DIY: Insulating Your Aquarium - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Seattle
Posts: 146
DIY: Insulating Your Aquarium


Depending on your level of obsession in the hobby, heating your aquarium(s) is a cost that can quickly add up on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, glass and acrylic are not the best insulators but are necessary to be able to see into your tank. Assuming you’re not simply heating the whole room to 75+ degrees, insulating your tanks is a cost-effective solution to keep those aquatic heating bills down so that you can spend more of that disposable income on other areas of the hobby that are less boring. Continue reading “DIY: Insulating Your Aquarium” »
CoryWM is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 01:58 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 334
lol is this a joke? This makes no sense, most heat loss would occur from the top of the tank so unless you have an airtight hood it doesnt matter, plus who wants to only view the short ends of their tank(s).
jwm5 is offline  
post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 02:17 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
OverStocked's Avatar
 
PTrader: (76/94%)
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SoDak
Posts: 10,732
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwm5 View Post
lol is this a joke? This makes no sense, most heat loss would occur from the top of the tank so unless you have an airtight hood it doesnt matter, plus who wants to only view the short ends of their tank(s).
For breeder racks all of my 10g tanks are set up this way with the ends out. More tanks on a smaller rack is the goal.

But glass tops would prob save just as much. I think people would be shocked to see how little they save with insulating tanks, and you'd prob save yourself more money by unplugging your tv set.


I keep my tanks a bit cooler, for practical purposes, though.
OverStocked is offline  
 
post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 02:25 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
OverStocked's Avatar
 
PTrader: (76/94%)
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SoDak
Posts: 10,732
And if you were to take this up, why not use something with long term holding power like silicone or construction adhesive. Hot glue has a high tendency to pop off.
OverStocked is offline  
post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 10:21 AM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Turkey
Posts: 57
The funnier thing is, he uses reflective insulation which is better for outdoor use because of the sun or radiant heat sources.
But hey, that makes aquarium much brighter, saving on the light bulbs?
GaMeR is offline  
post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 02:40 PM
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 151
I have a Kill-a-watt meter that I plugged my tank's power strip into. Since I have fairly efficient lights, I was surprised at first to see that everything was drawing 127 watts. Then I remembered that my 100w heater was, in fact, using 100w.

In the push for efficient lights in the hobby, we forget about the cost of maintaining tropical water temperature. Pushing your tanks together to create a heat mass, insulating the non-viewing sides, as well as using a tight cover to prevent evaporation are all pretty basic solutions. If it doesn't fit with your goal of having a 360-viewable open-air tank, fine. Otherwise, a little polystyrene insulation board can save bucks.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
tzen is offline  
post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 02:43 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
OverStocked's Avatar
 
PTrader: (76/94%)
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SoDak
Posts: 10,732
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzen View Post
I have a Kill-a-watt meter that I plugged my tank's power strip into. Since I have fairly efficient lights, I was surprised at first to see that everything was drawing 127 watts. Then I remembered that my 100w heater was, in fact, using 100w.

In the push for efficient lights in the hobby, we forget about the cost of maintaining tropical water temperature. Pushing your tanks together to create a heat mass, insulating the non-viewing sides, as well as using a tight cover to prevent evaporation are all pretty basic solutions. If it doesn't fit with your goal of having a 360-viewable open-air tank, fine. Otherwise, a little polystyrene insulation board can save bucks.
100 watts, yes.... But not 100 watts all day long. I'd bet my heater is only running for 2 hours a day total.
OverStocked is offline  
post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Seattle
Posts: 146
Just wanted to follow up with some of my research I did before I set out to do this project.

Simply Discus is where I found out about Reflex. He went from 300 watt heaters in 55 gallon tanks to 100 watt heaters to maintain his 85 degree discus water after installing Reflectix.

http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showth...ight=reflectix

Next was researching about Heat transfer. This article has many ways heat is transfered by aquariums. Radiant heat, which the reflectix is best at handling is emitted from the top of the tank and all other surfaces. Where ever cooler air is, the heat will transfer too.

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2009...ure1#section-6

I actually spent a few days and many different sources researching insulating aquariums before doing this. As it would take a while to install it all, and if it made no difference then it'd be wasted money as well.

