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Angel079 12-09-2009 06:13 PM

Power outage: How long is the filter safe
Guys, Gals....its the time of year for Power outages again (here anyway)

Realistically being inside the tank water: How long do you think the power can be out WITHOUT harming the bacteria? Or in other words: Starting after how many hrs should I start fiddling with back up and extension cords?

And pls don't say "few hrs" specific :lol:

Twistersmom 12-09-2009 06:44 PM

I had a power outage for 5 days. Started getting reading for ammonia and nitrites on the second day. (threw my bio-wheels in the tanks on day1) I preformed 25-50% water changes twice a day, to keep ammonia/nitrites low. Used battery powered air pumps.
The power was restored on a Thursday night. I was prepared to do water changes Friday morning. Tested Friday morning, and got a zero reading for ammonia and nitrites on all 4 tanks, that I had at the time.
So enough bacteria remained after 5 days of no filtration, no mini cycles.

Angel079 12-09-2009 07:32 PM

DANG! Ok that's MUCHHHH longer then I'd have thought, I was thinking like few hrs MAYBE half day....but that's amazing!
You also got planted tanks don't ya (cause I think that's also a BIG factor in the matter of filter outage)

mags2313 12-09-2009 07:42 PM

Wow, 5 days without power! Now THAT would be a test of my patience! Sure is a big reminder of how much we depend on electricity!
Good for you TwistersMoM, I am assuming you didn't lose any fish. Where do you live anyway?

mags2313 12-09-2009 07:45 PM

Oh lol, you live in Ohio, I :-)didn't read that first.

stephanieleah 12-09-2009 08:32 PM

Natalie...THANK YOU for starting this thread. If my power went out I think I'd have a panic attack about my filters. I'm so relieved to hear about the 5 day timeline.

Actually, my filter went out one night and by the time i realized it the next morning the bio wheel was dry. I got a new filter, put in my old bio wheel that I had dunked in tank water, added Safe Start, and I never did get a detectable amount of ammonia or nitrite after that. My levels really just stayed the same. It was surprising.

Angel079 12-09-2009 09:14 PM

LOL just another reason Canister's or Internal filters are better :-) no worries in my house about a bio wheel (at least ONE less worry ain't that nice).

I hoped it would be helpful to more people then only me (considering the big storm moving into the midwest and the north getting slammed too).

In your case Steph..I'd be more worried about earthquakes cracking my tank then Blizzards knocking the power out days on end.

Mikaila31 12-09-2009 11:55 PM

Yeah they can go a long time. I've never had to deal with more than a 14 hour power outage most of ours are in winter and the power companies really have to get it back on before we all freeze to death in these WI winters. Its like negative outside right now, cuz of that blizzard last night. Yeah we got slammed. A foot of snow here. That we can deal with, its the wind. My classes we canceled 20min before the started. So of course I had already dug the SUV out from under a foot of snow and drove 10 miles. They could plow all they want, the wind just kept putting it back on the roads. I went threw some ~18" drifts. 5 minuets later on my way back home you couldn't tell I had gone threw them at all.

In canister it is still a good idea to circulate the water. Usually at the 8 hour mark I disconnect the output hose from the tank, lowering it into a bucket creates a instant syphon. Reconnect the hose once the bucket is full, then I pour the bucket back into the tank.

If I was expecting a super long outage like 5 days I would either throw the media in the tank, or completely remove it and put it in a bucket and feed it ammonia. My tanks are densly planted so I can get away with remove the filters completely if I don't feed the fish.

Main thing at my house is we have a well. Wells need electricity to work:lol:. Water changes are not an option. This is perhaps even more annoying than lack of power. Once the tank runs out, basically that uses water works. You go to wash your hand............... no water...... this gets incredible frustrating. You keep turn on the facet without even thinking about it. A couple hours without power makes you realize how much you use water forget electricity.

1077 12-10-2009 01:17 AM

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.

Twistersmom 12-10-2009 04:48 AM


Originally Posted by Angel079 (Post 287526)
You also got planted tanks don't ya (cause I think that's also a BIG factor in the matter of filter outage)

Only 1 of the 4 tanks was planted at the time. I think the water changes really helped circulate the tanks, and keep the bacteria alive. Only fed the fish once and just a little during the outage.
All the fish lived. I was lucky to have the outage late summer, so temperature was not a problem.

So sorry 1077, that is so sad. :-(

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