Mr. Saltwater Tank

Replay of The Question and Answer Session With Mr. Saltwater Tank on 1/6/2014

Emergencies can happen at any time and this week’s Q&A is about how to be prepared when one strikes.

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Comments for this article (15)

  • Will says:

    Great session this week, FOWLR tank owner here great to hear you discuss them. Also great to hear about bio-pellet reactors. Can you run to much media in them for the tank size? And also will it help lower my nitrates? As my tank inhabitants grow larger I know this will be come and issue. Thanks for all the info and great job on the show!

  • Tim says:

    Mark, great show and great books. You’re helping many people make sense out of all the chaos. Including me 😉 I’m glad to hear you talking about emergency preparedness. One item you’ve mentioned before but did not mention in this episode was the use of a power inverter from your car battery or any other 12 V high capacity battery. This can be a more cost-effective solution over a generator and some inverters come in a very high capacity that can handle larger heaters and pumps!

  • Ken says:

    Been away for awhile, no one to watch my aquarium, now my sand has turned green, I was told that chemi pure elite would cure this by removing phosphate from tank. I have a 125 gallon FOWLR, what other cure do you suggest

  • Pam says:

    Thanks for hosting such an informative session on emergency back-up. We luckily were not hit with the ice storm that Toronto had (we are up in Ottawa) but Ottawa had a terrible one in 1999. We are considering a generator but have an 8-hour battery back-up in the meantime. If we had what Toronto had our reef tank would be finished and with all of the above-ground hydro towers up here in Ontario, it is a matter of time for it to happen again.

  • Shaun says:

    Hi Mark

    Most power cuts are once month for about 6-8 hours at a time

  • Laurie says:

    Hi Mark
    Thanks once again for such an informative session. I recently asked questions about my dragonet, which you kindly answered, but unfortunately the little fella did not make it despite all my efforts, it has taught me a lesson though, do not trust all of the information your local fish store tells you when it comes to fishes eating, you are better off seeing the fish eat before you purchase.
    Laurie (from the U.K)

  • Tim says:

    We had a 3-day power outage Christmas of 09. I threw blankets over the tank and didn’t do much else. I figured I was doomed. In the end, I lost one coral and NO fish. But now I have a generator!

  • Micah Morton says:

    FYI, if you DO want to run your APEX off of your generator, plug a simple UPS into the generator and run everything off of that. The UPS will smooth and clean the energy output significantly to the point where it won’t damage any of your sensitive electronics.


  • Jon says:

    Ups comment is not completely accurate. Generators as we know produce mechanical power. Therefore they vary in speed based on load etc. the acceptable “tolerance” of a generator is within 4hz for power. Good clean electricity is a constant 60 hz gasoline generators can be plus or minus 2 hz sometimes varying between 62hz and 58hz quite often. I have a propane whole house generator which is garunteed within a 2 hz frequency regulation 59-61hz. I told you that story to tell you this one. My apex ran for 8 hours with no battery backup and It got cooked. And I had to buy new eb8s. ALL BATTERY BACKUPS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL. Mark has an article I wrote for him that he has taken some notes from for this q&a. The long and the short of it is that there are 2 main types of ups’s online and offline. Offline are the most common where they sense a power loss and quickly transfer to battery before any electronics notice. Online are constantly taking your street power converting it to 12 or 24v and then re converting it back to perfect clean energy on the other end. Even with the online battery backups I am running that are designed for hospital equipment and sensitive electronics still allow some power fluctuation through. Moral to the story is. Apex is sensitive. I advise unplugging it if running on a generator. It cost me $ don’t let it cost you.

  • Jon says:

    I’m sorry quick correction to my above comment. The apex I burned up was running through apc 1500 ups’s when it fried. Offline battery backups. I since learned my lesson and I am running tripp lite 30 amp online batteries. 2 of them

  • Micah Morton says:

    I guess I’ve just been lucky then. Sorry to hear about your mishap, however, I would still recommend people run their equipment through a UPS rather than directly into the generator.

    What did it cost you to implement your whole house generator + 30amp online batteries?

  • Andrew Schafer says:

    Thanks for answering my question Mark! 🙂

  • Ayla says:

    Mark, you’re my favourite fish-geek. Love the hat! Love your articles too; both in-depth and pragmatic. Thank you 🙂

    Quick one on Skimmers. You say they’re not critical in a power outage. I always assumed that, given the bubbles generated, a skimmer is one of the best forms of gaseous exchange in my tank? Would you place surface disturbance well above this in preference?


  • Ayla…given that most skimmers are in a sump and where there’s a sump, there’s a return pump. And where there’s a return pump, there is a higher energy draw device. Therefore, unless you have a generator, your return pump won’t function for long off a battery backup. Therefore I focused more on what you can do w/out a return pump running. And, an air bubbler in a tank with a air wand (long narrow airstone vs. just a tubing dumping out fine bubbles) will give you some good O2 exchange. Not as a good as a skimmer, yet still decent.

  • Ayla says:

    Thanks Mark, that makes sense. Mine’s a hang-on-back Deltec skimmer and based on that, I think would take preference over my under-tank filter if I’m just choosing one pump to run.

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