Tips On Keeping a Reef Tank Cool

Tips For Keeping a Reef Tank Cool

During the summer you typically have to keep an eye on the temperature of your reef tank. I like to keep my tanks in the 78 to 79 degree F range but during the summer months my tanks push 81 degrees F on really hot days. Based on my past experiences, here are some tips to keep a tank cool.

  1. Use a Fan – Running a fan over the top of a tank will promote evaporation and cool down a tank. A fan can also be used over the sump. You can connect one to a controller and have it turn on when the tank hits a certain temperature.
  2. Run a Chiller – I have a chiller on my system with metal halides and it does a good job keeping the tank cool. I use fans on this system as well and they are programmed to turn on before the chiller, which will consume more electricity. The fans can’t handle the job solo when it is really hot so the chiller is critical in my setup.
  3. Use Air Conditioning – A tank in a room that gets hot in the summer will probably require AC in that room. With air conditioning a chiller might not be necessary, although fans may help.
  4. Use LED’s or T5 lighting – Years ago many folks used metal halide lighting, which emit a decent amount of heat. The use of metal halides has gone down a lot so this has become less of an issue. But if you are old school like me and still run metal halides then consider switching to LED’s or T5’s to reduce the amount of heat being added to your system.
  5. Change Light Schedule – During the summer start your light schedule earlier in the day to reduce the time they are on when temperatures peak outside. LED’s and T5’s do generate some heat.
  6. Change Frag Tank Light Schedule – If you have a frag tank plumbed into your main display then consider running the frag tank lights earlier versus the display tank lights. This will reduce the amount of heat being added to your system by the frag tank lights.
  7. Move Tank to a Cooler Room – I know, moving a reef tank can be a PIA but if your tank was setup in a room that holds the heat pretty well then consider moving the tank. Basements are cooler in the summer versus other rooms in the house so a finished basement is a great spot.
  8. Move Sump to a Cooler Room – If you don\’t want to move your display then you might want to consider moving your sump to a cooler location. Remote sumps are great for a number of reasons. When I was living in Connecticut the sump for my 225 gallon tank in the living room was located underneath the tank in the unfinished basement. The cool basement helped keep the temperature from rising too high. I did have a chiller on this system but it did not run too often.
  9. Add Ice to Tank or Sump – I consider this a last resort but you can cool a tank by “icing” it down. Make sure to triple bag the ice to prevent any tap water from leaking into the system. Or use RODI ice cubes and a single bag 🙂

If your tank is consistently over 82 degrees F in the summer then consider employing some of these tips. Your fish and corals will be much happier.

Additional Resources

If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend. I also sell Reef Brite metal halide and LED fixtures as well as Maxspect & IceCap Gyres.

As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.

Need some frags…..I can help with that as well 🙂 Please visit my SPS Frag store to see what is available.

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