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FAQs about Aquarium Chillers/Chilling Selection

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

Related FAQs: Chilling 1, Chilling 2, & FAQs on: Fans For Cooling, Chiller Rationale/Use, DIY, Installation, Maintenance, Troubleshooting, & Cool./Cold Marine Set-Up, Heating, Water TemperatureMetal Halide Heat Issues,

Cool to coldwater animals, particularly smaller invertebrates, need consistently chilled water. Halgerda terramtuentis Bertsch & Johnson 1982, the Gold Lace Nudibranch. Hawaiian endemic. Michelle Lemech photo

lots of good brine chillers need to go away           4/17/15
WetWebMedia crew,
Tried earlier today to send this message to Bob Fenner at this address: bob@wetwebmedia.com
<Mmm; you may need an "F" after the bob here>
But apparently this address no longer works? And maybe this great guy is no longer there?
<Still here>
But anyway, I really just need to get rid of several good brine chillers that are stored in Iowa, just west of Des Moines.
Mr. Fenner,
Do know anyone (probably in the Midwest) who might want a good reasonably priced brine chiller to cool their aquarium? Or anywhere we might post the availability of them?
<Not right off; but send an add to me here and I'll post it on WWM; have you tried the clubs, Craig's List? I would>
Thank you for your good email message (July 30, 2003) to me that was useful as I was getting an aquarium with a sophisticated brine chiller set up for our grandchildren’s small private school just north of Seattle.
Unfortunately the chilled marine aquarium wasn’t as easy to use as the one I had set up in our living room with a much older brine chiller back in the late 1970’s. Because back in those days, our kids could go to a Puget Sound beach and bring back a collection of marine life for the aquarium! They learned a lot about which marine animals were likely to eat the others, and became so interested in biology that one of them wound up teaching it at local colleges. And eventually the very old brine chiller compressor failed.
Then in the 90’s when I was visiting my brother in Iowa City I bought about a half dozen sophisticated brine chillers. These are hospital surplus items configured to provide cold (or warm) liquid to a matt under a patient laying on a bed. I carried them all to our family farm near Stuart Iowa (about 50 miles straight west of Des Moines, Iowa. I tested each very briefly to verify that they all would chill water. But as I was setting one up out here for our grandchildren’s school aquarium I learned that the more extensive chilling for an aquarium freezes the water, so it must contain antifreeze!
I don’t have the unit model number right now, but the service handbook for the Tecumseh compressor is attached. (It covers several different compressors, and I think the one in our units is 1/3 Hp.)
With my parents both deceased, we’re now working to get the family farm cleared out, so the several chillers still there need to go away. Our son who lives beside us here just south of Seattle sells items on eBay, and brine chillers there seem to mostly be offered for over $1,000, but they very seldom sell. And it would be a challenge to get them all transported to here from Iowa. So soon I will probably offer them on craigslist in Des Moines, Iowa, to be picked up by a buyer for a much more reasonable price.
So if you or any of your contacts might be interested in them let me know. We not have contact with our email home phone for a few days starting this Sunday, so then it might be best to contact me by cell phone, or call my brother Pat in Iowa City.
Thanks again for your long-ago help,
Rich Farrell 425-432-1411 home 206-599-9345 cell 319-358-7870 brother Pat in Iowa City
<Will post. Bob Fenner>

chillers... Sizing, pumping       5/10/13
<please suppress my email if it is to be published - thank you>
<Ah yes; we always do; unless the person expressly requests it be made public>
Thanks for the forum as I get many of answers from past Q&A.
Chillers has been talked about often. It has been mentioned if your flow rate is less than the recommend it may damage the chiller as ice may form because water is flowing through it too slow.
<? Have never heard, seen such a thing...>
And  there are efficiency issues with slower rate.
<Yes; to degrees (pun intended)>
If your flow rate exceeds recommendation it may damage the chiller as it overworks the chiller.
<Again, no... will just run continuously. Not problematical>
 But if you had to choose one, it is better to have it over the recommended flow?
<Mmm, yes; to again, a degree... Ideally one wants to have "just enough" chiller (rated wise), and maybe a skosh for extra hot days, circumstances...>
Can you go into a little more details on the reasons not to over/under flow?
<There really is no reason, other than cost for having too large a unit (practically), space for it...>
I have a 55g with Eheim 2217 and am thinking of a 1/4hp chiller with obviously a lot more flow.
<Oh... no... a decent quality 1/4 HP will be more than enough... Look to the JBJ et al. better products/lines>
Is it going to be a problem? How do I minimize the issues with this kind of set up
<Will not be a problem, though you may find you'll want to run another pump, not use the Eheim canister to drive the water through the chiller. I would. Bob Fenner>
Re: chillers     5/10/13

Any specific reason on not using Eheim 2217 to drive the flow?
<The increased drag... magnetic drive pumps aren't engineered/designed for such. B>
Michael Shen

About DIY chiller reef tank     12/23/12
I am thinking about building a reef tank inside a refrigerator.
<Neat. Have made (many years back; decades) such coolers into heat exchangers... but immersing poly hose, running water through it from a system or through an intermediary>
So will this work if i allow tube from outside just for the fresh air supply .Basic theory is  (my temp rise to 40 at summer ) insulating the whole tank with refrigerator's insulator .taking out the front door & make it a glass one (maybe those glass which don't transfer heat) .My question is only about the air transfer through the tube & will it be sufficient enough & is there any other problem this setup might create .
<Well... the liner (inside body of the fridge) may not be strong enough to contain much height of an aquarium here; and you'll want to look for any metal parts... coat or remove them... and the viewing panel is going to be hard to glue/seal to the liner... You'll likely want to fashion a race to drill through, install and "pinch" the glass, acrylic... to the edge.
Silastic won't work here>
Theoretically its a perfect idea as bringing the temp down of single object in 40 surround environment is more harder than keeping the temp same in a controlled environment which don't get affected by surrounding temp rise .price is not the issue as i calculated that with old parts it will not cost much
<I'd look into a commercial chiller myself... Or if you're determined to make this a DIY project, I'd look further into just using the fridge unit as a heat exchanger, and making or buying a better thermally insulated tank itself. We can/will keep chatting re if you'd like. Bob Fenner>

Re Deltec MCE600/Now Chiller Selection     7/16/12
Dear James,
Thank you.
<You're welcome.>
Will the chiller be inefficient for such a small tank?
<No, not even close.  James (Salty Dog)>
Thank you.
Best Wishes,
Re Deltec MCE600/Now Chiller Selection 7/16/12

Dear James,
Sorry to bother you with the numerous questions.
May I ask what are the negative impacts of using such a chiller?
<There shouldn't be any as long as the thermostat operates to within +/- one degree as the specs state.  May want to look through our chiller FAQs here.
Thank you.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Best Wishes,
Re Deltec MCE600/Now Chiller Selection/Now Pumps 7/17/12
Dear James,
Great Link.
<Glad you found it useful.>
May I ask if there's a limit in reducing flow of Eheim Universal Pumps?
<Other than a complete shut off, no.>
Thank you.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Best Wishes,

