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FAQs about Coldwater Marine Aquariums 2

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Related FAQs: Chilling 1, & Lighting Waste Heat Production/Elimination, FAQs on: Fans For Cooling, Chiller Rationale/Use, Selection, DIY, Installation, Maintenance, Troubleshooting, By Type/Characteristics: Drop-in, Flow-Through, Therma-Electric, By Make/Model/Manufacturer: DIYArctica, AquaMedic, Aquanetics (out of biz.), AquaLogic, AZoo, Current/Prime, Custom Sea Life (out of biz), Delta, Iceprobe, JBL, Pacific Coast, Premier, Resun, Sfiligoi, Teclima, Teco, Tradewind, Via Aqua, West Coast, Other Makers/Models,  & Cool./Cold Marine Set-Up, Heating, Water TemperatureMetal Halide Heat Issues,

Remember, you're cooling everything down.

Keeping E. Pacific (coldwater) anemones; system     4/25/20
Hi Mr. Fenner,
I have listened to a couple of your talks and used your website. I have found all the information you put out extremely interesting.
I am attempting a cold water pacific-coast setup with anemones.
I was wondering if you have any advice as to the care requirements of Anthopleura sola, A. elegantissima, or anemones the Urticina genus.
<I know a little; have kept the local anemones, studied the elegant clone in college... histologically; have friends who are coldwater keepers, and volunteered years back at the local public aquarium where we kept
Metridium, Tealia... species>
I don't have a separate system to exchange water with to allow new additions to slowly get to know one another as you have suggested.
<Mmm; okay. Do need a chiller>
I'm trying to run a lot of carbon and to match their environment in terms of temperature and flow.
Are there any specific things that you would recommend I try?
<Well, need to know a bit more re your set up... size, gear make up... Do tell>
Thanks very much,
<Glad to share. Bob Fenner>
Re: E. Pacific Anemones husbandry     4/26/20

My total water volumes consists of a 35 gallon display aquarium with 1" acrylic on all the sides and bottom.
<Good for insulation>
I have a good 1/10hp chiller and haven't had any issues maintaining 55.5-56 degrees F, which is currently
my target temperature.
<I'd let this up during the summer/warmer months... high 50's, low 60's>
In addition to the anemones I have many macroalgae and so I have strong lighting optimized for plant growth, though I've considered switching to bluer light for aesthetic purposes.
<... the strength of lighting is a relative term... 40-50 PAR, PUR for 8 hours a day is fine>
Plenty of flow between return pump, chiller pump, and two DC Tunze powerheads. Plenty of bio media. I am planning on drilling the aquarium and adding a sump to increase water volume.
<Ah, good>
My ph has stayed fairly low around 7.6-7.8- I think the chert rock and sand (common in my area) contributes to this.
<I'd be adding a commercial supplement here. SeaChem Stability is a fave>
Nitrates and phosphates have stayed high, especially phosphates (0.4mg/l, nitrates around 25mg/l).
<Not a worry>
From my discussions with other keepers of coldwater aquaria, these slightly elevated numbers are not uncommon but I would still like to get them down. When I add the sump I'll have a lot of options there, so I am not too concerned.
<Good... DSB there, RDP... BobF>

Clean-up-crew Options. Temperate, 40 gal.    3/9/20
Hello WetWebMedia Crew! I have several questions regarding my temperate
marine planted aquarium.
Tank statistics:
40 gallon breeder
Has operated: Roughly 5 months
Tank temperature: Roughly 68 degrees Fahrenheit
Water changes: I am attempting once weekly
Water parameters:
PH: 8
Salinity: 1.025-1.026
Filtration and Circulation:
AquaClear 50 with filter floss and no carbon (running full time)
Macro Aqua M-50 Protein skimmer (running for several hours about every 3 weeks)
Two Jebao RW-4 wavemakers
Lighting: Finnex Planted Plus 24/7 CC (9 hours of high intensity light, 9 hours of no light, and 3 hours of low intensity light in between the high and no light cycles)
Livestock: Macroalgae (the most simplistic being Sea lettuce (Ulva)) and rock hitchhikers (I plan on adding other temperate organisms including Daggerblade grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio) aka. Feeder shrimp, a Catalina goby (Lythrypnus dalli), and a Kamohara blenny (Meiacanthus kamoharai) to name a few)
Question 1: Will a Margarita snail (Margarites pupillus) eat green film algae?
<Yes; most all types of algae are consumed by Margarite Snails>
I already know these snails eat hair algae and diatoms but I am unsure when it comes to this variety.
<Mmm; well, not likely BGA/Blue Greens... these aren't really algae; and are unpalatable to many/most organisms>
Question 1.5: If the Margarita snail does not eat green film algae, what other options do I have (when I comes to controlling this algae) that will not consume macroalgae like Ulva (or consume it at a slow enough rate where it can continue to grow)?
<I would just rely on careful non-introduction of nutrients, chemical (and physical) filtration, and regular maintenance; rather than biological cleaners>
Question 2: What are some good temperate water sand sifters?
I have seen the Bruised nassa (Phrontis or Nassarius vibex) as a potential candidate (as its range extends into temperate water), yet I am interested if you might know about any other (Sand dollars sound fascinating and I have heard that they can be successfully kept with targeted feedings).
<Many (local) organisms are worth experimenting... >
Question 3: Will a Kamohara blenny eat macroalgae like Ulva and if so, will the blenny consume it at a slow enough rate where the algae can continue to grow?
<Mmm; no; Meiacanthus are mainly zooplanktivorous>
Thanks in advance!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Chiller cooling issue- Nano reef tank      12/2/19
Hello Crew
<Hello Srinivas>
Am facing a peculiar problem with my chiller
I have a big chiller (1 HP) bought for my earlier tank ( 240 Gallons). Post my relocation, I shifted to a rented accommodation and owing to space constraints (and mobility factor), I sifted to a nano setup.
I am using whatever stuff I could from my old set-up and chiller was an expensive investment which I wouldn't have undertaken again. So am using the same chiller for a very small set up ( entire volume including Sump is about 50 gallons)
The return chamber, where the chiller pump is located, had about 3-4 gallons of water. The water is pushed to the display through by a Sicce Syncra 1.0 return pump (250 Gallons per hour)
The chiller is set to cut off at 26degreed Celsius (78 F).
The problem is that the chiller is chilling the water in the return to 26 Degrees within few minutes and cuts off.
<This is caused by the small water volume vs. the chiller capacity>
The water is slowly relayed to the display and flows through the refuge and skimmer, back to the return chamber. The temperature in the display is 1 degree more that the temperature in the return chamber.
<I suggest using a bigger return pump and/or pipe diameter; this way water will enter and leave the display tank faster and there will be no temperature variations between the sump and the DT.>
The kick off and cut off of the chiller is very frequent... say twice in 12 minutes.
<Water temp is rising fast>
Please advice where things are going wrong and how to obtain an even temperature for a reasonable time before the chiller takes care of the spike in temperature.
<Unfortunately, due to the small total water volume in your system, temperature fluctuates pretty fast and won’t remain even, for longer periods of time before the chiller has to start working again.>
Warm Regards,
<Cheers. Wil.>

Coldwater Marine Tank Questions        8/7/18
I am a hobbyist in Florida who for a fairly long time maintained a 10 gallon coldwater marine tank with cnidarians, snails and fish primarily from the Pacific coasts of California through Washington.
<You are to be congratulated. Keeping such small systems stable... successfully is not easy>
the last time a hurricane came through about a year ago I was without power for a week and lost everything except my Elegant Blenny (*Omobranchus elegans)* and a couple of Plumose Anemones (*Metridium senile). *So for most of the year I've just kept this little sad tank going as without Stu
Wobbe and his Coldwater Marine company there are very few options for a hobbyist to restock. As an aside, if you know any way for a hobbyist to obtain the strawberry/jewel anemones *Corynactis viridis* or *Corynactis californica* I would appreciate the insight as Matsu Collections is the only provider I'm aware of and he requires a California Scientific Collecting Permit which I do not have.
<I'd have your dealer/s contact Quality Marine and Sea Dwelling Creatures in LA. Otherwise you might write folks in the public aquarium fields in CA re: Fernando Nosratpour at SIO/Birch, Richard Ross at the Steinhart/CAS... They may know folks who do such work>
So for the most part being a Floridian and a hobbyist I only have access to what little coldwater/temperate livestock are purposefully mislabeled as tropical reef livestock. So I'm currently planning on setting up a Fluval M60 (which has an 18 gallon display with 6 gallon built in sump for 24
gallons total) as something vaguely resembling a Catalina or Blue-Banded Goby *(Lythrypnus dalli)* biotope. I already have vertical rockwork in place with dozens of little caves for the gobies. My main question is, in a setup I've described how many gobies should I purchase?
<One, perhaps two. They are territorial to degrees>
Other than taking up valuable oxygen, the elegant blenny is not a concern. I've had him in a much smaller tank (standard 10 gallon) with little Sculpins and Catalina gobies before without incident as he rarely leaves the seemingly impossibly small shell he came with and when he does come out it is only
to go a couple of inches to grab some food. The information online mostly conflicts with how they are displayed in public aquariums and how they live in the wild. I've even seen repeated suggestions that only one tiny barely an inch long fish needs an entire 30 gallon tank devoted solely to him.
Meanwhile in public aquaria, I've seen dozens of Catalina gobies side by side in a tank that size and in the wild they are seldom if ever alone with ten or more huddling around the same sea urchin.
<Mmm; I collected this species; many moons ago (the sixties) commercially at times; they can be kept very crowded or much less; akin to many lacustrine African Cichlids>
I assume what is going on is something similar to the typical African cichlid situation where one is
fine, two or three will kill each other and a dozen will be fine as they take turns squabbling without having the time and energy to devote to murdering their peers.
<Oh! Yes>
So in my setup (18 gallon display with extra 6 gallons in the sump) with a vertical rock face with dozens of little caves, how many Catalina gobies should I get?
<For me; one or two>
And one final question. There are still places (like Matsu Collections) where I could get coldwater macroalgaes but they are typically quite expensive with similarly expensive shipping. Are there any typical "tropical reef" macroalgaes that will do well in a coldwater setting (I keep mine around 59 degrees but I would warm it up somewhat if it makes a major difference)?
<Some; yes. Codium, a few popular Gracilaria; most Reds actually>
Thank you very much,
Warren P.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Lots of good brine chillers need to go away           4/17/15
WetWebMedia crew,
Tried earlier today to send this message to Bob Fenner at this address: bob@wetwebmedia.com
<Mmm; you may need an "F" after the bob here>
But apparently this address no longer works? And maybe this great guy is no longer there?
<Still here>
But anyway, I really just need to get rid of several good brine chillers that are stored in Iowa, just west of Des Moines.
Mr. Fenner,
Do know anyone (probably in the Midwest) who might want a good reasonably priced brine chiller to cool their aquarium? Or anywhere we might post the availability of them?
<Not right off; but send an add to me here and I'll post it on WWM; have you tried the clubs, Craig's List? I would>
Thank you for your good email message (July 30, 2003) to me that was useful as I was getting an aquarium with a sophisticated brine chiller set up for our grandchildren’s small private school just north of Seattle.
Unfortunately the chilled marine aquarium wasn’t as easy to use as the one I had set up in our living room with a much older brine chiller back in the late 1970’s. Because back in those days, our kids could go to a Puget Sound beach and bring back a collection of marine life for the aquarium! They learned a lot about which marine animals were likely to eat the others, and became so interested in biology that one of them wound up teaching it at local colleges. And eventually the very old brine chiller compressor failed.
Then in the 90’s when I was visiting my brother in Iowa City I bought about a half dozen sophisticated brine chillers. These are hospital surplus items configured to provide cold (or warm) liquid to a matt under a patient laying on a bed. I carried them all to our family farm near Stuart Iowa (about 50 miles straight west of Des Moines, Iowa. I tested each very briefly to verify that they all would chill water. But as I was setting one up out here for our grandchildren’s school aquarium I learned that the more extensive chilling for an aquarium freezes the water, so it must contain antifreeze!
I don’t have the unit model number right now, but the service handbook for the Tecumseh compressor is attached. (It covers several different compressors, and I think the one in our units is 1/3 Hp.)
With my parents both deceased, we’re now working to get the family farm cleared out, so the several chillers still there need to go away. Our son who lives beside us here just south of Seattle sells items on eBay, and brine chillers there seem to mostly be offered for over $1,000, but they very seldom sell. And it would be a challenge to get them all transported to here from Iowa. So soon I will probably offer them on craigslist in Des Moines, Iowa, to be picked up by a buyer for a much more reasonable price.
So if you or any of your contacts might be interested in them let me know. We not have contact with our email home phone for a few days starting this Sunday, so then it might be best to contact me by cell phone, or call my brother Pat in Iowa City.
Thanks again for your long-ago help,
Rich Farrell 425-432-1411 home 206-599-9345 cell 319-358-7870 brother Pat in Iowa City
<Will post. Bob Fenner>

