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> Do I really have to use a heater for a planted tank?
Heaters are more about reaching and maintaining ideal temperatures for the
fish than for the plants.
> I know most of you don't.
I think that's more of an assumption. But if you think we aren't using them,
why would you expect to tell you that you need to.
> I have a 55 and a 37 gal. Both with 150 watt heaters. I live in San
> Antonio, and it gets hot here. Highest temp in my house is 77, lowest is
> 73(at night).
Sounds like a good temperature range for a lot of fish, and also most plants.
Just pick them well.
> Right now (noon central) the temp in my 37 is 78 with no heater
> and room temp it's about 74. How could my tank be that hot when the room
> colder? The heater is unplugged. I have 4 20 watt lights over it.
The heat from the lamps and ballasts may be enough to do that.
> Could the
> fish adjust to that temp everyday? The temp would probably raise and lower
> about 3 degrees.
If they are fish normally comfortable in that range, yes. Discus-no.
Angels, probably not.