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What’s the Best Temperature for Saltwater Fish Tanks?

Ideal Temperature for Saltwater Tanks San Diego, CA

The most popular aquarium species for saltwater aquariums come from tropical habitats. Even though there’s a segment of the aquarium hobby dedicated to keeping cold water marine species, it’s not as popular as tropical saltwater ecosystems such as reef tanks. Moreover, cold saltwater tanks are more challenging to maintain, which is why you mostly see them at theme parks such as the San Diego SeaWorld.

Assuming you want to keep a saltwater tank stocked with tropical species, the ideal temperature should be between 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which works out to about 24 to 26 degrees Celsius. This temperature range is narrower for tanks intended to mimic a coastal reef ecosystem. In this case you’ll want to maintain the water at a constant 76 to 78 degrees.

Maximum Temperature for Saltwater Aquariums

If you live in Southern California, chances are you enjoy sunny spring days when outside temperatures seem to be stuck below 80 degrees. This happens to be the ideal temperature for marine tanks. Many people reach for their HVAC thermostats when the temperature climbs above 80 degrees, and tropical aquatic species feel the same way, but they’ll seek the cooler water at the bottom of the tank. Once the water temperature rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit and stays at that level for a few days, problems may start to emerge, particularly for reef tanks.

Minimum Temperature for Saltwater Tanks

Natural reef habitats aren’t impervious to drastic climate changes that result in temperatures dropping very sharply. Shallow reefs in the Caribbean and around Florida can sometimes go through cold snaps with water temperatures as low as 50 degrees. When this happens, it doesn’t take long for fish and other reef species to die. In general, water tends to be a couple of degrees cooler than room temperature. With this in mind, if the temperature in your home reaches 70 degrees and your saltwater tank isn’t equipped with a heater, your tropical fish will start feeling uncomfortable after one day, and this is when they can develop health issues.

The Right Temperature for Reef Tanks

Whether you cultivate live rock or keep pieces of coral complete with sponges in your reef tank, you’ll want to keep a constant temperature as close to 78 degrees Fahrenheit as possible. For most of the year, coastal reefs are livelier then water temperatures reach 84 degrees in the daytime and drop to 80 degrees at night. However, this is too warm for enclosed ecosystems.

Heaters and Chillers for Saltwater Tanks

Heaters and chillers are some of the most important saltwater aquarium supplies. Some fish keepers who live in tropical regions such as the Florida Keys are able to set their saltwater tank temperatures with their HVAC systems. They just keep a close eye on the tank thermometer, but this doesn’t mean they don’t have heaters or chillers standing by, particularly if they keep reef tanks. Water temperature is one of the most important aspects of saltwater fish keeping, and this is why you should invest in both heaters and chillers as part of aquarium equipment.

Regardless if you have a saltwater or freshwater aquarium, there are several key supplies you need to properly maintain your tank and ensure its inhabitants remain happy and healthy. At Aquatic Warehouse, we carry everything you need, from aquarium controllers and monitors to beneficial bacteria and protein skimmers. Stop by our store in Kearny Mesa, place an order for your supplies on our website, or call one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives at 858-467-9297.

Contact Information

  • Address: 5466 Complex Street Suite 204
    San Diego, CA 92123
  • Phone: (858) 467-9297
  • Email: sales@aquaticwarehouse.com
  • Working Days/Hours: Mon - Fri / 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Saturday / 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Sunday / 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM


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