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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some background: I live in Minnesota in a house that gets drafty/cold in the winter (~65 degrees F). I like being cold like that, and my fish tanks all have oversized heaters and lids to maintain consistently stable tropical water temperatures so it works out.

My issue is, I'm trying to come up with a semi-permanent brine shrimp hatchery station. So far I have two hatchery cones from Brine Shrimp Direct in a perfectly sized 60 qt. cooler.

I drilled two tiny holes in the top for airline tubes, and I'm adding insulation around the openings. My only concern now is how to keep the air inside of the cooler heated to 81 degrees (since the air for the airline tubes is coming from an air pump outside the cooler, there will always be cool air pumping in). I have a battery-operated puck light inside the cooler lid but it's an LED so it doesn't give off much heat.

Any ideas?

As a temporary solution I added water to the cooler with an aquarium heater on the bottom. I can't do this permanently though because the sealant on the hatchery cones will eventually start to become waterlogged and fail. And it's also annoying to have to change out the water in the cooler - it gets gross pretty fast because there's no air circulation in that water.

The only idea I came up with so far is heat packs, but that would be a wasteful and expensive solution. Something battery-operated would be ideal so I don't have to drill another hole for a cord.
 

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I would recommend a temperature controller (recommend Inkbird or Vivosun) coupled with a seedling heat mat (check Vivosun). I used a similar setup to heat an insulated fermentation chamber for brewing. It worked well. If you go with both of the Vivosun products you could probably accomplish this for less than 40 bucks if purchased on amazon.

You would have to drill a hole, but I think long term that is going to be your best solution.
 

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One of the more cost effective options for heating really small spaces is a simple incandescent bulb. Tied together with a temp controller, it will actually cost far less than buying some other form of heating. We have an outside cat which we favor with a bos heated by a 40 watt bulb!
I find the temp controller from E-bay to be very cost effective as well.
 
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