04-20-2008, 11:16 PM
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I'd like to elaborate a bit about Cody's answer about the heater. While temp will fluctuate according to day and night, it will also fluctuate according to when the lights are on and off. It's the rapid and usually drastic fluctuation in temp that makes it dangerous to not have a heater. The heater will keep the tank at a stable temp where you set it.
Now, what wasn't mentioned, is that living in a very warm summer climate such as Florida, you may find you will also need a chiller. When summer temps hit, room temp, unless it is strictly regulated and stable within a safe range for the aquarium, will raise the water temp to unsafe levels, and then again at night and when lights go off, the temp will drop back down for the heater to keep it regulated. If keeping a reef tank, anything over 78 degrees will tend to wipe out inverts/corals very rapidly. Anemones and soft corals will literally "melt" and stony corals will simply close up and die. Shrimp, crabs, snails, starfish, etc... also the same thing... if the temp gets too high, they will also show signs of stress and die quickly.
The same thing with temp fluctuations applies as with lighting... the smaller the amount of water, the faster the rate of change and the more extreme those changes will be. In a tank of less than 75 gallons, those temp changes will be more drastic and happen much faster than in a tank of 75 gallons or more. I know plenty of people who keep aqariums in Florida, and anything reef that I am personally aware of, has required a chiller, and some of those tanks are well over 100 gallons.