Keep it Cool

By: lindsaybrazon

Jun 03 2011

Category: Uncategorized


An Emerald Crab

I live in Michigan.  The winters are cold and the summers can get hot.  When buying a saltwater tank it was common sense for me that the tan needed a heater in order to keep the temperature controlled.  This only works if the temperature outside the tank is cooler than the tank water.  How is the tank temperature controlled when the outside temperature is hotter than the tank temperature?

This issue never crossed my mind until last summer.  My tank was doing great and the fish seemed happy.  Just when I thought “I might be doing okay” it blew up in my face.  One warm day I looked at my saltwater tank’s temperature and it was 83 degrees  Fahrenheit.  This was a few degrees warmer than normal.  I jumped on the computer and started to research how to keep a tank cool and how warm is too warm.  In temperatures of 83 degrees or higher the fish and Invertebrates  can die.  I learned many saltwater hobbyists keep their tank in a cool place or they have a chiller.  A chiller is a piece of equipment for the tank that helps to keep it cool.  By the time I learned how to keep the tank cool it was too late.  It was painful to sit there and watch the fish suffer when there was nothing I could do to help.   My tank ended up reaching 84 degrees or higher; 84 degrees was the maximum temperature on the thermometer.   I lost an emerald crab.  I was lucky I did not lose any other fish.  Until I figured out how to get the temperature in the room down, I opened the lid on the tank and set up a fan.  I thought ice would be a great idea, but floating ice in the tank can shock and kill the fish.  I was not going to purchase a chiller for the tank they are around $500.  I decided, for me, it is better to have air conditioning in the house or at least in the room the fish are in.

There is air conditioning in the new house.  I do not have to worry about the tank getting to hot in the summer.  My new tank system also has a piece of equipment called Medusa.  It controls the heater and fan in the tank.  When the water gets too hot the Medusa will turn the fan on.  But, when the water gets too cold it will turn the heater on.  This equipment will also set off an alarm if the water gets too hot or cold.  For example, my tank is set at 79 degrees, if the tank gets up to 83 degrees an alarm will go off to let me know something is wrong with the tank.  The Medusa can be a tank saver.

If a person has a saltwater tank, he/she should have a plan on how to keep their tank cool.  I still have to deal with this issue even though I have air conditioning.  I use a wood stove to heat my house in the winter.  I will need to make sure I can keep the house under 80 degrees.  If the house gets above 80 degrees the tank will  get too hot.


4 comments on “Keep it Cool”

  1. I never would have thought that too warm of a tank would be a problem! Too cold, yes, but never too warm. How educational reading your blog has been for me. Another really helpful story shared – sorry you lost your emerald crab – but lucky you didn’t lose your whole tank. I like how you give “advice” right within the story itself, such as not dumping ice in the tank. That seems like a natural response to the situation, but I can also understand how it would be a wrong response.

    Be sure you are proofreading your posts carefully. I recommend reading your writing out loud as a way to catch simple errors and awkward sentence constructions. You can also publish your post, and then read it. Sometimes, reading it again in its ‘published’ version makes us look at it differently and catch errors we may not have in the rough draft stage. You can always go back in and make corrections to the writing, then “Update” the post.

    The writing goes along smoothly until that final paragraph, where it seems to become a bit more choppy between the sentences. This may be as a result of lack of detail or transitions, but it feels like an “add on” and not so much a part of the story/topic you were covering.

  2. This sounds like the tank must be between 79 and less than 80 degrees at all times otherwise the occupants of the tank could die. What I understand here is that the Medusa will turn the fan on if the water gets too hot, and you just raise the temperature in the house if the water gets too cold.

  3. I have to agree with Denise. I never knew a tank could get too hot. I just figured fish had to deal with the heat like the rest of us, but when you think about it, most salt-water fish live deep in the ocean where the water is always freezing so I guess it makes sense. I know you said not to put Ice into the tank becaue it could “shock” the fish. Is that only if you were to pour ice on top of the water or could you say place a few cubes underneath a structure of some kind and sink them to the bottom? Or, if ice is too cold, what about putting something that’ll sink to the bottom in the freezer long enough to get cold, but not frozen and putting that in the tank? If it’s a case of the fish getting shocked because the water changes temp too soon, if you could find a thin hose of some kind, connect it to the nearest sink, drop the excess line into the tank so a loop of the hose lies inside of the tank, and put the end of the hose back in the sink (so you don’t put more water into the tank). You could then turn the water in the hose on at whatever temp you wanted to start with and gradually cool it down. Eventually, the tank will cool to the temp of the hose. I don’t know if it would work or not, but I thought it might be worth trying.

  4. I’m with Denise!! I don’t know why but I thought the tanks were quite a bit colder in general! I love your photo though, so to hear you lost your crab as well! Pretty cool your new house has air so you don’t have to worry about it anymore!

    That’s so weird though! I always had it in my head that tanks were way colder!

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