Delbeek, J.C., and Sprung, J. No such luck this year as that chilly Arctic air blasted its way all the way to South Florida…where some of the northernmost Atlantic coral reefs grow. Everything that happens in our aquaria, from rates of fish and coral growth to microbial nutrient processing, depends strongly on temperature. In high school I became particularly interested in coral reefs and set up my first reef tank in 2001--a modest 10 gal tank. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management. Like in Hawai’i, the annual temperature variation in Fiji is much less than in Florida. This is a multifaceted and important topic and I have therefore decided to split it into (at least) two articles, to allow for fuller discussion. Extreme low tides, Crown-of-thorns starfish predation, tsunamis, and myriad other seriously damaging phenomenon are all natural on coral reefs. Coral reefs are found in shallow water where sea surface temperatures range from 68° F to 97° F.More than 90 percent of the world’s coral reefs occur in the Indo-West Pacific biogeographic region. Most people aren’t likely to keep too many Floridean reef denizens in their own reef tank, but the range of temperatures (both high and low) we see in the Florida reef tract sandwiches the range we typically see on most other reefs. Delbeek, J.C. 2002. I don’t think I’ll raise many objections if I say that the 50’s F is too cold for our reef tanks and the high 80’s F is too hot, but what should we shoot for between these extremes? The NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW) daily global 5km Sea Surface Temperature (SST) product, also known as CoralTemp, shows the nighttime ocean temperature measured at the surface. The one thing we can say about the conditions that Mother Nature provides is that they seem to work well enough, even if they are not ideal. Shimek, R. 1997. 2015 have reported that coral reefs in the Australian Great Barrier Reef, near Heron Island, are insensitive to ocean pH changes. Coral reefs are not able to endure temperatures that plummet below 18 degrees Celsius. Temperatures near Fiji typically average a few degrees warmer than in Hawai’i—the upper 70’s in winter and the low to mid 80’s during summer. Many grow optimally in water temperatures between 73° and 84° Fahrenheit (23°–29°Celsius), but some can tolerate temperatures as high as 104° Fahrenheit (40° Celsius) for short periods. If my experience and observations can be a guideline, you really should aim for 77F for a mixed reef – if you have more LPS corals knock that down to 75F for a bigger buffer against rising temperatures, and if your reef is focused on SPS, let it ride at 79F and don’t sweat it. However, as much as latitude is vital to the growth of coral reefs, currents are also important. Ideal Conditions for Coral Growth Stable climatic conditions: Corals are highly susceptible to quick changes. In Figure 1 the temperature data are plotted for Sombrero Reef, a well-developed reef about mid-way up the Florida Keys. Thankfully I noticed and correlated these early warning signs and counteracted the warming of the day with more ventilation from fans, and reducing the overall light intensity. The only corals that are not thrilled is the pink Stereonephthya and the Blastomussa. They grow in regions where climate is significantly stable for a long period of time. Thanks to the Florida current carrying warm Caribbean water northward, many of the deeper and outer reefs in the Florida tract remained at relatively normal winter-time temperatures (low to mid 70’s F). The optimum temperature for most coral reefs is 26–27 °C (79–81 °F), and few reefs exist in waters below 18 °C (64 °F). Vol. 2003). Data Coral reefs experience a global, annual maximum SST of 29.4 °C [ 24 ]. 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