DISCLAIMER:I do not know any of these people, I do not claim to know these people, therefor none of this is factual information (except of course the McLeods who claim their love for one another on the daily) please don’t attack me if you don’t like someone I put on here:) If there is somebody missing or somebody that is a big no no to be on here message me and I will kindly fix it:-)
Erin McLeod(CANWNT/FC Rosengard) & Ella Masar McLeod(FC Rosengard)
What's the protocol for when the power goes out at the aquarium? And do you have advice of what to do to keep fish (and filter bacteria!) alive if the power goes out? :)
Okay, staff at the aquarium actually get questions like this
frequently from visitors. This is because visitors are often quite shocked to
realize that many of the animals they saw during childhood visits are still
there, in spite of Hurricane Sandy and all the damage it brought to the Jersey
shore. They start asking about how we weathered the storm.
The truth is, we have major plans in place for handling any
emergency or power outage. This is how the aquarium staff (at the time of
Sandy, I was still just a volunteer!) did so well. By having plans in place and
reviewing them, it greatly helps with most issues.
Minor power outages or rolling brownouts are a common enough
occurrence during the worst of summer heatwaves or storms, no matter where you
live NJ. While modern upgrades and redundancies to the power grid has removed
much of the risk of significant power loss, it can happen.
To deal with minor losses, we have a few hidden treasures
tucked away. While the building has emergency lighting to assist with human
navigation, every free-standing exhibit has a flashlight or lantern tucked
underneath. Why? Well, every extra bit of light is important to help us
pathetic humans navigate in the dark. We employees and volunteers know our
aquarium and the terrain pretty well, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be
hazardous in the dark. This means helping everyone get around safely to a
secure area or possibly exiting the building if external conditions warrant is
These lights are also crucial for our sharks and their tank mates.
Successfully keeping larger sharks with fish requires working with their
natural tendencies. Sharks tend to be more active with hunting at night. One of
the biggest tricks to keeping sharks in aquaria is making sure they have a
nightlight. It need not be bright enough to disturb, just bright enough to
prevent them from getting into that hunting behavior and starting to look at
their tank mates as a possible snack. So, a big job is specifically ensuring
that there are lights on our sharks.
Side note : I picture this whenever we talk about power outages and shining flashlights for the sharks. I’ve never experienced a power outage at work, but I have a feeling this will be me if it happens while I’m around the sharks.
In addition to hidden flashlights, each and every
free-standing exhibit has a hidden emergency kit underneath including a battery
operated air pump, line, and stone. If the power outage will continue longer
than a minor inconvenience, these little battery operated pumps can be set up
to keep some circulation and surface disturbance in the exhibits.
This plan for dealing with minor outages is only as good as
our prior preparation. So, these pumps and flashlights are frequently checked
to ensure that everything is in working order and that they all have good
batteries. We have a cache of batteries in our lab, as well as a huge tote of spares.
If a power outage looks like it is going to persist for
longer than a few hours, then we have a bit of a challenge on our hands. Temperatures
on smaller exhibits (especially terrestrial ectotherms) may begin to slide, and
prolonged stagnation of water through filter media may cause the beneficial
bacteria to consume all available oxygen (and die). The aquarium has generators
on hand for this very emergency. We may not be able to operate ALL life support
systems, but our generators can handle ensuring that critical systems are functioning.
Where it gets interesting is our water quality monitoring.
In our day to day operations, the aquarium alternates between two systems from
Hach and YSI. These are both battery operated, handheld devices with internal
lighting that we can use to go from tank to tank and monitor for temperature,
dissolved oxygen, salinity, and pH (on the YSI). As we test, the data is
displayed on the device in use and is also stored for later retrieval. So,
although I need a computer to upload data and make our pretty spreadsheets for
logging purposes, I could still easily go around and ensure that each tank is
sitting within a reasonable range for general parameters.
Our aquarium has two levels, and our upper level has been
known to turn into “tent-city” when a prolonged outage is expected (or a
significant storm). Staff has camped out there and spent the night to ensure
that nothing goes awry. I am told, however, that the seals make bad roommates
(they can be active and noisy at night, apparently!).
We also put in a ton of prep work if we suspect an event
will cause us to lose power, such as a hurricane or other major weather event.
This may include things like setting up the generators, putting pumps into
place, etc. By being ready in advance of the power going out, we’ve already
done much of the hard work. I also like to think it gets us in the right
mindset for when the power does go out, no different than having a fire drill.
Okay, I think this is long enough for one post. I’m going to
make a second one for home hobbyists dealing with power loss.
Did you know GRRM has a his own house sigil, the turtle.
“Turtles have always been my sigil, I suppose. When I was a kid, growing up in Bayonne, NJ, I lived in a federal housing project, and we were not allowed to have a dog or cats. The only pets I could have were turtles. So, I had an entire toy castle filled with dime-store turtles. I gave them all names, and since they were living in a toy castle, I decided they were all knights and kings…and I made up stories about how they killed each other and betrayed each other and fought for the kingdom. So, Game of Thrones, actually began with turtles. I decided later to recast it with actual human beings.” -George R.R. Martin