Water Temp Issue and Evaporation -- 09/27/11
<<Hey John>>
I had a question about my set up.
It's a 55gallon saltwater aquarium with a 20 gal sump underneath. I have a protein skimmer with a Rio 2100 and a return pump with a Rio 2100. I also have 3 small circulation pumps (250-425 gph each) inside the main tank. I have 4 Power compacts at 65w each running from 7am to 7pm. And 4 computer fans set up to try and cool down the system. The temperature with the fans ON is normally 80 to 82 degrees. Is it normal for me to have to add about a gallon of water a day to keep the water level the same?
<<It is normal to need to add freshwater to replace that which evaporates, yes 'the volume required will vary from system to system based on size, amount of exposed surface area (display, sump, etc.), air movement across this area, room temperature and humidity level, et al. While it may seem like a lot, a gallon-a-day for a system like yours is not anything to be alarmed about>>
I want to cool it down more but can't afford the chiller right now... I have an external pump on the way to replace the return pump in the sump tank, hoping that it'll drop the temperature some more.
<<Maybe 'maybe not (depends much on the pump)'¦and then there's the trade-off in noise (again, depending on the pump). A better solution may have been to get a 'better' submersible pump like those offered by Eheim>>
Any help with temp and water evaporation issue would be appreciated!
<<Do realize that it is the evaporation that 'is helping' with your tank's water temperature (evaporative cooling). I am hesitant to recommend reducing water pumps/flow, or photo-period 'using the fans to keep the water temperature in the 80F-82F range is quite acceptable, in my opinion 'and short of utilizing a chiller device, is about the best you expect here I think>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>
Re: Water Temp Issue and Evaporation -- 09/27/11

Why is Eheim "better" as far as temperature/heat transfer?
<<Very well made/efficient (watts per gph)'¦low heat transfer in my experience. May or may not be a better choice, depending on the external pump you are considering 'just another option to consider. EricR>

Temperature Control/Cooling Marine Tanks 5/22/11
Adam J.,
<<Hello again Edward, sorry for the day late response, I didn't notice your message in my box and I was out of town last night.>>
I am sorry to keep bothering you.
<<No bother at all.>>
I had a bit of a problem with the temperature of my tank today. Today we had weather in the mid 80's ( I live in Michigan) and my temp went from it's normal 78.5 degrees to 81.5 degrees.
<<81 degrees isn't unheard of on the reefs, actually it's still in the acceptable range for a lot of denizens, what you don't want is the swing from 77-82 everyday.>>
I believe the raise is do in part to my 2x250 watt MH light fixture.
<<Definitely a huge source of heat, I live in Southern California so this was something I had to plan for in the summers as well.>>
When my lights aren't on my temp is VERY solid at 78.5 due to my reek keeper lite. They are on for 11 hours (7am-6pm) and the temp climbs to 81.5 right before the lights go off then within 5 hours of lights out it fully decreased to 78.5. I have 2 cooling fans on my wood canopy one is a modified high quality fan that blows air in on one side.
The other is a somewhat large computer type of fan that sucks air out. They are also controlled to go on at 78.8 and off at 78.7. My temp has not peaked past 79.5 degrees before today. So I know the warmer air plays a part in this too. My question is should I not fight this and raise my temp to 80 or would it still climb and get up to say 83? I will be adding another fan near my sump but I don't think that can lower it 3 degrees by itself.
<<Raising it to 80 would negate the swing back down to 77/78 at night but would still expose you tot he risk of it climbing out of the acceptable range during the day...there is no ceiling in place so to speak. Adding an extra fan above the tank or even in the sump area would definitely help out, though you can/may have extra evaporation so keep that in mind/check. I forget if you're running a lighted refugium in your sump but having this light on a reverse lighting cycle could also help would heat stabilization as their would not be two sources of heat via lighting on the same time of your system everyday.>>
Also a chiller would be a financial back breaker right now.
<<Understandable, they have their own issues/maintenance as well, though in some cases can end up being a necessity, hopefully for you this doesn't turn out to be the case>>
Any insight is most appreciated!
<<Check these out if you haven't;
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chillersmar.htm >>
Thanks again and again and again,
<<No problem!>>
<<Adam Jackson.>>

British temperate marines   8/5/10
Hi, at last I have located a site on the subject with some practical advise, if nothing else thanks for that!
In the process of setting up a community forum on British marines and seeking your permission to quote various parts from your site.
<You do have my permission for anything I have stated. Will cc Neale Monks here as I suspect the statements you'd like to quote are his>
The forum will be a non sponsor and free forum put together in the attempt to promote this side of the hobby in the UK, at the moment it would appear there is a lot of interest but very few taking it up, something I would like to correct.
I look forward to your reply and appreciate your time
<Thank you for your efforts. Bob Fenner>
www.reefloat.com & www.reefloat.co.uk 
Re: British temperate marines
Hello, Bob, Gordon,
What's all this about? I don't normally give away materials to commercial sites. Where possible, I prefer to be commissioned to write pieces for such sites, even if the fee is relatively small.
Cheers, Neale
<Ahh, I thought Gordon was wanting to quote parts of responses to queries... We don't have much in the way of actual articles on coldwater systems, marines as far as I'm aware. B> 
Re: British temperate marines   8/5/10

Hello, Bob, Gordon,
What's all this about? I don't normally give away materials to commercial sites. Where possible, I prefer to be commissioned to write pieces for such sites, even if the fee is relatively small.
Cheers, Neale
<Ahh, I thought Gordon was wanting to quote parts of responses to queries... We don't have much in the way of actual articles on coldwater systems, marines as far as I'm aware. B>
Hello Bob, Hello Gordon,
Quoting is fine; and if Bob is happy for Gordon to copy across information from WWM -- presumably with some sort of acknowledgement or link -- than I'm certainly fine with that.
Cheers, Neale

Coldwater Tide Pool -- 05/21/10
Dear Crew,
<Hello Justin,>
During a recent trip to the zoo, my wife and I were in awe at their coldwater tide pool they had (see attached picture. Honestly better in person, but it gives you an idea).
So now I find myself with another project, and want to build a 240g tide pool system. I was wondering if I could get some suggestions on hardier anemone species, sea stars, and perhaps some fish that would work well in such a system.
<Does depend on where you live. Here in the UK, some of the best species include Beadlet Anemones, Asterina gibbosa cushion stars, Pomatoschistus spp. gobies, the shanny Lipophrys pholis, and Crangon shrimps. There's a
very good summary over at the British Marine Life Study Society page, here:
I have never done anything with cold water species, and thought maybe I could get some suggestions. I included the picture to maybe help with identification purposes as well, since I would imagine these animals are a bit more hardy give they are in a "touch tank" where people of all ages can see what they feel like. This is not the case in my home system, it will not be a touch tank, rather just an interesting addition to my other 5 tanks. Just looking for a variety of colors, reds, blues, pinks, anything that can add some pop to it. Thanks all!
<When choosing coldwater livestock, putting aside obvious issues like size and predatory habits, the key thing is to review the temperature tolerances of the species in question. A chiller may be useful, but remember if the
water is more than a couple of degrees cooler than the air temperature, condensation will cloud the glass. So it's better to put the aquarium somewhere cool, and choose species that will be happy at that particular temperature. The next step is to grab a marine biology guide to the local fauna in your area. Temperate zone coldwater animals can be divided into three groups: those from warm areas at the coolest edge of their range; those that favour middling temperatures and aren't found much further north or south; and those from polar waters at the <See corr. below> coldest edge of their range.
The last category, the serious coldwater animals, rarely adapt well to indoor aquaria (without a chiller, at least). The ones that adapt best are those at the warmest edge of their range, since they're likely to tolerate indoor summer temperatures well. Many gobies and wrasses fit into this bracket. The ones in the middle have to be rejected or accepted on a case by case basis, so a bit of reading will be important. The Beadlet Anemone for example is a temperate zone specialist that is happy at middling temperatures, but is phenomenally adaptable, to the degree it has become an invasive pest in some subtropical areas. It's a very good aquarium resident, and beautifully coloured. Although originally from the NW Atlantic, it's quite widely traded online. The Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus) is another middling temperature specialist that tolerates warm water during the summer without any obvious ill effects, though if kept in a tropical system it will eventually die. Look in the marine biology book to see if the animal in question inhabits tide pools. If it does, chances are good that it will tolerate room temperature fairly well. But if the animal does so only during winter, or migrates into deep water during the summer, then that's a bad sign, and usually indicates intolerance of warm water.>
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Coldwater Tide Pool

<Typo: Where I said "The ones that adapt best are those at the warmest edge of their range" I meant the complete opposite, "The ones that adapt best are those at the COLDEST edge of their range". Cheers, Neale.>

Chiller Question, sel., brand    9/18/09
Hello Scott V/WWM Crew,
<Hello there.>
I apologize for bombarding you with questions, just having trouble with acquiring a chiller for my 260gal tank.
<No problem, shoot away.>
I'm guessing that I'd require a 1/3 HP chiller for the tank. I've been looking at the Pacific Coast CL650 and the Teco TR20. I'm just confused on they're rated. I do want the lowest power consumption possible :-). I'm looking at a maximum of 10-13 deg F pull down. Teco TR 20 (1/3 HP, 480 Watts, 2620 BTU/h, Tank size: 130g-500g) Pacific Coast CL650 (1/4 HP, 650 Watts, 3080 BTU/h, Tank Size: 100g-180g).
The question thereby, is that if the Pacific Coast chiller consumes more power and has a higher BTU/hr, how come then, is it rated @ 1/4 HP and fit for a Tank size only up to 180g??
<It is a more honest rating for "typical" applications.>
Is the Teco super efficient or am I missing something?
<Nope, BTU vs. power consumed is the efficiency.>
Very confused!!! Your insight would be greatly appreciated!!!!
<I would choose the PC chiller myself here.>
Thanks :-)
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Cooling a Tank - Bad idea? No, not a bad idea at all actually. SW System Cooling 8/11/2009
<Hi Jim>
I have a 265 tank with a 30 gal grow out tub, fuge and overflow tank totaling about 350 gals?
<A nice system.>
Its in my basement and built into the Wall with about 4 feet behind it and a 12 foot ceiling. The fuge and overflow sit on the concrete which cools things. I have 4 150 HQI pendants and 2 96w compact fluors shining down on the tank and 60w fluors on the grow out tank and fuge. 90% of the year the tank is below 80 degrees. However, when we have a hot week or two, it creeps up above 80.
<How much above 80?>
The room temp is only around 76 degrees at it hottest and I can get it down to 70 at night opening windows. I open the fish room door at night and have reduced lighting 2 hours a day to help. I was thinking if I froze some RO H20 could I drip that into the tank or float it in a return section.
<That can work, I use those plastic reusable ice packs and rotate them in my sump.>
$500+ bucks for a chiller seems a bit much for a week or two of heat... however, losing my coral could cost a buck or two... ideas? Some coral is looking "un happy". I have checked my logs and don't see any other pattern. Would the temp concern you?
<An occasional foray above 80 is fine for fish, it isn't the best for corals though. By all means, do give this a try.>
Thanks in advance.
<My pleasure.>

Chiller, chilling w/o  3/16/09
Hello Crew,
Do you have any suggestions on ways I can chill my tank without spending 800 dollars on a chiller for my 180 FOWLR.
<Quite a few.>
My tank is usually within the temp of 80-82.
<A fine range so long as it is stable.>
I heard getting a fan in the sump area helps...
<Big-time benefits, see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chilfansfaqs.htm>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Current USA Prime Tower Chiller model 2646 with Matsushita Low back pressure compressor DG73C12 05/19/08 Hi guys, I was searching for help fixing a compressor problem on my aquarium chiller and seemingly this has been a useless task as everyone keeps telling me to just buy a new one. Well that's great, but if It can be fixed it, then It should, its cheaper and its more eco friendly to do so in my opinion. <We are in agreement> So my question is this, I have a Current USA Prime Tower chiller model 2646 1/3HP. The controller and temp is working great and sending the start signal to the compressor but then nothing. I did get it to work for a minute and then turned it off as I was testing the unit and then nothing afterwards. The compressor is a Matushita R134A low back pressure model DG73C12RAU6 and there are 2 electrical components that attach to the compressor (and provide power to it) (Part # 6R8MD3 @1667 and Part # BT170-120A61D31186) and no one even Panasonic / Matushita / HVAC compressor parts warehouses have been knowledgeable on where to get these replacement parts. <Matsushita and its subsidiaries are a HUGE enterprise... parts should be available... I would have a refrigerator outfit check to see what part/s may be deficient here... might be just the capacitor> I'm not an HVAC tech so the inner workings of a compressor are a mystery to me but I CAN SAY ITS GETTING POWER TO the wires in front of the compressor but CANT tell if its getting to the compressor (through the aforementioned electrical components) or if it is then the compressor is bad or damaged or I'm not sure. <You'll be able to feel the compressor working (vibrating) inside the casing if it's working...> I was hoping that someone in the aquarium world was savvy on this and could advise me in resolving this matter. Thanks in advance, Chris Edwards <Again... it's worth the time/trouble/expense to haul the compressor et related parts to a refrigeration outfit in your town... see the "Yellow Pages" or Net equivalent. Oh, and please do write us back with your findings, observations, experiential account. Bob Fenner>

