AC Advice please

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starsplitter7
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Location: Tampa, Florida

AC Advice please

Post by starsplitter7 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:48 pm

Hi there,

I live in Florida and even though it is October, our temps are in the high 80s and low 90s. Last week my airconditioning died -- I have been without AC for 6 days. I had it repaired and it blew another fuse, and will be repaired again (hopefully today), but we need to find out why the fuse is blowing. Needless to say, my house temp is between 85-92 or so degrees. I have fans going, but it is hot, not just for the fish and me, but all my other critters. I have been using ice blocks to keep the ferrets cool. I am afraid to use ice in the fish tanks because I don't know if the chlorine is preserved. I guess I could melt one and check the water, but would that be enough time for it to gas out?

So my tanks are off the thermometer chart. 88-90 degree plus. I have the lights turned off (so now the plants are dying -- increasing the ammonia. Augh!) The first couple days the tanks were fine, because it took a while for them to heat up. The temp in the house is so high, I don't know if I can physically do water changes, but I will have to try. I will also drop the level of the water to give more oxygen.

I don't have money for chillers or fancy solutions. Does anyone have practical solutions that may help if I run into this in the future? I am hoping the AC will be working tonight and I will be doing lots of water changes. Do I drop the temp fast? Doesn't sound safe to me.

I have had the lights off. I do turn them on and do body checks, and so far have been lucky. I have only fed once since the AC died, on the day I thought it was repaired and we were out of the woods.

I forgot to mention I keep loaches, catfish and oddballs. These fish are used to temps between 78-84. I have worse problems when the temps go down. But this is extreme.

Thanks.

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Graeme McKellar
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Re: AC Advice please

Post by Graeme McKellar » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:22 pm

Hi Starsplitter,
When chlorinated water is frozen the chlorine is eliminated so should be safe to use but if you are still worried to use it freeze it in sealable drink bottles then put these in your tanks - there will be no contact with your tanks water.
Hope this helps - Graeme.
"I want to speak with many things and I will not leave this planet without knowing what I came to find, without solving this affair, and people are not enough. I have to go much farther and I have to go much closer." - Pablo Neruda.

starsplitter7
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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:04 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: AC Advice please

Post by starsplitter7 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:40 pm

That's a great idea. Like sealed ice cubes. :) My brain must be cooked.

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DainBramage1991
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Re: AC Advice please

Post by DainBramage1991 » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:25 am

You probably know this already, but just in case: higher water temps mean lower oxygen saturation in the water. Anything you can do to increase aeration will help your fish, and might even provide a miniscule amount of evaporative cooling.

One other possibility, if your tap water runs cool where you are, is to SLOWLY lower the water temps by doing water changes.

The frozen water bottles seem to me to probably be the best solution, just be sure to monitor your tank temps to be sure that any changes happen slowly.

starsplitter7
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Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: AC Advice please

Post by starsplitter7 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:27 pm

Unfortunately with it being upper 80s and lower 90s the wate rout of the tap is never cold. And with the house temp in the 90s, I am overheated and having problems with water changes. I have bubblers in all my tanks and lower water levels to drop water into the tanks. At least now the AC is working, but will be off for a couple days for another round of updates.

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DainBramage1991
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Re: AC Advice please

Post by DainBramage1991 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:15 pm

Are you able to keep the temps in check with the frozen water bottle trick?

How are your fish and other pets doing so far?

If you are feeling ambitious, you might be able to engineer a cheap evaporative cooler (with very limited performance, but every little bit helps) by redirecting the outflow of a canister filter across a clean (new) nylon window screen hung vertically above the tank. The screen can be hung in a frame of cheap PVC pipe of any small to medium size (whatever you have lying around) and attached with cable ties or fishing line. Just make sure that the screen frame fits within the width of the tank, or you'll have water on the floor. A small amount of air flow in the room is helpful, but do not aim a fan directly on the screen, or it will blow the water away.

The purpose of the screen is to increase surface area. As the water flows across the screen and drips back into the tank, some of it evaporates, providing cooling.

This will only work if the humidity is low to moderate in your home. In high humidity areas like mine, evaporative coolers (somtimes called swamp coolers) just don't work well enough and aren't worth bothering with.

Dojosmama
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Re: AC Advice please

Post by Dojosmama » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:41 pm

I've read the exact opposite about frozen water -- that it can still contain chlorine and choramines, if both are present.

Here's the solution: Thaw out the ice cubes in a separate container, then add Prime or some other dechlorinator that neutralizes both chlorine and chloramines. You can then add the chilled water to your tank to cool down the temperature.

-- Dojosmama

starsplitter7
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Re: AC Advice please

Post by starsplitter7 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:22 pm

Thanks for all the advice. Luckily my AC emergency is over, and my fish friends are safe and survived the ordeal -- I think they all made it, still doing a body count (I did lose my entire population of hummingbird darters earlier due to high water temps :( THey are so enchanting it was heartbreaking.) I am grateful for all the ideas, because I will use them next time (we often lose electricity during hurricanes and other storms). Unfortunately in the dead of winter our humidity drops to 60-70%. The rest of the year it is above 80%. Like breathing water. I moved to NH and my skin cracked. I am so used to the wet air.

I changed 25 gallons out of my 75, all my little tanks have had water changes, I had a filter overflow on the 30, so I had an automatic water change (augh and now the mold is growing). And the rest of the tanks I will care for today.

I am also setting up a 20 long for Bristlenose breeding today. I have albinos and pretty black and white spotted ones. And regular ones. I hope to set up my greens to breed, and I have a beautiful long fin male albino I would like to inspire to breed. I also recently acquired blue eyed albinos, and I need to get them grown and breeding. I really love my BNs. I haven't figred out what to feed the blue eyes. They are very young, and they do not like hikari wafers or Repashy, and I have never owned a Bristlenose that didn't devour both. There's only so much algae and aufwuchs in the tank to eat. Zucchini next.

Thank you to all of you for helping me out.

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DainBramage1991
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Re: AC Advice please

Post by DainBramage1991 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:39 pm

Glad that most of your fish made it, but sorry to hear about the darters.

The humidity here in NH is seasonal, right now it's just about nonexistent, but during the summer it can easily hit 90-100% most days.

"The dew fell with a particularly sickening thud this morning" -Douglas Adams

starsplitter7
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Re: AC Advice please

Post by starsplitter7 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:48 pm

You are in NH? I lived in Manchester and worked in Concord. I loved living there (so beautiful and loved hiking), but the humidity was so low. :)

I lost the darters before this episode. I don't think they can handle my summer tank temps. Really upset me, because one day they were there, the next they were gone. I was getting ready to give them to a friend who could keep her tanks cooler. I have no problems keeping my native darters, so I was surprised.

That's a great D.A. quote. :) I can relate.

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DainBramage1991
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Re: AC Advice please

Post by DainBramage1991 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:39 pm

Yes, I've been in NH my whole life. I'm in the Lakes Region, pretty much right smack in the geographic center of the state. I agree, it's a beautiful place to be.
Of course, keeping the tanks warm is the main temperature concern here. Quite the opposite of what you are dealing with.

starsplitter7
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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:04 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: AC Advice please

Post by starsplitter7 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:14 pm

So true. Can't keep my tanks cool. I didn't keep fish when I lived in NH, so I never learned the talent of keeping them warm.

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DainBramage1991
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Re: AC Advice please

Post by DainBramage1991 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:57 am

It's much easier keeping them warm than keeping them cool, provided the heaters arrive in one piece (long story for another day).

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