How to Cool Your Aquarium
Summer time in the UK! We are right in the middle of it and while there is much to enjoy, there are also things to worry about. One of those involves cooling our aquariums and avoiding overheating. In this article, we’ll deal with how to address the problem of cooling your aquarium in summertime.
Two main issues about aquarium overheating are:
- Reduced Oxygen Levels – The capacity of water to hold oxygen goes down as its temperature rises. Since fish are cold blooded, rising water temperature means that their metabolism also increases. It results in a need for more oxygen, which is a problem during hot summers when fish are observed gasping near the top of aquariums or ponds.
- Higher Stress Levels – The livestock in our aquariums are specifically adapted their regions of origin. That is why tropical fish need to be given the maximum temperature that they require by using heaters in their tropical fish tank. There has to be awareness though, that there’s a maximum temperature for each fish. Going beyond that maximum will cause stress that in turn might lead to diseases and livestock loss.
Keep in mind that marine fish are way more tuned to their natural environment than their freshwater counterparts. Because of that, they need the temperature of the water in their marine fish tank to be as stable as possible. To stress this point, a few degrees rise in temperature is enough to cause the loss of sensitive corals and invertebrates. This is why global warming is so threatening to marine life.
We now know the two main problems about overheating in fish tanks. It is now time to move on to the solutions to the issues.
Into the Tank – The Environment in Our Aquariums
Everyone knows how difficult it is to deal with hot weather. In a country where there’s very little home air conditioning, we all know the kind of ordeal that a hot day brings. What’s worse is that simply using natural ventilation, like opening windows at home or the office, does little to relieve the situation.
Quick and Short Term Solutions
Making a few changes to the fish tank can help in getting temperatures down. This might only be a temporary solution to the problem, though. Some might even view these changes as impractical. Still it is worth a try, if only to find the answers that are right for you and your fish tank, so if there’s a lid you can open it to help let the heat out. Assuming you have got a fish tank sump, you can open the doors of the cabinet to let a fan blow air into it.
You can have a look at the lighting system that you use and see if you could make changes to it. This is because lighting systems usually contribute much towards heating up the fish tank. Reduce the time that the system is used or reduce the light tubes that you’re using to help lower the temperature. But this still depends on the kind of livestock that you got in your aquarium. Having corals and other livestock that need to be lighted a lot, then you can’t reduce the lighting that you use.
A popular option is to use LED lighting. It has become more common in recent years and among its main benefits is that this type of lighting produces little heat. If you are still using Metal Halide lighting or Fluorescent Tubes, then you better replace it with LED’s right away. You not only get reduced heat for your aquarium, but you also save up on your electricity consumption.
Another option that you could choose to use is to make sure that you use lesser amounts of electricity in your fish tank. Cut down on the number of aquarium air pumps that you have operating in your tank, as it generates heat. You can also choose to use marine tank pumps that have lower wattage.
Taking the Long Term Approach
After looking at the temporary and some might say impractical approaches, it is now time to look at the solutions thought to be more practical and long term. We are checking out two, Aquarium Chillers and Cooling Fans.
Before we talk about aquarium chillers, allow me to mention the main thing that people think about whenever they are mentioned and that’s how expensive they are. This is quite true; in fact the smallest ones cost around £300, more or less. It has to be said, however, that this presents probably the most reliable and long term solution to making sure that the water in your aquarium is kept at its ideal temperature.
This is how chillers work:
Water is made to pass through it where heat exchange cools it by several degrees. The water is then made to return to the fish tank. In this set-up, a water pump is required for circulating the water and plumbing is needed to incorporate the chiller into the marine tank filtration system of the tank that also helps produce clean water.
These are the benefits of using a chiller:
Water temperature and condition are maintained steadily in this device by using coolants that exchanges heat from the passing water, while evaporation rates are not increased. Chillers are also able to maintain the ideal condition in the tanks because they are thermostatically controlled. It switches on automatically when required and then switches off if its service is no longer desired.
They are versatile because you can have other uses for them. There are models that could be fitted with a Heating Module and an integrated UV Steriliser. Enjoy three different functions al at the same time.
There is also need to worry about compromising when it comes to the movement of the water or even the lighting when a chiller is used. If you use one that is the right size, then it will take care of compensating those functions by itself.
Cooling fans are also available from various manufacturers, like Aqua Medic, Teco, and Hobby. There are a couple of ways to place it on the tanks; it is either to suspend it on top or to fit it on to the top glass of the tank. But the top needs to be open when this device is used.
It works by blowing air on the surface of the water, which is very effective in lowering the fish tank’s temperature during hot, sunny days. Aside from being quite effective, cooling fans are also more affordable than chillers, with prices usually starting from about £25.
There are some drawbacks, though. One is that it is not controlled thermostatically. This means that you need to manually turn it on or off, depending on the need of your aquarium.
Another issue is that the level of evaporation that takes place within the tank becomes greater when fans are used. Constant topping up has to be done and that requires your presence on a regular basis. That is fine if you are at home most of the time, but what if you have to be away for extended period of time?
Summing up, chillers do offer a more practical and sound alternative to maintain stable water conditions in your aquarium. It is best for any sensitive livestock that you may have and you will have the luxury of enjoying the warm season without the need to constantly check the tank.
There is no reason to compromise at all and you are assured that there is to be no loss of livestock. It needs to be pointed out though that cooling fans are the much cheaper choice, but if you do have the budget for it then go for aquarium chillers as they are the better long term solution and investment. Get both these solutions from any reliable and reputable online aquarium store, like Aquacadabra, the leading online aquatic retailer in the UK.
Summers and aquariums are there to be enjoyed and appreciated, after all.