Jump to content

What is your plan when the power goes out?


Hydro

Recommended Posts

We all know that there is a chance that the power can go out at anytime...what is your plan? If the power goes out for a couple of hours that's really not a big deal but what if it were for days. I remember about 6 or 7 years ago that an ice storm came through and knocked my power out for 3 days....and I lived at mopac and parmer. WE WERE FREEZING! Your tank can get too hot the summer and too cold in the winter without power in just hours. Without a/c my office would be whatever temperature that it is outside in no time, then there is the whole issue with keeping the tank oxygenated. Several years ago I bought a generator (30 amp) that I can use to power a couple of lights (7 amps), chiller (8 amps), powerheads (3 amps), and pumps (3 amps). I was lucky and bought my Honda generator for $550 after hurricane rita, it was marked down from $1,100 b/c they were overstocked.

This has been a hot topic lately so I thought I would see what other people were doing to prepare for this. Having a generator or at least some battery powered air bubblers could make all of the difference in the world, it would be sad to watch your reef slowly die. I have heard horror stories from people from Houston that lost entire tanks to the power being out for a week. There were no generators to buy, no batteries to buy, no fuel, and no stores open. We can have a leftover hurricanes, ice storms, or even tornadoes hit Austin that could potentially knock out the power for some time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate to be a naysayer, as it's entirely possible that by some sort of accident the power could go out for a whole day, or more. But I can't honestly imagine it happening for days on end, as stated. I've lived here for 20+ years and not once had my power go out for more than a few hours - THANKFULLY! In a power outage concerning my livestock's well-being, I'd have to just borrow one of our generators from my workplace, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate to be a naysayer, as it's entirely possible that by some sort of accident the power could go out for a whole day, or more. But I can't honestly imagine it happening for days on end, as stated. I've lived here for 20+ years and not once had my power go out for more than a few hours - THANKFULLY! In a power outage concerning my livestock's well-being, I'd have to just borrow one of our generators from my workplace, though.

I mentioned that my power went out for 3 days when I lived in Austin. It wasn't city wide, mostly just my area so it can happen. But even for a whole day could be a problem, I don't think that Don's power was out for very long and he lost several fish from what I understand, that just happened. Backup power is just insurance, may not ever need it but if you do.... The people in Houston that lost their tanks in the hurricane never thought that would happen to them either.

I'm not suggesting that people with smaller tanks go out and buy a generator, these can be oxygenated easily with air pumps run off of a battery but larger tanks may need backup power to keep things alive. I had my pump go out while on vacation but the large powerheads were still running. It was out for 2 days and I lost 1/2 of my fish and most of my inverts, but didn't lose any corals. If my powerheads weren't running I think that all of the fish would have died.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I lived in Miami/Ft Lauderdale from 2003-2007 and went through numerous hurricanes. I just used a battery powered air pump to make it through. Granted I just had a FOWLR which included some inverts. I went 8 days without power once without any deaths. The key was having enough batteries to last the first few days since most areas were returning to normal after 4 days or so. I was just one of the unlucky ones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well considering that we lost a SW 46bowfront to no power for most of 3 weeks in Port Arthur with IKE 2008. And it was only 2mths along :D. it's always a concern for our tank here.

Our planted 50g fresh water tank made it through just find with all fish accounted for.

One of the top 10 reasons to move to Austin was no direct hit from tropical storms.

Now we have just the 44g SW. No FW tanks. We have a UPS backup unit (used for Computers) for the tank. Only the filter & power head are plugged in to the battery side. They stay on when we lose power. It will run the filter & pump for aprox 4-6 hrs. It also acts a a surge protector for large fluctuations in power...avoiding most unwanted fried filters or more in major storms.

Since our move here 1yr ago, we have lost power a few times but rarely for more than 2 hours. On those occasions the weather was much cooler so it was more a concern to keep tank warm. But something that can be remedied.

