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Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

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Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by FishOnTheRock on Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:45 pm

It seems we can't make enough electricity here to keep everyone supplied so we are dealing with rotating blackouts. We loose power for about 1hr 2 or 3 times a day and will be for the foreseeable future.

I've been keeping my tanks under blankets with the lights off both to save on power (we are being asked to conserve as much as possible). My filters all start up no problem when the power comes back on. No back siphoning for me.

My questions:

How will the fish be affected by being kept in near perfect darkness over a period of ~5 days?

How long can I deprive the plants of light before I start seeing due off?

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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by GaryE on Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:06 pm

The fish will be fine.

The plants will depend on species. It really depends on how much light the species needs. My low light plants would be fine, but Cabomba, or other light hogs may suffer.

Heatwise, you don't lose much in an hour. In a total blackout in 1998, after three days, my tanks had dropped to 12c. This was in warm winter -5 or so, but in a 1946 house that was under-insulated and drafty. It didn't matter where they had started - that was the baseline. Water lost about 3 degrees a day once it reached 20, while the house fell to 6c.
We got about three hours of electricity, and then the transformer blew up and some large maples fell down.
We lost the lights for 5 more days, including some -20 time, and when the lights came back up for good, the house was at 1, and the tanks at 3. I was draining tanks for the coming ice when the lights flickered on and the furnace restarted. At that point, everything had been dead for days, although my Cryptocorynes returned six months later.
You could turn your tanks into coolers. Cut stryofoam (the cheap white stuff from home dept - $12 for ten or so 3 foot sheets). Cover all sides and tape. You can even cut it to have a lid.
But that's if the rolling blackouts start lasting three or four hours. At an hour 3 or 4 times a day, you might have a minor risk of Ich, but you may dodge the bullet entirely.

Even if you lose 2 degrees an hour, fish can take 3 degrees celsius without any real change in their situation. You should ride though this fine.

Stay warm.
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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by Sbenson11 on Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:40 pm

The good thing for me in this go around and every other one is most of my fish are at work where we have backup power. At home we have a wood stove and which just so happens to be a couple of feet away from my saltwater tank so it doesn't get cold.

However it does bring to light several issues that I will have to address before next time. Yesterday this tank was without any power for 13 hours. Everyone is fine but an extending outage as some people in our area are experiencing could have been a disaster.

Steve
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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by alexmtl on Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:37 pm

I have read about the storm and I hope you remain well out there in Atlantic Canada.

I do not know what I would do if there was a power outage, like the 1998 ice storm here in Quebec. I did not have fish then so luckily I did not have to worry.

I would however invest in a power generator if another ice storm were to happen here. The experts say that these are rare occurrences, so my trigger would be a second event, that hopefully never happens. I would buy a gas power generator with as large a tank reservoir as possible. The best would probably be a farm tractor that is power generator equipped.

It really lends us to examine if we have an emergency plan in place, or at least have conceptualized what we would do.
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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by Sbenson11 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:14 am

Oh well the whole grid crashed again last night, been without power for the post 12hr. Sad

this is starting to get old.

Steve
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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by GaryE on Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:20 am

Hang in there. I saw that on the CBC and have been thinking about you guys. What a mess.
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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by FishOnTheRock on Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:34 am

This is truly getting old. I've had power more than Steve bit don't have his wood stove or fireplace. This will be my last post for a bit. My cell is running low and I need to conserve the battery.

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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by JayB on Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:40 pm

I feel for all of you dealing with the power outages. This is a tough year for all you folks. While Ontario, Quebec & NB are finally getting back to normal, now Newfoundland is the latest victim of winter's wrath. Try to keep safe and warm (not easy when you don't have power). I hope they get power restored soon.
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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by GaryE on Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:11 pm

I remember sitting on my ice cold couch in the dark, eating doritos. It was all we had left in the house (since I could not cook without heat), and I became an addict. If we ever meet and I tuck into doritos (now my comfort food), don't think I'm a stoner!
It's an icestorm thing.
Take care and don't get too discouraged.
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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by mikebike on Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:51 pm

I keep my propane heaters and stoves ready for power failures.

I also have a genset for backup.

Since I got it no power problems/failures
so I have not needed to run it for more than 5 min 2 times a year.

in a emergency you can heat water from the tank and add it back
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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by FishOnTheRock on Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:20 am

It seems things here are starting to stabilize themselves. Its warmed up significantly today which has taken the strain of the grid. To help with the strain I have started run my lights only for 4hr a day at off peak times. Hopefully this will strike a nice balance between keeping up the plant growth and doing my part to conserve power.

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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by alexmtl on Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:50 pm

Glad to hear that your part of the world is doing better. Nice hearing from you FOTR
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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by Sbenson11 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:56 pm

It does seem to have settled down, however we did loose our power again today for another 6 hours. It was only a localized thing so they had to send a crew out to our yard and replace a fuse on the pole. Our phones went out around the same time so I was thinking the lines went down, but that was not the case. Good thing to as Aliant said it would be Thursday evening before they could come out and have a look. Strangely the phones came back shortly after the power did.

Steve
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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by alexmtl on Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:43 pm

Hopefully the tanks and the inhabitants survived with little stress ! Good to hear that things are looking better. It was hard to believe that Atlantic got another severe whollap like it did. Good to see that it has not affected your bright cheery sense of humour Steve
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Re: Dealing with Rotating Blackouts

Post by mikebike on Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:22 pm

If you have access to cheep wood or other fule you could have a wood fired boile had pipe the water to the tanks with a heat exchanging loop of SS tubing in the tanks.
A 12V pump could be used to circulate the water.
or pedal power.

If you directly heat the water in a coil it will draw water and create a thermo syphon/loop current
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