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Surviving Power Outages - Care Tips for Your Aquarium Fish


Having an aquarium is an awesome hobby, but sometimes unexpected power outages can give you and your fish a real headache.


When the electricity goes out, your filtration, heating, and aeration systems go dark, putting your aquatic buddies in jeopardy.

We'll walk you through some practical tips and tricks to keep your fish safe and sound when the power goes out.


Get Ready in Advance!

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS):


Consider getting a backup power supply, like an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).

This device acts as a battery backup, allowing your aquarium equipment to function for a limited time until the power is restored.

When choosing a UPS for your aquarium, consider the power requirements of your equipment.

Calculate the wattage needed to run the filtration system, heater, and air pump simultaneously, and select a UPS with a sufficient power rating.

Place the UPS in a well-ventilated area and ensure it is charged and ready for use in case of a power outage.


Battery-powered Air Pump:


Look for a battery-powered air pump specifically designed for aquariums.

These pumps often come with adjustable airflow and can be easily connected to an airstone or air diffuser.

Test the air pump before an outage to ensure it functions properly and keep spare batteries on hand.

Aquarium Coop has a great one we use regularly. It's USB powered with internal rechargeable batteries. 


Emergency Kit:


Put together an emergency kit specifically for your aquarium.

Fill it with spare batteries for your pump if applicable, a flashlight, a manual bulb siphon to clean the tank, water conditioners, and any medications your fish might need.

Its always a great idea to keep a larger battery plug in back up as well. Be sure you have enough outlets to run all your equipment at once!

Keep that kit within arm's reach when you need it most.


Minimize Feeding


During a power outage, your fish may get stressed and lose their appetite.

They'll slow down and won't need as much food.

Overfeeding can be a disaster since the lack of filtration means ammonia levels can skyrocket.

Keep an eye on their behavior and feed them less during this tough time.


Preserve Heat

Insulate the Aquarium:

To maximize heat retention, cover the aquarium with insulating materials such as quilts, bubble wrap or Styrofoam sheets.

This will help prevent rapid heat loss and maintain a stable temperature within the tank for as long as possible.

Hot Water Bottles:


Alongside insulating the aquarium, hot water bottles can provide additional heat.

Boil water, pour it into sturdy plastic bottles, and seal them tightly. Wrap the bottles in towels and place them around the aquarium.

Check the water temperature regularly to ensure it remains within the optimal range for your fish species.


Maintain Aeration

Battery-powered Air Pump:

Consider using an airstone or air diffuser to disperse the air bubbles and increase surface agitation.

Manual Aeration:

In the absence of a battery-powered air pump, manually aerating the water is essential.

This is truly an emergency situation folks!

Use a cup or ladle to gently scoop water from the surface and pour it back into the aquarium.

This process creates small ripples, bubbles, and encourages oxygen exchange.

Repeat this action several times every hour to maintain adequate oxygen levels.


Preserve Water Quality

Reduce Light Exposure:

Excessive light exposure during a power outage can lead to imbalances in the aquarium ecosystem. 

If you have live plants, they can typically survive just fine for several days with no light at all. Algae are not so hardy.

Limit the duration and intensity of light by closing blinds or curtains and turning off unnecessary artificial lighting.

This helps prevent rapid algae growth and reduces the risk of temperature fluctuations.

Monitor Ammonia Levels:


Test the water regularly using a liquid test kit to monitor ammonia levels.

If the levels rise above safe limits, perform a partial water change using pre-conditioned backup water or properly treated tap water.

Aim to remove around 25% of the water and replace it with fresh, conditioned water.

Limit Opening the Aquarium:

Minimize unnecessary disruptions to the aquarium environment by avoiding unnecessary opening of the tank lid.

Each time the lid is opened, heat escapes, and humidity levels decrease, and your fish get stressed.

Only open the aquarium when necessary for feeding, water testing, or emergency maintenance.


Communicate with Experts

 During an extended power outage, seeking advice from knowledgeable experts in fish stores or aquarium communities can be invaluable.

They may offer specific suggestions tailored to your situation and help you navigate any challenges that arise.

Additionally, they may be aware of local resources or alternative solutions to mitigate the effects of a power outage on your aquarium.


Power outages might stress you out, but with some smart planning and precautions, you can keep your aquarium fish safe and sound.

Get your backup gear ready, cut back on feeding, keep things cozy, maintain good airflow, monitor water quality, and don't hesitate to seek expert advice.

By following these steps, you'll be the superhero your fish need to weather any power outage storm.

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