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FAQs about Marine Aquarium Chilling 1

Related Articles: Marine Tank Heating, Cool/Coldwater Marine Systems

Related FAQs: Chilling 2, & Lighting Waste Heat Production/Elimination, FAQs on: Fans For Cooling, Chiller Rationale/Use, Selection, DIY, Installation, Maintenance, Troubleshooting, By Type/Characteristics: Drop-in, Flow-Through, Therma-Electric, By Make/Model/Manufacturer: DIYArctica, AquaMedic, Aquanetics (out of biz.), AquaLogic, AZoo, Current/Prime, Custom Sea Life (out of biz), Delta, Iceprobe, JBL, Pacific Coast, Premier, Resun, Sfiligoi, Teclima, Teco, Tradewind, Via Aqua, West Coast, Other Makers/Models, & Cool./Cold Marine Set-Up, Heating, Water TemperatureMetal Halide Heat Issues,

Often the best: most appropriate, available cooling technology: evaporative: fan...

Chiller vs. Fans  8/30/05 Hi, I have a 100 gallon aquarium with a 30 gallon sump. I would like to replace my fans with a chiller. Without the fans, the aquarium can easily reach temperatures exceed 90 degrees. With all four 12" fans running on high 24/7, the temperature stay at 78 degrees. So the chiller would have to be able to drop the temperature about 15 degrees. Maybe a 1/4 hp chiller or perhaps a 1/3 hp? <The one third... better to have a bit more chilling capacity than too little> Also, I know that some brands are more efficient so some 1/4 hp chillers might cool better then some 1/3 hp chiller. <Yes> I also need a quite chiller so if you could recommend one for me I would appreciate it. Thanks, Andy   <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chillersmar.htm and the FAQs 2 file linked above. Bob Fenner>

Making a Tank Quieter and Cooler Hi. I sent this e-mail to you last week and since I received no response, I thought maybe my Spam Blocker got it. So I am going to resend from a different e-mail address. <Don't know what happened David, I did send the response.> <<And Marina posted on Dailies.>> I appreciate any help you can give me. (I have looked at other questions and answers on your site and they tend to conclude that: there is no quiet way to cool a tank with a chiller and the JBL chiller is probably the best on the market today. So maybe my questions below are not worth responding to.) <<NEVER the case!>> I have two questions that are related. Let me start by describing my current setup. I have a 135 gallon reef aquarium with a 30 gallon sump. It is six feet long with 4 VHO lights (kept about 3 inches above the glass) and is used as a room partition with dedicated outlets in the cabinet under the tank. I had a custom cabinet built with the air vents on the 4 doors below, on both sides.  I have a single return that is powered by a Mag 9.5 (950 GPH) pump. In addition to the return pump, in the sump I have a Aqua Medic Turboflotor protein skimmer powered by a Rio pump and also a smaller 200 gph Rio pump for more power through the skimmer. Finally I have a drop-in 1/4 HP Delta chiller with the coil placed in the sump. The tank is doing great.  I moved into an a/c apartment about 1? [??] ago, which we keep about 68-72 degrees. Even in the winter my tank runs hot. The chiller is set to run when the temperature of the water is 77 degrees and it seems to be running 4-6 hours a day, mostly when the lights are on (which is around 11 hours per day).  Without the chiller on, the tank will go above 85 degrees during the day and come down to around only 82 degrees at night. In the summer the temperature goes even higher.  <David, your chiller may need a Freon charge. Any A/C guy can do this.> Question 1: My wife complains about the noise since the tank is right in the middle of the living room/den. Any way that I can make the setup quieter? <Ask the wife to leave?:):) Joking. Try lining the interior of the cabinet with insulating Styrofoam. That should help.> Question 2: The chiller seems to be not performing well. I bought it about 3 years ago. I try to keep the water at about 77-79 degrees. Over the past couple of months, I have seen the tank go to 85 plus degrees and hear the chiller running but the coil is not very cold. (The grills are kept fairly clean and clear.) If I play with the chiller (jiggle the adjustable coil hose or turn the chiller off and back on) it seems to kick in better.  With summer approaching I am getting nervous. Any ideas what I can do to cool the tank? Should I buy a new cooler that might work better? Is there a chiller out there that would also make the tank a little quieter?  <As above, check the Freon level.> (Additional question to my earlier e-mail)  If I get the JBL in-line chiller, with my set-up do you think I can get a Mag 12 (1200 GPH) pump, send the water first through the cooler and then straight back to the tank or do you think it is better to have another pump in the sump that sends the water to the chiller and back to the sump? Is the heat from adding another pump to the sump defeating the purpose of a chiller? <Any additional pumps is going to add a little additional heat to the tank. Thing is if you pump the water through the chiller and into the tank you will get a significant flow drop. I think I would use another pump to pump water from the sump to the chiller and back into the sump and use the existing pump for flow back into the tank.> Thank you for your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> 

Not Moving Query Before Answering.. Making a Tank Quieter and Cooler 4/6/05 (Whose Take?) Hi. I sent this e-mail to you last week and since I received no response, I thought maybe my Spam Blocker got it. So I am going to resend from a different e-mail address.  <Sorry that you didn't get a reply. With the huge volume of mail that we get, once in a while one gets blocked, bounced, lost, etc. Thanks for giving us a second chance!> I appreciate any help you can give me. (I have looked at other questions and answers on your site and they tend to conclude that: there is no quiet way to cool a tank with a chiller and the JBL chiller is probably the best on the market today. So maybe my questions below are not worth responding to.)  <All questions deserve a reply! Most chillers are noisy, but it is not hopeless.> I have two questions that are related. Let me start by describing my current setup. I have a 135 gallon reef aquarium with a 30 gallon sump. It is six feet long with 4 VHO lights (kept about 3 inches above the glass) and is used as a room partition with dedicated outlets in the cabinet under the tank. I had a custom cabinet built with the air vents on the 4 doors below, on both sides. I have a single return that is powered by a Mag 9.5 (950 GPH) pump. In addition to the return pump, in the sump I have a Aqua Medic Turboflotor protein skimmer powered by a Rio pump and also a smaller 200 gph Rio pump for more power through the skimmer. Finally I have a drop-in 1/4 HP Delta chiller with the coil placed in the sump. The tank is doing great.  <Sounds like a very nice set-up. Submersible pumps like the Rio and Mag add a surprising amount of heat!> I moved into an a/c apartment about 1 ? [??] ago, which we keep about 68-72 degrees. Even in the winter my tank runs hot. The chiller is set to run when the temperature of the water is 77 degrees and it seems to be running 4-6 hours a day, mostly when the lights are on (which is around 11 hours per day). Without the chiller on, the tank will go above 85 degrees during the day and come down to around only 82 degrees at night. In the summer the temperature goes even higher.  <77 degrees is a bit on the low side for a target temperature. Most folks run their reef tanks at 80-82 degrees. In the summer I often tolerate up to 85. It is much more important to avoid spikes greater than about 5 degrees. Adding vents and fans to the cabinet and hood will help a lot. I had a very similar set-up and never needed a chiller.> Question 1: My wife complains about the noise since the tank is right in the middle of the living room/den. Any way that I can make the setup quieter?  <Since this is an apartment, you can't move the chiller to the basement. You can place the chiller on a vibration dampening pad.> Question 2: The chiller seems to be not performing well. I bought it about 3 years ago. I try to keep the water at about 77-79 degrees. Over the past couple of months, I have seen the tank go to 85 plus degrees and hear the chiller running but the coil is not very cold. (The grills are kept fairly clean and clear.) If I play with the chiller (jiggle the adjustable coil hose or turn the chiller off and back on) it seems to kick in better. With summer approaching I am getting nervous. Any ideas what I can do to cool the tank? Should I buy a new cooler that might work better? Is there a chiller out there that would also make the tank a little quieter.  <I am not sure which chiller will be quieter. I would have a pro look at your current chiller. It is often hard to find refrigeration or AC folks that will look at a chiller, but if you shop around you will find one.> Additional question to my earlier e-mail: If I get the JBL in-line chiller, with my set-up do you think I can get a Mag 12 (1200 GPH) pump, send the water first through the cooler and then straight back to the tank or do you think it is better to have another pump in the sump that sends the water to the chiller and back to the sump? Is the heat from adding another pump to the sump defeating the purpose of a chiller? <I would suggest one large external pump to supply both the chiller and the tank. This will reduce the heat being transferred to the tank. Running through the chiller to the tank will cost you a great deal of flow and may exceed the maximum pressure recommended by the manufacturer.> Thank you for your help. David <Glad to help!>

-Mystery chiller- Hello, I have a product question. I have a chance to buy a 1/3HP for about $300.00. <Whoa, that's pretty cheap> A friend of mine has to sell off all his fish and supplies because he owes people money. Don't take up gambling, could lose your fish. <Haha, made a mental note> The only problem I have with this chiller is that I can't find anything about it on the internet. It says TUNG.FA on it and it is a model TF-400B. I was wondering if you have ever heard of this. <Nope, never. I had no luck on any forums or search engines.> Didn't It is brand new still in the box. It comes with a controller. I think he also said it was a chiller and a heater. Mainly want to know if it is quiet. <There's no instruction manual? I would buy it, if it's the appropriate size. It is also important to note that all chillers are loud, especially larger ones like this. I hope this helps, somehow! -Kevin> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Marty

-McGuyvering a cooling device- Hi : (This is for the temp-control-plumbing guru on staff tonight) <Hmmm... well, how 'bout me instead? :) > I'd like to know if there is a commercial device, or DIY plans to make one, that cools marine tanks down to room temps. by using simple heat sink physics, i.e. how a car radiator works. <There's a product called an Ice Probe chiller which is a bulkhead mounted heat sink with a small fan on it. Unfortunately they're really small and impractical for larger tanks.> I keep the house at a constant 78 degrees year round, but my tank of course hovers about 3-4 degrees above that due to the heat released by my overpriced reef lights and pumps (1 Iwaki external, 1 RIO internal.) Instead of spending $$ for a chiller, and then more $$ monthly to run it, releasing the heat from the tank into the house air would do just fine for me. <A simple cheap Mart-mart fan blowing across the waters surface in the display or sump should give you all the cooling you need. Evaporative cooling is cheap and easy, you just need to top off more frequently (also makes having very pure top-off water imperative!).> I know enough about this topic to McGuiver one myself, but I'd prefer to be lazy and steal someone else's previous work. <I'd be interested to see what you come up, but I'd try a small fan or two first. -Kevin> Thanks, SLC

