Posted: 2011.11.02(Wed)19:43 Post subject: Yet another power outage!
I live in PA & we've had quite the time of it lately between floods & freak snowstorms. As of tonight, I'm going on 5 DAYS without power & probably have at least 2 more to go! I've been keeping all 4 tanks wrapped in blankets, moving my one battery powered airstone back & forth between them. I spent the first 4 days heating ziplock bags of water over my woodstove to float in the tanks to keep the heat up (swapped them out ever 4-5 hours night & day!) -I now have the loan of a tiny generator that will run the heaters & powerheads. I pulled all the filter media out of all tanks & floated it in the tanks, and haven't fed anyone for the duration. I haven't restarted the filters because I'm not sure the generator is up for that much & at this point things seem pretty stable - I'd like to have the ability to do water changes (ie. power back on) before I do anything to change the status quo. I haven't done any water testing so far for two reasons - first, just too damn busy trying to keep the temps up in the tanks (in addition to holding down a job & coping with my 3 yr old son through the outage) & second, I'm not sure what I would be able to do if there was an issue, since water changes are out. I'm getting pretty near my wit's end & need to know if there is anything else I should be doing, or something obvious that I'm missing at this point. Any advice?
Power is back on as of 9pm last night after 7 full days out. Slight ammonia (0.25) in the 2 smallest tanks this morning. Fed the 2 larger tanks this morning, then did a 50% water change on all 4 tanks about an hour later. All fish, shrimp, frogs, snails etc. seem to be doing well, except 1 female cherry barb who has a distended & blood-tinged abdomen. Was really hoping for some advice 2 days ago, but I survived without. Anyone have anything to say at this point? Thinking this forum really is dying out lately....
Posted: 2011.11.08(Tue)9:37 Post subject: Going on 9 days here- still out
I would have responded to your plight but I, too, am without power. Now in day 9...but I am back to work. Actually, I was hoping there would be more posts on here as to how to deal with long outages and fish.
Here's what has happened: We lost power on Saturday, 10/29 in the evening. By Sunday, the temperature in my tanks was down to about 60F or lower. I lost two fish right away: my gold nugget pleco I only had for a month, and one small, scissortail raspbora.
-We have a generator running 1-2 hours in the am and 1-2 hours in the evening, thanks to our neighbor. This is enough to heat the house up to 70F or so twice a day, and provide heat, filters, and aeration to all three of my tanks but probably is not enough to keep bacteria alive.
-I have been dosing with Seachem Prime daily at about twice the normal dosage to suppress any ammonia or nitrites. This also provides slime coat, which should hopefully reduce the risk of secondary infection like Ich or something nasty. I highly recommend the Seachem Prime.
-After 5-6 days of this situation, I did a 50% water change in each tank with warm water. I did this by siphoning /cleaning the substrate to remove as much pollution as possible.
-Temperatures are ranging from about 62F-72F depending on the time of day and heat in room.
-I reduced feeding to once every day or every other day (approx.).
The remaining fish (to date, I have only lost those two on the first day) are all doing well, although they get lethargic when it is coldest.
90 gallon tank: 1 red oscar, 4 silver dollars. These fish seem healthy, alert, and happy at the low temps, with air only intermittent. They will eat if fed. I use an Eheim battery powered vacuum to remove any visible refuse daily.
55 gallon: 3 large angelfish, 1 african knifefish, 5 cories, 5 oto cats. This tank gets the coldest due to its location--the fish that died had been in this tank. Remaining fish are doing okay, but slow moving. Knifefish seems 100% fine.
20 gallon: 5 tiger barbs, 1 female betta, 3 cories, 2 platties. These are my smallest fish and my smallest tank, but no fatalities yet. They perk up once the heat runs for an hour or so.
I don't know how long they can exist like this, but so far so good. Our local Petco lost power for 4 days and lost 80% of their fish, though the tanks were obviously more crowded than mine. The other item I would mention is that I did a water change of about 30-40% in each tank the day of the storm, and generally keep my tanks very clean with weekly partial water changes/extra filtration. All tanks were very well-cycled going into this catastrophy.
Wow - I thought 7 days was bad enough! Like you, I was lucky that I had literally just finished my weekly water changes only a few hours before our power went out last Saturday - I'm sure that & relatively low-stocking levels helped us both. My sympathies with the loss of your 2 fish though - gold nuggets are just about the most beautiful fish out there IMO.
All of my tanks seem back to normal at this point. Ammonia & nitrites negative, and nitrates a little low thanks to an extra water change. The largest female cherry barb still seems somewhat bloated & still has some faint red splotches on her abdomen, but she is acting normal & eating with the rest so I haven't moved her into quarantine (afraid to stress her out any more). I was really surprised that all my Otos & pygmy cories survived - I know how delicate they are. My biggest issue (and no real problem considering what a disaster this could have been!) is that most of my crypts are 'melting' from the temp change & 7 days of blackout. On the bright side, the cyanobacteria that has been plaguing my smallest tank (a 6 gallon betta tank) is complete gone!
