Preparing Your Aquarium For A Power Outage

Power outages are one of the many problems that aquarists donít think about until it is too late. Power outages caused by bad weather, car accidents, tripped breakers, or simply poor wiring, can kill all the animals in your tank in a matter of hours.

Many people are either at work or asleep much of the day. When you are asleep or at work, power outages often are not noticed for quite a while. An APEX AquaController or Hydros Control set up for power outage notification can make you aware of a power outage immediately.

Here are some ways to save your aquarium if there is a power outage.

Short-term Power Outages
Whenever there is a power outage the primary concern is oxygenating the aquarium water. Normally this is done by water movement at the surface from filters, pumps, and air pumps. A simple solution is the JBJ Maxum Air Pump. The JBJ Maxum Air Pump is a low-voltage AC/DC air pump with a built-in lithium-ion battery that provides up to 24 hours of operation during power outages, emergencies, or while transporting fish. The dual outlets can output up to 8 L/m of air, providing plenty of air to handle the most demanding aquariums.

The Maxum automatically switches to its internal backup battery in the event of a power failure. At full power it can easily last 24 hours but can be switched to a special interval mode that runs 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off, to stretch the overall aeration time to 48 hours on battery alone. We also carry the Penn-Plax Silent Air B11 Auto/On Battery Powered Air Pump.

A water pump run from a battery backup is a step above keeping your aquarium alive with an air pump. The best pumps in this situation are internal circulation pumps with maximum surface agitation for aeration. There are two kinds of circulation pumps: AC pumps and DC pumps. For AC pumps, such as Hydor Koralias, or Marineland Maxi-Jets, the best way to keep them operating during a power outage is a computer UPS battery backup. This can often power most pumps for 3-8 hours. Hopefully, thatís a period longer than the power outage.

For aquarists with DC pumps, a UPS is a poor choice because the UPS is inefficient at providing power to DC devices. A better option is the IceCap Battery Backup V3. This battery can power the Maxspect Gyre, Ice Cap Gyre, Reef Octopus Controllable, Tunze Stream Pumps, and other DC pumps with the proper adaptor. You can use the Tunze Safety Connector with Tunze Stream Pumps to connect to 12V batteries. The Ice Cap Battery Backup V2 will last considerably longer than a UPS and additional battery units can be daisy chained together for longer run times. One backup can run a 50 watt pump for 35 hours.

Long-Term Power Outages
Long-term power outages lasting multiple days are rare, but they do happen. In these cases, a battery backup by itself may not be sufficient. Consider a plan to use the battery backup until itís exhausted, and then transition to a large supply of batteries.

If you have the money, purchase a generator that can power your tank as well as other important items in your home. If the cost of a generator is preventing you from getting one, consider a car inverter so you can turn your car into a simple generator when needed.

Just remember, if you donít have the equipment for keeping your aquarium alive during a power outage already in place, you will likely lose all of your livestock during a significant power outage. Plan ahead. A battery air pump is extremely cheap and there is no reason not to have one. If you have a DC pump that costs a couple hundred dollars, then you probably have enough invested in your tank that a battery backup, such as the IceCap Battery Backup V3, is a logical choice.