. My main concerns were my display tank, which is a 29 gallon reef and my 10 gallon quarantine. Both of them I keep at 80 degrees. at 8am the room temp was 69 degrees, which wasn't too bad, and the water temperature was 78 degrees.
On both tanks I had covers. The display has a partial glass covering, and I put a piece of scrap acrylic over the water and I put about 3 large towels over the top (the acrylic so the towels wouldn't soak up water). Then I taped a layer of large-cell bubble wrap around the tank to further insulate it. I read somewhere that the water oxygen level decreases rapidly, so to counter this I went to petsmart and bought a penn-plax battery backup air pump. I hooked up one of those to my display tank.
Now by 10am the room temp had dropped to 63 degrees and the water temp to 76 degrees. I decided I needed to start a rotation of hot water bags (the gas hot water heater still worked). I used the hottest water the tap could produce and filled a 1 gallon bag about 1/2 way. Replacing the hot water bags every 2 hours I was able to maintain a water temperature of 77 degrees in both tanks (it seems the heat loss was actually similar with both the 29 gallon and the 10 gallon).
In conclusion, our power outage lasted about 16 hours, and doing this I lost no livestock and everything was okay. I have, however, gained the desire to set up an emergency backup procedure. The scary thing is that we were scheduled to leave for vacation that morning, and had the power outage waited just a few more hours I would probably have lost everything. Also, It would suck to have to do this for days on end if the power went out for say, a week. My FW tank did drop to 63 degrees, but they are lake fish so I normally keep the temp about 70.
What I would like input on is this: What are your emergency power plans?
I have thought about setting up a power inverter, but I don't know how feasible this would be with high-draw heaters and/or lights. If someone knows of a good setup, please post it!
The hot water bags was a great idea! I had never thought about that. Thanks for sharing the info. I have some back up air pumps, mine are so loud they gave me a headache when I had to use them. Was the penn-plax quiet? I may need to upgrade.
Yes, I'll say that the hot water bag idea was a good one! Much better than dumping hot water in a tank which I know you should never do. If I ever have a power outage I plan on using my 3,000 watt generator. The neighbors will hate me but they'll just have to deal with it... :shock:
i really never have to worry about power outages. it rarely happens to me and if it does its for about an hour so its really not a big deal anyways reading your post i thought of an idea.
what about hand warmers in a ziplock bag put into the tank? similiar to the hot water bag idea but i think the hand warmers will get hotter right? i havnt personally tried this but i think it could work
Whoa...another great idea. Hand warmers will stay hotter longer too, don't you think? To say nothing about the fact that if your power goes out completely and you can't heat up hot water. Good idea.
The hot water bags obviously worked for the 29 gal., but what about larger tanks? I have a 75 gal. tank, and plan on getting a chargeable back up battery pack, with an output of about 100 Amps. This way I can run my pump, and heater for up to 8 hours. These power packs stay permanantly charged from household current and "kick-on" the moment the power is interrupted. They can be purchased for around $150-$200. A small price to pay to safeguard your system!
You can also buy heat packs that they use for shipping fish.
larger tanks or larger water mass takes longer to cool down but the same goes for it taking longer to heat up
Last week we experienced a 48 hour outage with temps outside in the 10-15 range. Here's a look at the steps we took.
a 1000 watt generator was run outside to power the return pumps and heaters in both the 55g and 75g tanks.
a second 1000 watt generator was run to power a small electric space heater.
heavy curtains were used to block off a 3 room section of the house (kitchen, den, dining room) which became the living quarters for the family throughout the outage.
water boiled on the gas stove aided in both adding heat and humidifying the area. The added humidity not only help us from getting sick, but reduced the evaporation rate of the tanks wich also served to reduce the cooling of the tanks.
At the onset of the outage, before the generators were started, both tanks dropped from 80 to 70. once implemented, water temps remained in the area of 70. temps in the house dropped to as low as 52. Losses were minimal if at all (i didnt notice anything missing) but since the outage came about a week after our big move, it did help to fuel a large hair algae outbreak.
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