Aquarium, Part IV – Lowering The Temperature

The warm temperature of our tank really bothered me so I looked up chillers for the tank. A cheap one was $100+! I knew it made no sense to spend that kind of money to cool the aquarium when our goldfishes wouldn’t mind it being a little on the warmer side. Still, I knew they’d be much happier if it was cooler, especially with fall and winter being around the corner.

So off I went on my magical journey through YouTube videos and Google search. Helpful information I stumbled on:

  • Aquarium chillers aren’t energy efficient and are pricey.
  • Aquarium chillers aren’t the easiest to set up and, quite honestly, looks like a pain to set up.
  • An aquarium hood traps heat and moisture in and causes the tank to get warmer.
  • Without an aquarium hood, it promotes better water circulation for the tank and allows heat to escape.
  • Aquarium lights will heat up the hood and can promote algae growth

So my theory that an aquarium hood might help lower the temperature of my tank have been ruled out. I’ve been keeping the aquarium hood light on for 10+ hours so I immediately turned them off. I’m only going to keep it on for a few hours when I come home from work now.

The most helpful information I received was from a YouTube video I found titled, “How to cool an aquarium 10 DEGREES! for under $20 DIY”. When I read the title I was immediately intrigued. $20 is a ton better than $100+! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp6QhXArIEY

Basically, this guy put a USB fan on the side of his tank using a good double sided sticky tape. He has the fan blowing air directly on top of his water. His tank much smaller than ours, but if I can get our tank to lower anywhere close to 10 degrees, it would be PERFECT. Like I had said before, I want our tank to be around 72 degrees.

aquarium_cooling

We didn’t have a USB fan laying around the house, but we had a smaller desk fan. We couldn’t get it to blow air directly onto our water, but we were able to prop it onto a box and have it blow cool air directly across the water. I was hoping this was good enough especially since I turned off the tank lights and removed the aquarium hood. With this new technique, we were able to lower the tank’s temperature by 6 degrees!! Yay!

new_temperature_zoom

At the moment, our tank is experiencing “New Tank Syndrome”. This is where the tank starts getting cloudy white due to bacteria bloom. This is a normal occurrence on all new tanks. I have to admit, when I realized the water was cloudy, I did freak out… a little. The water testing has been good, low levels of ammonia (0.00 – 0.25 ppm) and 0 ppm of Nitrite and Nitrate. Actually, these test results have been baffling me because I was expecting some traces of Nitrite and Nitrate since the ammonia levels has lowered from the previous 0.25-0.50 ppm readings. However, since it lowered nonetheless, I thought this meant the tank is almost done cycling. WRONG.

new_tank_syndrome

I went to Fish Gallery to get advice from the guys over there. These guys have been the most informative of all the people I’ve talked to about setting-up an aquarium. Whether they know what they’re talking about or not, they sound like they do and have always been very thorough with their explanations to me. With so many “theories” floating around the internet and even with the people I’ve talked to, I figured the best thing to do was go with what felt most comfortable. These guys have always offered me solutions that I was comfortable with.

I was told that the cloudiness is normal and good. Bacteria needs to be present in my tank for beneficial bacteria to grow. I was told that I needed to continue to introduce ammonia to my tank to feed the bacteria until the nitrogen cycle completes. The ammonia could be introduced in a variety of ways. I can add hearty fish to the tank since their waste produces ammonia. I could add small amounts of bottled ammonia to the tank. Or, I could add small amount of fish food to the tank and that will eventually break down into ammonia. With the hood off the tank, the water has been evaporating pretty fast so he told me I could also top off the tank with tap water since tap water contains a small amount of ammonia in it. I was concerned with the chlorine in the water but he assured me small traces of chlorine won’t kill the beneficial bacteria and will eventually dissipates after a few days.

I didn’t want to add fish to the tank because I didn’t want to risk killing them. It really freaks me out when I see dead fish! I ALWAYS dread walking by the Beta Fish aisles of large chain pet retailers NEVER take proper care of them. I see them in little cups with lids and it breaks my heart to see how sad they look. Most of the time, at LEAST 25% of them are dead. *shivers* WHY DO THEY DO THIS?!?!?!?!

Ok, I’m getting off topic. So ya, no hearty fishes for me. Introducing ammonia in a concentrated form seems a little “complicated” to me because of all the chemistry involved and also an added expense that I didn’t think was completely necessary. I decided to add a few sinking pellets in to the tank (4 small pellets) and topped the tank off with tap water. I have at LEAST another week or two before adding fish so I figured the tap water will be fine. Crossing my fingers that we can get our new goldfishes this weekend!

Have a great night guys!

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