bringing temperature down - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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bringing temperature down

Hello, I am having trouble keeping the temperature in my tank down. I am concerned because it is heavily stocked with fish. I also have been reading that plants do best at less than 80 degrees. Im keeping java fern, anubias, saggitaria, crypts, moss balls, and anacharis. My tank is holding steady at 84, its a 180 gallon and I have to keep the tank covered because of evaporation problems I was having, or else I would just run a fan over it. I keep my home at a consistent 75 degrees so its not my ambient temperature thats causing the problem, I assume its my power compacts. Im running four 96 watt bulbs over the tank, and Im sure its generating quite a bit of heat. I know I can just buy a chiller, but I really dont want to if I dont have to, they are not cheap, especially ones made for tanks this large. Does anybody have any ideas on a more cost effective way of reducing the temperature in my tank. Any help is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:10 PM
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Increase the distance between the lights and the tank.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:26 PM
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I heard of ppl putting ice packs..

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies,
I have thought about doing both of those. I havnt because, first concerning the ice packs, I dont think that its a very reliable and consistent way keeping the temp down, the ice would melt bringing the temp down and then bounce back up once it was all melted, this would really stress my fish out. With the lights they weigh about 30 lbs and even though they came with brackets to hold it up, the thought the fixture crashing down on my tank keeps me from doing it. thanks though, any other ideas?
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:42 PM
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Are the lights inside a canopy? Or do you just have a glass cover over the tank with the lights mounted above that?

Just trying to wrap my head around the set-up.

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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no, there is no canopy over the lights, I was going to put one on, but I know they would trap heat over the tank. Its just the PC's over a glass canopy Thanks
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:51 PM
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Does the tank heat up during the photoperiod? May want to shorten it to help control. Are the lamps in a canopy? Cut slits in the canopy to increase airflow, better yet add fans.

Those cable setups for hanging lamps are darn stong. Imagine the liability if they fell into water. My lights are suspended via a cable and my lamps weigh in at over 80lbs, all hung on 2 thin cables.

Whats the setup, is there a sump? May want to keep the door open under the tank to let heat out. Assuming sump, what pump(s) are you using? Submirsable are cooled by the water, may want to think external pumps.

Just tossing some thoughts out. Really need more specifics to pin down the heat source.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:52 PM
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You can also remove some water to lower the water line. Just half inch makes a lot of difference. It is a makeshift solution until you find a sturdy support for the light fixture.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 07:56 PM
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Okay. Hmmm. What kind of brackets did the fixtures come with? At this point it sounds like raising the lights is your best bet. You don't think they're sturdy enough to hold the weight of the lights? They came with, so they should be ok. I know I was a bit nervous about mounting my light up on the legs for the same reason, but check out my 20g and you can see they're plenty sturdy...

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks alot everybody for the replies. The reason Im nervous about using the supports is because Im afraid of someone bumping into it accidentally and having it come down, my fear was made worse when I saw the design of the legs that came with it, its really a bad design. The mounting legs that came with it dont give much contact with the tank, if it was bumped it would almost definitely come down. I have thought about hanging my fixture from the ceiling but ran into a couple of problems, first I couldnt figure out where I would hang the chain on the fixture, there arent any brackets on the top to hang from, and secondly I didnt really want to put holes in my ceiling. The water does heat up while the light is on to about 83 or 84, before the lights come on in the morning its back down to about 80 or 81, Im almost sure its the light and that the tank is only dropping a couple degrees at night because its a large tank and it takes awhile for the temp to come down. Thanks gnatster, you reminded about soimething I never thought about, as well as running two canister filters Im running three powerheads in there as well Im sure that the powerheads arent helping either. mpb, what exactly does lowering the tank water do, Ive never heard of that before. Thanks again
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 09:05 PM
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Like gnatster already mentioned, fans would be your best bet. I had the same problem with raising temps, and added a fan which blows cool air along the bulbs underneath the canopy, and it made all the difference. First I suspected my pumps http://www.plantedtank.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6184 but found later that the majority of temp increase results from the lights.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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sorry, I forgot to mention that too, the fixture already does have fans built into it, since I dont have a canopy, it blows it right out into the room without trapping it anywhere. Im trying to think how I could increase air circulation around the top of the tank, maybe a seperate fan, but I dont know where I would mount it. Thanks again
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 09:51 PM
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When the water is lower it gets less heat radiation from the light bulbs.

On my tank I notice that when the water I lower due the natural evaporation the temperature at the end of the day is 2 or 3 degree lower than when the tank is full.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks mpb, I will definitely try that
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 10:05 PM
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Food for thought.

Sometimes we forget the simpler things. I've got 2 thermometers in my tank whose readings disagree by 4 degrees (same brand). So it may not be as hot as you think. If I set my heater at 82, my tank hits almost 90--when set at 75 I maintain the desired 82-84 for my discus. The temp dial on your heater could be off just a little.

Hubby uses that heavy duty lighting on his reef with the fans built into the hood. He also runs a small external fan that blows across the top of the tank and hood to help disperse the hot air from the lights. He also leaves the hood up on very hot days to allow the heat to escape from the water. He ran a chiller for a while--our electric went up $40 per month, but it may have been a bad unit.
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