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WHAT TO DO IN A POWER FAILURE

WE MADE IT THROUGH THE BLACKOUT OF 2003 WITH ONLY 24 HOURS OF POWER LOSS.  (7 DAYS WAS THE LONGEST POWER OUTAGE IN CICHLID WORLD HISTORY.)  USING BATTERY POWERED PUMPS AND HYDROGEN PEROXIDE; WE DID IT WITHOUT LOSING A SINGLE FISH.    WE REMAINED OPEN (IN THE DARK!), TO SELL BATTERY POWERED PUMPS AND GIVE OUT FISH ADVICE.  HERE IS THAT ADVICE FOR NEXT TIME, PRINT THIS PAGE AND SAVE IT INSIDE YOUR FISH TANK STAND:

1. AIR - HAVE A BATTERY POWERED AIR PUMP ALREADY ON HAND!!!  $15 IS THE PRICE OF ONE FISH.  NOT A LOT OF MONEY TO KEEP ALL OF YOUR FISH ALIVE.  TWO  "D" BATTERIES WILL KEEP THE PUMP GOING FOR WELL OVER 24 HOURS.  ANOTHER CONVENIENT USE FOR THIS PUMP WHEN YOU ARE TRANSPORTING FISH OR MOVING A LARGE AQUARIUM.   KEEP THE BATTERIES IN THE REFRIGERATOR, SO YOU CAN FIND THEM LATER. 

 NEW PUMPS THAT HAVE JUST BEEN MADE AVAILABLE THAT ALLOW YOU TO KEEP THE PUMP CONNECTED TO THE AQUARIUM AT ALL TIMES.  THE MOMENT WALL POWER (110V) FAILS, THE BATTERY PUMP TAKES OVER ALL BY ITSELF.  I REPEAT, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE HOME TO TURN THIS PUMP ON.    THIS IS A GREAT OPTION IF YOU WERE TO BE ON VACATION OR JUST TOO FAR FROM HOME TO BE ABLE TO MANUALLY TURN THE PUMP ON.

2.  HYDROGEN PEROXIDE - YEP, THE SAME STUFF YOU HAVE IN THE BATHROOM CLOSET.  ONE TEASPOON FOR 30 GALLONS (SLIGHTLY MORE FOR CROWDED TANKS) WILL KEEP YOUR FISH OXYGENATED FOR 12-24 HOURS.  IF THE FISH ARE BACK GASPING AT THE TOP, TIME TO ADD MORE PEROXIDE.  

3. WATER CHANGES Ė IN THE BLACKOUT OF 2003, WE DID NOT HAVE CITY WATER AVAILABLE.  BUT NORMALLY, YOU CAN CHANGE WATER AT THE FIRST SIGN OF FISH GOING TO THE TOP FOR "AIR".   YOUR GAS HOT WATER HEATER WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE HOT WATER WITHOUT ELECTRICITY.  IF YOU HAVE AN ELECTRIC HOT WATER HEATER, REPLACE IT THIS WEEKEND!!!  A GAS HOT WATER HEATER WILL PAY FOR ITSELF IN ABOUT 7 MONTHS IN ENERGY SAVINGS, AND LET YOU TAKE A SHOWER IN THE DARK. 

4. AGITATE WATER  - IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO DO ANY OF THE ABOVE, FILL A PITCHER WITH TANK WATER AND POUR IT BACK INTO THE TANK FROM AS HIGH AS YOUR ARMS WILL REACH.   DO THIS UNTIL YOUR ARMS ARE TIRED, WHILE YOU THINK ABOUT THE BATTERY PUMP YOU NEVER GOT AROUND TO BUYING.   REPEAT EVERY 30 MINUTES, OR WHENEVER FISH ARE GASPING AT THE TOP AGAIN.  THIS ALLOWS CO TO LEAVE AND O TO ENTER.  ONCE FISH ARE AT THE TOP, THEY ARE UNDER HEAVY STRESS!  DO SOMETHING NOW!

