Aquarium Fish

JBJ Mini Arctica Chiller (for Nano Tanks)

Aquarium Chiller Review
The JBJ Mini Arctica Titanium Chiller is built for smaller sized nano cube or similar setups. Rated at 1/15 HP, this chiller is rated for aquariums that are 40 gallons (150 liters) or less.

We had a overheating issue with the nano cube setup due to using a 150 watt metal halide. The tank temperatures were getting up into the mid to upper 80's F and then dropping back down too much at night. The temperature swings were too much for my sanity. Using a fan over sump on the back of the tank could have been an option but would lead to more frequent water top-offs. So, we bought the JBJ Mini Arctica Chiller to do the job on keeping the aquarium temperature stable in our nanocube.

If you don't know what an aquarium chiller is, read the article on aquarium chiller information.

JBJ Mini Arctica Chiller Specs:

  • Horsepower: 1/15 HP
  • Recommended for aquariums 40 gallons (150 liters) or less
  • Min-Max Flow rate: 110-160 gph
  • Power Consumption: 115 V - 60 Hz
  • Refrigerant: R-134a
  • Heat Exchanger: Titanium
  • Dimensions: 12.6" (L) x 7.7" (W) x 14.1" (H)
  • Weight: 28 lbs
  • LED lights showing the power status, cooling status and an alarm light.
  • Easy access to the wire screen that you have to clean dust from periodically to keep the chiller operating at peak efficiency.
  • Thermostat knob that ranges from 73 F to 81 F (23 C to 27 C)
JBJ Mini Arctica Chiller

We bought our JBJ Mini-Arctica Chiller for $400. We almost didn't get it because that is a lot of cash to spend, but we had already spent so much on the nano setup we might as well make it exactly how we wanted it.

Extra Equipment Needed
It's also a good idea to get the JBJ Mini Arctica Chiller setup kit that comes with the black flexible hoses and plastic hard tubing for hooking on the back of the tank. Otherwise you'll need to either have these items on hand or purchase them. I think we paid $20 for the JBJ hose setup kit. You'll need these hoses because the chiller doesn't come with them. You'll also need a power head to push the water from the tank to the chiller and back. We're using a Maxi-Jet power head model 1200 which is rated at 295 gph.

Obviously, you'll also need a thermometer to monitor aquarium temperatures. Don't go by thermostat on the chiller alone. The chiller could malfunction and without a backup you wouldn't even know if it wasn't working properly.

JBJ Mini Arctica Chiller Setup
Setting up this aquarium chiller couldn't have been easier with the setup kit. Getting the power head down into the sump proved to be more work than setting up the skimmer. Cut the hoses to the length you'll need and then attach them to the input and output ports on the chiller. Then attach the chiller input hose to the power head and place in the sump. Direct the output hose coming out of the chiller into the sump. Make sure all the fittings are attached and tight and then turn on the chiller. That's all there is to it.

JBJ Mini Arctica Chiller Pros

  • Size is nice, not too big or too bulky
  • Easy to clean air screen
  • LED lights let you know when it's running
  • Thermostat knob allows you to easily control the temps
  • Very easy to setup
  • Price, compared to other skimmers in this class it's competitively priced
  • Peace of mind knowing that the temps are not swinging too much and the temps are not getting too high into dangerous levels for the livestock in the tank.
JBJ Mini Arctica Chiller Cons
  • Noise, most chillers make noise when the compressor kicks on. This JBJ chiller is not all that noisy, but in a small room you would be able to hear it when it turns on to cool the aquarium water.
  • Price, also listed in the pros I know, but man, wish all these chillers would drop in price so more hobbyists could enjoy them.

Summary
Given the price of these JBJ Mini Arctica Chillers and if you're financially challenged (as we are), then I'd recommend trying a fan over the back of the tank and use evaporative cooling to keep the tank temps in the manageable ranges. However, if you can afford one of these mini arctica chillers, then I'd say go for it. This one has been running for several months now and is doing a fine job keeping the nanocube's temps steady. The noise factor may bother some people, but it really isn't all that noisy. It sits about 3 feet from me when I'm at my desk and I can hardly hear it.

Author : Mike FishLore




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