Controversial: No Heaters In Fw Tanks?

FergusDaFish

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I was going through my YT recommended videos and Cory from Aquarium CoOp had posted a video talking about his opinion that most freshwater and/or tropical fish (he cites up to 80%) probably don't need heaters in their tanks.


His opinion stems from years of aquarium experience but also from observing fish farms that keep their ponds outside and unheated, as well has trips he's made where he has experienced cold weather in an otherwise tropical locale.

His argument seems to be that because the seasonal temperature fluctuates so much and isn't always at the aquarist's prescriptive range of 78-82 degrees that fish don't necessarily require those warmer temperatures to live.

I get where Cory is coming from in saying that over the winter water temps natural drop to sub-optimal levels, but does that mean that you should always keep your fish at winter temps? Fish also experiences seasonally above average temps so the same argument Cory is using to say you don't always necessarily need a heater in your tank could also be made for when your heater goes on the fritz and overheats your tank - "so what's the problem? 90+ degrees is their normal summer time temp!"

What are others' thoughts on this subject?
 

scarface

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Honestly, I don't use heaters either. The lowest my tanks get down to was around 68F, and all the fish were fine. Looking fine, eating fine, swimming fine, etc. I do have plans to get one only because I want to keep Discus and Rams, in the future, which I believe Cory talks about in the video about them really needing one.
 

wrs2

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I have some tanks with and some without heaters.
The bettas in tanks without heaters seem to do better than the ones with heaters. They all get skinny and fin rot. The tanks w/o the heaters, they are on the same feeding schedule and they stay thick and never have fin rot issues. I also keep one of my 20 gallons w/o a heater and that tank seems to be doing very well. It's been heater-less since July, 2018.
 

Rtessy

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My betta tanks have heaters, I've observed that they do poorly at 75 and below, my other tanks swing from 60-80 throughout the year.
IMO, why not make your fish as happy as possible? Costs $15-30 normally, that's not much.
 

scarface

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I have some tanks with and some without heaters.
The bettas in tanks without heaters seem to do better than the ones with heaters. They all get skinny and fin rot. The tanks w/o the heaters, they are on the same feeding schedule and they stay thick and never have fin rot issues. I also keep one of my 20 gallons w/o a heater and that tank seems to be doing very well. It's been heater-less since July, 2018.
I do find it ironic. I never heard of a betta dying because of room temperature, but heard lots of stories of them dying because of a heater malfunction.
 

Fashooga

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I have heaters in both of my tanks. One time I forgot to plug the heater back on and noticed my EBA's were hiding and lethargic. I wasn't sure why. Turned out I forgot to plug it in after the water change. I do wonder if it happened in the summer would they be ok since this incident took place in the winter.
 

Briggs

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I do find it ironic. I never heard of a betta dying because of room temperature, but heard lots of stories of them dying because of a heater malfunction.
A lot of bettas die because they're kept in unheated bowls, but those bowls are rarely filtered either.

I use heaters for my bettas, but I'm the paranoid type so I use separate thermostats to regulate them. I wouldn't suggest it to someone keeping a ton of tanks (adding $25-$35 to each set up would add up fast) but it works for me. I know in the wild temps change from day to night and with the seasons, but in much larger bodies of water they would change a lot slower than my 5/10/20 gallon aquarium will. I try to prioritize stability in such small containers of water.

Also I keep my house pretty cool. I'd personally rather just spend the extra money on the heater and thermostat to keep all of us comfortable than turn our heat up.
 

scarface

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A lot of bettas die because they're kept in unheated bowls, but those bowls are rarely filtered either.

I use heaters for my bettas, but I'm the paranoid type so I use separate thermostats to regulate them. I wouldn't suggest it to someone keeping a ton of tanks (adding $25-$35 to each set up would add up fast) but it works for me. I know in the wild temps change from day to night and with the seasons, but in much larger bodies of water they would change a lot slower than my 5/10/20 gallon aquarium will. I try to prioritize stability in such small containers of water.

Also I keep my house pretty cool. I'd personally rather just spend the extra money on the heater and thermostat to keep all of us comfortable than turn our heat up.
I have yet to see a thread where someone's betta died because of being in room temp. On the other hand. . .well, it doesn't even need to be said.
 