Air conditioning went out / increased temperature 03/30/2008 Yesterday the air conditioning went out at my apartment and when I returned home the aquarium had gone from approximately 77 degrees to 85 degrees. The ambient temperature in the room was over 90 degrees thanks largely to my metal halides and the Texas weather. I immediately cut off the lights, and placed fans on the top of the aquarium ( a 75 gallon with open top) and I also put a large floor fan blowing over the sump. After about half an hour the temperature was still climbing. The coral were looking very poorly and I decided that my best solution (although distantly not a great one) was to add ice to the tank. So I put the ice in a Ziploc baggie and over the span on 30-40 minutes I brought the temperature down to about 80 degrees. <<A good move and effective method>> So today with the air conditioning repaired and my tank back at 77 my coral still look very poorly. Most of the coral located in the upper region of tank are showing tissue damage/loss. Also ammonia levels are at .25 and nitrates are at 20ppm. I placed all the damaged coral in the lower region of the tank away from the lights and I performed a 30% water change and added carbon to help remove the ammonia/nitrate. Any recommendations for techniques (if any exist) to help promote the healing of the damaged coral? <<Patience, pristine water quality and an attentive eye>> Among the damaged are several specimens of Trumpet, Hammer, Frogspawn, Green Star Polyps, Bubble, and Birdsnest. I am going to continue monitoring the water parameters. If toxins rise, should I perform an additional water change, or would I be risking adding stress to the already weakened coral? <<Yes, closely monitor water parameters and water change as required>> I do have a skimmer in place. It was suggested that I add a PolyFilter. Do you have any experience with this product. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I am very upset as several of these pieces were the first coral I purchased several years ago. Lastly, in your experience what is the probability of these corals regenerating from this incident. <<As long as the temperature is managed correctly, water quality held pristine, there is no reason that any of the corals should die.>> Thank you very much for you assistance and your advice is greatly appreciated. <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Update: re: Air conditioning went out / increased temperature 03/31/2008 Thanks for the reply. <<Hello, no problem>> I figured out what was wrong and, while temperature related, it was a worse problem than I realized. While the temperature in the room was so hot and the halides were on one of the bulbs broke but the glass was held in place by the metal frame (it was a mogul bulb). With one end of the glass dropped down, it exposed the light emitting part and caused very damaging UV radiation to enter the tank. This went on for a day and a half before I caught the problem due to the lights being under the canopy and surrounded by a reflector. The majority of the coral on that side of that tank are looking very poorly and some are already dead. I immediately removed the damaged bulb and put a 36" power compact over that side. The good news is that the coral that aren't already extremely far gone seem to be no longer getting worse. I added a Polyfilter and it has successfully removed all ammonia. Nitrates are holding at around 15ppm. If you have any additional thoughts or recommendations in light of this new information I would very much appreciate it. <<That would certainly explain the symptoms your were experiencing, sure. The use of water changes will bring your nitrates down to a correct level. Certainly a bulb replacement is the obvious solution, and maybe move any higher light demanding corals over to the brighter side of the system if possible.>> <<Thanks for the follow up, regards, A Nixon>>

Coldwater marine aquarium "New England Style"  2/4/08 Hi Bob, <I hope Bob doesn't mind me sticking my beak in here.><<Not at all... just do make sure re the outgoing address/es... some msg.s are being referred from my pers. email... RMF>> I have seen numerous threads and posts about Northwest and Pacific coldwater tanks, but almost nothing about us New Englanders!! <Do read up the stuff for British coldwater marine aquarists. The NE Atlantic fauna has much in common with the NW Atlantic fauna, and the basic rules will be the same. See for example here: http://www.glaucus.org.uk/wetthumb.htm > Anyway, I am a "happy reefer" but have recently become fascinated by the idea of starting my own local coldwater tank. I am a scuba diver so I could easily stock it myself. <The main question is this: are you going to use a chiller or not? If not, then you need to choose fauna that is (preferably) intertidal, since these organisms have wide tolerances, and especially important is that they're animals at the *northern* end of their geographical range. In other words, you don't want Arctic or Sub-arctic organisms, but warm temperate organisms are ideal. Any good marine fish/invert book for your area will help here. If you stock a coldwater marine tank with heat-tolerant species, you can do rather well without a chiller, assuming you site the tank somewhere the ambient conditions are acceptable for the stock concerned. An unheated garage or cellar, for example, is often ideal.> Problem is I have NOOOO resources to turn to. As I said, northeast coldwater marine tanks seem to be a forgotten niche. Can you recommend any good websites/reading on this topic before I go out and buy the biggest freakin' chiller I can find (LOL)? Thanks! Regards, John <I kept coldwater marine tanks at university in Scotland, and have since done likewise with stuff collected in California. Assuming you choose livestock carefully, it's really not all that hard. Some organisms, for example Actinia equina and Carcinus maenas, will thrive even under tropical conditions! A chiller does make life easier of course, but often overlooked is the problem big temperature changes will cause: condensation on the glass. If you can't see into the aquarium, there's not much point having it. So you do need to be careful, and view the chiller as something to nudge the temperature down a little rather than massively alter the temperature. You can't really have a coldwater tank with a chiller in a centrally heated home, for example. Anyway, try the BMLSS site linked above. My own book on brackish water fishes oddly enough has a whole chapter on native brackish/marine fishkeeping, half on California Pacific and half European Atlantic. Probably not worth buying just for that chapter, but if you borrow a copy, it might be useful. Cheers, Neale.>

Cooling a reef tank...01/03/08 I have an 180gal reef tank with a 60 gal refugium and a 30gal sump. I need a cheap way of cooling this tank down several degrees because of the heat coming off of my lamps. They consist of 2 x 250 watt MH lamps and 2 sets of 4 X 90 watt VHO bulbs (360 watts each set). One of the VHO set ups is over my refugium that has different types of Montipora and LPS polyps (Duncan, Acans, Micromussa) in it. There is also 195 watts of PC over my sump to grow Chaeto algae. The tank has been running at about 79-84 degrees and I would like to knock that down a bit. <Hmm, why? That temperature range is about perfect for a reef tank.> I'm pulling my 2 OceanRunner 6500 pumps out of the water and will plumb them up to set above the water line. The only other pumps in the tank will be two Hydro #4's that gives off just a bit of heat exchange. My house has a crawlspace under it and I'm thinking of piping some of the water from the sump under the house to cool off and then back up to the sump. I would do this either with PVC or garden hose. I'm not sure how many feet to run since I would have to by another pump to do this. Do you have any suggestions on this idea? Should I bury the line or would it be better to keep it out in the open? Would I be better off either buying a chiller or building one over my crawlspace idea? <I don't think you need to cool the tank if it is staying about 79 to 84F degrees. But if you must cool it, I'd try using some fans first (maybe a few wall mounted ones?--to blow over the lights/water). If that doesn't work, you could try running the pipes under the house or getting a chiller (whatever suits you). As for burying the line, again, that's more a personal choice.> Thanks so much for your input, Chad <De nada, Sara M.>

Alternative chillers 12/29/07 Hi crew! Happy holidays! <Hello, happy holidays to you too!> We have promised ourselves that in the coming year, we will either install central air conditioning or get a chiller. The temperature fluctuations last summer virtually cost us our entire tank! <Yikes, does happen.> Now that we have recovered, recycled and restocked, we don't want to have a repeat situation. Nonetheless, while we were reading a magazine today, we stumbled across a product that looked very interesting. Here is the link: http://www.specialist-aquatic-supplies.co.uk/web/Ocean-Geotronic.htm Do you know anything about this technology? <Yes, does work.> This unit? <None with this particular unit.> Our reef tank is 120 gallons, so we'd need the Ocean 600. It's $1,400 (not all that different from a chiller). <Hmm…a comparable chiller should cost about half this.> Even after reading the company info, we're not sure we understand this. Does it get piped into the tank? <Yes.> Does the 9-degree note mean that if we want the tank at 79 and it's 95 outside, it's too big a fluctuation for this unit? <Going off the described specs of the unit, it does not appear it will provide a 16 deg pull down.> As always, we appreciate your help and expertise. Thanks in advance, Michael and Dianne <If you want to shell out the cash the Deltec ECO coolers provide another alternative to traditional compressor units. They are kind of pricey, but are much more energy efficient Very welcome, Scott V.> http://www.deltecusa.us/ecocoolers/index.php

Re: flatworm ID... Cool Water Marine Systems 10/1/07 Mich, <Hello again!> Thanks for the reply! <Welcome!> The flatworms are neat, but you're right, they're dangerous. <Not necessarily dangerous, but can get to be an issue.> You were working late last night, <Ahh, yes... I am quite the night owl.> hope you have the weekend off. <Yes! YAY!> I thought I'd reply and answer your question about the temperature. <Wonderful... glad you are sharing I know naught about these systems.> I guess you can call this a "cool-water" tank. I set it up earlier this year with all intentions of making it a sub-tropical tank with temps between 65 and 68 F. I planned it around seahorses either H. breviceps or H. whitei. Unfortunately, as soon as the tank was ready, those species were no longer available commercially in the US. <Figures.> I know some hobbyists who are keeping them, but not raising fry. Sad, really, because the fry are benthic (demersal) and relatively easy (when it comes to seahorses). <Perhaps there are individuals who are breeding these lovely creatures... Have you tried www.seahorse.org ?> I am keeping it at 70F right now for my Catalina gobies <Beauties!> and some tropical things I got greedy about. <Heehee!> I feel that this is too warm for the gobies. I don't understand why even reputable dealers insist that these fish can survive long term in warmer temps. <A shame.> It's a simple lie. <You are absolutely correct here my friend. I respect and understand your frustrations here.> I'm in the middle of moving, <I hope to be soon as well.> so once I get all settled, all the tropicals will be moved into their reef, and the subtrop tank will go back to its normal 65*. With nothing but a pair of Catalina gobies, because I can't find any cold-water dealers. <You may have more luck with individual hobbyists. I presume you have seen this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cold.htm > From what I've heard, it's hard to get a permit to collect off of the coast of CA. <I am unfamiliar with CA regulations on this issue... Check the daily Q & A for possible comments from RMF. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs3.htm > <<Harder all the time. RMF>> Steve Weast has a phenomenal cold-water tank (very cold, he keeps it in the 50's), <Brrr!> but he collected himself years ago. <Neat!> I have really been hoping that cool-water set ups would take off and become more popular; they are cheaper to run than photosynthetic reefs. <And can be quite beautiful. I saw some very pretty ones this year at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago with my friend and fellow crewmate Jorie.> Do you fellows know of any place where I could at least pick up some subtropical live rock? <I do not. Hopefully RMF may comment here as well. Thank you for sharing. Mich> <<Do have your dealer/s contact the "usual suspects" wholesalers in the LA area... They can contact the people who are licensed, do this collecting. Bob Fenner>>

Conservatory Frag Tank...How To Control The Heat? - 08/06/07 Hi There, <<Hello Karl>> I wonder if you could help or offer any advice on a system that I am setting up? <<I'm happy to try>> I want to setup a 55g frag tank (to grow pulsing Xenia, Metallic Green Xenia (Star Polyps), various other Zoanthids) in my conservatory (not sure if these go under the same name in the US - it is like a glass house with plastic roof built onto your house). <<Ah yes, I am familiar with these/this term (lived in Ipswich for 3 ? years). The U.S equivalent is called a three-season room...or as they often call them here in the South East, a "Florida" room (even though it may not actually be located "in" Florida)>> Anyway, the conservatory does not get full sun, only afternoon sun. I would like to utilize this natural sunlight, as well as supplement this with a 250w 14k metal halide lamp (would you suggest this or a lower Kelvin globe as I am aiming for this to be a grow out tank). <<This is doable...and if "growth" is what you are after I recommend a Kelvin temperature closer to natural sunlight (5500K - 6500K)>> My question is this... Even though I get only afternoon sun (and I live in chilly old England) <<I do recall! [grin]>> the temperatures still soar once the suns starts coming through. <<Mmm, yes...I imagine with all those transparent walls/ceiling the solar gain would be quite intense, even at your latitude>> I am planning for this system to be open top, with 1 or 2 large fans blowing across the water. I also plan to extract heat from the metal halide out of the window with an inline extractor fan. Do you have any ideas on how else I can keep the temperature down during summer (winter is not a problem)? I really cannot afford to air-condition the entire room, or purchase a chiller. <<Hmm... The extractor fan will also likely pull some ambient room heat and may prove to be enough. You could also install a louvered ventilation fan in one of the windows that operates on a thermostat to pull excess heat from the room...much like those used in greenhouses to control temperature. Visiting a greenhouse may give you other ideas such as installing window or roof vents that can either be opened manually or controlled with a thermostat to open up when the temperature rises to help vent hot air>> Will evaporative cooling (automatic top-off using an Osmolator and Kalkwasser) <<I love those Tunze Osmolator top-off units>> be enough to keep temps within the acceptable range? <<Only testing will tell...but is worth a try. Evaporative cooling can be quite effective>> Any advice you could offer me would be much appreciated. <<I hope I've given you a few things to consider/investigate>> I have had a great deal of success with my Nano and now that things are getting a bit crowded, wish to grow these frags out to sell/trade. <<Quite common>> Sadly, my conservatory is the only space I have available to setup a frag system... :O( Any advice would be much appreciated! Best Regards, Karl <<Good luck with your venture. EricR>>

