Emergencies can result from chiller failure, electric power failure, or failure of other parts of your aquarium system. Temperature, aeration, and filters must be checked daily for proper operation. To guarantee that action will be taken before your fish are compromised, multiple people must be aware of the steps to take in the event of any failure.
NOTE: Always have backup personnel knowledgeable about emergency procedures.
CHILLER FAILURE: Have or get a bag of ice to keep tank water cool. Put the ice in a bag so that chlorinated water does not enter the tank. See Teacher Handbook section on “CHILLER” under “TANK MAINTENANCE & TROUBLESHOOTING.” Once ice is in the tank, call your area coordinator immediately to receive a loaner chiller.
POWER OUTAGE: You need to maintain aeration quickly, in addition to maintaining cold water. The most inexpensive way is to have a portable battery-operated aerator available (you’ll need one on release day as well). A portable aerator is very much a temporary fix because it will not put out much air. If you do not have an aerator that turns on when the power fails, have an emergency aerator with instructions by the tank.
Shopping for a portable aerator: You’ll find a variety on the market but be sure to purchase one that will handle a 55-gallon tank and has good reviews.
Some battery-operated aerators have a sensor that turns on when the power goes off. The Penn Plax Silent Air B11 Air Pump is an example (approx. $26); however, it is sized for 29 gallons so two would be needed.
A better choice would be Penn-Plax Air Pod Aquarium Air Pump for Power Outage (Model:APB1) that incorporates automatic battery backup for up to 55 gallons (approx. $35). It has enough battery power for 150 hours. It would be your primary aerator as it is not portable.
Use a backup battery: Backup batteries used for computers could certainly be used to power your aerator and filter. They would be too expensive to power your pump and chiller and might not work. One such unit is the APC UPS Battery Backup Surge Protector, 425VA Backup Battery Power Supply, BE425M (approx. $55). It would keep the aerator and filter running for over 24 hours.