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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The more time I invest, and more importantly money as well as becoming attached to my fish I have started thinking about how much it would suck if I lost power for 4-5 days as we did during an ice storm one winter. I only have a 10 and 15 gallon tank so it is not a huge consumption of power but I run two 10W LED floodlights above both them so that is 20W (not bad). However that is where the simularities end, the 10 gallon has an internal filter and 25W heater where the 15 gallon has an external canister that I fitted a mean Eco 396 pump to as well as a UV & 200W in-line heater. Yes the hardware is overkill on the 15 gallon so I am thinking it would be wise in the case of a power outage to have a HOB and small internal heater handy.

Does anyone have pictures of their UPS setups?
 

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It would take a HUGE UPS to run even a small tank for more than a day. Most UPSs in the $70 range have ~80watt hours of backup, so it could run a 20W setup for 4 hours. A larger $120 range UP would have something like 120watt hours of backup, and most UPSs are only designed to be used for about 3 hours max. A $500 rackmount commercial quality UPS has about 500 watt hours of backup, so it could run your tank for almost a day. I have a UPS on my setup but its only for small blackouts, I don't think it would last much longer than 10 minutes.

The most realistic setup is a smallish air pump with a battery backup to keep the tank alive.

This one supposedly runs for a week on 2 "D" batteries, and if they run out you just put in a fresh pair.

: Amazon.com: Penn-Plax Silent Air B11 Battery Operated Air Pump
 

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You'll never keep your whole aquarium running. There is no need to run the lights during a power outage, just a waste of power. Plants will live 1-2 weeks without any light.

You also don't need to filter short term so you don't need to run any of your filters.

You need 2 things:

1. Keep your fish from freezing to death. Heaters are power hogs so you are better off taking tank water and warming it up on the stove or other method to keep the temperature up. heater pads in plastic bags work as well. Just replace them every 6 hours and you will be fine.

2. Oxygen. The biggest problem is obviously your fish running out of O2 and suffocating. In order to prevent this you need something to move the water around and introduce gas exchange. This can be done with a battery powered air pump or with a circulation pump.

For instance: Battery Backup | EcoTech Marine will run one of their smaller circulation pumps for up to 72 hours on a charge.

Battery powered air pumps usually just run on D batteries and can be replaced when they run out.
 

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I have been living in a rural area that suffers frequent power outages for 25 years. The worst outage was during an ice storm in 1998. We lost power for 11 days. I did not have any fish losses. Since that time, we have had two other extended power outages. One for three days and one for five. The three day one was in summer, and the other two were both in the winter. We heat with a wood stove, so warmth was not an issue, the tanks stay at around 70 f. with just the ambient room temperature. As for oxygen, I do own a battery powered air pump, but have only used it once with a tank of goldfish that were on the second floor of the house during the summer power outage. It got quite warm in their tank, and they were large baseball sized goldfish.
Other than that, I haven't used any back up aeration, and the fish and plants have all survived. After an extended outage, I do lightly rinse my filter material before I restart the tanks. Also, I don't feed during the power outage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have seen the battery powered air pumps, that is always an option. I'm looking at a used 1500W UPS that I can modify to run off car batteries if I wanted to, I understand how the light may be unnecessary as we have cloudy days in nature but after 2-3 days things start yellowing even a window of 4 hours after a 2 day black out could make tremendous differences in stability.

As it stands my 15 gallon tank with all the external equipment is a timer that kills the pump between midnight and 5am so I can sleep. Not far enough into that build to find out if that 5 hours of stillness will effect my tanks health?

No filtering during a blackout you say hmm, makes sense just need to keep the water moving. Good call on heating tank water, or using heat packs in bags!! Rather than a battery powered air pump unit, if my UPS is used just for a normal plug-in air pump that would run for a long time I bet...surely if I bypass the inverter and run a 12V air pump that would work well.

Thanks for all your input everyone - the 10 gallon is a riparium with lots of plants above the surface the the greenery that could benefit from any lighting is quite dense. I may just pickup a generator for the rest of my home and wire it into my main panel, problem solved and it covers the rest of my home (minimal use).

Can anyone recommend what they use for heaters in bags? I may experiment just so I know what will work.
 

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Why not buy a 150-200 watt inverter for your car. It would be plenty strong to power what you need during the day and at night use a battery powered air pump. Saves you a few hundred if not thousands bucks on buying a generator.

Bump: Car inverter
 
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