DIY aquarium cooler - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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DIY aquarium cooler

Hey everyone. It's summer time and i need to keep my aquarium cool without spending a huge amount of money. I actually just thought about this a few minutes ago and quickly sketched it in paint. I was just wondering if it will actually work.. Any inputs would be great


Note: that this isn't to scale.



This is my idea. A filter (with no media) inside a cooler filled with ice and water would carry the cold water through the brass tubing that's inside the aquarium. The brass tubing then transfers that cold water to the tank and go back again to the cooler. The brass tubing is set up like that to cover as much surface area as possible without using up a lot of space.

All you really need to do is add ice once in a while.

Comments anyone?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 04:11 PM
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will brass react with the water?


yes it does, i wouldnt recommend it. brass is a mix of copper and zinc and copper is deadly to shrimp if you happen to keep any.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure about that. I chose brass because it was metal and i thought metal would transfer the cold water better. I guess you can use other types of metal tubing.

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will brass react with the water?


yes it does, i wouldnt recommend it. brass is a mix of copper and zinc and copper is deadly to shrimp if you happen to keep any.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 04:18 PM
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it's a good idea to cool a room(with a fan), i've seen the youtube video.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAL View Post
Hey everyone. It's summer time and i need to keep my aquarium cool without spending a huge amount of money. I actually just thought about this a few minutes ago and quickly sketched it in paint. I was just wondering if it will actually work.. Any inputs would be great


Note: that this isn't to scale.



This is my idea. A filter (with no media) inside a cooler filled with ice and water would carry the cold water through the brass tubing that's inside the aquarium. The brass tubing then transfers that cold water to the tank and go back again to the cooler. The brass tubing is set up like that to cover as much surface area as possible without using up a lot of space.

All you really need to do is add ice once in a while.

Comments anyone?
i did this too and it worked for me. my design is a little bit different though as i don't want to contaminate my water with the brass/copper fittings.

what i did was i coiled a hose inside the styro box filled with water and a sumbersible pump siphons out the water from the tank through the hose then back to the tank. the water from the aquarium circulates through the coiled hose submerged in cool water. i then float a couple of big coke bottles with frozen water/ice and replenish it as needed. very simple and effective.... at least for me.

- Keitarosan
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 04:50 PM
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im sure you could use some sorta of vinly tubing, it might not work as effiecntly as copper in transfering out heat but it will still work and you wont contaminate the water.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 11:06 PM
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how about aluminum, like radiators?

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 11:08 PM
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How about the other way around? The tubing inside the ice box and the pump inside the aquarium?

Oh, and brass won't work all to well :\

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-04-2008, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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I guess it could work the other way around too. I think that would actually look better so you don't see the ugliness of the tubing. I gotta find out what kinda of metals won't affect the water quality.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-04-2008, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keitarosan View Post
i did this too and it worked for me. my design is a little bit different though as i don't want to contaminate my water with the brass/copper fittings.

what i did was i coiled a hose inside the styro box filled with water and a sumbersible pump siphons out the water from the tank through the hose then back to the tank. the water from the aquarium circulates through the coiled hose submerged in cool water. i then float a couple of big coke bottles with frozen water/ice and replenish it as needed. very simple and effective.... at least for me.

just like i said... this one, you'll only see the intake and the output of the chiller. no contamination whatsoever. the only challenge i had was to neatly coil the hose/tubing in the styro box as it tends to kink. the solution was to coil some metal wires to the hose. the coke bottle ice lasts for about 5-6 hrs depending on how warm the water in the box is.

- Keitarosan
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-04-2008, 06:34 PM
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Here's some help:

Take 2 of these:

Swiftech MCR220-QP Liquid Cooler Radiator

or

Swiftech MCR320-QP Quiet Power radiator


1 goes inside the cooler water, the other goes inside the aquarium.
Get a decent pump (Mad Drive 3 or equivalent would probably work). You need 1-3 GPM (60-180gpH) actual flow through the rad.
1/2" ID tubing
Create a closed loop: rad>pump>rad.
You will need a powerhead or small pump (via aqua 480?) to create flow through the cooler rad fins. The rad in the aquarium may get enough flow just from the aquarium circulation--maybe not--may need another pump for that. You may be able to get by without the additional powerhead(s), but the system would have to be setup to check that out.

Understand that the warmest source (most heat) will cool. In other words, If you forget to add ice to your cooler and for some reason it gets warmer then your aquarium--the setup will then begin to heat your aquarium, not cool it. As long as the cooler water is cooler than the aquarium--it will continue to cool the aquarium.

How much cooling will you get? I don't know, but the rads will work much better then the pipe. Most people are really only looking for a few degrees of cooling, so something like this is possible--but its still not cheap: Cooler, pump, 1-2 powerheads, tubing, fittings, space, labor.


If you are interested in actually doing this--let me know and I'll help you get it sorted out.


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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-05-2008, 03:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keitarosan View Post
i did this too and it worked for me. my design is a little bit different though as i don't want to contaminate my water with the brass/copper fittings.

what i did was i coiled a hose inside the styro box filled with water and a sumbersible pump siphons out the water from the tank through the hose then back to the tank. the water from the aquarium circulates through the coiled hose submerged in cool water. i then float a couple of big coke bottles with frozen water/ice and replenish it as needed. very simple and effective.... at least for me.
i like this idea, cheap-- but effective.

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-06-2008, 06:36 PM
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A friend of mine uses something similar to lager his beer... basically and enclosed chamber with a thermostat, computer fan and soda bottles filled with ice. Different fluid, same idea. I'd really like to see someone here pull this off and document it.


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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-07-2008, 12:17 PM
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If you don't need to cool it all the time maybe the old standby of a drinks bottle filled with water and frozen and then floated in the tank would suffice. Much more simple solution imho.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 04:02 PM
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You could run hose through a mini fridge. Then run the water through the long hose that goes into the fridge and then out again. Even if you only get a drip with the hose the water is still cold enough. I got a mini fridge for 10 bucks at a garage sale near a college. Use it as a chiller on a marine tank. Cost me about 50 bucks all together (+ time) and take my 87 degrees to 72 or 75 depending on the cold setting in the fridge.

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