Thursday, October 13, 2016
Hurricane Matthew, as you undoubtedly know by now, tracked further inland than originally forecasted. I live in Lumberton, North Carolina. Once the storm was passed, townspeople discovered downed power lines, fallen trees, damage to homes, cars and property. Little did we know our ordeal was just beginning. As the Lumber River swelled over the levee in the southern section of this small town, literally half of Lumberton faced massive flooding which, as of this writing, has yet to recede. The Lumber River crested at almost 25 feet above flood stage.
Power was knocked out on Saturday, October 8. We lost running water on October 9.
My immediate concern with regard to my fish was the temperature. Fortunately, the skies cleared and outside temperatures remained in the 70's during the day. However, as we entered Tuesday, the water in the community tanks had dropped a full ten degrees, from the normal temperature of 78 to only 68 degrees. I placed a heavy blanket over half the tank, keeping the other half open to sunlight pouring through the windows and allowing oxygen from the air to reach the surface of the tank.
To help with the filtration issue, I stopped feeding the fish. Oddly, they did not seem hungry, and I attribute this to several factors: the lights on the tank didn't come on, and that always signals them that food is coming; their body temperature was dropping with the temperature of the water, as they are cold-blooded creatures.
On the third day, I lightly fed them but noticed only a few coming to the surface to feed.
I lost one fish, a neon tetra, on the third day. Another fish, a glowlight tetra, has been hanging near the surface of the water. My four angelfish that I was most concerned about showed no signs of stress - hanging at the surface of the water, gathering in one corner of the tank, etc. All other fish - plecos, corydoras, tetras, banjo catfish - have remained well.
Power Returned - But Not Out of the Woods Yet!
Power was restored on Tuesday evening, October 11. However, we're not out of the woods quite yet. The power could still flicker or go out, as the infrastructure has been weakened and repairs are on-going throughout the region.
This means that I will be boiling out the nutrients that the fish require for life as well as those organisms that could kill them. It's a catch-22. I plan to boil the water, treat it with Prime, and then add nutrients back in with Amazon Extract or Blackwater Extract.
We were very fortunate during Hurricane Matthew and in its aftermath. Water rose to within a few yards of my house but did not enter it, unlike tens of thousands across the state. My dogs were safe the entire time. And while we lost power and still do not have running water, we have a roof over our heads and the house is livable - unlike many throughout the state - multiple states - who are living in shelters are facing an uncertain future. Please keep all of the hurricane's victims in your thoughts and prayers.