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Now that I have invested several thousand dollars in aquariums, equipment, plants, fish and shrimp, I increasingly am concerned about power failures. Do any of you have an electric generator you would recommend? I understand that battery backups are only a short term solution. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks, David
 

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I got myself a 3500 from.ocean state job lot. Reasonable, quiet and powerful enough to run the tanks. I believe it's champion brand

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Have you actually had to run it? I don't know much about electricity, but I read somewhere that the power produced by a generator could have a negative effect on the pumps. Thank you for your response.
 

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You need to add up your total watts. I wouldn't worry so much about lights. You hope when power goes down it be a short time. So heaters and filters need to be run so there total wattage need to be figure. I would also buy one that's little bigger then you need. I like Honda generators for there size they take little room and there engines are the best.
 

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In your position I would think more whole house necessities than just your tank. Refrigerator, some lights, and your tanks. Kill two birds with one stone. It can be wired into your circuit panel to provide back up to certain circuit lines.
 

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When in cold country, I always kept a smallish generator. I like the Honda for quite when it is a small load. But then as I wanted to have other things run, I went for other units from the big box stores. I arranged an extension cord to power the furnace as well as some other things like the frig and a couple lights. I did not try to power them all at the same time but assumed that I would not be sleeping much and would rotate the equipment to minimize the load. One major thing to keep in mind is that you will not be likely to use it enough to wear it out so even a sub-standard unit may be fine. The second thing to remember is that nothing is harder on a power unit than setting unused. Either set a routine and run it up to full temperature every couple months or drain all the gasoline out of it and let it run until it dies. This keeps the gunk in the gas from setting up in the carb. Nothing worse than keeping a genset for years, only to find it won't start when the power is out?
 

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I have though about this a lot ever since super storm sandy. I lost power for almost 3 weeks. I had to bring all of my fish to my father in laws house. I was a major project. They had projected a major storm this past fall that never happened. I was about to pull the trigger on one, but I never did. They should be cheaper in the summer.
 

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Have you actually had to run your generator? Any problems with filters, air pumps or other aquarium-related equipment? Thanks for your response.
 

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In your position I would think more whole house necessities than just your tank. Refrigerator, some lights, and your tanks. Kill two birds with one stone. It can be wired into your circuit panel to provide back up to certain circuit lines.
You really want to have a circuit isolator on a home system like this. The last thing you need is to be injuring or electrocuting the utility workers repairing damaged or downed powerlines. I always just run a few heavy duty power cords from the generator to the necessities.
 

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You really want to have a circuit isolator on a home system like this. The last thing you need is to be injuring or electrocuting the utility workers repairing damaged or downed powerlines. I always just run a few heavy duty power cords from the generator to the necessities.
Thank you (I do tree work for the utilities) though to be honest the power company PS safety gear on the line that will effectively destroy a generator in real short order if it's not hooked up correctly

Still a good idea and required by law though
 

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I havnt run mine to the tanks. It does bog down when I use it with power tools, I can see how that may mess up pumps. When they run out of gas it winds down power, that could probably create issue to. I'd have all the tanks run to one switched location, if you don't get to the generator to re fuel in time you can shut the pumps down fast.

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Thank you (I do tree work for the utilities) though to be honest the power company PS safety gear on the line that will effectively destroy a generator in real short order if it's not hooked up correctly

Still a good idea and required by law though
You guys do some really appreciated, if not always recognized work.

I live down a road that frequently gets storm blown tree caused power outages, and it's comforting knowing there's a crew that will drag themselves and their trucks, saws and equipment out in nasty weather at all hours to get the electrons going again.

A big Thank You!

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Have you actually had to run your generator? Any problems with filters, air pumps or other aquarium-related equipment? Thanks for your response.
I think most simple aquarium gear don't mind the slight surges and AC frequency changes that most home issue generators make.

It *might* affect DIY digital circuitry/LED lamps, but a lot of what we use also gets sold in SE Asia and probably used on AC power grids that are less stringent in their voltage and frequency control.
 

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I would not worry at all about the electronics on our tanks when using generators. The stuff we use is far less complex and far, far less prone to damage than much of our house on a normal hot day. Filter motors are very simple items with nothing prone to damage while things like the TV, computer, microwave and dishwasher, etc. now have integrated circuits that are real easy to damage. What is not always mentioned is that power does fluctuate frequently and all is well. We think of storms but then many other things happen. Think of rural areas where there are lots of dairy farms where the coolers and milkers kick in at much the same time. The voltage on a rural line can drop if there are not automatic controls built into things. And small towns or companies don't! In a well designed and built system, the normal summertime AC use should not bother the grid but we all know that is not being done as everybody wants to cut costs. Brownouts and rolling blackouts are getting far too common.
Worry not about the filters or tanks but then it is a good idea to keep the TV, micro, computer and all those other things off the line until things settle a bit. If there is a major storm that takes rebuilding lines, the power may not be really, truly, trustworthy for a few day after it appears power is on again.
 

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For what its worth, I do have a Honda 2000 watt generator that I have used several times (gotta love Iowa weather sometimes).
In my situation, the 4 fish tanks in the living room all run off a single outlet which is solely connected to a single 20amp breaker. Having added up the wattage of the various items, I am a little less than 8 amps. This leaves enough excess power from my generator to run the heat side of the gas furnace (extension cord to each).

Typically our power outages last less than a day (usually 4 hours) so I figure the chest freezer will be fine. The refrigerator is good for atleast 8 hours with minimal issues.

My biggest concern was the bio media in the canister filters. Much more than 1 hour without oxygenated water running thru them and your beneficial bacteria start to die off. So far I think 5-6 hours is the longest I have run the tanks off the generator. No issues with any of the LED lights, filters, or tank heaters.
 

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You really want to have a circuit isolator on a home system like this. The last thing you need is to be injuring or electrocuting the utility workers repairing damaged or downed powerlines. I always just run a few heavy duty power cords from the generator to the necessities.

I live in Hurricane country, everyone has a generator and all are isolated to only the essentials. They preach about sending voltage backwards out of your house when the lineman are working on the lines. Good point, one I over looked
 

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Have you actually had to run your generator? Any problems with filters, air pumps or other aquarium-related equipment? Thanks for your response.
Yup , for 9 days after Sandy . No problems with fish related equipment for the simple reason that it wasn't running . If you need to set up a back up power installation that you might need to run off for any amount of time , one needs to set up priorities . What's important and what's not . Stuff like heat , well if you've got one , refrigerator , kitchen outlet so you have the microwave ,maybe 1 or 2 lighting circuits . Fish move to the bottom real fast . Just as an aside , I ran an extension cord over to the fish room lights after around 4 days . Dropped in some flakes , kept the lights on for a few hours , then cut the power to the fish room . No Losses over the whole period .
 

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I like the idea of laws to prevent power feeding back out from the house but then I also know that it is often not a real hazard to the guys on the line. I was a pole jumper for a few years and it is part of any good training to assume a line is hot until proven it is not. The danger may be more to the uneducated folks who want to get out and help. Too many times, I been driving the back allies and somebody jumps out of the yard to move a downed line so I don't run over it. They have no idea how many times people get killed doing that. That line may be laying just right so that it is still powered but not throwing sparks but when they pick it up, they get the full charge. Big thought is that if you are not trained, don't mess with the down wires, hot or not. The thing may go hot just as you pick it up!
 
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