Salty Q&A: Marine Aquariums and Power Outages

It’s best to have a plan in place BEFORE the power goes out, rather than rushing around to put together a solution after the factQuestionI set up a 60-gallon saltwater aquarium in my home last fall, and with my area being very prone to severe weather in spring, I have some questions about aquariums during power outages. Specifically, I’d like to know: How long can an aquarium go without power before you have to do something about it? In other words, if the electricity goes out and I just leave the tank alone waiting for it to come back on, how long can the fish and corals survive? Which aquarium systems should be given top priority during a power outage? Am I correct in assuming temperature control, lighting, and aeration? What materials/equipment do you recommend I keep on hand in case of a power outage?

Dissolved Gases in Marine Aquaria: Saturation Problems and Solutions

Smaller fish, such as Blue-Green Chromis (Chromis viridis), are most likely to be affected by chronic elevated dissolved gas levels in your aquariumIf you’re like most marine aquarium hobbyists, you probably don’t give a great deal of thought to the levels of dissolved gases in your system beyond making sure you’re providing good aeration and circulation. But under certain circumstances, these levels can get out of whack to the detriment of marine livestock. Jay Hemdal, Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates for the Toledo Zoo, explains how in the following excerpt from his book The Salt Smart Guide to Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Diseases of Marine Fishes.Dissolved gases All aquarists are aware that their aquariums require a minimum concentration of dissolved oxygen in the water for their fish to survive. Many aquarists are also aware that if gases are dissolved in too great an amount, supersaturation can occur, causing serious health problems in their animals. Due to a lack of appropriate test equipment, most home aquarists can do little about measuring for potential problems with dissolved gas levels. There are four basic concerns regarding the level of dissolved gases in aquarium water: acute supersaturation, chronic supersaturation, low dissolved oxygen tension, and high carbon dioxide tension.