Just like us, our fish friends feel stressed when it’s extremely hot outside. Here are seven ways you can help them stay cool and calm.

Extreme heat creates problems. When temperatures are high, fish go into metabolic overdrive, consume more oxygen and produce more waste products. These waste products can be more toxic at higher temperatures. Here are some simple tips to use when temperatures are extreme:

1. Cool the water

If the aquarium water temperature is getting warmer on a hot day, it is best to do a 20-25% water change with cold water.

2. Maintain oxygen levels

Ensure that tanks are well aerated to maintain oxygen levels (the hotter the water, the less oxygen it can carry). Adding extra air lines will help to increase oxygen exchange. Also check to ensure that filters are working properly, with adequate water flow.

3. Check water parameters

Make sure water parameters, such as pH, ammonia and nitrate are correct. Not sure? Visit us in store for a free water health check.

4. Do not overstock

Be careful not to have too many fish in your tank. Overstocking tanks increases oxygen consumption, which in turn decreases oxygen levels. Overstocking also increases the amount of waste that your filter system has to cope with, which means it may not work as efficiently.

5. Frequent water changes

More frequent water changes can help by reducing water temperature (if tap water is colder than the tank) and build-up of toxic metabolites. Make sure to never change more than 25% of the water in one week.

6. Adjust feeding

In warmer conditions, you should actually feed your fish more. While it does increase the production of waste which can dirty the water, fish burn off more energy in summer so they need the additional nutrients to fight off parasites and infections. Cutting down their food will reduce their immune system in warmer weather. Make sure to be more vigilant with your fish tank or pond maintenance in this time and once things cool off again you can resume your normal routine.

7. Minimise lighting

Some aquarium lights can emit heat that will increase the temperature of your tank even further. On days of extreme heat, turn off your lights (if possible).

Visit your local Petbarn for more information and advice on how to care for your fish.

Written by: Dr Aivee Huynh, Greencross Vets Punchbowl