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Barnum Island
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Wintertime power outage suggestions

Time to break out this thread again folks...just in case :(

With the storm approaching tonight, some of us might have issues with a power outage due to downed trees/electric wires from heavy snow.

The 2 main issues we will encounter with no electricity will be keeping the tank oxygenated and maintaining water temperature.

There are many great suggestions on oxygenating the water manually on the earlier pages of this thread, so please take the time to review those now.

Maintaining water temperature:

-Wrap the entire tank in blankets or layers of newspaper or cardboard to maintain the level of heat. You want to do this the minute the power goes out, do not wait.


-Isolate the sump from the display tank (remember you will have no power, so you will need to treat these as 2 separate tanks as no water will be flowing between them.)
If you have an Overflow Box, remove the tube, and close valves. If your tank is reef-ready, close the ball/gate valves to the drain/s.
Remember to also oxygenate the sump to keep your pods (and heaven only knows what other critters/corals you are keeping down there)

-Gather up a few of the heaviest plastic containers you can find that have SCREW ON tops. Empty (and dechlorinated!!) bleach bottles, soda bottles, empty ESV containers...). Hopefully you still have hot running water and can use that to fill & then float the bottles in your tank to try and maintain the temperature. If you use this method, please dechlorinate the water in the container before adding it to the tank in the event that it leaks/breaks. I do not suggest using boiling water, just the hottest water available.

- If you have a whole house generator, start it up and make sure it will easily start later and that you have enough fuel for it.

-If you have a UPS Battery Back up - make sure now that it is fully charged.

-Since your heater is probably currently not in your DT, either move it or you may want to dig out the extra ones you have laying around (like the one from your water mixing container). Aim for lower wattage heaters as they draw less of your limited power, and will last longer than that 300w heater you have.

-If you have a battery back up, use it for heating purposes rather than water movement/circulation as you can oxygenate the tank manually, but will have more difficulty trying to maintain the temperature.

-If you have a power invertor, locate the battery you will be hooking it up to and be sure that it is charged up.

-If your neighbor has power but you don't, run an extension cord.

In a nutshell:
Locate and thoroughly clean out bottles to float with warmer water
Locate your smaller wattage heaters
Have a battery operated radio on hand
Find or go purchase a bottle of water dechlorinator
Find or go purchase a tank thermometer (your controller won't be working to tell you the tank temp:()

Two last things:
If you have a canister filter (or UV light) on your tank and you lose power - be SURE to empty ALL of the contents before your power comes back on! Since they are a sealed unit, the bacteria inside of it will die in about 1 hours time and it can severely pollute (if not kill) your tank if released upon restarting. Best to empty as soon as the power goes out so you won't forget about it.

Again I ask that posts on this thread be kept to adding valuable information only as anyone trying to read this during a power outage is probably viewing it off the battery power of a laptop.

Hopefully we will not require any of this info. Stay warm & shovel your walk! :)


Barnum Island
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Bumping this up today - the wind is knocking power out all over my area and elsewhere on Long Island...but I'm sure it's everywhere in our area :(

Better to take a quick look through this thread now for ideas on what to do if yours goes out, many can be done without the use of'gadgets/tools that you may not have available....while you still have power :)


Advanced Reefer
Teaneck, NJ
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Thankfully I made it through a power outage, with an air pump and a gas stove to heat up water. Next time around I want to be prepared. To run a 100 watt heater and one 10 watt Tunze for circulation should I go with a UPS or power inverter. What is the practical difference, and does anybody have recommendations for models that have worked for them.

johnny roastbeef

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Commack, NY
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Actually, you might want to consider getting a decent power inverter. Saturday when my power went out, I ran to Walmart and picked up a deep cycle marine battery. I put the battery in my fish room and connected my powerheads to it, and let it run overnight. There was still power in the battery the next morning, but the tanks were getting cold, so I connected one heater, and that drained the battery in no time.

I then connected the inverter directly to my car, and let the car idle for the next 12 hours or so. The inverter put out 700 watts, so I was able to run 2 heaters and the powerheads.

Inverters are pretty cheap and they dont go bad. If you can get an extension cord from your car to the tank, the inverter is a great long term backup item.


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I can vouch for the deep cycle battery & inverter. I have the battery for my trolling motor but I don't see why a regular car battery wouldn't work.

Auto cigarette lighter inverters are inexpensive from Radio Shack. Get yourself a cigarette lighter extension cord too while you're there. Clip off the male end of the extension cord, strip the wires and connect cord to battery. Plug in the inverter, plug your pump into that and you're set. I've run a small Koralia and a 100W Stealth htr for around 8 hours on this set up and probably could've went longer.

I'm not sure what type of UPS you're looking at but the ones I have on my computers don't have very much battery life. The two from UPC I have only give you several minutes, just long enough to save your files and shut down your system when the power goes out.
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Advanced Reefer
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So I had a mini heart attack when I got home form lunch today. I noticed I couldn't open the garage door, and realized my power was out. My father and I were able to break into the house...thankfully without "breaKing" anything. I promptly grabbed a spoon and started stirring my water (I remember reading one of these threads where someone stirred every half hour or so). I remembered I had a car power inverter and plugged it in and ran my Vortech. Thankfully the brown out lasted only about 1/2 hour. Looks like we'll be ok. I only have 3 firefish and a nice 3 headed green frogspawn plus my CUC, but I don't want to kill anything...I will be heading out later today to buy a battery powered pump and look into a UPS.


Old School Reefer
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I was just thinking about this thread. Also if you have not done so make sure flat roof surfaces don't have a ton of snow on them. You may have to remove it manually especially if your tank is under that roof.

+1 This next winter storm is going to deposit some really nasty wintry icy snowy mix. Please don't climb on the roof to remove any accumulated snow. Use a roof rake for safety.....seen below.



  • Roof Rake.jpg
    Roof Rake.jpg
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Old School Reefer
Westchester, NY
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Only if you are able to safely accomplish this task. I was safety tied to an anchor point and am accustomed to ladder and roof work. 19 years as a firefighter and the son of a cable splicer I have a lot of experience in high places.


Advanced Reefer
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I have 1 of my koralia pumps attached to a powerbackup thing for computers for such occasions. When that finally goes out, there the battery powered air pumps kicks in. Worked for me when I was 15 during that massive blackout.

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