A Public Aquarium Crashes

It takes effort, patience, resources and time to build up an aquarium. I think almost anyone who has taken care of fish, or any living being, will know this. So, it would not be hard to explain the great loss of the Audubon Aquarium suffered when it lost most of its fish and animals after the wake of Katrina.

Here is the article at CNN:

Aquarium restocking after Katrina losses

Katrina did not kill it. I think the aquarium remained intact. However, because Katrina severed the power lines across the city it destroyed the equilibrium of the aquariums. These aquariums, the enclosures and inhabitants were dependent on human input in order to survive. In the wild when a disaster occurs all that an animal has to do is move to another place in order to survive. In an enclosure the animals had no place to go. They were trapped inside. And eventually without support from their human caretakers and power to maintain balance in the enclosures/aquariums they would die.

And that is exactly what happened. After a few days without food and power the living conditions became un-inhabitable, deplorable. The water was getting polluted and the fish were getting stressed. This was a recipe for massive fish kills, in the case of the aquariums.

The collection at that Public Aquarium took years to build. They had sharks, giant groupers, exotic and rare aquatic animals in their aquariums. I would guess a lot of the aquariums were over-stock, hence the overdependence on the filtration system.

Filipino Aquarists, especially Filipino Marine Aquarium hobbyists would be familiar with this dilemma. The loss of power would often lead to the collapse of the aquarium and toxic tank. I have seen it happen several times during the nine-hour brownouts when Cory was President. Marine Aquarists in order for their aquariums to survive did the following:

Bought generators/inverters to power the pumps and the chillers of the aquarium.

A larger number of hobbyists bought battery powered aerators. The marine aquarists used it to run the protein skimmers while the freshwater aquarists used it to run sponge or corner filters. A friend of mine claimed that at one time he was up all night using a hand pump to aerate the aquarium. It’s probably a tall-tale but it does underlie the dependency of an aquarium on its owner.

Things an aquarist/aquarium hobbyist should remember when dealing with power outages:

Stock light, a lightly stocked aquarium will take a longer time to deteriorate when the filter is down. In fact a lightly stocked aquarium will survive on frequent water change, light feeding and aquatic plants.

Light or no feeding during power outages. Less food means less waste.

Invest in battery powered air pumps and sponge/corner filter. Or get an inverter or genset, but one might have better uses for a genset or inverter than utilizing it for the aquarium.

Believe me it will save you a lot of headache when the brownouts come.


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