How to Survive an Aquarium Power Outage

Today I want to teach you how to survive a power outage. Obviously there’s lots of ways, there’s lots of videos. What I want to bring you today is a kit you can make that sits underneath your aquarium on a stand, waiting for you to need it. So get yourself a tote, something that can hold all your supplies.

You got to imagine, set the scene. Powers out, it’s ten o’clock at night, it’s Sunday night, no one’s going to be open, you’re bumbling around, you got a flashlight and a couple of candles, and it’s snowing and it’s a huge storm and it’s going to be out for days. What do you do, right? You wish you’d planned better. So if we got everything we need in the kit, get the kit going. So I’m going to show you everything that’s in this kit and how we’re going to make this 20 gallon tank make it through it. Now obviously if you have a generator, great. If you have other things, great. But this is something that I think people can put together fairly cheaply for 30 bucks or so, they go wow, I can get my tanks through this. So we’re going to start by showing you the things that are in it. Battery powered air pump. Very important. One of the first things you can run into, depending on stock issues and is there live plants or isn’t there, that type of thing. Is, are they going to run out of air? So if we can eliminate that that’s even better.

So an air pump, and if you have a sponge filter that’s even better because you can plug into the sponge filter, keep your biologicals still going through the whole event, that’s amazing. What I do like to add on top of that, is a never clog air stone, and let me show you why. You’re going to have this little hose here, and if you’re not connected to a sponge filter or something like that, I like to pull this kind of cruddy air stone off. It comes with it by the way. This comes with it. And I like to put a weighted air stone on there with less back pressure. So that way when it’s hanging in there, it’ll actually hang once this warms up, I’m doing it in a cold garage at the moment. And you kick it on, and you’ll have air going for hours and hours and hours and hours. Right? Great. Hopefully it’s only out for an hour. You just get done setting this up and the power comes back on and you’re happy, but,the other tip I’ve got for you, well I’ll save that til we’re actually setting this tank up. So that’s in the kit. And yeah you can buy most of the stuff off my website.

Also extra batteries. So I bought a whole pack of D batteries, it’s just going to sit in the kit. So that way I can’t run out of batteries. The thing is you go, “Well this thing’s going to last three days. “Yeah, what if you have a power outage for seven days? By then, maybe you can’t get to a store because maybe it’s snowed in, whatever it is, and maybe they’re sold out of batteries, because that’s what happens. Have you ever been in a real bad storm where power’s been out for a week? All the batteries are bought up, all the stuff’s bought up so plan ahead. Other things you’re gonna need. This is a Mylar blanketMylar blanket. What is that you ask? It’s kind of an emergency blanket, like you’d keep in your car or something like that. If you were caught in the cold. Right? So you got this big Mylar blanket that we can use to cover an aquarium right? And that’s what we’re going to do. We want to, as long as we take care of oxygen, the next thing we need to take care of is heat. Over time, if they get too cold, they’re going to get sick, and once one dies, then another one dies from the ammonia and stuff like that, so we want to get air, then we want to seal this beast up. Keeping the heat we do have, because if power just went out five minutes ago, this aquarium’s still warm, we want to keep the heat we do have as long as we can, and we want to do a few more things. So Mylar blankets, they’re for sale on the website as well. If you already have them, great. If they’re already part of your earthquake kit or something like that, but I would still encourage you, get them in a bin underneath your aquarium so you’re not digging through an earthquake kit or something like that to find what you need. So we’re going to be using that.

Next we’ve got heat pads. And I’m going to take this one out because I’m going to be using it. You can buy multiple heat packs, this’ll be on the website as well. This is a 72 hour heat pack. So that’s three days. What happens is as it’s exposed to oxygen, and this line, the red line, faces oxygen,it’s going to warm up. And I want to say off the top of my head 110 degrees on the three day packs, I think on the two day pack or one day pack it gets to 140 or something like that. Which you’re thinking that’s pretty warm but we’re going to dissipate the heat through the aquarium, so yeah. We’re going to use this as well. And then we’ve got tape. I’ve got packing tape right here because it’s what I got laying around, if you have duct tape, I’d go with something a little bit stronger than just like scotch tape or something like that but get a roll of something in your kit. For sure you need it. And it’s not a bad idea to have duct tape. The power’s out who knows what you gotta do, you got to tape up another Mylar blanket against a window or something, who knows? So I’ve got my tape.

