Constant temp better then cooler temp? Question 

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Mylar

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I'm looking for input on my heating strategy.

I've got a 46 gallon in my front room with platys, guppies, baloon mollies, and hatchets.

I'd like to keep my temp at 76°-78°, but the front room can get up to 83° during the summer before the air conditioner catches up and kicks on.

For the moment I have the heater set to keep the tank at 79°-80°. In the present conditions, with ambient temperature flux, lighting, and the internal heater, the temp range for the tank is pretty solid at 79°-81°.

This is a little warmer then I'd like, but the temp is going to go up into the low 80's anyway, all I can control with the heater is where it bottoms out at. I thought it better to have a small range, higher then I liked, then a wide swing from day to night of 76°-81°

Is that true?

I know with PH, keeping it constant is more important then keeping it perfect, the fish adjust to the conditions and swings stress them more then a constant level slightly over or under what they would like. Does temperature work the same way?
 

blkdeath75

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Welcome to Fishlore

I would have to agree with you. I think a constant temp is more important than something that jumps from low to high and back again. Depending on your fish requirements(which I don't see a problem), most tropical fish should be fine in those temps anyway. Just be careful if you try to raise the bottom of your temps it may also raise the tops a bit. Keep in mind the bigger your tank the longer it takes for temps to fluctuate. I keep mine set at about 78F but in the summer without air so far I have seen em hit 82F-84F in a shady hallway(so I tend to keep my air on now )
 

catsma_97504

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Welcome to Fishlore Mylar!

Well, I'm not as lucky as you to have AC, so my tanks are subjected to 60s at night and 90-100s during the day in the summer.

The 29 tank fluctuates the most. I have actually been turning the heater down in tiny increments in an attempt to keep the temp below 85F. As my temp gauge stops at 86, there have been a couple of days where I did not know how high the tank actually got.....I do not want to cook the fish.

The 55 ranges 75-80 and the 90 is holding steady at 78-80 with no adjustments.

As you have a 46 gallon, you will notice a small change similar to my 55 gallon, but I do not believe it would be too extreme. As the water gets hotter, there is a greater demand for oxygen. Keep an eye on your fish and if they appear to be gasping, add more air lines.

Good luck with your tank!
 
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ryanr

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catsma_97504 said:
I have actually been turning the heater down in tiny increments in an attempt to keep the temp below 85F
If your ambient temperature is higher, then turning your heater down will not affect the temperature of the tank. e.g. if it's 90 and the heater is set at 85, turning the heater to 83 will not drop the temperature. Heaters are thermostatically controlled and only come on when the temp of the water drops below the setting of the heater.

To the original question, consistency in any parameter is always preferred, however it is not critical if have temperature fluctuating. In the wild, water gets warmer during the day and cooler at night, so fish can tolerate the swings. In fact, in some species, the temperature swings prompt breeding/spawning

IMO - what is important is the speed of the change. As long as you let the water temp rise and fall as the room temp changes, I think you'll be fine. The temp ranges you're talking about are not huge, and are within the general accepted range for tropical fish.

During the summer months, it would probably be a good idea to add an air pump to keep oxygen levels higher.

If your water starts rising above 86F on a consistent basis (e.g. for longer than 2-3 days), you may want to look at some of the cooling techniques. But we can discuss that if need be.
 

catsma_97504

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I realize the tank will heat up naturally from the atmospheric temperatures.

In the past I didn't do this and the fish all died from the excessive heat. Now, I lower the heater setting in an attempt to maintain the minimum night time temperature (not the daytime temp). I also turn the lights on for only a few hours in the early morning or late evening; and sometimes do a water change with slightly cooler water when the fish show signs of stress.
 
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ryanr

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That's cool catsma.

I just made the comment because I have experienced some hobbyists that get confused, thinking that the heater will also 'cool' the water if they lower the temp.

I like your approach
Maintaining the night temperature is a good idea, and by starting lower, it should take longer for the water to heat up during the day, thus, in a round about way, reducing the max temp during the day
 

catsma_97504

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Yeah, I can understand why you pointed this out ryanr. I just re-read my original post, and I was not clear as to my reasons for my actions.

Thank you for giving me a chance to do sox
 
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ryanr

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Yay for team work lol

Umm, just one last point to all those reading/following, I'd recommend only making one adjustement per 48hr period on a larger tank. The bigger the volume of water, the longer it takes to adjust (both to heat and cool).

It can take awhile for changes to become 'constant' so to speak. If you adjust every 24hrs, you could find that 4 days later, things are way off where they were 2 days prior.

Just give things a chance to settle and be sure of where things are, then if they're still not right, make another adjustment.... patience is the key in this hobby
 
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Mylar

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Thanks all

Thanks for the replies!

As for the air stone, I'm probably going to pick up a airstone powered sponge filter this weekend to toss in the corner behind the water sprite.

My wife, who was against the idea of a fish tank in the first place, and looked at me like I was a total idiot when I mentioned getting a second tank for quarintine usage, has now pretty much taken over my tank. Now SHE is talking about a quarintine tank AND a fry tank.

Heh, I've got a feeling that having a pre-cycled sponge filter to drop into another tank may come in handy soon.
 

jetajockey

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That's a great idea for the sponge filter/air stone combo, better filtration and higher o2 is always good.

I wouldn't be too worried about natural temperature swings, unless you have extra sensitive fish. I'm kind of old school when it comes to the temperature thing though, I figure since in the wild they encounter variance up to 10 or 15 degrees daily, even in tropical climates, so a couple of degrees variance in a tank over the course of a day really shouldn't be an issue. I've never had a problem with it. I do however advocate the use of a heater if you are keeping them in a room without good climate control, like a basement in winter time for example. Also a heater really helps with breeding for many species and grow out on fry
 
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