System specific chiller question 3/9/12
Hello, Crew!
<Hello Kevin>
I am in the final stages of gear gathering before the setup begins on my 180g reef tank and have a .<?>  Here is what I have so far; 6x2x2 acrylic with 2 center/back overflows (2x 1" drain and 2x 0.75" returns.  I know, should have gone bigger here, like 1.5", right?),
<At least.  A one inch bulkhead will only flow 350gph at most and that is with no restrictions or allowing for head loss.  In typical systems more like 250-275gph. So with your 1270gph pump, go figure.  I just do not understand why manufacturers use one inch bulkheads in large tanks.  Read here. 
Berlin-style 35 gallon sump with in-sump Reef Dynamics 180 skimmer
<Puzzles me why they name this a 180 when it supposedly handles tanks up to 600 gallons.>
and attached 25 gallon dsb refugium (will make a larger one later), return is by a Blueline HDX 40 external return pump,
circulation will be 3x controllable Hydor Koralia #8's (90-310 gph each) w/Hydor Wavemaker, ~150lbs of live rock with live sand.
Lighting is being finalized now but will likely be 3x 250w MH pendants installed in the hood with exhaust and 2 cooling fans.
<If it were me, I'd go with four fans, two drawing air in and two exhausting air, and each pair on opposite ends.>
Stocking plan is a mix of corals (LPS, buttons, a few SPS on top of live rock, etc.), and my fish stock list is still in the works.
My questions are:
1) With this lighting and setup, is it reasonable to consider that I may be able to get by without the use of chiller?  The two top openings will be covered with crate-type material to prevent jumping but will allow for pretty good air exchange at the surface.
<Will depend on your ambient room temperature.  May or may not need but do allow for one when you do the plumbing.>
The obvious plan was to monitor the temperature once the tank, MH's, and fans were up and running and decide from there.
<Logical move.>
However, another reefer on my local reef forum is selling a used Tradewinds 1/4 HP chiller for a fair price.  It is only rated up to 175 gallons and I worry that maybe I need to consider a higher hp version (if one is going to be required)?
<The 1/4HP model may not be enough depending on the temperature your tank runs at.  The 1/3HP is the same physical size but offers 1000 more BTU.
You will be able to determine this once the tank is set up and running.
Consideration must be made for summer months if no A/C is used in the home.>
The aquarium is in our living room which stays close to 72 F, with slight seasonal fluctuations.
Thanks, folks, just trying to avoid mistakes.  Any constructive criticism on my early setup plan here is always appreciated.
<I'd get those bulkheads enlarged to at least 1 1/2".>
Also, I know Anthony is no longer here, but I have to give kudos to Mr. Calfo and Mr. Fenner for their Reef Invertebrates book.  I'm about 1/2 way through and it is likely the best written reef book I have read.
<Have a copy myself and refer to it often.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re System specific chiller question 3/9/12

Thanks, James.
<You're welcome Kevin.>
 I'll pass on this sized chiller for now and just wait until after setup to monitor the water temperature.
<Good idea.>
I forgot to add that the sump is a pre-built type (LifeReef-300s) and was built for 1-inch plumbing, including the vinyl tubing, fittings, etc.
<Very nice sumps.>
Would it be reasonable to not use the plumbing that came with the sump and just use PVC to direct the drain directly into the first chamber of the sump (versus changing/enlarging the sump fittings)?
<Sure, but if it were me I would enlarge the sump fittings for the drain. 
Might want to chat with Jeff at LifeReef about this.  You could use the 1" drains if you do not want to bother with this but without seeing the installation, I'd guess you're only going to get a total flow into the sump of around 500gpm so you will definitely need to have a ball/gate valve on the pump outlet to throttle it down.  Your powerheads should provide the additional circulation needed but this is not the route I would take, especially with a brand new system.>
If I do increase the drain holes/bulkheads to 1 1/2 inches, will I need to change the diameter of the return holes as well, or will they be fine at 3/4 inch?
<They will be fine.>
Likely a newbie question there, but, yes, I am a newbie to this wonderful world of reef aquariums.
<I wish you would have investigated this further before you bought the tank and sump but that's hindsight now and you will have to deal with it.  If you are not familiar
with working with acrylic, and if you decide to enlarge the drains, I'd send the sump back to
Jeff and have him modify it for 1 1/2" drains for you.>
Sorry, one last question.  Since the water circulation in the display is primarily controlled through the power heads, is the average of ~ 500 gallon/hr movement provided by two 1-inch bulkheads to the sump just not appropriate movement through the sump and attached refugium?
<The sump is going to be the primary source of oxygenation/gas exchange and the more water per hour you have going through it per hour the better.>
Or is it more a risk of getting clogged or blocked?  Sorry, just trying to understand the concepts here.
<It's unlikely the return lines will get clogged.>
I'll increase the holes to 1.5" and will have the experienced guy doing my plumbing make the necessary changes.
<He may be able to enlarge the drain holes in the sump if he is experienced in acrylic work.>
Thanks for all the
great info.  I very much appreciate it.  Cheers,
<You're welcome and let us know what develops.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re System specific chiller question 3/10/12

Thanks again, James. I understand now.
I read the "drain and flow" article here on WWM just as my sump was being finished. I talked with Jeff about this just after completion of the sump and we discussed possibly sawing off the 1" fittings and re-gluing 1.5" fittings but he talked me out of it.
<? You would also need to enlarge the hole to accommodate a 1 1/2" bulkhead fitting.
I'm not sure I'm following you here as to the sawing off.>
Super nice guy, and great sump, but he definitely differs a bit on his view of sufficient flow rate through his sumps.
<I wonder what his reasoning is for two 1" drains to be sufficient for a tank of that size.>
I know a good acrylic guy nearby that could likely handle this.
Thanks so much, I'll get back in touch with Jeff, as well the acrylic guy, and get this fixed.
<Not real difficult to enlarge the hole for a 1 1/2" bulkhead as long as there is room to clamp a piece of wood on the opposite side you will be sawing the hole saw from. The wood will keep the hole saw pilot drill in position so the saw does not run. If there is not room
to do this you can cement a square piece of acrylic to the underside of the hole.
James (Salty Dog)>

