Blizzard tank scenario - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Blizzard tank scenario

We've got the big blizzard coming up the east coast with predicted 2-3 feet of snow and possible power outages etc. I started thinking about fish tanks with no electricity for a few days. Any thoughts on "tank survival mode" regarding heat, filtration etc. I do have a wood stove and was thinking I could take tank water and heat it and keep cycling this through the tank to maintain temperature. Thoughts?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 01:45 PM
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What kind of fish are we talking? I have 2 standard fare SA cichlid/tetra tanks, and the little boogers are FAR FAR more resilient than you'd think.

The longest I've gone without power was about 25 hrs, but even with the thermostat in the house set at 60, they've been fine. I've even left my heater turned down to 60 for 2 days without issue.

As long as you don't have anything that requires very particular parameters (shrimp, discus, etc.), they should be fine.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Usual suspects in the tank. some platies, lamp-eye tetras, a few cardinals, some cories, a few oto cats. With wood stove running can probably keep tank room at 65-68 degrees.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 02:14 PM
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I would get a couple battery operated airpumps just to keep the water oxygenated and moving.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 02:18 PM
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it's going to take a good freeze to get your tank down to a dangerous temp.

sit back and relax infront of the tank!
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 02:45 PM
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A couple of years ago I lost power for about 2 days. I kept changing water during the day to add in warmer water. I had about 4 tanks then, and they did cool substantially overnight. I think I lost 2 fish, but it was not a good two days.

I'm completely stressed now over this storm, just hoping the power stays on. I now have 7 tanks and water changes are going to be a lot of work if I have to go through that.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 03:24 PM
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Years ago I had a tank with two small oscars that got down into the 40's. When I found it the fish were both laying motionless on the bottom. I thought they were both dead. Slowly heated up the water over several hours. The fish 'came to' and lived a long life.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 03:49 PM
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i only have my one 75g. The value of my tank is quite substantial. A generator is my only option because I will not risk my pets lives and I don't want to lose all my hard work and investment. Thankfully, I have not had to use it.

75 Gallon Low Tech w/ Green Terror Pair
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 03:58 PM
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Bought a generator, screw you winter storm! I win!!!
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 04:12 PM
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There are so many different setups that each person has to look it over and decide. Is the power loss going to let the house get cold? While fish can survive being chilled, it is NOT a good idea and we all know that. That is why we use heaters. If you want the fish to stay healthy, have a plan in mind as to what you are going to do. Will your water supply stay running as well as warm or do you have a way to warm water like on a gas stove which will still operate? Depending on how your system is built, not all water will stay warm and available. Not all gas heat systems will operate as it takes electricity to pull the solenoid for gas flow.
Now is late but better now than when it gets dark?

Think about the filters. They will stop when the power stops, What is your plan?
You can do a lot by dipping tank water and repouring it through a HOB but that leaves a canister not so handy. Doing a frequent water change with water warmed on a gas stove will get many of us by the crisis. But it also will require lots of time, work. and worry.
If the power is going to be off for several days and the house is prone to getting below freezing so that pipes break, a generator can be a real bargain but it takes some thought before hand.
Once the power is out, the generators will be gone off the shelves and you may not be able to get to the store anyway! When in cold country, I kept a generator. but they are expensive and a pain to maintain.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 04:36 PM
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Putting a water container on top of the tank with an airline siphon tied in a knot so it just drips would keep the water surface moving enough to increase O2 a bit. Dripping into an HOB would be perfect!

Would media be better off damp in the canister? Drain it?

Wrap the tank in blankets to keep the heat in! That would help a lot.


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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 05:11 PM
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Well , its starting to snow here in NJ , so it's probably too late for you to do anything substantial , like a UPS or battery backup to run your heater/filter .
If you can keep your place in the low 60's with the stove , you'll probably be OK if the outage is short . If your tank is decent size it'll have enough thermal mass to lose heat relatively slowly and you'll be good .The fish will take gradual changes pretty well. If it's a long outage , and you can heat water on your stove , maybe putting some water in a plastic bag , sorta like a water balloon , and heat the bag in a pot of water until the bagged water is slightly warm , and then float the bag , keeping it away from contacting the tank sides , maybe the heated water in the bag would heat the tank sufficiently . Have to keep an eye on the tank temp. when your doing this though .
Just as an aside , I was out for 9 days after Sandy . I've got a generator tied into my house via a transfer switch , but it only runs a few necessary circuits , so my fish had no light , filtration , and water temps were in the low/mid 60's .
I fed once about 4 days in , gave 'em a few hours of poor light via extension cords . No losses , plants were fine ( I have mostly low light stuff).
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 05:21 PM
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If you need a temporary heater, try this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM57cI_-AG4
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquanauts View Post
If you need a temporary heater, try this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM57cI_-AG4
Great info, and a LOT cheaper than a generator! Will definitely do that, esp. after having had a 30-hour power out in a total electric house with 5 fish tanks. (I wrapped the tanks in blankets and only lost 1 fish, an Endler. All my BNs, including babies, survived.)
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 05:57 PM
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I'm also quite concerned about this blizzard being right in the 18+ track in maine. I've got a few battery powered air pumps, but I'm very concerned about the heat. If I loose power all heat stops obviously.

luckily I have a 5 or so lbs of driveway heat CaCl2 just in case, and a few 1 L bottles.
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