New to cold water  4/26/07 I live in Southern California and have recently started a coldwater marine tank. <Quite right too. Coldwater marines are FUN!> Currently I have a 30 gallon Bio Cube, a JBJ 1/20hp chiller and a Rena XP2 external pump connected to pump the chiller. I have nothing in the rear filtration chamber except crushed coral. Is this enough? <Depends on what you're keeping. Hardy species like snapping shrimps and snails will get by with a plain undergravel filter in a tank at room temperature. Echinoderms and fishes tend to be more picky, and you'll need near-reef quality maintenance. Here's a tip when collecting: I favour using species that are at the "cold" end of their natural distribution. These seem to adapt to domestic aquaria better than species at the "warm" end of their range, which really want colder, more oxygenated conditions than can be easily provided at home. Also avoid deep water things if you have the option of getting intertidal things instead; intertidal organisms tend to be 'pre-adapted' to aquarium conditions because they tolerate swings in temperature, pH, etc. better than subtidal organisms. Consult a marine fauna identification manual for your area for help here.> The tank has been set up for 1 month now. I keep it close to my local water temperature which is 57 degrees. Initially when I set it up, I went to one of my local island dive sites and scooped up some sand and rock fragments, as well as some sea water. Everything was placed in the tank and I have left the tank alone. My current levels all look good. I had a major algae bloom a couple weeks back but it has started to die off now. I have quite a few creatures living in the tank currently like a Nudibranch, scallop, clams, snails, urchins, kelp and a variety of cup corals and polyps. All of these species were by-catch when I scooped up the sand and rocks. I guess my question is this; I have not seen any indication of die-off, so I wonder if my cycle was accelerated by using sand rock and water from the ocean? <Cycle would certainly be sped up with the sand, but the water not so much. Also, bear in mind that many coldwater things take a while to die. When I was keeping brachiopods for a research project, the joke wasn't that you kept them alive for 12 months while studying, but that it took 12 months for them to die. Low metabolic rate and natural alternation between growth- and resting-seasons are factors here. Filter feeding animals are notoriously difficult to keep without being supplemented with appropriate foods. I've seen Spondylus sp. thorny oysters and Pecten sp. scallops, for example, linger for many months before inevitably giving up the ghost.> Am I ready for a water change, or should I give it more time? <Yes, do the water changes now. The plankton dies off almost at once, so there's nothing "special" about the water now.> I am going diving this weekend and was planning on bringing back 10 gallons of sea water to use in the water change, is this ok to do? Or should I use the pre-mix kind purchased in fish stores? <Personally, I'd go with artificial seawater. An aquarium isn't the wild, and you need better buffering potential in the water as well as lower nitrates and phosphates. So while you can get by with real seawater, I've found artificial works best.> I think it would be better to use the same water from which these creatures came from to do a water change with, no? <In theory, yes, the composition of seawater does vary, but this is on a scale of tens if not hundreds of miles. I wouldn't worry about it. Using artificial seawater solves this problem as well. Be sure and read this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seawater.htm > Also, the sand I scooped was not too clean. It had many crushed pieces of urchin shells and spines as well as other marine fragments. I did my best to sift through and remove any dead or unwanted organisms before placing in the tank. I only have about a 1" bed, but I think I will need more to keep the clams? <Clams are very difficult to maintain, so I wouldn't go out of my way for them. A few little (2-3 mm) species might get by on ambient levels of plankton in the water, but the larger clams will need proper feeding a couple times a week. This in turn runs the risk of elevating nitrate levels because much of the food isn't eaten if you don't do the job properly. Probably easiest to skip 'em entirely. If you want, look for Nucula spp. type deposit feeders, as these are, to some extent, easier to keep since they feed from the substrate on small organisms and not plankton.> Or will they require more sand then my tank can handle, in which case I will return them? <Personally, I'd take the clams back.> Thanks in advance for the help. <Cheers, Neale> Mike  

Re: New to cold water  4/26/07 Thanks for the quick response! I don't have any additional room for a sump, but the Rena pump I am using has a dual chamber inside, would this be an area that would support good filtration? <Not familiar with Rena filters. But if the instruction booklet to your pump says you can add stuff to this chamber, then worth doing. If not, don't take the risk of messing things up by reducing the flow of water or getting crud stuck inside the impeller. It's often overlooked that water flow is as critical as the amount of filter medium, and if you reduce water flow by putting in too much media, then you're actually not helping things.> If so, what type of media would you suggest using? <Depends on what you want this part of the filter to do. A good default is ceramic media suitable for biological filtration. Various brands and price points.> Do I really need a skimmer, if I do regular water changes? <No, a skimmer isn't essential, but it is a very, VERY, good idea. If you have the space and money for one, then certainly well worth investing in. Depending on how much water you change and how often, the skimmer may well pay for itself quite quickly by reducing the need for quite so many water changes. Or the other way of looking at this is *combined* with water changes, water quality is much better, and so you can keep a wider variety of marine organisms with a greater degree of success. Cheers, Neale> So-Cal Pacific Ocean Aquarium, taxes, simple servants, the blind eye/ass that is the law, and slight glimpses of the "cost" as in not paying the price of constant vigilance in a so-called democracy... or democratic (sic) method of self-governance   2/25/07 I have read thru your FAQ and Forums on everything I could find on cool water aquariums. We used to do these in the NW years ago when we lived and boated up there. One guy even had an 8' octopus in a 140 gal tank! Anyway, I digress... <Is it due to "perfume from a dress?"> I want to setup about a 200 gal cool water for local specimens. We boat and dive in southern CA and out to Catalina and Channel Islands and have an outstanding opportunity to collect interesting sea life that will thrive in a well setup aquarium. <Ah, yes... I/we live principally in San Diego...> I have been keeping tanks since the 60's. I have a 12 year old son that would be fascinated with this type of aquarium, and it's been a few years since I've had any tanks going so I'm getting the bug again. Went back to boating after a 15 year hiatus too. <Am sure you and I could trade stories, agree on many topics> I found good info on chillers and lighting, thick acrylic for condensation, and all that. My problem is legal collection of specimens. I have contacted DFG in Sacramento and they said NO!! No legal collection of ANYTHING unless you have an affiliation with a scientific or educational organization. Yes, you can apply for a Scientific Permit but you have to be sponsored by one of these entities. <Yes...> Dave Wrobel (the jelly-guy) has moved back to New Hampshire to work on a new project and I was not able to contact him. And the phone number you provided for "California Reef Specialists in Sand City, CA" has been re-assigned. I have called Monterey Bay Aquarium and their research institute. The nice receptionist there was able to talk to a collection specialist and they provided a DFG contact name and number in the LA area. They said call her and tell her what you want to do and she'll help you. Have not heard back yet. I have also left a message for a 'husbandry' expert at the Long Beach Aquarium Research Institute. Perhaps they can direct me on how to get authorization to collect legally. <Doubtful, but hopeful> The issue I have with all of this is that with a sport fishing license (a $3 ocean stamp!) <It's the United States of Civil/Simple Servants/Masters.... for now... their time is coming... with the collapse of our/U.S. economic system... they'll largely be left "holding the bag" as their Soviet counterparts... You'll see... Though "no joy" for the hapless private sector...> I can legally catch and kill hundreds of game fish each year and eat them. I can legally dive and spear fish, and collect lobsters. But I can't collect a half dozen rock fish, perch, sand dab, a couple of anemones, for example, and put then in an aquarium and study them for a couple of years? Just doesn't make sense to me. <It's the gubmint... what do you expect? There to "serve?"... Laughable if not only so tragic> But yes, I understand that if just a small percentage of the 16 million people that live down here went down and started taking things from tide pools they would be decimated. <Yes... this is the cause a priori... but guess what? All the permitting, or let's call it what it really is, further taxation, won't save the environment... The/Folks doing the damage don't have licenses, don't give a hoot re...> Do you have any other advice for me? I will post a follow-up on what I learn from DFG. <Perhaps a "letter of recommendation" or just using the permit, as a volunteer, docent... of one of the large/r Public entities... Aquarium of the Pacific, Cabrillo, Birch... give them a call and ask for someone titled "Head/Aquarist"... re> BTW, if I can get my collecting issue solved, what do you recommend for live rock? <The lowest, loose intertidal... and only a "layer" at a time... not all at once> I read that I can use regular live rock to cycle the tank, then lower the temp to 65-68 for my cool water creatures. Does that sound right? <Mmm, no... not a good idea... better to use calcareous base rock for "underneath", place some native over> Do you recommend a cartridge filter as well as a skimmer in a sump, and UV sterilizer? <Mmm, am not a fan of cartridge filters for marine, or actually any biological aquatic system... too much maintenance and cost to run pumps to service...> I would run two return pumps, one to the tank and one to the UV and chiller. <Can be done> Thanks so much. Your site is a fantastic resource of information. I guess if I can't legally build a pacific saltwater aquarium I'll just have to build a tropical reef display! Sincerely, Chris Brown Orange County, CA <Please do make known your efforts, successes... Press on, your activities are what real democracy is all about. And I don't really "blame" the civil servants... they're just doing what humans will/would do, given the opportunity to live off of others efforts. Bob Fenner>

Peltier cooling idea  11/22/06 I last sent a post, Tank cooling prob.s  9/29/06 I have given up using Freon type cooling as it is too expensive on the power bill. <Mmm, only one of quite a few technologies...> If I get lucky and am able to find a 12volt Freon car fridge I will certainly use it. <Well... these have dismal efficiencies...> I have recently found four Peltier <Ahh: http://www.heatsink-guide.com/peltier.htm> TECs and some thick (6mm) copper sheets and thick copper wiring I will use as a porcupine heat sink for the Peltiers. These Peltiers were taken from old car fridges that run on 12vdc, 10amps. <Yikes... more than a tenth of a kilowatt per hour... if they run continuously, more than 2 kw per day each... In California and HI (where I'm most familiar) this would come out to more than fifty cents per day... per unit> The power supply I use will be 2 ATX power boxes used in computers and are capable of 400w at 240v, outputting 12vdc at 10amps under load with one ATX box running two Peltiers. My experiment in cooling 2 litres using just two Peltiers was proven successful as the Peltiers cooled the water from 27 degrees centigrade to 12C in under an hour using only aluminium as a heat sink and cooling element. My problem is that I need a non-corrosive barrier between the cooling side of the Peltier and my salt water sump. <Yes... likely a thinner (thermally) tubing of determinate length, immersed in a/this liquid bath... a pumping source to recirculate the system water through this tubing> To maintain direct cooling efficiency, with minimal power consumption, I have decided to go this way instead of the insert plastic tubing into cold water method. <Mmm... okay> I have seen on EBay some sheets of titanium that may do the trick for this barrier I need between the cooling Peltier element and the saltwater I want to cool. Is titanium totally uncorrosive in saltwater or should I be looking out for percentage of titanium relative to impurities added. <Pure/r Titanium is used as jacketing in many consumer/commercial coolers...> At the moment I am looking at onlinemetals.com and they have titanium grade 2 at 99.3%Ti and the only major impurity at 0.3% is Fe (iron). The thickness is just over 1mm and it is 12x12 inches as a sheet.. What are your thoughts on this crazy idea? <Well... I would still use the immersion bath, tubing transfer method... in an insulated container myself... The cost of the Ti, welding... is too high to suit me... but a worthwhile adventure for sure. Bob Fenner>

Chiller Plumbing/Seeding Substrate - 11/02/06 Hi Eric, <<Ken>> Thanks for the vote of confidence on the skimmer. <<No problem>> As you know, I am currently running an external pump from the sump, to the chiller, and to the tank. <<Yes>> I now want to run one pump from the sump directly to the tank and another pump from the sump to the chiller and back to the sump. <<Ok>> I already own the pumps anyway.  I am assuming that the chilled water will cool the tank the same as if it was going straight to the tank? <<It will...as long as the temperature sensor is in the display tank itself>> My question is for the chiller pump, where in the sump can I draw from and send back to with this pump. <<I would do this from/to the chamber where the external pump draws its water.  This will place the draw and return away from the skimmer, and the return will be where the chilled water is quickly picked up and moved to the tank>> My sump has two sections divided up by a few baffles.  There is the side where the water returns from the tank as well as where the skimmer draws from.  The other side of the sump (which is separated by a few baffles) from the other side is where the return to the tank pump is. <<This last is where I would plumb the chiller>> My question is does it matter where in the sump the pump to the chiller draws from and goes back to? <<It does in my opinion...as stated>> 1. Can it come from and go back to on the same side as the return pump? <<Yep>> I would assume that there would be no bubbles created from this pump since everything the entrance and exits from the pumps are all submerged. <<Assuming you don't have leaks in the plumbing <grin>...yes>> 2. Can it draw from the return side of the sump and go back to the side where the tank return is / skimmer side? <<It could...though I feel this is somewhat less efficient as you are re-pulling/recycling/rechilling water heated by the skimmer pumps.  Trivial maybe...>> I would assume that the chilled water would still hit the tank just as quickly. <<No...will get there quicker if returned to the side with the "return pump">> 3. Can I draw from the tank return side or would the bubbles from the tank turbulence go into the pump and into the chiller not be a good idea? <<Best to keep air out of the chiller>> Would it slow the flow? <<You're replacing water volume with air space...what do you think? <grin> >> I thought about what you said that it was a waste of money to buy the bagged live sand. <<Yes...better/less costly ways to introduce bacteria>> Now that the tank is almost cycled it does seem senseless. <<Indeed...the live rock is a much better/more diverse source for seeding your tank  than so called "bagged" live sand>> Is there a brand of sand that you recommend? <<If you can find an aragonite "play sand" at one of the home centers use that (usually about $8.00 for 50 lbs), else any fine aragonite commercial substrate will do (often almost a dollar a pound...ouch!)>> As I mentioned, I am going with a 3/4" depth for mainly aesthetics.  Am I supposed to get a grain size equal to or smaller than sugar grain? <<The inexpensive "play" sand will be about sugar-size...but you can go with something larger (too about 3mm), even creating a mix if you wish>> Thanks for your help. Ken <<A pleasure to share.  Eric Russell>> Re: Chiller Plumbing/Seeding Substrate - 11/02/06 Eric, <<Ken>> Thanks again. <<Quite welcome>> Man, all this work and nothing in my tank except rock. <<Your patience will pay off>> Have you heard of people plumbing the way I am (sump to chiller and back)? <<Yes...common when using separate pumps>> I think this is the best way for me to get the flow into the tank I want.  I will go from the return side to the chiller and back.  You don't think that the tank temp will be basically the same as the sump temp? <<Mmm...keep in mind the tank will have a heat source (lights) the sump doesn't have>> The dedicated chiller pump is going to flow water back and forth to and from the sump at say 600gph from 2 1/2 feet away.  This water will be going into the sump at the same place as the tank pump is flowing this chilled water to the tank.  I am asking this because my probes are in the sump.  The pH and temp probe have to be near each other. <<I see...then I would obtain a digital temperature monitor so as to be able to monitor/check the temperature in the display.  The Pinpoint monitor would work well, and would allow you to monitor/compare both the sump and the tank temps with the use of multiple sensors (I think the unit can monitor up to five sensors at a time)>> Lastly, I was thinking that I would be running the dedicated pump for the chiller and often times the chiller will not be on (if I am lucky).  I was wondering if it would be OK to plug both the chiller and the pump into an appropriately rated power strip and then this into my controller which controls the temperature? <<I wouldn't do this; you will want the pump to continue running even though the chiller is not>> This way the pump can remain off until the chiller has to go on. <<Any water in the line will become anaerobic very quickly, likely creating hydrogen sulphide...not a good idea>> This may be a dumb question, but is it ok to have the pump off for an extended amount of time and have water in the lines? <<Nope...for the reason stated>> Would I get hydrogen sulfide? <<Bingo!>> The input and output would be submerged of course but no flow. <<The bacteria in the water would quickly consume the available oxygen>> Would this constitute a stagnant area and go anaerobic? <<Bingo again!>> Thanks and regards, Ken <<Always welcome.  EricR>>

R2: Chiller Plumbing/Seeding Substrate - 11/02/06 Eric, <<Ken>> Thanks. <<Welcome>> Tomorrow I get my skimmer and will re-do the plumbing. <<Cool>> At the end of the day I will either have a smile on my face or will have thrown a hammer through the wall. :) <<Ah yes...good times ahead... <grin> >> Regards, Ken <<Be chatting.  Eric>> R3: Chiller Plumbing/Seeding Substrate - 11/03/06 Hi Eric, <<Hey Ken>> One last thing.  Is there any loss at all on with my pump if on the suction side that I use two 90-degree elbows from the sump to the pump instead of using spa flex? <<Ells on either side of the flow will cause a decrease...ideally the plumbing should be as "clean" as possible either way.  If you prefer the hard plumbing, and there is room, try using two 45-degree ells for each 90-degree ell as this will provide a bit less resistance to flow>> If not, does this increase flow as two 90's would on the discharge end? <<...?  Do you mean "decrease"?  Two 90-degree ells on the discharge side will cause an increase in "resistance" equal to adding about two feet of head height>> Thanks, Ken <<Regards, EricR>>

Tank cooling prob.s  9/29/06 Late summer I attempted my first marine tank setup. Good idea, but bad move due to the results I received as far as temperature is concerned. Ambient air temperature inside my house where I live during summer exceed 30 degrees centigrade for periods exceeding a week. This caused my tank to absorb this heat and reach a temperature that averaged out to about 32 degrees centigrade. I have a main display tank (300 litres) connected to a refugium (100 litres) and a wet/dry sump (50 litres). Without lights running and with lids off all tanks and just one external pump, I reached the 32 degree centigrade minimum water temp I get during summer. (90 F. thereabouts... too warm> I tried directing fans onto the water surface to employ latent heat removal. This was not a practical result as I dropped my water temp only by half a degree and ended up with high evaporation rates and heaps of salt spray and creep. Humidity during summer is quite high (average 75+ percent) where I live and latent heat removal did not employ good results. I researched direct water cooling methods such as refrigeration, ice cubes and cold water replacement. I am basically a lazy bum which left the refrigeration of my tank water as the only solution to my problem. I am not rich either...I made my tank stand and hood from wood I got from the local rubbish dump ( I also get my pumps from there). I purchased my two metal halides -complete- for 16 Ozzy dollars each from the local recycler shop: might I add here that the cheapest LFS up here wants 270 Ozzy bucks just for one and the local electrical supplier is much the same. I even get my fish and live rock LEGALLY from the ocean, as I live in the tropics next to the Great Barrier Reef. Water heating during winter should I need it, is done by throwing black irrigation piping on my house roof during the day and running a by-pass from my tank pump to a solenoid and temperature sensor etc that is attached to this black irrigation tubing to save power on heating water both in my tank and in weekly water changes...my solenoids etc are run by solar power, solar panels I got from solar powered garden lights from the dump. <Mmm, you could do something like this for cooling... by drilling too holes in the house esky/fridge to yanks, and running a length of tubing, immerging it in a water bath in the fridge... for heat exchange> Back to cooling by refrigeration, I used a bar fridge (purchased from local dump) that was gutted and had the cooling element sitting in my sump. I was able to drop the water temperature of 450 litres by three degrees to sit on 29 degrees centigrade. I actually would like to reach 27 degrees centigrade as the ocean water I get my fish from etc is at that temp. My little critters such as crabs and teeny weenie anemones were all happy at this temperature until they get cooked after a few days. (when I go to the ocean to get live stuff, I get sea water and flush my tank with it). Now the problem I had, was that the fridge was running all the time and a large pedestal fan was needed to help cool the element and stop the condenser from overheating. <Too much electrical consumption, expense here... Use the more efficient house unit if it can be practically located near by> Not good for my power bill and standards for doing things on the cheap. <Bingo> Now I have a question ... would gutting a freezer this time round - instead of a bar fridge- be able to cool 450 litres of water by 4 degrees centigrade? <Yes... as would a simple fridge with the coils set in a water bath there...> Assume that the air temp is sitting constantly at 32 degrees centigrade and there exist no other heat inputs. Would my freezer motor thingy be running non-stop? <Might work pretty much full time during the heat of the day, yes> Would you be able to point me to some really verbose links regarding cooling water by refrigeration...maybe I missed some you know about. <I understand you perfectly. I'd go the fridge, holes, bath-coil route m'self. Cheers, BobF>

Chiller Type/Placement - 09/29/06 Being in Alaska, I have never had much need for chillers, but know I am being asked to put a 100g saltwater tank in the hallway of an office building. <<Okay>> All of the offices have huge inefficient windows making the offices cold, so they crank the heat up.  The hallway doesn't lose much heat so it is always over 80-85 degrees. <<Uncomfortable>> This puts my tank averaging 92 degrees. <<Yikes!>> The tank is a self-contained one, meaning there is a false wall in the tank and there is an overflow system into the back where there is a prefilter, a skimmer, and a wet/dry trickle, then a pump returning it to the tank. <<Yes...am familiar with (if not a fan of) the design>> Nothing ever leaves the tank.  I would rather not drill bulkheads, but have read that the drop-in chillers should be drop kicked. <<I've only ever used in-line chillers but have heard the drop-in design is "less than efficient" as well>> Also I read that even if I use an in-line chiller, the heat pulled from the tank will increase the temp in the room and will heat the tank etc.  A vicious cycle.  What are your thoughts? <<Mostly truth here.  I initially installed my chiller under the tank...didn't have problems with keeping the tank cool (the chiller did a very good job of this), but the chiller pumped a bunch of heat in to the room...ended up relocating/plumbing the unit from under the house in the crawlspace.  To be quite honest, it sounds like you have a "much less than ideal location" here for a tank.  You will need a fairly large chiller (I'm estimating 1/2hp in-line...3/4hp drop-in) to get the "pull-down" it appears you will need.  You can locate the chiller under/next to the tank and still maintain temperature (in the tank) in my opinion, but the heat/noise pumped in to the hall will be terrible (who would want to stand out there and view this tank under such conditions?!)  Unless you have means of remotely locating a chiller, I'm not sure placing this tank here is plausible under current conditions.  Regards, Eric Russell>>.

Coral greenhouse in the tropics?  - 09/14/06 Dear Bob and WWM crew, <Alan> I am thinking of setting up a coral greenhouse in my region (south east Asia) to propagate corals. I was thinking of having like 18 of 6ft X 2/3ft fiberglass tubs as holding tanks. I skimmed through the articles in your site about coral propagation. My concern regarding using natural sunlight would be the high temps as its hot all year round in my country and in a green house its certainly not gonna fall within acceptable range. And using chillers to chill all the tanks wouldn't be economical in the long run either. Is there anyway I can solve the heat problem through the design of the green house? Any input is appreciated. Thanks. <Mmm... I would look into lowest expense, most appropriate technology for cooling the system water (likely storing a good deal/percentage of volume underground, evaporative cooling... or pumping it from the sea...) along with passive air-circulating methods to keep all "about right" here. Bob Fenner> Re: New Marine Setup/Cloudy Water - 09/07/06 Eric and Crew, <<Hey Rick!>> You've done it again.  I followed your advice and the water has steadily cleared up. <<Ahh...always gratifying to hear/read>> I placed the powerheads back in the aquarium as directed and simply waited this thing out.  Within 3 days the bloom was practically gone. <<As is usually the case.  I'm glad you were able to muster the patience to wait it out>> Now, after a week the water is crystal clear and I'm getting some really interesting growth in the Live Rock (By the way, I ordered my live rock from LiveAquaria.com, select Lalo rock, it's gorgeous and I'd highly recommend it ). <<I have been hearing much praise for this rock of late>> I do, however, have a few quick questions, if you have the time. <<Certainly>> The temperature is hovering around 84 degrees since placing the powerheads back in the aquarium. <<As does mine this time of year...not a big concern, though you don't want it creeping up much higher>> I've ordered small fans to install in the hood in hopes of reducing it down to around 76-78 degrees.  Can I hope to expect this much of a change? <<Not likely...a 2-4 degree drop is probably more realistic>> I realize this may be a guessing game, but if I need to take further measures I'd like to start ASAP. <<Lets see what the fans accomplish and go from there.  You're near the upper limit on temperature, but the addition of the fans should give you a few more "degrees" of breathing space.  If the fans you are adding are simply to "exhaust" the hood then do consider adding a small "clip-on" or similar fan to "blow directly across the surface of the water" to speed evaporative cooling>> Secondly, I had a bag of Chemipure break in my sump. <<Hate it when that happens>> I've cleaned out the sump, but not before the carbon fragments got into the tank. <<Mmm, yes...teeny bits they are>> They're appearing in patches on my substrate. <Not a concern.  The carbon will simply act/perform as any other porous material in the long term by colonizing with bacteria...very much like your live rock/sand does>> I'm cleaning this out as best as I can, but with 120 lbs of live rock it's difficult to get it all. <<No doubt>> Should I remove the rock and meticulously clean the substrate? <<I wouldn't>> Can this be harmful to the aquatic life? <<Nothing to be concerned with here>> Last question, as far as stocking is concerned, I'd like to gradually add the following life to the aquarium and was hoping you could provide your opinion. <<Well Rick, when it comes to "stocking" I definitely have opinions...and am always glad to share>> Two ocellaris clowns (could you recommend the proper anemone?) <<Mmm, trouble here right off the bat my friend.  I strongly recommend you DON'T acquire an anemone until you get a bit more experience under your belt.  It's not that these creatures are "delicate doilies" so much (some few species are quite hardy), but they do present their own special challenges...and risks...that are very easily/often overlooked.  For certain you don't want to introduce an anemone to this very new system...and certainly you don't want to mix this animal with other cnidarians.  The clowns will do fine without a host anemone...but if you really want to attempt this animal I recommend you spend time reading/researching and decide if you're capable and committed to providing the correct environment for the long-term health of these virtually immortal creatures>> 1-Long Nose Butterfly, 1-coral banded or fire shrimp, <<The fire (blood) shrimp gets my vote...less destructive of the two and "may" facilitate as a biological parasitic control (cleaner).  The coral-banded shrimp will likely devour/destroy most all the emergent life on your live rock>> 1-Orchid Dottyback, 1-Coral Beauty, 1-Blue Girdled Angel, <<As a fish mix, these are fine.  If you did acquire an anemone, the butterfly and the angels would likely prove incompatible>> and 1-small puffer/Toby (something in the Canthigaster genus). <<Also would not be compatible with the anemone>> I'm leery about the Toby as some sources state that they can be "fin nippers". <<Not can..."are"...and more than just fins!  Tobies are generally hardy/interesting aquarium specimens, but they need to be housed with "agile" fishes to avoid getting nipped...would also pose a threat to many/most crustaceans/inverts>> Can you recommend a species that tends to be less aggressive? <<Mmm, the "nipping" behavior is indicative of the genus (most all "puffer" genera) as far as I'm aware>> In lieu of the puffer I was also considering a Hawkfish (Flame or Long Nose).  Any advice you can provide would be appreciated and not taken lightly. << Ah yes, well Grasshopper...Wait/study-up for now on all the commonly kept/available anemones, and go with the Hawkfish if you're uncertain about the Toby (either species of hawk is fine, though I really like Oxycirrhites typus...this species would also be less risk to the shrimp)>> Thanks again. Rick in DE    <<Always welcome my friend.  Eric Russell in SC>>

Chiller performance   8/24/06 Hello! Hope you can offer me some technical help here. As I explained in the previous e-mail, my chiller broke down a couple of weeks ago and I lost almost everything in my tank. Now I had it fixed (the compressor was replaced and the heat exchanger lines flushed out of any debris) and is working again but after some research I read many warnings about short cycling of the compressor if the unit too big for the aquarium volume. The chiller I have is a Resun CL-650, a 1/4 hp unit and my tank a 55gal + 10 gal refugium, will this be what killed my chiller? <Mmm, doubtful> I don't recall the frequency of the on-off cycles previously (it have been working for more than a year) but now I am and the compressor kicks in for more or less 15 minutes to pull down 2deg from 84deg to 82deg set point and then shut off for about 20 minutes and the cycle repeats (this with an air temp of +/- 91deg in my living room) would this cycle be considered short cycling? <Is rather short, but shouldn't be a problem here. Bob Fenner>

Tank Temp  8/23/06 Hi Crew,    <Hey there>   Thanks for the great site.  I have a rather unusual problem in that my 20g aquarium maintains an 86 degree temperature without the heater being plugged into an outlet.  I have 2 percula clowns and yellow and domino damsel that I am afraid of losing if  the problem persists.   <I've had the same problem in my smaller tanks too.  Its something you really have to be careful of in the smaller system tanks.  The lighting required to keep corals really heats things up.>       Tank specifications:         water quality tests well      25lbs of live rock      100 SeaClone skimmer      150 penguin filter      power head      regular lighting that came with the tank (one fluorescent bulb)   This has just become a problem after I installed my SeaClone skimmer and I was curious if there was to much going on in the tank.  Should I invest in a chiller? Thank you for any help that you can provide. <I don't really see how your skimmer is all of a sudden causing this problem.  Its more than likely the lingering heat across the country.  To tell you the truth unless you have the few hundred lying around dying to be spent I wouldn't buy a chiller for that size tank.  I would invest in some venting fans - install some under the hood.  (Actually, if you ever want to get corals or any light loving inverts - you should also invest in more lighting, which could possibly come with some fans.)  Also, you can add a refugium - extra water volume will not only help you with you temp problem but will make water quality MUCH easier to keep up.  Do some searching on WWM re: heat issues.  Good luck!  Jen S.>         Regards,       John

Trying to Keep Cool!!   8/2/06 Hi Crew !!! <Hi Janice, Leslie in for the crew this warm and muggy afternoon.> Just a quick question.<Sure> I wanted to know what is the best way to keep my 90 gal salt water tank cool on these really hot days? We have a fan going and an air conditioner. The temp. is about 88. <I am not sure what temp is 88…. Inside, outside or your tank. I am assuming you mean your tank, but hoping not. No matter….. other than a chiller there are a few little tricks I use. If you can get hold of 2 to 4 clip on electric fans, you may be able to get your tank down 2 to 4 degrees. They work pretty well.  Clip them on the rim of the tank so the air blows across the water surface. If you can adjust them so they cause the surface of the water to ripple a bit even better. This will increase evaporation and require more frequent top offs. You can also fill a few empty 2 liter soda or water bottles (the type with plastic caps) with dechlorinated tap water, freeze them and place in the tank one at a time. Rotate them as they melt. Decreasing the photoperiod if possible depending on your inhabitants is also an option.> Things just don't look so good. <Yes I know this heat wave is a bad one.> I really appreciate the help. Thanks Janice <Best of luck keeping cool. Your most welcome, Leslie>

Another Idea for Cooling Your Tank in the Summer - 07/22/06 First, please accept my admiration and thanks for the time and effort you all put into this site for the benefit of all aquarists and our charges. <<Thank you...gratifying to hear>> It's July in Georgia and it's hot, very hot! <<Indeed!>> I have a 120 gallon reef tank in my den since January 1, 2006.  Temperature was not a problem in the winter or spring, however, even without a heater, to my horror, the temperature crept up to 86 degrees.  I was afraid I'd have 120 gallons of fish soup.  A chiller for this tank was not feasible financially for me right now so I bought a window air conditioner unit for the room. <<Mmm, yes...and likely at a quarter the cost of a chiller>> The directions tell you how many BTUs it should be for the size of the room, directional facing and number of people who usually inhabit the room.  We added 4 extra people to account for the tank and to determine the adequate size to purchase. <<Wise/intuitive of you>> It took 4 days, but the temperature of the tank has lowered to an acceptable 78.5 degrees and has been consistent for the 3 weeks it's been running. <<Outstanding!>> That $159.00 has been the best investment I've made and much more affordable for me at this point than a chiller. <<Agreed...and I'll bet the room is more comfortable to the "human" inhabitants too! This may be a more viable solution to high temperature readings and easier on the wallet for other people as well. <<Likely so...though as I'm sure you are aware...this solution too may not be feasible for everyone>> I realize this may not work for huge hundreds of gallon tanks but I hope this information will be of benefit to those with somewhat smaller tanks. <<Ah, yes...another avenue to investigate at the least...and maybe even for "huge" tanks, where the sumps/ancillary systems are congregated in a small dedicated room where the ambient temperature could be easily lowered with a small air-conditioner...similar to what goes on in a computer server room>> Susan in "hot'lanta" <<EricR, just northward in steamy Columbia>> Flow-Through Chiller Plumbing - 07/16/06 Hi there, <<Howdy!>> I am designing a new reef tank and would like to know whether an external chiller should receive the water though an extra drain from the tank and then return to the tank; OR return to the sump; OR receive and return from the sump? <<It's quite "plausible" to plumb the chiller as a closed-loop with its own dedicated pump, but I find it is quite "sufficient" to place the chiller in-line with the sump return pump...choice is yours my friend>> If the sump should be used, where should the in/out out holes be placed; i.e. top, bottom, etc... Thanks for your time. <<Hmm...water will enter the sump via the overflow drains and exit through the chiller via connection to the return pump...no "holes" needed...if I understand what you're asking that is <grin> >> Regards, Shawn <<Cheers, EricR>>

Night Time lights ?    6/26/06 greetings, hope that all is good. the website is amazing to say the least, I spend a lot of my "spare" time at work just reading and learning, thank you for the wonderful resource! So on to the fun....... its summer here in sunny San Diego, <Oh! I live here as well> and my SW reef is starting to get to that dangerous temp level......got up to 82.9 today before I realized and tuned on the air conditioner....here's my question, I have read a few times on the website that running the lights at night when its cooler can keep the temp in check <Can definitely help, yes> (I am running fans), but I have a fairly bright room during the day. The tank doesn't get direct sunlight per se, but normal daylight. Will my fish take on their normal "night time" activities, sleep etc. with a day light room, and hood lights off? <Mmm, not so much no... better to use timers, dimmers even if moving the light cycle further into the night> .....or do I need to cover the tank during the day to keep it dark in the tank ? <I would not do this last> second....if I do switch the system to lights on at night, do I need to slowly phase the lights a few hours each day/week..... or just suddenly make the switch? <Best to move gradually> Thank you in advance for your advice, and once again thank you for the service to the hobby. <Welcome. Bob Fenner, in Mira Mesa... aka "East" La Jolla...>

- Do you think I will need a chiller? 6/16/06 - Hello WetWebMedia Crew, <Hello.> Thank you for taking the time to look at my e-mail.  I am planning on upgrading the lighting on my 75 gallon reef tank (48" x 18" x 21").  The reef tank also has a downstream refugium that holds roughly 15 gallons.  At the moment, I have a 260 watt Odyssea power compact fixture on the display and a 130 watt Odyssea power compact fixture on the refuge.  I also have a heaters in both the display and the refuge that were bought to match their respective sizes, but I cannot remember their exact wattage.  I realize the heater in the refuge is unnecessary but I was having flow problems and have yet to take it out... I also have an Eheim 1260 (634gph, 65watts) pump for circulation in the display and an Eheim 1250 (320gph, 28watts) pump running the refugium and display.  A Mag drive 3 (350gph, 35watts) pump runs my Remora Pro protein skimmer. I found a 48" Maristar fixture by sunlight supply that has 2 150 watt HQI bulbs and 2 54 watt T5 bulbs.  This light was discontinued but they still make it custom ordered.  The temperature in my reef is about 77 degrees with the room temperature being 72 degrees. Based on your experience with similar setups, do you guys think I will need a chiller.  Any advice you can give me is appreciated. <Hard to say for certain as even two identical set-ups really aren't identical once they go to someone's home. It really depends on the temperature you want to keep the tank. Without a doubt, it's not going to stay at 77 F, but it may only go up to 79/80 F - is that ok with you? Can you be certain it won't go higher? If you want to improve your margin for error, you may want that chiller anyway.> Thanks, Tim <Cheers, J -- >

Chillers, Absolutely Quiet…..Only When Off  - 5/7/2006 I have a 75 gallon salt water aquarium in my living room. <Cool.> Would you please give me a list of chillers that are reliable and are SUPER  QUIET. <Hmmm, well my friend, chillers operate much like a refrigerator, yes some are more more reliable and quieter, better if you will, than other but none emit zero noise. My solution was to construct a cabinet for my chiller out of 2" Thick Solid Teak and line it with "weather-proofing" material, anyways here is a list of favorable chillers: **JBJ Arctica (This is what I use) **AquaLogic **Pacific Coast **Teclima **Aquanetics Check those out…> The chiller that I have had for the past six years has been  reliable but is noisy. <They are all relatively noisy, especially in larger models, another thing with chillers is that small unit are always on because their cycles last longer, larger, over sized units will stay on much shorter because they don't need as long a cycle to cool the water.> Thanks for your help.  Dennis  Rohrer. <Anytime, Adam J.>

DIY Chiller - 05/02/06 Hello Guys and Gals, <<Howdy!>> My reef tank temp reached over 85 degrees the other day and it's not even summer yet.  I don't want to spend $800.00 dollars on a chiller for my 125. <<They are pricey bits of gear>> So, I purchased a 5000 BTU room air conditioner new for less than $90.00.  A Ranco single stage digital temperature controller for $89.00.  I also found a Mag-drive 7 pump I had in storage. <<I keep telling my wife there's a good reason I don't sell/throw anything away! <G> >> I shorted out the thermostat, removed the cool air circulation fan.  With the covers off the AC, I was able to manipulate the cool air coil into a small waste paper basket.  I filled the waste paper basket with tap water to completely submerge the radiator.  I cut and measured a 15-inch long length of 3" pvc pipe and coiled about 20 feet of 1/2 inch polyvinyl tubing around the pipe.  I dropped the Mag-drive pump into my sump and ran the aquarium water through the coils wrapped around the pipe and return the now cooled water to my sump. In about an hour it dropped the temp 2-degrees. <<Wow!>> The Ranco temp controller has a setting to set a differential temp of 1 degree.  The chiller has been running for about 4 days now and my temp is about 78 degrees. <<Impressive>> I dropped the temp as gradually as I could from 85 degrees to 78 in about 4 days.  Total cost was about 250.00 dollars.  The chiller is definitely quieter than most I have priced.  I just hope 5000 BTU's is enough.  I ordered a 4 foot length of 1/2-inch titanium tubing to replace the pvc tubing.  I found that titanium tubing is a much better thermal conductor than the 20 foot long tubing.  The best part about it is that it all fit under the oak stand with the rear of the unit sticking out of the back of the cabinetry.  My corals have rewarded me for my work and have opened fully once again.  I know there is no question here.  I thought I would share this with others.  Let me know if I missed anything. <<Doesn't sound like it...other than maybe a small fan in/behind the cabinet to cool the compressor>> Thanks, John <<Thank you for this, EricR>>

Cooling Fans   4/21/06 Hi I was thinking about getting a couple of the 120mm fans for my tank with the summer coming.  However since they are meant to plug into a computer, <Mmm, not all> I was wondering if any of you had any instructions on how to wire fans together into a regular AC plug.  Any help that you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Danielle <Can be wired in series with your lighting... or to separate timers... even to thermal switches... See your dealer or "electronics" outlet re. Bob Fenner> Chiller op.   4/18/06 Will I damage my chiller if I run it on a pump that is too small? I have an Arctica 1/4 chiller on a 300gph pump? I still cools really well <I don't believe you'll damage your chiller, but you may damage the pump.  It may lose efficiency over time.  Plus you won't be getting as much out of your equipment as you could.  Just keep an eye on performance.  Thanks Jen S.> Lighting raising tank temperatures   3/4/06 Also, my Compact lighting 4X 96watt set right on the glass. Would it help to get some legs to raise it about three inches above the glass? <Yes> Will small fans help with the lights either right on the glass or raised above it about three inches? <Best to blow under the lights.> Bob, <James today> I have my heater set to 78F on my reef tank but my tank stays very consistently between 79.5F and 81.5F. Is this (81.5F) a problem? <The temperature swings are more of a problem, but in your case a 2 degree swing isn't too bad.  I'd try to cool those lights down or adjust your heater to 80 degrees to minimize the temperature swing.> Room temp stays between 67F and 72F. 135ga. tank Compact lighting 4X 96watt and 2X 30Watt 18Watt UV Wet/ Dry pump (2) power heads Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Kent Plumbing A Chiller And Skimmer Together - 03/01/06 Hello wet web, <<Hey Mike>> Here is another question for you.  I'm trying to configure my chiller (1/5 JBJ Arctica) and my Skimmer (Bermuda BPS-150) to run on the same pump. <<Not the best of plans...in my opinion.>> The chiller is rated for 480/1320gph and the skimmer is rated for about 700/800gph.  I would be using either the Mag-Drive 9.5 or the Hagen 70 which are both rated at about 950gph. <<Not big enough to run both.  Were this me, I would use one of these pumps for EACH piece of equipment here.>> My question is, would I be able to run these two components on the same pump? <<Not recommended...even if it were large/powerful enough.  Too much trouble to try to "balance" the flow...the skimmer more than the chiller will suffer for this.>> First I would have the pump pumping from the aquarium down to the chiller (4' below) and back up to the skimmer (4' back up). This would bring the gph down to about 750/800gph. Would this configuration work or will the skimmer slow the gph down too much for the chiller? <<Ah, ok...not what I was envisioning.  I still don't think it's a "great" idea, but it would probably work.  You may well find that you need to push more water through your chiller to optimize its performance than your skimmer can handle.  If you find you need to change things around later it shouldn't be a difficult fix so...why not...give it a try.  Do make sure the pump is pulling raw water from where it "enters" the sump from the overflow.>> Thanks for the help Mike <<Regards, EricR>> Flow rates for my chiller... pump sel. in the UK   2/7/06 Good evening crew, <Paul> I wonder if you could help me? I have just re-set up my tank and I have installed my Aqua medic titan 1500 chiller about 15' away from my tank, (it's in a cupboard under the stairs). <I see> The pump that I am using is an Eheim 1262 to send the water from the sump and then back to the tank which is above the sump, so the water has to go 30' in total and then up 5' to go back into the tank, to be honest I don't think that the Eheim can handle the flow required to make the chiller work properly. <Yikes...> When I switch the chiller on the digital temp gauge starts to go up and not down, so I turn it off after a couple of minutes, could you recommend a stronger pump (I have been looking at the Mag pumps on the American sites), or the other alternative is to get a chiller that works on a slower flow, what do you guys think? All the best Paul, England <You do need a fluid-moving pump of greater pressure/flow characteristic. Am unfamiliar with what stockists in your country have (in 50 Hz, 220 V)... but would look at performance curves re the run and head you state, bring information with you re the fitting, plumbing diameter for all, and ask various opinions there. More than about 5-10 turns (total volume) per hour become "not worth" the effort here. Bob Fenner>

Sizing A Chiller - 01/21/06 Hello WWM, <<Hello Mike>> This is my first post on this web site and hopefully you can help me out. <<I'll try>> I have an 80 gallon saltwater fish tank and will be getting coral soon.  Basically my setup will be two 175 watt Hamilton MH and maybe two 65watt actinics, mostly LPS.  They will be about 12 inches off of the water and I will have 4 fans in the canopy.  My water temperature got to about 88F in the summer so I know I will need some sort of cooling method. <<Mmm, yes...a bit high.>> I was looking at the 1/10 hp JBJ Arctica or the 1/10 hp Pacific Coast chiller. <<I fear these will be too small for your system.>> Will this be sufficient enough for my tank? <<No>> If not what do you recommend? <<I was able to keep an 80 gallon in-wall tank (w/2x 175w MH) cool with a 1/5 hp inline chiller...should also work for you.>> I'm kinda on a tight budget. <<All the more reason to get it right the first time.>> I also know someone that is selling a 1/4 hp JBJ chiller but not sure how old it really is.  I doesn't say JBJ or Arctica anywhere on it.  Was it not always called that? <<I can't say.>> It says something like fish cooler. <Hmm...>> He is selling it for $375.  He said that it's about 1 1/2 yrs old. <<Well Mike, would depend on how well you know this other chap I suppose...is up to you... but for a little less than $200 more you can get a new (and under warranty) 1/5 hp Arctica chiller...something to consider.>> Here are some photos. <<I couldn't get the photos to come up.>> The help is much appreciated Mike <<Regards, EricR>>

Pump for Chiller Hi Guys <Hello Wallace> Just had a question regarding chillers in for the aquarium (Its summer over here). I have a 5ft long tank, (approx 3ft deep, 2ft wide). Its basically a salt water reef and fish tank with live rock. During summer, I'm hitting max of 93F(34-35 degrees Celsius) , but usually hovering around 86F(30 degrees Celsius). I have a chiller (Resun CL450) but my question is, what type of pump should I use with this sort of chiller (as it didn't come with one) ? Unfortunately I don't have the box that came with the chiller when I first bought it, but I don't remember a recommendation written on the box nonetheless. I'm sure that the water pump shouldn't be too fast or it won't chill the water enough or as efficient. And I'm sure the water pump shouldn't be too slow as it wont be chilling its maximum potential amount of water. Would you be able to help out here ? Is there a rough guide as to what how big the pump should be (how many liters/gallons per hour) the pump should be for this sort of tank? <Wallace, I can tell you that the chiller you have is designed to handle up to a 380 gallon tank.  If I were in your position I'd probably use a large Eheim pump, or another brand with an equal pressure rating. I don't believe a regular power head will do the trick. One way to make sure you are not pumping the water too fast through the chiller is to use a digital thermometer and place the probe near the outlet to monitor the temperature of the chilled water.  In a tank your size (225), I'd like to see around 2300gph of total circulation.> Thanks! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Re: Pump for Chiller  12/20/2005 Hi James <Hello Wallace> Thanks for the advice!! <You're welcome> I am looking at the Eheim pumps, and they range from about 300l/h (79US g/hour) to about 2280l/h (602 US G/hr) .. would you suggest that I get a pump around the 300 / 600Liters/hour or higher towards the 1200/2280 liter / hr ? <I would go with the 600 gph.  You can always throttle it down with a gate valve.  I'm thinking your chiller is efficient enough to process that amount of water per hour.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again!

Chiller Pump - 12/25/05 My tank is around 890 L and the sump around 175 L.  With the return pump rated at 3400 l/h, I expect less when running through the chiller. <<Yep>> Do you think the two Tunze Turbelle Stream 6100 pumps, Which can provide a flow rate from 4000 to 12000 l/h plus the return pump, Will provide enough flow for my fish only tank. <<Should be fine.>> I wish to provide the best conditions possible. <<Be sure to research your fish selections thoroughly...before purchase.>> Please advise if you think there are any further mod.s to be done. <<I have none, based on the information provided.>> Thank you for your time and knowledge, Alan <<I hope it has been of help, EricR>>

Temperature Control in Reef Aquaria  12/17/05 Hi Adam, I need your advice again. <That's what I'm here for, hello again Jerry.> The Outer Orbit lights work great! <Glad you like it.> But my tank is now running hot 82.4 degrees with room temp of 72 degrees. I was looking at Pacific Coast 1/10 chiller or Arctica Titanium 1/10 or Current/Prime 1/10. Any thoughts on these brands or size on a 125 Acrylic. <On a 125 I would go with at least the 1/5 or ?. Smaller chillers seem to be perpetually "ON" and thus even though they are smaller, end up using a lot more energy. As far as brands look into the Titanium Arctica made by JBJ.> (120# live rock, 4" sand bed, unknown size wet/dry sump, Top Fathom Skimmer and Little Giant 4-MDQ-SC rated at 810 gallons at 3feet). I do have air conditioning for the house in summer but we usually set it at 78 degrees so I'm thinking a chiller is needed. <Also consider some fans blowing across the surface of the sump or display.> Could I use the sump/skimmer pump for the chiller? <You can, personally I didn't want my return pump being obstructed by other media (I wanted to get the biggest "bang" out of it), so for that reason I used another pump to put the chiller on a closed loop.> Should I place the chiller in the stand or mount it on the basement wall below the tank? <They are VERY noisy, place it as far away from you as possible, I keep mine in a shed outside.> Thanks again for your help, Jerry <No problem, Adam J.> Chillers  12/15/05 Hi I have a question about my 250 gallon marine {fish only} aquarium. it's stocked with a Queen angel, lion fish, Foxface, yellow tang, emperor angel and yes the two angels get along just fine lucky. The tank has been running for 4 yr.s with no problems. Now it's a sealed acrylic tank with a canopy top.. So no water evaporation.. And the sump is also sealed with a cover. Now I have one large pump outside in a shed running the hole system. I have two 40 aqua UV sterilizers. And a good skimmer.. The temperature in the shed is about 50 f degrees in the winter.. Very well vented.. now finally my question. Why do I have to use a chiller all year long. The temp in the tank just climbs when I shut it off I never let it go all the way up I got scared. I live in New York and now its 15 f degrees outside and the chillers is on ... Also I use regular lighting and only when I view the aquarium maybe 6 hrs a day... Any suggestions on how I could shut the chiller off and save some money. Also how high can the temp in the tank go without harm. I also now maintain a temp of 80 f degrees with a 2 degree diff... Thank you so much I love your website...  Jimmy --jamgabby <... you need to look for other sources of heat introduction... likely pump/s... possibly powerheads, and look for less energy wasting/producing models/makes... Bob Fenner>

How to cool a tank?  9/29/05 Hi there, I am having trouble with the temperature of my 75 gallon tank, now I have just started it and there is nothing in it yet (except some live sand) . The temperature constantly reads 82 degrees and above, my thermometer is a stick on, and I have it located in the middle of my tank. We haven't bought any temperature devices yet (heater, chiller etc.) because we are wondering if there is another way to solve this problem, or if it is OK? < That is a little high. > I was looking into chillers on the web, WOAH I didn't expect them to be that expensive, do you know of any relatively cheap but effective chilling unit. <Absolutely.  Very few aquarists use chillers. > Also I just purchased a digital thermometer to make sure the reading is correct. The tank gets about 1100 gallons per hour I think it is (if this matters to the temperature). Any insights or suggestions would be appreciated. < I'll bet the heat is all from lighting.  It usually is.  The easiest and most popular way to cool the tank is by use of fans.  Most people use clip on fans from Wal Mart.  They are under $10 and two of them will do an amazing job of evaporative cooling.  Try having them turn on and off with your lights.  You should see a noticeable temperature change in just a couple days. > P.S GREAT website         Clare <  Blundell  >

Cooling a 24gal Nano Cube  9/11/05 Hey There…  I currently work at Pure Ocean Aquatics in Littleton, Colorado during school.  I decided to go ahead and get a 24gal Nano Cube (small, but fits in my room).  I plan to make it into a reef tank… but I have a huge problem.  My room is over a garage in a house that isn't air conditioned.  My water temperature is reading at 86-88 degrees Fahrenheit. <Yikes...> So far, I've been keeping the lid open, and that helps a little (3-5 degrees), but then I can't have a light on the water (big problem if I want a reef tank). <I'd put the unit on a timer... run the lighting at night, not day> All I have in there so far is sand and cured live rock, so no big hurry.  I want to know if a "Cool Works IceProbe Micro 50W Chiller" is a decent product, <Some folks state so> and if I have any other options.  Also, I need to know how hard it is to set up, and if I should even bother drilling into the glass if I were to get an internal chiller, and so on.  I got a tank knowing water care, and fish, but I underestimated the temperature problem. Sincerely, Ben <Mmm, if you use a chiller for this tank, best to hang the plumbing lines over the side... Try changing the light cycle for a few weeks, and monitor the temperature... cooler weather is coming. Bob Fenner>

Cooling fan CFM vs. exhaust fan CFM 8/9/05 Hello Air-Cooled Reef Guru : I took a furnace fan and situated it so that it vigorously blows across the surface of my uncovered 100 gallon reef. Normally, it's been running kind of hot (around 86-87 F) with the inside house temp around 78-79. <Yikes... a bit too warm... you may be a candidate for a chiller... if you've tried all other means...> Turning the house AC off and this furnace fan on yielded amazing results. In just 90 minutes the tank temp dropped to 81, which is what the house temp rose to. <Good> ( In hindsight, this rapid of a change might have been too stressful to tank critters - oops, note to self. ) <Yes> Of course, the house humidity level rose quite high. Besides the cost of running this fan (it uses 750 watts !!! ) <Yeeikes> I obviously need to find a way to vent house (or more accurately, fish-room) air to the outside, else the humidity level would rise too high and prevent further cooling (when the dew point, I believe it's called, is reached.) <You are correct> It would also be nice not to have a mold factory take over my fish room. <Yes> My question is this : from experience or math, what is the rate at which I should vent this humid air out ? I'm looking for a ratio I guess, say 1 CFM per every 5 or 10 CFM the cooling fan puts out. <Mmm, well... the change-out is more a percent of the total volume of the house, room... fifty percent per hour is likely a high level to shoot for here> Thanks for any help - SLC <I would look into smaller fans to run over your water, in an enclosed canopy, modifying your light-period during the warmer months... or even a chiller... Bob Fenner> Chiller and Filter reviews 8/2/05 Anthony, Thanks for such a prompt response.  I will review the website you mentioned more thoroughly, One of our consultants on the Sitka aquarium is a biologist with the Dept. of Fish and Game who maintains a tank for the elementary school.    Hopefully his input will keep us within any specimen collection regulations that apply.  I don't even know what a Cnidarian is, but will quiz Troy about it. <Sparing you the Google search for definition... this is the group of stinging organisms that include corals, anemones, polyps, e.g..> BTW, have you completed the review of the TradeWind chillers?   <I have indeed reviewed and critiqued the unit... the construct and operation are very fine. I am sending along suggestions for improvement on their product brochure for clarity> We are looking seriously at that particular unit, but would love to read your review before committing to such a purchase. <Seem to be made very well... so far, reliable operation with not the slightest complaint. Indeed.. there is some noise and heat with most any chiller. This unit is not especially bad about either at all> Any reviews out there on Jeff's Berlin LifeReef sump system?   <None that I have seen> It is expensive, but it looks like a well designed, thought-through unit. Kris <I'm not one for over-engineered designs (DIY or otherwise) for what is or at least should be simple components of the system. FWIW. Anthony>

