How To Warm Up a Fish Tank In Winter

Posted by Michael Hervas on

Fish inside Ice

Seasons change really fast, and the cool winds of autumn are soon giving way to the freezing chill of winter. As we prepare for winter's coming, let us not forget about keeping our pets warm. Pet fishes, particularly those not suited to living in frigid waters, are susceptible to the cold and keeping them warm would require a little extra effort. The dropping temperatures can easily cool their fish tank to uncomfortable levels, so you will need to learn how to warm up a fish tank for the winter.

Warming up your tank and keeping it comfortable enough for your aquarium fishes should not be hard. It may take a bit of work, however, but when it comes to the survival of your aquatic pets, a little effort is not a bad trade off. That all said, here's how to keep your fish tank warm this season.

Know Your Fish And Act Accordingly.

Knowing your fish goes well beyond learning their species' names. You will also need to know whether or not they can survive cold temperatures. Coldwater fishes like the Japanese koi and common minnow can easily survive the winter without anything to warm up the tank. You do not need to worry about them should the thermometer start reading below zero. Tropical fishes like guppies and gouramis, on the other hand, will require 24/7 heating during winter.

Minimize Heat Loss.

College physics teaches us that heat is transferred from a warmer body to a cooler body and with this in mind, you will need to minimize the amount of heat leaving your tank. Now, how to warm up fish tank with this in mind, you ask? The idea is to cover the entirety of the tank with insulating material. You can be creative or highly technical in this regard, but the most basic way to do so is simply layer the tank's exterior with multiple sheets of cloth or paper.

Add Heat To Your Tank The DIY Way.

Fish looking at Cold Thermometer

The most obvious answer to the question of how to warm up a fish tank is to add heat to the cooling water. You will need a thermometer and a note of your tank's comfortable temperature beforehand. While some people will tell you to you simply pour hot water into the tank, this is not something that we will recommend. We'd rather that you add in heat indirectly. You can do this by boiling water and pouring it into a sealed, weighted container. Keep the water from leaking out of this container by adding a drop of dechlorinating fluid. Lower the container into the aquarium and make sure it doesn't float; this makes sure that the heat only goes to the water and is not wasted on the cold air above the surface. Remove the container as soon as the tank has reached optimal temperature. Rinse and repeat as needed. This technique definitely needs your time and effort to be successful. But there is an easy option just for you.

Install A Fish Tank Heater.

Fish Tank Thermometer

Tank heaters can run 24/7 and can automatically regulate the temperature of your aquarium. You can find quality models in reputable pet stores and installing one to your tank takes nothing more than following the provided user manual. By far, this is your best option when it comes to keeping your tank warm for your finned friends. 

Now that you have understood how to warm up a fish tank in winter, you better act quickly. The cold, snowy season will come knocking soon; the earlier you prepare, the better it will all be for your pet fishes.

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