So now I’ve got my kit. Here’s my aquarium. You know imagine fish are doing fine, power’s just gone out. So first things we want to do.. We want to get air to the aquarium. And to do that you want to fix it somewhere where it’s not gonna slide off, hopefully. This is all cold but it will be down in your water, you’re going to turn it on. If I can get this straight because it looks for one camera I’m sure, but you get the the tubing and stuff like that in the kit, but maybe upgrade to some better tubing, I have some over there that I could use. But anyway, you get that, water’s bubbling, we’ve got oxygen, hopefully I hooked up to a sponge filter, even better. Next thing that I want to do, is I’m going to plan like this is going to be out for several days.. And I’ve got some heat packs here. What I want to do, is I kinda want to just tape it to the aquarium, it’s going to transfer some heat through it. Now there’s no defined rule, like I haven’t really tested this out to know like don’t put 20 of these on there, like I think that would be too much right but some heat will help, and the goal is we’re going to tape this on here, grab some tape, going to put some, you don’t want to cover it too much right?

So you want enough that you’ll be able to stick it but you don’t want to put tape all over this or it won’t be able to breathe, it needs the oxygen for the reaction right? So maybe I just hang this right here, and we’re going to put another piece of tape down low. There you go, so now I’ve got a heat pack against the water, it’s going to help provide some heat. Could you have a few more? Yeah, I would probably have a bunch in my kit. But I feel like one per 20 or 30 gallons ish is what is sustainable for people right? Ideally you’d have a thermometer and in the morning you check and go, “What’s my temperature? Oh we need more heat, add more, right? You’d monitor it. But not everyone’s going to have access to that. So we’ve got that going, next thing, you grab your Mylar blanket here. Right here. And we want to cover this entire thing because heat’s gonna rise right? And also your battery-powered air pump makes a little bit of heat, so that’s good. And this is going to make heat, so as long as we cover this entire thing we’re going to do it.

Now I want to leave this here. These are 52 inches by 84 inches, so 84 inches long is what? Seven feet. And then we’re a little more than four feet wide and so you can start doing that math. Obviously like right here I have one foot and then I have two feet and then I have three feet to go down the back, and kind of the same thing, when I have one foot plus 2 feet plus another foot is four feet, so I need about I need about 36 by 48 inch one, this one’s way too big, but when you start getting to your 180 gallon aquarium or something like that you might need quite a bit so. . . Just kinda undo it and here it is. Both these sides are shiny, some blankets you buy have a better and worse reflective side. They’ll still both hold in heat but here’s what I like to do, I like to cover the whole thing. You know just get it over it. All right? Then we’re gonna start applying some tape. One I move some stuff out of the way here. So you just want to tape it in place, we’re going to do that your real quick. Just kind of tape, and tape it may be your stand or underneath, that type of thing. Get that covered up. Can’t sit that on top of this aquarium because it doesn’t have a top, but if it did, I would. And you can drape it down, that’s fine too, you know you don’t have to drape it along the bottom, you just want it to. . . Heat rises, so you want it to keep it, just in here right? So you tape it up, you do a little bit of your magic.

And the last final thing you can do, not part of your kit because it doesn’t really fit in the kit but I got a walk off camera, just like you would, you’d have to walk away and get this. So here I’ve got a moving blanket, it’s in my garage but if in your house you just need any old blanket will also add a layer of heat, you know, of insulation, is really what we’re doing. So you drape that over your aquarium. So now you’ve got a pretty good barrier because any water that splashes, with the Mylar blanket,won’t get this wet, that’s good, so you won’t get any water transfer. You’ve got the Mylar reflecting the heat back in that we’re creating from the heat pack and the battery powered air pump. And on top of that we have another layer and that’s why, you know when it’s really cold out and you’re in the mountains, they always say layer up. The more layers you have the more insulation there is because the air in between layers is also insulation, and so yeah you can stack on 40 blankets and stuff like that but the goal is now, now you would do nothing. you don’t really look at your fish, you definitely don’t feed them, stuff like that you would just let them be.

