Q+A Temperature Problems

Temperature Problems

Hi, I'm a subscriber to your magazine and new to the hobby.

I have real difficulty in keeping a stable temperature I mean it can swing
from 23oc to 27oc, everything is fine In my tank. Is this a major problem
and is there anything I can do to keep it more stable , I've tried turning
my heater down, put my central heating higher and lower , I'm lost at what
else to do?

Hello Ben

Good to see new people taking up the hobby; hope you are enjoying it so far.

Temperature fluctuations are a common problem in home aquariums as well as in the wild. Thankfully in the home aquarium it is an easier problem to treat than global warming. Wild coral reefs are effected tremendously by changes of just 1 degree. This is the phenomenon known as coral bleaching when the corals expel their algae as a reaction to the stress caused to them from rising sea temperatures.
Some rock pool dwelling fish and invertebrates can actually tolerate spikes in temperature but the majority of the fish and invertebrates we keep in the home aquarium are only used to fairly constant or slow changing temperature fluctuations. Temperature waves can cause stress and increase the likelihood of diseases such as white spot.
The main factors you must address are:

1) If the temperature keeps going low – you may not have a strong enough heater to cope with the amount of water in the system. In effect you should have a good quality heater/thermostat that is over rated for the system just in case.
2) The room in which the aquarium is situated – I do come across people positioning tanks next to outside doors and radiators. You would be amazed how much a temperature can drop if an outside door is left open and the room is allowed to become cold. Turn the radiator off if there is one near the tank!
3) External pumps can raise the temperature of an aquarium, if this is the case then a chiller maybe needed. I sell a combined heater/chiller that will usually maintain my installations to within 0.5 degrees all year.
4) Cover glass / hoods – if there is no where for the heat to escape then it is common for the temperature to rise, try removing a panel off the top if possible to allow heat out.
5) Thermometers – sometimes these are not accurate, I always check with two different ones and compare the two, i.e. a digital thermometer alongside a traditional aquarium thermometer.

It is crucial to have a stable environment for your fish; so I suggest if you cannot get the temperature stable then it is time to consider calling me for a price on a heater/chiller combo.

Happy new year everyone.

Ben Woodward