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Keeping Your Shrimp Chill: How to Beat the Summer Heat

Summer's here, and while we might be reaching for ice cream, our aquatic friends are feeling the heat! Rising water temperatures can stress shrimp, making them lethargic or even leading to illness. But fear not, fellow shrimp keeper, there are ways to keep your crustacean crew cool and comfortable.

Keeping Your Shrimp Chill How to Beat the Summer Heat
Keeping Your Shrimp Chill

Lowering the Temperature:

  • Lights Out: Lights contribute to the heat within your tank. Reduce their lighting cycle or switch to cooler LED lights.

  • Shady Sanctuary: Direct sunlight heats the water. Move your tank to a cooler location or invest in a shade cloth to block sunlight.

  • Partial Water Change: Perform a cool (but not too cold!) water change to replace a portion of the heated water. Aim for a temperature difference no more than 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit from the existing tank water.

  • Fan-tastic Flow: Increase water circulation with a bubbler or filter to create surface agitation, which promotes heat exchange with cooler air. You can also strategically place a fan to gently blow across the water surface, further aiding evaporation and cooling. Here's where aquarium fans come in!

Cool Bre breezes with Aquarium Fans:

Aquarium fans are a simple and effective way to cool your tank through evaporative cooling. As the fan blows air across the water surface, it increases evaporation. This process absorbs heat from the water, lowering the overall temperature.

Ready-made Options: Many pet stores sell aquarium fans specifically designed for this purpose. These clip-on or hang-on fans are easy to install and adjustable for optimal airflow.
  • DIY CPU Fan: For the crafty aquarist, a computer CPU fan can be repurposed into an effective cooling solution. Here's what you'll need:

  • A 12v CPU fan (choose a quiet model)

  • Mesh screen (to prevent shrimp from getting sucked in)

  • Power supply (ensure it matches the fan's voltage)

  • Zip ties or waterproof clips for secure mounting

  • Secure the fan to a piece of plastic or acrylic cut to fit on your tank rim. Attach the mesh screen to the front of the fan. Connect the fan to the power supply and position it to blow gently across the water surface.

Maintaining Coolness:

  • Planter Power: Live plants are fantastic for aquariums. They not only provide hiding spots for shrimp but also help absorb excess heat and improve water quality.

  • Substrate Selection: Darker gravel can absorb more heat. Opt for lighter colored gravel or sand, which will reflect heat and keep the tank cooler.

  • Chill Out (Safely): While ice cubes are a quick fix, use them with caution. The sudden temperature drop and potential for altering water parameters can be stressful for shrimp. If you must use ice, ensure the water used to create the ice cubes matches the parameters of your tank water (pH, KH, GH). 

Alternatively, use reverse osmosis (RO) water to create the ice cubes as it has minimal dissolved minerals and won't drastically alter your tank's chemistry.

  • Ice Cube/Pack Method: Here's how to use ice cubes/packs safely: 

  • Freeze RO water or tank water in small containers.

  • Never add ice directly to the tank! Rapid temperature swings can be harmful to shrimp.

  • Place the container in a sealed plastic bag (to prevent leaks) and then float it in the tank.

  • Monitor the temperature closely and remove the container once the desired temperature decrease is achieved.

  • Frozen Water Bottle Technique: A safer alternative is to use a frozen water bottle. Fill a plastic bottle (not glass) with tank water or RO water and freeze it completely. Wrap the bottle in a clean towel or cloth to prevent a drastic temperature drop and place it in the tank.

By implementing these methods, you can create a comfortable and refreshing haven for your shrimp throughout the hot summer months. Remember, it's always better to prevent a temperature spike than to react to one. Monitor your tank temperature regularly and adjust your cooling methods as needed to keep your shrimp happy and healthy!