How Do I Deal With Water That's Too Warm From The Tap?


Valued Member
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More than 10 years
I live about an hour north of Houston and it's extremely hot here in the summer including the ground temperature. Water straight from the tap is 82-84F on the coldest setting. This is after letting it run for a minute or two. It's even hotter to begin with if I don't let it run a bit.

pH 8.2 from the tap as well as in all tanks. It's extremely stable at 8.2. More on that later...

I currently have 2 x 29 gallon tanks and a 5.5 gallon quarantine. I handle the water changes with 5 gallon buckets. My typical summer water change procedure is adding a pre-measured amount of ice to the bucket, adding seachem prime to the bucket and then filling the bucket with the 82-84F tap water.

This works well as I've determined the correct amount of ice to add to the bucket to get it to match the tank temperature of 75F once it's filled. Then I use a pond pump from the buckets to fill the aquariums. I have no problem doing water changes this way for the 29 gallon tanks. It's pretty easy and has become routine for the summer water changes. In the winter once the ground temperatures drop, I can easily match the tank temperature straight from the tap.

Important for later discussion: When I start adding the water to the buckets as described above, the temp hit's about 52F initially (BC of the ice) when I first start filling the bucket and ends up at ~75F when filled. Perfect right?

Here's where my question comes in. We're looking at possibly setting up a 210 gallon in the next 6 mos and there's no way I'm doing water changes with 5 gallon buckets on a 210G tank. I'm a huge proponent of big water changes (50% weekly). I plan on using a python for water changes on the 210G.

How the heck am I going to handle water changes with the tap water temperature problem in the summer using a python on the 210G?

If I add the ice directly to the tank when I'm filling, I'm worried this will drop the temp of the existing water too much initially before the tank is filled causing shock to the fish. I'm imagining that I'm going to have to do a fine balance of adding just enough ice in the tank as it fills to try and control the temperature. Little more water, a little more ice and so on...To be honest, this sounds like a nightmare and is the main reason I've not pulled the trigger on purchasing the large tank. I really want to have this figure out before we drop that kind of money...

Was wondering if anyone has dealt with this and has come up with a good solution to handle it.

Side notes: About the only fish I'm interested in that can handle 82-84F are German Blue Rams but, as stated before, my PH is 8.2 from the tap (and in all my tanks). I tried GBR's once in pH 8.2 and they only lasted about 6 mos.

I'm not necessarily interested in messing with the PH by using RO water etc. And, most importantly, the fish my family is interested in keeping need the cooler ~75F degree water. This tank will be a family tank and I really want to provide the fish they're interested in since it will be in our common area. I think we've agreed that we'll be keeping African cichlids which our pH is perfect for.

I do know the cichlids top end is 82F but I'm not interested in keeping them at the high end of their range. 75F is about the perfect temp for them.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



Well Known Member
Reaction score
5 to 10 years
Here is what I used to do when I lived in Florida for my 125. I had an Oscar in there, so I was changing water twice a week. I kept 1 or 2 (2) liter bottles full if ice. Filled them up about 4/5 of the way with water, and froze them, laying down, in my freezer. Then when I would change the water, I would pull one of them out of the freezer, and place it in the tank. I would let the water flow over the 2 liter bottle that was full of ice. Believe it or not, this worked like a charm for a good two years I had that setup.

The key for me was only filling it 4/5 of the way or so. This left an air pocket in the bottle. I basically used that air pocket to help regulate temperature. If I just needed to cool the tap water down a degree or two, I let the water hit where the air pocket was first, then over the ice, and into the tank. If I needed to cool it more, I let the water hit the ice directly. Between doing this, and keeping the other two liter bottle just sitting in the opposite end of the tank, I was able to get a system down to regulate the temp.

It ain't pretty. But it worked for me.
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