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[APD] Re: acceptable temperature range

Anyway, enough background info, and on to my real question. I live in
South Florida now, in an air conditioned house. The a/c is set to keep
the house at 79 degrees or below, but the tank has stabilized at between
82 at night and 84 or even 85 during the day. That is according to my
temp. controller; the Tetra stick-on thermometer even indicates 1-2
degrees higher. I am planning on having discus in this tank, when I have
enough shade cover built up for them, but I also have some dwarf
cichlids, 75 neons, and assorted housekeepers. Will this temperature
work long-term? I tried to select plants that were suitable at higher
temps., but the reality is that I'm several degrees over what I thought
I would be. Between the lamp ballasts and the Iwaki pump, the inside of
my enclosed base is quite warm.

Assuming that your A/C unit on your house is able to maintain 79 or below all day, then the extra 2-3 degree rise on your tank during the day is likely due to lighting. You *might* be able to alleviate this somewhat with some fans in your stand and also your lighting fixture(s). In the base I would try two or three largeish diameter (5-6" or so) muffin fans. You can usually use furnace duct type grilles to make nice-looking vents on the stand for airflow -- but be sure the fans are all on one end of the stand so that air comes IN one end and blows OUT the other end thus passing all your components and evenly cooling the stand. This will be most efficient if the fans are pulling air out of the end of the stand that has the hottest components (pump and ballasts probably) so that the coolest air cools the coolest components first and the hottest last. If you use large-diameter and slow-speed fans you can keep the noise down.

Do I need to bite the bullet and get a chiller? From the size of the
tank, I think I'm looking at $800+. Worse, I don't think I can put the
chiller in a completely enclosed base, and my wife won't like it humming
there next to the tank.

Not yet. A chiller should be a last resort as they are both expensive to buy and expensive to run. If you can handle the humidity, you may be able to make use of evaporative cooling by setting a fan to blow over the surface of your tank water and/or the water in your tank's sump. This can be a very effective and cheap way to cool a tank down.

The fish and the plants all seem happy, but the tank has only been up
for six weeks or so. I guess I would feel more comfortable at 80-82
degrees. Am I heading for trouble, or am I worrying too much?

You're probably OK with the fish you have. I wouldn't trust the stick-on thermometer too much though. I usually use a mercury lab-type thermometer to check all my cheap aquarium thermometers when I'm trying to resolve down to a degree or two.


***************************** Waveform Technology UNIX Systems Administrator

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