Temperature swings - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Temperature swings

How much of a swing can fish handle? Now that's it's colder out my house fluctuates and thus so does the fish tank. I've been trying to stay on top of this to minimize the swings by turning the heater up/down when we turn the pellet stove on/off. It's a gradual change in temperature but it usually differs by 3 degrees or so. So far there's been no ill effects.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 02:06 AM
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While three degrees is not much and not likely to cause too much heartache, there may be a more important problem.
The heat often does make a tank go high but there seems to be something missing on why that prompts you to change the heater in the tank. Since the heater is assumed to have a thermostat to turn it on when cool and off when the tank reaches a set temperature, it seems like turning the controls on the heater will simply make any swing larger.
Would it not be far better to just leave the temperature on the tank heater steady and then deal with any overheating if you must but that should not mean changing the heater setting???
I might also add that this is definitely a tank where a temperature controller would help as it could be used to both deal with keeping the tank warm as well as turning on some form of cooling like a fan.
Three degrees is not a terrible amount and older heaters often let things swing that far but steady is better.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 06:28 PM
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I agree. The heater should regulate itself. I've had a wood stove and my tanks were fine.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know why but I was always under the assumption the heater setting was based on a timer more so then temperature. I'll guess I'll monitor the situation and see how it goes.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-11-2017, 01:24 AM
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I don't know why but I was always under the assumption the heater setting was based on a timer more so then temperature. I'll guess I'll monitor the situation and see how it goes.
No the heater has a switch when temperature is below set point it turns on. Then the temperature is above it turns off. what is the watt ratting of the heater and how big is you tank? Perhaps you purchased a heater with a watt rating too low for your tank. You can use this Aquarium Heater Calculator

Last edited by Surf; 11-11-2017 at 01:29 AM. Reason: Unwanted bump
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-12-2017, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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200 watt heater. But the tanks only 36 gallon. The heater says it's for a 50 gallon tank. So I left it alone. At night it gets up to about 77 almost 78. During the day it goes down to 76. So it's staying steady compared to when I was playing with the heater settings
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-12-2017, 09:52 PM
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I use a 200 watt in a 38 gallon Cherry tank. It does the job. Set it, forget it, BUT monitor the tank temp with an accurate thermometer. If room temp gets 10-15 degrees or more below your desired tank temp, for an extended period, you may want to add another heater of the same size or go with a single larger heater. I suggest another the same size, that way if one fails in the "off" position, you still have some temperature control. Heaters can be a weak link in the whole aquarium thing. As far as the fluctuations that you get right now, they are minimal and probably no more than what the inhabitants actually experience in nature. My bad, my heater is actually a 250 watt and it rarely turns on due to being set at 75F.

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Last edited by Turningdizzy; 11-12-2017 at 09:55 PM. Reason: heater size correction
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 12:24 AM
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Heaters mostly have a thermostat. Only really small like 25 are ones I find without control. But that is also where there is a lot of differing opinion on how to size best. I like to go with the minimum size that will keep the tank at a set temperature. Don't use the numbers, etc as those are often more reference than the actual temp you get. But the controls are often a weak point and they used to stick on lots of times. Solid state electronics has made that better but I never want to put too much faith in that as I did repair work and have now lost three tanks of fish to heaters.
For working around the stove, it is likely to get a bit on the warm side when the stove is on and the heater can't help there but then when the stove is off the temperature may go too low even if it is set at a number that says 78 it may actually only hold it at 76 so turning it up a tiny bit will keep it from going too low. But then if it goes too high so that you would really like to cool it, a temperature controller can be used to turn a fan on, etc. Wood stoves are nice but they do take some getting to know them. We always kept a fan handy so that when one room got too hot we could opens doors, etc. and blow some of that heat around to other parts of the house.
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