Can plants handle the cold? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-06-2016, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Can plants handle the cold?

We got our powerbill yesterday. It was huge. I immediately blamed the aquarium. Its a 25g cube tank. 20'' by 20" by 20". Its costing nearly $60 a quarter to run. Without the heater it would cost less than $40 a year. I am actually halfway through purchasing a 125G aquarium, which is obviously going to cost even more to run. Kind of freaked out. Our house is usually around 15 degrees. Would this be too cold for my low tech plants? Swords, anubius, and crypts.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 03:23 AM
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As most plants that you want to keep are tropical plants, a heater would be required.

A house that is kept at 15 (presumably) Celsius would definitely require a heater if you want to keep tropical plants.

$20 a month to run an aquarium, where the heater is likely running constantly, does not seem too unreasonable to me.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 07:29 PM
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you keep your house at 15 degrees (presumably celsius?)? I'd be more worried about the occupants of the house, and the fish in that tank long before I'd be worried about the plants surviving!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 09:29 PM
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The heater may not be costing you as much as you think. While they do consume a lot of power while on, they may be on only 20% of the time. It will be just enough to sustain the temp required.

Two other things you can do.

Check all the other aquarium related electrical items. The filter, lighting and anything else can also use quite a bit of power. You may be able to do an upgrade, and get additional power savings.

Insulate the tank to keep the heat in. Typically this is done by using thick styrofoam sheets to cover the sides, back and bottom, and using a glass cover over the tank. This can help retain a lot of heat.

Lastly, just because you think it's the aquarium doesn't mean that there are not a lot of other contributing factors. Check them also.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 09:58 PM
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Where do you live? Because you are saying that it costs $200+ per year just to run the heater on a 25 gallon aquarium? That doesn't sound correct unless your cost per kWh is just crazy or you live in a cold house and the heater is running 24/7.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Watergarden View Post
We got our powerbill yesterday. It was huge. I immediately blamed the aquarium. Its a 25g cube tank. 20'' by 20" by 20". Its costing nearly $60 a quarter to run. Without the heater it would cost less than $40 a year. I am actually halfway through purchasing a 125G aquarium, which is obviously going to cost even more to run. Kind of freaked out. Our house is usually around 15 degrees. Would this be too cold for my low tech plants? Swords, anubius, and crypts.
Hi Watergarden,

Welcome to TPT!

You are saying that the heater for your 25 gallon cube is costing $50 a quarter to operate......based upon what calculations?

The typical heater for a 25 gallon tank would be 100 watts. If it ran one hour continuously it would use 100 watt-hours or roughly 2.4 kilowatt hours (KWH) per 24 hours. In one month (30 days) time it would consume 72 KHW. The average cost per KWH in the U.S. (in 2011) was $0.12 per KWH. So per month, if the heater ran continuously, the cost to run the heater would be 72 X 0.12 = $8.64 per month. Now sit down in front of your tank, look at your clock, now watch the heater how long does it run in the next 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or hour. It is likely that it only runs maybe 10%-20% of the time depending upon the difference between the tank temperature setting and the ambient room temperature so the likely cost per month is somewhere between $0.84 and $1.68 per month. Want something more accurate pick up a Kill-A-Watt meter and you will know exactly how much power your equipment is drawing.

Most aquarium plants can handle temperatures much lower than we would think. I have my emersed growing 'plant bank' in my unheated garage. The plants get down into the low 50's in the winter and I have not lost a plant to cold. The reason we keep our tanks warm is not for the plants, it is for the fish. I always adjust my tank temperature based upon the needs of the species in the tank....never the plants.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 10:57 PM
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Your lights use more wattage in a day than your heater.

You can get more energy efficient LED lights. That would save you money. Or take advantage of sunlight to supplement your lighting.


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 01:50 AM
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Don't want to ruin the dream but aquarium is kinda expensive hobby. Like yacht. They're both just a black hole in water, where we trow our money.
Living in AZ I have to spend $$$ cooling water in my tanks.

However, it's possible to run a cold-water fishtank with coldwater plants (there are many to choose from) and coldwater fish, which can be really colorful. Advantage of such setup is its "slowness". Much less problem with algae, less light, etc.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 12:47 PM
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Which plants are best for an unheated planted aquarium?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikluha View Post
Don't want to ruin the dream but aquarium is kinda expensive hobby. Like yacht. They're both just a black hole in water, where we trow our money.
Living in AZ I have to spend $$$ cooling water in my tanks.

However, it's possible to run a cold-water fishtank with coldwater plants (there are many to choose from) and coldwater fish, which can be really colorful. Advantage of such setup is its "slowness". Much less problem with algae, less light, etc.
Which aquatic plants are best for an unheated planted aquarium? I know the mosses can take it and dwarf sag, what others?

And what fish can handle an unheated aquarium -- any that are small and colorful? Thanks!
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