OK with the return of 80 degree weather many of us are back to scrambling to find a way to keep our water temps down. There are so many options and pros and cons to each, I thought I would start a thread for people to discuss what has and hasn’t worked for them. I will list the ones I can think of, as well as some of my own thoughts on each, and lastly a “new?” idea I came up with while trying to fall asleep at 1am last night.
The problem: Water temps rising cause tank livestock to suffer. Heat is introduced to the tank via lighting, MH being the worst culprit, pumps, and power heads, even my Vortech with external motor still imparts heat to the tank. Add 80 degree and above room temperatures and the water temp starts to climb.
Solutions, (in no particular order). When referring to ideas I am imagining a 90 Gal tank.
Chillers; there are either the drop in coil kind or the inline type. Pros; They work well and are less fuss. Cons; price, they are quite expensive, maybe noise? Durability? Not really sure as I have never had the luxury of an extra 600 bucks in my pocket to buy one. I have also heard of people making home made chillers with a dorm fridge or some such, but heat transfer laws suggest this is less than practical
Fans: Blowing air across the water surface to bring temp down. Pros; relatively cheap, whether you use a desk fan type or perhaps some 180mm PC fans, you can do this for the cost of a movie night with the family. Cons; I believe that the reason fans work has got something to do with the evaporative process, hence adding a 75 CFM fan to the top of your tank will probably increase your ATO duty. Second, NOISE, my tank is in the bedroom and nothing spells love in the bedroom like the sound of a 747 landing next to your bed. Third, durability, I use the cheap 10 dollar clip on fans and after 6 months they are toast. Did I mention noise?
Room or central Air Conditioning. Yep, just keep the whole room (or house) at a nice 65 degrees and that solves most heat problems, unless of course you have 2000 watts of MH, then you may need to drop the AC to 55 and put on a sweater. Pros; the wife will love you, no better way to get your wife in the bedroom than to have it be the only room of the house that is 65 when its 90 outside. Cons; expensive, both for a portable unit, a minisplit, or whole house AC, not to mention the AC to run it. Also the portable units are unsightly.
Reduce the heat you introduce to the tank, ie change to LED lighting. This would be my preferred solution but enough LED to grow my corals and get the look I want on my 90 is still above my budget. I am hoping that as more reefers buy LED’s we will see a boost in the second hand chiller market as people discover they don’t need their chiller anymore after switching to LED. Pros, LED are cool, both temperaturewise and the geek factor. Cons; price…
I have also heard of people using bags of ice or other simple ways of trying to bring down temps on a tight budget. So, what have you tried, what works what doesn’t, lets get a discussion going about this seeing as we are in for a nice warm summer.