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Old 03-03-2012, 05:18 PM   #1 
Myates
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Emergencies and your Betta: how to prepare

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.
Medications- 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.

Last edited by Myates; 03-03-2012 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 05:18 PM   #2 
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Now, for natural disasters you can't always be completely prepared, but you can take the steps so that if anything does happen, you may be able to save your little finned friends.

Blizzard:
Make sure YOU have supplies and warmth in case of power failure.
For the fish, make sure you have extra water- I would say in gallon water jugs.. that way if power is out for a while, or your pipes are frozen you still have access to water for yourself and your fish.
Extra towels to wrap around the tanks.
I would keep them in their home tanks for as long as possible.. it will get colder slower in larger water then in the cups. Wrap towels around the tanks to keep the warmth in longer.

Tornado/Severe Thunderstorm:
Same scenario- make sure you are taken care of first.
Keep them in the home tank, have extra water on hand in case of power outage. If a tornado hits your house, them being in a cup won't be any difference than them being in their tanks. If you have a cellar/basement then you can put them in their cups or small emergency tanks in the basement when the storm hits.. if a tornado is on it's way to your house you will have literally seconds to get to safety on your own.. it's when people try to save an item or a pet do they get caught in the house. So place your fish in kritter keepers or some small tanks set up in there before the storm gets bad.
If it's just a storm, no tornado, keep them in their home tank- once again, the heat will last longer.

Hurricane:
You should make an evacuation plan ahead of time.. normally you get a few days at least worth of warning. Just bundle them up like on a trip and take them.. bring a few kritter keepers to house them in for long periods. Food, medications, conditioner, their heaters, and extra water of at least a gallon are a must to bring with you.

Earthquake:
Happens too quickly, no warning. After it is over, leave the house until you are sure the structure is safe to enter once more. If so, then you can check the tanks for any cracks. If there are none then make sure the stand/furniture they are on is still sturdy. If there are cracks then prepare the emergency kritter keeper(s) to hold the fish.

House Fire:
You run out of the house and get a safe distance away.
Don't forget, stop drop and roll!
There is nothing you can do to save them without putting your life in danger.. have to remember 99% of the time it isn't the fire that kills people in the homes.. it's the smoke. And a good chunk of that is people running back in to get items/pets.

Flood/Tsunami:
Not a whole lot of instant floods.. unless a dam breaks and you are right there. Tsunami, if you watch the news regularly you tend to know when one will hit hours beforehand. Use the same sort of evacuation plan you would use for a hurricane- just have to be quicker and bring less.

Volcano:
Cover the tanks up with a thick towel and you get yourself to safety.. the towel will reduce the amount of ashes that may be in the air in your home..

Unfortunately we may not be able to save all of our bettas. If you have more bettas than you can safely save in time- then know which ones you are wanting to take, and get that number of keepers. This is only if you have enough warning to be able to save some. And I still can not stress enough to not risk your own life for them, even though we care for them and we see them as more then just fish.. in the whole scheme of things, they are just fish and your life comes first.

Thank you Zappity for the idea.

Last edited by Myates; 03-03-2012 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:22 PM   #3 
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I am SO glad you posted this as a thread! It'll help so much :) It NEEDS to be a sticky!

Last edited by Zappity; 03-03-2012 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:34 AM   #4 
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Thanks :)
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:41 AM   #5 
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This is an awesome post, I'm really grateful you made it.

Australia gets a LOT of natural disasters (including severe flash floods!). I'm lucky to live in one of the more stable areas, but then my house is 100 years old and a bit neglected structurally --I had the entire ceiling of my bedroom collapse last year (and not kill me by like, the fact I went out of the room to get coffee..), so you just never know what's going to happen or when.

I'm making an emergency kit, for that reason! Once more, thanks.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:14 PM   #6 
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You're welcome! Glad I can help in any way.. and especially glad you didn't get crushed from the roof.. ouch!
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:28 PM   #7 
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It was pretty darned scary.. >< Not to mention a total mess. But nobody hurt, and that's the main thing.

I wondered about heaters.. I've never shipped a betta, or ordered one by mail - but isn't there little heat packs used in shipping? How do those work? Any chance they'd be useful in an emergency?
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:42 PM   #8 
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Ooh never thought about that.. it would work in the winter- summer months would be too warm to use them.
When the shipping heat packs are removed from the package and exposed to oxygen in the air, a chemical reaction takes place with the contents of the heat pack, generating heat. They have a limited life span- but can last up to 2 days, if not more.
That is actually a good thing to keep around if you are in an area where it snows like crazy and power is to be known to go out.
You don't want to put it directly in the tank, nor against it.. have some cushion such as a towel and monitor the temp.

Great idea!
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:49 PM   #9 
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Cheers - I was thinking of blizzards.. not that I'm likely to ever see one (thank goodness) though it does get pretty cold here in winter, and we've had power outs before. I'd sure feel better with a couple of those for just-in-case. No idea where to get them, though.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:58 PM   #10 
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Unsure if there are any retailers near you... but you can order online.

This one is just an example.. but they are quite pricey so would look in multiple places.
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