Temperatures in the summer...

depuyc

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With summer coming on I am seeing my tanks reach 81 degrees (Fahrenheit of course). The house I put at 77 when home and 79 when away. My concern is when I had a bout of ick I found above 82 my fish were lethargic. There is no direct sun on the tank. The lid is tight for the safety of fish jumping. I have researched ways to drop the temps. My question is should I bother or will the fish adapt? I have rainbows, German blues, Otto, and rummynose.
 

NCaquatics

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Your German blue rams will NEED the temperature over 80. So thats a good idea to keep them at that temp.

Rummynose should be fine with the 80F temporarily, 80F is the limit of their range, so better they stay more to 78F, but short term isnt a problem.

Rainbowfish... what species?


All in all, your rams need to be kept full term over 80F, which is fine short term for your other fish, but not permanently.

If you use heaters, you may need to unplug them for the hot days and monitor temps daily.
 

Byron

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I concur with above. I am curious about your "putting the house at 77 or 79" comment...is this cooling it down to that in warmer weather?

The fish tank will (without any internal heater or cooler) be close to the ambient temperature of the air in the room. During the day in summer it will likely rise, but it should cool down at night, depending upon the weather where you live. You are not goinng to be able to keep the tank water cooler than the air without a chiller, and most do not bother with that. Temporary day increases in warmer months can usually bee dealt with. Of course, you can also use an air conditioner in the room (or the house) and the tanks will again be at that temperature.

Cooling measures like turning off the tank lights, opening the tank cover, blowing air across the surface...these msy havee some minimal cooling effect but it is not likely to be significant if it is above 80F to begin with. And adding ice or doing cold water changes is not advisable as this can shock the fish.
 

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Rainbowfish are fine with warm water. The only thing you need to do is increase aeration/ surface turbulence to maximise oxygen levels, and to do regular water changes to keep the water clean and to minimise protozoan infections (which grow faster in warm conditions).

Rainbowfish need lots of plant matter in their diet so make sure they get some Duckweed (floating plant) or some other type of plant matter, and use vegetable based fish foods or food designed for goldfish.
 
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depuyc

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I appreciate these responses. To clarify a few points. The German blues I am confused on what I have read, most sources do cite 80+ but I also saw mid to upper 70's. What I found with my two is if I get to 84 they get lethargic while at upper 70s they are active and swimming with the other fish. I was keeping my tank at 77 in the winter, I tried 79 but it seemed high for the majority. The only time I went above 80 was with a case of ick and most of my fish couldn't tolerate above 82. To the question of what rainbows, I have 4 Australian and 3 turquoise. The Australian have a black edge to their fins. I mention that because some reading I have come across makes it sound like their may be variations in that breed. I had mentioned cooling my home to 77 because I found it surprising that the water temps rose to 81 with the air temps at 77, I expected it to be closer to 1 or two degrees. More this is across the tanks , a 55 gallon, 75 gallon, and a 5 gallon we have fry in. Mine is the 75. I haven't gone into detail on the other two because they are mollies and platies which my gf says handle temps better. Mostly this has been a bit of a surprise. We are along the coast of Virginia where we have weeks in the 70s in the winter and then weeks of 40s with some extremes beyond that but short lived. The tanks never got above 79 in that time. Nights are still cool though. Today in the spring it topped at 75 I think in the house with the windows open but the tanks still were at 80 degrees. The only difference between now and two months ago is the nights then cooled down much more. I have propped the lid open with no effect and have great surface disruption with my canister output going across the length plus a 9 inch bubble bar, 6 inch bubble disk, and a hang on back filter. Trying not to go to extremes with a chiller if I don't need to but will if I need to. Is it common to have a 3 to 4 degree difference between the air and tank?
 

Byron

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The German blues I am confused on what I have read, most sources do cite 80+ but I also saw mid to upper 70's. What I found with my two is if I get to 84 they get lethargic while at upper 70s they are active and swimming with the other fish. I was keeping my tank at 77 in the winter, I tried 79 but it seemed high for the majority. The only time I went above 80 was with a case of ick and most of my fish couldn't tolerate above 82.
This species, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, in any of the colour varieties, must have water temperatures at or above 80F. It will be best at 82-84F. It will not live a normal lifespan (which is 4-5 years) at cooler temperatures. This is because temperature drives the metabolism of fish, and being ectothermic they cannot generate internal heat and thus must rely on the temperature of their aquatic environment. A lower temperature means the fish is having to work harder just to maintain normal functions of its physiology, and this wears the fish out so it dies sooner. But usually it dies from some other issue, because the weakening effect of the extra work due to the temperature means the fish is far more susceptible to other issues like disease, which it would normally be able to deal with but now cannot because it is under strain just to maintain daily functions.