Now there are some things you want to do. You want to probably unplug your canister filter, if you have a canister filter, because if this sits like this for three days, power comes back on, the bacteria canister filter’s all died and become ammonia, it’s going to spew back in your aquarium and that could actually be a huge problem. So if you unplug your canister filter right now, when you’re dealing with the tank, because imagine what happens. Okay I got my aquarium done, okay it’s been four hours, now it’s midnight, I’m going to bed or it’s two o’clock in the morning, whatever it is. Your snoozing. All the lights come back on, you’re going “Great, powers back woo. “And then you go over to the tank, it looks fine, good, yeah okay. You wake up in the morning and half fish are dead because all the ammonia spewed out doesn’t take effect instantly, it takes a few hours right. So if you unplug it right now when you’re doing this process, you know that you’ll have to service it before you even plug it back in.

So that’s what you want to do. Oh good, it’s the morning, let me take the canister filter out, let me go service it,hang on back’s kind of the same way. Sponge filter and stuff like that we kept running, that’ll be fine, but you don’t want to spew basically ammonia and stuff back in. Also, lets say it’s been six days, you also don’t want to feed them really heavy because they’re probably a little bit colder and things like that, so just give them a day before even feed them and feed them very lightly and get them back onto the schedule. Now, lets say you’ve got some things around, some other tips, I’ve watched a lot of people run into this, they have a barbecue right like yeah, that’s how you’re going to eat when the power’s out. Oh we’ll boil some water, we’ll put in the fish tank, that’s warm water, it’s perfect right? The problem is when you pour boiling water in it doesn’t instantly cool down, it’s boiling water and people kill a lot of fish, so you pour it in and this side of the aquarium is going to boiling hot, kills fish instantly. So what you need to do, is you need to scoop water out from your aquarium, get it about half full, then pour the boiling water in, stir it up a bit, use a spoon don’t use your hand but get it nice stirred. Then test the water, it it feels really warm it is really warm, it should feel a little bit cold actually, because we have 98 degrees right and they want 78 so it should feel cool to us. Then we can pour that in. That’s the correct way if you’re going to boil water or something like that on stove or BBQ or whatever it is. And the biggest thing is don’t panic, most fish can handle going cooler, so even though they’re at 63 degrees they’re probably okay but if you go from 63 to 80 in the span of four minutes because you’re pouring boiling water in that’s gonna be really hard on them.

They’re set up right here to survive it and that’s just it. You’re there to survive it not make them 100% comfortable, just like you’re not 100% comfortable. When the power goes out, it snowed out, its cold, you didn’t have enough food, you don’t have anything, you’re just kind of miserable and you tough it out. That’s what the fish are gonna do they’re going to tough it out not oh god, they’re not going to eat, oh god they’re not getting enough heat, that type of thing. Yes those are problems, but they’re very long-term problems and they’re not as big as we think they are but those are the problems we need to address when the power does go out. So hopefully, you get yourself a kit and that’s, you know, I don’t care who you buy from or what your plan is, but get a plan, get in a tote or a bucket. If you had a bucket with a lid on it, whatever it is, and get that under your aquarium stand or if it’s in your fish room if you have a bunch of tanks, get it in the fish room, so you know when the power goes out what do I do? I’ve got this little checklist, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this,I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna unplug filters and I’ll be ready. That’s what you need to do. So hopefully that helps you guys and I already know, making this video, I’m going to sell out of air pumps. We already sell out of air pumps, we sell a lot of air pumps now that we sell them online. And manufactures already sold out, so the ones I like are marina and they use D batteries and I buy them as soon as they come in and stuff like that so if you watch this video and they’re sold out at that second, there will be a notification that says, “Hey email when they’re back in stock.

“Do it. That’s the important part is, don’t watch this video and then say, “Hey I’m going to do that in the middle of summer. “No no no, do it now, because in the middle summer you’re not going to remember, you will remember when the power’s out, you’re going, “Oh I watched that video. I should have had that kit, that would have been perfect right now. “You won’t have it. So hopefully that helps. Yeah watch the other videos and hopefully you never have to use this, that’s the best thing, you build this kit, if you never have to use it, perfect. That means you never had to put your fish through stress. .

Ask me questions, critique it. In the comments, suggest other ways you prepare your fish for power outage, like if you know a bad storm is coming, service that canister filter, service your aquarium, change the water, don’t feed, that type of thing. So put all those kind of comments down below. Yeah thanks for hanging out we’ll see you next time.