5.  FEEDING - DO NOT FEED THE FISH.  THEY WILL BE FINE.  EVEN IF THE POWER TAKES A WEEK TO RETURN.  MAKE SURE THE KIDS UNDERSTAND THIS TOO, AS THEY ARE LIKELY TO BE HOME.  BETTER YET, JUST HIDE THE FOOD.  IF YOUR FROZEN BLOOD WORMS OR BRINE SHRIMP THAWS, BUT REMAINS COLD, YOU CAN STILL USE THEM REFRIGERATED.  DO NOT RE-FREEZE!!!   IF THEY BECOME WARM, DISCARD THEM IMMEDIATELY.

6.  TANK TEMPERATURE - THE AQUARIUM WILL GRADUALLY DECLINE IN TEMPERATURE.  THIS IS GENERALLY NOT A PROBLEM.  FISH, IN COOLER WATER, EAT LESS, AND EXCRETE LESS, BOTH GOOD THINGS IN A POWER FAILURE.  IF THE TEMPERATURE IS FALLING BELOW 40 DEGREES, AND YOU KEEP TROPICAL FISH, YOU MIGHT NEED TO START TO DO WATER CHANGES WITH WARMER WATER TO KEEP THE TEMP UP.  BE GLAD YOU HAVE THAT GAS HOT WATER HEATER.  DONíT WORRY ABOUT GETTING THE TEMP ALL THE WAY BACK TO 80 DEGREES, JUST KEEP IT ABOVE 40.   WHEN THE POWER DOES RETURN, DONíT GO CRAZY AND START POURING HOT WATER INTO THE TANK.  JUST LET THE ELECTRIC HEATER DO ITíS JOB AND GRADUALLY LET THE WATER GET BACK UP TO TEMP. 

FISH EXPOSED TO COLD WATER USUALLY GET THE ďICKĒ PARASITE.  AFTER POWER IS RESTORED, A PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE WITH A HALF DOSE OF "ICK GUARD" IS RECOMMENDED.   DO NOT ADD THE ICK GUARD BEFORE THE POWER IS RESTORED, BECAUSE MEDICATIONS LESSEN THE OXYGEN CARRYING CAPACITY OF THE WATER.

7. APC - IT SEEMS THAT EVERY WEEKEND, BEST BUY OR COMPUSA HAS AN UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER SUPPLY ON SALE, AFTER REBATE, FOR A FEW BUCKS.  THIS IS A GREAT OPTION, BECAUSE IT RUNS ALL OF YOUR EQUIPMENT, NOT JUST THE AIR PUMP.  THIS DEVICE LOOKS LIKE AN OVER SIZED POWER STRIP, BUT IT IS A KIND OF BATTERY THAT CHARGES ALL THE TIME, TURNING ITSELF INTO A 110 VOLT POWER SUPPLY ANY TIME THE POWER DIPS OR FAILS.  THIS WORKS ALL BY ITSELF, EVEN IF YOU ARE ON VACATION.  IF YOU DON'T PLUG THE HEATER INTO IT (OR ANY HIGH POWER MARINE LIGHTING), AN APC CAN RUN FOR DAYS, KEEPING YOUR FILTERS AND AIR PUMPS OPERATING NORMALLY.  HEATERS USE LOTS OF WATTS, SO THEY COULD RUN AN APC DOWN IN A FEW HOURS.  IF THIS IS A HUGE CONCERN, YOU COULD JUST BUY A LARGER APC.  YOU CAN TEST HOW LONG IT WILL RUN WITH YOUR OWN SET UP JUST BY UNPLUGGING IT AND WAITING UNTIL IT RUNS OUT OF POWER. 

DO NOT ASSUME THAT IT COULD NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.  A REPORT PUBLISHED IN LATE 2004 CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THE POWER COMPANIES HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO MAKE ANY SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES TO OUR GRID SYSTEM.  IT COULD WELL HAPPEN AGAIN TOMORROW.  ARE YOU (AND ANYONE ELSE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD) PREPARED FOR A WEEK WITHOUT POWER TO YOUR FISH TANK?  GET PREPARED TODAY.

 

  ERIC WEBSTER

© 2004  www.cichlidworld.net

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