Power Outages Questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-02-2019, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Power Outages Questions

I live in an area that gets power outages every year due to fire risks. Sometimes I am without power for up to 5 days. I don't have a generator. What is the biggest risk related to a planted tank (No CO2)? No light? No heat? No filtration?

For filtration, might I be better off going with an air driven system like a Matten or other air-driven sponge filter? Then I can use a battery powered air pump when the power is out and keep the filter going.

Are there battery powered water pumps available? DC powered bilge pumps for boats?

Can fish handle a drop in temperature for up 5 days? (The power outages are usually during fire season, so it's usually still warm outside).

Lighting: I plan on using some of the easier, lower light plants available. If the lights are out for up to 5 days, will they survive? If I locate my tank in an area that has lots of ambient light (Not direct sunlight), will that help?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-02-2019, 07:12 PM
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I'd be inclined to invest in a small generator, they can be had for about a hundred bucks. If you only ran an air pump or small power filter, they use very little juice. I've used battery powered air pumps to move fish and when I did maintenance but the units I had didn't run for that long between charges. Unaware of a battery powered powerhead, and I'd expect their charge life to be even shorter. As for your question about fish handling temperature drops, that all depends on the fish. Fish like discus or rams I'd expect would suffer, something like danios would likely be fine in summer months. I think hardy plants would give you no problems.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-02-2019, 07:49 PM
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I'd pick up a small generator or battery system large enough to support what you need before starting.

As mentioned, some generators are quite affordable. There are also battery systems - that can be charged via plug or solar - for a few hundred bucks that would support what you want to do.

A small air pump would be enough to power a double sponge filter for a 5-10gal tank. Could also use a screw-in daylight LED bulb for lighting on a tank that size. You could even get a USB-powered air pump, USB-powered LED fixture and power them via backup batteries. But an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) from somewhere like APC - a few of them - would probably get you through a week of no power. Run lights 4-5 hours a day until power is restored.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-02-2019, 07:50 PM
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My tanks went 2 weeks without power after Hurricane Harvey--no light, no filter, no water changes. The plants lost some of their color, but they bounced back very quickly.

Unless you have a high fish bioload, or sensitive fish species, I think you will be fine.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-02-2019, 08:14 PM
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I second the do nothing notion. Best thing you can do is have a light bioload. If you do your plants and fish will be fine after 5 days of no electricity. If you have a super heavy bioload than you need backup power of some kind.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-02-2019, 09:13 PM
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In case of power outage, skip the feeding for a few days. Fish can go quite a while with no food.

I had a horrible power outage here in winter a few years ago, the temp dropped quite low, so the tank go in thr 60's or lower with african cichlids, but the kicker was a family member fed the fish (I was out of town). Not only did this family member feed them, it was about a weeks worth of food dumped in the tank. Good intentions, but completely fouled the water... needless to say lost about half my stock.



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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 05:11 PM
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Get one of the power bricks with usb used to jump cars and buy a cheap usb air pump. Good for car and air/phone in times without power. If it's cold use a thermal cover over tank . Don't feed is important.

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