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Aquarium Temperature Management

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Aquarium Temperature Management

Maintaining stable aquarium water temperature is vital to the health of your fish. Since aquarium fish are cold-blooded animals, water temperature has a direct impact on their health and well being. Water temperature also influences such factors as biological filtration, dissolved oxygen content, toxicity of ammonia, and proper nutrition. While it is easy to overlook such a basic aspect of aquarium care, water temperature is fundamental to the success of your aquarium.

WATER TEMPERATURE & FISH HEALTH Fish are sensitive to temperature changes and, therefore, it is essential to monitor water temperature and to maintain it within an acceptable range. A sudden shift in temperature may send the immune systems of your fish out of control, and that means sick fish. Furthermore, if the aquarium water temperature is too high, a series of events, including low dissolved oxygen content and increased ammonia toxicity, may occur. Warm water also stimulates metabolic activity of fish. They eat more and grow faster and that means greater waste production. Biological filtration, normally capable of processing nitrogenous waste materials, is put to its limits. Combined with low oxygen levels and the increased toxicity of ammonia, even a slight ammonia spike can have serious results.

MONITOR & MAINTAIN IDEAL WATER TEMPERATURE A must-have item for all aquarists is a reliable temperature reading device. A stick-on liquid crystal thermometer is an inexpensive way to monitor water temperature. However, for the ultimate in convenient and accurate temperature readings, rely on digital thermometers. The price of these precision devices has gone down significantly and some units are just a few dollars more than the old-fashioned, floating glass thermometers. In addition to accurately monitoring water temperature, the key to simple temperature management is to invest in reliable heaters or a chiller. Make sure you determine the correct heater and chiller for your particular aquarium - an undersized unit will not provide adequate temperature control.

QUESTION: Is an aquarium chiller truly a necessary piece of equipment?

ANSWER: Most aquarists will not need an aquarium chiller to regulate aquarium water temperature. However, chillers are essential for reef hobbyists, since corals may be sensitive to high water temperatures. Without the aid of an efficient aquarium chiller, decline in coral health or even coral loss may result.


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