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Power Outages

Contents:

  1. Prevent Fish Death's
    by patbob/sequent.com (Patrick White) (Fri, 3 Sep 93)
  2. cold fish -Reply
    by Frauley/Elson <fraulels/minet.ca> (Mon, 19 Jan 1998)
  3. cold fish
    by Frauley/Elson <fraulels/minet.ca> (Wed, 14 Jan 1998)
  4. cold fish
    by "Darren J. Hanson" <djhanson/calweb.com> (Wed, 14 Jan 1998)
  5. (M)(R) Back up power for reef tank?
    by patti/hosehead.intel.com (Patti Beadles) (Sun, 27 Dec 1992)
  6. UPS and filters
    by pcshop/rockisland.com (Dieter Schuman & McKinsey Stargard) (Sat, 21 Nov 1998)
  7. UPS and filters
    by BlackNet Runner <br/ldl.net> (Sat, 21 Nov 1998)
  8. dark tanks, Mother Plants, car battery UPS's
    by "Richard J. Sexton" <richard/aquaria.net> (Sun, 22 Nov 1998)
  9. Car battery UPS
    by Curt Shambeau <curt/execpc.com> (Mon, 23 Nov 1998)

Prevent Fish Death's

by patbob/sequent.com (Patrick White)
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 93

In article <1993Sep2.015335.29345-at-nmt.edu> jamaro-at-nmt.edu (Jason J. Amaro) writes:
>Hi Everybody
>       After seeing Emily on the news last night I began to wonder what
>was happening to all the fish!  I live in New Mexico so the really nice all
>year and we have not had a major anything for years(pound on wood).  Well 
>anyways let's start a discussion that would be about emergency care of animals
>.  What to do in a power outage! What to do if the water supply is down(recent
>floods)!  I winter is coming around the corner so maybe the net could save
>a few fish.

        A power outage pretty much causes the following three problems to
occur to an aquarium: it cools down, the fish don't get enough oxygen and
bio filtration stops.

        O2 usually isn't a problem if you have any kind of water movement, and
in some cases at least, simply stirring the water around a bit will suffice.
At any rate, there are pretty good battery powered air pumps that can be had
that will keep the water moving enough such that O2 isn't a problem.

        Heat is a problem.  Unless you have a non-electrical source of heat for
your aquarium, about all you can do is to insulate the tank (blankets,
styrofoam, etc.) and hope for the best.
        One possibly source of non-electrical heat is hot water from your hot
water heater (of course, it has to be able to heat water without electricity).
If you add the water in batches, you need to balance the stress of repeated
temperature changes against chilling the fish.  You could use some tubing to
run warm water into the tank constantly (be careful of ammonia, chlorine and
chloramine in the water), but it would be on the expensive side -- if you have
a marine tank or don't want to simply mix the water in, then maybe use some
tubing as a heat exchanger.
        If you have a woodstove (like is common out here in the PNW) or a
kerosene heater (or maybe even a gas oven), you can probably keep a room warm
enough to be comfy for the fish.. if you're lucky enough to have your fish in
that room, or can move the heat to them, then this would also work (you
probably don't want to move the fish to the heat.. a kettle full of neons on
the stove will probably meet with a much worse demise than leaving them where
they were :-).  BTW, if you're talking about several days of power outage,
you'll probably want a warm room for yourself too (most furnaces require
power to run a fan, so the whole house gets pretty frigid during these
things).
        If you have a small tank, or at least a small heat need, you
theoretically could supply heat by using a car battery.  However, one could
only draw 50W from it for a continuous 14 hours (assuming 12V and 60 Amp hour).
Question here is what to use for a heater in the tank?  A standard 110V heater
won't produce a useful amount of heat on 12V (e.g. a 300W heater becomes a 3.5W
one when run on 12V, if I've done my math right), and you'll get considerably
less useful heat from your car battery if you use a power inverter to boost
the voltage to 110V.

        The last problem is the biofiltration.  If it isn't in the tank proper,
and you have no way to pump water into it, then you won't have much.  Also,
when the power *does* come back on, if it has been out for a couple of
days, the filter will likely have gone anarobic, and you'll need to clean
it before you turn it back on.
        Things like AmQuell (to name one brand) that chemically lock up the
ammonia produced, can be a big help.
        If you try running warm water into the tank constantly like I mentioned
above, this might also suffice as a way to get rid of excess ammonia.  This is,
after all, the gist of how they deal with ammonia in aquaculture.  You might
need to use a heafty flow of water though (which means throwing a lot of heat
down the drain).

