Water too hot! Help!
Well, last night I did a water change and didn't notice anything wrong with the temperature of the water. Fish seem to be doing fine. Today, when I was going to feed them, I stuck my hand in there for some reason or another, and it felt like the water was pretty warm. I looked at the thermometer and it said 91! Eek! Currently I have 4 giant danios, a tiger barb, clown loach, and dinosaur bichir in there. At the moment it doesn't look like the fish have been affected at all, but I also don't know how long it's been at that temp. It's not really that warm outside so I wouldn't think it'd be the weather affecting it. I'm thinking possibly my heater set temp is off. So I lowered it down about five degrees but now I'm wondering, is that the best way to go? Is that changing it too quickly? It's lowered about a degree in the past 30 minutes or so. I just don't want to shock the fish. :(
Some fish can tolerate higher temperatures, at least short-term, than others. But 91F is too warm for any freshwater fish aquarium. Sounds like your heater is malfunctioning unless the water was warmer when you changed it.
If it were me, I would unplug the heater and let the water naturally return to an acceptable temperature (around 77-79F for a community tank). When that temp is reached, plug the heater in and slowly adjust it until the indicator light is off or on, whichever (since the water is at the correct temp), and then monitor it regularly to ensure it is working properly. This is how I adjust a new heater.
And if your heater is deemed to be the source of the problem, throw it away and get a new one; heaters that don't function correctly are no good. Buy the best heater you can afford. It is worth the investment, considering you could at the least have an outbreak of disease with stressed fish, or at worst dead fish. I've experienced this. If the aquarium is large, say 50g or more, i would use two heaters. It means less wear on each and less chance of trouble if one should fail.
I would turn off your lights so that your tank has time to cool off.
Yeah, whatever you do, make sure to let the water cool down naturally. If you add anything to cool it quicker it could shock the fish.
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