Cooling a tank can be managed carefully with floated Ice or gel packs. *suggest something sealed, that is already frozen, other than fresh water ice if you don't have a way to prevent leaks. Battery operated fans, help too.

Heating it a bit more tricky with no power. Hot water bottles for the fish...sort of. My plan was to warm water (gas stove) and float in bottles. The heat/cooling from the bottles should equalize with the rest of the tank.

If you have a HOB fliter then you can try to place teh hot/cold bottles near the outflow to attempt to maintain a consistent temp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right now just battery operated air pumps. There's a couple of models online that switch to battery automaticely and will last several days. I've never had a power failure that lasted more than a few hours but in the 20 years I've lived here I've known areas here in Austin that have gone almost 2 days without power. I guess the silver lining to having a power failure is it's almost certainly going to be associated with a hurricane so there's going to be at least a day or more of heavy cloud cover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great plan, the only thing that I would worry about is being able to have enough ice to keep things cool, with no power you are limited to what you have already in the freezer and what you can buy. If the gas stations and grocery stores in your area are without power they wouldn't be selling any ice....plus everyone would be looking for ice to keep food or drinks cold. Obviously we are talking about a worse case scenario and in almost all cases the entire city would not be without power. When people are talking about power outages not happening for more than a few hours they are generally talking about the entire city, but pockets of homes go without power for longer than that after storms. When my power went out for 3 days like I said it was an ice storm that came through, everything was coated in ice so trees were falling on the power lines knocking out trasformers plus just the ice on the lines themselves were bringing them down. It wasn't just one spot that needed fixing, there were several and what made it worse is that all of the roads were frozen so no trucks could come fix anything. It was sooooo cold. All of the stores in our area were closed and the ones that were closest to us were instantly sold out of firewood and duraflame logs (just like ice would be in the summer). We slept in front of my fireplace with only the small gas line that normally is used to light the fire burning. I did not have a tank then and I'm glad b/c it wouldn't have survived, it was in the 40's inside my house for a couple of days. I just remember thinking that I couldn't believe that this could happen! That is why I wanted to buy a generator so that I didn't have to go through that again.

Here is an air pump that automatically switches on when the power goes out. It has a built in battery that will last from 14-26 hrs (depending on setting) but will also run on D batteries. This would work fine for most tanks since its dual outlet, and for $65 its cheap insurance.

http://www.cheappetproducts.net/HURRICANE_CATEGORY_5__PROFESSIONAL_AC_DC_BATTERY_OPERATED_PUMP_-P49949.html

I'm going to consider buying a couple of those ecotech back up batteries for the powerheads, they automatically come on when the power goes out too. This way if I'm not at the office or on vacation I can be assured that at least some water is moving around the tank until the generator can be hooked up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to tell you right now that if the power is out for longer than 24 hours, I'm going to be putting my safety far ahead of that of my tank. Sorry but it's true. Yeah I'm that callous, or I'm the only one with enough balls to say it out loud.

If it comes down to losing power for 3 days or 3 weeks and I have a generator at my hand, I'm going to be plugging in my fridge, a few lights, and a couple of fans I have tucked away to it, not my tank. People need to realize that the types of generators they are buying can barely support their full load on the tank itself and not much else. So are you going to buy 2 generators? And what about fuel? You will need about 20 or more gallons of fresh gasoline around. Today's ethanol based fuels attract water like a magnet, fouling out gasoline in weeks unlike before the 90's when it would last months. So what happens then when the power goes out and you reach for that generator that has been sitting idle for 4 years and it won't start? If you only have enough gas on hand to fill the tank, what are you going to do 8 hours later when it runs out? If the power is out, you probably can't run to the gas station for more as their power will be out. Are you really going to drive 40 or more miles to get more gas for your fish tank? Again if I'm in that bad of a situation, I'm putting my survival first.

I do have a small inverter that I bought for camping trips years ago. If I was to lose power for a day I would probably reach for it and hook my wave maker up to a battery for the night. When the battery dies, so do the pumps. All I would worry about is having a powerhead or 2 running. I wouldn't even try to turn the lighting on.