Cold water marine aquarium Dear Mr. Fenner, <Mr. Farrell> Some of the following questions are probably unfair, but you have such a great website (and good site sponsors) I can't resist asking them. <Ask away> Twenty five years ago we set up a 25 gallon cold water marine aquarium for Pacific NW intertidal life in our living room. It had a beach sand filter bed laid over Tygon tubing coils circulating antifreeze cooled by a surplus brine chiller, and a homemade external filter containing floss and activated charcoal. <Quite inventive> I don't recall that we ever heard of skimmers or water testing, but it worked great for several years. The kids collected animals on the beach to stock it, and learned a lot about the law of the jungle (i.e., eat or be eaten). Eventually, the kids went off to school, the chiller broke, the equipment was scrapped, and we were just left with a lot of salt deposits in the living room. Now I've been given the challenge of setting up a similar system in our granddaughter's elementary school. Operation needs to simple, since I live several hours from the school. Also, it may be necessary to shut down each spring and restart each fall. <Ah. "Things" have improved> We have a 35 gallon glass tank, 4 feet long, and a surplus chiller. We plan to skip the undergravel filter, and just use a commercial external filter (probably Fluval or Eheim) and a skimmer. No air injection beyond that required by the skimmer. And, I assume, no wet/dry filtering to minimize heat gain? <Not essential, no> I've learned a lot about modern marine aquarium technology and chillers from your great web site, but still have several questions. Is any of the Wrobel material on cold water tanks available on the Net? Our Seattle libraries, including the University, don't have anything except his text on gelatinous animals. <Not as far as I'm aware, and that's a shame> We are planning to use an inch of local beach sand on the bottom of the tank. Would it be beneficial to use maybe 1/3 crushed coral with the sand to help keep the calcium level up? <Perhaps. You can monitor this level and augment in other ways if necessary> Should I insulate at least the back and bottom to reduce heat gain? What material is best; I was thinking foil-coated building foam? Should it be sealed to the tank with caulk? <The insulation is a good idea. Your choice is excellent. Simple rubber-cement will do fine... is easily removed if wanted to later> I assume amateur double glazing the tank front and ends can lead to problems? <Yes. I would not do this... professional systems, public aquariums sometimes avail themselves of such, with a desiccant in-between... but largely unnecessary in your circumstances> But are there any successful low-cost schemes to reduce the sweating and condensate runoff? <Best to do what is practical to reduce the ambient moisture in surrounding air... in the room about the tank> Our new chiller has a copper to copper heat exchanger, so I will need to add a secondary exchanger using plastic or titanium tubing. I prefer titanium tubing over plastic because of its greater heat conductivity. But can I use common 3AL-2.5 titanium, with its 3 percent aluminum, or do I have to find the much more expensive CP commercially pure grade? <The CP... if money, time is an issue, I would elect for a vinyl immersion coil in an insulated cooler with the copper line immersed there> I assume the thin titanium oxide layer that forms on the 3AL-2.5 makes it safe for my application, but I can't find a clear reference to confirm this. <Safe enough in general> In one hour our new chiller can cool 55 gallons of 59 degree water 10 degrees F, and 35 gallons 15 degrees, for an output of just over 4,000 BTU, if I did the math correctly. I assume we are trying to maintain about 55 degree water. Is this enough cooling capacity to keep us about 25 degrees below room temperature? Even without insulating the tank? <I believe so> Minimum chiller temperature as the water flow goes to zero is about 37 degrees, so I plan to use water instead of bothering with antifreeze. <Yes. Avoid the ethylene glycol. Unnecessary and a hazard> (It's a medical surplus unit designed to cool human bodies, and includes a hot-gas bypass pressure regulator that limits the temperature to well above freezing.) Because I have the tubing, I am thinking of using a single-pass counterflow secondary heat exchanger with a 1 inch OD 0.070 wall titanium tube for the aquarium water, inside of a 2 inch ID insulated plastic tube for the chiller water. Plus a few baffle plates in each tube to minimize laminar flow. Does this sound adequate? <Yes. Even smaller diameters would work fine. But if you already possess the current materials...> Anything over 4 feet is cumbersome to mount, but what is a minimum effective length? If I shouldn't use 3AL-2.5 titanium, how much plastic tubing might be required instead? <"The longer the better", likely fifteen or more feet. You might posit your questions to the fine folks at Aquanetics(.com)> How much water flow might be appropriate for the secondary heat exchanger? <A matter of experimentation. I would hook up a small head and pressure magnetic drive fluid-moving pump and a gate valve (silicone over the metal screw in the handle) and try various flow rates. Likely 2-300 gph is what you're looking for> And would it be appropriate to get something like a Fluval 204 or 304 filter with a built in pump and plumb the exchanger in series with it, or better to use a separate pump for the exchanger? <I strongly suggest a dedicated pump. A multi-use application will suffer from inconstant flow rate (as the filter material gets "dirty")> Anything important I'm missing here? <Nothing stands out> Sincerely, Rich Farrell <Do make it known how your project progresses. Bob Fenner>

Temperature Fluctuations- needs add-on controller for chiller 6/18/03 Hello Crew of Great Wetness!   <I'm not that happy to see you, but cheers anyway <G>> I have a question regarding temperature.  I had to purchase a chiller because my setup was forcing tank temperatures above 84 degrees in a house that has an ambient temp. of 78 degrees!  The chiller comes on at 79 degrees, runs for about 20 minutes, then shuts off when the temp. hits 81 degrees.  This is automatic, at least the 2 degree difference between when it kicks on and when it shuts off is automatic, I don't have control of it, I just set it for 80 degrees.  The happens about every 3 hours or so.  Is this 2 degree fluctuation between 79 and 81 too much based on the frequency?   <2 degrees is tolerable. DO add on a digital controller if you prefer though for finer control> I don't think I could do anything to change this...Thank you Paul <best regards, Anthony>

Temperature control I'm having a problem keeping my 55 gallon tank cool.  Its summertime and I don't have central a/c in my house. Currently I'm putting one liter bottles filled with water and letting them freeze then putting them in my tank to bring the water temperature down.  But it goes right back up to 80* in no time. Do you have suggestions on trying to keep the water cool are there any good water chillers out there??  Would you recommend having a chiller?  I also have a fan blowing on the tank but it runs all day I'd rather have a chiller and let that run than the fan all day.  Thank you again for your time. <Hi Scott, Don here today. You don't say what type/size of tank this is, so the following assumes were are discussing a marine setup. Actually, 80F is not that bad of temp. If you can keep it around this, I think you are OK. If you look into a chiller, look into the type that uses a pump to run the water through the unit rather than a remote coil that goes into the tank. Be warned that running a chiller is like having a small air conditioner in your fish room. They can generate a bunch of heat themselves. I would think that it would be almost as affective and maybe about the same cost to put a small window air conditioner in the room if you can. Good luck.> Scott

- Chiller Selection - Hello to all the fine folks at the CREW. <Hello to you, JasonC here...> I searched the archives buy I couldn't find an answer to my question about chillers.  I have the opportunity to buy a brand new 1/4 hp Via Aqua flow thru chiller on an online forum for a ridiculously low price and I am curious if any of you are familiar with the Via Aqua brand of chillers? <I am familiar but have never used one.> I have a total system volume of 240 gallons in my two reef tanks combined.  I don't particularly need a chiller at the moment because I have central A/C but in case I do need to have a chiller I thought maybe I should buy one of these chillers just in case. <If you don't "need" one, I wouldn't spend the money - often times you can do an effective amount of cooling by running a fan over the surface of the water, either in the sump or the tank - is evaporative cooling and works quite well.> Do any of you folks think these are good chillers and would one of this size/type be able to bring my system temp down a few degrees if I needed to use one in a pinch at some point in the future? <Again, for only a few degrees... I'd use a fan. If you wanted a cool marine system, that would be a different story, or if your house didn't have air conditioning...> Are they reliable and trustworthy? <More importantly... what kind of condition is it in, being used and all... I wouldn't buy a used chiller.> All the other brands are ridiculously expensive and I can get this one $300-$400 cheaper than anywhere else and it's brand new. <Hmm... if it's not used, then perhaps a good value, but I'm still in favor of fans unless you have heating problems you can't get around any other way.> Any thoughts on this? <Well... I am always suspect of deals that are too god to be true, and the Via Aqua chillers are priced below much of their competition. Do keep in mind that more often than not, you get what you pay for.> All input is gratefully appreciated.  Thanks again, Jeff <Cheers, J -- >

Inexpensive, dependable chiller quest dear bob <Howdy> I saw my first tidepool aquarium in 1968, and have been hooked by this picture in my mind ever since.  Also blocked by the chiller dilemma at the same time.  First, there weren't any,  now, their too damned expensive. Is this a rich guy hobby or what? <Either rich or inventive and mid-income> I'm looking for 58 degrees 365 days & nights per year, not a cool down on a hot afternoon.   One percent of a lot of people is a lot of people.   Some of 'em got to be smart.  So where are the DIY chillers, that won't blow up in July. I don't want to use a freezer I found decide the road.  I will have to drive 100 miles to "bring em back alive" ( Portland Or.)  Don't want to find my mini monsters dead when I get home with more. <Mmm, there are a few designs about... some on ozreef.org>   A challenge for you Bob.  Enter the appliance store of your choice, and ask any salesman what's the HP of this freezer, or that frig. Get ready for, "Uuughh I don't know." well then, who does know. "Uuuughh I don't know". he works there doesn't he? He sells 'em doesn't he?  How, do we judge how much work a refrigeration unit can do w/out it's HP?  For that matter, how much HP is need to drop 90g of water in a 3/8 inch acrylic aquarium from 85 degrees to 58 degrees and keep it there forever, if room temp is 84 degrees. <Or how about asking for one or more definitions of what horsepower is?>   Grainger sells complete condenser units 1/6 to 1/4 HP for $275 to $325. I can buy titanium tubing in Beautiful Downtown Portland. <Are you a good welder of this metal?>   Beats the hell out of Mystery Chillers Inc. $600 life indefinite, noise maker.  I think we could use an up grade from DIY Coke machine conversion chillers to something that will live as long as our livestock.  If substrate is getting better, how about the devise all our Pacific Ocean creepie crawlers are totally dependent on.  Surely some of your fans are engineers.  So squeeze 'em Bob, squeeze 'em. <I think you're going to do it with this posted e-mail> The world is good  for you in your 5000 sq. ft. home with 6 garage doors, but for those of us out here in the trenches, life is real. <Uh, we have a double garage door, three roommates, but Di uses all the space anyway...> We need data, dimensions, and drawings Bob.  Really, how much HP "IS" needed  to drop 90g of water in a 3/8 inch acrylic aquarium from 85 degrees to 58 degrees and keep it their forever, if the room temperature is 84 degrees..  We need plans and parts list. You know, information.   <I'd go with the "standard" chart reply here of a good half HP, even 3/4> It's not you fault or mine the chiller builders/seller are money groping  profiteers? Lots of industries have gone the "way" because their prices opened the door to more economy minded potential buyers. I'm dead with out an economical chiller, and I don't want  to kill hapless critters with a piece of junk. <I wish you ran the EPA, if not the country>   Time to take a serious look at DIY chillers? .Very grateful  for WWM.com Thank you.                <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner> Terry Southwell    

