Aquarium Chiller 120 gallon 8f drop required

Nick72

Turns out my 120 gallon is running at around 31c (88f) with heavy surface agitation.

I’ve tried running my 2hp living room air con for several hours a day, and this has brought the tank down to 29c (84f), but let me uncomfortably cold in my own home.

I think I need an aquarium chiller but I have doubts. I’d appreciate advice from those with really life experience.

I’ve heard that a chiller won’t work if it’s kept in a room with a high ambient temperature?

The ambient air temperature in my living room is probably anything from 30-33c (86f-91f) on any given day.

My fridge freezer in my kitchen copes just fine, does the chiller not work on similar principles?

I understand that I need to give the chiller space to breath, so not in a cabinet, but will it work with my high ambient air temperature?

Ideally I’m looking for an aquarium temperature of around 27-27.5c (80.5f-81.5f).

it’s the living room, so quite would be nice.

I hear overpowered is the way to go. But I don’t know if that means 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 hp?

I’m guessing I’d run it on an independent circuit rather than integrate with the canister (FX6), but I’m here for advise.

Are there any other put potential pit falls?

I’m comfortable with this costing $500-700. Much more than this would give me pause for thought. Does this sound doable?
 

SparkyJones

Can't tell you how your stuff works, I can say that my central air conditioner runs through the summer, set at 77F, and my tanks only get above 78F during water changes when the tap water is pretty hot out of the tap.

The whole key to it is the air temp will cool the tank, the air temp will heat the tank, if you ran an A/C for a couple hours it will have an effect, it won't really last though. if you run an aquarium chiller it will have an effect, but it won't be as effective if the air temp is 90-95F., the air will heat up the water.

Also if I didn't leave my central air set and running, and shut if off or just ran it for a couple hours, it would take forever for it to remove the humidity and lower the temp back to reasonable. I have it on and set, it runs when the house hits 78F and shuts off at 77F, some days it runs from 1pm until about 8pm constantly because it can't get the house low enough to shut off, and then it gets to like 81, and the tank around 79F.

your fridge/freezer is insulated, your fish tank isn't.

the only one that would work is an inline chiller, 1/10th HP, this one works like an A/C Unit, a refrigerant, and a cooling fan and radiator the coolant runs through to take out the heat.

It needs good ventilation though, and still even with that, the tank is going to keep picking up heat through the glass.

And aquarium chillers aren't cheap. and if they can be kept in a closed room, because of how it gets rid of the heat, it just blows that heat into the room, raises the ambient temp and reduces it's efficiency at cooling because it's making the air temp hotter.

I'd also sauy a 1/10th HP is probably not big enough for the tank without the room A/C running, you'd want something double the size or bigger if no A/C running, and it's going to heat up the room.....
 

Nick72

Thanks SparkyJones

i spent several hours reading what I could about chillers last night, but I really need to speak to someone with practice experience running them in a tropical climate.

i appreciate that it would be practical to run my air con throughout most of the day to bring the air temperature down, but I’m not going to do that as I’ve no intention of sitting in a room that cool. I’ve acclimated to warmer temperatures over the last 10 years living in Malaysia and can’t stand the cold.

From what I’ve seen the Hailea is the most common make available here. They make a 1/2hp unit, Hailea HK 500A, rated for 500 litres for around $550 USD, but I’m leaning towards the 1hp unit, Hailea HK 1000A, rated for 1000 litres which costs around $750 USD.

it’s just a lot of money to throw down without knowing if it will really do the job, and I’ve got no idea how much noise it might make which will be a factor as the tank is in my living room.
 

SparkyJones

Thanks SparkyJones

i spent several hours reading what I could about chillers last night, but I really need to speak to someone with practice experience running them in a tropical climate.

i appreciate that it would be practical to run my air con throughout most of the day to bring the air temperature down, but I’m not going to do that as I’ve no intention of sitting in a room that cool. I’ve acclimated to warmer temperatures over the last 10 years living in Malaysia and can’t stand the cold.

