Re:temperature

#3559
Pete Giwojna
Guest

Dear FERS4REEF:

Yes, sir, a water temperature of 80°F is going to be problematic, especially this summer when heat waves would likely produce temperature spikes above 80°F for extended periods. Your seahorses will do best if you can maintain stable water temperatures around 75°F. When they are kept at water temperatures above their comfort level, seahorses will experience heat stress and this will eventually lead to serious disease problems.

Heat stress is especially debilitating and dangerous for seahorses due to a number of reasons (Olin Feuerbacher, pers. com.). For one thing, elevated temperatures can have a very detrimental effect on the immune system of fishes. This is because many of the enzymes and proteins involved in their immune response are extremely temperature sensitive (Olin Feuerbacher, pers. com.). Some of these protective enzymes can be denatured and inactivated by an increase of just a few degrees in water temperature (Olin Feuerbacher, pers. com.). So when seahorses are kept at temperatures above their comfort zone, their immune system is compromised and they are unable to fend off diseases they would normally shrug off.

At the same time heat stress is weakening the seahorse’s immune response, the elevated temperatures are increasing the growth rate of microbes and making disease organisms all the more deadly. Research indicates that temperature plays a major role in the regulation of virulence genes (Olin Feuerbacher, pers. com.). As the temperature increases, virulence genes are switched on, so microorganisms that are completely harmless at cooler temperatures suddenly become pathogenic once the water warms up past a certain point. Thus both the population and virulence of the pathogens are dramatically increased at higher temperatures (Olin Feuerbacher, pers. com.).

If you can’t afford an aquarium chiller, perhaps you can keep the aquarium in a room that receives air conditioning. Another simple way to drop the water temp in your aquarium is to position a small fan so it blows across the surface of the water continually (Giwojna, Oct. 2003). This will lower the water temperature a several degrees via evaporative cooling (just be sure to top off the tank regularly to replace the water lost to evaporation). Leaving the cover/hood and light off on your seahorse tank in conjunction with evaporative cooling can make a surprising difference.

Here are some additional suggestions on cooling down your aquarium from Renée at the org that you may also find helpful:

Some summer tips are:

· Use computer fans (you can wire them to AC adapters… we are making some this weekend for our tanks).

· Use a big ol clip-on-fan or a fan on a stand that you can set close. (Just be mindful of water evap.)

· Float ice containers in the tank (Use water/liquid that you wouldn’t care if it sprung a leak. Those blue lunch/picnic type cooling things are not acceptable IMO…. what if it leaks? It will kill everything. I would recommend using bottled ice water because it will stay frozen even longer than fresh water….. but if you do use fresh water make sure it is water you wouldn’t mind spilling into the tank…. good ole tap water is not acceptable.)

· If you have a hood or canopy on the tank…..keep it off or lifted.

· Cool down the room the tank is in by using a portable or window AC unit. The window units can be pretty cheap.

· If the sun really heats up this room, look into some window tinting. This is what I did when I lived in South Texas. It dropped the room temp TEREMENDOUSLY! (If ya wanna go the cheap method, foil was used in many windows in the city I lived in… wasn’t the prettiest method but it saved many people lives who lived in places without central AC and couldn’t afford well working window units.)

· Shorten your photoperiod…. if possible don’t have the lights on in the hottest past of the day. But at any rate, shorten the amount of hours the lights are on for.
HTH
Renée

When reducing the water temperature via evaporative cooling, I should also caution you to observe all the usual precautions to prevent shocks and electrical accident when you are using an electric fan or any other electrical equipment on your aquarium, sir.

One such precaution is to install an inexpensive titanium grounding probe in your aquariums. That will protect your seahorses and other wet pets from stray voltage and should also safeguard them electrocution in the event of a catastrophic heater failure or similar accident..

But the best way to protect you and your loved ones from electrical accidents around the fish room is to make sure all the outlets are equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters. And it’s a good idea to make sure al, your electrical equipment is plugged into a surge protector as well to further protect your expensive pumps, filters, heaters, etc. from damage. Some good surge protectors, such as the Shock Busters, come with a GFCI built right into them so you can kill`two birds with one stone. So when you set up your cooling fan(s) on the aquarium, be sure they’re plugged into a grounded outlet with a GFCI or a surge protector with GFCI protection.

Before you consider adding any more specimens to your aquarium, be sure to complete the full regimen of hyposalinity in order to make sure all of the Cryptocaryon parasites have been eradicated from your seahorse tank. I would also make sure you can wean your seahorses onto frozen foods before you consider expanding your herd, since it can get mighty expensive if you have to provide live foods for an entire herd of wild-caught seahorses.

Best of luck with your new seahorse tank, FERS4REEF!

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna


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