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Old 12-15-2008, 07:34 PM   #1
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Unhappy Power Outages

I'm sure most of you have heard (if not experienced) the bad ice storm that we just got hit with up in New England. It caused well over 300,000 power outages locally, fortunately I was not one of them. My boss at work was though and she lost all of her fish. She lives in the country so it didn't take long for the temperature in the house to drop which of course caused the water to drop. Those poor fish didn't stand a chance.

Seeing what she's going through now (she could be w/out power until Christmas if not later) really has me nervous. We don't have a generator so if we lose power the lives of my fish would be in jeopardy! I'd hate to lose all of my fish, but I don't have any clue on what I should do. The only idea I could think of would be to buy several 5 gallon buckets and small heaters and bring them to someone else's house who has power.

Are there any other options? How would you handle a situation like this?
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:47 PM   #2
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UPS... You can build one to run just your heaters. It wont last though for much longer than a day... I built one using two 12volt lead acid car batteries. So I guess as long as you have gas in the car and dont mind charging the batteries once a day in it youd be ok... The UPS will only take car of a single 75W heater for a day. But in the event you could risk a high bioload and move all your fish to your 46 gallon (or smaller) tank until the power comes back. Where i live we get frequent power outages usually less then 2 hours but sometimes longer thats what prompted me to build my ups. I can give you a step by step if you would like one.
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Old 12-16-2008, 05:49 AM   #3
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Once power goes out I usually wrap the tanks in blankets asap. Three of my tanks are in my living room which has a backup propane heater so the temps shouldn't dip too low. My other two tanks are in the bedroom. They are less of a concern though because they contain cherry and blueberry shrimp which can handle pretty low temps. One does have fish so I might loose them unless I moved them to a tank in the living room.

I have a generator but depending on the situation it would probably have to power the fridge.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:33 PM   #4
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My power was out for 3days. I fired up the generator after about 12 hours and had the tanks running off that. No losses.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:49 PM   #5
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When we have power outages we wrap the tanks in heavy blankets and just hope the power comes back on soon. We had an ice storm a few years ago that knocked out the power for about 12 hours. The tank temps dropped from 78 to 62 in that time. The fish all survived and as far as we know did not have any ill effects. Thankfully we haven't had any outages longer than that.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:49 PM   #6
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Certainly a big power box (or build your own like Jnam) is the best way to power your tanks (2nd to a generator). <To power a heater, you'd need an industrial sized box - for power tools - not the little computer ups.>

Insulating the tanks with blankets, etc. also help in reducing heat loss. A secondary heat source for your house (like a natural gas fireplace that can run without electricity, or a wood stove) is a great idea if you live in the snow belt in the country.

In an emergency, I know people have heated water in a BBQ/camp stove <do that outside!> to keep tank from freezing. Some put hot water in a soda/other bottles to act as hot water bottle for the tank, others just dechlorinated the hot water & mix it in the tank. If you wrap a smallish tank in a blanklet with a few hot water bottles, it might last a while before you have to go boil some more water.
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