Temperature fluctuation question
I have recently started my first tropical fish tank (almost 7 weeks old) and am having some problems with temperature fluctuations in the tank.
I have noticed that during the day the temperature in my tank can average 29 and reach almost 31 degrees Celsius some days. I have read that tropical fish can usually adapt to higher temperatures as long as the range between the min and max temperatures are not too extreme. (I have set my heater to 26 degrees to raise the min temp)
However, my question is, how much do the temperature fluctuations actually affect my fish? I know that it can cause them unnecessary stress and affect digestive patterns, but how long can my fish survive in these conditions? It has been almost 4 days with an average of 29 degrees in my tank (fish seem to be OK thou, eating normally and still active).
My tank (120L, roughly 31 gallons) at the moment has:
3 Bristlenose catfish
8 Black Phantom tetras
6 Neon Tetras
1 Yo-yo Loach
3 Clown Loaches (I only found out after I bought them that they will need more space so i am planning on moving them to my dads 350L tank once they grow larger)
For a long term solution i am looking at installing air-con in my room, but for now a short term solution is that i have positioned a fan in front of the tank to aid evaporation (doesn't seem to be very effective thou).
Thanks for any help and advice!
Another concern with temp and population is oxygen content in the water. Warmer water contains less oxygen. An easy way to deal with uncontrollable warmer temps such as you are experiencing is to under stock the number of fish in the tank so ensure there is plenty of oxygen content for them.
Do you have an air stone or bubble wall running in this tank? That would help to cool the water temp a bit and at the same time assist in some level of oxygenation with the surface agitation it will create. Is your tank covered? Opening the cover during the warmest part of the day will allow ventilation, thus will help to decrease the water temp. If the temp is still too high, you can use a small tabletop fan that blows across the surface of the water, this also will help to cool water temp.
The other suggestion I have for you would be to raise your heater setting to 28 instead of 26, which will decrease the jumps/dips in temp when it fluctuates. 28C (roughly 82F) is tolerable for those species of fish, even if not ideal. A steady 28 would be healthier and safer than daily jumps from 26 - 31. If you raise the heater setting and work with some of the above suggestions to cool the tank temp, there is no reason it can't balance out for you.
Thanks for your reply.
With regards to the stock of the tank, I have been following the "general 1 inch per gallon rule" of thumb (so 31 inches of fish).
I have been told that bristlenose catfish grow to about 8-10 cm (4 inches max, so 8 inches total), phantoms grow to 1.75 inches (14 inches), the yoyo can grow to be 4 inches, and that the angels will on average max out at 4-6 inches in captivity so 18 inches?. I know that has is already 44 inches and i am 13 inches over (once everything reaches adult that is, several years down the track?). Before stocking my tank I ran over this with a guy from a local pet store and he said that that will be fine for my tank, suggesting that neons don't add much to the bio load and will have lived past their average life expectancy (they are already adult) before the angels will even reach full size... freeing up room for the angels?
Researching fish, as i have found, gives very conflicting information so i am hoping to get some more stable info. Internet says 1 inch per gallon, fish expert (?) at the fish store says my stock is fine. So i am very confused.
Like i mentioned earlier, i was misinformed about the clown loaches but now i have means to rectify the situation. So, if there is any problem with overstocking i am fine to move the fish to another tank. It is just very conflicting evidence.
Also, sorry if i left out any information earlier, but yes my tank does have a stable oxygen supply. At the moment my oxygen is being pumped into two corner filters (1 with extra carbon and the other with some extra bio balls) (two filters because the air pump was too strong so i had to split it up into 2 filters, and also using them because i don't like the idea of eroding air stones). The main filter is an aqua one hang on filter that is doing 800L/h which almost cycles 6.7 times my tank capacity. (This may be another reason the fish store guy said it was fine?)
My tank is moderately planted, but i am not expecting my bristlenoses to sustain themselves on this. I feed regular algae pellets and occasionally slices of zucchini for them to snack on.
Now as for the temp problem, i am starting to believe that it can be sustained. Although i know that the temps are well above the ideal conditions, all my fish seem to be fine; eating well and bright colors (even the clown loaches are bright orange and very active, even thou i have read are really sensitive to water parameters? is that right?
So, if these conditions were to persist without me interfering too much, how long can my fish remain healthy? I have read that fish deaths can be very sudden, so i do not want to be taking chances with this.
Thanks in advance.
When angels pair up and decide to spawn this aggression and territorial nature multiplies 10 fold.
Another example for you:
I currently have 5 angels, 2 spawning pairs and a large male who lost his female partner over the summer. When I first got these angels less than 2 yrs ago they were dime sized and were put into a 65 gallon planted tank. Within 6 months they were too big for the 65 gallon tank, average of 2 1/2 - 3 inches each. Territory was becoming an issue and they were fighting amongst themselves so I moved them to the 90 gallon where they settled in comfortably for the next 2 months. The first pair formed and began to spawn, claiming more than 1/2 of a fully planted 90 gallon tank for their own. Any fish that crossed the boundary was sure to be attacked by 1 or both of the parent fish, and within 3 wks as the other 2 pairs formed and spawned, a 90 gallon fully planted tank became a war zone. The fish did a lot of damage to each other and the only solution was to separate them by pair. Now one pair is back in the 65 gallon, 1 pair stayed in the 90 gallon, and the other moved to another 65 gallon where the male still lives with a small school of white clouds and 2 very old leopard cats.
