Lessons of Hurricane Reef-keeping
Well over a week ago, South Florida was in complete chaos. Everyone was preparing for one of the biggest hurricanes in the Atlantic- The Infamous Hurricane Irma... Her eye, carrying winds over 185 mph was destined to hit South Florida dead on...
When I mean dead on, I mean it looked like a GPS route to my area from the Atlantic Ocean... I freaked out!! Ordered a pallet of water (yes, a pallet), bought all the canned food I can find, had 3 tubs of Bleach ready to purify water and as any other Latin family member can vouch for, I have Black Bean cans ready to support a small city.
My husband, Ramiro was in charge of preparing for the tanks and making sure we didn't lose our livestock... He did not break a sweat; he always knew we were not going to be hit directly. How? I still don't know. But, I, for sure gave him a piece of my mind when he thought I was overthinking this whole thing.
Well to the point of why I started this blog, I have read and heard from many friends that they have lost their livestock because of the Hurricane and the power outages! PEOPLE…We invest a lot of time and money into these tanks we have to make sure that we are ready for these types of situations… Tanks are not going to take care of themselves, let alone in an unforeseen situation, like Hurricane Irma.
I will start by saying that we have to take care of Human life first and make sure we are safe, fed and comfortable because if not, we can’t take care of our animals. Having said that, this is what we did to make sure we had everything taken care of.
Installed battery operated bubblers in all of our tanks, 1 per tank. We would give the generator a brake and let the bubblers work their magic.
TIP: Now that the hurricane is over, purchase one at a time and keep them in a bin (Hurricane Preparedness Bin). This way we avoid the huge expense when the time comes.
Did quick water changes to all tanks right before the impact.
TIP: Have the set amount of salt in reserve ready for a water change at all times in case there is no salt to be found in a time of need, as we know a water change can help make our tanks happy.
Strived to maintain temperature stable within the tanks. This has to be the hardest task, given the South Florida heat. We were lucky enough to have a dedicated generator that would power the Mini Split AC (huge thanks to Eric Ho from ifragit.com), the pumps and occasionally some lights.
TIP: If a generator is not available, I bought some battery-powered fans, that work great. Also, you can make some saltwater and freeze it and if there is a huge temp spike, drop a couple of frozen bags to maintain it cool.
Checked the water parameters at least daily. There is a lot going on in the atmosphere and our tanks are moody when these storms are roaming around.
TIP: Shut off your dosers and don’t supplement your tanks, our belief is that if the corals are “sleeping” they are not consuming.
I hope this will help some of you in the future, we don’t have it down to a perfect science but, thankfully, we barely lost any pieces. We are happy to answer any questions, as always email, text or send us a smoke signal (our reception is still spotty in South Florida).
Sandy, Ramiro & Shawn
The Got Corals Squad