Mr. Saltwater Tank

Additional Tips From Viewers For Preparing Your Saltwater Tank For Emergencies

Hurricane Sandy is looking like it will score a direct hit on the east coast of the USA Tuesday morning.  I’ve been getting lots of great tips from viewers for ways to prepare yourself for the storm and I’ve rounded my favorite ones for you below.  Regardless of if you will be affected by the hurricane, these tips are great pieces of advice for being prepared for a tank emergency.

#1:  If you have a generator, make sure you ONLY run the generator outside your house.  Seems like common knowledge, and I don’t want someone killing their tank, themselves or their family because they overlooked this fact. (Thanks Fernando for keeping us safe!)

#2:  Lots of viewers are reporting that generators are already sold out so don’t forget that you can get a power inverter that will let you run air bubbles, heaters and maybe even your return pump off your car’s battery. Even if your car’s battery runs down, you can recharge it by idling your car.  I realize idling a car to recharge a battery isn’t environmentally friendly, and we’re dealing with an emergency situation.  Sometimes you gotta do, what you gotta do.  (Thanks Kris for the power inverter tip)

#3:  Computer backup batteries (sometimes called APCs) can also be used in a pinch.  They won’t last forever, but they are better than nothing. (Thanks John for this idea)

#4:  Dave reported that he used an APC during a power outage and ran powerheads and an air bubbler for several hours, then turned the APC off for several hours to conserve power.  He said he was able to make the APC last for 4 days this way.  Note: If your tank is heavily stocked, you’ll want to limit the time the APC is turned off.

#5:  If your local fish store doesn’t carry battery powered air bubblers, then any sporting good store that has fishing equipment will likely have a battery powered aerator for keeping live bait alive.  These work great and will last for several hours off D-cell or a car battery. (Lots of people suggested this one..too many to list!)

Finally, if you missed the link to download my tank emergency checklist, here it is again.

Stay safe everyone and feel free to keep us updated on my Facebook page for how the storm is affecting you

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Comments for this article (10)

  • Jeff Barnaby says:

    Just so you know, APC is a brand name, you are looking for a Uninterruptable Power supply or UPS. While APC is a wonderful brand and will serve you very well in this situation, there are other less expensive brands out there too that will provide the equivalent protection. Just remember you get what you pay for when you purchase these just like anything else.

  • Jack says:

    I am putting some water bottles and jugs in my chest freezer. It’s still warm here and having the ability to lower the temp in a pinch is a must. I lost a tank this year due to our home AC unit going out while we were on vacation (and not having an Apex controller for early warnings didn’t help). By the time we got the AC fixed, the tank temp rose to critical levels.

  • Wayne says:

    battery powered air bubblers can be found from $8 and up at the local WalMart.
    There is even a 12v version that uses a boat bilge pump for circulation that is made for use in coolers. Add a deep cycle battery and drop in your sump as temporary return pump. Should last 12-14 hours on a charge, and you can recharge off your car if need be.
    Options exist, sometimes you need to think outside the box.

  • Rick Allen says:

    Along the same line as above. Any auto parts store- Walmart and others. Have inexpensive portable power units to jumpstart autos. There are versions to provide power for camping as well. Make sure you get one with a 12 volt outlet to plug in a small inverter. If you have two, one can be outside charging off you car and the other powering your tank. These units can be purchased from $200 [heavy duty, will start diesel trucks]-$40-$50 bucks. More expensive ones have lights tire inflation compressors and even built in small inverters to supply household current. These units are designed to be carried from job to job. Good luck and be safe.

  • arnold says:

    Living in Tampa power going down is a real threat, used back up power supply units and the new batteries they always need are cheap on ebay and sometimes Craigslist, though the batteries only live for a 3 years. I have a APC unit with piggy back battery banks waiting in reserve enough to run my main return pump & chiller or heater for 5 to 7 days (straight), paid about $250 for that insurance. These units recharge quickly so one could always take it to a power source for charging then be back on duty. In addition I have an air pump with stone (Silent air B11) which cost less than $10. They runs on D cells and turns itself on when the power goes out. A pair of D cells will last a full day. I jacked in a larger battery on mine. Unless you can afford and or get your spouse to approve an expensive automatic generator this is the best safety net I could find as we who play hurricane roulette can’t take all our buddies with us if we are forced to go. I can’t imagine just walking away, $250 gives them a fighting chance.

  • Dave Schwartz says:

    I live in SW Florida and have been here for 4 years. We have had a few tropical storms, tornadoes and a few days of heavy wind. My 75 Gallon tank has been shutt down one time for almost 2 hours. I purchased a large Pump that works on Batteries and on normal power. Anyways, the fish in the tank had two bubbler’s going the entire time andI lost no fish. I must recommend people buying the AC/DC power bubbler’s. I am VERY happy that I purchasedd it for the power goes out here when the wind reaches 70 MPH. It has been there a few times. Also, when bad T-Storms come through, I hook it up. Hope this helps anyone that needs it!


  • luis morales says:

    I have a electrical generator I A charge it Once it stays Charged For 45 days I charging the outlets in the house

  • Gary Lowe says:

    For those of you that have some electrical knowledge I hooked a battery from my boat to a UPS for a computer that I bought for 5 dollars at a yard sale. It will power my whole tank for over 2 hours. Granted it is a small tank but that’s everything running! With just the essentials it would last many more. Well that is my 2 cents, good luck everyone

  • stel1os72 says:

    Thanks for ALL the great info everyone…MUCH APPRECIATED! And Mark, thank YOU too for everything you do and the great service your website provides. I live in NY and I’ve got fingers crossed!

  • Dave From Brooklyn says:

    If anyone is looking, Bass Pro has a live bait aerator on sale now for $9.99. Run time on 1 D battery is 30 hours. I bought 2…

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