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Old 10/28/2020, 02:45 PM   #1
callsign4223
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How cold is too cold

We just had a freak ice storm here. I have battery backups for my pumps so the tank still has adequate circulation. Unfortunately, we have been without power for about 2 days and I have no heat. The house is down to 55 and the tank is hovering in the mid to low 60s. Is this sustainable for a week? I know its obviously less than ideal. The livestock is mostly fish, with a leather and some mushrooms.

I tried floating one gallon jugs of hot water, we have gas water heater, but they didn't seem to budge the temps at all. I'm also trying to source a small generator just to run the heaters. If I do this should I bring the temp up gradually or just let the heater warm the tank as fast as possible?


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Old 10/28/2020, 03:23 PM   #2
Michael Hoaster
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I'd take one pump offline and connect a heater to the battery backup. You can buy a battery powered air pump at a fishing tackle store. Use that for water circulation and then you can plug in two heaters. Letting the heaters heat up as fast as possible will be slow enough. Good luck!


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Old 10/29/2020, 08:09 AM   #3
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+1 How things do is going to depend on the species and how healthy it is. You'll need to keep a close eye on things and remove anything that dies right away. But keep in mind things are going to close up and slow down so be sure somethings dead before removing it.


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Old 10/29/2020, 10:31 AM   #4
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62 is getting into lethal territory for fish. Rocks will retain some heat. If you could use a candle to heat a stainless steel pan of water, you could dip water up, heat it, pour it in. Also, wrap your tank in a blanket, to prevent heat escaping. If you can trade pump for an hour of heater every 3-4 hours, day and night, that would help. Lower temperatures do help retain oxygen, but try to get the temp up into the high 60's.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, tailspot blenny, ocellaris clown, yellow watchman, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 10/29/2020, 12:55 PM   #5
callsign4223
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I've had the first mortality. Lost my chromis. The bangai looked dead but when I tried to net him to get him out he fluttered away.

I've got a 100 watt heater running off of a home made battery backup but it's draining the battery pretty quick and not making much of a dent in the temps. I'm trying to source a generator from somewhere so I can get my 300 watt heater operational too.

I thought I was prepared for a power outage but the hot water in a bottle trick is a total fail


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Old 10/29/2020, 01:17 PM   #6
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Honda makes a good generator that is portable. You need a cable to connect it to your electrics. You have to run those outside (gasoline) and a chain to give thieves trouble is a good idea.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, tailspot blenny, ocellaris clown, yellow watchman, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 10/29/2020, 01:23 PM   #7
callsign4223
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Could I take tank water, put it in a pot, heat it on a gas grill, and put it back in? Obviously not to boiling point. Maybe heat it to 90-100 degrees?

I'm just thinking if I can get the tank temp up, the heater might be able to maintain it.


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Old 10/29/2020, 03:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by callsign4223 View Post
Could I take tank water, put it in a pot, heat it on a gas grill, and put it back in? Obviously not to boiling point. Maybe heat it to 90-100 degrees?

I'm just thinking if I can get the tank temp up, the heater might be able to maintain it.
That would work. Use a stainless pot if you have one. Just not steel or copper lined.


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Old 10/29/2020, 03:26 PM   #9
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Just pour slowly and try not to hit any fish or coral. do not bring up total tank temp more than a few degrees an hour


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, tailspot blenny, ocellaris clown, yellow watchman, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 10/29/2020, 03:27 PM   #10
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I got a power inverter for my car and ran an extension cord from that to run a small heater and one power head. Just run the car for a while every few hours to keep from running the battery dead.

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Old 10/29/2020, 03:50 PM   #11
callsign4223
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I have a stainless steel pot I'll use. I'll pour into the outflow from the gyre powerhead.


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Old 10/29/2020, 11:51 PM   #12
cody6766
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I'll be the case study that says 58* is too cold. I've lost all of my fish, my clam, urchin and what looks like most or all of my SPS corals. I was relying on a 2KW generator that I've used off and on for years...until the pull start cord broke this year. The water is cloudy, so I can't give an accurate loss assessment. That said, the dead fish, coral and snails found that the edge of the tank let me know that any surviving coral is a bonus.

Boiling tank water and adding it will keep you tank warm, but once your livestock value exceeds $400-600, I'd say a generator is worth it. You can get a great invertor generator from Harbor Freight for that price. It'll run your tank essentials and a fan or space heater.

For those out of state, Oklahoma just got hit with a once-in-a-decade ice storm. 3-4hr power outages aren't uncommon from storms. 6-12hr outages aren't unheard of in some areas when the weather gets really bad. Much longer than that is definitely the exception

I was without power for about 36'ish hours....maybe 48. I'm luckier than many people near me. The 30 degree temps bottomed my house at 58 degrees, helped out by my natural gas fireplace.

Human factors aside, if you have a reef and the means to buy a small, emergency generator, I recommend it. A winter power loss will pay for the reef, plus keep a room warm with a space heater. Bigger generators aren't much more expensive than the smaller invertor generators, but they take up a lot more space.

This ice storm (and the broken pull-start cord) drove me to replace my 2KW inverter generator with a 10KW generator. Unfortunately, the generator would have likely paid for itself (definitely true for a smaller unit) if I had it before the storm.


