temperature changes- do I need a heater?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by lostbunny, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. lostbunnyNew MemberMember

    I'm wondering if I should consider getting a heater for my fish over the winter.

    I'm living in Australia and our house is really really poorly insulated- the only source of heat is from the fire place in the next room. During the day in the winter, the temperature goes up to about 18 C, and at night can go down to -1 or -2 C on a regular basis.

    I've got goldfish so I know they can handle a large temperature range, but I'm wondering if a fluctuation in temperature will harm them and if I should get a heater to keep the tank at a stable temperature.

    Its autumn right now, and this morning the tank was at 19.7 C and in the late afternoon, now, its at about 20.2 C or so. This probably isn't very significant right now, but in the dead of winter- would say a 3 - 5 degree temperature change cause much stress for them?

    Its 100L/26 Gal with 2 goldfish (about 4-5 inches) lots of plants and 5 snails.

    Thanks :)

    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  2. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    welcome to the forum

    If the ambient temp in the room with the tank is dropping into the mid and low teens, or lower, you should get a heater. A 26 gallon tank is not going to retain much heat and will cool off quickly. I would set the heater to the minimum temp you want it.

    How powerful a heater you need is a function of the temp difference between the minimum temp you want and the temp to which the room will fall. The bigger the difference, the larger the heater.

  3. Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    :;hi2You should definately get a heater to stabalize the temperature at a temperature you feel is required. Dropping into the low C is going to have a big effect on a 26 gallon tank. Even my larger ones drop significantly without a working heater after much time goes buy. I know Goldfish can stand differant temperatures than tropical fish, but not that big a range.:;scuba

  4. lostbunnyNew MemberMember

    okay I was all confused for a sec but my tank is actually 35 Gal.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  5. Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    :;jawsYou still need a heater!!!!!! LOL
  6. lostbunnyNew MemberMember

    yea no worries I was just clarifying my tank size
  7. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Umm, where in Australia are you? (just trying to get a bearing/idea of where you are for the temperature swings) [I'm in Melbourne FWIW]

    A heater will help, and I agree with the above in setting it to the minimum temp you want, maybe 1C above it.

    BTW - welcome to Fishlore :;hi2
  8. lostbunnyNew MemberMember

    Hey Ryanr, I'm in the northern rivers (top north east of NSW) and our house is really old and lol not to mention the houses up here aren't really built to withstand cold weather ;) . Where we live its like north west of Lismore- up past Kyogle.... its super close to QLD, but we're in a mountainy area.
  9. bowcrazyWell Known MemberMember

    You could also try wrapping the tank at night with a blanket to help hold in the heat and block the lower room temperature from tank sides. This would also help the heater by giving it more off time which would help lower the cost or running it.
  10. orandagalValued MemberMember

    Hi Lostbunny,
    I had a smaller tank with goldfish and the temp stayed pretty even, then I upgraded to a 29 gallon for my fish and the temp would not go above 68 degrees. It was winter here, and our house stays pretty cool, (summer time won't be so bad). I belong to   forum as well and all suggested a heater to keep the temp even instead of going up and down over night. I purchased an Aqueon Pro 100 wt and set it right at 74 degrees. The temp stays pretty even and they all seem happy with the warmer water.
  11. cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    Depends how long the 3-5 temperature change takes. If it takes 5 days than it may be a bit harder but it would still work, however if it happens every night than it would be very hard for them.

    May I also make a side comment that 26 gallons means that you are over crowding your 2 goldfish, lots of plants, and 5 snails. You should ideally have a larger than 30 gallon tank for that.
  12. lostbunnyNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the advice everyone!

    Read my original post and the rest of the posts before commenting. My tank is 35 Gal; so my 2 fish, lots of plants and 5 snails are not over crowded.
  13. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Ummmm, what do you think happens outside in nature?? ONLY in our aquariums to the fish get a constant temp. Outside, the temp rises every day, and falls every night. 3-5 degrees is nothing. Hard on them? not hardly.

    26 or 35 makes little difference - with good care, the fish are going to outgrow the tank.
  14. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Just want to make sure everyone is aware we're talking Celsius here.

    The equivalents in Fahrenheit are:

    18C = 64.4F
    20C = 68F
    22C = 71.6F
    24C = 75.2F
    26C = 78.8F
    30C = 86F
    35C = 95F

    The OP is concerned about fluctuations of 3-5deg Celsius, from the above you can see that 3-5C is equivalent to up to 10 deg F. It's a decent swing in a 24 hour period.

    And Jaysee - I think anything above 30C could make a huge difference to any fish ;) :giggle: :p
  15. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Good point, I was thinking F degrees, not C degrees. Why can't the rest of you switch to F? ;)

    The 26 or 35 was a reference to the tank size. I don't understand what you mean about 30C. If you mean that if the swing is from 30C to 35C, then yes I suppose it's a big deal, but I always assume a normal range. There is almost never a reason for the water to ever be more than 30C.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  16. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Oops, my bad, I thought you meant 26-35 degrees C with 30C being at the 'too hot' end of the scale, I didn't notice the reference to outgrowing the tank :;smack
  17. bowcrazyWell Known MemberMember

    I agree that in the wild the air temperature might vary greatly over a 24 hour period which would cause the water temperature to vary a bit but not near as much as most would think. It takes a lot longer for the air temperature to have an effect on a large body of water like a lake or large pond than it does on our small aquariums. Also the deeper you go in the lake the less effect the air temperature has on the waters average temperature.

    My point here is that you really can’t compare what happens in nature to what happens in our aquariums without taking into consideration the total volume of water and the earths natural insulation effect it has on the lakes and ponds.

    A large temperature swing on a daily basis in my home is going to have a much larger effect on my tanks than it would any body of water in nature because all sides of the tank are exposed to the air temperature change and not just the surface. This is why I would suggest wrapping the tank with a blanket or Styrofoam at night if you don’t have a heater. This would not let the air temperature has as much of an effect on the tank’s water at night.
  18. lostbunnyNew MemberMember

    thanks for the input everyone-

    bowcrazy a blankie for the fish is so cute! But will definately give it a go.

    Just a comment on the 'fish in nature' thing... fish in large bodies of water have a lot more room to swim around, if they get cold in one spot they can find a warm patch somewhere else in the water. Water has a really high heat capacity, so as bowcrazy mentioned- a fluctuation in ambient temp of the room would effect a fish in a tank greater then a 'fish in the wild' in Lake Ontario. Not to mention there aren't any goldfish in the wild where I live. The temperature in the house (its an old "house" lol) gets so cold we actually wear jackets, hats and mitts in the non-fireplace room. I'm from CANADA and even I get cold in that house!

    I understand that certain people are really adamant on the welfare of my fish in the tank and are just dying to call the SPCA on me for animal cruelty- but as far as general guidelines go for gold fish tank size requirements, my fish have more then enough room. Not to mention the guidelines I've seen don't specify the size/age of the animal in relation to its required tank size. But I appreciate your concern, and you can hold off on calling animal rights groups on me.

    Finally.... ahem Jaysee... no one else in the world uses F ;) at least no one that matters lol. Okay that was a joke everyone, easy on. Jaysee sorry for the C/F/Gal/L confusion ;)
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  19. bowcrazyWell Known MemberMember

    A blanket is what a lot of keepers use during power outages. Just wrapping the tank will help hold in the waters heat and keep the cold out.
  20. psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    That or insulation. Foam board can be used under the tank, fits nicely. Foam board can also be used on the back, sides, and top. Comes in blue and pink. LOL

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