Temperatures

The temperature at which you decide to run your tank is a decision you will face. There are many options, and perhaps most important, like salinity, no one answer is the only correct one. You can choose within a many-degree range, as with salinity, and your tank will run fine. Whether or not it runs GREAT will be dependent on things besides temperature and salinity. Probably no one combo of those is the exactly ONLY right one. Everything has been kept at every combo with success.

We recommend cooler temperatures (degrees Fahrenheit-dF) for curing your live rock. Those are (the lower 70's) for curing live rock and not to be taken as advice on running your tank. Your live rock WILL cure faster in cooler temps, and with lower salinity. However, there are also some tanks that will do better at the low 70's dF, rather than higher.

It depends on what you are keeping. IF in fact you are keeping a Tonga tank, that is, a tank with fish and corals from Tonga, it will do much better in the low 70's than the low 80's. The water in Tonga is in the low 70's, due to the 30,000' deep Tonga Trench and its coldwater upwellings. It has some of the coolest reefs in the world. These animals can be adapted to higher temperatures (which starts at the holding facilities there) and do fine, though real long-term studies on effects are few.

If you intend on having a tank with a mix-mosh of stuff from all over, then you should average your temperature. MOST of the Indo-Pacific is much warmer than Tonga, running in the 80 to low 80's degrees Fahrenheit range. I have seen public posts on message boards that state "84 or 85" is the one and only temp to run a reef at. There is no one way.

Our suppliers tell us that the location where the corals are collected from in Tonga has a water temperature of about 72°, and Fiji, Vanuatu, much of Indonesia, is 82°. Some lagoons in these areas run 84°. Outer-reef upwelling areas, often run a little cooler. So, a box of assorted corals from one given site, probably has some of each, therefore habituated to different temperatures, slightly, just like water flows, etc. The important thing is they are adaptable and will do fine a couple or few degrees any side of just about any point you pick on the scale of normal ocean temps, though you can't change flow preferences.

Of course, sea surface temps are widely available on the Internet, but keep in mind your Flame Angel and encrusting Montipora didn't come from the surface. Like ground temps, they vary several degrees in very close areas. Surely you have hot and cold spots around where you live ... well the same thing happens in water ... ever dive down 8' in the river or lake and hit that cold spot? Does the local weather data always exactly match what is at your house?   smile     Where is the sensor?   smile

What you must know when choosing your temperature, is that there is DRASTICALLY LESS available oxygen in 85° water than in 75° water. And that very few corals can stand it much a couple, or a few, or many degrees above 85°. In fact, many start to melt real fast past that. At 85° you have very little to no margin of error in my view. A couple or a few dF, and I gotta start worrying a lot.

Keep in mind that all them cool gadgets we use add heat; pumps, and the all-time worst offender usually, is lights. Especially metal halides. Hang 'em high, if you can. It is harder fighting heat in summer than cold in winter.

I choose to run my tanks at the cool end of the scale. Lots of OX, and lots of margin for error (think power failure). At lower temperatures with higher consequent OX levels, you have easier respiration for the animals, and I think a better more efficient (good) bacteria farm. I prefer 75-80° over 80-85°. Then, during the worst of heat waves, if it goes up, it goes to 85°, not to 90° when corals can start melting. I got latitude. Unless you have a Red Sea tank ... remember it is not just saltier than all the rest of the seas, it is also warmer. Maybe that's why those Sohol Tangs are so pretty, and mean.

Like salinity, pick a temperature and stick to it. Too much fluctuation is generally believed worse for and harder on the animals than any given value selected. They live in fairly stable environments. That chaos on the reef is not random.

If you like 82°, try 80°, or if you like 80°, try 78° ... you'll like it, and so will your animals and bacteria. I have kept virtually everything available at 72-85° without a single loss I could attribute to temperature. Of course I have had losses attributable to temp, outside of that range however.

Consider that during shipping, heat is far more the danger than cold. Essentially all items ten degrees colder than the low end of normal (65°) make it. Very few things 10 degrees above the high end of normal (95°) make it (unless they are out of water). Due to those ox content and respiration thingies I mentioned. In fact, I have seen many things survive in less than 60° in winter shipping with fewer problems than if that water gets to 95° in summer.

For the most part, due to expense of chillers and ease of air conditioning, it is easier to cool a room than a tank (though the reverse is not true). Start working on a back-up plan for emergencies (how to buy that generator & chiller.)   smile   When you get that generator, remember: food is far more replaceable than fish and corals.

Keep it cool,
birdfish
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