New System Design Help (Chillers/Pumps) -- 05/07/11
Hello WWM Crew!
<<Greetings Matt!>>
First of all I would like to thank you all for the work you guys put in to providing us with so many answers to our questions.
<<We are pleased to assist>>
The reason I am contacting you is because I am in the design phase for a new system.
<<Exciting times>>
I cannot seem to find any info regarding how much potential head loss a chiller can cause.
<<I've used a chiller for years and find a good rule-of-thumb is to figure 1 foot of head loss for each ell fitting going in/out of the chiller 'and then 'double it.' Another good 'rule' is to slightly 'oversize' your pump, and install a gate-valve on the output side to adjust flow as/if needed>><Good rules. B>
I am currently running a 50gal reef tank and will soon be looking to upgrade it to a 75gal. I am looking to purchase a JBJ Arctica 1/10hp chiller that will be used on my 50 and transferred over to the 75 when I get all the components to get the 75 up and running.
<<Several factors can influence the size of the chiller necessary for one's system (e.g. - lighting type, room placement, ambient room temperature), but unless you are going to have very little heat transfer from your lighting, and the room is kept quite cool, and you are going to provide ancillary cooling methods (fans blowing across surface of tank/sump), I am skeptical that a 1/10th HP chiller will get the job done on this size system. If a chiller is indeed needed, in 'my' opinion a 1/5 HP chiller is a wiser choice here>>
The set up I am planning on running is the 75gal tank with a 29 or 30 sump/fuge. Because of the fuge I do not want to have too much water going through it to allow it to do its job. I plan on running a similar set up to what I have now, with low flow through the sump and circulation pumps in the tank.
I am looking at trying an external pump on my new system. The pump I am looking to get is the BlueLine 20HD, after using a head loss calculator I can get 354 gallons per hour with 3/4"pvc or 374gph with 1"pvc which is right where I want to be flow wise.
<<If using 1-inch drains, I do hope you are planning on more than one>>
I just do not know how much more of a loss that the chiller will cause.
<<I would figure another 4-foot of head loss as a minimum>>
My other consideration for a pump is a submersible pump, the Rio 2500.
<<If these are your only options, I would go with the Blueline'¦but I do feel a much better option than either of these would be a choice from Eheim's line of pumps. The Eheim 1260 might fit well here. These are very efficient (economical to operate), quiet, and reliable pumps>>
On the new system I am going to be using Metal Halide Lighting, the fixture I am planning to use is 716w 48" fixture with 2 250w Halide bulbs and 4 56w T-5 actinics.
<<If you are expecting heat to be an issue (likely, I think), then you very likely will need something bigger than a 1/10th HP chiller>>
I am still not entirely sure which pump I am going to use because I am currently using a Rio 1100 submersible pump, but I know taking out any extra heat causing element will help to regulate tank temp.
<<I find the Eheim pumps contribute very little to this>>
I recently changed skimmers that has an external pump, and provided there will not be noise issues with an external pump would like to try and go this route for my sump return pump as well.
<<Your choice 'but the Eheim will be the 'quietest' option>>
The reason I have chosen the Blueline pump is cost, warranty, energy consumption, and it will give me the desired flow rate.
I know this is a lengthy e-mail, but I do appreciate your time and hope that I have given enough information for you to answer my question.
<<I hope I have>>
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>

Eco Plus Chiller/Equipment 6/3/10
<Ah, Bob's second language, Hello Michelle.>
Someone is recommending an EcoPlus chiller by Sunlight Supply. I have never heard of this brand and was wondering if anyone can speak to quality. I noticed it is not in the short lists of brands found in the WWM FAQs.
<I haven't heard any negatives about them but It's best to post this on one of the bulletin boards and get input from actual users. Might want to try our board here.
<MÄmaka Kaiao. James (Salty Dog)>

About Thermo-Electric Chillers 12/8/2009
Hi there,
I have been looking into chillers for my 55 gallon saltwater tank. I have been looking into the thermo-electric method however this stuff is so very confusing to me.
<They are simple in practice - A quick crash course in how they work can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoelectric_effect >
Anyway, I was looking on your site and found the below response. My question is what OTHER larger thermoelectric chillers besides the ice probes are there. I have been searching but haven't found any. Thank you for your time its really appreciated.
<There are quite a few of them out there actually. Just Google "Thermoelectric Chiller". That said, most of the bigger ones out there are meant for industrial use and use anodized aluminum or stainless steel for the heat exchanger, and are not likely to be suitable for a salt water aquarium. The exception to this would be if the heat exchanger surface was coated with Teflon or something of that nature. Further, most of them do not work efficiently with water flow rates as high as we would need >
<Lastly, for the amount of money they cost, you are better served using a conventional chiller for now.>
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 -- >

Pump and chiller <sel.> question/s -- 11/03/09
I have a 150 gallon reef tank that is almost 2 months old. What is the best or most quiet external pump?
<Mmm, define "best"... is cost to acquire not an issue? Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/pumpselmar6.htm
and the linked files above>
Along the same line what is the best most quiet chiller? Currently I have a Corallife red pump and a
Ecp plus 1/4 horse chiller. They are both a bit loud for my liking!
thank you Bill Kish
<I like the Teco line myself... but others have differing opinions. Please read here:
Bob Fenner>

Chiller, pump sel.  10/23/09
Hello crew,
I have a 125 gal. tank and I plan on using a Current USA 1/4 horse power dual stage controller chiller. It requires a pump that will give me 300 to 600 gallons per hour. I currently have a Velocity PS4 pump for the return with a 1-1/2 overflow pipe which works perfect. What type of pump do you recommend for the chiller? a circulation pump or a high pressure pump?
<Simple circulation will do>
I do know to take into consideration that I will automatically have 6 ft of head pressure when considering a pump.
<Any good make/manufacturer will do here. Bob Fenner> 

Chiller Question, sel., brand    9/18/09
Hello Scott V/WWM Crew,
<Hello there.>
I apologize for bombarding you with questions, just having trouble with acquiring a chiller for my 260gal tank.
<No problem, shoot away.>
I'm guessing that I'd require a 1/3 HP chiller for the tank. I've been looking at the Pacific Coast CL650 and the Teco TR20. I'm just confused on how they're rated. I do want the lowest power consumption possible :-). I'm looking at a maximum of 10-13 deg F pull down. Teco TR 20 (1/3 HP, 480 Watts, 2620 BTU/h, Tank size: 130g-500g) Pacific Coast CL650 (1/4 HP, 650 Watts, 3080 BTU/h, Tank Size: 100g-180g).
The question thereby, is that if the Pacific Coast chiller consumes more power and has a higher BTU/hr, how come then, is it rated @ 1/4 HP and fit for a Tank size only up to 180g??
<It is a more honest rating for "typical" applications.>
Is the Teco super efficient or am i missing something?
<Nope, BTU vs. power consumed is the efficiency.>
Very confused!!! Your insight would be greatly appreciated!!!!
<I would choose the PC chiller myself here.>
Thanks :-)
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Tank Stocking, Blenny Incompatibility... Now Heat Problems 08/05/09
I have 2 fans over the sump I will add 2 more over the display.
<That should help tremendously.>
Night time temperature is 83.7, maximum daytime temperature is 85.8 average daytime temperature is 85.2.
Which chiller do you suggest for a 55 a 1/10 or 1/8?
<I would lean towards the 1/8 HP just to be on the safe side. You did not mention whether or not your apartment is air conditioned. If it is not, you might be better off adding a window air conditioning unit to the room rather than adding a chiller to the tank. What is the temperature of the room the tank is located in?>
Again thanks for your time and help.
<You're welcome, Josh Solomon.>