The issue of lethargy is more likely due to some other factor. When temperatures are higher there is less oxygen in the water, so a good surface disturbance is necessary. Or there could be some other factor that has not been identified. But there is no question at all that this species must have warm water in order to function normally.

Many of the other fish cannot tolerate this, so you need to decide how to provide the necessary environment for the different species.

When treating diseases such as ich, raising the temperature for one to two weeks is the safest treatment for most tropical fish. Except for the species requiring cooler temperatures permanently, mopst species can tolerate an increase over the short term. Aside from dealing with ich, this often occurs during summer; heat waves will raise the temperature of the air which raises the temperature of the water in the aquarium, but this is not a permanent situation. It may cool down somewhat at night.
 

Byron

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I had mentioned cooling my home to 77 because I found it surprising that the water temps rose to 81 with the air temps at 77, I expected it to be closer to 1 or two degrees. More this is across the tanks , a 55 gallon, 75 gallon, and a 5 gallon we have fry in. Mine is the 75. I haven't gone into detail on the other two because they are mollies and platies which my gf says handle temps better. Mostly this has been a bit of a surprise. We are along the coast of Virginia where we have weeks in the 70s in the winter and then weeks of 40s with some extremes beyond that but short lived. The tanks never got above 79 in that time. Nights are still cool though. Today in the spring it topped at 75 I think in the house with the windows open but the tanks still were at 80 degrees. The only difference between now and two months ago is the nights then cooled down much more. I have propped the lid open with no effect and have great surface disruption with my canister output going across the length plus a 9 inch bubble bar, 6 inch bubble disk, and a hang on back filter. Trying not to go to extremes with a chiller if I don't need to but will if I need to. Is it common to have a 3 to 4 degree difference between the air and tank?
I am still not fully understanding this. The temperature of the water in an aquarium will bee determined by two factors. First is the aquarium heater, and second is the air temperature in the room. In the absence of a tank heater, the water will be close to the room air temperature. Water heats and cools slower than air, so there is always a lag between the two. And tank lighting can affect the water temperature, just as sunlight reaching the tank. But generally the tank water temperature will follow the room temperature.

Most aquarium heaters allow you to set the temperature. The heater will engage and warm the water if the temperature of the water around the heater is below the setting. Once the set temperature is reached, the heater will shut off. If the room temperature is at or above the set temperature of the aquarium heater, the tank water will increase temperature but the heater should not engage. If the heater is malfunctioning, it may still heat the water obviously.
 
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depuyc

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Thank you for the responses. I will try unplugging the heater to rule it out and reduce the amount of time my lights are on then. The temps of the tank is following the air temp, just not as close as I expected and it seems to take much longer to come down as it does to go up. Might also try venting the cabinet in case the heat buildup is from underneath.
 

Byron

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Thank you for the responses. I will try unplugging the heater to rule it out and reduce the amount of time my lights are on then. The temps of the tank is following the air temp, just not as close as I expected and it seems to take much longer to come down as it does to go up. Might also try venting the cabinet in case the heat buildup is from underneath.
Just keep in mind that there is a delay between air and water temperature. I've never timed this, but I expect it is several hours, and the larger the tank water volume the longer this takes. I know back in the days before I had a room air conditioner in my fish room at the house, the air rose to 95F during heat waves, and the tank by the mid-afternoon wold be that high. Next morning, with the air back at say 75F, the tank water tmperatures were around 80F. I never lost a fish during those summer heat waves.

After I moved, I used a room air conditioner that kept the air temperature at 80F on the hottest days, so the tanks were this temperature after a few hours.

These increases/decreases are not sudden, but occur over several hours and that is also better for the fish than any rapid changes back and forth, which is why floating ice packs and water changes with cool water are so detrimental. Ich is likely to occur from this, or other problems.
 
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