How to Control the Temperature of a Fish Tank


To survive and live comfortably in a home aquarium, fish need their water to not only be cleaned on a regular basis, but also kept at the appropriate temperature to suit their living habits. Freshwater pond fish do not require a high temperature, while tropical fish prefer their water warmer. Saltwater fish require their environment to be even hotter.

Furthermore, a sharp rise or fall in temperatures can shock fish and cause them stress or disease, which may kill them. Therefore, it is important to ensure the correct temperature in your fish tank remains consistent.

Here are some ways to control the temperature in your aquarium.

Things You'll Need

  • An aquarium heater
  • A mini fan, preferably one with a clip-on attachment (optional)
  • An aquarium chiller (optional)

Be aware of the changing room temperature!

Ask a high-ranking worker at your local pet store what the correct temperature should be for your fish. In most cases, freshwater pond fish such as goldfish prefer to be in water around 52 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take. Tropical fish, such as guppies or tetras, survive in temperatures of about 75 to 80 degrees, while saltwater fish, such as clown fish, thrive better in water that is about 78 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit.

Purchase and place an aquarium heater inside your fish tank if it is stocked with tropical or saltwater fish. Ask your pet store expert what size heater is best to suit your aquarium in terms of wattage and size.

Set your aquarium heater on the temperature you want your tank to maintain. To breed your fish, opt for about two or three degrees higher than the average temperature recommended for your fish. To help cure ick -- a disease that makes fish develop white spots and can kill them if left untreated -- raise the temperature. If you have a community tank, meaning that you have more than one species of fish, keeping you aquarium at the average temperature is best.

Attach a clip-on mini fan to the side of your fish tank and aim it on the surface of the water if the room temperature gets too hot as to raise the temperature of the water in the tank. This is a cheap and effective way of cooling your tank.

Buy and place a chiller inside your tank to cool your tank if you don't want to mess around with fans. Beware -- they are pricey and can cost several hundred dollars, depending on the size of the chiller. Professional fish hobbyists tend to prefer them.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want to raise or lower the temperature on your aquarium heater, do it slowly -- one or two degrees every few hours at the most. Sudden changes in temperature will stress your fish.
  • A clip-on fan, while effective at cooling tank water, will cause the water to evaporate more quickly. Keep a bucket of aquarium-ready (treated for chemicals, PH, salt or whatever else you use) water handy at all times.

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