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Amphibian Care during Power Failures: Bacteria, Disease, Oxygen

This is a discussion on Amphibian Care during Power Failures: Bacteria, Disease, Oxygen within the General Discussion forums, part of the Vivaria, Enclosures & Product Reviews category; Hi All, Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Northeastern USA in October of 2012, caused losses to both private herp keepers ...

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Old 17th November 2012   #1 (permalink)
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Default Amphibian Care during Power Failures: Bacteria, Disease, Oxygen

Hi All,
Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Northeastern USA in October of 2012, caused losses to both private herp keepers and zoos. My own collection, home to a 32+ year-old Red Salamander and several others aged 20+, thankfully fared very well. The zoos and aquariums for which I consult are working to limit losses; Iíll provide updates via Twitter.
Reptile care during power outages is well-understood by most, so today Iíll focus on amphibians, as their unique needs can be easily over-looked. Most of the points mentioned below also apply to semi-aquatic species. How did your collection fare?
Filter Care and Bacteria Die-offs

When power fails, submersible, corner, and other internal filters should be removed from the aquarium. When oxygenated water is flowing through a filter, ammonia is converted to less toxic nitrites and nitrates by beneficial aerobic bacteria. Once the flow of water stops, the resident beneficial bacteria perish and your filter becomes a source of decomposing organic material, poisoning the already-stressed aquarium inhabitants. Fish keepers are well aware of these processes, which are part of the nitrogen cycle. An understanding of the nitrogen cycle will enhance your ability to keep and breed amphibians; (please see this article).
As the contents of external aquarium filters are not in direct contact with the water, they will not immediately add to the pollution problem. However, these filters should be disconnected, because when electric power is restored they will flood the tank with ammonia and other toxins. Amphibians lack the protection offered by fish scales, and so succumb to ammonia poisoning quickly when water conditions deteriorate (scale-less fishes, such as eels, loaches, and certain catfishes, are also sensitive). Read article here Amphibian Care during Power Outages - Bacteria, Disease and Oxygen | That Reptile Blog.
Comments and questions appreciated. As I do not place notices here each time I post a new article on That Reptile Blog, you may wish to check in periodically or subscribe; you can do so here That Reptile Blog. Please also check out my posts on Twitter Twitter.

Thanks, Frank
My Bio, with photos of animals Iíve been lucky enough to work with That Pet Place welcomes Zoologist/Herpetologist Frank Indiviglio to That Reptile Blog | That Reptile Blog
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Last edited by Jennewt; 17th November 2012 at 23:52.
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Old 18th November 2012   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Amphibian Care during Power Failures: Bacteria, Disease, Oxygen

I am glad you have posted this article, it is important for people to make plans for extreme events.

Over here in the UK we're unlikely to get anything major such as a hurricane, but I do believe the storms of 1987 caused severe power outages for affected areas, and flooding (which is regular in some areas) can also leave power outages. There is also the possibility of emergencies in power-stations, etc. We should always be prepared!

I have taken this info on board as I work at a college with a newly set-up animal centre (only been running approx 5 years) and I do not believe they have set up a procedure in case of long-term power outage. We do have a fish room (with aquatic amphibians and reptiles too) and a reptile room with terrestrial reptiles.

I will be forwarding this information to our head of the centre and will raise it in our next meeting. I am sure your article will provide valuable info so that we can set up emergency long term power outage procedures.

Many Thanks!



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Old 18th November 2012   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Amphibian Care during Power Failures: Bacteria, Disease, Oxygen

Quote:
Originally Posted by jane1187 View Post
I am glad you have posted this article, it is important for people to make plans for extreme events.

Over here in the UK we're unlikely to get anything major such as a hurricane, but I do believe the storms of 1987 caused severe power outages for affected areas, and flooding (which is regular in some areas) can also leave power outages. There is also the possibility of emergencies in power-stations, etc. We should always be prepared!

I have taken this info on board as I work at a college with a newly set-up animal centre (only been running approx 5 years) and I do not believe they have set up a procedure in case of long-term power outage. We do have a fish room (with aquatic amphibians and reptiles too) and a reptile room with terrestrial reptiles.

I will be forwarding this information to our head of the centre and will raise it in our next meeting. I am sure your article will provide valuable info so that we can set up emergency long term power outage procedures.

Many Thanks!
Hello Jane,

Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.

Please let me know if you need any information specific to your collection; I've been involved in scores of zoo/aquarium emergencies over the years and perhaps could provide some examples drawn from other institutions, etc.

Good luck and enjoy, Frank



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