BioCube... High Temperature 08/05/09
I just purchased a 29 gallon BioCube and I am wondering if I am going to need a chiller for this tank and if so which brands so you suggest?
<Unless the room itself is very warm, none should be needed.>
I have read about these micro chillers. Would that work for my tank?
With the lights running for 12 hours the tank stayed around 83-84 degrees.
<This is rather warm, before jumping in and spending a large sum of money on a chiller, try opening the rear lid so the heat is not sealed in.
If that doesn't solve the problem on its own, follow up by placing a small fan above the tank, blowing into the rear opening.
Let me know if this works, Josh Solomon.>

Re BioCube... High Temperature -- 08/06/09
I have two dogs and am worried about leaving the top open because I don't want dog hair in the tank..
<For now, I would be more worried about the temperature in the tank, Josh Solomon.>

Chiller question 6/13/09
Hello WWM Crew/ Scott V,
<Hello Adriel.>
Thanks for your help!
<Happy we have!>
Hope you're well!!
<I am, thanks.>
I have a question on purchasing a chiller for a 60gal reef tank. Due to financial constraints, I'm contemplating purchasing a Pacific Coast CL650 1/4HP chiller. Is this too oversized?
<It could be, what temperature pull down do you need during the day?>
Also, the tank is in the bedroom where the AC is turned on nightly, therefore the chiller wouldn't be working too much. Is it possible that this kind of usage would damage the chiller in the long run?
<It can wear it out prematurely.>
It seems logical that if a chiller is running way below capacity and infrequently, there would be less stress on it and in turn increase its life?
<Sizing a chiller is like sizing an AC unit for a home. You can go larger, but it does its job faster when it is on (not necessarily a plus). What it leads to is the chiller turning on and off more frequently, wearing it out
faster. The electrical compressors are far better off running for 30 minutes out of an hour rather than coming on for four 5 minute runs in the same timeframe.>
I've chosen this one, as in future it could be shifted to a 240gal FOWLR with possibly a lesser pull down requirement.
<It really does depend on your pull down requirements. Unless it is quite a bit I would opt for a smaller unit.>
Your thoughts would be highly appreciated!
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Question About Chillers, sel. by brand -- 06/08/09
How you doing guys? Alex here...
<<Doing 'OK' for a Monday. Eric here'¦>>
First of all wanted to thank you guys for the great service and information that you provide.
<<We are pleased to share>>
It's my first question for you guys but I have learned a lot from reading your answers to other questions.
<<Good to know>>
With that said I recently upgraded my 29 gallon reef to a 46 gallon and added metal halides.
It's a 46 gallon bowfront with a 15 gallon sump and a 10 gallon refugium.
I have a 150w 10k metal halide along 2 96w actinics.
Since the addition of the halides I'm experiencing temp. fluctuations (78-82) and that has kept me from getting any sensitive fish such as the tangs (don't wanna deal with ick, NOT FUN!).
<<Mmm, the bigger issue here re any Tangs is the size of the tank 'is too small. Do peruse our site and see what I/others have to say about it>>
My question is what brand of chillers do you recommend?
<<I have an old discontinued model that has worked well for more than seven years now. I don't recall the brand name of the one I have at the moment, but Current USA offers the same type chiller. I've also seen the TECO chillers at work and have been impressed with their quiet efficiency>>
I have done some research and people have recommended Arctica, AquaEuro, Current USA and PCI.
<<Likely any will serve'¦>>
I figured a 1/10 HP would be sufficient for my system.
<<Agreed'¦ And though it is 'marginal' re its size, for the couple degrees pull-down you need it may be worth having a look at the JBJ Mini Chiller>>
I'm looking for something reliable, durable and of course quiet since it will be in the bedroom (I know there is no chiller with zero noise). Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.
<<Both the Current and TECO chillers seem to be pretty quiet. Do also consider heat-gain in the room where the unit will be kept (the heat pulled from the tank has to go somewhere)'¦you may find a 'remote' setup is necessary. EricR>>

Chiller Selection 3/3/09 Greetings: <Hello Mark> I just have a quick question on chillers. I have decided to buy either a Teco or a JBJ chiller. They both include a 2 year warranty which is important to me, <There are brands with a 5 year warranty.> and both are relatively energy efficient. Which would you choose, and why? Does one have a better reputation than the other when durability, parts availability, and service are considered? <I looked at one of Teco's chillers on-line. They list a noise level of 39db (A scale), pretty low noise level. At the JBJ site, I couldn't find a noise level specification on their chillers. If this were to be kept in a living/family room environment, I would look for the lowest noise level. Personally, JBJ products scare me, I hear/read too many negatives, not necessarily chillers, but other products. But to be fair with both companies, I would post this question on one of the marine forums, get input from current users of both, then make your decision. I will contact someone I know in the aquarium etailer business and get his input for you and send as soon as I receive.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Mark

Re Chiller Selection 3/3/09 Hello Mark, I received a response from my contact at Premium Aquatics as to his input on chillers. I've pasted below for you to read. James (Salty Dog) Hi James, Both Teco and JBJ are good, middle of the pack choices when it comes to chillers. JBJ's history of subpar products does not carry over to their chiller line. Their units are some of the quietest on the market, and the compressor / internals seems to be built really well. The same can be said for Teco as well. If you are wanting a higher end unit, that is completely built here in the US with an excellent warranty, then take a look at the Tradewind line. They use the famous Copeland compressor in them, high grade titanium exchanger, and up to a 5yr warranty on some of the models. You also have the luxury of having the manufacturer right here in the US for support, as well as stock on replacement parts if that need were ever to arise. Thanks, Jeremy Premium Aquatics, Inc. www.premiumaquatics.com 317-895-9005 317-895-9395 fax

Re Chiller Selection 3/6/09 Hi James : <Hello Mark> Thanks for the info on the Tradewinds chiller. <You're welcome, will forward to Jeremy @ Premium Aquatics.> I contacted the company and this is what I found. Tradewind chillers are considerably noisier than Asian chillers because they use a much larger fan. This information was offered by the owner, Hal Collier. Noise is not much of an issue for me because the chiller will be placed in the garage. Also, instead of the typical titanium heat exchanger, epoxy coated stainless steel is used. This is of some concern to me. Do any of you have some long term experience with this line of chillers? <Members of the crew may respond here if so. <<I will... Titanium for the exchanger part of such chillers is vastly superior. Over many years, makes, models of use, our fabrication, maintenance company had best success with Titanium. RMF>> If a good grade of stainless is used, this should be of no concern. Stainless is graded by it's wear and corrosion resistance properties, and there are many grade types, 401 and 410 are good grades with high corrosion resistance. You may want to ask Hal Collier what grade stainless he uses on the heat exchanger. I'd post this on one of the forums, get input from actual users of the Tradewinds Chiller.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Mark.

Re: More : Re: chiller choice   3/9/09 Hello Bob: <Mark> Thanks for your input. Now, can I ask you to go one step further and recommend a chiller? <Mmm, I think James/Salty has already suggested you look (with a discerning, even cynical eye) to the various hobbyist bb's for input here. I don't have much modern experience with the popular makers, models...> I realize you need to be diplomatic and impartial in your position at WWM so I certainly wouldn't want you to trash someone. I hope, however, that you can help me narrow down the choices. <I will gladly tell you what little I know> After reading reviews, corresponding with etailers and speaking with LFS owners, only two manufacturers aside from Tradewind are well thought of. I think the reason is that so few people own them. One is UMI out of Canada. <Ahh! Universal Marine... these folks did make some great chillers in the day... and it looks like they currently do as well> They no longer have a USA distributor but are willing to sell me a unit. The price is high as is the shipping cost and service would be a major problem. <Mmm, if there is to be service... most, real/good units take very little> Their business is primarily commercial. The other is Teco but after a conversation with them I find that their focus is on quiet over efficiency. They use two small fans to keep the unit quiet, but the tradeoff is that it does not work well in high ambient temperatures. I'll be placing the chiller in the garage so 90 deg. F temps are likely. <I see> AquaLogic apparently has slipped in recent years, Current is questionable, the other Asian makes are light duty with poor customer service. Any thoughts? Sincerely, Mark. <If you can make sense (size/volume of water, draw down...) I would go with UMI. Bob Fenner>

Chiller Choices, Noise 2/11/09 Hey Scott, In terms of quiet chillers, I've got my personal 1/3 Arctica that makes considerable noise when running. <Generally quiet, but individual chillers can vary on noise levels.> Do you think Current USA chillers may be one of the more quiet brands out there? <Yes.> I'm looking for pro style quiet-home type chillers up to 1/3hp... I've got an Aqua Euro 1/10hp for a 75 gallon system, ...you have to put your ear up to it to hear any noise which is more of what im looking for in the larger sizes if such kinds exist. <Do consider this line in a larger size too, they are reasonably quiet.> I appreciate your recommendations -Matthew <You have my top choices listed already! Scott V.>

Chiller, brand, size sel.  12/7/08 Hello ladies and gentlemen, <Hello Art!> I have a 45gal. saltwater reef tank with t-5 HO lighting in the canopy of the tank cabinet. My wife and I have this tank in our back family room. We have a new heat pump that we like to keep at 75 degrees. The back room is warmer in hot weather. I would like to know your recommendations for the best brand and size chiller for a tank up to 75 gallons. I am familiar with AquaLogic Tradewinds brand, Oceanic, Teco and other brands. I am looking for the quietest and most energy efficient model (s). <All of the brands mentioned above are reasonably energy efficient and quiet, all will suit your needs fine. These are basically small a/c compressors, they do make some noise and consume a good bit of power when on. For sizing it depends on just how hot the room gets in the summer. You will need to look at the temperature pull down you need vs. what the manufacturer recommends for your size tank, but I would speculate you will be in the 1.5 to 1/4 hp range.> Thanks, Art <Welcome, Scott V.>

Iceprobe Thermoelectric Chiller 6/28/08 Hello, <Hello Chris!> I have a small FOWLR 18 gallon tank with 7 gallons in sump. I have the 65W Current Dual Compact light, which has no fan, but I plan on installing one or two on the ends. I have a 395 gph sump pump running as well. I live in hot southeast Texas and have been having problems with my temp staying around 84-85 a large part of the day. I want to one day get a few pieces of coral, but I know this temperature is unacceptable. <Your temperature is definitely in the upper limits, but the temperature swings throughout the day are likely of more concern in such a small tank.> I was wondering if anyone knew anything about how efficient these Iceprobe thermoelectric chiller systems worked. I couldn't find anything about this technology on your site. <They do actually work to a certain extent. For the money consider saving up about $100 more and buying a small traditional chiller. This will give you more cooling power and stable temperatures throughout the day. In the meantime I advise you to use the fans you mentioned above first. Not only on the lights, but blowing across the water. Evaporative cooling can be a very powerful tool, may make the decided difference in this case.> Thanks for your help. Chris of Texas <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Re: Beginner Chiller/Refugium Questions 5/28/08 Appreciate the feedback. <Welcome.> Two final questions (sorry, they keep popping up and I want to do this right). <No problem.> One: If I were to get a chiller, should I go with JBJ Arctica 1/5th or the Current USA Prime Tower 1/4th? The Prime is cheaper by around $180, but I'm after quality and quietness first, as well as a small size. Opinions? <Either of these chillers will serve you fine. For the price I am inclined to pick the Current. This is just a personal choice on how much you want to spend and which one you like the looks of. Keep in mind that a chiller ideally should not go inside a stand, it needs air flowing around/through it, so looks do count!> Second, I found a T5 2x24W FW light for half the cost of my twin-tube fluorescent at 2x18W. Which should I choose? Will the T5 not work for me? <For the refugium? It will, a better choice. The initial cost is one thing to consider, do also factor in the cost of replacement bulbs. Even then I suspect the T5 will be the better choice.> I want cheap and efficient with minimal replacement, and I read that the T5 might be more efficient with the same maintenance. <It is more efficient per watt, but is still going to draw more wattage due to being high output bulbs.> I couldn't find much on T5's on WWW... Must be rather new! <Hmm, much is there, believe me!> Thank you, John <Welcome, Scott V.>

Chiller for 180 3/7/08 To any of the great staff of WWM, <Hello Jason, Scott V. with you.> I have an established 180 gallon saltwater FOWLR that I started to introduce some mushrooms and leathers to as well as a BTA that has planted its foot at the opposite end of the tank of my corals (not that it can't move) <This can be a deadly combination, likely over time.> My salinity is 1.024<A tad low, shoot for 1.025-1.026.> nitrates, Nitrites and Amm are a nice 0 I have a 30 gallon sump 20 gallon mangrove mud refuge 3 MH lights with actinic protein skimmer and 40 watt UV The temperature of my tank hovers around 80-82 degrees as I live in Florida and its typically hot. <Although not ideal, this temp can work so long as it is stable.> I haven't had a problem yet with my corals but I was considering adding a 1/3 HP chiller (bigger is better or so I've read). <Bigger is not better with chillers, no matter who says it is. A chiller that is too large will constantly be shutting on and off. You will wear out an expensive investment very quickly. That being said, I think a 1/4-1/3 hp unit will serve you well.> I was wondering what the proper technique is to lowing the temperature. I know a swift reduction to 78 would be harsh on the corals and fish. So how often should I reduce the temperature and by how much? <Reduce a degree a day to play it safe.> Also is 78 a good norm for the tank and if not what is ideal for soft and leathers? <78 deg F is a good target.> I also had a side question in regards to algae growth. Will a chiller help reduce algae growth in the tank or is heat not as big a factor as lighting? <Making desirables (coralline algae and the such) more competitive will help. If you have algae problems, do look into the cause. Lighting may fuel the algae, but there is lighting in algae free tanks too! Your nitrate is likely 0 because it is getting processed by the algae as it is produced.> All your help has been a godsend and with it my tank has been thriving for quite some time. <Thank you, great to hear.> Best regards, Jason <Best fishes, a link for you below, Scott V.> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm

Alternative chillers 12/29/07 Hi crew! Happy holidays! <Hello, happy holidays to you too!> We have promised ourselves that in the coming year, we will either install central air conditioning or get a chiller. The temperature fluctuations last summer virtually cost us our entire tank! <Yikes, does happen.> Now that we have recovered, recycled and restocked, we don't want to have a repeat situation. Nonetheless, while we were reading a magazine today, we stumbled across a product that looked very interesting. Here is the link: http://www.specialist-aquatic-supplies.co.uk/web/Ocean-Geotronic.htm Do you know anything about this technology? <Yes, does work.> This unit? <None with this particular unit.> Our reef tank is 120 gallons, so we'd need the Ocean 600. It's $1,400 (not all that different from a chiller). <Hmm'¦a comparable chiller should cost about half this.> Even after reading the company info, we're not sure we understand this. Does it get piped into the tank? <Yes.> Does the 9-degree note mean that if we want the tank at 79 and it's 95 outside, it's too big a fluctuation for this unit? <Going off the described specs of the unit, it does not appear it will provide a 16 deg pull down.> As always, we appreciate your help and expertise. Thanks in advance, Michael and Dianne <If you want to shell out the cash the Deltec ECO coolers provide another alternative to traditional compressor units. They are kind of pricey, but are much more energy efficient Very welcome, Scott V.> http://www.deltecusa.us/ecocoolers/index.php

Question about Fromia Sea Star, fdg. & Drop-in chiller  -- 08/31/07 Hello WWM Crew, I am writing to ask your advice regarding the best way to care for a Fromia sea star that I recently purchased for my reef system First, an overview of my setup is provided below for your information. System Overview Display: 135 Gallon Tenecor Acrylic Aquarium (72" W x 18" D x 24" H) with 1" fine aragonite sand bed (vacuumed frequently) and approximately 120 lbs of Live Rock. Recirculation rate is about 1300 GPH. Refugium: Ecosystem 3616 Mud Sump with active Chaetomorpha and roughly 15-20 lbs Live Rock. Two large overflows with Durso standpipes add roughly 30 gallons "fishless" volume. Lighting: Three 150 W HQI pendants (12K) and Four 160 W VHO (1 AquaSun, 2 Actinic White and one Actinic). Lights are on timer sequence with MH's running about 8 hours/day and maximum wattage peaks at around 930 W. Filtration: Eco Reef CS 135 which runs continuously and produces about one cup (very dark and smelly) skimmate every 2-3 days. Also employ four (1 cup each ) bags of activated carbon in the in the sump which are rotated/replaced one bag per week. <Good technique> Chiller: 1/4 HP AquaLogic "drop in coil" type <Are you happy with this unit?> Water Parameters Temperature: 81 (+/- 1) F Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate not detectable per Salifert test kits Salinity 35.5 (+/- 0.5) ppt pH - 8.4 Calcium ~ 400 ppm, Alkalinity ~ 9 dKH Inhabitants Fish: Flame Angel, Bicolor Blenny, Purple Firefish, Sunrise Pseudochromis, Neon Goby Corals: Pocillopora, Plate Montipora, Encrusting Montipora Inverts: Two Cleaner Shrimp, Blue Legged Hermit Crab, assorted Astrea snails and a Tuxedo Urchin LR Hitch Hikers: Zoanthids, Star Polyps, Unknown Encrusting Stony Coral, assorted sponges and small clams. Macro Algae: Assorted small Halimeda and Caulerpa (removed manually). After a thorough review of your invaluable website (along with Mr. Calfo and Mr. Fenner's "Reef Invertebrates" book) I decided to take on the challenge of keeping a Fromia sea star. After several months, I finally came across an exceptionally beautiful Fromia specimen and introduced it into quarantine about three weeks ago. The quarantine is a 10 gallon glass tank with several "grapefruit" size pieces of live rock from the display, along with a "mature" sponge filter and a couple of powerheads. <Sounds good> To acclimate the Fromia, I took water from my display, then adjusted the salinity so that it matched the "bag water" (32.5 ppt). I then drip acclimated the sea star to the quarantine water over a period of a few hours to minimize shock to the animal. Incidentally, I also checked the bag water for phosphate and nitrate level of the LFS water, which measured 3 and 50 ppm respectively (which I assume was quite stressful to the animal). <Mmm, maybe> I let the salinity slowly go up to 35 ppt over a few days by topping off the tank with salt water. I also change out 1gallon of water every day using display water as make-up. <Very good> I watched the animal closely for the first week or so for signs of tissue necrosis and so far it appears very healthy. But for the first two weeks or so the animal just stayed in one place in the tank (hardly moving at all). It has since started to move about a bit which I take as a sign the animal is acclimating to its surroundings. So at this point I believe it would be a good idea to introduce the Fromia into the display within the next week or so. <Okay> Now (finally) for my question - based on observations over the last three weeks, I am unsure about the best strategy for feeding this animal. After my reading in "Reef Invertebrates" my original thinking was to let the animal "graze" on the live rock fauna and any food left behind from fish and coral feeding. Alternatively, I am considering putting the star in the refugium, where there appears to be a higher density of potential food items. <I would try the tank first... if the animal moves around a bit every day, it is likely fine, getting enough food...> There seems to be quite a bit of contradictory information on the subject and I would greatly appreciate learning your thoughts / suggestions on the best feeding strategy based on your experience? Are you aware of any supplemental feeding that may be worthwhile to try for this species? <Given your excellent set-up and good relating of same, I don't think that supplemental feeding will be necessary. Fromia stars actually consume very little... though I'd like to comment that there are some carnivorous species for which this does not hold> As always, I want to thank you for your website and the assistance you provide. Scott <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question about Fromia Sea Star  9/1/07 Hello Bob, <Welcome Scott> Thank you very much for your reply. I will move ahead as you suggested and introduce the sea star to the main display. <Ah, good> I wanted to reply to your question about the drop in filter. I have had the unit in service for about six months now and so far I would have to say I am happy with the unit. Prior to installing the chiller, the tank would reach temperatures of over 84F by late afternoon (tank is located adjacent to an exterior wall in Southern California). <Ah, yes... Thank you for your input... many folks have stated their antipathy for such drop-ins... am glad to hear a positive comment> I have the drop-in coil placed in the third chamber of the Ecosystem sump, with the set point adjusted to come on at 81F, and chill the water down to 80F. The compressor is located adjacent to the cabinet and kicks on for about 30 minutes every 2 hours or so. The room gets a bit warm but noise is really not a problem. Generally speaking, the unit has been very reliable in maintaining the tank within the temperature setpoints. I have also been able to significantly increase lighting intensity and duration in the tank (to the benefit of the coloration of my Pocillopora). I have noticed some scaling on the coil, and figure that eventually I will need to clean the coil in a vinegar solution, but so far the scaling does not seem to significantly impede heat transfer. <Okay> You also mentioned that some species of Fromia are carnivores. <Mmm, on smallish animals...> I have attached a photo of my Fromia and wonder if you could help further ID this animal (my LFS was of no help). I am curious if you are aware of and particular requirement of this species. <Pretty sure this is a F. indica... very nice pic and specimen> As always, I very much appreciate the insights and information you and your crew share with novices such as myself. Scott <A pleasure to share. BobF>

Help With Chiller Size/Brand -- 05/14/07 I am sure you get a flood of 'temperature' questions around this time of the year, so I will not disappoint. <<Flood away...>> I am in the NYC area and I have a 72 bow front with a gravity fed and drained 10 gal refugium with 4-inch DSB and a 20 gal sump, with a  Mag 7 for the skimmer and a Quiet One 4000 HH for a return.  I have a single Iwaki 100rlt pump powering a closed-loop manifold, and a Current USA Outer Orbit setup running 2 x 150 watt metal halides and 4 x 54 watt T5's. <<Ok>> The temp is floating around 81 and maxed at 83 before I shut the metal halides down around 4 pm. <<Not a problem in my opinion...and is about where my system ranges>> My major concern is that it isn't even really hot here yet, and the room the tank in doesn't hold air conditioning well. <<Ah, I see>> I have a 6-inch fan blowing over the refugium and another blowing over the surface of the tank and it seems to be doing ok for now, but I think I see a chiller in my future. <<Mmm, yes...maybe so>> I am trying to figure out what size will be able to handle my tank without constantly being on. <<Probably best to go by manufacturer recommendations...and if you have the cash/want the extra capacity, get the next larger model even>> I have checked the JBJ site that has a calculator for just such a thing and it is saying the ¼ chiller, but reading the Wet Web FAQ I have seen a 1/5 being suggested for an 80 Gal. tank. <<Indeed...  I employed an inline (more effective than the 'drop-in' style of the same size I feel) 1/5hp chiller on my previous 80g reef and it was plenty large enough>> Also I am torn between brands, do you have an opinion on the Current USA chillers?  I am leaning towards either a JBJ or a Current USA, any other suggestions? <<I own a Custom Sea Life (CSL) chiller which has performed flawlessly for more than five years.  CSL is 'no more,' but I believe the product line was taken over by Current USA and thus the chillers they offer may well be the same as the old CSL models (Bob, please correct me if wrong).  As for another brand, the Aqua Logic in-line chillers are a good choice>> Thanks, Randy <<Regards, EricR>>

- I am in Need of Answers!!!!! - Good morning Gentlemen, I stumbled across your site while researching prices for accessories for my new salt water hobby. I read the various questions and answers and I found your website to be very informative. However I am going to purchase your book so I can learn more about the salt water hobby. I am transitioning over from fresh water with over 10yrs experience and I have found that everyone has a different opinion about what is best "product" especially if they are the ones selling the product. <Quite true.> This is my question. I am purchasing a 150 gallon reef ready tank. I don't know which skimmer to use. I heard a lot about the Euro Reef and I was told to purchase the ETSS 600 skimmer. I did see the sump I was going to purchase which was the UHF Sump 72 system by AETECH. AETECH had the complete sump and skimmer setup on their site. I need your opinion as to which skimmer/model to purchase for the size tank I have. <I'd go with the EuroReef.> I will have live rock etc. I am going to have North Dallas Aquarium to maintain my tank as I learn more about the hobby. Also what do you think about the JBJ chiller? Which chiller would you recommend? <Have no practical experience with chillers - know that some are crap, but not entirely sure which ones those are. Best to look and ask around on the forums where you're likely to find several people using chillers.> Please reply to my personal address so I won't miss what you have to say. I greatly appreciate your help. Warren <Cheers, J -- >

Chillers Hi, <Hello there> Has any body used the 'Pacific Coast CL-280 1/10 HP Inline Chiller' or 'Arctica Titanium Chiller (1/10 hp)'. <Have seen these, not used them> I need to purchase a chiller soon and I could not make a decision between these two chillers. Arctica is little bit more expensive then CL-280 but that does not matter. I have some info about the Arctica Chiller but I could not find any detailed info about CL-280. I need a good chiller that can hold the temp and not fluctuates all the time because of the room temp. Currently I have 'Teco Micro Chiller', which I had for 1 ½ years and right now it fluctuates between 76F in the morning to 83F in the evening. <... this is too much> Actual water temp is between 76F to 81F. It used to be better but it is getting worse every day. I cleaned it every three month but it does not make a difference, my fishes are stressed out every night. <I'd write the manufacturer here... there may be some user-friendly repair...> Please help me to decide. I will need to order one soon. Thanks, Hans <With such gear issues it's best to "cast your net" far and wide for input. Try posting your question, lurking for others inputs on the BBs like ReefCentral, Reefs.org... to get a survey of actual users, other possibilities. Bob Fenner>

Reef Recommendations Hey Scott ("Captain"- what's that all about please do tell?), <Really bad "Star Trek" reference....> Again, thanks for your recommendation and prompt response. Do you think that I may need a Chiller, or can I get away with fans with 2X 250 watt HQI's? <Honestly, I think that a chiller is a really good idea. You can try the fans, but that's a lot of heat put out by those bulbs in a small space, so a chiller will do a better job.> I do have a Canopy, what brand should I buy? <I'd look into the JBJ Arctica chillers. As far as MH systems are concerned, there are so many different brands to choose from...Consider those made by Aqua Medic, PFO, and Sunlight Supply. All are good ones.> Thanx, Marlon <A pleasure! Regards, Scott F.>

