Keeping Your Fish Tank Cool In Summer

Keeping Your Fish Tank Cool In Summer

fishntipspngYou've had a wonderful day out in the sun and you've come home to see all your fish DEAD!

But how? You've been testing your water, just like the guys at Rockpool Aquatics advised. There's no ammonia, no nitrite, the pH was ok, the fish weren't overfed. You just can't understand it. Everything was fine this morning!

And then you see it. That little red line on your thermometer has sky-rocketed to a dangerous level and the end result is your beautiful pets have suffered. 

It's a story we've heard so often, because here in the UK it's rare that we get prolonged periods of hot weather, so as fish keepers we don't give it too much thought. We set our heaters to 24°c, we trust the built-in thermostat to maintain that status and we get on with our lives.

So what should we do to avoid killing our pets?  

The Warning Signs.
  • Slow-moving, lethargic fish. 
  • Fish gasping at the surface for air. 
  • Slow response to feeding, or not feeding at all.  
  • Sudden bloom of algae, especially "hair" algae. 

You can avoid the heartbreak of losing fish this way by following a few simple steps. Here's our guide to keeping your aquarium cool.

  1. Know What Temperature Your Aquarium Should Be - 24°c is your target for a freshwater tropical aquarium. A little higher, up to 26°c, on a marine aquarium is fine. Some fish, such as Discus, require warmer temperatures up to 30°c, but most aquariums would be 24°c 
  2. Use A Good, Separate, Thermometer - Avoid reading the thermometer directly from your heater. Most heaters will only tell you what temperature they're set to, not necessarily the temperature the water is actually at. Have a separate submersible thermometer for best accuracy. Simple glass thermometers are cheap to buy and accurate enough, or for real precision, a digital thermometer. Check the thermometer reading as often as possible. A quick glance each time you pass the aquarium takes no time at all. 
  3. Keep The Aquarium Water Topped Up - Water evaporates, it's as simple as that. In hot weather, water will evaporate more quickly. Having a lid or condensation tray will help slow the evaporation down, but evaporation will always occur, so check daily and top up as you need to. The addition of cooler water will lower the temperature. In particular, always make sure your heater is fully submerged; NEVER allow it to be come exposed. 
  4. Keep The Water Moving - Good movement of water will allow more oxygen to be drawn into the tank. Consider positioning the outlet of your filter at the surface to allow good 'churn' of the water. 
  5. Add Plants Or An Air Stone - both are easy ways to increase oxygen levels in the aquarium. Plants are our favourite because you can make a beautiful aquascape or underwater garden whilst providing additional oxygen and removing other toxins. 
  6. Ice is cold! - Keep a stash of water bottles in your freezer. If the temperature increases dramatically, simply float one or two iced bottles in the water as a short-term fix until the weather cools again. Take care that the tank doesn't overflow with the displacement of water. 
  7. Chiller units and fans - Many people use these as a permanent feature on the aquarium and just switch them on as and when is necessary to regulate the temperature. A worthy investment for larger and more expensive aquariums, or in areas where hot weather is normal. 
There you have it, some simple ways to avoid fish losses when you're enjoying the sunshine. Why not tell us about your experiences with your fish tank in hot weather? What did you do to solve the problem? Comment below, we'd love to hear from you.