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Old 10/30/2020, 08:38 AM   #13
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Don't be too quick to toss a fish if it's not moving. Fish are ectotherms, theier systems just slow down as their body temperature drops. I've seen fish in cold water have a almost undecetable resperation rate so take a minute and look close for a minute or two. Heed the above warnings about warming them up too fast.


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Old 11/02/2020, 10:00 AM   #14
callsign4223
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I waited until eyes clouded over. At this point the only livestock I have that I'm sure are still alive are 2 clowns, a coral banded shrimp, and some snails. I have confirmed and removed a bangai, chromis, and yellow tang. Haven't seen my dottyback or coral beauty since the outage. I also watched my prized leather melt before my eyes.

I am now at 7 days without power.

All the livestock in my small 20 gallon is gone.

The house got down to about 57 at the worst. Warming the water on the gas grill was a failure, it took almost 30 minutes to warm the water to 110 degrees and it just didn't make a difference. I was able to find a couple more milk jugs and floating 3 at a time and constantly swapping them got the tank temp up to 69. At that point the tang and cardinal were still alive but barely. Unfortunately it appears that that wasn't enough to save them.

At this point I'm very disheartened and considering selling off the equipment. I might keep the small 20 gallon tank and one of the kessils off the big tank to keep my clowns and shrimp. One of the clowns and shrimp have a lot of sentimental value to me.


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Old 11/02/2020, 10:06 AM   #15
Vinny Kreyling
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Sorry to hear this.


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Old 11/03/2020, 11:00 AM   #16
callsign4223
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Got my power back on yesterday afternoon. Confirmed that everything in the 20 gallon is dead. The coral beauty angel made it though, he showed himself for about 30 seconds before going back to hide in the rocks.

At this time, it looks like my 2 clowns, the coral beauty, and the coral banded shrimp survived. My mushrooms appear to have survived as well. The snails also made it. Everything else is a goner.

I'm going to leave everything on autopilot for a few weeks and let my emotions settle, then make a decision on what to do next.


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Old 11/04/2020, 07:50 PM   #17
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Small, frequent water changes are in order. Hope this helps.


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Old 11/04/2020, 07:54 PM   #18
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A generator relatively cheap in terms of the loss from an outage. You can snag a 2KW inverter generator from Harbor Freight for $500. This will run a fridge and your reef minimums (heat and flow) with no issue. Their 3KW inverter generator is around $700-800 and will handle even more. Both of these are pretty small and very quiet. If you go with a traditional generator with the same output you'll save money but pay in size and noise.

Don't be scared by the Harbor Freight name. Their Predator generators are better than their average tools. I've done a bunch of research on them and would have bought my big generator from HF if they had any in stock. I still might buy their 3KW invertor generator for my camper since it'll run the AC and other functions without issue.

Don't quit the hobby over a loss. It sucks, but you can rebuild. Only quit when it doesn't bring you joy or actually affects your finances.


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Old 11/05/2020, 07:31 AM   #19
callsign4223
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I actually found this on amazon. They kind of hide it because if you just search for wen inverter generator the one that shows up in the search is the closed frame model for twice the price.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XZVLC9H...ing=UTF8&psc=1

A buddy here at work ordered one. We are messing around with it now. It's pretty impressive actually. Small enough to be easily portable and quiet enough you could put it on your back porch and not go nuts from the noise in the house.

I built myself a solar generator/battery pack. I had thought it would be sufficient to get me through. The issue I had is that I didn't take into account multi-day outages in freezing conditions. I was also counting on floating bottles of hot water or frozen water bottles to regulate temps. I didn't realize just how many bottles I would need and got caught without enough on hand. It takes 3-4 milk jugs of hot water changed every 15 minutes just to start raising the temp on the tank. Once the temp is close to 70 it can be maintained with 2 milk jugs changed every hour or two.

My dottyback came out of hiding last night, so that takes my mortality rate to 50%. It's still painful, but not quite as bad as I originally thought when I thought only a pair of clowns made it.

I'm still holding off on making a decision for a couple of weeks until the emotions recede some and I can think with a clear head. At this point I'm leaning towards taking down the big setup though and cannibalizing it for parts for a smaller simpler setup. My sump is a 40 breeder that I siliconed baffles into. I'm thinking I might take the baffles out and run that as my display for a while. I'm looking into AWC setups now because at least part of my issue is that I've been so busy lately my tank was suffering even before this. If I can simplify and automate it some more I think I might keep on.


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Old 11/07/2020, 06:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Don't be too quick to toss a fish if it's not moving. Fish are ectotherms, theier systems just slow down as their body temperature drops. I've seen fish in cold water have a almost undecetable resperation rate so take a minute and look close for a minute or two. Heed the above warnings about warming them up too fast.
I agree with this. My chiller thermostat stuck on once and took my tank temperature down to 49F. The fish were all swirling lifelessly on the sandbed. I took the chiller slowly offline and heated the tank slowly. Of my 7 fish, the firefish, clownfish and 2 cardinal fish all revived. Surprisingly the chromis and damsels all perished. I did not lose a single coral however, not even my crocea clam.


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