Bettaish

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Back when I first started, I had a betta who was kept at room temp and never got sick a day in her entire life. She was a really happy fish. That being said, I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. I've always been pro-heaters, but I can completely see the benefits to not having one. I just live a colder climate so it really wouldn't work during the winter months.
 

Annie59

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A lot of things are controversial when it comes to our aquariums.

As I said in another post, I haven't used a heater in years. I keep my house cool and my fish never seem to suffer any ill effects from it. It can and does get down to 65 in my house in the winter but still my fish act and seem fine
 

JenC

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What evidence is there that's it's optimal to keep them in those extreme temps? As OP noted, by that logic the higher end extreme temp could be just as acceptable year-round.

Fish can enter a dormant state (essentially hibernating) in frozen lakes but that doesn't mean those low temps are ideal just because they can survive it.

I can survive temps in the lower 60s during winter (which I do to save on heating bills) but I certainly don't prefer it. There's a difference between tolerating a temp and being comfortable in it.

Do I think current temp range recommendations are accurate? I have no idea. But I challenge the notion that wild fish surviving seasonal temp extremes means we should maintain them at those temps all the time.
 

aussieJJDude

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The thing is, seasonal variation happens, yet so does water parameters? Should we strive to rapidly change pH in our tanks to mimic landslides, flooding and the like?


Seasonal variation happens, yet its usually temporary. It's dynamic, and constantly changing. Our homes, aren't, making it probable that our aquariums wouldn't either.


(As for unheated bettas in bowls, the reason why you probably dont see much on forums such as this is due to the fact the negativity and fear-mongering people do on forums. Anyone want to test it, sure... but be prepared to have a negative backlash!.... - in a way, it does want to make me try and see if there is a change!)
 

scarface

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The thing is, seasonal variation happens, yet so does water parameters? Should we strive to rapidly change pH in our tanks to mimic landslides, flooding and the like?

Seasonal variation happens, yet its usually temporary. It's dynamic, and constantly changing. Our homes, aren't, making it probable that our aquariums wouldn't either.


(As for unheated bettas in bowls, the reason why you probably dont see much on forums such as this is due to the fact the negativity and fear-mongering people do on forums. Anyone want to test it, sure... but be prepared to have a negative backlash!.... - in a way, it does want to make me try and see if there is a change!)
:emoji_raising_hand: Prior betta keeper here who used to keep his betta at room temperature. That meant sometimes it'd get over 80F or down to 66-68F. Many people do this as well. I've heard their fish living 6 years and longer. Perhaps it might have to do with slower metabolism rate, but I'm not ready to think it's so simple as higher temperatures shortening fishes' lifespans vs. colder temperatures.
 

Annie59

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Oh my tanks don't stay low but yup they do fluctuate in temp. Maybe I'm wrong but like I said my fish seem fine. Maybe they DO need the temp fluctuating seeing they live in those extreme conditions. Who really knows. I know some fish do migrate to colder waters.
 

Annie59

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:emoji_raising_hand: Prior betta keeper here who used to keep his betta at room temperature. That meant sometimes it'd get over 80F or down to 66-68F. Many people do this as well. I've heard their fish living 6 years and longer. Perhaps it might have to do with slower metabolism rate, but I'm not ready to think it's so simple as higher temperatures shortening fishes' lifespans vs. colder temperatures.
I never got that metabolism thing. If that were true wouldn't humans in warmer climates die faster too? Lol .Just kidding but it is something to think about
 

david1978

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Not really. Humans are warm blooded fish are cold blooded. As far as the proper temp for betta I have no idea. All I know is I have had very few issues in the 3 years I have had them. I think I have had around 28 of them so far. Most I still have, some I gave away and have had 3 die. Well 2 i killed. My tank holds 79.5 except when the power goes out. Its been down to 65 but only for a day or 2.
 

AJ34

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My Bettas are all around 78-80. I have had some heaters stop working and the tanks get cold super fast. I’m in Wisconsin so the weather is pretty variable especially this winter and spring, 60s today with sun and a winter storm watch with 5-8 inches of snow tomorrow.
 

FishMommer

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Twice kept a Beta in a tank with no heater. I don't think the lack of it was the cause of death in the end. Like others, it never got below 65 in the house.
 
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