Following a few requests I decided to go ahead and write this up in hopes to help someone if the need arises.. which I hope it doesn't.
What to do with your fish in an emergency...
Firstly, you should always have a plan and be ready for natural disasters.. whether it is a tornado, hurricane, wild fire or even a tsunami. No one is immune from mother nature, but we can be prepared. It is wise to research and know what to bring and where to go when a disaster strikes. Sometimes we have days, hours to prepare.. but sometimes we have only seconds.
We all want to save our pets when something happens, but you must keep in mind that in a lot of cases, if not most, it is not safe to try to rescue our pets when an emergency situation arises. Being prepared just in case will help out, but when it comes down to your life or theirs.. you must stay level headed and take care of yourself and your family first. Keep in mind situations that happen too quickly, such as house fires.. people die from the smoke before the fire ever reaches them, and many people perish while running back into the home to save a pet. In such situations, it is wise to keep yourself and your family safe and away from the house. The fire dept will try to save what animals they can, along with trying to stop the fire as quickly as possible. It is simply not worth your life to save a fish.. even though we never want to think of losing our fish in such a way.
It is simple and easy to be prepared for emergencies when it comes to your fish tanks. And not just natural disasters or accidents, but also when a fish becomes ill. It is wise to be ready in case the stores are closed, or inaccessible when they become ill. It will also come in handy if a friend's fish becomes ill and they don't know what to do- you will be prepared to help them out if need be.
A few items I like to keep around for emergencies are as follows:
A couple extra kritter keepers
- I would go for the medium sizes, as they are easily heatable and they don't take a lot of room. The price of them are relatively cheap so they won't break your budget if you get one or two to store. You never know if your main tank(s) will crack, whether you drop them or something hits it and breaks it. You can also use them as hospital tanks to hold ill fish to do daily water changes. The mediums tend to be roughly around 2 gallons- so easy to measure when using a gallon water jug.
An extra heater
- Anywhere from 10-25 watts, or larger if you wish.. but a smaller would work well in a hospital tank if need be. It will also work well if your main heater breaks down and you cannot get to the store immediately to replace it.
A net and a few extra cups
- These will be good to have on hand in case you have to leave your home due to a disaster. The cups would be useful in helping with water changes, along with the net.. in case all you have to carry them is in their cups- having another will make the water changes much easier. You can pick up a few cups for free from a lot of major pet chain stores such as PetCo and Petsmart.
An extra bottle of conditioner
- These can last a long time, but to avoid them going bad on you, you would switch them out whenever you run out of conditioner you are using normally on your tanks. Just remember to replace them as soon as you can so you won't ever be without. This would also help in case something happens to the conditioner you are using.. such as something being accidently mixed in with it, or being lost.
An extra container of pellet food
- The same thing as the conditioner; switch out and replace once you run out of their normal food to avoid going stale. This isn't a must, as an unopened container of pellets can last a couple of years. But you always want to have some on the ready in case you have to leave quickly.
- In which I would include AQ salt, Epsom Salt, General Cure
, and Maracyn I & II
. All of those can treat just about every illness you can think of from Velvet, to dropsy, fin rot, bacterial infections, popeye.. on and on. I would varify treatment on the forums before starting anything, but if you can't, then keep in mind to always try the salts first.. AQ salt is for external
problems such as ich, rot, velvet.. Epsom salt for internal
problems such as bloating, raised scales, dropsy, popeye. You would start out with 1-2 teaspoons per gallon, dissolved, along with water conditioner and daily 100% water changes. By then you should have some response to your thread in the Emergency section of the forums to help guide you the rest of the way.
I recommend having all of those in one place- in a plastic bin in the closet would be ideal, as you can easily just grab it and run and the items in there will generally be safe from water and dirt.