Temperature Control for a Reef Aquarium

Discussion in 'Fish and Invertebrates' started by dmhinsf, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. dmhinsf

    dmhinsf Guest

    Hi Reefers,

    I came home from work today to my San Francisco 5th floor apt that does NOT have a/c but does have some great windows and breezes. My 75g tank that is in start-up was 81.7 degrees - up from the 79.6 degree measurement from this morning before I left. Today was definitely on the warm side for SF (72°) - but days like this DO happen. I need advice on managing the temp control in my tank. Granted, I have yet to put fish in there (and thankfully my snails and crabs are not some sort of Cajun dish). But I want to be prepared for when I do have fish.

    So...I have an Eheim heater in there that is, according to the packaging, good to 79gal. I think I need to go up in size cause I did not factor in the sump/fuge to the volume - total volume is at least 90gal (75 for the tank and probably at least 15 if not 25 for the sump/fuge). Even in the absence of a warm day, the temp fluctuations have been 1-2 degrees during the course of the day. Is this too extreme???

    Back to the warm day and higher temp situation...since this is a random occurrence in SF, do I just plan to buy a portable a/c unit for the room? Or do I go buy a chiller? Or do I float a bag of ice cubes when I leave for work???

    Any advice/information on temperature control in a 75g start-up reef aquarium is appreciated.


  2. houser

    houser Past President

    As a point of reference my tank moves probably 3 degrees a day on average, sometimes 5 on days like you're referring to. Our climates are probably similar despite being across the bay from each other.

    If you have the room a fan will help lots with overtemperature. Of course you need some space to put it and point it at the air/water inteface. Evaporation will lower the water temperature a bit. Sometimes a lot. Probably your first choice if you have the space.

    A controller could shut your lights off for example, or turn the fan on, or both.

    Perhaps start there.
  3. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    I have an APEX controller. When the temperature hits the first "too hot limit", it turns on a fan that blows over the water. If the temp gets above the second "too hot limit", it shuts off the lights. I've never had the second limit hit. Air blown over the water surface is highly effective with evaporative cooling :-D
  4. dmhinsf

    dmhinsf Guest

    Thanks, Guys!

    I have the fans working - check! I'll look in to the controller option.

    I knew our whacky weather would be a consideration when I started all this.

    Checking APEX controller now...

    I have two blue SOL Aqua Illuminations modules hanging about 10-12 inches above the tank I may be able to modify the programming so that, at mid-day when temps are at the hightest, the lights are lower.

    I may buy a portable a/c unit just for those days when we get in to the 90s or 100s - those days make me crazy anyway - independent of my aquarium.

    Thanks for the input! Much appreciated.

  5. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    One thing that helps a lot. My lights turn on around 5-6pm and are off during the heat of the day.
  6. dmhinsf

    dmhinsf Guest

    But what about corals - especially those that require higher lighting?

    I don't have any yet. But I hope to one day. Don't they need a significant level and duration of light? Quite the balancing act.
  7. FunGuy

    FunGuy Guest

    I'd go for a chiller unit. Wait till it hits the 80s with no breeze... or rare 90s... We haven't really had a hot summer yet. Losing corals and/or fish is painful so I think it's worth it.
  8. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    Sure. They get plenty of light but on my terms :p Light turns on at 5-6 and off at midnight.
  9. tapmorf

    tapmorf Guest

    I have used the dual stage Current Prime chillers that are capable of cooling and heating. Also, have used a controller to turn on fans when the tank is a certain temp and turn off lights.
  10. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Fans to cool are good as long as you have an auto top off unit to make up for all the extra evaporation. A 1/10 hp chiller would be the way to go if you really want to make sure you're covered (and have the $!)

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