From what I’ve seen the Hailea is the most common make available here. They make a 1/2hp unit, Hailea HK 500A, rated for 500 litres for around $550 USD, but I’m leaning towards the 1hp unit, Hailea HK 1000A, rated for 1000 litres which costs around $750 USD.

it’s just a lot of money to throw down without knowing if it will really do the job, and I’ve got no idea how much noise it might make which will be a factor as the tank is in my living room.
do you have a singular smaller room you could set up as a fishroom, and just install a room cooling AC unit for that, something with a thermostat that way you can maintain the temp you need, but not do it for the whole house? it would work better than a chiller would if you like sweating it out ( I hate cold also, Live in south florida, it's like 90F every day and more, and humid as all get out), still though I dont' think 77F is "cold" it's reasonable, probably 82F is also reasonable, the 10 degree shift is a big difference,

BUT there is a difference also in a wall type AC vs. A central AC, the central AC has an air dryer, so it doesn't feel as "chilly" as the wall units do.

you can just dechlorinate water and freeze up Ice cubes to drop in through the day I suppose.
they are loud to an extent, Louder than nothing, something like an air pump to a commercial air pump unit in db, in a way, they usually have a cooling fan. sort of like the condenser unit on a House, it's outside and not inside. the fan is running high RPM to move the heat off the radiators.... can you duct the unit like you would a clothes dryer so that it vents exhaust outside? it will work significantly better if it's not dumping the hot air back into the room in order to chill the refrigerant.

I think you can do it with some modifications, but the chillers are kind of designed with air conditioning in mind, at least with how they cool and dump the hot air.

... as far as cost, you'd also need to factor the running cost of it, how much electricity it's going to add to bills per month/ per year.

You can dig around for native fish that are used to the climate, maybe find out some species from there that can work at the higher summer temps without a a chiller, worst case, you need more aeration.
 

Nick72

I need to keep the tank in the living room due to both a lack of alternative available space and because that’s where I’ll appreciate the aquarium (which is also an important factor).

My AC is the typical wall mounted split unit configuration, it’s fairly noisy and blows ice cold air into the room. I’ve tried it and it’s just not for me. I actually never turned it on before this week as I hate AC. I’m much happier running the ceiling fans, but they won’t help lower the aquarium water temperature.

My LFS tell me to hook the chiller up to my canister so that the water sent through the chiller is pre-filtered. They say this is important for the health and efficiency of the chiller, but they also warn the FX6 is not the easiest canister to hook up to a chiller - I think due to the 25mm hoses?

I’m hoping that if I go with the 1hp unit it will overcome my high ambient air temp and not need to kick in too often or for too long.
 

Cherryshrimp420

This all depends on what stocking you have...

Most tropical fish are perfectly fine in 31C
 

Nick72

This all depends on what stocking you have...

Most tropical fish are perfectly fine in 31C

Really?

What are you basing that on?

Forums and care guides are full of statements saying most tropical species ( with some exceptions: Discus, GBR, etc.) shouldn’t be kept long term above 29c (84f).

From what I’ve read 27c (80f) appears to be the sweat spot for most tropical species.

I’m not arguing this, just repeating what I’ve read, so I’d be interested to know what brings you to believe most tropical fish can be kept at 31c (88f)?

I’m looking to keep Severum Cichlid which I partly selected due to their tolerance of hotter temperatures, but I can’t find a single article suggesting they can be kept at 31c.
 

SparkyJones

Really?

What are you basing that on?

Forums and care guides are full of statements saying most tropical species ( with some exceptions: Discus, GBR, etc.) shouldn’t be kept long term above 29c (84f).

From what I’ve read 27c (80f) appears to be the sweat spot for most tropical species.

I’m not arguing this, just repeating what I’ve read, so I’d be interested to know what brings you to believe most tropical fish can be kept at 31c (88f)?

I’m looking to keep Severum Cichlid which I partly selected due to their tolerance of hotter temperatures, but I can’t find a single article suggesting they can be kept at 31c.
there's "ideal range" and there are extreme range outside of ideal. in most cases hotter or colder will either speed up a fishes metabolism, or slow it down, and in either case, will shorten the fishes lifespan int he long run, but clearly fish can survive temp changes that are out of ideal range for periods of time, like summer/winter, day/night, ect. it's when its' just too extreme it can be a problem.

