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Aquarium Equipment

Emergency Equipment – Keeping Tropical Fish Alive


Keeping tropical fish alive during an emergency such as a power failure is something that must be considered before it happens. Having the appropriate equipment on hand before the emergency will give you a much better chance of keeping tropical fish alive in the event of a short lived catastrophe where the power is cut for some reason.

It would be very difficult to survive a long-term disaster, but most problems are less than a day or two. During this time filtration and heating are lost, and those are the two areas where you want to ensure you can lessen the damage that can be done when they are lost.

When the filter stops, so does the water circulation. This is important to understand because when then the surface of the tank is no longer being agitated, the oxygen exchange will stop.  The fish continue to use the tank’s O2 reservoirs up without them being replenished.  Besides the fish being oxygen starved, the beneficial bacteria also are denied access as well.  The colonies that are situated on the surfaces of the tank, the gravel, the glass panes will not be starved as much as the bacteria cultivated in the filter chamber, which will starve the bacteria in the filter in about an hour.

Keeping Tropical Fish Alive in an Emergency Requires Some Equipment

The most important piece of emergency equipment in keeping tropical fish alive during a power failure is a battery powered air pump.  This is an independent air source that uses batteries instead of the power supply.  This should be installed into the tank as rapidly as possible.  In addition, the filter materials trapped in the filter should be removed and placed into the aquarium as well. This keeps the water flowing around the filter media and help to provide the oxygen requirements of the biological filter.

Heating the tank is important for cold weather areas, use a barbeque outside or a butane run inside stove to heat water and place it is a bottle to transfer heat to the tank during the cool-off period.   It would be wise to have an insulated cover to cloak the tank during the outage to prevent as much heat from being radiated as possible.

For very hot areas, use a different strategy, always keep a few bottles of water frozen in the freezer just in case – these can be floated int he tank to cool it down slowly.  In either case, monitor the aquarium temperature regularly.  These are not methods that are easy to control, so you need to know that the water temperature is remaining fairly constant over time and that you are not causing a sudden rise or drop by using too large a bottle.

Don’t worry too much about the plants, they can stay in the dark for a few days, they may die back a little bit after the lights are returned, but they usually are hardy enough to withstand a few days in the dark and some variation in temperature as well.

The final trick in keeping tropical fish alive in an emergency situation is to stop feeding them entirely.  They will be stressed enough and may not eat much, or may noit be able to identify the food in the dark.  FIsh can easily withstand a three day fast, and usually much longer when the conditions are not optimum, so don’t add any waste materials that can create spikes in ammonia if theyt are left over.

 

About

Steve Pond, of Tropical Fish Aquarist, has kept fish both personally and professionally for over 50 years.  He writes regularly on the wide range of current topics that are important to people who keep tropical fish tanks as a passion and a hobby.

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About blueram

Steve Pond, of Tropical Fish Aquarist, has kept fish both personally and professionally for over 50 years.  He writes regularly on the wide range of current topics that are important to people who keep tropical fish tanks as a passion and a hobby.

View all posts by blueram →

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