Tip of the Day – 8/11/2015 Aquarium Temperature Control



Temperature control is critical to the health of your aquarium inhabitants and is one of the most important components in keeping them vital and active.  Most tropical marine fish species are accustomed to water temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees fahrenheit (24-27 C).  Fish are very sensitive to changes in temperature in their natural habitat and in our aquariums .  Sudden shifts in temperature can cause stress and shock their immune systems.  Temperatures outside of the normal range can be deadly.

With temperatures falling as autumn approaches, we recommend checking the operation of your aquarium heater.  For many hobbyists, the heater may never need to come on during the summer months.  It’s possible that your aquarium heater may have reached the end of its useful life over the summer.  Our tip is to test your heater now to make sure it’s still working properly.  To test it, place the heater in a sink or other container while the heating element portion of the heater is completely submerged.  Then plug the heater into a GFI wall outlet making sure the heater is still submerged in water.  Now, set the temperature to a higher level than the prevailing water temperature.  If the heater is working properly, you will notice bubbles and/or heat waves emanating from the heater surface.  If your heater is not operating, it is best to purchase a new heater before we have a cold snap.

Another tip is to consider using 2 heaters for built in redundancy.  If there is not enough room in your setup to have 2 heaters, then it’s a very good idea to have a spare immediately available for replacement.  You never know when your heater might fail.  Murphy’s Law tells us that it will probably occur when the stores are closed or you are getting ready to go out of town for a nice relaxing vacation.

If you are using a chiller on your system then make sure it’s still operational if it hasn’t operated in a while.  Due to the expense of an aquarium chiller it’s not likely that you will want to keep an extra one on hand but for larger aquariums it might not be a bad idea to consider using 2 smaller chillers instead of one large unit.  If one of the chillers fails, you might be able to get along temporarily with one unit operational while the other unit is being repaired or replaced.

Finally, always use good quality heaters and chillers.  Heaters can be a little finicky, so do your homework before you settle upon a specific model or brand.  It is imperative to buy a good quality chiller.  Saving $100.00 on a cheaper model could come back to bite you once your warranty expires in 1 year and your chiller fails the day after.  We recommend Tradewind brand chillers or Seachill chillers from Teco Systems.  Tradewind chillers are built in the USA and come standard with a 2 year warranty which is upgradable to a 5 year option for just a little extra.  Teco chillers offer a 2 year warranty and feature several options not found on other chiller brands. Teco brand chillers are manufactured in Italy.



About Author

Scott Groseclose is the owner of AquaNerd, Aquarium Specialty, Aqua Specialty Wholesale, BioTek Marine, & The Carolina Reef Experience. He has a degree in Biology from St. Andrews University and he has been a passionate reef keeper since 1988.