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Old 07-05-2006, 04:50 PM   #1
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Power Outage

There was a very severe thunderstorm yesterday around the Washington DC area. It came out of nowhere and we got like 60 mph winds that blew down trees and such. The whole area in Fairfax was completely powerless. My first concern was my fishes because the filter was dead and now my fishes had to live on whatever air was in the tank. Then, around 10 at night I called my power company and they told me that it will be back around 9:30 that same night. Well...that was a load of crap. I left them a rather vulgar message and then hung up. I went to bed early that night cause there was nothing to do, my architecture project had to be halted because it was late, no lights, no ac, computer is out, i can cut my finger with an x-acto knife, and having candles around my only original copy of the project is not exactly that safe. So the next morning thinking that the power would come back on was a complete and utter hopeless dream. I went upstairs to feed the fishes but they were all up at the surface Gasping for air. With no time to think of a way to save them I just left for work and hope that the power comes back on. Its about 4:46 right now and I got a call from my brother that my Black Koi has died which has been in my tank for 2 years. I'm seriously pissed off right now because our row of houses is the ONLY houses that is without power. I called again and they told me that this time it's going to restore at 11:30. I am freaked because by that time ALL of my fishes will die. What I want to know is:

-"Can I sue? I mean this is a really expensive fish..."
-"What can I do to ensure their safety till 11:30?"
-"How can I avoid this problem in the future?"

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Old 07-05-2006, 05:09 PM   #2
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Oh, I'm so sorry for your loss. Living in Florida we experience alot of power outages.

You can buy a battery powered air bubbler from petsmart - just buy alot of batteries since I'm not sure how long the batteries will last (which reminds me - I need to pick a couple of these up myself !).

You should do a water change (assuming that there have been no complications to the water supply from the storm) - that will add some oxygen to the tank. Its the surface agitation that adds 02 to the water, so I would think anything that causes surface disruption will help.

Best bet - the battery powered bubblers.

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Old 07-05-2006, 05:10 PM   #3
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Buy an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS). CompUSA is selling a 1200 VA (760 watt, I think) for $125 after rebate. I'm not going to be putting any fish into my 125 before I hook it up to a beefy UPS.

Won't last forever, but you can just put the most important items on it (filter, air pump, whatever).
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Old 07-05-2006, 05:43 PM   #4
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My two main tanks each have a dedicated UPS. Many filters and powerheads require true sine-wave output to function, and cheaper UPSs won't work. I use APC SmartUPSs (I have a SmartUPS 700 for my 38-gallon tank and a SmartUPS 700 for my 20L) as APC BackUPS and BackUPS Pros won't work. This probably isn't an issue if you're only backing up power to air pumps.

SmartUPSs aren't that expensive if you buy refurbished units (make sure they come with NEW batteries, though). I buy all of my UPSs from RefurbUPS.com, and I've had great luck with them for years now (I have UPSs on my computers, home theater, and stereos, too).

EDIT: I'm in southern MD, about 50 miles south of DC and we saw that storm too. It wasn't as bad here (no trees down that I've heard of), thankfully, but it was still pretty intense!
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Old 07-05-2006, 07:09 PM   #5
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Re: Power Outage

Originally Posted by arclad
-"Can I sue? I mean this is a really expensive fish..."
-"What can I do to ensure their safety till 11:30?"
-"How can I avoid this problem in the future?"
no you cant sue.

joannde got it right. frequent w/c will help your fish survive.

the other posters got the future right. uniterruptable ups.
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Old 07-05-2006, 07:43 PM   #6
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when you get home do a water change... like they said surface aggitation will inject oxygen into the water. The filter not running isn't helping anything, but just feed lightly until the power comes back on, or not at all (up to a few days) the fish will be fine.

P.S. I finished my architecture program a few years ago and im almost through my IDP... fun stuff huh? No more 4 o'clock mornings chopping fingers off with x-actos
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Old 07-05-2006, 08:47 PM   #7
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If you can buy a battery powered bubbler, do that for now, if you can't get a UPS right now. I'd have one on all my tanks if I could afford it. I keep a battery powered bubbler on hand here since we have alot of storms down here.
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Old 07-05-2006, 09:51 PM   #8
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Yup, PWC and battery powered air pump. I also stop feeding. In the winter we also have (here in the north) the added heat problem, now the UPS is needed.
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Old 07-05-2006, 10:01 PM   #9
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I would say PWC's every now and then. It will re-oxygenate the water. Even if it's just a small bucket now and then. Could use surface aggitation as well, like dipping a cup in and pouring it back in a few times. But for a larger tank, then a PWC is about all you can do. Or dip your fish bucket in if it fits and repour the water back in.
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Old 07-06-2006, 09:53 PM   #10
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I from personal experience cannot overstate the effectiveness of battery powered air pumps. I now have UPS's and a generator, but when push comes to shove I believe that these inexpensive and reliable pumps will save my fish.

Hurricane Ivan...
No battery powered air pumps equaled dead Oscar and other fish.
Hurricane Katrina...
Multiple battery powered air pumps equals healthy fish !

Our power was out for four days in the aftermath of Katrina (We live in Mobile,AL), we had bought Penn Plax 'Silent Air-B10/B11 battery powered air pumps for the next time we lost power and they worked beautifully!
Never had to change the batteries in them, they ran on the same batteries for four days without a noticeable loss of output.

The B10 model you have to switch on manually but the B11 plugs into the wall and automatically comes on when there is a loss of power, other than that they are basically the same unit...
Very nice, great products!
We're gonna buy B11's to replace the B10's and keep'em on standby 24/7.

Two units, a B10 and a B11 adequately maintained circulation and surface agitation in our Oscar's 75 gal tank. No sign of lack oxygen deprivation or other stress even with the water temps hitting 85'f.
A single B10 in each of our 10gal tanks kept them practically boiling with circulation.

You can find these units reasonably priced here,

We just got power-n-cable back, filters-n-ect are running again.
We prepped for the hurricane with 30%+ pwc's and GV's, stopped feeding and setup the B10/B11's.
I just did water test tonight...
Great parameters after four days of nil filtration.

My family is fine, our house could be better but suffered no structural or flood damage so everything else is just a matter of time, money and hardwork.

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power outage

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