This summer has been unusually warm across the US, brutally hot, actually. My area of the Southeast was recently hit with a triple digit heat wave. Around the same time, my air conditioner decided to break. Needless to say, my first concern was the reef aquariums.
At my old house, I didn’t have a basement or LED lights. I had my sumps inside the stands of the tanks, and used internal return pumps. My lighting was T5 fluorescent and metal halides. When I had AC issues at the old house, keeping the aquarium temperature down was quite the emergency. The return pump and halides dumped heat into the tank, and the elevated room temps didn’t help either. I usually resorted to killing the lights, and adding ziploc bags full of ice, but this time around good planning led to some nice unintended consequences.
Fast forward to the house I live in now. I upgraded to an oversized sump in the basement with an external return pump. I also ditched the metal halides for LED. When the AC unit broke down a few weeks ago, the usual panic ensued. But to my surprise, the tank temps held up fine. The naturally cool basement kept the sump cool and buffered the tank temperature. The LEDs and external return pump didn’t really add any heat to the tank either. So while my house air temp was elevated to 88 degrees, the tank stayed within acceptable range.
It was a huge relief and luckily the AC problem was a simple and cheap fix. Looking over everything, I realize the tank was inadvertently designed to withstand such an obstacle(for a short while). The biggest help was probably the oversized sump in the chilled basement. Even if I had Metal Halides, I could have opted to leave them off for a few days. Even though nothing in my setup was specifically chosen to combat the summer heat, I’m going to pretend I had the forethought to anticipate AC issues. It makes me look smarter than I am. Yup. Yeah. I meant to do that.
Have you had good aquarium design lead to unintended consequences? If so please share in the comments.