Need help controlling water temp so I can add fish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Need help controlling water temp so I can add fish

My 20g aquarium is in a room that's not air conditioned, and the water temps are swinging from 78 in the mornings to 84 in the afternoons. Unfortunately, I don't have an easy way to cool the room other than a fan in the window at night. This is an old house and it's not wired for a window AC unit, so that's out of the question. I'm hoping you guys may have a recommendation that won't break the bank.

I haven't put any fish in the aquarium yet, but I'd like to find something to control the algae that's starting to grow, and something that'll liven up the aquarium. It's fully cycled and has been planted for about six weeks. Everything other than the temps are looking good.

Are there any fish that can handle temp changes like this?
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 04:37 PM
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Not even a small window unit? Some of them use relatively little draw.

Have you tried using evaporative cooling with your tank? Just pointing a fan at the surface of the water could lower the temperature. I use repurposed computer fans to cool some of my shrimp tanks in the dead of summer. Do you have a small desk fan or an old computer fan you could try?

Algae, as you'll discover, is a result of an imbalance of lighting & nutrients. Should be easy for you to get under control if you check a few threads out here on the forum.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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I'd love to put a small window unit in, but there are only two outlets in the room. One runs a computer, the other the aquarium. I chose this room for the aquarium because it's the only room in the house that doesn't have large windows and I can control the light. Of course, it was nice and cool in March when I set it up and I didn't think about how hot the room would get. I don't mind the heat, but I know the fish will.

The algae isn't bad and I am working on controlling it. I've reduced the light and the amount of time it's on (put it on a timer), so it's just a matter of figuring all of that out. I'd still like to add some sort of fish, as it's rather boring just watching the plants grow.

I'll put a small fan on it and see how well that works.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Wigglespank View Post
My 20g aquarium is in a room that's not air conditioned, and the water temps are swinging from 78 in the mornings to 84 in the afternoons. Unfortunately, I don't have an easy way to cool the room other than a fan in the window at night. This is an old house and it's not wired for a window AC unit, so that's out of the question. I'm hoping you guys may have a recommendation that won't break the bank.

I haven't put any fish in the aquarium yet, but I'd like to find something to control the algae that's starting to grow, and something that'll liven up the aquarium. It's fully cycled and has been planted for about six weeks. Everything other than the temps are looking good.

Are there any fish that can handle temp changes like this?
Water temps or room temps?
and how did you cycle without fish? did you add liquid ammonia?

Water takes awhile to heat up... so that means your room is over 100 degrees? Most Livebearer species are accustomed to that. However if it is water temp... that is a different story. Sound then like your tank is in the sun... that would also account for the algae. Aquarium = no sunlight.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by livebearerlove View Post
Water temps or room temps?
and how did you cycle without fish? did you add liquid ammonia?

Water takes awhile to heat up... so that means your room is over 100 degrees? Most Livebearer species are accustomed to that. However if it is water temp... that is a different story. Sound then like your tank is in the sun... that would also account for the algae. Aquarium = no sunlight.
I did use ammonia to cycle the tank (Dr. Tims products).

This particular room was built in the 1930's & has no insulation in the walls, and daytime temps are high 90's during the summer here in NM. The room gets direct sun, and the inside temps are usually close to outside temps. The aquarium heater is set at 78, so the water temp doesn't fall below that. The windows are covered with blackout curtains, so there is no direct sunlight on the tank.

I have two thermometers in the tank, the cheap glass floating kind, but they're attached to the glass with suction cups. I have them attached to each end and both register the same readings. It just occurred to me that perhaps being right next to the glass, they're not giving an accurate reading.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:06 PM
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What fish are you interested in?
I would test it WITHOUT the heater all together... 78 is high for many fish to start. The higher the temp- the faster they grow- but they dont live as long. Ideal temp for livebearers is 72-80. You may find that your top temp is 78 and your low is 72 which means livebearers are perfect for you.... many varieties.
Poeciliidae family: and mollies, guppies, endlers, platies and swordtails.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:22 PM
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A pea puffer or three wouldn't mind that tank I keep mine in a tank that's set at 79, but the river they come from gets into the mid 80's water temp.