You really can't do too much about too cold to survive, you can however with hotter water increase oxygenation so the fish won't have to work so hard to get O2 from the water. Even so, there's still going to be a faster metabolism, and a desire to eat more because calories are being consumed faster and long term if they can't eat more, a decline in the fishes physical condition as it burns more calories than it consumes, there is a point where it's impossible to keep up with what it uses, and what it needs to maintain weight, much less thrive and put on weight.

Depends on type of fish, Tropicals will be advised ideal range is 75F-80F,
normal range is 75F to 90F though and even still "acceptable" range is 65F-95F.
As far as toleration of temperature is concerned over time. it can switch from extreme to extreme quickly, it can't stay there long term without there being a lifespan sacrifice.
breeding tropicals, the range is likely 70F -80F as ideal where their metabolism is running good, the temp is good for egg development, and temps can promote breeding behaviors.

84F is beyond ideal range is all that is.
80F is top of ideal range, it might shorten lifespan, but it will promote eating, weight gain and growth, but not be severely detrimental going up towards the extreme high temp range goes for shortening lifespan.

Above that 90-95F, and no additional aeration, good chance fish are going to struggle and die. below 90F, and plenty of added oxygenation, I dont' believe it's an immediate threat, but it will shorten the fishes lifespans the hotter it gets and stays like that.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Really?

What are you basing that on?

Forums and care guides are full of statements saying most tropical species ( with some exceptions: Discus, GBR, etc.) shouldn’t be kept long term above 29c (84f).

From what I’ve read 27c (80f) appears to be the sweat spot for most tropical species.

I’m not arguing this, just repeating what I’ve read, so I’d be interested to know what brings you to believe most tropical fish can be kept at 31c (88f)?

I’m looking to keep Severum Cichlid which I partly selected due to their tolerance of hotter temperatures, but I can’t find a single article suggesting they can be kept at 31c.

Care guides are all anecdotal, I had my own website too but it doesn't make my words any more absolute, it's just what worked for me.

There are rivers in the Amazon that stay above 30C year round. Same with ponds and puddles in Asia that can get much higher than 30C during summer times.

The higher temperatures are nothing new to tropical fish, but to emulate those conditions in North America is a huge waste of effort....until recent heat waves....

Here in Canada, the "ideal temperature range" on fish tank thermometers is 22C - 26C, but in China the ideal range I saw was 24C - 28C. Did tropical fish suddenly shift lower when imported to Canada? No, it's pretty much all arbitrary

there's "ideal range" and there are extreme range outside of ideal. in most cases hotter or colder will either speed up a fishes metabolism, or slow it down, and in either case, will shorten the fishes lifespan int he long run, but clearly fish can survive temp changes that are out of ideal range for periods of time, like summer/winter, day/night, ect. it's when its' just too extreme it can be a problem.

You really can't do too much about too cold to survive, you can however with hotter water increase oxygenation so the fish won't have to work so hard to get O2 from the water. Even so, there's still going to be a faster metabolism, and a desire to eat more because calories are being consumed faster and long term if they can't eat more, a decline in the fishes physical condition as it burns more calories than it consumes, there is a point where it's impossible to keep up with what it uses, and what it needs to maintain weight, much less thrive and put on weight.

Depends on type of fish, Tropicals will be advised ideal range is 75F-80F,
normal range is 75F to 90F though and even still "acceptable" range is 65F-95F.
As far as toleration of temperature is concerned over time. it can switch from extreme to extreme quickly, it can't stay there long term without there being a lifespan sacrifice.
breeding tropicals, the range is likely 70F -80F as ideal where their metabolism is running good, the temp is good for egg development, and temps can promote breeding behaviors.

84F is beyond ideal range is all that is.
80F is top of ideal range, it might shorten lifespan, but it will promote eating, weight gain and growth, but not be severely detrimental going up towards the extreme high temp range goes for shortening lifespan.

Above that 90-95F, and no additional aeration, good chance fish are going to struggle and die. below 90F, and plenty of added oxygenation, I dont' believe it's an immediate threat, but it will shorten the fishes lifespans the hotter it gets and stays like that.

