07-06-2010, 06:00 PM
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Good question, and one that gets asked every summer (here in the temperate regions anyway). I'm facing one this week too out here on the west coast of Canada. We usually have one, maybe two, a summer for about a week or so.
Anyway, my action in the past has been to do nothing much. I keep the house as cool as I can (opening everything up early in the morning when its cooler, then closing everything mid-morning to trap the cooler air inside. I am not one who recommends water changes with cooler water. All this does is cause fluctuations up and down, as it is unlikely you will be able (or have the patience) to do constant half-hourly water changes all day. And a slow rise or drop in temp such as occurs day/night is less stressful and harmful than fluctuating temps.
Some suggest putting ice or bags of ice cubes in the tank. Yes, they will keep the water cooler--until they melt. Same problem as the water changes.
Turning off the tank lights will help slightly, fine unless you have plants and a day or two maybe but I wouldn't want to put my tanks in darkness for a week and risk the plants, considering the minimal benefit on the temp caused by the fluorescent lights anyway.
Keep the aeration/water movement going, as water temp rises oxygen becomes less and fish at the same time need more because they respirate more, so this is good. A fan blowing across the water surface (if you can have an uncovered tank, my fish would immediately jump out) does much the same, cooling plus increasing gaseous exchange.
Reduce feedings, once a day or alternate days or even less will suffice, as it takes energy for fish (like us) to digest food and conserving oxygen in warmer water is important.
Some people have chillers but unless you have either very sensitive cool water fish or have long and frequent bouts of high temps this may not be economically realistic, as they are expensive. Odd isn't it how it is so much cheaper to heat rooms and tanks than it is to cool them?
Last year I finally got a room air conditioner for the fish room, as in my house that room is on the west and south which of course gets the hotter sun all afternoon and evening. It did help; the tanks remained below around 83F, compared to previous years when they would easily reach 90. But all that said, I never lost a fish due to heat waves when that happened.