water that's too warm?

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by midthought, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Hi Fishlore,

    I am currently fishless cycling a 5 gallon tank that I hope will be home to some happy betta in a few weeks. I have the filter going, obviously, and the heater is set up but not plugged in yet. My thermostat is the kind that sits inside the tank, kind of free standing, and is kept weighted down by small metal balls. It has registered 82 to 84 degrees since I set up the tank and started cycling it -- with the heater OFF. The light's not even been on.

    Now, my place is not super warm. I live in an apartment in NYC, where it's been 40-60s the last few weeks. The landlord does keep the building warm, and it probably does get up to 74 degrees in the apartment -- warm, but nowhere near tropical. It's only going to get warmer in the summer, though, and we don't have central air. We normally swelter through the summers and have a window AC unit in the bedroom only. I may install a window AC unit in this room (second bedroom) if I can get it rigged in the extra wide window I have in here, but it would just not be feasible to leave the AC turned on 24/7 even when I'm not here. And when it's super hot in NYC, it can be 90-100 degrees outside.

    So my concern is that the water seems super warm already -- with the heater off and the ambient room temperature no more than 72, 74 degrees. I'm especially concerned about this summer, since I don't foresee being able to provide stable, cool ambient room temperature. So, what do you think I should do? Do you have any experience with keeping bettas at 84+ temperatures? Do you have any ideas about why the water is so warm already? Any ideas about this summer?

    I will add that my only thought has been that this 5 gallon tank is the only tank of mine that has the hood attached to it. It's been cycling with the hood down, and I'm guessing that may be keeping some heat in, even if it's not coming from the heater. Whenever I lift the hood, a lot of condensation drips back into the tank. Is my only option to keep the lid off to keep it a little cooler? I hope that's not the solution, since it's sort of an eyesore to have the hood open constantly. I'm going to start leaving the hood up for now to see if the water cools down much. I'd love to hear your thoughts though.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I may have missed it, but what kind of lighting do you have? If it's an incandescent bulb, that can raise the temperature a few degrees. I'm sure you would have thought of this, but is it in direct sunlight? You can also experiment with aiming a fan at the tank, or freezing a water bottle that is partially full and floating it in the tank (which is probably even more of an eyesore than leaving the hood up). Just a few thoughts!

  3. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Do you have another thermometer to verify the reading? Sometimes thermometers are inaccurate.

    If your tank lights are always off and the room never gets warmer than 75F, there is no way for the tank to run above 80 with the heater unplugged, short of having direct sunlight.

    Also, while you are cycling, I'd go ahead and plug in the heater. The warmer the better for growing bacteria.

  4. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    I agree with Dena. I think you're thermometer is wonky.
  5. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    It's a 10 watt mini-compact fluorescent Coralife bulb, and the little plastic cage that fits over it does have a warning that it gets hot. But it hasn't really been on, no more than 10-15 minutes at a time. I've only turned it on a few times just to see the setup (all fake plants at the moment) with lighting.

    It's definitely not in direct sunlight either, as this bedroom is pretty dark as bedrooms go. The nearest window is about 15 feet from the tank, has blinds that are always closed except for the bottom foot or so, and the window even faces the building's courtyard, which blocks further sunlight to the room.

    I could try the frozen water bottle thing, but is that just something I would be doing even when the fish is in the tank? Would that be safe?

    Thanks for the input. :)
  6. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I've never done it before, I just read it in a thread someone posted earlier about cooling down tanks. Someone suggested both the fan and frozen water bottle methods.
  7. cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    There are coolers you can place in your tank but the best would be get something like an ac system for your tank (not sure if they sell them) where you set in the temperature you want and if it goes to high than it will cool your water and if it goes to low it will heat your water.

    You may also want to find out what's causing your water to be 80 without being in direct light, having a light bulb, and 74 outside. Is your heater wacky? Feel your water 80 degrees generally feel slightly warm to touch. If it's not very warm try a new thermometer you can get one for $3 at a regular store. Test your thermometer. If your thermostat says the temperature is supposed to be around 74 hold your thermometer in the room or leave it overnight and see what it says.

    Best of luck!
  8. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Haha, well I will feel stupid if it's just the thermometer. I think the reason that didn't occur to me was that when I first saw it at 84 degrees, I actually touched the aquarium and it did feel weirdly warm. It's not feeling the same way now.

