When you set out to put together your own aquaponics system at home, the supplies are something that you spend a lot of time thinking about. And after the all-important question of choosing the tank, the fish and the plants, you are left wondering about other things. And of the things any first-timer thinks about is an aquaponics fish tank heater.
Now the thing to keep in mind is that fishes are ectothermic creatures. This means that their body temperature is regulated by the temperature of the surrounding water. And since water that is too cold makes them slow down – in movement as well as in bodily functions like feeding and growth – it is essential to regulate the temperature of the water.
However, thankfully, the good news is that for most fishes, the comfortable temperature range is quite big. This translates to these fishes being healthy and reasonably active for a much greater temperature gradient. In fact, for these fishes, you do not even need a heater. And the good news is that most aquaponics fishes fall under this category. For them room temperature water is good enough. And if you were wondering what is room temperature, then here are the figures:
|In Celsius||16 to 26 degrees|
|In Fahrenheit||61 to 79 degrees|
However, the question of a heater does arise in a number of cases. And we’ll be looking into those now…
Under what circumstances will you need a water heater for your aquaponics fish tank?
There are chiefly two conditions in which you may need to get a water heater. And these are:
- If you live in cold climates and plan to set up an aquaponics system outdoors. As you can understand, when you are living in colder climes, the general value of ‘room temperature’ will be quite a bit lower than the expected range. And when temperature falls below the 15 degrees C or 60 degrees F level, it results in long term harm to your fish. Therefore, if indeed it is a bitter winter, or you live in a place where the temperature is generally low throughout the year – do consider a good tank heater.
- The other condition – and one that a lot more people are usually concerned about – is if you are growing tilapia fish in your aquaponics system. This is because tilapia is a much more sensitive breed. In fact, the ideal temperature for growing healthy and active tilapia is about 82 degrees F or 28 degrees Celsius. And even when you are living in a place where you have normal temperature, this warm water range means that you need to install a heater to keep the water slightly warmer than normal.
However, when considering an aquaponics fish tank heater, do keep one very important thing in mind. Some people use tubing heaters that actually circulate warm water and heat the water through heat transference from the coil of tube. They are by far the safer option to have. However, other people use metal conduction rods that are concealed from the fish but in direct contact with the water. These are more effective in some ways. But there have been cases where the metal rods have become oxidized and have leeched harmful compounds into the water. In the long run, this has actually killed the fish. So in case you are considering one of those heaters, make sure you get one that has a special water safe coating, that makes it safe for your fish as well. After all, happy fish equates to a thriving system and a happy you!