Chilling, chillers Dear Bob, <Howdy> Please allow me to apologize for my far less than friendly attitude expressed in my first email to you.  One of my many faults in getting angry  when I am frustrated.  I do have the means to contain myself.  Like a computer, garbage in , garbage out.    <No worries>      An WWM article some where  mentioned the word 'tidepool'.  This is as close as I have been able to get to the topic on the Web, or the library.  I guess I will have to think reef, and make adjustments. The problem with the chiller thing, is it's a deal breaker.  Sort of pumping salt water round and round through the filter, I can't get started without one.  Don't have a tank yet anyway, too many questions. <Good to have>       My attempts to get to 'ozreef.com'  have not been successful.  Is there more to the URL?  Am I looking for apples in the turnip store? <Sorry re. The URL is: http://www.ozreef.org/>   1 HP = 746 watts, but  how much cold, daaahhhh.  BTU = 1b of water  changed one degree F.  Will I need to know more?   Folks selling tanks plus gear are offering 1/6 HP chillers with 75g tanks. No good?  I think salesmen are the wrong guys to ask, but don't know the right guys.  If  I <Do see the chart on Aquanetics chart: http://www.aquanetics.com/pdf%20files/fluid_chiller_asc_adic_1-4.pdf> could afford to pay, a refrigeration engineer, I could buy a chiller.  Fish store guys with 75 degree livestock know I will be buying very little from them. I will have to make my own live rock and sand. <And livestock too?> Your living accommodations  sound like what I grew up in.  People with the garage doors  live on the lake. They may own chiller companies.   If titanium can be welded to copper,  I can find someone to do it for me.  I will be farming out several things I don't know squat about.   <You are wise here. No welding these dissimilar metals as far as I know> I caught tidepool mini monsters as a child, and took them home in a can, they died. I shot a bird with BB gun, it died.  That's enough great white hunter for me.  To keep them alive and 'happy'  is a better goal.  Leaving them  where they are is a higher goal,  but gee whiz Mom, a guys  gotta  have somthin' to do.   <Yes... to err as in to wander/wonder is human... many other possibilities... making pictures, writing, telling stories...> Any thoughts about reliable methods of keeping  100gal of water at about 60 degrees forever would be greatly appreciated.   Thank you,  and thank goodness for WWM.com <Really, the only consistent, reliable method (barring a thermal sink in areas where the ground is cold year round) is to employ a compressor type expansion, heat exchange... chiller unit, with a thermostatic mechanism. Bob Fenner> Terry Southwell

Aluminum Hi Guys Does anyone know what type of aluminum pipe if any can be used to plump salt water (any type of corrosive problems). Currently in the process of designing own chiller. Thanks..........Wayne <As far as I'm aware, all aluminum is toxic, corrosive in/near seawater. Chiller transfer materials are generally titanium, but can be made of vinyl, PVC... in an immersion bath arrangement. There are a few places over the years that I've seen plans, dream-designs for aquarium chillers... but the above general statements are valid. Bob Fenner>

Chillers Hi Crew,<IanB here tonight> I don't have a question today, more of an opinion which I would like your comments on.  I have read in a lot of places about chillers not being necessary and than fans will do the job of cooling.  Here is my setup and situation.  I have a 90G acrylic reef tank that will house mostly SPS corals and some clams.  I am using two 250W 10,000K bulbs.  I went with these over the 175W because I didn't want to be limited to the top half of the tank for things like clams.  The canopy has about 12 inches of height in it, the lights are about 10 inches from the water surface.  I have one 4 inch fan blowing over the right side of the tank and another fan on the opposite side drawing out the air.  The back of the canopy is open.  I have a 30G sump below.  Since I need a lot of flow, I started out with 2 Iwaki MD40RLXT's, one for the sump return, the other for closed loop circulation.  They turned out to be too loud for a living room setting, so I replaced the sump return Iwaki with a Velocity T4, kept the other Iwaki for the closed loop.  I would be willing to bet that the Velocity is one of the quietest pumps out there.<very quiet indeed>  It makes my wife very happy!  Problem is that it produces A LOT of heat.<for everything good there is always a drawback>  I also have a Rio 2100 pump in the sump running my Aqua C EV-120, another pretty big heat producer. <yea>  I have two 3/4 Sea Swirls at the ends of the sump return lines which I imagine produce some heat as well.<to some extent>  Beyond this, all else is pretty standard.  No excessive 90 degree elbows,<good> etc.  Our house has central air, thermostat set to 80 degrees.  With fans blowing over the top of the tank, cover off of the sump, ambient room temperature of 78 degrees, the tank temperature is at 86 degrees.  I suppose I could run two more fans in the canopy, but the amount of evaporation would not be worth it.  I don't have any sort of auto top off device, too difficult where it is located.  It would probably have a detrimental effect on my specific gravity.  Plus, since it is a standard acrylic tank, the openings on the top are not very big, so blowing the fans across the top helps cool it down, but in turn, covers the top with salt.<that can be a problem>  Then my lights become less effective, to much crud on the top of the tank.  I can run a fan over the sump, but I don't think this well help too much, plus back to having too much water evaporating.  The rear of the stand is completely open, so it doesn't get warm in there at all. I can blow a fan over the Velocity pump, I have read that somewhere, but I don't believe it will help that much.<don't think so either>  The room temp is 78, still have another couple of degrees to go before the AC kicks in.  So in my case, I didn't see any other solution than using a chiller.  Now I don't have any worries about the salinity level changing drastically.  I put covers over the tank top openings so the canopy fans remove the heat from the lights, but doesn't get salt all over the place.  The JBJ Arctica chiller is pretty quiet and only runs about 15 minutes every few hours, so it is not too bad.  But without the chiller, I don't think the tank would ever drop below 84 degrees which is still a bit high.  What are your opinions? <I too doubt the temperature in the aquarium will drop below 84 degrees (and you need a temperature around 78-80 degrees), I would purchase the chiller (better safe than sorry). I am enclosing a link that might help you   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chillersmar.htm  good luck with the chiller, and aquarium, IanB> Hope you are having a good Memorial Weekend, Paul

Cooling Hi Crew, I don't have a question today, more of an opinion which I would like your comments on.  I have read in a lot of places about chillers not being necessary and than fans will do the job of cooling. <Within "reason", many circumstances, yes>   Here is my setup and situation.  I have a 90G acrylic reef tank that will house mostly SPS corals and some clams.  I am using two 250W 10,000K bulbs.  I went with these over the 175W because I didn't want to be limited to the top half of the tank for things like clams.  The canopy has about 12 inches of height in it, the lights are about 10 inches from the water surface.  I have one 4 inch fan blowing over the right side of the tank and another fan on the opposite side drawing out the air.  The back of the canopy is open.  I have a 30G sump below.  Since I need a lot of flow, I started out with 2 Iwaki MD40RLXT's, one for the sump return, the other for closed loop circulation.  They turned out to be too loud for a living room setting, so I replaced the sump return Iwaki with a Velocity T4, kept the other Iwaki for the closed loop.  I would be willing to bet that the Velocity is one of the quietest pumps out there.  It makes my wife very happy!  Problem is that it produces A LOT of heat.  I also have a Rio 2100 pump in the sump running my Aqua C EV-120, another pretty big heat producer.  I have two 3/4 Sea Swirls at the ends of the sump return lines which I imagine produce some heat as well.  Beyond this, all else is pretty standard.  No excessive 90 degree elbows, etc.  Our house has central air, thermostat set to 80 degrees.  With fans blowing over the top of the tank, cover off of the sump, ambient room temperature of 78 degrees, the tank temperature is at 86 degrees.  I suppose I could run two more fans in the canopy, but the amount of evaporation would not be worth it.  I don't have any sort of auto top off device, too difficult where it is located.  It would probably have a detrimental effect on my specific gravity.  Plus, since it is a standard acrylic tank, the openings on the top are not very big, so blowing the fans across the top helps cool it down, but in turn, covers the top with salt.  Then my lights become less effective, to much crud on the top of the tank.  I can run a fan over the sump, but I don't think this well help too much, plus back to having too much water evaporating. <Worth trying though> The rear of the stand is completely open, so it doesn't get warm in there at all. I can blow a fan over the Velocity pump, I have read that somewhere, but I don't believe it will help that much.  The room temp is 78, still have another couple of degrees to go before the AC kicks in.  So in my case, I didn't see any other solution than using a chiller.  Now I don't have any worries about the salinity level changing drastically.  I put covers over the tank top openings so the canopy fans remove the heat from the lights, but doesn't get salt all over the place.  The JBJ Arctica chiller is pretty quiet and only runs about 15 minutes every few hours, so it is not too bad.  But without the chiller, I don't think the tank would ever drop below 84 degrees which is still a bit high.  What are your opinions? Hope you are having a good Memorial Weekend Paul <Thank you. I do think your system is a good candidate for a chiller. The mid-eighties can be a dangerous place if "something goes wrong". I also encourage you to look into a top-off device... some simple "float valves" can be attached to the sump wall and serviced by pressurized water from a distal location. Bob Fenner>

