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Old 06-02-2004, 01:11 AM   #1
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power outage

Since moving to Kentucky, there have been several events that have caused power to be out for several day. An ice storm (i think two years ago) cause power to be out for 10 days for a lot of people, and some resent storms this past weekend cut my power off for an afternoon and a whole night. The only thing I have seen for power outages is battery powered air pumps. Is this enough to sustain a saltwater tank for 1-2 days? What about longer. I know there are surge protectors that also have a back up power, but i doubt they last a long time (maybe i'm wrong) Any thoughts on saving a salt tank? I can't use a generator cause I'm in an apartment.
PS in the really bad icestorm my freshwater tank went 4 days without electricity and with no loses!! They are tough little guys.
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Old 06-02-2004, 01:39 AM   #2
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A battery powered air pump to circulate the water will certainly buy you some time before the tank crashes. I imagine the more pumps the better. If its in the winter I think that the cold would probably get them even with the air pump running. You might be able to heat tank water over a propane stove or something and return it to the tank. HTH
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Old 06-02-2004, 06:39 AM   #3
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my power goes out regularly. I have a generator. if the power is out for more than a coupe of hours i turn it on. someone else here at aa said they have a power converter. A small power converter will plug into a car's cigarete lighter and will provide enough power for a heater and a few ph. There are larger power converters that need to be wired to the car, but they are more expensive. I have seen them advertised in tool catalogues. I think tool crib (part of amazon.com)
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Old 06-02-2004, 06:44 AM   #4
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I wonder if a decent UPS would run a PH or heater for any useful length of time.
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Old 06-02-2004, 07:28 AM   #5
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I wonder if a decent UPS would run a PH or heater for any useful length of time.
I'm wondering this myself. I've looked at newegg.com and some say they can run a computer for 90 minutes.
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Old 06-02-2004, 09:38 AM   #6
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you wont get much extended life out of a UPS. they are intended to allow a computer user enough time to finish his task and then shut the computer down. I wouldn't imagine you could run a tank for more than an hour on one.
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Old 06-02-2004, 09:46 AM   #7
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Not the whole system obviously, but I don't see why you couldn't get a few hours of use from a couple essential items.

Only the cheapest UPS's are made to save currently open documents. A good one can run the whole computer for a couple hours.
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Old 06-02-2004, 10:29 AM   #8
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Heaters have a very big draw. Most PC UPS's are configured to run at say 300W of draw for 15-20minutes max. Now if you went industrial and got a very large server sized UPS it could maintan a 300W load for an hour or more but its not going to be like 5+hours.

You could easily run a few powerheads and some airpumps off of a medium sized UPS for an hour or two. In the winter wrapping your tank in blankets will help insalate it from the cool air in the room. You could even get that 1" thick foam insalation and strap it to the tank in event of such an outage.

THere are plans in the DIY forum im sure for a DIY battery backup. It involves a deep cycle marine battery and one of thost 12VDC to 120VAC converters.

In saltwater one of the biggest enemies is the lack of oxygen. In an overstocked tank it wont take very long for the O2 levels in the tank to drop to a point ath fish start to die due to suffication. This is one of the reasons I avocate understocking tanks. The battery airpumps will help circulate the water and help with the gas exchange during short outages.

If you go to APC's website they have a runtime calculator. At least they used to. You could see the runtime based on a given wattage draw for a given size UPS.
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Old 06-02-2004, 10:36 AM   #9
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I bought a little pump that plugs in and has an airstone at the end of it. It has a switch that you toggle to 'On' once you plug it in and when the power goes off, the batteries in this pump kicks it on. I think it will last 2-3 hours. But I have a FO tank with LR too....dont know what reefers would do.....
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Old 06-02-2004, 12:21 PM   #10
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If the power goes out on a regular basis, or if there is a real threat of it going out for extended periods of time (northern states: snow), a generator is a good investment. It will keep your tank going, it'll keep the fridge running, and all the stuff that keeps things in a certain condition for a reason.

For small outages, as mentioned I'd keep my pumps going first. You might be able to hook a heater up to the converter from a car cigarette outlet, but I haven't had to try mine yet. It's a lot of draw trying to run a 250w heater.

-- Story, if this helps:
I work at a pet store, and when the blackout of '03 happened, I was in that store all afternoon, evening, and night, and what we did to keep O2 levels up (in freshwater) was that we went around and every 10-15 minutes, we would stir the top of the water quite vigorously. Then we took specimen cups, scopped and poured back in from about a foot over the tank. This allowed for gas exchange and we lost very very few fish. Since it was August, the heat wasn't really an issue. Hope this helps a bit.
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