Caring For Betta Fish During A Power Outage

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Caring For Betta Fish During A Power Outage

Thinking about, and being prepared for a power outage as a betta fish owner isn’t a bad idea. Betta fish are pretty sensitive to things like temperature change and water conditions, and when you are going through a power failure for any unknown amount of time, gathering together a list of things beforehand may actually end up saving the lives of your betta fish.

Written below is a a quick and simple set of guidelines and things you may want to know in keeping your betta fish happy and healthy throughout a power outage. It’s highly recommended that you read this now and give yourself time to stock up on supplies before you and your betta fish may need them.

Basic Guidelines

Betta Food

Betta Food

feeding should be strictly limited to what your betta will eat and no more.

If your betta fish is in a filtered aquarium, it’s actually recommended that you feed your betta fish little to none. If your betta is living in an unfiltered aquarium, bowl or vase, feeding should be strictly limited to what your betta will eat and no more.

The reason for this is that, depending on how warm it is where you live, your betta’s digestive system will end up using valuable oxygen in the water. Warmer climates encourage a faster metabolism and increased oxygen consumption while cooler climates slow the metabolism and decrease the amount of oxygen used. On top of this, if any of the food remains uneaten in the betta tank, it will end up dissolving and add unwanted pollution to the tank.

Mind you, these are recommendations on for times when there is a power outage or failure. Keep these things in mind and use your best judgment.

Betta Tank Temperature

insulate the betta’s tank with a blanket, some newspapers or sleeping bag.

If you and your betta are dealing with a power outage in the winter, do your best to insulate the betta’s tank with a blanket, some newspapers or sleeping bag. You want to try and maintain the ideal 78-80 degrees in the aquarium if at all possible. Betta’s can survive at lower temperatures, but often not for long.

If the power outage happens during the summer, take out anything that is covering the the surface of the water in the aquarium. By removing items that are covering the surface, you are trying to increase the free surface area, and therefore the gas exchange efficiency of the water.

In either case, keep an aquarium thermometer close at hand. As was said before, you want to try and maintain the water’s temperature at between 78-80 degrees. Betta fish can generally handle temperatures down to 74 degrees, and temperatures up to 82, for a few hours. These are not good temperature parameters for extended periods of time though.

If you see the betta’s aquarium is dropping below 74 degrees, or is between 74 and 77 degrees for an extended amount of time, think carefully about these options:

Use an independent or alternate power supply to run your aquarium heater. Think about things like a generator or even run a long extension cord to a place that you know has power.

Portable propane and kerosene heaters made for home room use work fine if you have them.

If you have to, you can transport your fish to a warmer location. If you have a very large aquarium that is difficult to move, you should look for a temporary container to transport you betta. Even a 1 gallon zipper locked plastic bag will suffice. If you choose the plastic bag idea, fill the bag only 1/3 the way with water and the rest (2/3) with air. Your betta should survive about 36 hours this way. If you wish to try and transport the very large aquarium, up to 70% of the existing water can be removed to make it easier. In general though, it’s not hard, nor expensive to keep a smaller and more portable betta tank handy for such occasions.

If none of the above will work in your situation and transportation of any kind is not an option, you can add warm, dechlorinated water to your betta tank. This is where having an aquarium thermometer is crucial. Temperature to your betta tank should never be more than 5 degrees in either direction when adding new water to the existing water in the aquarium.

If you were to change out 10% of the betta’s aquarium water every hour or so, this should keep your aquarium warm and not cause too much undue stress on your betta.

Clean Water

Your betta’s aquarium shouldn’t read any ammonia levels at all.

You should know by now that the longer your betta lives in an aquarium that isn’t filtered or changed often, the worse the quality of the water will become. In a power outage, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to properly change or filter the water in your aquarium. This is why it was recommended that you do not feed your betta during a power outage. Betta fish, if necessary, can live for days without food. What they can’t live in is a tank with elevated ammonia levels. If you don’t already have one, it’s a really good idea in general to have an aquarium water test kit. Your betta’s aquarium shouldn’t read any ammonia levels at all. If the aquarium does, small water changes of 10% are necessary.

Proper water oxygenation may be something you will be concerned about during a loss of power. Bubble stones are great for giving your betta’s tank an extra oxygen boost, but require a powered air pump to get those bubbles pumping. There is a really nifty battery powered air pump you can pick up that runs on “D” cell batteries. It can come in handy during transport as well. That particular one in the link comes complete with an airstone and tubing.

Betta Tank Lights

Betta Tank Lights

During a power outage, the betta’s aquarium light shouldn’t even be on your mind. Betta fish can live indefinitely without fluorescent lighting.

Betta Fish Supplies During a Power Outage

  • A fish net (although, it’s recommended that you use a plastic bag or other container to capture your betta. Fish nets can harm the protective mucus layer and sensitive epidermis of your betta fish.)
  • Blankets
  • Newspapers
  • Some Buckets
  • Aquarium Water Conditioner
  • Zipper Locking Baggies
  • Some Rubber Bands (for bags without zippers)
  • An Aquarium Thermometer
  • An Aquarium Heater
  • Propane and/or Kerosene Heater
  • Extension Cord
  • Your local pet stores phone number
  • Aquarium salt (Medicine for betta fish)
  • Battery Powered Air Pump
  • An Aquarium Water Test Kit

A Betta Dealt With Power Outage

All things considered, keeping your betta fish happy and healthy during a power outage isn’t a hard thing to do. Power outages are a part of life, and being prepared for one is never a bad idea. Most of what you have read here can be used in other fish emergency situations as well. Making sure you know how to keep your betta in an ideal situation while you yourself are going through a hard time will… well, it’ll make you with you were the betta fish, that’s for sure!


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