Chiller input To Bob Fenner- At reef central, reef discussion My chiller setup with lots of pictures by tonytooth. It was built with a 6000 BTU window unit AC and titanium chiller coil. All the heat and noise are outside, just the chiller coil inside. Bob this is the best design of a small chiller that I have seen. And it is low cost to build .All chillers build now are in one box not good Even if you do not want to build this a good one to check out. With 30 years working with chillers this one is 5 stars.                RGibson <Thank you for this. Please send along specific URL's if/when you can, as this greatly expedites retrieval by others. Bob Fenner>

Fan Cooling Hello guys, <Hello again Bryan, PF still with you> I have some questions tonight.  First about heat in a tank.  I have a 75 gallon tank with a stand and canopy.  In the stand is my sump that contains my Euro Reef skimmer and heater.  The pump is a CSL velocity T4.  The temp in my tank stays around 78.6 to 80.1 (not bad...but I would like around 77 -79)  I know the pump puts off some heat, and possibly the in sump skimmer and pump. <Yes, yes, and yes> So I was doing some researching and have decided to add a couple fans in the stand to help w/ temp control. <I think you would get better results with small fans in the hood> Here is my question.  What is the best/appropriate way to place the fans.  I read about placing one fan blowing across the water in sump and one blowing directly onto my pump.  Then as I was going thru the F&Q's there was a lot of answers about turning the fan to suck the warm air out.  I'm a little confused on what to do, please help clarify. Also I am looking to put 2 5" Orion fans into the canopy to cool the lighting ( using 265W PC... they get pretty hot)  I was going to blow air into the canopy per advice on reef central but again I am a little confused on what to do. <From all I've seen/read/heard it's better to have the fans blowing air in. This will not only cool the lights directly, but will also have an evaporative effect on the tank. Unless you're having heat problems, I wouldn't put a fan directly in the sump, but instead rely on the fans in the canopy. Hopefully that clears things up.> Any suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks Bryan <You're welcome, have a good night, PF>

Chiller for reef tanks 5/1/03 Anthony on reef central, at reef discussion called "My chiller setup" there's a thread with pictures and it is the best I have seen... to keep the temperature under control in a reef tank. They used a window AC unit and it keeps the heat and the noise outside of the house. It would be good if the people who read WetWebMedia could read it. Would tell many how a real chiller should work and it was home made. <thanks kindly Ralph! Will post this on the daily FAQs. Anthony>

- Chiller? - Iceprobe Hello Guys, <Good morning, JasonC here.> Great site, I have learned much and have a very successful 55 reef tank. <Glad to hear it.> Much of it due to your help.  Deep sand bed, frequent water changes etc.  I digress. I am a bit concerned about the heat of my aquarium.  Are you familiar with a product called cool works ice probe? <Yes.> Look a bit gimmicky, but I don't need too much help, just maybe 4-6 degrees in a 55 gallon tank during the day. <I don't think this device will do it for you on a tank of this size.> I was wondering if it is a useable product. <On much smaller tanks, yes.> One more thing, I would like to install it into my refugium instead of my tank itself.  I have the 18 inch CPR hang on, and frankly would rather drill into that than my aquarium. <Do-able, but not advised... again, consider something a little larger - there are other, larger chillers on the market now that use the same thermo-electric devices as the Ice Probe and are capable of handling a tank of your size.> Any suggestions would help.  Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

More on summer cooling - 3/25/03 The only problem with your suggestion is that I don't have any need to use heaters in the summer where I live. <Oh. Whoops! Okay, then I would not worry about it. If it gets higher than 82 degrees then I would blow fans over the surface of the water or even tank in general>  The heaters are set on 77 degrees now but they never come on due to the fact that the water temp is always steady at 80 - 81.5 degrees. <Got it.>  The house temp stays at about 72 degrees even! <Nice> I guess the temp is that high due to our VHO lighting, MAG 12 pump, etc.????? <My thoughts exactly. Direct a fan or two on the tank just to circulate the cooler ambient house temp around the tank and also move the heat from the VHO hood. Hopefully that will help. Check this out as well if you haven't already: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/heatingf.htm Thanks again for your patience and help. <My pleasure, Elizabeth. Paulo> Elizabeth

Lowering temperature and proper salinity - 3/25/03 What would be your best suggestion to lower my temp to 78 degrees? <I would just lower it by moving the dial on the thermal regulator of your heater> I realize this must be done slowly, but how slowly? <By dialing it to 78 on the heater I think the heat will dissipate slow enough. We are not talking a radical change from 80 to 78 in my opinion> Could I float a couple of frozen milk jugs up top every day until it lowers to 78? <No need to> Thank you for the advice and for the suggestion to look up Ron Toonen -- I plan to read up on him. <Cool. Great guy. You will find him to be very thorough and a great asset to the marine hobby>  In your opinion though, what would the ideal salinity level be for my tank? <35ppt I knew you were going to ask that question. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spg_salinity.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spgfaqs.htm It is important to note a few things, one being that the hydrometer measures salt/mineral density in a given water sample. It then can be used to estimate the salinity level based on that. Another thing to note is that most areas (not all but 98% of ocean environment maintain a salinity of 35ppt So it is ideal to keep it in that range. I use a calibrated refractometer to measure my pre-made salt water and measure at the temperature of my reef tank. In any case, if you are using a hydrometer, I recommend a quality $20-$50 range glass floater type and aim for about 1.025> I currently keep it at 1.021.  Is this too low? <I think so. Slowly add and be sure not to go up more than .001 per day.>  If so, could I just increase it gradually through my weekly water changes? <Yes>  I do a 10% water change every week. <Very good>  Thanks again for your help.  You guys are life savers! <Nah....you're the life saver we're just the life saver supporters. Paulo> :)

Chiller Selection Scott, thanks for reply. I'll let you know if I buy the Aqua Medic how it performs. Harold <Please do! Thanks! Scott F>

Just Chillin'... Does anyone have any real experience with either the Artica chiller by JBJ, Premier Chillers, or the Aqua Medic chillers. I am probably going to need a new chiller for my 500 gal. reef tank. Noise is DEFINITE consideration as my wife hates any noise coming out of my aquarium room. <I can understand that> Am considering a 1/3 or 1/2 hp chiller. <I'd go with the 1/2 hp> At present, I have a 1/4 hp West Coast Aquatics chiller which is about 11 years old. I replaced the compressor about 7 years ago and is now starting to give me cooling problems again. Live in Houston, summers are tough, and my temp. is starting to get to 80 degrees with metal halide and compact fluo. light on daily. Price on the Aqua Medic and Premier chillers seem rather cheap for the 1/2 hp compared to Aqua Logic. Any info. you might have will be appreciated. Thanks, Harold <Well, Harold, I have not had personal experiences with either one of those models. I'd put out a post on the WWM chat forum to see if any fellow hobbyists are using these units. One caveat, of course- the least expensive model is not always the best one. Since your chiller is an important component of your system, you need to make sure that it is a reliable one, with a good long-term track record. Sorry I couldn't provide more specific information on these units, but I think you get the idea! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Losing His Top So He Can Keep His Cool? Hi Crew, <Scott F. here for you> I have a question about some things I've read here. I currently can't get my 75 gallon tank with a SmartLite PC 50% 10,000K daylight and 50% actinic, and a MagDrive 950 IN the sump to cool down. The tank is heating up to 81 without running the heater. From what I've read I should remove the glass top from the tank to allow for more airflow. Is this correct? <Well, yes, it will help with oxygen exchange, as well as cooling, but you will have a noticeable increase in evaporation! You could also place some fans in the lighting canopy, or even blowing across the water in the sump to help move some heat out of there> If so I've heard gobies sometimes try to jump out. Since this is one of the fish I'd like to have in my long term plans is there something else I should cover the tank with? <How about using some egg-crate material, cut to the size of the cutouts on your tank? You'll get great gas exchange, all of the cooling benefits of the open top tank, and keep your goby from becoming reef jerky! It will diffuse some of the light from the top, however, so keep this in mind> Thanks for all of your help, Dave PS. Order Mr. Fenner's book, should be here next week! <You're gonna love that book...mine is absolutely thrashed from re-reading it so many times! Thanks for stopping by! Regards, Scott F>

Stainless Steel I'm wondering if it is ok to run stainless in reef tank. well ill tell you what I'm doing. I just came across a new Culligan drinking fountains the ones that chill&heat .some one dropped it broke the holder for the water .so it leaks water at top, other wise perfect so I took it, customized it. it had a 2gal.stanliss bull that water went in and chilled. so had a brilliant idea so broke out Tig wilder turned bull into perisherpot like device. no other metals in system. George tested, put small in pump I can chill and heat no problem I'm using a CAtm 3ooo sump pump in 5 gal. bucket. with a Honeywell digital temperature control wired in cooler. less then 2 min. 37 degree water heat just as fast. now on 55 gallon barrel 10 1/2 mm 37dere water . been holding 80 degree water 48hours now .played with some more designed to fit under  tank hook up in series with pluming. what to know if stainless steal ok before I attach to system. I also have another project need some knowledge .ill ask latter.. <Mmm, you could use this chiller with an exchange coil of some sort but not exposed directly to seawater... it will rust and pollute the seawater if it comes in direct contact. Bob Fenner>

Re: Stainless Steel so stainless is no good it will rust. <Yes> so have to come up with some plastic liner or some sort. <Actually... an "immersion bath" like an aquarium or tub that you can fill with freshwater, run the heater/chiller in... and a long plastic (flexible or solid) pipe that you can use as a heat exchange coil... pumping your seawater from the system through... immersed in this bath> also want to know if there is a special glue to use on PVC pipe or just soak in salt water to get out contaminates in pipe after contraction. always use to run water threw PVC one hour in none tank constriction. <No special glue> like drinking water wonder the same or not. I really like your sight leaned a lot form you. thanks bob for the info. get back on other project when little more info on construction.. thanks again for your time to write me back approach the call back. <Glad to help. Bob Fenner>

