One tip I learned this hurricane season which I want to pass along involves fish in aquariums; to keep them alive, have an emergency backup filtration plan to protect your aquarium during an extended power outage. Many marine aquarium owners lost fish and coral during the storms before power could be restored. These creatures need oxygen provided through the aquarium aerator.
While preparing for the storm, many aquarists didn't think about the fact that loss of power would put an end to their fishs' oxygen source. Luckily for me, I remembered our battery operated bait aerator on the bait bucket stored in the shed. Once we lost power I had to go out in the storm only to find that, because it had been used the previous weekend at Rodman Reservoir, the batteries were dead. Since we were running 50-watt light bulbs off of a 12 volt battery for lighting and not relying on flashlights, I took some "D" batteries out of the flashlight providing about 30 hours of aerator operation and that kept my fish alive.
After the storm passed many folks told me they bought oxygen tablets which can supply a few hours of oxygen to the fish but they add up to a good chunk of change and fish stores were running out of them early on. O tabs are great to have on hand in your tackle box when bait aerator batteries die but don't depend on then for long-term power outages.
Bait-Saver battery operated aerators found at bait and tackle shops and outdoor sections of stores like Wal-Mart and Kmart cost under $20 and should be kept on hand along with fresh batteries. A more expensive version can be found for larger tanks that operate on 12 V batteries, just under $50. However the battery-operated system was more then enough to handle my 29-gallon tank. The fish might not like all the bubbles at first but they'll stay alive.
Don't expect to find these gems at Petsmart or Petco however, fish sensitivity to the forceful bubbling action caused by such devices can represent a danger to tiny fish and pet supply operators don't recommend them for aquariums. A fish lover might have to bite the bullet and visit a bait shop which carries these devices. They are also your best source for O tabs when you can't find them in aquarium shops.
Glenn Baker is a contributing ABN photographer and naturalist who lives in Florida.
Second Power Aquarium same as the first. Celebrate some special birthdays with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium during Pinellas Appreciation Days.