Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. October, 2012’s Hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc on fish keepers and public aquariums in the Northeastern USA. My own collection, which houses several 20-30 year-old catfishes, loaches and aquatic amphibians, suffered only a single loss. I owe a debt of gratitude to the dedicated folks at That Fish Place-That Pet Place, who shipped much-needed supplies to me in record time, despite the disastrous weather. The public aquariums for which I consult are now working frantically to limit losses; I’ll provide updates via Twitter.
Most aquarists know what steps to take during power outages, so today I’d like to focus on several points that, in my experience, are sometimes over-looked.
Filter Care and Bacteria Die-offs
When power fails, submersible, corner, and other internal filters should be removed from the aquarium. When oxygenated water is flowing through a filter, waste material is processed by beneficial aerobic bacteria, and ammonia is converted to less toxic nitrites and nitrates (please see this article). Once the flow of water stops, the resident beneficial bacteria perish. Without aerobic bacteria, your filter becomes a source of decomposing organic material, quickly poisoning the already-stressed aquarium inhabitants.
As the contents of external aquarium filters are not in direct contact with the water, they will not immediately add to the pollution problem. However, these filters should be disconnected because when electric power is restored, they will pump ammonia and other toxins into the tank. Read More »