Summer’s Coming


…or at least I sincerely hope it is! There are definite signs with new leaves appearing on trees and bushes and also growth on garden plants. Lambs have been in the fields and it appears that winter is being pushed away.

Where I live the winter has not been particularly cold, snowy or wet, but seems to have been just grey for such a long time. Grey skies and bare trees are not a very colourful combination.

So what has summer got to do with marine aquariums? Sometimes it can be a testing time for me, particularly on those days when it is oh, so warm and pleasant. Those days are often the days when my reef aquarium is due maintenance.

In the morning I open the curtains and see the blue sky. I’m fully aware of course that aquarium maintenance is scheduled, and the first bit of indecision sometimes creeps in. ‘Leave it until later or another day’ is the temptation. Ordinarily this would be fine and is obviously the way forward, particularly if the weather forecast is for clouds and rain. However, I stick to my schedule as I need to, which does need some discipline now and again I have to admit.

Though I’m retired and have been for a few years, my wife and I have the great joy of caring for grandchildren. Whoever thought of that name got it right, they really are grand. They are our top priority, so we do not permit anything to get in the way – including my aquarium. If the aquarium is to be maintained on Sunday, that’s when it will be done so that it isn’t neglected and the grandchildren can be enjoyed without any ‘aquarium conscience’ on my part.

In September all of the grandchildren will be attending school. It’s wonderful to know that they are advancing just as they should, though going from an often child filled home to one without children will be hard. Our schedule will face some severe adjustments. The aquarium will be maintained on a Monday so that, as might be guessed, we could possibly see the grandchildren over the weekend more if the opportunity arises.

So that’s part of what ‘summer’s coming’ means to me, though of course it’s personal, the rule of discipline over occasional desire.

More in common with other aquarists, summer means increased temperatures. Increased air temperature could mean that the seawater heats up more than usual so action will have to be taken to control this. I’ll need to get out my 12 inch desk fan and make sure it runs properly, though it has never failed to do so before. As the scouts say, it’s best to be prepared. If needed the fan is placed on the floor and aimed at the front of the aquarium glass, with the air moving across it at an angle, causing the aquarium to act as a radiator. This method works well for me, though it probably wouldn’t for someone with a temperature problem and metal halide lighting. In that case a chiller (seawater cooler) could be the way to go, or more fans.

Whatever the method of cooling the seawater, it is best to ensure that the equipment used to do the cooling is serviceable before there is a need for it. That’s for those who live in seasonal regions as I do. There are others who live in more or less permanent warmth and sunshine, so they’ll have equipment running anyway. At the other end of the scale, some aquarists live in permanently cool areas with a short summer and probably will never see seawater heat excessively.

Here’s hoping for a good summer anyway, and I’ll do the maintenance on schedule. I’ll get up early!

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