Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Calling for Power Outages

I live in coastal North Carolina, and I particularly love living here during the winter months. While everyone else has been shoveling snow non-stop for weeks, we'd have some rain but no sleet, no ice and no snow. That is customary for this region.

So imagine my surprise to find that a major snowstorm was heading straight for my area and it could dump 8-12 inches of snow on us. You might think that's nothing but consider that snow here is more likely to be sleet, freezing rain, ice and wet snow - all of which can bring down trees and power lines, and result in power outages. In fact, according to the weathermen, we could receive massive power outages lasting some time.

My biggest worry is not for myself or my dogs, but for the angelfish. It is easy for me to keep my dogs in a smaller area with blankets and things that can warm them, and I can put on extra layers of clothes. But what do fish do during a power outage?

There are three issues that can result in fish deaths during a power outage:

(1) dramatic change in their water temperature - fish are cold-blooded creatures, which means their bodies are the temperature of their environment;

(2) lack of oxygen - the air wands and filters in a tank help keep the water oxygenated, and of course without oxygen the fish can die;

(3) waste - with the filters off, waste can build up quickly - from uneaten food to bacteria naturally found in the water to the excrements of the fish themselves.

Last year, I wrote a series of articles on what to do in the event of a power outage. I've pulled these out and I am preparing the tanks in the event of a power outage. I have blankets available to cover the tanks to keep the water from cooling off too quickly. I have the battery powered aerators available and will check the batteries today to ensure they are ready to go. And I will not feed the fish during the power outage; they can actually go several days without food, and this will help keep the waste down. Plus, by keeping blankets over the tanks, it plunges them into darkness, which will keep them less active (except the bottom feeders, and we want them to be scrounging for food, as that keeps the waste and decay down).

In case you missed it, here are the articles on what to do during a power failure: