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Prevent Your Aquariums From Overheating

Like humans, marine and tropical aquarium fish need a specific temperature range in order to thrive. In addition to this temperature range, aquarium fish also require that temperature changes in their environment not happen too rapidly.

Heating the water is usually the first challenge in maintaining a suitable temperature range for your fish. Heating is usually achieved with an aquarium heater or quartz glass heaters. However in areas that regularly experience summer temperatures in excess of 28 degrees Celsius overheating may be as serious a problem for your tropical or marine fish aquarium. So serious that you should consider chilling the salt or fresh water in your fish tank if you live somewhere where the summers are routinely hot. 

When your water is too warm the fish, who rely on temperature of their environment to regulate their metabolism, become hyperactive. Being more active means the fish will need more oxygen and produce more waste. However warm water does not hold dissolved oxygen as well as cold water. The lower oxygen levels in the water affect the nitrogen cycle and the effectiveness of the aerobic bacteria that live in the biological filtration system. Poor performing filtration in turn leads to higher ammonia levels that can be toxic to fish.

There are a number of environmental factors, other than the ambient air temperature, that can heat the water in your aquarium to temperatures that are intolerable for your fish. These include:

  • Lights
  • Direct sunlight
  • Poor ventilation
  • Heat generating machinery including aquarium equipment and lights
  • Proximity to heaters and stoves

The volume of your aquarium will play a role in how stable the temperature is. This means that while you may not experience huge fluctuations as easily in a large aquarium, it will also be much more difficult to cool or heat once the water temperature slips out of range, requiring larger chillers and heaters.