Thermoelectric Heater/Chiller Dear WWM crew, Do you guys have any comments/insight into the thermoelectric heater/chiller like the one advertised in the Drs. Foster and Smith catalog?  I have a 55 + gallon flat back hex acrylic tank with a hood and three 23" power compacts.  The temp hovers at around 84 F. The tank is pre-drilled and is powered by an Iwaki pump with a mechanical, carbon, and UV (which I'm not currently using) Rainbow canister filters.  There is no practical way for me to implement the usual "cooling" methods, but I don't want to spend $700.  The DIY plans seem sketchy.  Any suggestions? <Yes. Many times aquarists seem to think in order to get fans to work that you gotta have your canopy drilled etc. Hogwash! Is the back of the canopy open? Yes? Then go to a computer store and get two of those $13-20 fans and put one on either side of the tank and blowing across the water. Put them on a timer so they will stay on as long as your lights. If the top of your tank is open, you can mount the fans on the back of the canopy. This will save you $700 which you really don't need to spend...and it works! More than likely, this will get your tank under 80F.> Thanks guys, Stu <You're welcome! I hope this helped...David Dowless>

Chilling Out! Several Months ago in summer, I purchased an Aquatherm Chiller/Heater from Flying Fish Express thinking it would maintain the chosen temperature of 77 degrees F. by merely setting the thermostat to same and it would switch as necessary between heat and chill automatically. No, you have to manually change it over several times a year depending upon the ambient temperature. Is there such a device made and finally what is your evaluation of the Aquatherm in comparison to other brands?  Thank You for your valued advice and opinions. Stephen Pace. <I personally have no experience with the Aquatherm brand. You may want to post on the wetwebmedia.com chat forum to get your fellow hobbyists' opinions on the product. I have used the Medusa dual stage temperature controller with good results. plug in your heater and chiller to the unit, and set the desired temperature. The unit energizes either the heater or chiller as needed to maintain the desired temperature. There are other manufacturers making this type of unit, too. Do check our sponsors' web sites for availability and pricing. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Fan cooling Will do! BTW, how exactly do you blow fans across the top of the water on a sealed tank? Thanks for help! BH <Well- that presents a challenge, doesn't it? I'd do one of two things: Open the top a bit and blow in air from above, or (and this is what I was inferring) I'd place the fan over the sump (assuming you use one). Hope this helps!  Scott F.>

You give me fever... Natural and captive reef temp.s Thanks for this. What you say below all makes good sense, and in line with my studies. But how then do we reconcile a chiller creating an artificial temperature cycle two or three times a day as it's thermostat cuts the unit in, the unit drops the temperature, unit stops, temperature rises, thermostat cuts the unit in... <Really the unit should not cycle that dramatically.> Particularly given that the variance against time is the issue, rather than the actual value (given that it is within acceptable range). Wouldn't I be best to let the tank ride the seasons variance? <This may have some added benefit, particularly if you are experimenting with bringing about a spawning event, but it would be experimental.> This would see an annual change from 26 to 32 in summer but with good stability over days/weeks. <Correct> I have bought/installed a chiller based on advice from everyone (I live in Sydney with Metal Halides), so maybe I am dreaming to think it can be kept to 32 maximum. I haven't had a summer yet with this setup so I don't know. I am skeptical and selective about taking advice on anything in this area (marine aquariums) but there seems to be a fairly consistent opinion here. Am I best to have the temperature range on the chiller set higher (say from 27 to 29) so it cycles less? <That still seems like a large range, 80-84*F.> What is the lesser of these two evils, variance or absolute? <Stability is preferable.> Any suggestions for further study (I prefer a correlation with field results  if possible). <You can always check out the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration website, http://www.noaa.gov. They have data on coral reef temperatures.> Many thanks for this quite unique (conservation) resource! Michael Peters <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Temperate Starfish... is it warm in here? Hi Bob, 11 days ago I found a star fish at Myrtle Beach.  <I am very sorry to hear it...seriously> It traveled home and I have setup a tank for her. She seems to be doing fine. I would like to know what she is and how to take care of her. She's gray on top with teeth like spines all round her arms. They are reddish at the base and white on the tips. She is peach and orange underneath. I also brought sand and shells from her beach to setup my tank with. She likes to bury herself under the sand. This morning I found her completely on the glass, which to me is a social improvement. Please help me if you can, or at least point me in the right direction. Thank you so much, Tammy Shilling <my friend... this is a temperate species that will suffer and die in time if not provided with chilled water. Even room temperature is too warm for year around maintenance. And a tank without a heater will allow temperature fluctuations that are even more stressful between night and day. I'm sorry to be a buzz kill, but such animals belong in the ocean if they cannot be provided for adequately in captivity. Temperate species need refrigeration units (chillers) that cost nearly $1000 for hobbyists models. Without it, your starfish will hang in there for some months perhaps. Over a year in rare cases. My advice is to find a local public aquarium that will take it in assuming they have temperate species displays. Best regards, Anthony>

Overheated my reef tank!! Hi Bob... <Anthony Calfo in your service> Seems I only have time to send you mail when I'm in trouble .. ;) Last time I had a severe algae (Cyanobacteria mostly) problem and system imbalance... Your suggestion to simply do water changes until things cleared up worked after about 2 - 3 months,  <yes...tried and true nutrient control...dilution is the solution to pollution> and my clown fish pair (ocellaris) have laid eggs almost every two weeks since... except for the current situation. Apparently my Ebo-Jager heater (125W in a 30G tank with 4" sand and live rock) ran away for about a week, mostly unnoticed by me.. I'm not sure how hot it may have been in the tank.. but I caught it at 85+ on its way back down in the evening.. with the lights at peak during noon (I have a dimmer) it may have easily gotten into the 90s or more.. My first clue was the serious increase in the tank evaporation. it was double or more the normal rate of evaporation.. I originally shrugged it off to a brief warming trend in the summer weather, so it went on for a while before I connected the dots.. and yes the corals were showing signs of stress, and generally not happy, but I couldn't see why (overlooking the temp!) So, now that I have replaced the heater, <it is a good habit in all tanks to run two small heaters instead... a better margin of safety on failure. If the tank needs 300 watts of heat, then two 150 watt heaters are called for> and calmed things back down, I'm wondering about recovery of a couple of my corals... particularly a Euphyllia Glabrescens (that the Clowns have been using as their anemone and spawn site), and a nice white Sinularia that was doing very well prior to this. The Euphyllia has been extremely receded into its cavity. the Sinularia has shrunk down to 20% its original size... I suspect that both corals may have lost their symbiotic algae,  <a very common response to high temp> and may be starving to death..  <exactly... extra feeding is necessary for some weeks/months until they recover. For the Euphyllia this will be easy with fine meaty foods.. alas for the Sinularia it will not. They can scarcely eat organismally with prepared foods. May simply take months to recover> To ease things a bit for them I have backed my lights down to about 50% for the last week during initial recovery, and have cranked it back up to 80% today to encourage things again... I have also added some Coral Vital occasionally to help the corals assimilate what little they may be getting from their algae.. <not sure that I strongly agree or disagree with either of the above... but well enough> Any further suggestions?.. <beyond feeding a little bit extra... do nothing short of maintaining expected high water quality. It is important at times like this to keep things VERY stable. The last thing that these stressed animals need is change. It will simply take time to recover> BTW: the rest of the corals (mushrooms, Acropora and a Sarcophyton) all seem to being getting happy again, and the clowns are back laying eggs again.. --thanks --Chane <all great to hear. Best regards, Anthony>

High Temp Hi crew! 55 salt water reef with all but a chiller. Help my temp is 85F...they still are living...but am I killing at this temp. House is 78F, but I have power compact with fan, and added a twist 9watt U.V. thanks jacdavie <You might read through our FAQs files on Chillers: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chillersmar.htm Bob Fenner>

Heat/Chiller Hi Guys <<Hi.>> Once again I seek your advice. I have written earlier about the temperature problems in my 110 gallon fish only system. I am running an Iwaki external pump and two power heads in the sump (one for the Euro-reef skimmer and the other for the U.V.) My problem remains in that my water temps are going up to 83* this after following your advice to replace the glass canopy with egg crate, putting an exhaust fan in the hood and running a clip on fan aimed at the sump. I keep the house between 75-79* but cannot keep the water temperature down. I even unplugged the heater "just in case." <<Well, I can relate my own experience... I had a 54g corner tank with a 150w metal halide, in my bedroom on the second floor of my house. I live in a valley and in the Summer, we often get temperature inversions in conjunction with the smog blowing up from New York city and this creates stifling, hot and humid days. That tank could easily get to 88-90 degrees in the dead of summer. I tried fans all over the place but could never get the heat down... the problem, I wasn't actually getting rid of the heat, I was just moving it around as hot air. My solution was to run a window air conditioner.>> I think that the only real solution appears to be a chiller. (please correct me if I'm wrong) I do not have the room inside of the stand so I will have to place the chiller next to the stand. Since this is in the living room I don't think that I want to use the inline models (appearance plus potential of water leaks). What's your feelings on the Aqualogic and or CSL drop in models? If I go this route, is the Medusa controller worth the upcharge over the Aqualogic. <<Well... keep in mind the previous little ditty, if the unit sits in a hot living room, all the while creating heat, you may find it running more than you'd expect. That being said, drop-in units are less efficient that their flow-through cousins... but they do work. If it were my money, I'd forego the 'looks' in the living room - this is only for the summer, yes? - and do a flow through unit with a dedicated pump you can place in the sump. The electronic thermostats are more precise, but obviously adds to the cost. Your call on that.>> I await your counsel as you have been dead on in your suggestions on other products that I have purchased. Thanks once again, Joe <<Cheers, J -- >>

Chillers Hello again. <<Hello to you.>> Well I broke down and spent the money on an Aqua Logic 1/5 hp Chiller. Much to my surprise when I finally got home with all the appropriate plumbing parts and began to set it up the temperature probe read (brace yourself!!) 92F!! and that was at 930PM!!!! <<Oi vey!>> I guess it was worse than I thought. Anyway, the chiller worked very well. Needless to say it took a few hours to get the temp down. Which brings me to my question. How low is good enough? I originally took it down to 74 but my Yellow Tang didn't look to happy about it. <<These are cold-blooded animals...>> He developed a couple of 1-2cm white spots. So now I have it set at 79F and the spots are fading. In YOUR opinion, what is the ideal temp for a mini reef? <<between 78 and 80...>> I've read anything from 72-82F and need some professional advice. <<72 is too low, as is 74 - shoot for 79 and you'll be fine.>> Thanks again for your help. Ron <<Cheers, J -- >>

