Winter is Here…Check Your Aquarium Heater! That’s right, the change of the season is a beneficial time to make sure your aquarium heater is still functioning properly and keeping the tank at the appropriate temperature for your fish. I know at my house the ambient temperature tends to drop in the winter, as it gets significantly colder outside. Brrr! It’s always a good reminder as I’m turning on the heat setting of our thermostat to check the aquariums to make sure those heaters are properly adjusted as the house temperature changes for the season. While most people’s room temperature stays fairly consistent year-round, some folks may not keep their home quite as warm in the winter as it naturally stays during the summer season.
There are also times, in particular, to pay special attention to if you need to readjust your aquarium heater setting. An example of this is if you have your thermostat programmed to decrease in temperature by more than 2 degrees while you’re at work to save on the heating bill. Is your aquarium heater turned up enough to accommodate this change? If you can, do a test run through the weekday program on a weekend day when you’re home to monitor the aquarium and adjust the heater, if needed. Just make sure to warn your other housemates to wear an extra sweater! Or perhaps you’re able to stop home during lunch on the first day to see where the tank temperature is in the middle of the day?
Any temperature change (even for the better!) in your tank should be gradual, so start by only adjusting your heater one click or 1-2 degrees at a time, wait for an hour to see the change and then assess how to proceed from there. Repeat as necessary, keeping the temperature adjustment process slow and subtle as you go.
As a reminder, bettas are tropical fish that are best kept between 78-80 degrees F. A betta that is too cold may have a lack of energy, clamped/tight fins, and/or faded color. They are also much more prone to illness and may display other signs of poor health.
For more information on keeping your betta warm view the following articles:
CMOS is a betta I adopted a few winters ago. He lived in a cold unheated tank in a warehouse before I inherited him. He was not doing so well when he arrived to me — clamped fins, pale color, very lethargic. However, his energy level noticeably increased and his color became much more vibrant once I had him in a properly heated home, as seen in this picture.