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rough eye

Power Backup?

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rough eye

now seems like a good time to ask. who uses power backup for their reef systems and how? How much backup is needed for heater and pumps?

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ererer

You can buy cheap battery powered air pumps to provide water movement and make sure that gas exchange is still occurring. BRS did a video on UPS battery backups and powerheads, and some companies, like Ecotech, make specific battery backups for their pumps. There are also videos about how to DIY these battery backups using larger batteries (and for less money). The biggest issue, if your house loses heat and it's cold out, is to keep the water temperature up, and aquarium heaters will either be too small or use too much power to be powered by a battery backup in such a situation. In that case, having a portable generator or an inverter to run off a car battery is a better idea. You should avoid running any lights, control systems, or other sensitive electronics on certain backup power sources, as they can be sensitive and get damaged in the process. You can also wrap a tank in blankets, heat water on a gas, wood, or propane stove, or tape handwarming packets between the blankets and the glass.

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ererer

We have a 3000w portable generator for the house, as well as a wood stove. I'm planning to talk to a neighbor electrician friend about putting a transfer switch in to connect the generator to now. Also going to get it out and test start it, which I'll admit we don't do often enough. I've been reading where other reefers will test run theirs once or twice a month for 10 minutes on a load.

 

My upstairs room where I have a few FW tanks and soon to be one SW gets quite a bit colder than downstairs though, due to poor insulation (that will hopefully be addressed in the next year). My other tank is downstairs so I'm less concerned about that one. I'd probably just remove livestock and mostly empty and carry my smaller tanks downstairs in the event of an extended power outage were the tank temps to get too low. I have several battery powered air pumps and sponge filters with lots of extra batteries that I can use for water movement. I plan to build the diy battery backups for my two mp10s once I have those thinks running this summer.

 

If you want to determine how much electricity your setup uses for different things, you could get some smart plugs that track electrical usage and connect those to important items on your system. Be sure to consider the difference in heating needs if the room temperature were to be lower in an emergency than it normally is.

 

Smaller tanks can be easier to care for during outages if you plan properly, due to lower energy needs. Looking at other forums where members have bigger tanks (and generally bigger incomes and more money sunk into livestock), some people have whole house generators as their backups. I'd love to be on solar one day with a sizable battery bank for my whole house, personally, for this and many other reasons.

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rough eye

this might sound strange but the thing i worry about most in the short term is the power turning off for a few minutes, long enough for the bunny to snuggle up in the powerhead, and then power coming back on. i'm going to put a mesh bag over it to keep him out, soon as i get one, which will hopefully still allow flow.

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Superdave

I am in Dallas had some "practice" with extended outages for my freshwater and saltwater this past week.  I was planning on posting my experiences with how I kept my tank/fish warm and alive but will briefly add here as well.  I used my one (kind of pitiful) battery powered air pump and alternated it between the two tanks, with each tank getting 2-3 hours of "air."  Floated a 48 ounce Nalgene water bottle in each tank, filled with the hottest tap water my kitchen faucet produced.  Given, I have a gas powered water heater so easy for me to do this in my case.  

 

This kept both tanks warm enough (60-70 range) and NOTHING died!  I had power no more than 2 hours at one time, with outages of over 8 hours in some cases over about a 70 hours period of time.  Temps dropped to -2 outside and my interior house temp got down to 46.  Had to swap out the bottles several times but it worked great.  I was "helped" by the occasional power on/heater, but mostly it was the water bottles that did the work.  

 

I will definitely be getting battery back up of some sort as I am in the process of setting up a discus tank and they are far more sensitive than most reef items, including corals.   

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rough eye
2 hours ago, Superdave said:

This kept both tanks warm enough (60-70 range) and NOTHING died!  I had power no more than 2 hours at one time, with outages of over 8 hours in some cases over about a 70 hours period of time.  Temps dropped to -2 outside and my interior house temp got down to 46.  Had to swap out the bottles several times but it worked great.  I was "helped" by the occasional power on/heater, but mostly it was the water bottles that did the work.  

 

I will definitely be getting battery back up of some sort as I am in the process of setting up a discus tank and they are far more sensitive than most reef items, including corals.   

glad you made it through that.

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Superdave

Thanks!  

 

I was a bit anxious I will admit when tank temps were in the 50, but those water bottles really did the trick.  

 

I do think we underestimate the tanks ability to survive without much filtration/movement (for a 2-3 days) are all items are shipping in transit anyways.  

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