As to the unfortunate accident at another local reefers place in the very near past, I am one of the few that wonders what really happened. I've lost power before for about 28 hours and did nothing for the tank, when the power came back on, all was fine. I wonder if there was to large a bio-load that caused the tank to crash prematurely. Another thought I was thinking is that what if the tank was already right on the edge. What if the amount of fish, crabs, corals, or whatever, coupled with the conditions of the tank, caused it to flip almost immediately. As soon as the power was off the nitrogen cycle was broken and the problems that were hiding were now able to take hold of the tank. There may have been underlying conditions that were present but not detected. Without knowing all of the details we cannot conclude if the power outage was the only factor in the tank die off.

On another side note. Most of you don't know that I shut off my tank for 4 hours every night anyways. I leave on only my lights. I hand feed my corals with a baster. When I get home from work, around 5:00, I reach under the tank and kill it all. There is not a single powerhead left on. The tank comes to a complete stand still while my corals swell up super huge and take in their food. I turn it all back on about 9:00 as my lights burn for about another hour. I've not lost anything in this short period but I know that some of you would consider that insane.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

. . . I'm going to be putting my safety far ahead of that of my tank . . .

I just don't understand some peoples priorities sometimes. I ALWAYS make sure I've got enough cat food to last a couple of weeks. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

. . . I'm going to be putting my safety far ahead of that of my tank . . .

I just don't understand some peoples priorities sometimes. I ALWAYS make sure I've got enough cat food to last a couple of weeks. :D

Hungry Kitties you have, Hmmm, watching dinner swim is more fun for them. But how much kitty litter do you have?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to be putting my safety far ahead of that of my tank.

plugging in my fridge, a few lights, and a couple of fans I have tucked away to it, not my tank. People need to realize that the types of generators they are buying can barely support their full load on the tank itself and not much else. I'm putting my survival first.

I do have a small inverter that I bought for camping trips years ago. If I was to lose power for a day I would probably reach for it and hook my wave maker up to a battery for the night. When the battery dies, so do the pumps. All I would worry about is having a powerhead or 2 running. I wouldn't even try to turn the lighting on.

Totally agree with you.

That's why we have just the USP back up on the filter & pump for emergency delays and power outages. We don't worry about the lights, either. We have already had the big crash and understand that it's out of our hands at that point. One of the reasons we are trying to maintain a self sufficient ecosystem.

Finding any reasonable generator before an emergency is part of the planning challenge for anyone. But again, in past adventures with Humberto, We only used a borrowed generator for running our fridge and fans for short intervals to maintain manageable living conditions with a 18mth old and conserve what fuel we had during the extended outages. And that was no party.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My plan mentioned above is for my tank, not for me and my family. If we are discussing what plan I have for my family.....well these days I would pack up and go where there was power, pretty simple. That's why I would use my generator for my tank and if I had to choose between throwing everything out of my fridge or possbily losing any of my livestock I will just have to throw the food out., most of it never gets eaten anyway. I don't do well without power so I would go stay with family, friends, or even a hotel.

Don thinks that his tank was off for less than 12hrs due to a tripped breaker, all the corals are fine but he did lose about 8 fish and a shrimp. I think that it really depends on how many fish are in the tank, how big they are, and how much they swim around, so in other words 12 hrs w/o power for someone else's tank may not be a problem at all. As soon as everything was turned back on the tank went back to normal.