        I've glossed over the lighting and mechanical filtration as
unimportant -- the critters and plants can probably survive a few days without
either.

        Some things to consider are using a an uninterruptable power supply or
power inverter.  It will certianly run a heater, and it might even run a
centrifugal pump and a vibrator-type air pump.  You'd need to check on
whether it can run inductive loads though.
        Also, the one thing you can usually count on *not* being able to do
in the event of a power outage, is to go out and buy what you need -- if you
don't have it on hand, you'll be SOL.


-- 
Pat White (work: patbob-at-sequent.com, (503) 578-3463)
          (home: eaglet.rain.com!puterbob!patbob)

cold fish -Reply

by Frauley/Elson <fraulels/minet.ca>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Kathryn Olson wrote:
> 
> Gary,
> 
> Sorry to hear about your fish.  Last year in Seattle we gave the fish the blankets and toughed it out in our ski gear.  We were lucky, power was on in 12 hours.
> 
> Kathy
Hi Kathy,
We had around 37 hours off, a few hours on, then 74 or so hours off.
Interestingly, the blanket, hot 2 litre pop bottle trick worked for the
first 37, but the second wave of ice did it. I'm still losing heavily as
a bacterial disease is picking off the post-stressed, which is most
everything I had. The fish I got to a warm place had some wild
temperature swings at the start, and I'm paying now.
I'll wait it out or cure it, whichever comes first, and rebuild. 
It's an extreme lesson for those of us in the relative north here. At
down to -5, a little attention will get you through a day or two, if
you're lightly stocked. You can keep the tanks around 20C with a house
temperature of 10 to 12. At -20, there isn't much to do except try to
keep yourself warm. You stop studying the thermometers in the tanks, and
start eyeballing the blankets over them.
Still, I used to worry when we had a 4-5 hour winter blackout. For very
little time or effort, you can get your fish through. If you act fast,
it shouldn't be a problem.
For the list members scratching their heads at this in Brazil, at least
we didn't have a problem keeping our beer cold.
-Gary Elson.


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cold fish

by Frauley/Elson <fraulels/minet.ca>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998
To: apisto list <apisto/majordomo.pobox.com>

Hi all,
I just survived the great ice storm of 1998 (7 sub-zero days with no
power or heat). DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!!!, but I have learned that
Apistogrammoides pucallpaensis, Apisto cacatuoides, mcmasteri and
veijita can survive 30 hours at 10C, but N taenia and D maculatus get
into trouble at 12C. How's that for useless info? I got most of my fish
to shelter on the 3rd day. You can do a lot with blankets and floating
coke bottles full of hot water, when you can find hot water. 
There, I have vented. Thank you.
Gary (disgruntled in Montreal)


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cold fish

by "Darren J. Hanson" <djhanson/calweb.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

At 11:22 AM 1/14/98 -0500, Frauley/Elson wrote:
>Hi all,
>I just survived the great ice storm of 1998 (7 sub-zero days with no
>power or heat). DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!!!, but I have learned that
>Apistogrammoides pucallpaensis, Apisto cacatuoides, mcmasteri and
>veijita can survive 30 hours at 10C, but N taenia and D maculatus get
>into trouble at 12C. How's that for useless info? I got most of my fish
>to shelter on the 3rd day. You can do a lot with blankets and floating
>coke bottles full of hot water, when you can find hot water. 
>There, I have vented. Thank you.
>Gary (disgruntled in Montreal)

Sorry to hear about that, Gary!

I know this isn't as bad but a couple years ago here in Sacramento, CA we
were having bad flooding in most of the areas and power lines were down
everywhere. I think it was in December 94. What I did was nothing at first
except water changes on all the tanks I had (over 70) with mostly apistos.
After the second day I was noticing problems with some of the fish. I then
realized they could survive better in a bag put in a fish box, somewhat like
getting them ready to ship. I spent about 10 hours bagging all the pairs,
groups, singles and fry. The adults lasted much longer than the fry and our
outage was only 62 hrs total. I put the fish in the bags with fresh water
that had a dechlorinating chemical in it. I lost 99% of all my fry from the
apistos, my adults did survive, A. cacatuoides, A. macmasteri, A. 'Rio
Tefe', A. rotpunkt, A. borellii, A. juruensis, A. hongsloi. The problem I
found was leaving them in their tanks with their filters with no air going
to the tanks. The bacteria in the sponges died off and started poisioning
the tanks. (FWIW)

Kaycy


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(M)(R) Back up power for reef tank?

by patti/hosehead.intel.com (Patti Beadles)
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 1992
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria

In article <tom.725421956-at-dynamo.ecn.purdue.edu> tom-at-dynamo.ecn.purdue.edu (Tom McCain) writes:
>I was recently asked what I would do with my 45 gallon reef tank in
>the event of a power outage.