Now first let me say that, your first priority is to get glass tops to reduce heat exchange their. Then reflectix can help the sides.

This will not making fish keeping free! However it will help lower your bills if aquariums are kept in cooler rooms. Or if you have to heat the water considerably higher than your room temperature. Namely discus.
CoryWM is offline  
post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 10:50 PM
Algae Grower
 
manikmunky's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: UK
Posts: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaMeR View Post
The funnier thing is, he uses reflective insulation which is better for outdoor use because of the sun or radiant heat sources.
But hey, that makes aquarium much brighter, saving on the light bulbs?
Even insulation that goes inside walls often has reflective foil on one or both sides. It does, as CoryWM says, reflect heat as well as light. You could go really overkill and use insulation boards (50-75mm thick)

James


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
manikmunky is offline  
post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 11:26 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Dave-H's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Denver, CO & Phang-Nga, Thailand
Posts: 2,415
Quote:
Originally Posted by manikmunky View Post
Even insulation that goes inside walls often has reflective foil on one or both sides. It does, as CoryWM says, reflect heat as well as light. You could go really overkill and use insulation boards (50-75mm thick)
Actually, most insulation doesn't have a reflective surface as that only works with a particular type of heat. Insulation like cellulose/demin is incredibly popular and doesn't deal with radiant heat at all.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods." — Socrates

Dave-H is offline  
post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-26-2011, 02:38 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (84/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,015
Everything loses heat by radiation, but the amount of heat lost is proportional to the difference in the absolute temperature of the body losing heat raised to the 4th power, and that of whatever is in the way of the radiated heat, also raised to the 4th power. You can't quickly dismiss radiant heat loss, because it can be significant. (Absolute temperature is degrees Fahrenheit plus 460, or degrees Celsius plus 270.)

Hoppy
Hoppy is offline  
post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-13-2011, 01:23 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2005
Location: northern ontario canada
Posts: 555
I use foam board insulation for the tops of some of my tanks... so easy and cheap.
I also use it to the sides that I don;t need to see. All of my tanks are in the cold basement and I see the heaters working all the time with just straight glass.
I think this is a good thread.
It is also puts your tank at an optimal stage if the power goes off... the very slow transfer of heat without having to run around covering the tanks with blankets. If you are even home. This gives you more time to heat water or for the power to finally be restored.

under stock
over filter
newshound is offline  
post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-15-2011, 01:34 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 11,721
I did cover my tanks with thick towels one winter. On at night, off in the day. They used less power and stayed more temperature stable. So even a poor insulation job is better than none. Probably get a lot more mileage out of a good product, properly applied.
Diana is offline  
post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-15-2011, 10:37 AM
Planted Member
 
drbotts's Avatar
 
PTrader: (14/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 163
Why don't you just create plans for a DIY double insulated aquarium (i.e. like a window) filled with Argon gas. Simple, don't you think?
Walk down to the local window shop and they'll show you how it works.

Suggestion: Instead of worrying about insulating the aquarium, worry about where the energy comes from. If it's that big a deal, buy a little solar cell pad and stick it outside a window and have that power your heater. Get more creative with the energy, not the aesthetic appearance of the tank.
drbotts is offline  
post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-15-2011, 11:28 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
VaultBoy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by drbotts View Post
Why don't you just create plans for a DIY double insulated aquarium (i.e. like a window) filled with Argon gas. Simple, don't you think?
Walk down to the local window shop and they'll show you how it works.

Suggestion: Instead of worrying about insulating the aquarium, worry about where the energy comes from. If it's that big a deal, buy a little solar cell pad and stick it outside a window and have that power your heater. Get more creative with the energy, not the aesthetic appearance of the tank.
Since i saw this thread i have been thinking about a "Thermos flask" and how a vacuum could be used to insulate a tank, i didnt think of argon gas. A tank double glazed with a fully sealed double glazed lid would be cool if not a little expensive, i might have to do some sums and see if its economically viable with the reduced cost of heating in the long term.

Using solar electric to heat the water is not as efficient as an evacuated tube solar heat exchanger. They will heat water to near boiling point in ambient temperatures well below freezing as long as there is direct sunlight on the tubes.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
VaultBoy is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome