It’s not a scenario that’s typically accounted for but it’s incredibly important to have a plan in place in case you ever find your lights flicker out. Whether its from a natural disaster or a routine power outage for scheduled maintenance in your area, it’s better to be prepared. Other pets like cats, birds, and dogs, can easily survive a blackout but your tank is subject to peril if disaster strikes.
Power outages affect your aquarium by shutting off pumps and other water movement devices that are necessary to circulate water and thus oxygen for your fish. You also run the risk of having your tank overflow causing additional damage to your floor, furniture, and dry wall if a pump goes out and your water level rises. Another risk your tank faces in natural disasters is that your heater will stop working if your home loses power. With water temperatures dropping quickly, reef invertebrates, corals, and fish may be subjected to abnormal temperature swings that can wreck havoc.
Here’s what you need to know to avoid costly mistakes, and the loss of your beautiful (and oftentimes expensive) fishes’ lives:
~ Place tanks in your home away from windows to avoid fast-rising temperatures exacerbated by sunlight, especially in the summer months.
~ Battery-operated air pumps are a great and economical way to ensure the safety of your fish by providing a fail-safe method to aerate the water. Most local fish shops have access to them and can get them via special order if needed. Also, make sure you have the proper batteries.
~ When leaving town for extending periods of time, be sure to have a knowledgeable and reliable friend check in on your tank daily.
~ Talk to your insurance provider about providing coverage for your tank, equipment, and fish. Either homeowners or renter’s insurance typically have options that can aid you financially in case disaster strikes.
~ Surge protectors! We can’t stress the importance of using surge protectors to make sure your aquarium devices are not susceptible to power surges.
~ Keep an emergency tank. This should be a smaller, portable tank that you are able to travel with. Only to be used in dire emergencies, this spare can provide a possible evacuation for your most valuable specimen.
~ Consider a back-up generator. Depending upon the size and scale of your aquarium hobby, you may want to consider investing in a back-up generator as a solid option to avoid the dire circumstances of a power outage.
~ When an outage occurs, leave your fish alone and don’t unnecessarily mess around with the aquarium. The more you engage the fish, the more oxygen usage and metabolism occur. Avoid feeding them if possible.
Although the unpredictability of nature will always leave you susceptible, it can only help you save yourself the grief and headache to be as prepared as possible should disaster head your way!