Chiller for Reef Tank Can you tell me if there is a company that makes a chiller for a reef tank in two parts, condenser on the outside, chill water coil inside. Most house AC are made this way. It would keep the heat out of the room the reef tank is in and cut the cost of running the chiller. RGibson <None that I have seen. Most people I know plumb the chiller into a separate room, many times a garage, to vent the heat away from the tank. -Steven Pro>

Octopus and Chilling Incident Hi Bob, I tried frozen shrimp (the ones that are for human consumption) which was totally rejected by the octopus. I then tried some small frozen fish which was also ignored. Today I will start feeding it with live oysters which will be staying in the other tank and fed to it at a rate of 3-4 / day. The only question is how can I know that it is well fed .. or perhaps overfed.. <Do look for small live crabs... If the animal is very small (like the size of your thumb), small live crustaceans of other sorts> Do you still have your octopus in that tank ? How long have you been keeping it ? <Have never kept these cephalopods, other than in retail settings> A really interesting animal.. I think that in the next edition of your book you should include more information about it.. as well as some cool water marine fishes.. (as usually our website is at your disposal for this purpose). I hope that till then we will have acquired enough information to justify a chapter in your "Bible" !! <Thank you for this. Some friends and I are writing some related works together... the next on "The Best Fishes for Marine Aquariums"... and the following work will likely be on "non-fishes"... will accumulate your note here for this latter title> You will read full details in the August update of our site but I would like to let you know in advance (for your book.. ) While on a business trip the thermostat of the chiller stuck in the "on" position and the water temperature dropped from 21 C to 4 C where it stayed for 12 hours. My son stopped the chiller and allowed the temperature to reach 21C in 20 hours. No fish or invertebrate losses !! <Amazing how tough aquatic life can be when it starts in good health. Bob Fenner> George

Re: Calcium Reactors in Australia (and expensive chillers!) Hi Bob, I have placed an order for the Dupla reactor and now keenly await its arrival. A piece of information that I thought you might find of interest and perhaps Diana as well. I asked the supplier of the reactor about the availability of Korallith media. He informed me that he had tried to access it but Australian quarantine forbids its importation (do not know on what basis, now making further enquiries). Could not see how it Ca reactor media would pose a risk, but our country has some pretty tight restrictions. <Me neither... will forward to Di and Ralf and Daniel in Germany> I have another question for you, this time about chillers. I am planning to install a chiller on my tank before this summer season. Our average maximum temps for about half of the year sit at around 35oC. Not the ideal climate to live in for a mini-reef enthusiast. In the past I have air-conditioned the room but relying on an air conditioner (on a timer) for 14 hours a day 6 months a year is a bit much. With a chiller I should be able to reduce this significantly to just the hottest part of the day and the middle summer months. Having the two units together when we are away is also a better fail safe. <Sounds like a good plan> I have been trying to do some research on brands but have been able to find out little about the models available in Australia. My options in Australia are - Teco Chiller/ RA680 will cool 800L by 10 degrees C below ambient room temp. Cost $2020 complete with thermostat. Italian Made (I think). <Yes, a good unit> - Sfiligoi Chiller Big Flite will cool 750L by 15 degrees C below ambient room temp. Cost $2100 complete with thermostat. Italian Made. <Also an allegedly well-made unit> - Resun 0.6 hp chiller will cool 750L by 12 degrees C below ambient room temp. Cost not sure but assuming $1800-$2000 complete with thermostat. Asian Made. <Don't know about this product> - Aquasonic Aqualogic chiller 1/3 hp will cool 700L by 7-8oC below ambient room temp. Cost approximately $2000 complete with thermostat. <Yikes... even with the improvement recently in the Austr. dollar?> All units come with a 12 month guarantee. My question is which one?????? My system holds about 700 litre and has Halide lighting (another source of heat). My preference at this stage is for the Sfiligoi Chiller Big Flite due to its cost vs. cooling capacity. These units are normally $2600 but the agent in Australia has a winter special at the moment for $2100. The components in contact with water in this unit is 316 stainless steel which I am told is completely safe for marine aquaria (not sure about this anti-corrosion claim). The Teco which would be my second choice at this stage has platinum (I think) components but has a less cooling capacity than the Big Flite. <I agree with your choices> I have not been able to find much information on any of these brands apart from manufacturer specifications that all claim their unit is the biggest and best for aquarium use (how could they claim anything else?). Teco are common in Australia and apparently reliable. I have been told by one dealer that Resun were junk (he is selling other brand of course). I think Aqua medic may have a brand available but the cost is much higher than all the other units and only have same cooling capacity. So I am at a loss as to which one? It is a lot of cash to shell out but given our climate, the value of my livestock and the expense of running an air conditioner and fan which is only a stop gap measure (tank still goes up and down by 3 degrees in summer 25.5-28.5oC) and if the timer or air conditioner ever failed (real possibility) I would lose the whole tank. I tried a couple of DIY projects using an old freezer and then a fridge both were ineffective. <Agreed... not worth the time, trouble in your sort of setting (draw down, volume, type of system> However I don't want to buy a brand that is junk or will die within a couple of years. Which brand do you suggest? Is the Big Flite any good. I look forward to your comments. It is really fantastic that you make your experience available to fellow hobbyists. Much appreciated. Cheers Paul Grundy <Paul, do try the various chatforums in your part of the world, get a take on the actual experiences of end-users/consumers. Ours: http://WetWebFotos.com/talk/ won't likely have folks with experience with these makes/models, but worth a try. Bob Fenner>

Chiller, lighting, and sea urchin question! <<Greetings, Kevin, JasonC here... >> My tank is about 80-82 degrees and I was thinking I need to get a chiller or maybe some cooler lights cooler lighting unit). <<80-82 isn't really out of hand compared to conditions in the wild.>> I have a 150g tank with 2 fluorescent hoods and they don't have any ventilation. Can I get a good light that has ventilation? <<Why not do a retro-fit and add some ventilation, fans, etc?>> I was looking at the power compact lights, any ideas on those kind or any other kinds of lights, I need something soon! <<All lamps produce heat, it cannot be avoided.>> Is a chiller necessary to reduce my tank temperature just a couple degrees, they're very expensive, but in case I do get one, do you recommend one? <<I don't generally recommend chillers unless you live in a desert or are attempting to do a low-temp system; something less than 75F. Usually a one or two degree pull-down can be easily accomplished with one or more fans blowing over the surface of the tank to produce evaporative cooling, or placed in the light hood to evacuate the warm air.>> I liked the idea of the coil that sat in the sump! <<Honestly, those are a very poor design and not worth the money.>> And lastly, I have a sea urchin that I've had for a couple years and he's losing his spines. I've heard that when this happens it means they are going to die and they should be removed from the tank. <<certainly a sign of declining health.>> He only has the bottom half of him that have the spines! What should I do? <<Perhaps crush it and feed it to the fish if you have triggers or wrasses, or just toss it out.>> Thanks for all your helpful advice you always give me, you're the best! -Kevin <<Cheers, J -- >>

Chillers Greetings Bob I have a quick question for you. I have a 55 gal reef. I am having problems with temperature and am looking in to a chiller. Have you or your cohorts heard anything about the "Ice Probe Thermo-Electric Chiller"? The price is hard to beat but is it worth it? Please pass along anything you may have heard.  Thanks in advance. Ron <I have seen this unit at a few trade-shows in the last few years, but never used it. According to its re-sellers it is capable of a draw down of 20 degrees F of ten gallons in an insulated container... Not much of a pull... as your system is much larger, not-insulated... but for only a 50 watt power consumption, and maybe you're only looking for a slight thermal reduction... it might be worth trying. Otherwise, a simple "fan blowing across the surface" of the tanks water would likely produce the same reduction. Bob Fenner>

Custom Sealife vs. AQUANETICS Chillers Looking for a personal opinion...Custom Sealife vs. AQUANETICS Drop in Chillers which is better for saltwater and why? <drop in chillers are very limited in their scope of ability (pull down from ambient versus flow thru... I personally would avoid all drop in styles for a more efficient flow through style if at all possible! The plumbing for a flow through is ridiculously easy... I see little trouble for most people. Besides... a drop in further requires that the unit be near the tank display that needs cooled down; what an incredible waster of energy for the heat they produce in the same room that requires the tank be cooled down! And all chillers are ideally mounted/plumbed from a remote room where the heat generated by the chiller is moot> Duplex stainless steel vs. Titanium <Titanium will outlast/outlive stainless steel in most every application. Best regards, Anthony>

UV Sterilizer and Advice (chiller, ich) Hi Bob, <Steven Pro this morning.> Need your help. I have a big aquarium about 1000 liters. Currently there is only fish and livestock due to hot temp in the aquarium about 30 C. <That is 86 F for the non-metric users.> I planning to make a chiller out of a small fridge. Do you think this will work. I got the blueprint from Don Caster from one of the website. Please advise. <I have seen many of these plans before. It may work, but not nearly as effectively as a commercial unit.> I have few tangs and few angels in the aquarium but somehow is got infected with ICK (white spot). After dying of few fishes, I have used Copper Safe in the aquarium, and it seem to help but now and then the ick seem to come back. <Sounds like you have an underlying environmental issue; water quality, temperature fluctuations, etc.> How can I be sure to kill all the ICK. <You will never be able to kill all the Ick. It will always be present in some small number and the fish will tolerate it. It is when something occurs that makes the parasites multiply, that puts your fish in harm.> If I am planning to start a reef aquarium, how do I remove all the copper solution from the water. <PolyFilter will remove it from the water, but nothing will remove it from your calcium based media; liverock and sand. You will need to remove all this and replace. The biggest reason why it is best to treat in a separate bare bottom quarantine/hospital tank.> Will a protein skimmer help? <Help with overall water quality, not copper. IMO, all marine tanks should have one.> I was told also to used UV sterilizer. What voltage should be safe for my aquarium. I saw one from one of the local store that say it can process about 7000 liter or 10000 liter. But the voltage is also 9V. Are those usable for my scenario? <Generally, I do not recommend UV's for hobbyists. They are usually ineffective and your money would be better spent on a protein skimmer and a quarantine tank.> Please help as I have ran out of ideas. Thank you very much. Cheers, Daniel <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Questions about Reef Lighting and Chillers hello Mr. Fenner, <<JasonC here, one of Bob's "associates">> I am brand new to the hobby of reef keeping and trying to educate myself. I know you are diving right now, but I hope one of your associates could answer my question. I have a 58 gal. tank with one power compact strip on it with two 96 watt bulbs-one blue and one white. I have been told by my local coral store owner that it is a little underpowered. I do have leathers, mushroom, and polyps in the tank now , but I only started this one week ago. What is the ideal lighting guidelines for power compacts? <<should be fine for your tank, sounds like perhaps that store is trying to shake some more money out of your pockets. As far as guidelines for power-compacts... well, it's really amount of light applied to the tank, not the type of bulb one uses - this is the nut to crack. Do give the following link and subsequent FAQs a read-through: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lighting.htm >> Secondly, my tank runs about 80-82 degrees, I was also told to start saving for a chiller, what are the parameter to know you need a chiller? <<parameters for a chiller? Live in the desert, already bought all the spare pumps you need, aching for something to spend your money on. Chillers are expensive and really should be saved for a problem you can't solve any other way - like with a simple fan blowing across the top of the tank. Here's another link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chillersmar.htm >> grabmayer <<Cheers, J -->>