My 300 gallon reef tank lost power last week.  It's unusual for us to
lose power for more than a few minutes around here, but this time it
was out for about eight hours.

When the power went out, I immediately made a mad dash for the tank to
make sure the check valves were working ... it had occurred to me just
that morning that I hadn't cleaned them in a while.  I did NOT want
wet carpet.

After that, I didn't do anything in particular, other than checking
every couple of hours to make sure everything was OK.  If you have a
relatively low fish load (as any reef tank should) you should be OK
for quite a while.  If the inhabitants start looking stressed (gasping
at the surface, for example) a good way to circulate water is to grab
a pitcher and start picking up water and pouring it back in.  This
will both agitate the surface and move water to the lower levels.

Macro algae consume oxygen when the lights are out, which would be a
consideration in a tank with heavy growths of soft-bodied algaes.  (My
understanding is that calcerous algaes photosynthesize more slowly,
but I can't point at specific references to back that up.)

If you have a LONG power outage, temperature drops might be a problem.
Use whatever you can (styrofoam, blankets, etc.) to insulate the
tank.

I'm not sure how long the batteries in those air pumps last, so I
don't know if it would be worthwhile to have one or not.  I've never
seen the need (even when I lived in St. Louis, where power outages
were more common and lasted longer.)
-- 
Patti Beadles  503/696-4358 | I don't speak for Intel, nor vice-versa.
   patti-at-hosehead.intel.com |
   75555.767-at-compuserve.com | If it wasn't for the last minute,
or just yell, "Hey, Patti!" |             I'd never get anything done!


UPS and filters

by pcshop/rockisland.com (Dieter Schuman & McKinsey Stargard)
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998

I wish these would work, but they have enough power in them only to "idle"
the computer. some are only big enough to allow you time to close programs
and turn the computer off. I have never seen one powerful enough to keep a
filter running thru a power outtage. You can get a battery and an inverter
and do it that way. Please let me know if you find a UPS that would work for
this application. ~McKinsey 
>
>I had a power outage for several hours with a cannister filter, and the
>tank
>started up again without a problem.
>
>By the way, has anybody used a uninterruptable power supply on
>an aquarium? These things are like giant batteries intended to keep
>your computer on if the power goes out.
>
>Thanks
>S. Wong
>


UPS and filters

by BlackNet Runner <br/ldl.net>
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998

Uhm, I do beg the differ.  Actually the life of a ups would be
determined on the load (Tho I have NO clue what the load is on your
tanks) With my setups I could run all three of them on an APC 1400 for
about a day with no power.  As for ups brands (no flames please)  I
would recomend any apc.  Reason? cause apc produces a near perfect sine
wave and most of the others (triplite, etc..) is more of a square wave
or triangle.

At work (am a network engineer) I commonly work with ups' that could run
some monster servers for a while and yes they do exist but you would
have to weigh the cost of an expensive ups vs the power outtages in your
area.

Ed


>>
>> I wish these would work, but they have enough power in them only to
"idle"
>> the computer. some are only big enough to allow you time to close
programs
>> and turn the computer off. I have never seen one powerful enough to
keep a
>> filter running thru a power outtage. You can get a battery and an
inverter
>> and do it that way. Please let me know if you find a UPS that would
work
>> for
>> this application. ~McKinsey


dark tanks, Mother Plants, car battery UPS's

by "Richard J. Sexton" <richard/aquaria.net>
Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998

At 03:48 AM 11/22/98 -0500, you wrote:
>
>So why would crypts, anubias and crispus find it easier growing in a little
>darker environment? Ours do fine in really bright light (2x175w MH in a 24"
>deep tank). Besides, it's not so much the depth as the extra shading
>provided by  taller plants.  
>George Booth, Ft. Collins, Colorado (booth@frii.com)

They work harder to reach the light. Put two equal plants in two tanks and
the plant in the larger tank will be bigger, all other things being equal,
at least thats what I've noticed.


