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Pasfur 06-12-2009 08:25 PM

Preparing for a power outage... ideas?
I have a big concern with my 180 gallon FOWLR and 58 gallon reef. I live in a part of town that has frequent power outages during the storm season. We have huge trees in the area which almost always have broken limbs and down power lines during storms.

I've been trying to make plans to prepare for a power outage, and would like to be prepared for no power for up to 1 week. I'm looking for ideas, so throw them at me.

Does anyone know of a portable heater that operates off of a battery that can keep a small room warm during the winter months? I found this online.... Coleman 5053A751 ProCat Portable Catalytic Heater: Compare Prices, View Price History and Read Reviews at NexTag

What about air pumps? There are a lot of battery operated pumps in the aquarium hobby, but what about other applications? Are there cheaper air pumps in other industries that use batteries?

What about small fans that operate on a battery, to help cool the tank in the summer months?

Other ideas? Links?

IonBaller07 06-12-2009 08:46 PM

Wouldnt a small generator be easier?

Pasfur 06-12-2009 09:42 PM


Originally Posted by IonBaller07 (Post 204197)
Wouldnt a small generator be easier?

Would it? It takes a lot of wattage to run an aquarium. I would expect the generator to be rather expensive. Am I wrong?

Kellsindell 06-13-2009 07:02 AM

I know a guy that has a 1/2hp generator and he runs all his tank and computer with it. He has a 280g with a 100g sump/refugium, calc reactor, EuroReef Skimmer, 3 vortechs, a window unit and much more equip on it. When our power went out this past few days ago, he was online while his tank was going and power was out.

wake49 06-13-2009 07:35 AM

I have a battery backup on my tank, but its to account for a few hours of power outage. I strictly have the heater, pump and overflow air lifter plugged into the battery. Everything else is plugged directly into the wall, through a coralife timer. I think that a generator would be the most dependable piece of equipment to keep things running, as long as you were selective as to what was plugged into it. 1000 watt lights are going to drain the generator a lot faster than if you ran a smaller light setup during power outages. It would probably make the most sense to plug the UPS (scroll halfway down the page) into the generator so that if you are at work, or something unexpected comes up, you buy yourself a little more time, say the generator runs out of fuel.

onefish2fish 06-13-2009 09:25 AM

depending what corals your keeping i would say they would fine for 3 days without light. infact i know some people that simulate storms in their tanks and leave the light out from time to time for a day or two.
flow and temp. is the issue when power fails.
its a good idea to have a flashlight handy, food grade ziplock bags for ice or heat packs to float in the water if it gets to hot/cold, you can also wrap the tank in a blanket to help insulate it, bat. back ups are a good idea, vortech power heads are $$$$ but you can get a bat. back up for them so thats another option.
its really about knowing what to do when the time comes so it doesnt hit you by suprise. if there is a bad storm stores may be closed, and then what?

Pasfur 06-14-2009 07:04 AM


Originally Posted by wake49 (Post 204307)
I have a battery backup on my tank, but its to account for a few hours of power outage. I strictly have the heater, pump and overflow air lifter plugged into the battery.

This is an interesting option for a heater in the winter, which is my biggest concern. A fan will encourage evaporation for cooling, but there isn't much that can be done to keep the temperature up in the winter.

What brand battery backup do you have? Has it been needed?

wake49 06-17-2009 09:42 AM

It has only been needed to shut the power off to rewire the outlets in the same circuit. I am not sure of the name of the unit, but it has lasted about two hours, running the pump, heater and air lifter. For the heater alone, it should last a good amount of time. I had my MH lights plugged into for a while until I realized how fast they sucked the power out of the battery backup. I had cut the power one day with the two 250 MH's running along with the 2 65 PC's, and in minutes the battery backup had been depleted!

Now that I switched over to my 135, I am going to see if the battery lasts longer with strictly the two powerheads running, or strictly the pump running (either option of course with the heater plugged in).

Mark, what would you do to keep flow going in case of a power outage?

Pasfur 06-17-2009 06:30 PM

For water flow, I am planning to buy a high quality battery operated air pump. Throw a couple of air stones into the tank and you get more water movement than you would expect. You could even put an old fashioned undergravel uplift tube into the tank, just for the purpose of directing the water flow. (Not connected to a u/g plate of course)

A battery operated fan blowing across the surface of the water also creates a good amount of gas exchange and ripples the water surface well.

I may look at buying a batter operated air compressor, if there is such a thing. Anything to deliver large amounts of air... preferably enough to power several air stones and an internal protein skimmer (backup plan). I plan to pick up a Coralife Internal counter current protein skimmer, just as a backup in the event of an outage. I figure this entire setup will run me well over $2500 , so why not spend another $200 on emergency equipment, just in case?

onefish2fish 06-17-2009 09:26 PM

i dont think theres bat. air compressors but once you fill them they keep the air until it runs out ( which in turn will kick the compressor back on, refilling it )

i dont get what you mean by having a coralife skimmer. save your money.

having an emergency plan is a great thing. there was an article in one of the fishing mags about a guy who bumped his 150 ( or something like that ) and as he turned around to look at it, it sprung a leak. he didnt have enough containers for his livestock so he ran around the street to the hardware store picking up a few brute trash cans ( or some sort of trash can ) and rushed home to save as much water and livestock. he carefully chose what went into each bin and then rushed out to get a brand new reef ready 125. when he got home with the tank all of the live stock in one of the trash cans was dead. apparently there was a residue on the inside of the can which leached. goes to show this would not have happened if the guy had a few $10-15 trash cans rinsed and ready to go near by.

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