DIY Cooling? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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DIY Cooling?

As someone who live in a tropical country, I'm worried about the heat. Right now seem to be no problem since it is rainy season and also I have air conditioner running when the outside temperature is high (air temperature can be as easily reach over 32 degrees Celcius or over 90 Fahrenheit).

Looking at the solution that I can buy, it is either cooling fans which are supposed to be able to lower water temperature by 2-4 degree or a chiller for aquarium which is too expensive and too much for my small 4.5 gallons tank.

Now my question is if cooling fans that blow across the surface of the water is enough, can I use air pump to blow air across the surface? Is that going to work if I only need to lower water temperature by 2-4 degrees? The reason I don't want to use fans is that I need to modify the lid to fit cooling fans and if I later change the fan or move to chiller solution, I need to get a new lid.

Another solution that require more work is probably a DIY chiller using peltier, heatsink and small fan that sit outside the tank and use water pump to circulate water through it to cool.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 01:11 AM
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What fans and the like give you is tons of movement over the water which causes evaporation. You can try an air pump but I do not think would be enough. Another problem you face is the evaporation will not happen and you are just trapping the warmer water. What needs to happen is the warmer air from the water needs to escape and that won’t happen with a lid.

A water cooler with peltier may work but I did not have luck with it. However my buddy got his to cool his smaller tanks quite good with some that he custom made. I ended up getting a $200 chiller that is easily able to cool my 20 gallon tank down 10 degrees if needed.

If you only need 2-4 degrees a fan or fans work great and is what I use for my 10 gallon tanks. Of course no lids though. You get the cooling due to faster evaporation and with a lid that just doesn’t happen.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 01:42 AM
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I would not think much value in using an airpump as this needs quite a large volume of air passing over the surface. One point to keep in mind is that evaporation cools much better when the humidity is low in the room. Passing large volumes of dry air gets lots of evaporation and lots more cooling than passing lots of humid air over the same tank.
It works better in some places than others.
Is there a way to prop the lid open just enough to fit a small computer fan on the edge? I find computer fans are good as they are quiet, as well as cheap and do pass enough air to do the job, in the places I have tried them. Any junk computers around for salvage?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
What fans and the like give you is tons of movement over the water which causes evaporation. You can try an air pump but I do not think would be enough. Another problem you face is the evaporation will not happen and you are just trapping the warmer water. What needs to happen is the warmer air from the water needs to escape and that won’t happen with a lid.

A water cooler with peltier may work but I did not have luck with it. However my buddy got his to cool his smaller tanks quite good with some that he custom made. I ended up getting a $200 chiller that is easily able to cool my 20 gallon tank down 10 degrees if needed.

If you only need 2-4 degrees a fan or fans work great and is what I use for my 10 gallon tanks. Of course no lids though. You get the cooling due to faster evaporation and with a lid that just doesn’t happen.


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No lid is probably not good solution since my tank is very small with fishes that are reported to be jumpers. The lid is not perfect fit so there are plenty of space for air to circulate, also I can probably drill holes to the lid for extra circulation.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 06:44 AM
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here is a thought use a couple blower fans you can then duct the air into the tank thru a couple 1 or 2 inch holes then the air would blow over the water and will find a way out because its not a perfect seal on the lid.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 12:53 PM
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these blowers, you cant run them 24/7. Prolly not built to work that way, because 2 of mine perished one after the other in about a months time.
You might need a thermostat or run them on a timer

I can vouch for the CPU fans though, silent and does the job
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 02:13 PM
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Probably worth a try because the fans are cheap but I wouldn't expect evaporative cooling to work that great for you since your humidity is so high there. Running the AC will help. It obviously keeps the room cooler but it also dehumidifies so the fan will be more efficient.

My computer fan runs 24/7 on my computer and it's been doing so for several years. Putting ducts on them, blowing through restricted holes, etc. can make them operate outside their design parameters and lead to an early failure.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 07:21 PM
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Would a radiator for something like this work? Like how a liquid CPU cooler works on a PC? A cursory google search yielded a few radiator options that are typically used as oil, power steering, and transmission coolers on cars that aren't terribly large or expensive... Maybe a fan and some DIY plumbing with a cheap submersible pump attached to it circulating the water might help?

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 07:32 PM
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A neat feature on some of those Inkbird temp controllers is that they have high AND low settings. You can plug a heater AND a fan (or a chiller) into it, and when the temp gets too low the heater cuts on. When it gets too high, the fan (or a chiller) cuts on. So no need to run fans 24/7 as long as it gets cool enough at night

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 10:07 PM
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When I was looking at a tank that was overheating, I found I could cut out the plastic at the rear of the lid and built a set of small computer fans using two to blow into the tank and two to blow out. This gave me lots of air movement that I needed but it was a 75 gallon tank. For a single small tank, I might expect a lid propped open with a small fan at one end blowing in to let the air blow out the other side might get the job done.
But there are times when other methods might work better. Removing heat is also done if we change some things like filters and powerheads. A filter with the motor in the tank will heat more than a filter hanging on the back where the heat is given off to the air rather than directly into the water. When fighting to cool the 75 gallon, one of the easy ways was moving the canister filter out from under the enclosed stand so that it did not pass heat directly up into the tank bottom. When breeding and raising fish in small tanks, I found one way to avoid the trauma of lots of heaters to break down was to line the tanks close together to share the heat from the large tanks with heaters. Sometimes we miss keeping tanks cooler when we line them too close together. Six inches of space between them can help a lot. Raising a hot light up just a couple inches can make a big difference as well but all these things do take some checking, looking and testing to see how much of each is practical.
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