Re: Quick question re: Chillers You mention chillers, and although this isn't entirely related it brings up another question. I've been toying with the idea of keeping a cold water "local" area tank (stuff from Maine and New Hampshire...) but I don't want to spend the $600+ on another tank at the moment. I was playing around with the idea of making an alternative chiller, namely using my old college fridge and pumping the water through a bunch of coils inside the fridge and then back into the tank. Do you know of any sites I could check out to get info on this idea?  <Don't know of any... but have done this sort of "immersion" bath, exchange tubing myself... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marindind2.htm re Coldwater Marine Systems, the FAQs on Chillers> I know it's not the first time this has been done as I got it from some article I saw a few years back (just can't remember where). <Done... many times> The other question is in regards to those chillers that you float on the surface of your sump. They are fairly inexpensive (under $100) but I have yet to find out much about how well they work. The thing is that I'm running a 65 gallon show tank with a Rubbermaid sump (40 gallons???) and a 29 gallon refugium and I actually have trouble keeping the temp up! I've been keeping the temp at roughly 80-83 but that's with two heaters running (both smaller heaters that happened to be laying around), any ways I've never had need of a chiller so I have limited knowledge of them. Brian <The stated temperature is a bit high... the "on top" chillers I have seen have not been worthwhile except for very small or very large systems (different makes, models). The Titanium tubing/exchanger models are the best currently for functionality, return on investment. Bob Fenner>

Home made chillers Greetings, I have an idea I want to run past you guys. I currently have a 125 gal. tank that gets up to the low 80's and I'd like to bring it down to about 75 degrees. <75 is too cold. I am not a big proponent of pushing the envelope with increased temperature, but I would keep the tank at 78. Even as high as 82 if I had a chiller and good control over it getting higher than 82.> Here's my idea, I'm planning on buying a deep freezer with a storage capacity of 5 cubic feet, about 30-40 feet of 3/4 tubing (coiled), a Rio 1400 pump to circulate the water through the freezer, plumbing accessories (elbows, etc.), & a heater for the wet/dry to stabilize the temperature. Without reaming me like last time what's your opinion on the pump, length of tubing, & any ideas on will this $200 setup work? My return pump is a Rio 4100, I have two 72 inch VHO lights, & I plan on doing all of the connections from the wet/dry. I've read over the internet about this sometimes working with a dorm fridge, I found a deep freezer for a comparable price & it's a little more energy efficient. <There is a world of difference between a dorm fridge and a deep freezer. Deep freezers are designed to run efficiently while filled with something to keep frozen. An empty deep freezer will use a lot of energy. Also, you have $200. I would buy a real chiller before wasting that much money on unproven technology. -Steven Pro>

A new DIY chiller Hi Robert Just a note to let you know that I have a new DIY chiller at http://chiller.nickperkin.com It is different to other chillers in that the fridge is on all the time but the powerhead only circulates the water when the temp gets to high. I hope you can add it to your DIY page <Well done. Thank you for sending this along, and making it! Will place. Cheers. Bob Fenner> Nick Perkin Sydney, Australia www.nickperkin.com

CustomSeaLife Inline Power Coolers 1/3Hp Hi! <Back atcha> May I know what is the recommended pump for the above chiller?  <no idea whatsoever, but thanks for asking <G>> I was told Rio 2500HP is enough but was wondering if Rio 3100HP would be better or is it too high end? <do consider contacting the manufacturer for specs...too important a piece of information for speculation. Perhaps a reader of the Q&A page owning this model can advise us...will forward it along> Thank you! Regards, Thomas <hasta potato. Anthony>

Water Cooling Hello Bob, <Jerry... Anthony Calfo here pinch-hitting for Bob> I am hoping for an opinion on a project I am starting in the next week. I have a 180 gallon reef tank. I currently use a typical chiller. It is expensive, noisy, puts off heat, etc. I am also building a new house. I intend to bury tubing under the basement or garage floor, through which I move aquarium water to cool it in the summer.  <what kind of tubing... plastic and vinyl are poor conductors... may be cost-prohibitive to compensate for with bigger pumps and longer tubing> I plan to use my existing Medusa controller to control the circulating pump. I will have a low point so I can easily drain the loop during the winter or other periods of non-use. I was hoping to make it an open system with the saltwater going directly through the tubing. An alternative would be to use another container to do the heat transfer (closed system), allowing me to use non-toxic antifreeze <interesting and still scary> for the fluid I'm circulating, thus avoiding any risk of stagnant water or outgassing problems from the tubing or the risk of losing water from the reef if the water leaks out of the loop somehow. I was planning on using polybutylene tubing but I have read that much of the tubing allows oxygen to permeate. If the tubing is buried within a concrete slab, is oxygen an issue?  <if so, you have a greater concern with other ground contaminants> Does the concrete leach anything into the tubing? <raw concrete. perhaps. Honestly not sure in general> Any input you can give me would be highly appreciated. THANK YOU. Jerry Moeller <Jerry, many diligent folk have come before you trying to re-invent the wheel on this issue. Some success can be had with evaporative cooling principles... but the poly tubing approach has failed many times before. I honestly think you are taking the long way around the barn. If you use a chiller, place the unit near the ceiling if in the same room, or better yet put it in the next room above or below the tank's room to exhaust the heat. Do not encase the chiller for noise reduction as this will reduce efficiency and be cost-prohibitive. Open canopies, exhaust fans (evaporative) and larger external recirc pumps on a manifold (instead of many submerged power heads for water movement) will all help you reach your goal. Kindly, Anthony>

One question (Chiller plumbing, marine system) Hey Robert I am wondering if I should plumb the water from the chiller directly back in the tank or have it go back in the sump? <To your tank is better> I don't the corals and fish to stress out in any way, any recommendations??? Thanks Walter <Mmm, suggestions re chillers? Please read through the few archived FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chillersmar.htm following links, FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner>

Nano-reef chiller Hi Bob, PF again throwing in my spare change... ; ) RC has an article about using one of these Iceprobe Chillers in a HOT filter. Given that my lighting pushes my temp up to 84F(and probably over), and the fan I have to cool it blocks off the view of the tank, I think I'll be doing one of these myself. here's the url: http://www.reefcentral.com/library/reviews/IceProbe/default.htm <Thanks for this. Bob Fenner> HTH, PF

Nano-reef chiller Dear Mr. Fenner, You were very helpful in a previous question about a ten-gal nano reef skimmer. I have another question for you. I live in Hawaii, home of the coral reefs. Unfortunately, the temp (even with evaporative cooling) has been noted in my freshwater ten-gal at 82, 84, and even 86 degrees. I assume I will need a chiller for my new saltwater 10-gallon. There is a product called the CoolWork's IceProbe costing $100. It is a micro chiller that uses a cooling probe inserted through the bottom of a tank. It has been designed for approx 10 gal aquariums, and the manufacturer says that it "directly converts electricity to cooling power". Have you ever used this product, do you recommend it, and should I get one (or some other chiller)? Thank you very much for you advice <I've seen this product at a couple of trade shows (the business side of the pet-fish interest)... am concerned about the lack of a controller (you can buy, make one) with this "continuously on" chiller on such a small volume of water. If you do intend to use this unit, do secure/use a controller. Bob Fenner>

Geothermal Aquarium Chiller Hi Bob! Since we had a few days of REALLY hot weather here in the northeastern US, I am thinking of incorporating a chiller into my system. I have a 300 gallon reef tank that is doing well (thanks to your advice and lots of hard work!). Recently, the temperature swings in my system have been getting a little high: 78 degrees in the AM to 83 degrees in the PM. I currently use an air conditioner in the adjacent room behind my tank with fans to blow cool air into the canopy but this is both noisy, cost inefficient, and above all not able to sustain constant temperature in my tank. My lighting consists of 4 X 250 W and 2X 400W Metal Halides. I could use shorter photoperiods and move the lamps further away from the water surface, and set a higher average temperature in my Octopus 3000 (say 81 degrees) to minimize the temperature swings but I think that I would still need those noisy fans and the inefficient air conditioner. <Yes, likely... and setting the low temp. to 81 would likely boost the higher temp. a degree or two...> I have an idea that could solve all of my problems with heat dissipation. I am researching a way to build a geothermal aquarium chiller (maybe I will put those chiller manufacturers out of business !!!!).  <And the utility companies!> According to my research, the earth's temperature in my region of the country, is constant at around 55 degrees at a depth of around 3 to 6 feet. If I bury a long pipe at this depth, say 100 feet in total length, and then connect it to a pump and to my aquarium, voila....free cooling except for the electricity to run the pump (and the elbow grease to dig the trench ;-( ). <Neat idea... will you use polyethylene, ABS... tubing? Any transfer medium... like water around the area...> I think I would need a valve that is thermostatically controlled so that I could restrict cool water flow into the aquarium when the temp gets too low and to allow maximum water flow into the aquarium when the temp is too high. Depending on the temperature differential of the tank water and the cooled water, this valve may or not be needed. The important thing is to: <Mmm, would try this out w/o the valve, switch for now...> 1. bury the pipe below the frost line <Mmm, above the frost line> 2. always keep the water moving thru the pipe to prevent freezing in the winter. <Well... would abandon same in Winter myself...> Does this all sound do-able or does this seem like a pipe dream to you (no pun intended) ? Do you know of anyone who has tried this yet and has been successful ? <Haven't seen this yet. Press on. Bob Fenner> Thanks Again Chuck Spyropulos