As far as fuel goes I would need it if I was keeping my fridge running or my tank running. The only reason that I would turn my lights on is b/c if I already have the generator running the tank there is no reason not too. I don't think that not having light is a problem at all for a few days, I think that its oxygen the main problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually there is reason to leave off the lights. Generators, I use them all the time at work, will just idle along with a few pumps on them however lights will cause them to to run in duty cycle. This will eat your fuel up. On idle you may get 10-15 hours on a tank of fuel. On duty cycle you may only get 4 hours. As to your comment that you will be where there is power, I totally understand that and was even going to say in my reply that that is where I'd be headed. Now as I pointed out in my reply that if I was staying there I could honestly tell you that I won't be driving 40 miles to get gas for the tank and then coming back to it. Forget that. I'm not going to spend thousands on hotel service, then hundreds on fuel for my vehicle and then my tank. With the idea that the fuel might run out every 4-6 hours, I honestly doubt you will be driving those kinds of miles, back and forth, just to top up your fuel reserves. Take a minute to step back and think honestly about that. If rapture were to truly take place then everyone else will by vying for those same resources. Even if you have the fuel in cans at your shop, you more than likely will not be driving back and forth from this "hotel" you mention. I just don't see it. If you really cared, then why are you not investing in an autocycle natural gas generator of 5KV or more? If the power goes out, it will auto shunt directly through your panel and power up. Generally the natural gas is being pushed from a source far away from the power outage and therefor generally reliable in such an event. It will run by itself for days without your attention. You'd be free to swim at the hotel pool while your tank takes care of itself. Should only run you about $8-10K installed.

Now Hydro I like ya, been to your place. Just want you to know I'm not picking a fight. I'm just asking and replying as it comes to my head so don't take any offense to what I say, instead think about it and try to convince me otherwise. Everyone thinks I'm just being a smartass all the time, what they never seem to realize, or fail to, is that this is me. This is who I am. This is how I think and type. Nothing more. It's not mebeing a smartass, it's my personality. So I can understand having a plan for a couple of hours of a bad situation, but if it gets out of my control I'm moving on. I will also accept the defeat as was stated by lexiemc. Just wondering if you would truly drive back and forth keeping up with a generator. Just wondering if you truly would stock up 20g of fuel at your place and rotate it through your vehicle so that it is always fresh and ready to go. I know you just had a baby and wonder if you'd truly put that kind of effort into your tank versus staying with your child in that type of situation. If it were that bad would you be willing to pay $10 a gallon for gas to drive and replenish the generator such as what happened after the hurricanes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have been reading these posts with interest - as I do all posts on the various forums. And feel I would like to add my penny and a half. From my experience (hurricanes, monsoons, ice storms, tornadoes, power grid outages, etc), a general plan is good, but needs to be very flexible as each incident is unique and cannot be set in concrete. No two situations are the same nor does everyone have the same priorities. For me - its family, pets (dog first, fish and tank second), and everything else third. I live in the country, so have propane for cooking and hot water and have made the choice to forgo a generator. People can survive without air conditioning easier then they can without heat (grew up without a/c). Water and Food same thing. All in all its a personal (i.e. family) decision.

wayneb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a nice setup.

I've been considering getting a UPS for the powerheads/heaters for my system. Anything in there can live through a few days without light, but without circulation or heat is definitely another matter. That said, I don't have a huge amount of funds to spare or a huge amount of livestock, there are other options for the short term as long as I'm around and since I'm not stocking too heavily I have a little bit of breathing room. Since my pumps and heaters are fairly low power, a decent sized computer UPS could probably power them for quite some time.

