Thoughts on Lowering Tank Temps at Night - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on Lowering Tank Temps at Night

I haven't really found much online surprisingly, but there seems to be a few experienced fish keepers that maintain two temperature ranges in their tank. A higher temp for daytime and lower temp a night to mimic their natural environment. I realize that the majority of all our fish are tank breed, so maybe this is just over complicating things, but is there any benefit for the fish or even the plants? One small benefit I see is a slightly lower electric bill, but that's not worth stressing my fish unnecessarily of course. I know breeders fluctuate their temps to get their fish to spawn, so obviously temperature fluctuations do have some benefits to the fish as well. I kind of doubt any of this has much effect on plants, but perhaps I'm wrong. Please educate me!

My Inkbird controller should be here Friday and I have the capability to set two cycles of temps during a 24 hr period.

Last edited by silasvirus82; 11-07-2019 at 01:53 PM. Reason: ing
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 01:53 PM
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Temperature is dependent upon what you're keeping. So... what are you keeping? Some critters don't require heating or cooling at all.
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Last edited by somewhatshocked; 11-07-2019 at 05:09 PM. Reason: typo
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
Temperature is depending upon what you're keeping. So... what are you keeping? Some critters don't require heating or cooling at all.
My post is more general discussion than specific to my tank, but to answer your question I'm keeping a community angelfish tank with rams being the most temperature sensitive. I know the temperature requirements of my stock, but my question is whether there are any benefits to mimicking a natural temperature cycle.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 02:54 PM
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I haven't heard of their being any benefit to day/night temperature fluctuations. Generally we keep temps at the higher end of fish's comfort zone (summer time levels) to encourage breeding. Certainly a fish can withstand temp fluctuations but I haven't heard anyone claim evidence that doing it nightly is of any benefit.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silasvirus82 View Post
My post is more general discussion than specific to my tank, but to answer your question I'm keeping a community angelfish tank with rams being the most temperature sensitive. I know the temperature requirements of my stock, but my question is whether there are any benefits to mimicking a natural temperature cycle.
My guess is that, in the wild, the temperatures in the South American rivers where angels and rams live don't fluctuate much from day to night. So I'd drop the temperature at night only very slightly, if I was to try this.


Maybe do some research on how much the water temperatures fluctuate?
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MChambers View Post
My guess is that, in the wild, the temperatures in the South American rivers where angels and rams live don't fluctuate much from day to night. So I'd drop the temperature at night only very slightly, if I was to try this.


Maybe do some research on how much the water temperatures fluctuate?
According to this USGS report the Amazon river only fluctuates by 2 degrees F year-around(84-86 F). That's very surprising. However, the majority of these fish are coming form tributary's which I'm sure fluctuate more than that. For my stock I'm probably better off just maintaining a steady temp though, or no more than a few degrees day/night.

https://pubs.usgs.gov/unnumbered/70046378/report.pdf
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 03:42 PM
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Just keep it steady, why change a good thing?


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 03:46 PM
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It has been theorized that performing water changes with slightly cooler water promotes breeding... The thought being that it simulates cooler spring rains. I've often wondered if it wasn't just the influx of 'fresh' (or fresher) water.

Although night temperatures in the tropics may be slightly less, I'm not so sure that water temperatures fluctuate that much. Probably not as much as a when there's a heavy rain.

I don't see much, if any, advantage in lowering temperatures at night and I have not heard of any experts claiming it.
Maybe a better idea is shooting for and maintaining the lowest practical temperature for the species you have.

I have always had good luck with consistent 76-78F.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
I haven't heard of their being any benefit to day/night temperature fluctuations. Generally we keep temps at the higher end of fish's comfort zone (summer time levels) to encourage breeding. Certainly a fish can withstand temp fluctuations but I haven't heard anyone claim evidence that doing it nightly is of any benefit.
There seems to be some disagreement on the topic which is why I reached out to hear any actual experience. The primary benefit mentioned in this article is related to immune system health. I'd love to see some actual research on the topic, but have not found any thus far.

https://www.thesprucepets.com/aquari...rature-1381896

I think species of fish is a big consideration here, and South American species from the Amazon are probably not good candidates. Other fish species from regions with bigger temperature fluctuations might be a different story though.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 04:15 PM
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I agree that the most important factor is the species being kept. Fauna found in large bodies of water are less accustomed to temperature fluctuations than those found in smaller bodies of water. For example, I keep white clouds in unheated tanks. In the warm months their breeding slows way down/ceases, but I often witness them breeding like crazy after water changes with slightly cooler water. This has not been my experience with more tropical species.

If you can determine that the fish you keep come from waters that drop in temperature at night, I see no reason why duplicating that could be detrimental in any way. Just bear in mind that the Amazon, African rift lakes and such are unlikely to have much in the way of nightly fluctuation.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silasvirus82 View Post
There seems to be some disagreement on the topic which is why I reached out to hear any actual experience. The primary benefit mentioned in this article is related to immune system health. I'd love to see some actual research on the topic, but have not found any thus far.

https://www.thesprucepets.com/aquari...rature-1381896

I think species of fish is a big consideration here, and South American species from the Amazon are probably not good candidates. Other fish species from regions with bigger temperature fluctuations might be a different story though.
Heh I wouldn't think too hard on it. The article cites "experts" and nothing else. Meaning they have no actual source for this other then 'that guy sitting next to me when I write the article.'

Seriously unless someone can point out any kind of actual research into this I would gleefully ignore something this generic. I think wild fish tend to be more robust because their diet is better and their breeding is far more diverse then tank raised fish.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 04:38 PM
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If anything, I would maintain the "minimum" temperature of the fish's range the whole day and night and then slightly increase to the "maximum" it during the middle of the day combined with the strongest lighting. So say I have rainbows, I'd keep it at 78F at night but increase to 82F when the light is the brightest. This is more realistic but I still don't know if it would actually do anything for most fish, since they are able to freely move between shaded and open water and to warmer or colder waters, usually.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 04:48 PM
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I don't know if this helps, but I kept Nanacara anomala and Corydorus elegans in a 110 gal stock tank outside during the summer, bringing them in only recently. The temps for the tank were in the mid 90's for highs and down to upper 50's for lows. Once the temps started getting down I put a 300 watt heater in the tank. The fish showed no signs of ill effects and in fact the anomalas bred. Also, their colors were, and are now that they are inside in a "proper" tank, the best I have ever seen. Take from this what you want.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 05:13 PM
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There's really no disagreement that I've seen in the past 30 years. Most people are going to tell you that stability is usually more important than getting down into the weeds on myriad issues. (This doesn't necessarily apply to critters like shrimp.)

If you have a temperature controller, set your range for the specific species you're keeping and just sit back and appreciate the added stability.


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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 06:42 PM
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There are some more specialized species of fish that require seasonal temperature fluctuations in order to remain healthy in the aquarium ( as they do in the wild). One species that comes to mind is Gymnogeophagus. This species must have the temperature lowered for 2-3 months out of the year to replicate the environment in their natural range—primarily Uruguay, where in winter the temperature can drop to just a few degrees above zero. If the temperature is not lowered as required these fish succumb to typical cichlid illnesses- like Hexamita and HLLE.

So, yes, there are examples of fish that live among these sub-tropical areas that are kept by aquarists who can match their needs.

Here is a short write-up on this species:
https://www.biotopeone.com/gymnogeop...ated-aquarium/
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