high temps in tanks
it's summer time, and my third floor appartment gets upwards of 90 degrees during the day when we are out.. (it was good in the winter when we had a tiny heating bill :-) ) Sooo.. i have 2 tropical tanks, a 15 gallon with some glofish, and tetras and a snail, and a 29 gallon with 2 jewels and 5 green tiger barbs and a bristlenose.. both tanks are at 86 degrees F. from what i've read the jewels shouldnt mind that but all the others all have lower recomended temps... just wondering when i should start to really worry for those type of fish
I noticed the fish were acting weird, my normally very peaceful glow lights were chasing each other around, and appearing to be slightly aggressive. I started panicking, and thus reduced the temp control. I hope the weather doesn't do too much damage.
Iam sure there will be tons of folks out there to advice on this subject.
Lowering the temperature control on your heater is a bad idea. If the tank temperature is higher than the heater set point do to the weather/room temperature, the heater simply does not come on. But now you've set it lower so when the temperature does come down, your tank temperature will now be too low. Opening the lid(s) and/or having a fan blow across the surface are good ideas - fiddling with the heater setting, not so much.
I would not choose to live in an apartment with 90F temperatures. Since it's a 3rd floor apartment, I'd bet there's poor insulation and/or poor ventilation in the attic.
(My second floor got too hot in summer after a darker colored shingle was installed on the roof. I added baffles to allow more air intake from the soffit vents [have a ridge vent] and I made a home made 'whole house fan' from a thermostatically controlled 20" box fan to exhaust hot air from the 2nd floor into and out of the attic. It works great and is especially good at pulling in cooler night time air).
I think I might politely 'complain' to the landlord and ask if there was something s/he might do to help with the stifling heat. Failing that, If I could not afford a portable air conditioner unit, I would at least have a fan setup with cross ventilation to exhaust the hot air.
As mentioned separately reducing the tank lights, opening lids and having a fan to circulate air across the water surface will help. There is less oxygen in warmer water so if there isn't one already, an air pump and air stone may be helpful.
I have seen some suggest that they freeze small water bottles and float to keep water cooler. (Effectively, although low tech manual, assuming decent tank circulation, this is not much different than a chiller). The 'trick' is to have a bottle size that will reduce the temperature enough to be helpful, have a sustainable duration, but not drive the heater(s). One has to consistently monitor temperature an swap bottles as appropriate. Although this can be done, unless monitored very closely it can represent undesired temperature swings that are actually worse than sustained higher temperatures.
Finally found the previous thread on this topic, so here is my response copied over from there:
This question is asked every summer.:smile: But the answer is the same.
Temperature variations occur in the wild and fish will generally adapt. If the daytime temperature in the room reaches 85F then the aquarium will be that warm too; while the larger the tank the longer it takes to warm, the average home aquarium will eventually heat up to the room.
It is better to leave this, than do something that results in up and down swings. The cold water/ice floating/water changes is not advisable, and these cause rapid temperature fluctuations that are stressful on fish. If it is really hot, opening the cover (but many fish will jump, so use caution), turning off the tank lights (if no live plants, leave the lights off; if plants, turn the lift off earlier in the day), and aiming a small fan across the surface can help. In the tank, increase water circulation (even add an airstone) to keep oxygen entering the water, since the warmer the water the less oxygen it can hold and fish have to work harder to get it. Overnight, the room will likely cool a bit, as will the tank with it.
Don't feed as much, even missing alternate days. It takes energy for fish to eat, and this adds to the sttress in high temperatures. Keep the fish as calm as possible. If they can just "chill out" under a plant leaf they will be better; just as we on hot days like to sit quietly in the shade.
I have all my tanks in a fishroom, and it will get well over 90F in the summer, in the room and the tanks. I now have a portable air conditioner in this room, that keeps it about 82F on hot days. But before I got this, the tanks were left alone and I never lost a fish. It will cool at night, so it is not the same as a constant too-high temperature.
I do cold/cool water changes and never had a problem with it. There are pretty rapid temp fluctuations in the wild and fish do just fine.
I decided to just go with it as the temps in my tanks climbed. However, I did add a second HOB filter to one tank to increase filtration and water movement.
Actually beyond the surface of the water the temperature is extremely stable. Best example I can give is that rainbowfish fry can die if the temperature of the water fluctuates +-1-2C (1.8-3.6F). This of course is in a prime breeding season, but either way the temperature must be pretty stable or the fish would be extinct by now. :-D Seasonal temperature changes are something fish in the wild handle, as they are gradual. Large bodies of water are slow to have temperature changes.
However Byron is right, our aquarium fish are hardy and won't mind the seasonal change of temperature. One of my heaters malfunctioned and cooked a female betta to 91F overnight and she is still extremely healthy (actually she had a lot more energy when the water was this warm).
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There are sudden temp fluctuations in the wild usually due to storm events. Weather they drop or increase the temp depends on location. But they are usually sudden episodic events where the temp spike or drops then gradually returns. A lot of fish use these to gauge the seasons. I know one of the common ways to breed cories and many other fish is to wait for a low pressure system then do a cold water change to simulate a storm.
Temperature fluctuations frequently cause poor embryo survival, low hatch rates, reduced growth rate, increase in deformities or larval disease, in both blue eyes and rainbows (though I suspect blue eyes to be more sensitive?).
It's estimated that in the wild, larval rainbowfish mortality rates are as high as 99.99%, so I guess you're right and their environment does fluctuate a lot. I know their particular habitats are in general crazy, most fish rarely reach a year past adulthood, but they breed fast and often to make up for this.
Ever gone swimming in a lake at night? It feels extremely warm compared to the air temperature, doesn't it? :-D Shallow water species are probably much more tolerant of changes, as well as fish that live in places where natural flooding/droughts occur, but water in general is a great insulator and holds heat very well.
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