Actually what I fear more is the loss of my apartment's AC. That could easily be several days long and I really don't have anything good to combat that. Even with the lights off and large size fans blowing in the top, neither tank could survive a couple of days of Austin's summer heat I'm afraid. The ice cubes are a good idea, but with my small tanks it would be a continuous activity to monitor the temperature with them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually there is reason to leave off the lights. Generators, I use them all the time at work, will just idle along with a few pumps on them however lights will cause them to to run in duty cycle. This will eat your fuel up. On idle you may get 10-15 hours on a tank of fuel. On duty cycle you may only get 4 hours. As to your comment that you will be where there is power, I totally understand that and was even going to say in my reply that that is where I'd be headed. Now as I pointed out in my reply that if I was staying there I could honestly tell you that I won't be driving 40 miles to get gas for the tank and then coming back to it. Forget that. I'm not going to spend thousands on hotel service, then hundreds on fuel for my vehicle and then my tank. With the idea that the fuel might run out every 4-6 hours, I honestly doubt you will be driving those kinds of miles, back and forth, just to top up your fuel reserves. Take a minute to step back and think honestly about that. If rapture were to truly take place then everyone else will by vying for those same resources. Even if you have the fuel in cans at your shop, you more than likely will not be driving back and forth from this "hotel" you mention. I just don't see it. If you really cared, then why are you not investing in an autocycle natural gas generator of 5KV or more? If the power goes out, it will auto shunt directly through your panel and power up. Generally the natural gas is being pushed from a source far away from the power outage and therefor generally reliable in such an event. It will run by itself for days without your attention. You'd be free to swim at the hotel pool while your tank takes care of itself. Should only run you about $8-10K installed.

Now Hydro I like ya, been to your place. Just want you to know I'm not picking a fight. I'm just asking and replying as it comes to my head so don't take any offense to what I say, instead think about it and try to convince me otherwise. Everyone thinks I'm just being a smartass all the time, what they never seem to realize, or fail to, is that this is me. This is who I am. This is how I think and type. Nothing more. It's not mebeing a smartass, it's my personality. So I can understand having a plan for a couple of hours of a bad situation, but if it gets out of my control I'm moving on. I will also accept the defeat as was stated by lexiemc. Just wondering if you would truly drive back and forth keeping up with a generator. Just wondering if you truly would stock up 20g of fuel at your place and rotate it through your vehicle so that it is always fresh and ready to go. I know you just had a baby and wonder if you'd truly put that kind of effort into your tank versus staying with your child in that type of situation. If it were that bad would you be willing to pay $10 a gallon for gas to drive and replenish the generator such as what happened after the hurricanes.

:)It's cool, no feathers ruffled here

This is an easy answer for me... YES YES YES!!! I would drive an hour a day to refuel my generator or whatever else needs to be done to keep it alive. In my tank there are over 100 different kinds of hand picked coral, hand picked fish that I have had for over a year and hand feed everyday, spent the last 2 1/2 months of my life building this piece of the reef in my office, not to mention the thousands of dollars that would be lost, the emotional loss of having to throw your contents of your tank in the garbage and having to start compleletly over.....having to buy everything you want again...this list could go on and on. There is no doubt whatsover I would do whatever it took to keep it alive, if I had to stand there and blow bubbles in the tank I would, my wife is lauging b/c she knows its true. Besides all of that I have 300 gallon resevoirs that I would fill with gas and bring in, none of that running back and forth. It honestly boils down to investment, if I had a couple hundered dollars in my tank that would be one thing but that isn't the case. I wouldn't even have to consider it, having my tank die is not an option.

Wow what a thread...I just wanted people to think about getting some battery powered air bubblers b/c of what happened to Don... :yahoo:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jeremy (offroaddodge) called today and said that a breaker tripped on his tank caused by a dead short in the chiller. He didn't think that the power was off for very long (he is still in the hospital) but he did lose his mystery wrasse. Luckily nothing else.

It must be in the air...I'm worried b/c I'm going to be out of town next week!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah I agree this is a good thread. Putting it in srtictly economic terms some of my tanks I would not take a lot of effort to try to save because it wouldn't take a lot recreate. When I sit down and try to figure out a dollar value some of my tanks could potentially cost tens of thousands of dollars to recreate so I'm motivated to try to save them. But like Lexiemc said sometimes "it's out of our hands".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My plan is simple. I just use a cup and every so often dump tank water back into the tank. I have an inverter for my car that I could use to circulate the water. Although I have been without power for 4 hours and everything was fine with the cup technique. With my 360 I plan on using a small koralia hooked up to a ups to keep the water oxygenated. My temp stays pretty constant so getting oxygen to my fish is my biggest concern. Coral can withstand alot more than fish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that corals are much hardier than fish, I don't even know if a coral uses oxygen, never thought about it. What would hurt your corals is decaying fish messing up the paramters (if unattended) and lack of light. Plus w/o water flowing corals could release toxins in the water that could kill other corals.

