Carbon dioxide is created from waste, which goldfish make lots of. This
harmful gas takes up space in a body of water, keeping oxygen from entering. In
order for your tank or pond to be oxygenated the surface must be agitated. This
action and this action alone expels Co2 from water. Once these gases are
expelled the surface must be exposed to fresh air. The greater the surface area,
the greater capacity for oxygen to enter. In an aquarium, the body of water is
small compared to the surface area. If the water is to be heavily oxygenated,
serious compromises must be made.
Moving water has many benefits. The moving water eliminates green water algae, forcing it to become substrate algae. Moving water breaks up supersaturated gases and expels carbon dioxide, and last but not least, moving water oxygenates and cools the water.
The smaller the body of water; the smaller the surface area; the greater the need for surface action.
Without our pumps and filters, we would be very unsuccessful at keeping
goldfish in tanks and aquariums. What happens if a pump slows or stops? This is
a good reason for having more than one pump in your tank; having a back up in
essential, but what if there is a power outage?
Be prepared for a pump or a filter to stop running, and be prepared for a power outage; it can and will eventually happen to you. Battery operated aerators and pumps, or power converters can be purchased; extra batteries kept on hand. Some of these can be plugged into the lighter of your vehicle to generate power, or connected to your vehicles battery.
When it does happen, and you find yourself with no battery operated equipment, or can't obtain it; you'll need to perform a water change of 20% to 40% depending on your stocking levels; for every day you don't have power; using enough water treatment for the entire tank if your tank is not cycled or just the amount exchanged if your tank is cycled.
Use your gravel vacuum with every water change, but don't be over zealous in removing the waste; some of this waste may not be utilized, and the beneficial bacteria may starve without it. The key is removing the tank water from the bottom; this is where carbon dioxide accumulates.
Perform small and frequent water changes throughout the day; instead of one large one
Goldfish are cold blooded; meaning their body temperatures are the same as their environment. Goldfish consume less oxygen in colder temperatures because they become dormant. This is a positive attribute during a winter power outage and a summer outage as well; as long as there is plenty of ice on hand.
- Feed normally in normal temperatures
Withholding food can upset your fish's delicate digestive system, and starve
the friendly bacteria. Feed less as temperatures drop. Feed only what the fish
will eat in five minutes. In colder temperatures they will become slower;
feeding less and less. Stop feeding when and if the temperature drops below 55
degrees Fahrenheit. When goldfish become dormant, so do the beneficial bacteria.
If the outage lasts longer than 4 days, increase the amount of water being exchanged by 10% depending on your stocking levels and water temperature. Reduce amount being exchanged as the temperature is lowered. Increase the amount being exchanged in warmer temperatures. Once readings reach 55% it isn't necessary to feed or exchange water.
Toxins are more dangerous to goldfish in warmer water temperatures. Test daily for ammonia and nitrite in a cycled or cycle free tank. Continue testing for a few days after the outage.
- pH and KH levels
Decreased oxygen in the water leads to a drop in pH levels.
Although 7 to 8 ppm is the comfort zone, it will be beneficial to raise levels
to 8 ppm during outage. The comfort zone for carbonate hardness (KH) is 70 to
120 ppm. This parameter gives water the ability to support oxygen, so raising
levels to high end of the comfort zone will also benefit.
Using bicarbonate of soda, add 1/8 teaspoon per 10 gallons of tank or pond water by premixing in fresh water. Repeat until KH readings are close to or at 120 ppm.
After buffering KH, Raise pH levels to 8 ppm by premixing one ounce of 3% H202 per 10 gallons of water to freshwater; add to tank gradually. Test both pH and KH daily. Repeat buffering process as needed.
Keep water oxygenated by clearing the body of water from carbon dioxide, a gas created from waste. Using a clean and free of contaminants pitcher, push deep into water pulling from bottom; hold high over water, and pour, allowing it to hit hard. Perform more frequently with warmer water; as much as 10 minutes per hour, or as often as possible; less frequently in colder water.
pH; Potential of Hydrogen
Symptoms of oxygen deprivation redness around gills; gasping at the surface; bulging eye or pop eye
Oxygen is absorbed into the water from the air. Make sure your aquarium is open and exposed to fresh air. Tanks or ponds with less surface area will be more at risk for lowered oxygen levels in the water. The less surface space, the more surface action is needed. Manually fan the top of the tank periodically to make sure the water is exposed to fresh air.
Large tanks hold consistent temperatures and support oxygen for longer periods of time;
smaller tanks may warm or freeze much faster and oxygen levels may drop
In winter: allow the temperature of your tank water to fall gradually; 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit is preferable, but make certain that it does not fall below 40 degrees. Even though goldfish and beneficial bacteria alike hibernate in the winter; they cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. If the temperature drops too low; burn a few candles around the tank to keep the tank water from freezing. If you have warm water available, use it to exchange some tank water.
Slow feeding at 64f; stop feeding at 54f
In summer: Place bags of ice around the tank, but do not float bags in the tank; which may cover the surface. Keep close watch on the temperature. Do not allow the water temperature to rise above 70 degrees; the colder the better; 55 to 60 degrees is preferable. Goldfish use less oxygen in colder water. Quiet water, with little surface area combined with warmer temperatures is a deadly combination.
How long can goldfish survive in water without the pumps on?
If your water is in pristine condition at room temperature; your goldfish can survive for several hours without the pumps depending on your stocking levels. If you come home from work, and the power has been off for the better part of the day; more than likely your fish will be fine. If the weather is extremely hot they might be affected depending on the stocking levels; another reason to keep stocking levels low. The less time spent under these conditions the better of course. If your water is in poor condition; then so are your fish, and it is likely they would not fare well under these same circumstances.
Lower or raise water temperatures gradually.
Exchange 20% of your tank or pond water for each day of a power outage, breaking it up into 5% water changes. Use your gravel vacuum, not to clean the gravel, but to remove water from the bottom of the tank where Co2 hangs heavily. Treat your fish to the salt and garlic tonic combined, and continue testing for ammonia and nitrite for at least three or four days. It a spike hasn't occurred by then it probably won't.
Author: Brenda Rand
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