Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Best Practices for Aquarium Water Temperature

One of the most important, yet one of the most commonly overlooked tank parameters is water temperature which not only needs to be maintained within an ideal range, but also kept stable. If your aquariums temperature is either too high (more common) or too low or it fluctuates by more than 2-3 degrees on a regular basis, it can lead to an increase in nuisance algae growth, reduce coral growth, increase coral bleaching and in the worst cases cause the death of corals, invertebrates, fish and other tank inhabitants.

Why Maintaining a Constant Tank Temperature is Important.
  1. Reduces Nuisance Algae Growth: Warm water encourages algae growth, so by keeping your aquarium water temperature on the cooler side, it helps keep algae at bay.
  2. Improves Coral Growth & Health: Stable water temperatures help encourage coral growth and coral color.
  3. Improves Coral Color: Water that is too hot or too cold can induce coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is when corals expel the zooxanthellae living in their tissues, causing the coral to turn completely white.
  4. Overall Tank Health: Water that is either too hot or too cold can also kill corals, invertebrates, fish and other tank inhabitants.
Acceptable Temperature Ranges
  • Recommended Temperature Range: I prefer to keep our office aquarium water temperature between 74 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 26 Celsius). To accomplish this I have an Apex Controller by Neptune Systems controlling an Aqua Euro Chiller which keeps our office aquarium at a constant 76-77 degrees. Most corals and fish should be able to adjust to the different temperatures, if given the time to do so gradually.
  • Temperature Swings: A consistent temperature is just as important as, if not more than, the actual temperature itself. Temperature swings in excess of 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit will cause your aquariums inhabitants undue stress—and possibly kill them.
How to Keep a Stable Temperature.
Chiller: Chillers offer the most reliable and consistent measure for keeping a constant, cool temperature. So, while they may be a more costly option, I find them worth the investment.

External Fan over Water Surface: An external fan used for cooling is an inexpensive alternative to a chiller, and cools the water through evaporative cooling. As the fan blows across the water, water evaporates which in turn cools the water. Doing this can evaporate a lot of water, so regular water top offs are a must. External cooling fans can be placed over the main display tank or over the sump to keep them out of normal view. The addition of a controller that turns the fan off and on depending on temperature offers some measure of control.

Canopy/Hood Fans: If your lights produce a lot of heat, it is a good idea to put some good fans in your canopy, or blowing across the lights, to cool them and move the hot air away from the aquarium.
Ice: A last ditch effort that can work in a pinch is making ice cubes out of RO-DI water or freezing water bottles/gallon water jugs. Placing one of these in your tank in emergency situations can help bring your aquarium temperature back into an acceptable ranges. Please note: Ice should be used only for emergency situations. It should not be used as a regular way to maintain tank temperature.
Heaters: If you live in a colder climate, it is often a good idea to run a heater to help keep your water temperature stable. For the sake of redundancy, running multiple smaller heaters rather than one larger heater is a good idea in case of a heater malfunction.
I hope some of these tips and suggestions help keep your aquarium cool, and your fish and corals happy during these warm summer months.

If you have any questions, please contact us at customercare@reefgeek.com or toll-free at 866-295-9230.

Happy Reefing
David @ ReefGeek

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