Shane at fishy business told me that during the power outage that he dealt with he used a stick to stir his tanks and was able to keep most of his fish alive. But keep in mind that he had a huge body of water and if it were like his store in Beaumont the water to fish ratio is pretty high. I may be wrong but I thought he lost most of his corals. I know there were people without power for 2 weeks, I can't imagine that!

Timfish nailed it, its all about investment and your ability to do something. Honestly if I lost the contents of my tank I'm not sure I could afford to get back started again. For me to be happy with the expense of my tank it must be very rewarding for me...and having to throw my fish and possibly all my corals away (in an extended power outage with no generator), cycling my tank again, and starting over buying new livestock...I would probably get out of the hobby. That is why I would do anyting possible to protect my tank.

God forbid that an icestorm knock out our power for a few days but if it does bring me your high end corals and I will babysit them for frags!!! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh pashaw :doh: .

Ok ok so you'll leave the hobby. No, no you won't. You already have to much invested. End of that discussion.

I had several high $$$ corals that I lost when an ozone generator wiped out my tank. I lost everything. No really everything. I lost a "$500 efflo" as it was known at the time, and it was $500 an inch, that was the size of a dinner plate. I lost 3 blue ribbon eels that ate frozen silver sides from my hand and were as fat as any moray eel (people on RC were offering me upwards of $500 for one eel), it is common knowledge that these eels are virtually impossible to keep. I lost all my ultra "LE" pieces I had grown out from frags (courtesy of fishypets and Kingfish, as well as others) into large colonies. I was ultra stoked about the quality of my tank.

When it all went south in a matter of 8 hours I swore the hobby off. I had also purchased a 400g tank that I found out I cannot set up in my house due to foundation issues. I was invested near $12,000 in that tank. Man I was down. I had bought the house to put the big tank in. So yeah I was kind of out another $100K. I swore I wouldn't set up any more tanks. I swore I was out. I swore that if I did set up any tanks it would only be the big tank and I would have to get the foundation repaired before then.

Sure. Yeah right. That wasn't going to happen. Almost immediately ARC and other hobbyists I know came over to assess the damage. I did take about 7 months and only kept some frog fish to keep the tank running. I left the lights off for all 7 months hoping to kill off the hair algae that was getting a hold in the tank from the die offs. Then one day. Just like that it happened. I looked at the tank. I hooked up a skimmer rated for a 900g tank, cleaned the sand, cleaned the water, did huge water changes, and was impressed that the algae died back in about 2 weeks. I bought new bulbs and was suddenly excited again. Next thing I know folks on ARC are hooking me up with frags, some of them from the pieces I lost that I had fragged to them. I have been making rounds (even to your place) spending a little $20 here, $50 there. Been hitting up the shops lately dropping a Bill here and a Bill there. No none of this is happening with the big tank, just the same little 75g I accidentally cooked. As of about a week ago I stepped back and noticed something, my tank is starting to grow in and look awesome again. :rock:

Just sayin man, just saying. In the event that it all takes a nasty dive, the folks here have your back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hydro- my plan is to get a battery backup(huge one) and a little Honda generator that auto starts if the tank looses power. its in the planning stage right now. I hv an old loud *** generator now but u hv to start it manualy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well alot of New Braunfels lost power last night for 3.5 hours. Very unexpected as there wasnt a storm. Anyways I did the inverter trick from my small car battery to one k4 and it worked great. Temp stayed stable at 80.5 which is about where it normally stays. Anyways its an easy fix and only ran the price of an extension cord(price will vary on length needed) and a inverter(mine was about $30 from walmart). Once power was back on I started the car just to check the battery and it started right up.

I still didnt sleep much as I havent tried this before but it worked great. Next time around I will sleep alot better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...