do I need a heater? new air stone? trade fish for tank supplies?

hopesmom

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I got my 20 gal from a friend of a friend...anyway, it has a thermometer that reads around 75 degrees which is in the highlighted green area of the thermometer, so I assumed that was good...but there is no heater, and I'm worried after reading some of the forum that my fish may be cold (?) They hover in the corner by the air stone, and come out to eat, then go back to the corner.
I live in an air conditioned house, but the tank is near the front door, and this is Texas, so it's hot outside, and the door gets opened and shut a lot making that area warmer..do I need a heater? This tank has a hob type filter and the air stone...the air stone is long - all the way from top to bottom of tank, but only the top half bubbles. Do I need a new air stone? One more question..do most pet stores buy back fish or trade? I have a pleco that is beautiful but too big. Thanks for any help!
Denise (newbie)
 

Boxermom

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Temperature depends on the fish you are keeping. The frog prefers cooler temperatures, but I believe the others prefer warmer temps. I don't think you need another air stone but I'd place it horizontal rather than vertical.

As far as buy backs, it varies from store to store. My LFS buys back some fish but doesn't pay cash, its for in-store credit. I'd ask and if they don't buy back or trade, see if they'll take it back for free. It really does need a much larger tank. I'd recommend rehoming the frog, too. They're a lot of fun but they do best in cooler water. Although they really only require small tanks and can live quite happily in a one gallon without a filter. Just makes sure it has a cover and you do water changes every few days. They're pretty undemanding otherwise.
 

chickadee

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Most Tropical fish need a temperature range of 78 - 80 degrees but the most important thing is the fluctuation of the temperature. If the temperature is fluctuating more than 2 degrees in any one day the fish will not tolerate it well. That is hard to maintain without a heater with a good thermostat. You cannot make sure that it is within the limits needed without one. There are diseases such as ich and fin rot that seem to lurk in the water and wait for the fish to be stressed by this type of situation and then attack and can wipe out a tank. The cost of a heater is well worth it. The filter you have sounds okay and there is a chance that your old airstone is clogged. You can try to wash it off, but more likely it would be wise to just get another. They do not need to be big ones and they are very cheap. Just a small one will do as well as the big one.

Welcome to Fishlore.com. We are a close knit little group here. We represent a large array of ages and interests, and all of us are very fond of our little aquatic friends. I have met some of the finest people I know in this forum. I do hope that your experience here is as pleasant as mine has been. Please do not hesitate to post for any need you may have. There is usually someone who is able to answer you and if we do not know the answer we will do our best to find it for you.

Rose
 

friend_o_fish

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You should not get a new air stone simply lay the one you have in a horizontal position. The reason the top half only works is because air is lighter than water so it tries to escape through the stone as near the surface as possible. If you put the air stone in a poison with the non connected end slightly higher than the end with the air feed you will probably get the best results. Simply add more or less hight to the unconnected end until you get the bubble distribution you want. Also if the stone is at the bottum in The potion I told you and no bubbles come out it is because your air pump is not strong enough and you can eather move the air stone up or get a more powerful airpump. To save money if you get another air pump don't git one to completely replace the old one simply get one that is strong enough to help the other one but not replace it completely. This method worked for me and could work for you.
 
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hopesmom

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yep. the air stone is laying horizontally, making a beautiful wall of tiny bubbles...I think it would look best in back of the tank, but I let my 7 yrs old decorate the tank, and she put it in the front. It makes it harder to see the fish, but the pleco must know this because he is out more during the day now!
Denise
 

ecnaj143

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Where do you live?? I'm in FL and I don't need a heater. It stay's 78 degrees in my 55gal constantly and it stays 75degrees in my 20gal. My 20gal is right under the air vent too, been there for 3months and the fish are as healthy as can be.
 
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hopesmom

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Dallas Texas and it's hotter than **** !

I haven't needed a heater yet - it's stayed in the green on the thermometer all month...of course, I keep an eye on it because I don't want the temp fluctuating too much, or might make my fish sick. I have one, but I haven't tried it out yet to see if it works ... this heatwave is maddening...we have water restrictions because of the severe drought...our electric bill is sky high too
Denise
 

ecnaj143

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Then you shouldn't need a heater. Thet 20gal and the 90gal are to big for the temp to fluctuate to much. My 20gal is right under my air vent, it stays 75 consistently.
 

chickadee

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The heater will not come on if the water is the temperature it should be. It is just a guarantee that you will not have a fluctuation. If you're at 78 - 80 consistently without a heater the only thing you are doing is keeping it from causing a problem if your air temps should fluctuate or the tank temps should fall for some reason. A heater costs less that $45 for even the bigger tank usually and in my opinion, since fish are expensive this is a very cheap insurance policy. Others are welcome to disagree with me but that is my reasoning behind my policy where my tanks are concerned.

Air stones do more than just add oxygen to the water. If you should add water to a tank during a water change that is too cool, Nitrogen gas can be released into the tank. Stirring up the water with an airstone helps to break down the bubbles of Nitrogen and keep them from burning the gills of your fish. It also helps to keep the temperature of the water constant all through the tank and not warmer in one area and cooler somewhere else.

I am sure that all will be well and you can make up your mind on what you want to do now that you have several opinions to help a bit. Let us know if we can help further.

Rose
 

ecnaj143

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Too, heaters tend to malfunction ALOT. When I had heaters, they had ALWAYS gone out. It was a waste of money. When I found out that my bro-in-law doesn't use a heater(who has a reef tank), I decided not to use one. I haven't had a problem yet. So until I start having problems (which I doubt I will), then maybe I'll consider it. I just don't think anything over 10gal needs a heater if you live in hot place, especially a 90gal, for it'll take the direct sun or a winter storm to change the temp. Its to much water for the temp to flucuate so much.
 

chickadee

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I use Marineland Visi-therm Stealth Heaters and have not had a problem. I have never heard of anyone ever having a problem with them. The company gives Lifetime warranties on them and they are not that expensive from the source I bought them from. I do have a spare on hand and am only prudent by keeping the boxes and receips from them, but I truly have no thought that I will have to use the warranty. They are wonderful.



If anyone else has an opinion, they are welcome to voice it but please do make sure it is an opinion and realize that it is a person's right to use their own judgement.

Rose
 
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hopesmom

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gracias Rose, I like your take on the "insurance policy"...the heater I have is 100watt hydor brand, which, if it works should be ok, but I'd prefer to have titanium instead of glass. I'm going to test this one and see if it even works... :-\
Denise
 

Boxermom

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I concur with everything Rose said. Personally, I only use VisiTherm Stealth heaters as there's less chance of fish getting burned on the metal or glass (yes, it happens), won't break if I drop it, auto-shut off and restart in case I forget to unplug it during water changes, and they're very reliable.
 

friend_o_fish

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I agree with Boxermom. Another advantage to visatherm is that it has a life time warranty. I just got one and I loved it from the first day.
 

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