This type of aggression is normal. During the 3 wks of fighting in the 90 gallon I lost 2 celebese rainbows, a few older swordtails and a cherry barb... all fatally injured by the adult angels.
Even without breeding/spawning, angelfish aggression is something that cannot be ignored. The smaller the tank the more aggression you will have to deal with. Neons and black phantom tetras will be helpless against an angel in attack mode because its space is being invaded.
Every species of fish has its own level of aggression that is normal, but crowded situations can turn peaceful fish into aggressive fish quickly.
The final decision of what to do is entirely up to you, this is your tank... but now you have some more in depth information to help you decide how to proceed. You seem to really care about the well being of your fish, I would hate to see you lose fish and run into issues with your tank if it can be avoided.
I am happy to answer as many questions as you feel the need to ask, so fire away. My biggest concern is always for the animals. I have nothing to lose or gain by your success or failure, but it does break my heart every time I hear about another lost life that could easily have been prevented.
Best of luck to you!
Thank you very much for your reply!
Your insight and breakdown of my questions was very thorough and very helpful; i will definitely take on much of your advice.
I have always doubted the logic behind the "1 inch rule" but trusted the expertise of the local fish store assuming they had expertise (but now even that is very doubtful). What you said about the money orientation of the fish store is very true, to one of the owners i talked to, the fish are "stock" that needs a high turnover. But i would assume to many of us owning the "stock" would be a more of a passion than just owning stock... which i guess leaves a weakness for the "experts" to exploit haha...
I'm very glad I have come to the right place for advice. I am considering relocating the angel fish to a bigger tank once aggression is notable. However, in many of the pet shops i have noticed that they have display tanks that are similar size to mine, that are moderately planted and decorated, keeping a lot of large angelfish (6 or more large ones) with many other small fish (guppies, mollies, tetras). How is it that the angelfish can live in these.. overly stocked conditions? I would think that the aggression is dispersed among the angels but after reading your example of the angels i am finding it difficult to believe that they can cram so many angels into small tanks.
Are community tanks like these very rare... or have the shops hit the golden ratio of fish keeping in their crammed tanks?
Anyway the angelfish questions are just out of personal interest.. but thank you for your advice! I will definitely take a lot of it on board and try to give my fish a better environment.
Pet stores work very different than a home aquarium. The first thing to take note of is the exact fish in their tanks and how long those same exact fish stay in those tanks together. Pet stores are notorious for high death rates in fish, it is considered an occupational hazard. In a store environment it is exactly the 'stock' mentality that rules, so if something dies you charge more for something else to make up the money you lost and you order another one and hope to sell it before it dies too. If its something that dies frequently, money is lost often, then the store tends to stop ordering it and will add it to their "special order" list, and typically special orders need to be paid for up front and pick up arrangements need to be made so the store is not stuck housing it.
Store tanks should be considered holding tanks. Many things can be made to work on a temporary basis that just don't work long term. The store's goal with any animal is to get it in and out as quickly as possible. The faster they sell it the more money they make from it, and in most stores, even the animals in the display tanks have a price on them.
Filtration in a store tends to differ greatly from a home situation as well. This is not necessarily a good thing, and often it is intended to get the job done as inexpensively as possible.
One of the first things I have always taught my customers was not to use a store tank as an example of stocking a home aquarium. Stores need to order as many fish as they can fit into a tank in order to have enough stock to supply the customer demand. I have yet to find a store that does not do this. An empty tank does not draw customers.
Then there is the almighty stress factor. Stress levels in a pet store are very different than those in a home environment. Imagine how skittish and preoccupied any fish would be if after traveling on a plane or in a car for days at a time there were people banging on the glass for 8 - 10 hrs/day, hands in and out of the tank 100 times/day, and the constant traffic around the tank. Move those same fish to a quiet home environment where they are healthy, feel good, and are well cared for and you will see an entirely different behavior pattern.
And, I often ask my customers with questions like yours, how often have you really stood in front of a store tank and examined what is going on in it? When in the stores I will lead someone to a tank and stand there with them for 15 minutes or more as we discuss what is happening inside the tank. There is a lot that an inexperienced eye never sees. Fish that are stressed and/or sick will not show their full aggression potential, but most often people simply overlook the obvious until they know what they are looking for.
The next time you go into your lfs, take some extra time to walk through and just stop and spend 10 - 15 minutes studying intently what is happening in any given tank full of fish. Look for signs of fin damage on any of the fish, look for signs of fungal or bacterial infections, red blotches, open sores, tumors, deformities, injured mouths, bodies, eyes... water clarity, how much "dirt/waste" is down in the gravel substrate or laying on the bare bottom, are there fish laying on the bottom that should be up swimming... are the fish hiding... are they fighting amongst themselves...? The list goes on and on. After you have done that, then go home and study your tank just as intently, watch how your fish behave in their home environment. If your fish are healthy and in proper environment, there should be a noticeable difference. (knowing what normal behavior is for any given species helps a lot before you go into the lfs to check out the tanks & fish)
There are so many things I can teach about what goes on in a pet store, there just isn't enough space on this forum for all that info, lol. If you have more specific questions I am always happy to answer them as thoroughly as possible.
This thread is a mine of information on the extremely important issues of species and numbers involved in selecting fish for an aquarium. Thank you indeed, Dawn.
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