Chiller and Filter reviews 8/2/05 Anthony, Thanks for such a prompt response.  I will review the website you mentioned more thoroughly, One of our consultants on the Sitka aquarium is a biologist with the Dept. of Fish and Game who maintains a tank for the elementary school.    Hopefully his input will keep us within any specimen collection regulations that apply.  I don't even know what a Cnidarian is, but will quiz Troy about it. <Sparing you the Google search for definition... this is the group of stinging organisms that include corals, anemones, polyps, e.g..> BTW, have you completed the review of the TradeWind chillers?   <I have indeed reviewed and critiqued the unit... the construct and operation are very fine. I am sending along suggestions for improvement on their product brochure for clarity> We are looking seriously at that particular unit, but would love to read your review before committing to such a purchase. <Seem to be made very well... so far, reliable operation with not the slightest complaint. Indeed.. there is some noise and heat with most any chiller. This unit is not especially bad about either at all> Any reviews out there on Jeff's Berlin LifeReef sump system?   <None that I have seen> It is expensive, but it looks like a well designed, thought-through unit. Kris <I'm not one for over-engineered designs (DIY or otherwise) for what is or at least should be simple components of the system. FWIW. Anthony> Chiller recommendation 7/30/05 Just wondering if you guys could help with a chiller recommendation.  We've had a reef tank for 7 years its approximately 160 gal ,metal halides (2) and lots of pumps Our 2stage  inline chiller is not working properly anymore, and we need to make a decision soon....... <I strongly favor inline (never drop-in) for efficiency, and am very happy with the construct and performance of my Tradewind: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=597821&highlight=chiller Also what temperature would you consider optimum for a reef tank with some fish as well?   <I like 78-80F for tropicals Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Temperature Control in Reef Aquaria  12/17/05 Hi Adam, I need your advice again. <That's what I'm here for, hello again Jerry.> The Outer Orbit lights work great! <Glad you like it.> But my tank is now running hot 82.4 degrees with room temp of 72 degrees. I was looking at Pacific Coast 1/10 chiller or Arctica Titanium 1/10 or Current/Prime 1/10. Any thoughts on these brands or size on a 125 Acrylic. <On a 125 I would go with at least the 1/5 or ¼. Smaller chillers seem to be perpetually 'ON' and thus even though they are smaller, end up using a lot more energy. As far as brands look into the Titanium Arctica made by JBJ.> (120# live rock, 4" sand bed, unknown size wet/dry sump, Top Fathom Skimmer and Little Giant 4-MDQ-SC rated at 810 gallons at 3feet). I do have air conditioning for the house in summer but we usually set it at 78 degrees so I'm thinking a chiller is needed. <Also consider some fans blowing across the surface of the sump or display.> Could I use the sump/skimmer pump for the chiller? <You can, personally I didn't want my return pump being obstructed by other media (I wanted to get the biggest 'bang' out of it), so for that reason I used another pump to put the chiller on a closed loop.> Should I place the chiller in the stand or mount it on the basement wall below the tank? <They are VERY noisy, place it as far away from you as possible, I keep mine in a shed outside.> Thanks again for your help, Jerry <No problem, Adam J.> Sizing A Chiller - 01/21/06 Hello WWM, <<Hello Mike>> This is my first post on this web site and hopefully you can help me out. <<I'll try>> I have an 80 gallon saltwater fish tank and will be getting coral soon.  Basically my setup will be two 175 watt Hamilton MH and maybe two 65watt actinics, mostly LPS.  They will be about 12 inches off of the water and I will have 4 fans in the canopy.  My water temperature got to about 88F in the summer so I know I will need some sort of cooling method. <<Mmm, yes...a bit high.>> I was looking at the 1/10 hp JBJ Arctica or the 1/10 hp Pacific Coast chiller. <<I fear these will be too small for your system.>> Will this be sufficient enough for my tank? <<No>> If not what do you recommend? <<I was able to keep an 80 gallon in-wall tank (w/2x 175w MH) cool with a 1/5 hp inline chiller...should also work for you.>> I'm kinda on a tight budget. <<All the more reason to get it right the first time.>> I also know someone that is selling a 1/4 hp JBJ chiller but not sure how old it really is.  I doesn't say JBJ or Arctica anywhere on it.  Was it not always called that? <<I can't say.>> It says something like fish cooler. <Hmm...>> He is selling it for $375.  He said that it's about 1 1/2 yrs old. <<Well Mike, would depend on how well you know this other chap I suppose...is up to you... but for a little less than $200 more you can get a new (and under warranty) 1/5 hp Arctica chiller...something to consider.>> Here are some photos. <<I couldn't get the photos to come up.>> The help is much appreciated Mike <<Regards, EricR>>

Chillers, Absolutely Quiet'¦..Only When Off  - 5/7/2006 I have a 75 gallon salt water aquarium in my living room. <Cool.> Would you please give me a list of chillers that are reliable and are SUPER  QUIET. <Hmmm, well my friend, chillers operate much like a refrigerator, yes some are more more reliable and quieter, better if you will, than other but none emit zero noise. My solution was to construct a cabinet for my chiller out of 2' Thick Solid Teak and line it with 'weather-proofing' material, anyways here is a list of favorable chillers: **JBJ Arctica (This is what I use) **AquaLogic **Pacific Coast **Teclima **Aquanetics Check those out'¦> The chiller that I have had for the past six years has been  reliable but is noisy. <They are all relatively noisy, especially in larger models, another thing with chillers is that small unit are always on because their cycles last longer, larger, over sized units will stay on much shorter because they don't need as long a cycle to cool the water.> Thanks for your help.  Dennis  Rohrer. <Anytime, Adam J.> Peltier cooling idea  11/22/06 I last sent a post, Tank cooling prob.s  9/29/06 I have given up using Freon type cooling as it is too expensive on the power bill. <Mmm, only one of quite a few technologies...> If I get lucky and am able to find a 12volt Freon car fridge I will certainly use it. <Well... these have dismal efficiencies...> I have recently found four Peltier <Ahh: http://www.heatsink-guide.com/peltier.htm> TECs and some thick (6mm) copper sheets and thick copper wiring I will use as a porcupine heat sink for the Peltiers. These Peltiers were taken from old car fridges that run on 12vdc, 10amps. <Yikes... more than a tenth of a kilowatt per hour... if they run continuously, more than 2 kwh per day each... In California and HI (where I'm most familiar) this would come out to more than fifty cents per day... per unit> The power supply I use will be 2 ATX power boxes used in computers and are capable of 400w at 240v, outputting 12vdc at 10amps under load with one ATX box running two Peltiers. My experiment in cooling 2 litres using just two Peltiers was proven successful as the Peltiers cooled the water from 27 degrees centigrade to 12C in under an hour using only aluminium as a heat sink and cooling element. My problem is that I need a non-corrosive barrier between the cooling side of the Peltier and my salt water sump. <Yes... likely a thinner (thermally) tubing of determinate length, immersed in a/this liquid bath... a pumping source to recirculate the system water through this tubing> To maintain direct cooling efficiency, with minimal power consumption, I have decided to go this way instead of the insert plastic tubing into cold water method. <Mmm... okay> I have seen on EBay some sheets of titanium that may do the trick for this barrier I need between the cooling Peltier element and the saltwater I want to cool. Is titanium totally uncorrosive in saltwater or should I be looking out for percentage of titanium relative to impurities added. <Pure/r Titanium is used as jacketing in many consumer/commercial coolers...> At the moment I am looking at onlinemetals.com and they have titanium grade 2 at 99.3%Ti and the only major impurity at 0.3% is Fe (iron). The thickness is just over 1mm and it is 12x12 inches as a sheet.. What are your thoughts on this crazy idea? <Well... I would still use the immersion bath, tubing transfer method... in an insulated container myself... The cost of the Ti, welding... is too high to suit me... but a worthwhile adventure for sure. Bob Fenner>

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>

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

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>

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

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>

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>

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>

Chilling Out! Several Months ago in summer, I purchased an Aquatherm Chiller/Heater from Flying Fish Express <<Now out of biz.>> 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>

Just Chillin'... Does anyone have any real experience with either the Arctica 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 fluor. 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>

- 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 -- >

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

-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 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>  

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