Maintaining Your Aquariums During the Summer

Posted By: Matt Allen

hot summer temperatures

Summer Fun – Well the weather in most of the northern hemisphere is starting to show signs of summer!  And I’m sure for many of you it means heading outdoors and reconnecting with hobbies outside of the house.  While this is good news for all of us it can be the opposite for our finned friends.  Hopefully for them they are still remembered and taken care of.  Here are a few tips that can insure your fish don’t suffer when things get hot.

Tip #1 – Keep it cool.  Warmer, outside temperatures can mean warmer ambient air temperatures inside.  This can be a good thing for a lot of tropical fish but can be devastating for others.  I know that many of my fish thrive in the summer months because my tanks increase a few degrees on average.  This slight increase in water temp can cause spawning, increase color and more activity.  A few degrees increase in aquarium water temperature is typically not a big issue.  Large increases can be trouble.   A big negative to increase water temperature is lower dissolved oxygen levels.  The oxygen carrying capacity of water decreases as it increases in temperature.  Increased water temperature will usually increase a fish’s metabolism.  This makes them more active, and they use up more oxygen.  In crowed aquarium oxygen levels can plummet leading to fish loss.  It’s important to increase surface agitation in your aquarium, which in turn with help gas exchange, increasing the dissolved oxygen in your aquarium.  This can be done by increasing water flow through your filter, adding an air pump and air stone or by locating a power head or circulation pump at the water surface.  Another great solution is to blow air across the surface of the aquarium.  This will help to decrease the water temperature and also aid in gas exchange.

Tip #2 – Know your temp!  You need to have a thermometer on your aquarium.  Some of the newer electronic thermometers actually have temperature alarms that will warn you of a low or high temperature in your aquarium.  Knowing your aquarium is reaching a critical temperature allows you to solve the problem prior to it affecting your fish.

Tip #3 – Chow Time! In the summer months I would rather be outside enjoying the sun and nature vs. sitting inside!  This of course keeps us away from our aquariums.  If you’re not around your fish still need to eat!  I add automatic feeders to all of my tanks during summer months.  Most automatic feeders on the market allow you to feed 1 to 4 times a day.  I like to feed my fish small amounts of food multiple times a day.  When I’m home, not traveling, I will feed in the morning and evening and then have my auto feeders to feed once during midday.  When I’m on the road I will set the feeder to feed small amounts three times a day.  I refill my feeders every weekend.  Automatic fish feeders are an effective way to insure your fish get feed regardless of your schedule.  It’s just one less thing you need to worry about.

Tip #4 – It’s Electric!  The summer months can be a great time to save $$ on electricity.  Two ways I save money is by dialing back my heater a few degrees and also running my lights less.  I take advantage of the longer daylight during the summer.  In my house the ambient light affects my aquariums.  While ambient light is not direct light, it does bring my tank to life a lot earlier in the morning.   I have all of my lights on timers and typically give my aquariums 10 hours of light a day.  In the summer months I will cut that back to 7-8 hours and sometimes more, depending on how much extra ambient light my aquarium is getting.  Less light also will help with excess algae and less algae means less maintenance, which in turn means more time for me outside!

These are just a few tips to help you enjoy your aquarium and your summer at the same time!