Maintaining a healthy eco-system

Jun 10, 2013 | UPS & Standby Power

UPS Systems recently provided advice and guidance to specialist aquatic design company, Aquacison, on a suitable uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for a newly installed large domestic aquarium.

The requirements of the application, in the event of a powercut, included keeping aquatic pumps, filtration units, lighting and heating running for several hours, while also providing power to an aquatic computer.

Power outages can mean that providing a continuous and reliable supply of mains power can be difficult. Disruptions to power supplies may interfere with electrical devices for several hours. In the case of a large aquarium, it may only take a few hours before the health of fish and other living organisms deteriorate and they eventually die.

Wants and needs

The circulation of oxygenated water, careful control of water temperature, lighting and constant filtration are all essential requirements of maintaining a healthy salt water aquarium. Should a large aquarium, such as the one recently installed by Aquacison in a residential home in north London, experience a power failure, it could result in the loss of thousands of pounds of livestock.

Aquaria are essentially closed ecosystems that can take several months to establish. The north London aquarium needed to be kept at a constant 26°C so that the 50+ species of salt water fish, including Clown, Angel and Goby fish, could thrive. Other living organisms such as hard and soft corals, sea anemones and urchins were added, while invertebrates such as shrimps and crabs provided an essential service by processing excess waste produced by the fish.

The ammonia and nitrate material through waste that is created by the living organisms in the tank requires a biological filter to prevent the build-up of toxins and provide a continuous source of well filtered oxygenated water.

A specialised aquatic computer was also installed which, according to Aquacision, is owned by only a small number of aquarium enthusiasts in the UK. The computer provides valuable information about variations in tank conditions and can send out alerts if the parameters, set by the owner, change.

At a later stage it’s expected that a submersible camera may also be installed to monitor activity in the aquarium.

To keep these electrical devices running in the event of a mains power failure, a cost effective and reliable UPS was required.

Sentinel to the rescue

UPS Systems provided Aquacison with a Riello Sentinel Pro 1,000VA extended run-time UPS system. This ensured the bespoke aquarium is provided with a minimum of four hours standby time when all the electrical equipment is running. When operated in ‘normal’ mode with a lower load then the UPS will provide a maximum of six hours standby power. An additional charger supplied with the UPS system allowed two large B1 sized battery packs to be strung together in order to give extended run-time.

The Sentinel Pro is an online double conversion UPS that can be used to provide high levels of resilience and protection for a number of applications.

The benefits

This type of UPS is well suited for applications where electrical isolation may be necessary or for equipment that is very sensitive to power fluctuations. One of the main advantages with an online UPS is its ability to provide an electrical firewall between the incoming mains power and sensitive electronic equipment such as aquatic pumps, heaters and lighting.

The small sized desktop UPS system can be discretely hidden away, maintaining the aesthetic look of the aquarium. It also has a built-in mimic panel with an LCD display to show input and output voltages, and battery charge status.

The UPS is able to keep filtration devices, lights and heaters running, and allows essential information about the condition of the aquarium to be relayed from the aquatic computer to the owner via e-mail alerts.

The UPS system provides peace of mind to the customer, allowing the carefully balanced eco-system inside the aquarium to continue to thrive in the event of a powercut, while avoiding the potential loss of thousands of pounds of livestock.

Chris Granger, aquatic designer for Aquacision said, “Maintaining the right conditions in a tank of this size can be complicated and involves a certain amount of alchemy. There can be significant risks involved if a reliable source of power isn’t maintained. The financial loss can extend into thousands of pounds while the damage caused to a closed eco-system such as this can often be catastrophic and undo years of work.

“This UPS system will help ensure that lighting, filtration, water temperature and oxygen saturation are maintained at optimum levels in the event of a power outage, and remote communications are provided via an aquatic computer system.

“UPS Systems provided us with excellent service and technical advice. This allowed us to make an informed decision as to which UPS system would provide essential life support for the aquarium, while meeting our client’s needs.”

UPS Systems

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