>My questions-
>1) Pets Warehouse lists many Anubias and also one Bolbitis as having regular,
>and "Mother" plants, with the price difference being 4-10 times that of the
>regular offering.  It looks like an easy way to reach the $25 minimum, but
>what is the difference, that this is justified?

Yeah, I'd say so. The small plants are a snip off the end of a MP;
the MP itself is probably huge. I was never ablt to get B. haudelotti
to grow from a small plant bt had absolutley no problem with
a very large one, fwiw.



>some desktop workstations.  The larger UPS units will run a server for 30
>minutes or more.  It might run a filter for quite a while.  It would mean an
>investment of a good UPS for each tank, though.  I don't think hooking in a
>heater would be adviseable, but at least you can keep the air pumps and power
>filters going.

A UPS is just, essentially, a car battery, a chargng circuit
and an invertor that converts 12V DC to 120V AC.

How long it will run your stuff is determing soley by the size of the
battery. I'm a bit of a car buff; one of my cars is a diesel and they
DO NOT start in the cold with a weak battery, it has to be perfect
and the bigger the better.

So, here's what I've found that would be what you
want to use if you build a ups - which isn't a
daunting prospect.

1) You can use any working car battery you can find.
It'll probably work for 5 - 20 minutes depending on
what you have plugged in.

2) Theres about 4 manufacturors that make all the
batteries. Interstate and Exide are two I rememeber.
go to a place (I use the local Farm Co-op) that sells
Exide (or Interstate) batteries as opposed to their
own name brand. You'll probably find some huge batteries
for diesels, tractors, trucks, what have you. Some of these
things are bloody enromous! I was in the coop yesteday
and noticed that the regular car size battery was 85%
of the price for a re-branded one at a car store
("Canadian tire") ($85 vs. $100) Then they had one the
size of the huge one in my diesel slab sided beast for
about $100. Then, there were a couple that there could
just be NO WAY they'd ever fit in a car. The largest
was about $170 CDN.

3) Forget conventional batteries, and use an Optima
brand battery. These are built differently, look different
and work better, with more power and much greater reistance
to be killed by regular deep-discharge. They use spirally
wound plates instead of flat cells, come in a grey plastic
case with either a red, yellow or blue top depending on
what capacity you use. About $170 CDN. You want the
blue (Marine) one. They also have an advantage that
they are a completley sealed battery. You can use them
upside down; these are the only ones you can do that with.

4) You can gang batteries together in parallel for
more time while the power is off, as well. It's
linear, so if one will run them for 5 minutes
2 will go for 10, 3 for 15 etc.


For a charging circuit, get one of those universal
adapters that puts out 12VDC; for a power convertor
get one from a car parts store.

Take them all apart, hook them up to the battery
and you have a ups.


- --
Richard J. Sexton                                         richard@aquaria.net
Maitland House, Bannockburn, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1Y0       +1 (613) 473 1719


Car battery UPS

by Curt Shambeau <curt/execpc.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998

> Richard Sexton	writes:
> 
> > A UPS is just, essentially, a car battery, a chargng circuit
> >  and an invertor that converts 12V DC to 120V AC.
> 
> NO, I don't think so.  I would not want a lead-acid battery in my house,
> giving off all those fumes.  Also, the way I've seen UPS units being tossed
> around, it is not a safe way for commercial producers to manufacture them.
> I'm sure they would be getting sued up the wazoo on a regular basis.  They are
> more likely dry NiCads, or some other rechargeablw dry cells.  The batteries
> in military fighter jets are muti-cell NiCads, and they would make nice UPS
> units.

On the contrary - All UPS's I've seen use lead/gel acid batteries.
However, they are *SEALED* batteries.  

I would not recommend any kind of normal car battery that could give off
gasses or leak, but the sealed gel acid batteries are safe if treated
properly.  The alternative would be to put a car battery UPS outside, and
run some cables inside, but I doubt this would be cost effective, as
regular UPS's are not that much $$$.

- --------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Curtis V. Shambeau  |  curt@execpc.com  |  http://www.execpc.com/~curt |
|                Executive Vice President - Exec-PC, Inc.                |
- --------------------------------------------------------------------------


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This page was last updated 20 December 1998