Prepping for and surviving Power Outtages.

Posted in All About Equipment

You've unexpectedly loss power… Now what?

So you know you have a major storm of some type coming…

You know there is a good chance of losing power………………

Could be for a few hours or days/weeks even…………………..

What about my fish?

Prepping for storms is relatively easy and basic survival gear/tactics can be had for little time/effort/money.

A severe storm can leave you without electrical power and your fish. Without filtration, circulation, heating/cooling and problems with maintaining sufficient dissolved oxygen.

Even a few hours can cause serious problems, even less when it comes to filtration/cycling.

The Basics for Survival

  • Stop feeding: Do not feed your fish during this time, they can go several weeks without food and this will keep waste down.
  • BEFORE a storm hits, Perform a thorough vacuuming of the substrate and a significant water change. Water change and vacuuming of waste will remove waste and help maintain low levels of NO3(Nitrate)and give you more time before maintenance is needed again.
  • I would suggest testing water chemistry parameters daily and...
  • Performing PWC's as needed. You will lose a significant portion of your bio-filtration ability while your filters are not working, but your entire tank is a bio-filter, every surface is alive with bio-bacteria.
  • Perform filter maintenance, lightly rinse media/media chamber and float media in tank.


A very important thing to know is that the debris (organic matter)and the bio-mass in your filters can die and turn toxic in a very short time period. This can kill your fish if you let the filters flush this into the tank when power comes back.


When the power goes out, filter media should be removed and floated in the tank, this will preserve your bio-bacteria and they will continue to convert waste. You may improve the limited bio filtration by placing a airstone beneath the media to induce circulation thru the media.


The filters should be either unplugged or primed to restart when the power returns.

Battery Powered Air Pumps

Pull out your BPAP's (battery powered air pumps), check functionality and batteries. Do you have extra batteries?

Why BPAP's?

Azoo Battery Powered Air PumpYou would need to provide some sort of circulation and agitation of the waters surface in order to maintain the exchange of gases between water/atmosphere in order to avoid oxygen starvation, especially in hot weather. You can do this by frequently (once per hour at least, half hour intervals even better) filling a bucket full of tank water and dumping it back into the tank ( this is ALOT of WORK!!!) or by utilizing BPAP's and letting the bubbles do all the work.

There are various makes/models of BPAP's. I have had very satisfactory experience with Penn Plax 'Silent Air-B10/B11 BPAP's. Never had to change the batteries in them, they ran on the same batteries for four days without a noticeable loss of output.

The B10 model you have to switch on manually but the B11 plugs into the wall and automatically comes on when there is a loss of power, other than that they are basically the same unit…

Very nice, great products!

Two units, a B10 and a B11 adequately maintained circulation and surface agitation in our Oscar's 75 gal tank. No sign of lack oxygen deprivation or other stress even with the water temps hitting 85'f. A single B10 in each of our 10gal tanks kept them practically boiling with circulation.

You can purchase a 3 pack of the Azoo brand for less than $15. Kmuda uses these extensively.

Controlling temperature

During the warmer months tank temps can soar rapidly, this causes stress as oxygen levels drop as temps rise and this can further stress your fish.

Cooling can be accomplished by…

  1. Leaving lights off… (Not a problem when without power.)
  2. *Positioning a fan to blow air over and around the tank, this is evaporative cooling and you'll need to top-off the tank frequently.
  3. By floating bags of ice in the water.
  4. *By your chiller.
  • Options 2 & 4 require you to have a alternate power unit (APU, i.e. generator).

During the colder months tank temps can drop rapidly, this too stresses your fish, and cold water and stress can kill your tropical fish.

Heating can be accomplished… - A. Wrapping the tank in a insulating material.

  1. Floating bags/bottles of hot water.
  2. Water changes with warm water.
  3. Depending on your tank/stand it is sometimes possible to position a heat source below the tank.
  4. Some have used oil lamps, camping lanterns and such.

ATTENTION        ** Great care must be taken to safely manage such things and prevent the possibility of FIRE and other hazards.


- Submitted by ChileRelleno