Loosing Power with Saltwater
So I'm looking to get a SW tank, but my house tends to lose power quite a bit and that makes me pretty nervous about a SW tank. I found a great deal on a very large tank but I really don't want to invest all the $ necessary in a SW tank if a potential power outage is going to devestate the tank? I know its not ideal, but how big of a deal is it, aka how long is a tank ok without a power source generally? I realize the specifics are all variable, but just a general idea. I have no generator or anything like that so my fate is bound to my local electric company. Looking to get this tank this weekend so any help is appreciated!
how long do you generally have outages for? You could get a battery back-up power supply, like many people have for computers. Not sure how much power a large saltwater tank draws, so I'm not sure how long one of those would last.
300 gallon mega tank
: build in progress
75 gallon community tank
: tetras, danios, corys, platies, otos, pearl gouramis, bristlenose pleco, assassin snails, red cherry shrimp, bamboo shrimp
70 gallon growout tank: clown loaches, sailfin pleco
60 gallon goldfish tank: fancy goldfish
29 gallon frog tank
: 1 bullfrog
10 gallon and 5.5 gallon betta tanks: 1 male betta each, sometimes snails
well currently I've been without power since about 3:00 am.
I've always wanted to do SW, but I'm almost thinking I need to save up a couple thousand to invest first. The tank I found a great deal on does not have drilled holes or an overflow, but just a straight 150 gallon tank. I just have normal canister filters and no sump.
For those of you that do SW, is it THAT much easier with a overflow box or a reef ready style tank? I'm not familiar with SW to begin with, but dont want to purchase something that's going to need even more work than I'm already going to be going through just learning the concepts behind SW.
you can get the tank if it's a good deal but be ready to have it sitting while you bring yourself up to speed on the hobby. SW isn't a learn as you go type thing since if you do that you'll most likely destroy your system eventually (a bad start can come back to haunt you in a year or two)
As far as power systems, they'll draw a ton of power, lighting being the largest so if you wanna put the whole system on back-up forget it lol... however you could have the essentials (usually power heads are the bare minimum) on an inverter connected to a battery this would handle the power consumption of the powerheads since they'll be the most vital for a FOWLR or a reef system (no water movement = stagnation = BB dies)
What's the average time you're without power? (gotta give us hours since it may be 3am where you where but 9pm where i was lol)
55g Long --> After 18mo of doing well the tank crashed during moving. Most likely cause: Flatworm Die-off... won't start another until after moving... Likely not until late 2013
Check out the journal to follow my 55g SW tank
"You miss 100% of shots you don't take" -- Wayne Gretzky
I've had power failures of up to 4 hours with no real impact to either of my two reef tanks.
I'm not too sure how long would still be safe.
If you would loose power longer periods, you might want to have a back-up plan to keep temp from droping and to keep some water movement in the tank.
If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info
A fowler tank maybe but I wouldn't dream of having a reef tank if I were prone to even one outage a year of more then an hour. If you have a sump it complicates things even more with them being in danger of running dry should you lose syphon. Then there is winter time if you can keep it heated. A fowler would be fine if you could somehow keep it warm during an extended outage.
We lost power yesterday and today for the 1st time since being in the hobby. Our power is all underground so we don't know what happened. Yesterday it was out 1 pm till 5:30 pm and I had the pumps and skimmer running off my bosses generator after the 1st 2 hours.
Today it went out from 11:30pm and its still out. My boss bought a bigger generator and we ran the whole reef on it all day, including lights. At 5:30 it was still out, but public service hooked up massive generators to the substations to get the town going, so we're good now but god know when we will be back on the grid. I'm a mechanic and we didn't have lights or compressors half the day yesterday and half the day today, but we did have the office going and could get most things done with jacks, hand tools and cordless impact guns. With the big public service generator going we'll have lifts and compressors back again
You can go several days without light in a reef but I wouldn't go more then 2-3 hours without flow. If you loose power for extended periods of time I highly recommend investing in a small generator. Depending on your lighting a 1000 watt generator should run your tank including lights. If you have metal halide I would get a 2000 watt to be safe
Reef ready tanks are the way to go, hob overflows sometimes have trouble restarting, where RR don't have problems
29 gallon-planted community
20 long frag tank
75 gal-planted goldfish
75 gallon mixed reef with 20 gallon sump
I've had power outages of up to 6ish hours (overnight, and came back on while I was at work). No long term damage. I have battery operated air stones that I put in to keep some water movement in my reef tank. I don't have a sump.
Most off the shelf computer battery backups will not run aquarium equipment.
Originally Posted by Brhino
Some of the online reef sales shops sell UPS units that will run listed equipment.
My suggestion is check the models that will run aquarium components and search Craig's list for a used one that just needs new batteries.
I live in Florida, and during one summer my central air conditioning unit became unoperable one friday night (at 11pm 'room temperature' jumped to 88F). To make a long story short, my air conditioning wasn't restored until sunday evening.
While it was still a 'cool' 85F on saturday morning (fans had kept my reef temp in the high-70s), I made the decision to turn off powerheads, filters and pumps which ran the protein skimmer, reactors, etc, and lighting as a means to eliminate heat-generation from within the tank. During most of saturday and sunday indoor temps rose to 93-94F.
With the sole (and perhaps critical) exception of having cooling fans over the tank, my tank had been in a near-replicated power loss state from saturday morning to sunday evening (that is to say, zero water circulation). Fans kept water temp's at just below 85F.
I didn't reactivate circulation until late sunday sometime after my AC had been restored and when water temp had dropped to about 82F. During the entire ordeal my tank did fine (no coral or fish losses or even indications of stress). I think I only lost a couple of turbo snails due to the temperature. Most of my corals (for the one's that have them) had their feeder tentacles extended during the entire un-illuminated and flow-less time. I guess if I had more fish in the tank there may have been more signs of duress from them (at the time I had four small fish in a 65gal).
I think during complete power loss the primary danger comes from exposure to extreme temperature (cold or hot) rather than lack of flow (after all, corals are shipped in complete flow-less/lightless conditions all the time). I think I would have had heavy coral casualties had water temperature risen to and stayed at 88-94F for nearly two days.
Last edited by kaybee; 07-30-2011 at 01:39 PM.