powers out. now what? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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powers out. now what?

I posted in journal but, no response and getting worried. bad storm knocked power out for 24 hours now. Has the bacteria in my filters died? How long can fish go with no filtration or circulation? I'm assuming i should do water changes but not sure how much or how often. AEP said it could be a few days before power is restored. 29 gallon tank. Ty

I have gone to a place far below up above and in between the middle.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 10:45 PM
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Biggest problem is usually oxygen levels. Can you do water change? That usually brings in lots of compressed gasses if you have low o2. that is what I would do. How long has the power been out for?


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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 10:49 PM
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The bacteria is probably toast at this point if the media is still in the canister. I agree with rballi that a water change might be the best thing at this point.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 10:55 PM
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Sorry about the power loss on the tank... Its so frustrating when this happens I can feel your pain having this happen a few times in my neck of the woods. We had a very large tree fall on power lines when we had some high winds.
I would say yes to the filter bacteria has died..they don't last long without oxygen. I would clean that out and place all that back into the filter without water. You might have these good guys come back in the moist environment.
I would do water changes every day..like half a tank. If you have one handy a battery powered air pump with sponge filter.
Other members might add some other ideas for you.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 11:08 PM
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It's typically fine for 2-3 days as long as it remains wet. Or there's typically enough bacteria to create a thriving new population with ease.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff5614 View Post
The bacteria is probably toast at this point if the media is still in the canister. I agree with rballi that a water change might be the best thing at this point.


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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 11:20 PM
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The bacteria in the filter need oxygen. Open the filter, and spread the media in a shallow tray that can keep it damp, but has lots of surface area for gas exchange. It does not have to be under water, just damp. Turn the media over often, stir the loose materials.

The fish need oxygen, too. With no water movement all the gas exchange is happening at the water surface. If the fish are not up at the top of the tank, then they probably have enough oxygen. You could stir the water some by simply scooping it up and pouring it back into the tank, but water changes are better. You can let the refill water pour in, making some splashing. You do not need to do large water changes, the real reason to do them at all is to get more surface movement.

Fishermen use a battery powered air pump that runs off 12v, and there are battery powered air pumps that you would keep plugged into the wall. When the power quits they automatically switch over to battery power. Either of these options would keep the water turning over in the tank enough to keep any reasonable fish load healthy.

An overstocked tank might need more extreme help:
Do a 50% water change, saving the aquarium water in a plastic storage bin. Add new water to this (and to the tank, of course). Move several of the fish, up to half of them, to the storage bin. Having less fish in the tank makes it easier to handle a power outage. Of course you then have the equivalent of two tanks to deal with, but each one will not get into trouble as fast as one over stocked tank would have.

In the dark (or at least with the tank lights off) the plants will probably not be photosynthesizing, so turn off CO2. If the tank is close enough to a window that it gets natural light, then the plants will likely be photosynthesizing during the brightest part of the day, so you might want to alter the timing on the CO2.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 11:21 PM
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I've suffered through several power failures, from hot weather blackouts here in Texas lasting a few hours to ice storms lasting days in other states. There really is no way to tell for sure when the power will be back to your own house. They may get it on for the whole block but your line may not be working so it is better to start as if it will be days. The bacteria will last longer if it is spread out and not locked in an air deprived canister. You may get by with just hanging the media in a bag in the tank. Swish it around every couple hours. Depending on type,size and number the fish will have differing levels of stress. If you have water still running and it is of a moderate temperature, I would add water at frequent intervals. Likely the new water will have enough O2 to get them by the crisis. Having the media in the tank gives them both a break. Of course try to match new water with old as you normally would do it. Remember than slightly cooler water is much better than warmer. Less O2 in warm water makes it more dangerous.
When the crisis passes, watch things much closer for a couple weeks. Watch for any strange action from the fish as it is a good time for disease to make a play.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 11:25 PM
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generator FTW in this situation. that or (maybe im mistaken) they have a HOB self siphon refugiums (but would need B. bacteria already for this one to work)

