Would you be able to handle a saltwater tank problem if you went home this evening to find one waiting for you? No one who keeps fish wants to go through an emergency with their saltwater tank, but it can certainly help to know what needs to be done if by chance you should find yourself with a saltwater tank problem.
There are three main emergencies that the saltwater tank owner needs to be prepared for if possible. Knowing what to do when faced with a leaking tank, an electrical outage, or a tank that is overheating can go a long way towards turning an emergency into a learning experience.
A leaking saltwater tank does not have to mean disaster for the carpet or floors in your home if you act quickly. If you discover a leak, bring out those clean five-gallon buckets you have collected just in case you needed them, and start dipping the salt water out of your aquarium. The idea is to save as much of the water as you can. Take a fish net, and gently catch your fish, then place them in the five-gallon buckets of aquarium water.
I hope that you have anticipated a saltwater tank problem, and have another aquarium that you can quickly set up. The longer your saltwater fish have to spend in those buckets, the greater are the chances that they may not survive. Once you get the spare tank set up, place your fish and their water into it, hook up your filters, heater, and lights, and all is well again.
If your power goes out during a storm, it could be off for ten minutes or ten days, depending on the severity of the storm and where you live. Prepare for this problem by obtaining an air pump that runs on batteries. This will help to keep the oxygen levels in your saltwater aquarium as close to normal as possible, as well as aerate the water. If it is cold, you will want to keep your fish as warm as you can. A heavy blanket wrapped around the tank will help keep the heat in.
If you live in an area where the power goes off routinely for a few days during storm season, a small portable generator of the kind used for camping could work out to be cheaper than batteries for you. You can plug the electrical accessories, such as your saltwater tank’s filtration system, heater and the like, right into the generator, which can run for several hours on a tank of fuel.
An aquarium heater that malfunctions can be dangerous to your fish if it is allowed to run unchecked. Make a habit of checking the temperature of the water on a daily basis. If you should discover that the water in your saltwater tank is too hot, immediately begin to remove some of the water in those five-gallon buckets we spoke of earlier. Set the buckets to one side once they are full, as you will be adding the water back to the tank when it is cooler.
Fill some plastic Ziploc bags with ice cubes, and float them in the aquarium. You must use the plastic bags, as regular ice cubes would dilute the salinity of your tank water. Monitor the temperature of the water in the tank as well as the water in the buckets. Remove the ice cubes when the tank water has cooled to around its usual temperature, and pour the water from the buckets back into the tanks once it is cool enough.
If you experience a saltwater tank problem like the ones mentioned here, try to stay calm and remember the procedures outlined in this article. Just by knowing what to do can keep a saltwater tank emergency from becoming a possible disaster.