So your reef survived the great East Coast earthquake earlier this week but you’re not out of the clear yet because Hurricane Irene is knocking on your door. Natural disasters are never fun but unlike an earthquake, you know this one is on the way and you can take some precautions in advance just in case Irene does cause havoc in your area.
Depending on where you are when a hurricane hits, there are definitely some things to do to help eliminate as many possible issues in advance. Sure having a bunker-type house, backup generator and hermetically sealed aquarium would make it a lot easier but we all don’t have unlimited resources. Here are some of our tips for preparedness:
- Stop feeding now to prevent nutrient buildup in the event of a power outage — Not only will decaying food add to the nutrient levels but the fish have to excrete the waste of what they eat. A few days without food will not harm them.
- Get plenty of battery operated airpumps and batteries to run them — Penn Plex makes a couple of inexpensive battery-powered backup air pumps or the Ecotech Marine Vortech battery backup for Vortech owners to keep water circulating and aerating. Also it helps to have extra batteries on hand just in case the power is out for a while.
- Lowland reef tanks should have all electrical components mounted as high as possible in case of flooding from storm surge — Higher is always better and in the case of storm surges and flooding, so take precautions to try and save as much as you can in the event of a flood.
- Analyze automated top off (ATO) and dosing systems to make sure they won’t cause complications if the power goes out — It might be best to disconnect kalk stirrers, dosing pumps and calcium reactors. At the very least disconnect power to see if your tank is prepared for power interruption and a restart. Would hate to see your entire top off reservoir dump into your aquarium once power is lost.
- Don’t buy any fish or livestock right now — No need to bring something home only to lose power for a few days. Put off buying anything new until the storm passes.
- Make sure to have plenty or freshwater and premixed saltwater ready to go, on site — In the event of an emergency, you may not be able to get to your LFS for a while and if you can, they might be out in a hurry. Once power comes back on, an immediate water change is probably in order.
- Have some GAC and GFO in case something does happen and water quality deteriorates — Carbon is a great way to remove impurities in an emergency. You can never have too much carbon (well, you probably can…)