CHILLER QUESTION Hi there, Bob <Howdy> Sascha here with a quick question, Custom Sealife chiller or Aqua Logics chiller, they are about the same price, but I like the size of the Custom Sea life better and I know you like the Aqua logics. Should I get drop in or inline for my two connected systems?? <Definitely in-line and I would choose the CSL unit> My new tank is coming in 3 weeks(190g corner tank) and I love shopping.  <I as well> So my total water volume should be around 330g for both systems combined through wall) and I'll get the 1/3 hp. <Hmm, well... what's the "draw down?" How many degrees from ambient do you think you might want/need to lower the temperature? Take a look at the Aquanetics site (link on WWM) at their chart for this purpose... the tanks are in your business near the coast? Is the room itself air-conditioned all the time? You might want something more like a half HP> Thank you again and don't forget to come for a haircut, hahaha. <Don't laugh or scream... the wife took my old Wahl clippers to try and straighten up what I'd wrought... can't stand to lose too many more handsome or style points> I am looking out my salon window everyday for a guy in a fish shirt and a hat. take care and good to know you are always there to help <Be chatting. Bob Fenner> SASCHA

Temperature Control Bob I might have a problem. I have set this tank up and I have been letting it run for a couple of days. I am getting ready to put the rock in tonight. I checked the temp in the old tank that I am letting the live rock sit in until I have the big tank ready and the temp read 84 degrees. I checked the big tank and it is running 82 without any lights on it. Am I going to need a chiller and if so what would you recommend for a 46 gal.  <Maybe... but first read through the "Chiller FAQs" posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com> If at all possible I do not want to spend a ton of money on it. Thank You for your help and if it is not a problem I am sure I will be talking to you again. <It may well be that you can use "other technologies", approaches in keeping your systems water about right temp. wise. Read the section and we'll chat. Bob Fenner> Jason

Inquiry: chillers Dear sir/madam, We have found your address at internet, we are interested in dealing with a Water Cooler supplier. So please provide us with your catalog or price list of all kinds of Office and home use Coolers you supply. We are waiting for your kind reply. Best Regards... Nabil Da'is Jordan bearing city <We don't sell chillers, water coolers, but do list companies that do on our links pages on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner>

Chillers, need/use of same... Hi Bob, I would like to ask your advice regarding chillers. My 75 gal reef tank (with 20 gal sump) has been operational aprox. 7 months, no significant problems, good water parameters, a mix of hardy fish and beginner corals/leathers. It has never been operational through a summer though. During the last mini heat wave this Spring, the temperature inside our home may have approached 80 degrees during the day, yet the tank temperature soared from 75 to 85 in a two day period. Even though house temperatures are now down into the lower 70s, I find I am still fighting to lower the tank temperature back to the mid 70's (with cool water changes, reduced lighting period). But as you know, I can only carry water changes and reduced lighting so far before it will be detrimental.  <Yes... a few possibilities... alternating all lighting to being on at night... the use of better/more fans, openings for venting heat... the discovery of what the principal contributors are here (not lighting I suspect... but your pump/s... "Heat", "Chilling" marine systems covered on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com in more detail.> Fan cooling for the 4 96watt PC's is an option which I will exercise, but with anticipated internal house temperatures during the summer months here in the Northeast expected to be around 80 anyway (who wants to spend $ cooling a house during the day when we are outside/at work, etc.), I can't expect cooling fans over the lights to do much. I may be looking in the wrong areas, but I have seen precious few FAQ's regarding this problem, and your advice regarding chillers. Are there brands your prefer? <Decidedly yes... many popular brands are JUNK. Look at the features of the Custom Sea Life in-line units...> There appear to be types that pump the water through a cooling unit, while others use a chilled probe that sits in the sump. Do both work efficiently, or is one design better than the other? <Avoid the probe types... not efficient> Some even incorporate a heater. Warranties vary. They all appear very expensive ($600 min for my tank size), but cooling the house to the level needed to keep a reef tank at the proper temperature is not an option either. A chiller appears to be the way to go, but I would value your advice as to which one/type. Thanks Bob. Steve <You can even build a "heat exchanger"... with tubing running through an inexpensive refrigerator.... pumped by a filter, other pump... But do look into causes here... can you comfortably place your hand on your circulating pump/s? Are they optimized in terms of plumbing? That is, no restrictions on the intake side/s? CF lighting should not be contributing this much waste heat... look to venting the top, perhaps directing fan blown air across the unobstructed surface (no cover over the water... Something/s missing here... and we will find/solve it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Chillers, need/use of same... I live in Western MA and experienced this very same thing. Having lived in FL previously and tried [in vain] to fight tank heat with the in-apartment A/C I know how hard it is to cool a tank which is why the two day warm spell, with relatively-warm air (75) yet higher-than-normal tank temp (82) while I had been keeping the tank at 78, in the middle of the second day I boosted the tank up to (80) which kept the night time temp-drift not so wild. Hasn't happened since. Perhaps it was a bad-air-day in the NE or something weird like that - a solar flare... who knows. <I don't> The email you commented on your website seemed like it should have been sent by me - many of those same cooling issues have been bothering me. After reading some DIY plans, I'm not really convinced that that the trade off in dollars is worth the drop in efficiency, or put another way the money is better spent on an OEM piece and added in for the summer. <Very often the case IMO as well> Didn't really expect to have to cool a tank in New England. Odd. Haven't explored fan options yet or potentially pulling the cover or something... fitted bug screen perhaps. Putting the lamp on pulleys and getting it off the tank [custom sea life SmartLight]. <The effects of evaporative cooling are impressive... as you will find. Bob Fenner> Cheers. J --

DIY Chiller Questions Bob, I have a question for you. I am setting up a tank (not a reef yet!) but my room is extremely hot (water temp is about 83) and eventually I would like to have it as a reef tank. I don't have any experiences with chillers and am finding difficulty with getting info on them. <Hmm, actually, I might just go with the temp. of low eighties, and stock tropical organisms that can/do have this thermal range.> A few questions 1) Can I place the chiller under my stand? I think I have the room. <Yes, as long as you also have adequate air circulation too.> 2) How much noise do chillers produce? <Good question... some are really noisy... others almost undetectable... do check specifications for this AND the first-hand reports of other aquarists who have used the units.> 3) Does the chiller itself produce heat thereby heating up the room and the tank (in effect working against itself!) <Oh yes... same old second law of thermodynamics at work here... And as stated above, you do need to contend with the waste heat generated...> I can send a picture if it would be easier. <Maybe not necessary... do consider a few loops of flexible tubing from a pump, canister filter to circulate through a small refrigerator... or just floating a frozen milk jug of water or such container on the hotter days...> Thanks in advance.... Derek >> <Bob Fenner, who has been diving in places with warmer water, and wishes he was there right now.> Thanks Bob... The 83 degrees is without Metal Halides...so I am expecting it to jump up to 87 if I install those.... <Look into compact fluorescents instead... much cooler, and will work.> Hmmm, I may have to consider running tubing outside the house or trying the IY chiller. <Maybe... I even used an old flat immersed coke bottle cooler once...> Looks like a fun challenge. Derek >> <Be chatting, Bob Fenner> The biggest challenge of course is to not have tubing running where my wife can see it!!!! >> Understood... a bit of something here... I obfuscate such "new" occasions with the presentation of something for (wife) Diana or the household itself... Bob Fenner, surreptitiously Good Idea..... I got my temperature down a few degrees by leaving the doors open on my stand. I think I will go by a couple exhaust fans today while I look for a small fridge. Derek >> <Ah good to hear. Simple flexible polyethylene should do for transfer properties. Bob Fenner>

Tiny, tinier, tiniest fridges Bob, Sorry to keep bothering you but what is (or where) is the smallest fridge you have found? Derek >> Hmm, Home Depot or like, or Costco, Sam's type outlets.  Bob Fenner Found something I think will work...it is made by igloo and says it will cool the inside compartment 40 degrees below ambient temperature. I have a 225 gallon tank so I am not sure if it will cool it enough....but there is hope. Will let you know how it goes. >> Hmm, this is probably way too puny a unit... be cautious here... the air and solids you might place in such a "cooler" have far less thermal mass than hundreds of gallons of water... I do suspect that passing the system water through such a device will/would have negligible effect/pull down on temperature of your system water. And, also importantly, look for efficiency in these devices... can be very expensive to run in the long haul... either a small fridge that you can build an immersion coil into or a chiller for the express purpose is what I recommend. Bob Fenner, who says, use your search engine... at least read through the Aquanetics pages on such issues.

Chillin' on the cheap...er Hi I followed all your directions to the tee and we have a beautiful and amazing 110 gallon reef tank with great lighting, etc. It's the most amazing sight changing daily. My new problem is that we live in Florida (native New Yorkers) and nobody said anything about a chiller. After reading a number of articles I know we can't maintain a temp. below 80 through out the summer. Now after spending a small fortune on this tank, what would be the most cost effective way to keep the water temp. down to an acceptable temp????????? I see chillers go for $600 and up?????Of course once again I need your help. Thanks Connie >> Hmm, well, if the house itself is air-conditioned, or stays sort of cool... I would schedule (like with timers, dimmers) your lighting to come on in the evening... and leave it off during the day... And, of course, there are a few degrees to be saved/lost by evaporative cooling... leaving the top off... splashing water in a sump... blowing a fan across the water's surface (anywhere)... For "disastrously warm" days (where the water is getting over 85F.) floating a previously frozen milk jug of ice can save a system... for emergencies only... And otherwise, just allowing the system to get warmer (low to mid eighties F.) is generally not a big problem (a little more maintenance) for true tropical set-ups (same old reference to coldwater organisms that are sometimes sold as warm in the trade... avoid these...) Bob Fenner



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