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Cheaper alternative to running your tank during a power outage


Maxima

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Earlier this week, the power in Hutto went out for approx 4 hours. Usually during a power outage, I start thinking about how I "shoulda, coulda, woulda" purchased a generator. However, the thought of spending $500+ for a decent generator is never appealing until the power is out.

Here is an alternative that my husband introduced me to:

My setup:

2X - 12 Volt - 875Ah Deep Cycle Marine (or RV) Battery

1X - 750W - DC to AC Inverter

1X - 35 Ah Battery charger

1X - Innova 3320 Digital AC/DV Meter.

Truthfully all that is needed in emergency (approx $60 each):

1 Deep Cycle Marine Battery

1 DC to AC Inverter

Deep Cycle Marine Batteries are great at the following:

1. It can sit in your garage in the heat (or wherever) for months at a time.

2. They don't discharge as much as normal car batteries.

3. They are designed to trickle charge for long periods of time, then used heavily in a deep discharge cycle, then recharged with the cycle repeated again, this sort of activity will destroy a normal car battery in a very short time.

4. They have thicker plates inside to withstand the deep cycle process.

Step 1.

Take your Inverter, and hook the two 12V DC power cables up to the Deep Cycle Marine battery. It is kind of like hooking jumper cables onto a car battery depending on design.

Step 2.

Plug your power strip into the inverter. Turn it on, that's it!

No noise, no emissions :D

And your done!

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The amount of hours you can power your tank depends on the type of battery, how full your battery is and what you chose to have plugged in. My main concern during a power outage is the return pump, powerheads and heater.

My setup can run the tank for almost 48hrs straight with no recharge of the batteries.

The perks to having this kind of setup is that you don't have to worry about setting up a generator outside because of the carbon monoxide it produces. Also, in extreme emergencies, you can put the battery in your car and drive for a bit to charge it up.

Cooling your tank during a power outage is another thing to keep in mind. You can either plug in your chiller to the set up above or you can do what I do. The $2 way…

At Bed Bath & Beyond, I found reusable ice cubes (seen below). I keep them in my freezer so that during a emergency situation where I have to cool the tank, I just throw the bag in the sump. This lowered my 75g tank two degrees (which was what I was looking for).

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This is AWESOME!!!

I love ideas like this where people find great ways to do things that aren't the 'Spend big money on big ticket items so you look cool amongst your peers' solutions.

I live so rural it would actually make sense to have a generator, although we've yet to need one. The battery set up would be perfect for running the tank, not overkill, easy, and economical.

Thanks for sharing. :D

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That's about where I keep mine as well. I live in Hutto in Clark's Crossing kinda behind the Hippoplex. I didn't experience any power outages this week. Do you use a fan to keep the temps down? I got one of those $10 clip ons at Walmart and if I run it overnight, the temp will get down to 78 or so.

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I am over by Hutto High School in Brushy Creek... The power outage happened Thurs morning...from 4-8. News claimed that all of Hutto was down. lol Guess they were wrong.

Yep, I have a clip on fan too. In regards to "re-useable ice cubes," I meant they can be used during an power outage with limited battery power.

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Max, what type of bulbs are you running? I have 2 giesseman (1 blue and 1 white), 1 Current white 10KK, and 1 UTV 50/50. I am always looking for that intense white but I do not want to go to Metal Halides cause of the heat issues. I got to replace that Current bulb soon. Any ideas?

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I have a Wavepoint T5 HO....4 blubs (2 white 2 blue). Not sure what kind but they are the same blubs that came in the box. I also have two ecoxotic stunner led strips in blue (453nm).

I am the wrong person to ask for light blub suggestion. I am still a noob and wouldn't want to suggest the wrong thing. I asked on RC forum once about my light bulbs and some said it I could have any coral I wanted, and some said that I could only do coral that needed low light. I really don't know. hmm.png

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Maxima, really good idea with the battery and DC - AC converter. I'm using air pumps with battery backups on some of my tanks but being able to run a small pump and fan would be a good thing.

Regarding your lights I wouldn't consider four 54 W T5's on a 75 as "low Light". Some of the corals I know will grow under your lights would include select colonies of Acro's, Monti's and Pink Bird's nest the caveat being the colors are going to be mostly browns and I wouldn't get colonies that were grown under intense light levels and expect them to do well.

Rjohn, I like both the giesman and current bulbs, I've had a problem with some ULR bulbs noticably fading after a few months.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Max,

It does look like a simple set up to manage.

I would only suggest figuring some way to cover and safety the open leads on the battery to avoid any unwanted contacts with pets, kids, fabric or water. Could create a bigger problem like electrocution or resulting house fire.

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I 've been looking at buying the back up batteries for my ecotechs but at $150 each I was debating building a system myself.. The ecotechs already run off of 12v so it wouldn't be that hard for me to do. If they switched over to battery automatically that would by me some time to get the generator kicked on. You can have your system setup so that when the power switches off the battery setup automaticlly comes on too. If I build this for my powerheads I will do a post on how to do the automatic switch but basically its a relay that is held open while the power is on energizing that leg of power, when the power turns off the relay closes connecting the back up battery system. This would add about $30 (maybe less) to the price of the setup but would probably be worth it, just for the peace of mind alone.

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Add a solar trickle charger to extend the life of the battery without the need for grid power.

All car batteryies/deep cycle batteryies should be stored outside in a ventilated area and properly racked. While today's batteryies are better about handling temperature changes and moisture they should ideally be elevated off the ground and kept at a consistent temperature. Battery acid is a nasty thing :D

Don't forget to test the system routinely.

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I'd add that those reusable ice cubes be filled with RODI. May not be able to drain and fill them though. You don't want whatever chemical they put in there leaking into your tank by accident, or tap water either for that matter.

I've used rinsed coke bottles filled with RODI before.

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I've had an inverter around for years for other uses. I've said that if need be that's the extent of my back up for my tank. One thing I want to ask you is this, if the power goes out do you plan to hook it up right away? I've found my tank stays stable for hours without power, in fact it's been fine for over 24 hours without power before. My plan is that if I hook up the inverter to my battery it will only be after at least 12 hours. I don't want to run it down prematurely.

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