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Old 06-26-2003, 08:05 AM   #1
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Heater Question

Hi all,

I'm new to the tropical tank set-up and I'm just wondering what short terms steps I should take to protect my fish if there was a power cut or the heater stopped working?

I have 5 assorted Mollies in a 10g tank. How long can a temp drop be tolerated? If it happened while I was at work, they could be subjected to the lower temp for hours before I even found out there was a problem!

I hope it wont ever happen but I'd like to be prepared just in case!

Lmacbeth
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Old 06-26-2003, 09:27 AM   #2
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For tropical tanks, when the temp's fall below 70F, you could have problems. Go here http://www.thekrib.com/Misc/outage.html for some great info about what to do about outages.

Most people will tell you that you will probably have to wrap blankets around your tank in order to insulate it when the power goes out.
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Old 06-26-2003, 09:29 AM   #3
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how cold do you keep your room temperature?

If the heater fails in the off position then the water temp will SLOWLY lower to your room temperature usually. The lights might keep it a few degrees above room temp. Most tropical fish will be find down in the upper 60's assuming you slowly warm them back up.

What I find is a good quality heater is a good investment over the cheap heaters.
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Old 06-26-2003, 10:17 AM   #4
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I'm in Ireland so it's never extremely warm although on the plus side it's never extremely cold either.... not sure about the room temp?
I think it's a Rena Heater? Brand new. So it should be ok.
I'm more worried about the power cuts to be honest.... especially if I'm not there at the time, guess there's not alot I can do about that.

I saw a tip once on a tv prog, you might know if it would be any good or not. They suggested filling a plastic bottle (cleaned obviously) with warm/hot water and placing this in the tank. Then refilling it whenever it cools down... ??
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Old 06-26-2003, 10:53 AM   #5
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how long do your power outages last?

water is a great "thermal mass", and as long as evaporation is minimized (keeping a hood on the tank and reducing surface turbulance), it will retain it's heat for a 'long' time

if your power goes out for less than a day, and the aquarium is located inside an insulated house (even if the house heat goes out, it doesn't instantly become cold inside right?) ... I don't think you'll have any problems

if you lived here though, when it's 8F outside with 25 mph winds, even a well insulated house (and everything in it) gets cold easily, even with the house being heated ... I lost a bunch of fry once due to heater failure - they were without a heater for about 2 days before I noticed, their water temp was around 62

if your power-outages are frequent and last days at a time, you might want to look into cold water fish ... or insulating the back and sides of your tank with some fiberglass or sytrofoam insulation ... building your aquarium stand out of concrete or ceramic bricks would also provide a thermal mass ... as long as the bricks were heated by the houses heater, they would retain that heat a lot longer than a wood or metal stand
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Old 06-26-2003, 11:00 AM   #6
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maybe even into a power thingie for outlets. Okay lets try that again.. I forgot what it is actually called, but basically during a power outtage you can get something for your computer that acts like a battery. Though it doesn't last long on a comp (about an hour or two) it should last pretty well for your heater. Try looking it up wish I could have been more of help, can't believe I don't remember what they are called, and I am supposed to be a computer nerd!!
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Old 06-26-2003, 12:27 PM   #7
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There aren't power outages that regularly, they would normally be for maintenance and not longer than a day, unless it was because of very bad weather...... I guess I'm lucky to have our wet & mild irish weather after all eh !

I just wanted to have all the info, just incase.

Electrobes .. I think you mean a UPS (I'm a computer nerd too )

Thanks for all the help and for your time!
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Old 06-26-2003, 11:41 PM   #8
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I use battery backups for my tanks. The same ones that you use for your computer as mentioned above. I've never run the backup to a complete dead battery, but I've gotten over 8 hours of battery time from them without the alarm even sounding on the UPS. I live in a hurricane prone area, and if the lights go out, it can be for hours. This way I don't have to worry about the condition of my water. The UPSs are cheap nowadays and the replacement batteries are about $10-15 each. On all my tanks I have one UPS for each filter and one for the airpumps. Cheap insurance in my opinion.
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Old 06-28-2003, 02:18 AM   #9
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I got to put my UPSs to the test last night again. Severe thunderstorm in my area and the lights were out for 9 hours. The UPSs kept the tanks running strong. Not sure what the life is but I have APC 500s on my Emperor 280s and they work GREAT!
The more I thought about it though, I don't know how long it would work on a heater since they generally have a higher wattage than filters and pumps.
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