How to Take Care of Aquarium Fish in Winter?

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Written By Tamal

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Winter is a tough season for both fish and aquarium lovers. Being cold-blooded aquatic animals, fishes need special care during winter.

Fish tank maintenance in winter is key for maintaining the good health of your aquarium fish as the colder temperatures approach. Fishes can become stressed during the winter months, leading to health problems.

Follow this simple guide to help your fish thrive when the temperature drops.

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Thermometer for fish tanksBuy on Amazon
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Fish foodBuy on Amazon
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aquarium products for winter

Why are heaters a must for aquariums in winter?

Most mammals, including humans, are endothermic. What this means is that they’re able to generate heat and warm up their body tissues through their metabolism. Thus, we classify them as “warm-blooded animals.”

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Most fishes are ectotherms, just like reptiles and amphibians. So their bodies can’t produce heat. These “cold-blooded animals” use external sources to either heat up or cool down.

Aquarium winter care tips

Here are a few points to remember for the well-being of the fish in your aquarium.

Adequate temperature

Having a fish in an aquarium requires you to recreate the temperature of their natural habitat to enable their development. Thus, if you have a fish tank in winter in cold towns, you must have an efficient heating system.

It’s also important to have a thermometer around as it’ll allow you to regulate and control the internal temperature of the fish tank. Fishes will be in trouble if the water is overheated.

What about the pump?

It is a good idea to turn off the water circulation pump of the fish tank during the winter, mainly when dealing with considerably different types of fish living in a large tank.

About the fish tank

  • Getting a wide fish tank is an ideal choice.
  • It would be best if you did not leave an aquarium outdoors in winter (also in summer). A ventilated environment with a good incidence of sunlight is preferable.

Balanced winter feeding

Most fishes tend to change their eating habits during winter. When there’s adequate heating, you must feed the fish 2 to 4 times a day – provided the temperature is above 12ºC. But, when you let the fish go into hibernation, you should only feed them once a day.

This practice respects the required food changes but requires a lot of care. They also require permanent control of the temperature of the fish tank throughout winter.

Is your fish tank ecosystem well balanced?

The best way to determine if the water in your fish tank is well balanced is to observe how the fish behave. They’re very sensitive and immediately show symptoms of inappropriate conditions.

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When there’s a balance in the temperature inside an aquarium, the fishes continue their feeding and swimming routine. But if the water in the tank is too cold, the fish will adapt to their survival strategy. Mainly, they’ll remain motionless at the bottom of the fish tank and won’t swim around.

You can tell by the same behavior that they may not get enough food during winter.

You must double your fish care during the winter. Properly maintaining their tank is the best way to protect them.

Don’t Expose Your Aquarium to Outside Weather

Your aquarium is under a certain temperature always. But if you let your aquarium to exposed to outside weather, for example, you forgot to close the window near the aquarium at night, and your fishes were exposed to the chilly weather outside.

That’s not good!

Regularly monitor the temperature

Use a thermometer meter to get a better reading. Keep your water around 24-28ºC. Don’t go too cold or too hot unnecessarily.

In short, keep the temperature comfortable.

Make sure the heater is enough for your tank

A lot of the time when people buy an aquarium for the first time without gaining any prior knowledge about it. They sometimes buy a small heater for a large tank. A heater that can never cover the full tank.

So, make sure your heater matches your tank.

Keep the Water Clean

Make sure your water is clean. Buy a quality testing kit, use it and make sure your water is acceptable. Check your filters are working perfectly and no fungus or third-party stuff is inside the tank.

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Avoid Changing the Whole Water

During the winter season, please avoid changing the whole water inside the tank.

Be cautious while changing the water, and try to change less than half of the water inside the tank. In winter, the fishes are more vulnerable to disease.

Keep a Close Eye on Your Fishes

We are not saying you should monitor your fish 24/7, but in winter, with sudden temperature changes, the fishes tend to stress out. And if that happens, they might suffer from the common fungal disease and white spot. Keep an eye on those. If your fishes catch any of that, feed them proper medication.

Feed Healthy

Like you eat a good diet. Your fish should have one too. Feed them healthy, and feed them nutritious meals. You can try frozen food to fill in the vitamins.

Try Not to Overfeed

Yeah, overeating is bad for them, also.

A sudden change in diet might affect them. That’s why avoid overfeeding them and feed them around 1 time every day.

If the Fishes are Sick

Please treat them with antibiotics. Better to consult a vet first on this matter. You don’t want to kill them, do you?

You might worry about your fish in winter more than usual. We get it. But with proper instruction and steps, you can take care of your fish and give them a healthy and fun life even in winter.

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