Summer of 69 could be the best days of Bryan Adam’s life but not for general people like us. Summer, in general, is a hard time to pass if you live in South-Asian countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan or in hot areas like the South in the United States. And if you think of those fish, aquatic plant and coral living in high-temperature water the whole day, you will realize that summer is actually a nightmare with a poker face.
Keep this in mind that aquariums shouldn’t get hotter than 83°F in any situation. At 83°F or higher temperature, the oxygen level in aquarium water starts to diminish and this leads to a stressful-competitive situation for the fish and other inhabitants to get oxygen. Be fearful, this may lead to the death of your aquarium residents. For the optimum health of your fish and other aquarium species, it is advised to keep them in an acceptable range of temperature. For example, tropical fish has an acceptable range of 72° to 80° F (optimal is 78° F), Fancy Tail Goldfish has an acceptable range of 65° to 72° F and Common Goldfish has an acceptable range of 65º to 68º F.
Now if you stay outside from home the whole day, which of course you do because of office, class or for simple groceries, DON’T keep your aquariums in a place that has direct contact with the sun. This will lead to an increase in growth of algae that would be difficult to clean. So you can figure it out by now that keeping the aquarium temperature optimum is vital. Here are some of the best, cheapest and quickest methods that will help you reduce the tank’s temperature in summer.
Straight as it sounds! The cooler the temperature outside, the lesser the temperature will increase inside the aquarium. The temperature will be within the safe range for your fish. Plus, your friends and family will thank you too for the air cooler/conditioner.
Now if you want to have a substitute of an air cooler or if you think your existing air conditioner isn’t doing much in terms of keeping the temperature in check for fish, you can purchase an aquarium chiller. Chillers have a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. So to buy the perfect chiller, you need to know the dimension and size of your aquarium and the temperature degree that has to be brought down to keep it at an optimum level. Once you are done buying just fix it in the sump or plumb it in-line of your tank. Voila! This is a sure effective method for beating that scorching heat of summer, plus you can also place it with your heater to control the temperature changes of your room.
Now to know which chiller is the best or which suits your needs the most is a big question, which I am here to answer. When you are buying look at the chiller’s packaging for the horsepower rating; this rating is useful to determine the number of watts the chiller is going to use. British Thermal Units (BTU) is another rating which you should check before purchasing your ultimate chiller.
Aeration enables the tank surface water not to be exposed to the higher temperature outside for long. Plus, the filtration system will filter the water as well (the double benefit you know).
Good water circulation is a must to keep the water cool. Heat energy evaporates from the surface of the water. In addition to that, gases do an exchange at the surface of the water; where Carbon Dioxide leaves the water surface and Oxygen takes place instead. Without this circulation, the water’s dissolved oxygen levels can turn out critically low at higher tank temperatures.
But the question is what is considered to be “a good water circulation”? Water circulation may vary because of the dimension of the tank, the inhabitants it holds and the way it is decorated. Now speaking generally, tanks which have fish only must have water flow that turns the water over 10-40 times per hour (tph). If your tanks hold soft corals then the water turns over should be 10-30 tph. If you have all the soft, hard and large polyp stony corals then make sure the tank’s water turns over about 30-50 tph. Aquarium with small polyp stony coral should have water turn over 40-80 tph at least.
Well, these are rules of thumb that can vary from tank to tank. But following this would make sure that the aquarium tank runs naturally cooler in summer.
Now let’s talk about some quick solutions which do not break your bank:
Freeze water in a clean bottle that has never been in contact with soap or other detergents. This is the easiest solution because when the temperature is high just place the frozen bottle in the tank, once the temperature drops, bring it out as per your convenience. My suggestion here is not to throw ice cubes direct into the aquarium (no matter how easy and time-saving it may seem). Adding direct ice cubes may introduce chlorine and/or chloramine in your tank water (which you do not want unless you’re using un-chlorinated water for ice cubes). Plus avoid using ice packs too which has a tendency to leak.
Keep a constant sharp eye when the temperature starts to fall- there are no sure ways to tell when the temperature would drop or how long does it take for the water bottle to bring the temperature at an optimum level. So, yes- it is compulsory to keep the aquarium water cool; but no- you can’t rush in doing it.
Evaporation, as the water transforms into the gas, cools the tank water. This happens when a form of energy such as heat transferred from pumps, lighting and the room’s air temperature adds to the water. For this to happen, the surface of the water must be in contact with the open air. In other words, the aquarium cannot be hooded.
Now to increase the evaporation and air flow process, keep a small fan in such a way that it blows air across the surface of the water. Now the question is how many fans do you need to make this air flow and evaporation process! Well, it solely depends on the size and dimension of your aquarium-tank. But only having a single fan would do the trick and you can see a huge difference in terms of keeping your aquarium cool.
Too much of a good thing may actually harm more than you think. Sunlight is important for living objects to get nutrients, for growth and development but the constant contact of sun rays to your aquatic friends may do more harm than good. Position your aquarium tank in such a way that it is not in direct contact with the sunlight. Plus, during summer sun travels higher in the sky- thus constantly changing angles of sun rays. So you may have to re-position your aquarium more often. If you don’t want to go through all these hassles, install blinds in your tank room to block out the sunlight as temperature rises. Reducing this light, in turn, will also reduce the amount of heat energy passing through the tank water. Also, refrain from adding any artificial lighting to your fish-tank. Remember, it may look all those shimmery when you add blinking lights to your aquarium, but in the long turn it is harming the health of your fish and corals- the actual beauty of your “live-box”.
A common trend now in the aquarium industry are open tops. They have the advantage of additional gas exchange and keep your aquarium cooler by have the water open in the room. You exchange this additional cooling with added evaporation and you will want to put down a mesh cover in order to keep your fish from jumping while keep the tank open. If you happen to run an air pump, one other downside to consider is that air pumps will blow water out causing additional water spots or salt creep if you run a saltwater tank.
Now, as you are passing by the aquarium shop you may see some of the world’s best colorful fish swimming from one corner to the other of a fancy aquarium and it may happen that it is the last day of the month and you have just got a text from your bank that your account has been debited with the current month’s salary- sounds like a God sent notification to buy an extra fish for your aquarium? NO! Adding that extra little life to your already low oxygen level aquarium will result in a stressful situation for all the poor inhabitants of your tank. So always check your aquarium water temperature before you purchase an extra life for it.
Though differently sized aquarium requires different methods to keep the temperature in check; these are few of the tactics that go well with almost every aquarium that you may have. Adapt these techniques in summer to maintain a better environment in your aquarium, your fish-friends will thank you!