Change heater temp to mimic summer/winter? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 04:30 AM Thread Starter
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Change heater temp to mimic summer/winter?

I was wondering if anyone does change their heater temp down during winter months and up in summer months on a tropical planted tank to mimic the seasons.


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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 04:40 AM
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I don't. But the fish know. They always know. In the summertime the breeding slows. When fall comes around it picks up again.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 04:47 AM Thread Starter
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How will they know that? I keep my temp and light constant everyday of the year.


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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 04:52 AM
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plantetra,

a "tropical planted tank" really knows no season! In summer my house gets often hotter than I like it to and the water temperature goes up beyond the 76 degr F that the heaters are set to. I only get concerned when the water temperature gets to 84 degr F.

In summer it is also a lot more humid than in winter. You can see that with the plants growing above the water surface. Under humid conditions they keep growing. In winter, when it is drier and colder above the water surface, they shrivel up, turn brown, and stop growing.

My biggest problem in winter is that I have to fill up water twice as often. So if you want to cut down on the evaporation rate, then I suggest that you lower your temperature! I wonder though if is really worth it?
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 05:05 AM Thread Starter
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I wasn worried about the evaporation. I recently installed an auto top off set up(DIY). I was wondering if I should let the fish and the plants know that it is winter and summer for breeding, flowering and other stuffs.


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 05:18 AM
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plantetra,

what temperature range are you thinking of? 1 or 2 degr up or down hardly ever make a difference.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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I have it at 76 now. Was thinking of reducing 1 degree every 2 weeks until December. So like 70 in winter. and 78 in Summer.


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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by plantetra View Post
I have it at 76 now. Was thinking of reducing 1 degree every 2 weeks until December. So like 70 in winter. and 78 in Summer.
Interesting! Well, now I wonder if you will see a difference? Please let me know.

I can tell you though that during the summer I kept a 12 gallon tank with guppies and plants outside in the garden without a heater.

Some afternoons, the water temperature got to 84, and in one of the colder nights the water temperature dropped to 65. As much attention as I paid to details, I could not find any ill effects. On the contrary, it seemed that the plants grew much better and the fish grew too!
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 06:50 AM
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It probably depends on the fish. Research your fish species, and the water they originated in.

Most tropical bodies of water will overall stay warmer than temperate water, but there still may be a change in temperature with the seasons.
Not always related to what we think of as summer or winter in temperate zones, though.

In the topics there is a 'rainy season' and a 'dry season', not really summer or winter.
During the rainy season the water may be cooler, and softer (fewer minerals, lower GH, KH, TDS) if the rain is diluting the water.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
It probably depends on the fish. Research your fish species, and the water they originated in.

Most tropical bodies of water will overall stay warmer than temperate water, but there still may be a change in temperature with the seasons.
Not always related to what we think of as summer or winter in temperate zones, though.

In the topics there is a 'rainy season' and a 'dry season', not really summer or winter.
During the rainy season the water may be cooler, and softer (fewer minerals, lower GH, KH, TDS) if the rain is diluting the water.
^^^This is how I think of seasons regarding tropicals.^^^

With my natives I mimic what's going on outside. I only do this for spawning purposes with my Elasoma sp. and Fundulus sp. topminnows since there is a drastic difference in water temp from season to season and,they are wild specimens.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 10:31 AM
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Heat alone may not be difference between summer and winter - its one of the physical changes but then there is another definite physical change the photo-period. The lengthening and shortening of this photo-period often stimulates the production of hormones in the pituitary gland and we know that pituitary hormones in adult fishes control their breeding.

The changing of the seasons may bring about certain other changes which we might fail to consider or ignore as unconnected. For example there may be a glut of food in certain seasons - and scarcity in another connected with the breeding season of insects whose life-circle have a watery larval stage. How far these food fluctuation affect the habits of different fishes who knows.

Rain, snow, thaw, all can be features of seasons in different regions.

So trying to play god with mere changes of temperature - .......................

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 10:50 AM
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I guess that since I use fluorescent light it may contribute to the tank temp.
But I just set my heater to 75F. The heater only comes on when the temp inside the
house goes much below that. So my tank is 75F in colder months but 76-78 usually
during the rest of the year. I work nights so my AC is on mostly just in the daylight hrs.
But I think that the amount of hrs in a day lets the fish know what part of the year it is
in an aquarium inside your home. My tank light comes on after sun up so the fish and
plants are already doing their thing before the tank light comes on.
Some plants do some don't, but those with leaves that fold up at night are already open when the tank light comes on.

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 12:04 PM
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@essabee Great info yet again! If you have any good articles to read or documentaries about fish behavior during natural seasonal changes I am interested in reading them!

I used to try and mimic seasonal lighting/photo period (Non-planted tanks, matching the sun position, I would turn lights on a little bit after sun rise had given some ambient light in the room/tank and I would turn lights off a little earlier than sun down so ambient light is still present and can fade out naturally).
And my tanks were unheated so natural-ish temp changes based on season even though the house had heat (no AC), the house would still get colder during winter and warmer during summer. Some species of fish that naturally spawn seasonally would go about that natural instinct. Other than that, didn't really notice much difference in terms of behavior changes. But lighting (I don't have a planted + 24/7 light so no dimming intensity or moonlight) and temp were the only variables I kept truer to nature, I didn't adjust any other possible variable like season flooding or droughts/lower water levels or incoming colder water sources, etc. which have been proven to trigger different behavior such as spawning in certain species of fish.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 05:02 PM
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I'm just guessing here, but obviously check on where your fish come from. My family is from Venezuela, I remember no temp difference between seasons, there was just a dry and a rainy season. My grandparents house in Caracas had one entire wall facing the garden that was an open air metal grate. The entire house was completely open air on one side, the temp was always the same. It was always mid 60s at night and low to mid 70 s during the day, all year round.

I would imagine in the rainy season the waters cool off a bit from all of the rain, but I doubt the water temp changes much day to night or season to season.

It would be interesting to find some measurements of water temps at different times and places though.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 10:15 PM
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There isn't a lot of seasonal temp variation at the equator. So a tropical tank really doesn't need to have seasons. There are, of course, areas where ocean currents can cause different climates (monsoon seasons, etc.) in tropical areas. So if you are trying to replicate a specific area's climate you need to research its temp variations.
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