Other than adding fish that will tolerate those temps, your options are either get a chiller(or DIY one), or add a window AC unit like somewhatshocked mentioned. That would be my recommendation, it'll be a lot cheaper than an aquarium chiller!
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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I initially had the heater at 70, but it was recommended that I increase the temp because it was taking a long time to cycle. I'll unplug it and watch the temps for a few days.

As for the fish, I'd planned on adding White Cloud Mountain minnows, but that was when the temps were staying in the low 70's. My current temps are outside their range. I think a school of any small fish would be fine. Of those you mentioned, Swordtails sound like a nice fish to start with.

Otocinclus Catfish seemed like a good choice for algae cleanup, but not sure how they'd do if my temps stay this high.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 12:13 AM
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Otocinclus vestitus, the variety most commonly found in the LFS, actually prefers warmer temperatures:

https://www.planetcatfish.com/common...species_id=272

What are your water parameters: PH, Kh/Gh and TDS if have it?

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 01:49 AM
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I am actually running into similar problem. Here in WA state noone put ACs in there house and the house I live in has various windows not conducive to window units. Today it got about 85F outside temp so the tanks got to 80F. Will say everyone was more active but not showing signs of stress. The shrimps were happier along with the betta. I usually keep my tanks at about 76F to be in a middle road for everyone.

Have you thought about putting some kind of blind outside that room. A fence, terrace, tall bushes, temporary shield of some kind. It would make a big difference not getting direct sunlight on that wall.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
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I am actually running into similar problem. Here in WA state noone put ACs in there house and the house I live in has various windows not conducive to window units. Today it got about 85F outside temp so the tanks got to 80F. Will say everyone was more active but not showing signs of stress. The shrimps were happier along with the betta. I usually keep my tanks at about 76F to be in a middle road for everyone.

Have you thought about putting some kind of blind outside that room. A fence, terrace, tall bushes, temporary shield of some kind. It would make a big difference not getting direct sunlight on that wall.
Do you have that really soft, acidic water that is common to Portland area- where Wetspot is?

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 02:19 AM
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Do you have that really soft, acidic water that is common to Portland area- where Wetspot is?

Yeah kind of. Out of the well its 4KH, 1GH, 6.5PH. After degas its 4KH, 1GH, 8-8.2PH.



I use equilibrium to bring it to 4KH, 4-5GH, 8-8.2PH


Everything seems to be happier when I raise the GH some, or so it seems anyways.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 07:11 AM
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Cardinal tetra, maybe Ember Tetra and Microdevario kubotai.
Other fish commonly kept with Discus.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Wigglespank View Post
I'd love to put a small window unit in, but there are only two outlets in the room. One runs a computer, the other the aquarium. I chose this room for the aquarium because it's the only room in the house that doesn't have large windows and I can control the light. Of course, it was nice and cool in March when I set it up and I didn't think about how hot the room would get. I don't mind the heat, but I know the fish will.

The algae isn't bad and I am working on controlling it. I've reduced the light and the amount of time it's on (put it on a timer), so it's just a matter of figuring all of that out. I'd still like to add some sort of fish, as it's rather boring just watching the plants grow.

I'll put a small fan on it and see how well that works.
If you're in the desert, somewhatshocked's suggestion of a fan directed at the water surface should work well. For maximum evaporative cooling, make sure your filtration provides some water surface movement and you don't have any surface film. Test it out and make sure you don't drop it too much--with single digit humidity and a low dew point you could easily drop it lower than you'd want. Also be aware of the increased evaporation, and that just topping it off will increase mineral buildup. So you'll want to do sizable regular water changes.

A window AC unit would draw too much power if you'd got old wiring, but what about a window swamp cooler? Those don't draw more power than an ordinary fan, and can drop the temperature 30-40 degrees if it's an efficient unit. Unlike the fan blowing on the tank, you can just set the thermostat--and both you and your fishes will be nice & cool...
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 05:22 PM
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My 2 cents.

A simple solution is there are evaporative cooling fans on ebay, just search "fan aquarium cooler".

Another thought is you could adhere a peltier cooler with a finned heatsink and fan to the glass and run that to cool the water.
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