The "ideal range" is an important topic. I would say for some popular fish the ideal range is actually 82F - 87F as that is more reflective of their wild temperatures. By placing them in 70F - 80F waters in North America, we are actually putting them in a cold state, which is why we see so many diseases and issues with these fish (cough cough neons).

I don't claim that these temperatures are guaranteed to work, just my observations and experiences
 

coralbandit

Know that the heat removed from the tank water is expelled from the chiller into the area the chiller is located.
Think of it like a window AC for your tank. Where is the heat going to go? In your living room?
I would read a bunch and even search what I mentioned for real solutions.
Have you tried running a fan over the surface of tank?
 

Nick72

Cherryshrimp420 SparkyJones

Thank you for that insight into temperature tolerance. It’s not a view I have heard expressed previously and certainly gives me pause for thought.

I would clearly prefer not to use a chiller if I don’t need to.

I suspect my tank will average 87f with occasional peaks of 89f. So well within what you are describing as a tolerable range.
 

SparkyJones

Cherryshrimp420 SparkyJones

Thank you for that insight into temperature tolerance. It’s not a view I have heard expressed previously and certainly gives me pause for thought.

I would clearly prefer not to use a chiller if I don’t need to.

I suspect my tank will average 87f with occasional peaks of 89f. So well within what you are describing as a tolerable range.
To an extent, with enough dissolved oxygen/aireation and shortened lifespans... I think its tolerable for a period of time, I also think if you were to aim towards the warmer water species of tropicals this might give you a little more high end room.

In theory it should work, in practice it may not and I'm not sure how much shorter life spans become if fish are kept far out of their ideal ranges for prolonged periods of time.
I'm in south Florida I have my experiences from hurricanes for a couple weeks of no power, and I'd like to check what water Temps are like in the canals through summer and what non natives, which I've seen plenty of low temp fish kills, but never a mass die off from high Temps. Not sure how high the water Temps get really in the canals and lakes.
I can tell you the ocean temp at the beach was 86F today.
 

Nick72

SparkyJones

So, to get specific. Do I understand you to be saying that a constant temperature of between 87-89f for Severum Cichlids, may reduce their life span some, but otherwise they should be fine at these temperatures?

You describe a ‘normal range’ above as 75-90f so this would be in the top end of the normal range, not even breaking into the upper acceptable range you mentioned.

I’d like to be clear because it felt like you were walking back from this a little in your last post above?
 

sunflower430

Idk about chillers... but if it gets cooler at night, perhaps you could try to rig up some sort of waterfall type feature to cool the water down. People do this for outdoor pools/ponds.
 

SparkyJones

SparkyJones

So, to get specific. Do I understand you to be saying that a constant temperature of between 87-89f for Severum Cichlids, may reduce their life span some, but otherwise they should be fine at these temperatures?

You describe a ‘normal range’ above as 75-90f so this would be in the top end of the normal range, not even breaking into the upper acceptable range you mentioned.

I’d like to be clear because it felt like you were walking back from this a little in your last post above?
Yes walking back because I was unsure of water Temps. What I know.
Water temp at the beach, the ocean today was 86F.
Water Temps in the canal systems which range from under a foot to 15 ft deep or deeper, can reach an average high of 92.7F during the summer months. This is where tropical non-native aquarium fish are, knife fish, oscars, iridescent sharks, mollies, guppies, gouramis, pea puffers, pacu, tilapia, South and Central American cichlids, the list goes on and on of non natives here that are established in the canal systems and lakes, and I've never seen a dieoff from heat where I have seen a few dieoffs from a couple weeks of cold Temps.
I know from past hurricanes and power being out for 2 weeks my house would approach 100F by sunset and my tanks also around 97 as the days passed and not dropping all that much overnight and my fish survived it, two angels and two kissing gouramis, no filter running, no cooling, no air being added and they lived and the kissing gouramis actually lived another decade after that happened and lived 15 and 16 years total.

The water is going to heat up during the day and cool off at night and the fish will go along with this. It's not constant extremely hot. My fish sat there and did basically nothing for those two weeks of time, and were more active when the water was cooler overnight before it heated up again.