Hope your power is back soon - hang in there!!
PS. good idea about the Prime - wish I had thought to do that! I'd say that I'll remember it for next time, but I don't plan on there ever being a next time. Planning to have purchased a generator by the end of the week!
We got power back at about 9pm last night, so now the fishes have all the light, heat, bubbles, and filtration they need! I am planning another 50% water change in the next day or so, once the filters run at least a full 24 hours. I am hesitant to test parameters yet but I am encouraged by the quick recovery you experienced.
Some of my angel fish are a little sluggish, but they are all eating at this point and seem to be happy their environment has returned to a normal temperature.
Last edited by flacmanst on 2011.11.17(Thu)9:46; edited 1 time in total
My gold nugget pleco was the first casualty right after the storm. Thanks for your condolences. He/she was a very unique fish...I was trying to raise it large enough to put in with my oscar...I had been so careful not to mix them thus far because I thought the oscar might try to eat the pleco. I can't help but wonder if it would have survived if it was in the oscar tank, which was in a better-insulated room with a fireplace. They are notoriously delicate, though. Not cheap to replace either, although the cost of the fish is the least of my worries given that I thought I would lose most all of the fish I had.
That first sunday afternoon after the power went out I had to get out of the house and work outside so I wasn't just sitting there watching them all die.
My oscar is about 5 inches long; I raised him from a small size and have made sure he has always had extra filtration, plenty of food, and tank space. Thankfully, he is built like a tank and going strong after this ordeal.
Last edited by flacmanst on 2011.11.17(Thu)9:44; edited 1 time in total
I'm late to this post, as we just got our cable back yesterday (!)... I, too, lost power for 9 days. During this time we made a big effort to keep the water warm (heated water by the fire, etc) and I managed to lose only 4 fish. I was really worried about the filters being off for that long. I have two 75s, each of which has a Rena XP3 and an XP2. Before the power came back on, I cleaned out the gunk in the filters by rinsing out the sponges in tank water - I was worried about the filthy stuff coming out in the tank. Once the water was back to warm I did a 50% water change in each tank.
Power came back on, fish came back to life, and I started to worry about my tank being uncycled. Lo and behold, after 6 days I can detect NO ammonia and NO nitrite in the tanks at all! My nitrate readings are always very low, I think it's due to all the plants I have in there that soak it up (I probably should be adding some nitrate, but have been lazy and the plants seem to be doing well without it).
So my question is, how are your tanks coming along? I wonder if I'm not seeing ammonia because it's too early yet? My tanks are not overstocked but they still have a fair number of fish. The other possibility is that those nitrifying bacteria live a lot longer than they're billed to - I've always wondered if they really die off as fast as many claim. If your tanks went through only minor, or no, cycles, then I think it's safe to say the bacteria didn't die, and it would be a useful thing for others to know.
My water tests were all good as well. I, too had live plants in all my tanks. Some of my plants wilted with no light for 11 days and some got eaten. I went to my LFS this past weekend (they had a generator) and they told me a lot of people lost a lot of fish during the outage and that I was in the lucky minority. Besides my plants and well-cycled tanks, I think having limited access to the generator helped save most of my fish...once the temperature dropped they mostly acclimated to the cold and had periodic heat and air to sustain them, even if only for a few hours per day.
No Ammonia, no nitrites after a week back on the grid (I would imagine any ammonia spike would have been virtually immediate during the first week of outage). I let the filters run for 24 hours after the power came back before changing any water. I have two Eheim canisters on my 90 (2215 and 2217), and Marineland Emperor HOBs 400 and 250(? the smaller one) on my 55. The only consequence I see is a brown algae bloom in my 90. Maybe this was due to the sudden increase in heat and light when the power came back?
I have not messed around with any filter media at this point. I'm sure some bacteria were lost during the outage, but if there was enough oxygen in the water so that the fish did not die, I suppose the tinier bacteria would alright? The low temps seem to be a major killer from what people around here have told me. I know of a few cases where people had larger fish that seemed to die from lack of oxygen.
On top of all that, I am headed out of town Saturday for about a week. I'm planning a weekly cleaning/water change on all tanks in the next 24 hours. I will be using Tetra gel vacation feeders while I'm away and a neighbor will be checking in a couple times to take a look and perhaps throw some scraps to my African knifefish.
In one 75 gallon I have 18 bleeding heart tetras (lost 3), 12 bronze cories, a bristlenose pleco, and an angelfish. In the other one I have 8 tiger barbs (lost one), 5 boesmani rainbowfish, and a bristlenose pleco - sadly, my RTBS is on the way out, another casualty of the power outage . My ammonia is still reading at zero. I was sure the fish were swimming around in a cesspool for a week - maybe all the plants helped with ammonia as well. Maybe I'll start a separate thread about the life of nitrifying bacteria, as I now think they must be a lot tougher than we think!
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