Mr. Saltwater Tank

Disaster Planning For Your Saltwater Tank

We all think and hope that an emergency with our tanks will never happen. The reality is that at some point in your tank career, something unexpected will happen with your tank. Here’s how to be prepared for a tank disaster as well as a special offer from Mr. Saltwater Tank

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Comments for this article (5)

  • Kevin says:

    Thanks for taking the time to make this video, there are some great tips in there.

  • You are welcome Kevin! I enjoy doing it!

  • Chris says:

    Hi can you tell me were you get those 5 gallon jugs and were you get that barrel for Rodi water?

  • Chris….the local fish store carries the jugs and any local farm store will have the barrel. Or try a coke/pepsi bottling plant.

  • James Sokolovic says:


    No offense, but the comment about UPS units (battery backup) converting AC power to DC power is backwards. I work for a company that sells and services UPS units and would like to clarify on this option as well as offer a few important tidbits about power and surge protection.

    1) During normal power operation, the AC power is provided to all equipment plugged into the UPS while it also makes a small amount of DC power to charge the battery pack while running. The VA rating of a UPS shows the maximum power the unit can handle.

    2) During an outage, the battery, which stores DC power is used to make AC power to the protected equipment using an inverter. The smaller the UPS, the smaller the battery inside = shorter runtimes during a power loss. UPS units have a specific runtime based on the load on it. The more you have plugged in, the less the runtime. Remember, on some smaller UPS units, certain ports are surge protection only and certain ports are battery backup protected….they are usually marked. So… if you’re not using a controller, then items like lights, UV sterilizers and other non-essential items should be plugged into the surge only side while mandatory items are on the battery backup side. Most UPS units have a power efficiency of only about 80%, so your comment about them being inefficient is absolutely correct. To combat this, simply oversize the UPS you plan to use. It provides the longer runtimes because the battery is larger on the bigger units. Much cheaper than a generator and easier to maintain.

    3) Lightning and surge damage to your vital equipment: What the UPS manufacturers rarely tell you — is that they only provide a small amount of surge protection. Usually 300 to 500 “Joules” (surge protection rating). I tell everyone that wants to protect any gear to install a high quality surge strip in front of anything they want to protect. Not only tank equipment, but computers, TV’s, camera systems, etc. I highly suggest a 3,000 or better Joule rated surge protection strip. I point people in the direction of the Tripp-Lite ISO-Bar Ultra and the Belkin Surgemaster devices because they work well and offer high Joule rated protection. I also install a GFI adapter anywhere there’s water involved. It will trip and shutoff power to your devices instead of allowing a spark or possible fire in the event something gets wet or shorts out. (been there done that, GFI saved by butt) There are also options for whole-house surge protection that can be installed in the power panel for the serious gadget junkies (like me). One device protects everything, including your big screen TV, your honey’s fancy computer controlled washer/dryer set, dishwashers, pool pumps and anything else in the house….it’s a great investment at a few hundred dollars!

    4) If possible, place your tank power sources up off the bottom of the stand when at all possible. Water is going to eventually find its way to your power sources if they’re on the bottom of your stand, thanks to gravity. When at all possible, mount your power sources high and provide a drip loop in the power cords to stop water from traveling to unwanted areas of your stand. For drilled tank owners, try to keep your power sources away from the pipe fittings too, any salt creep will corrode or short your power distribution. (Mounting your power distribution gear upside down will force everything plugged in to have a drip-loop)

    5) Test your disaster plan for a short-term loss of power by unplugging the power to your equipment at the wall outlet. This should be done quarterly to make sure your UPS is functioning properly and have the confidence of knowing you’re all set in this area.

    6) Change batteries to these UPS units about every 3-years. Many UPS manufacturers use a basic charging system and the battery life is 3 years for most UPS units, except for the few units that offer advanced battery management. (do your homework if you want the longer battery life ABM feature) Also, write down your battery replacement date on the outside of the UPS unit and the battery itself with a Sharpie marker when you change them, for a quicker visual check on the expected life of your battery.

    Hope this helps clear the air on power…love your site and info….. Keep up the good work!

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