Yes. I think there will be a shortening of lifespans, I'm not sure how much, but the gouramis in ideal conditions and care might have lasted 25-30 years and I have no idea how much an effect that hurricane period of time effected the lifespan vs. The diet or genetics really and if it had an effect or was inconsequential but all that I have read suggests hotter temperatures shorten lifespan because of the taxing on the body and the increased metabolism and consumption of calories, and the main culprit, low dissolved oxygen in the hotter water.

Researching further, everything I read warns of stress and suffocation from low dissolved oxygen in the water at high Temps (above 90F) that carry for weeks at a time.
Again though this isn't how it works, it ramps up temperature through the day and ramps down at night. It might break 92F at 5pm and might be 82F at 5am.
I really think it's sustainable, with a shorter lifespan, with added areation. Above 95F the O2 can get so low in the water the nitrifying bacteria can die off... something else to consider.

I'd prefer you look into it yourself and decide for yourself if you want to try this route, I'm just giving information that I've looked at about this, I run the AC so it's not a problem and have plans in place now for future hurricane power outages but lowering the temp of the tank isn't one of the plans. Adding a filter and aeration is the plan to get the fish through it with less of an issue than previous experiences.

From what I can see Malaysia has a high of like 90F recently and a low of 74F, with a humidity of like 95%.
Where I am in south Florida the high is 91F and low of 78F, and 60% humidity.
In my mind this is comparable but the hot, feels hotter from the higher humidity you have. From what I understand of Malaysia, it's really consistent all year and just small variations through the year with highs of like 28 Celsius to 32 Celsius.

I think if you averaged the Temps the daily temp of the tank would be like 86F, not 90F or higher. There will be a daily high and low to contend with, but the average isn't extre which is why I think simple additional airation can achieve the goal.

I also don't see why a CO2 diffuser system couldn't be used with oxygen instead of CO2 in a similar manner to oxygenate the water more efficiently than an air pump and stone could, but I haven't tried it, just saying I don't see why it wouldn't work but nobody does it.

The catch with high Temps that are out of ideal range is the fish stress or struggle for oxygen in the water, fish that are used to slack water or low oxygen situations would be better suited to handle it than fish from fast water habitats and stress less.

I've looked at this about as as much as I can to give you the information I know of. You have a unique situation. And I think you might be overthinking and overkilling it going the chiller route. what do other fishkeepers in Malaysia do? You can't be the only one that keeps fish there.

I'd also suggest that you monitor the fish at the hottest times, if they aren't at the surface looking for oxygen gulping air, they likely are going to be OK. They may not move around much but when it's low on dissolved oxygen they are usually trying to stay at the surface and gulp some air instead.
If they aren't doing that it's probably fine for the fish.
 

Nick72

Thank you SparkyJones

I appreciate you taking the time to lay this all out for me.

I may try to keep the Severum at ambient, which I suspect will stay within the 87-89f range most of the time, while adding an air stone or possibly a sponge filter.

The tank is still cycling so I can monitor the temperature swings for a little while longer, prior to adding the fish, and make a final decision based on what I see.

Once the fish are added I’ll then react to how the fish look / behave.
 

SparkyJones

Thank you SparkyJones

I appreciate you taking the time to lay this all out for me.

I may try to keep the Severum at ambient, which I suspect will stay within the 87-89f range most of the time, while adding an air stone or possibly a sponge filter.

The tank is still cycling so I can monitor the temperature swings for a little while longer, prior to adding the fish, and make a final decision based on what I see.

Once the fish are added I’ll then react to how the fish look / behave.
I also I really liked the idea from sunflower420 about a waterfall water return, this should disapate heat some from the water and add some more oxygen, trickle filters are good for this also. My wetdry filter is good at oxygenation and runs about 2 degrees cooler than my tanks with sponge filters. In the same room, terrible for plants becuase it pushes out CO2, but good at oxygenation.

Might be ways to reduce water temp using a couple methods without having to shell out hundreds of dollars for a chiller and adding more to the electricity bill.
The waterfall idea sounds promising actually.
Science, thermal conductivity, heat disappation from a fluid. Ect. Probably a couple things you could do with some modification to cool the water a couple degrees.
 

Nick72

Added a sponge for the time being.


81422DCF-E35F-4378-8216-812A04BACACA.jpeg

This should help oxygenate the water for both the beneficial bacteria and later the fish.
 

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