hope it works out for ya and power comes on ASAP
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 11:53 PM
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First thing I want to tell you is do not worry. I lost power a few years ago for almost 2 weeks when we were hit by a hurricane. I had several tanks going, including a high tech tank with injected CO2, high light, EI ferts, and a very heavy fish load. I lost only 1 fish (maybe 2, hard to remember now). So don't worry that you'll lose everything just because you've lost power.
  1. Follow Diana's instructions for the filter bacteria. You will know if it's dead because it will smell terrible. If it's not stinking horribly, then you can still save it. So do what Diana suggested.
  2. Do not feed the fish. You don't want to add ammonia to the tank right now.
  3. Use a battery operated air pump on the tank. I highly recommend the Penn-Plex Silent Air B11 Battery Operated Aquarium Air Pump (http://www.amazon.com/Silent-Series-.../dp/B000256502). It runs for almost a week on just 2 D-cell batteries. If you can't find one locally, then check the fishing department of your local sporting goods store (for catching fish, not aquariums). Fishermen use them to keep bait and fish alive while out fishing. Those other air pumps won't last as long, but will still work.
  4. Perform water changes as needed. I did daily water changes, making sure to splash the water into the tank to ensure the water was stirred up (no filtration means no circulation). Test your water for ammonia and nitrites. Dose Prime if water changes alone isn't keeping things in check. H2O2 can oxygenate water, but be careful using it. Only small amounts and only in an extreme emergency.
  5. When your power comes back on, gently rinse the filter media in aquarium water before starting it back on the aquarium. Clean out any dead plant material and perform a water change. Test the water daily to check the cycle.
  6. If you do lose your cycle, you can use Tetra SafeStart to add beneficial bacteria. It actually works.

Your tank and fish will be fine. It just takes a little extra work.

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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 12:07 AM
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Keep extra gallons filled with cold water (holds more oxygen) and exchange a gallon or two every day to control temperature.

I've lost two betta but gained their offspring when I last had a power outage for a week.
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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Ty all for your help. The power has been out for over 30 hours. There is one angel, four neon tetras, and four red minor tetras. Is that overstocked? Oh, and two otos, i think, but I haven't seen them in weeks.plants are dead and rotting. They were doing that long, long before the power went out.BGA all over plants, substrate, driftwood. Black algae that looks like smear marks on glass. black, Greenish brownish algae on equipment and plants. I will get a battery operated pump if i can find one. is it safe to scrub off algae, vacuum mulm, and remove plants during all this? Then do a large water change? Its been one catastrophe after the next. I need to take the plants out and start over but i don't have the funds to replace all those plants. Its in an office so i can't just have noting.Also, have a backup ten gallon at home. Better to take fish there during all that? I couldn't believe that the power actually stayed out that long or i would've done that a long time ago.

I have gone to a place far below up above and in between the middle.
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 05:26 AM
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Remove dead plant material and vacuum mulm (don't plunge it into the substrate, just vacuum what's on top).

Do not uproot any living plants. Do not scrape algae off the glass. Leave living stuff alone or stuff that's not floating around the water. You don't want to add any more ammonia into the water column. Algae and plants don't die after only 30 hours. People do blackouts for 3-5 days and still can't kill algae. So don't scrape it off because that will kill it which will then turn into ammonia, making things worse. However, do remove anything that is already dead.

Do not disturb the substrate. You don't want to kick up the mulm into the water column.

Once you've cleaned out all dead plant material and vacuumed the surface of the substrate, then continue with your water change.

Trust me, you can keep the tank going like this for a very long time.

Oh, and you are no where near overstocked. Your fish can make it through this as long as you keep an eye on them.

Remember, water changes are your friend. Do at least one 50% water change a day, more if the fish start gasping at the surface.

If you can move the fish to a working aquarium, then that's even better.

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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 05:55 AM
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I was looking through my journal, and found that I had changed out 90% of the water every day while the power was out. You may not need to do that since you're power hasn't been out for as long, but just check your ammonia levels and let them guide you as to how much water to change out. Even though my tank was well stocked with fish, I only lost one roseline (aka torpedo barb) and had one sick apisto that I euthanized. All other fish were fine.

When Hurricane Ike hit. I was without power for around 9-10 days. Reading my old post, things happened in my tank such as the tiger lotus had uprooted and floated all around the tank while the power was out. I lost all my beneficial bacteria. All of it. Here's a description of what happened after the power came back on. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?p=698831

One week after power came back on, the tank already looked like this: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?p=699123

Less than a month later, the tank looked like this: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?p=711418

And to get some idea of how many fish I had in the tank, look at the 5th picture in this post: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?p=711427

The point is that not all is lost. Your tank can survive the power loss. Test your water for ammonia and do water changes as needed. Watch the fish for signs of low oxygen. Don't worry about the plants, most will survive. And the tank will look great again.

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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 06:03 AM
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I know it wouldn't circulate water but a drip from a bucket over the tank with another drip going to a bucket under the tank so the tank doesn't overflow would put a little ripple on the water's surface. Use airline tubing with a knot tied in it to adjust the amount of water moved. Could that be something to do between water changes until you find a battery powered air pump?


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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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The second link there is a picture of a swirly/curly plant.what is that plant and what is the algae that's on it?

If i move the fish to working tank do i need to change some of its water and put some of the water they're used to in it?

I have gone to a place far below up above and in between the middle.
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