    I did just grab an extra thermometer and put it in the tank though. I will give it a few minutes and then update. I will feel very dumb if this is the case. :)

    But in general, should I be worried at all about ambient temperatures this summer because of the lack of air conditioning in the room? My guess is that the room could get as high as 80-90 if it gets super hot outside. I feel like that's still comparable to Thailand and other tropical places where bettas are grown, so still not so bad?
  9. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    None of my show tanks are heated - Only the quarantine tanks are. For various reasons, the ambient air temp is in the low to mid 70s. My tanks run a few degrees warmer. 75 is tropical. A vast majority of the "tropical" fish in the trade are quite happy there. Most people keep their tanks too warm. Well, not TOO warm, just warmer then they need to be. Many people think tropical fish need 80+ and that's just not the case.

    My tanks are in the low to mid 80's in the summer. I live on the beach block of the windiest city in the country - air conditioning is only in the bedroom. It is what it is - I don't do anything different. I wouldn't worry about it.
  10. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    The second thermometer is now indicating it's 80 degrees. The first one is a hair above it, between 80 and 81. The hood has been open for maybe an hour and a half.

    Okay, I'm not totally misreading the thermometer and reading them both as 70, am I? It comes up to the line right below 80 on the Fahrenheit side. That would be another terribly embarrassing mistake I would make if that's the case. I think that the number goes with the line directly under it, because 120 is above all the Fahrenheit lines. Here is a picture. I feel like I'm in first grade.

    (I did turn the tank light on briefly to take this pic.)

    They're both at the top of the green zone...pretty sure that green zone is 70-80. When I got the second thermometer, it was registering 75 in room temp water (in a tank that's currently not cycling, no filter or or heater), and it was responsive when I ran it under the water in the sink.

    The heater's not even plugged in, it's just sitting in the tank. I've double and triple checked that the AC cord ends with an unplugged adapter. I could remove it completely, I guess. I will take out the first thermostat and see what it comes to...assuming I'm not reading both thermometers wrong. >.< The water doesn't seem too warm to the touch, to be honest...but I'm very warm blooded, so I don't know if that plays into it in the least...

    Thanks for all your responses, guys and gals. I'm feeling goofier by the second, though, heh.
  11. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    The green is 70-80. I read 81 :)
  12. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Okay well that does make me feel better that at least I'm not misreading the thermometer and that they might be just fine if I leave it unheated. I just don't want to, you know, cook any poor fish...
  13. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I keep my tanks at 80. Some fish obviously prefer colder water, but mine seem happy :)
  14. Fall RiverValued MemberMember

    Agreed the temp is reading 80*. Bettas have developed the labrynth organ to cope with very warm, oxygen depleted water. I would add an air stone and keep checking the temp. The extra bubbles and circulation may help to dissipate some heat. Personally, I keep a six pack of 12 ounce water bottles frozen in case they're needed for summer temps.
  15. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    You don't have to worry about cooking the fish till the water's in the mid 90's.
  16. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    After leaving the lid off for about 6 hours, both thermometers read 78 degrees, by the way. I've closed the lid again, since warmer is better for the bacteria, and both thermometers are back to reading a hair above 80. I still don't understand why it's quite so warm without a heater on, but I think the readings are correct in any event.

    Anyway, thanks, everyone. I will keep some water bottles frozen over the summer and keep an eye on the thermometer. Shouldn't be too hard since the tank is right next to my computer. And I do have a spare air stone I can throw in there if it gets too warm as well. I didn't think that bettas would like the extra current/turbulence in there, but I will do it if it really gets too hot. Thanks, everyone, for your help!! :;hf
  17. bassbonedivaFishlore VIPMember

    Just a thought...have you checked your filter? Is it running hot? If it is, it could be heating the water as it's cycling the water through.
  18. Fall RiverValued MemberMember

    +1 to the hot filter. I was thinking the very same thing!! Moving parts = friction = heat.
  19. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Hmm, I don't know quite how to answer. I just touched all the parts of the filter I could touch without taking things apart. The plastic housing of the pump above the intake is warmer to the touch than the other parts (closer to the outtake/bio wheel), but only very slightly. Nothing alarmingly warm or anything. My cell phone definitely gets much warmer than that. Beyond taking out the shallow filter media though, I don't know what else there is for me to remove to check, though.

    If it is the filter running hot, what's the solution, just buy a new filter?

     , by the way. I'd have to do some research into a replacement filter specifically for this setup. (My other filters are HOBs that wouldn't fit into this tank, I'm afraid.)
  20. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Right next to the computer? Is the exhaust from the computer warming it?

    If there is any fish that DOESN'T need an air stone, it's a betta.

    I have that tank - I think it runs warm because of the design - there's no air flow. It's hot and humid under the hood.

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