Chiller recommendation 7/30/05 Just wondering if you guys could help with a chiller recommendation.  We've had a reef tank for 7 years its approximately 160 gal ,metal halides (2) and lots of pumps Our 2stage  inline chiller is not working properly anymore, and we need to make a decision soon....... <I strongly favor inline (never drop-in) for efficiency, and am very happy with the construct and performance of my Tradewind: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=597821&highlight=chiller Also what temperature would you consider optimum for a reef tank with some fish as well?   <I like 78-80F for tropicals Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Re: Green Hair Algae, Rebecca's input re cooling fan and moon light sources 7/28/05 Thanks a million, Bob.  I wish I could give you a big hug! <Consider yourself hugged in return> FYI, here are my fans: http://stores.ebay.com/Windydayzz and my moon lights: http://stores.ebay.com/Fishbowl-Innovations I'm extremely pleased with the quality and design of both, as well as great service, and would recommend them. Rebecca L. Dishman <Outstanding. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner> Heat in new tank, too high tech.? 7/14/05 Hi reef folks. <Howdy> I have some questions regarding heat transfer in my newly set up reef (no sand or living creatures yet). The tank; 180 gal. with 70gal. sump and 40 gal. refugium. Main return pump is Ampmaster 2100 that feeds a manifold above the perimeter of the tank with six T's. The second pump is a Super Ampmaster 4500(3600gal/h) running a closed loop manifold on the back wall of the tank. The third pump an Iwaki 40 hooked up to the sump goes into the refugium. I was running the 2100 and the 4500 for over 24 hours and was not running any skimmer(2), reactor nor the lights. I was confused to see that the water seemed quite warm. I put digital heater in the tank to check the temperature. I was 78. Now, can a these pumps be the cause of this heat? <Oh yes> Does friction in the pipes induce this heat? <Minimally> My ambient temp was 66 and goes no more than 70 because I live in the fog belt of Daly City Ca. I realized that I am going to need a chiller that can handle 300 gal. combined tanks. <Maybe... I would first look into using cooling fans> Which chiller brand, size and lowest power consumption would you recommend? <Mmm, can we step back a bit first here? What is the rationale of using two good-sized pumps for two separate manifolds? You might want to look into just one, larger, cooler pump... my pick? A Sequence model...> What are the pros and cons with an In line versus coil type? <Coil types are more gimmicks than real... and ugly to look at to boot> On a different subject. My sump has quite a bit of flow coming thru and I would like to make it a refugium of some sorts. What would be the ideal medium or animals? <This is posted on WWM> I was thinking an NNR at best, live rocks O.K?. <Could... a DSB w/o rock would be better here> And finally, What is your take on motorized union ball valve (they are all plastic)? Are they reliable and can they be connected to a my Octopus controller? <... Not a good idea... too much likelihood of failure... "More biology, less technology" needed here... study for now. Bob Fenner>

Water cooling, Harmful metals 7/11/05 I'm trying to set up a cooling device for my aquarium because it is reaching temperatures of 80 F plus in the summer and was wondering if there are any problems with using an aluminum coil chiller. <Ah, yes... aluminum is toxic in concentration, and unless there is a thermal exchange mechanism, exposing system water to the air as in "swamp cooling" will add too much pollution. Bob Fenner>

Cooling fans 6/31/05 Hello this morning.<Good day!> I have installed a fan in for my reef tank in my cabinet. The question is what direction should the flow be? Am I supposed to draw cold cold air in or exhaust hot air out?
<Fans help keep the tank temperature down in two ways. The air movement moves heat away from the tank and increases evaporation thereby cooling the tank. If you installed the fan in the cabinet (as opposed to the hood or canopy) and you have a sump or refugium, you might consider aiming the fan at the water in the sump/refugium to speed up evaporation. If you installed a single fan in the hood/canopy, you should probably exhaust the hot air out. If you install two fans in the canopy, you could use one to pull cooler air in and the other to exhaust warm air.> Thank you Stephan <You're welcome - Ted>

Do I need a chiller? Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Anthony, James here> Thanks for answering my question 2 weeks ago about my first SW fish (True Percula).  He had a white spot - looked more like a small white-head pimple than ich - I've had my share of ich with fresh water tetras.  Anyway, it went away after I dipped her in Methylene Blue for 30 min.s or it could be the skunk cleaner shrimp that did the job.  Should I have dipped her or not???? <I'm sure the dip helped more than the cleaner shrimp.> Back to my question about chillers,  I have two 60 gal tanks in separate rooms which I plan to stock with at least 60 lbs of LR each. For now both would be fish only setups.  Anyway, I live in a part of Southern California where we only have at most 6 - 8 weeks of about 90 degree temps. Most of the chillers I've seen are for much bigger tanks.  Anyway, I mail ordered a Titan Thermoelectric 150-W Chiller ($250) that says it's good for 40 gals (I'm assuming they're referring to a reef setup). <No, they are just referring to 40 gallons of water in general.> Is this sufficient? <Most chillers come with charts that show how low it will cool versus ambient room temperature.  If you don't have such a chart, contact the manufacturer and ask.  Do I really need chillers or can I just set both tanks' heater to 78 and the apartment air conditioner to 80 degrees during the hottest part of our summer?  Assuming that the small chiller can cool down the tank by 4 degrees, I would still need 2 of them (another one for the other 60 gal tank - minimum $500 investment). I'm also sure that with the air off, the temp could reach as high as 88 degrees in my apartment unit. So I would still need to keep the air on or buy bigger chillers which would run me close to $900 for 2.  Don't you think it would be more economical to just keep the air on for 6 - 8 weeks of the year? <A boxer fan flowing across the water will help lower the tank temp also.  Myself, I would rather keep my A/C on than buy a chiller.  Chillers work like air conditioners.  At some time it will require a recharging of the coolant which can be expensive since Freon is no longer used.  James (Salty Dog)> Again thanks in advance, Anthony

Reef Recommendations Hey Scott ("Captain"- what's that all about please do tell?), <Really bad "Star Trek" reference....> Again, thanks for your recommendation and prompt response. Do you think that I may need a Chiller, or can I get away with fans with 2X 250 watt HQI's? <Honestly, I think that a chiller is a really good idea. You can try the fans, but that's a lot of heat put out by those bulbs in a small space, so a chiller will do a better job.> I do have a Canopy, what brand should I buy? <I'd look into the JBJ Arctica chillers. As far as MH systems are concerned, there are so many different brands to choose from...Consider those made by Aqua Medic, PFO, and Sunlight Supply. All are good ones.> Thanks, Marlon <A pleasure! Regards, Scott F.>

- Chiller Question - Jason S here again. Thank you for your fast response about my lighting question. One quick question, I have a 1/4 hp Custom Sea Life in line chiller. I just installed a new little Giant 4 series pump. What happens to the chiller if the pump ever burnt out?  <Depending on where your thermostatic sensor is located, it will likely continue to run until something breaks.> <<Nah. Will turn itself off... no worries. RMF>> Is there any thing like a flow switch that anyone makes so that when the flow stops it will cut off the power to the chiller?  <Not aware of any such item that would be adequate for salt water.>  Do you recommend any maintenance to prolong the unit?  <About once a year I'd remove it from the system and run some weak bleach water through it for an hour or so and then and hour of rinse water... can be done with a bucket and a pump, returning the water to the bucket. Leave out in the open air for a day or so and then reconnect.> Thanks, Jason S. <Cheers, J -- > 

-A Real Chiller of A Question- Thanks for the reply <Certainly> I will still be purchasing 400 watt halides (the cost difference isn't a lot and I have more wattage to play with ). <Ok but please take extra time acclimating the corals and put all the lower light corals under overhangs or shady areas as they will bleach out possibly with such high lighting.> I will be buying a large room fan to get rid of the excess heat. I am also investigating making a DIY chiller as you suggest but not using an old fridge unit (far big a risk of water contamination re parts etc). <Hmm not really simply drill into the side of a fridge and run the tubing closed through a container with water in it then back out the side or the other side then to the sump. no contamination and far cheaper if you have one around. you can even keep drinks etc in it.> I will be looking at a tray of cool freshwater (regularly changed during top off) with blocked heat conductive piping of some sort into running through and back into the sump (simple effective and very very cheap). Here in the UK we only occasionally get big heat waves, so I am hoping the single large fan across the water surface will suffice for the short term. <Very possible, though those MH lights can really put out the heat. Do keep an eye on temperatures at first when the lights are moving to their final place and then when they are in final position to avoid any costly deaths and or losses of corals and fish.> Thanks for the info Jim <Hope this helps> <Justin (Jager)> 

Lights getting water warm Sorry, I just wrote 5 minutes ago. I forgot one more thing. The new fluorescent lights are making my water temp go up to about 82...how do I keep it down?  Thanks, last time I'll bug you...I promise!  <Most of these fixtures come with a cooling fan built in, and even at that, if they are in an enclosed canopy without sufficient air inlet/outlet, water temps will elevate. If the fixture is just sitting on a glass top with nothing over it then I would take it back to the dealer and have him order you one with an enclosed fan such as Orbit or Current fixtures. James (Salty Dog)>

Keeping coldwater marines I am cycling a 55 gallon aquarium for local California coast marine  inverts. I am adding a chiller to keep the aquarium below 60. I am an avid scuba diver and will have no problem collecting what I want. I have researched the  laws and am wondering if the is and source of info for my cold water reef tank.   <Mmm, yes... the works by Dan Gotshall and Dave Wrobel should be in your use. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cold.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, above)> Last weekend my daughter and I collect live sand and ocean water from south of Point Lobos. In a month or so I will be ready to add animals. Can I add live ocean rocks with anemones and corals? Thx Mike   <Mmm, not to be disingenuous, but yes, if they're compatible... Bob Fenner> Chillers Hi, <Hello there> Has any body used the "Pacific Coast CL-280 1/10 HP Inline Chiller" or "Arctica Titanium Chiller (1/10 hp)". <Have seen these, not used them> I need to purchase a chiller soon and I could not make a decision between these two chillers. Arctica is little bit more expensive then CL-280 but that does not matter. I have some info about the Arctica Chiller but I could not find any detailed info about CL-280. I need a good chiller that can hold the temp and not fluctuates all the time because of the room temp. Currently I have "Teco Micro Chiller", which I had for 1 ? years and right now it fluctuates between 76F in the morning to 83F in the evening. <... this is too much> Actual water temp is between 76F to 81F. It used to be better but it is getting worse every day. I cleaned it every three month but it does not make a difference, my fishes are stressed out every night. <I'd write the manufacturer here... there may be some user-friendly repair...> Please help me to decide. I will need to order one soon. Thanks, Hans <With such gear issues it's best to "cast your net" far and wide for input. Try posting your question, lurking for others inputs on the BBs like ReefCentral, Reefs.org... to get a survey of actual users, other possibilities. Bob Fenner>

Chillers and UV Hi, I've read for hours/days/weeks.  Learned MUCH!  I am setting up a 300 gallon Reef (96 x 24 x 30). Sump is fed by two 2" drains from overflows on each end. Sump also feeds a refugium which feeds back into the sump. Return from sump to tank is Velocity T-4 @ 1250gph @ 4' head.  The tank also is plumbed with a 1" bulkhead for a closed loop system that returns to the tank via a manifold around the top with multiple outlets. The question is regarding this closed loop system. I want to run my 1/2 HP chiller (I live in Florida) and 80W UV filter on this closed loop. Is there any reason why I can't do this? The UV filter is 2" in diameter and the Chiller is 1.5" in diameter. As long as my pump is rated to take the extra head, then why not?? <It would be fine but I would add a mechanical filter to the inlet of the U.V. and then plumb the chiller next.  The idea is that you do not want detritus to pass through the U.V.  It makes it less efficient.> (pump planned for this is Blue Line 70HD @ 1750 gph @ 4 feet, more like 1500 gph with the extra head caused by the UV and Chiller and the necessary plumbing). Also note that both the chiller and UV are rated to take this much flow, so that is not an issue. My concerns are that if I run the chiller and UV off of the sump then I'll be taking away from the already "low" return from the sump.  Heck, I've seen the inside of the chiller...its just a 4" diameter PVC pipe with a cooling coil inside...so I don't think that some circulating detritus could hurt it... Finally, can the 1" bulkhead support a closed loop flow of 1500 gph? <1" bulk heads can handle comfortably 700 gph I would recommend something larger.  The detritus will make the chiller and U.V. work less efficiently.  If you add a mechanical filter before U.V. and chiller then you should be fine.> Thanks!! Jim <Good Luck. MikeB.> Flow Meter 12/16/04 Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead :)> I'm setting up a new 175gal reef tank & I was hoping to get some advice from you on where I can get a flow meter for my chiller line.   <many of the online mail order companies stock such parts if you ask... the specialty places in particular like MarineDepot.com or CustomAquatic.com, perhaps... else you can try aquaculture suppliers like Area Inc. in (Homestead?) Florida... do an Internet Yellow pages search for these folks. I am sure they stock this item> I've seen this mentioned on the site in various places but I'm not sure which type to get (or where to get it).  I don't want to put something in that will pollute the water in some way.   <seek all plastic... avoid all brass parts which are FW safe but not SW safe> I have a 3/4" flexible hose connection off a feed from my main pump. Thx very much Mike <kindly, Anthony>

Re: TradeWind Chillers Thanks for the fast reply Bob.  We actually met at the Western Marine Conference in Sacramento (can't remember the year). <Ah yes... it's all a blur to me>   Anyways, we would be happy to send one of the crew at WWM a chiller, or Steven, whoever might have the time to try one out.  Please let us know the address and we can ship one out. Thanks again, Ted <Will cc Steven Pro and Anthony Calfo here. I firmly believe both/either would render you a worthwhile review. Bob Fenner> Ted Robinson Sales Manager www.tradewindchillers.com Phone 760-233-8888 Fax     760-233-8889

AZOO chiller hi there, I am having problem to determine what is the right way to install all the pipes from the tank to the chiller and vice versa.....wondering if anyone can help on this very situation and also I would like to know how to clean the chiller so that it will work properly and keeps the tank cool. thanks in advance for any help at all. Calvin < http://www.azoo.com.tw/azoo_en/modules.php?name=Product_Review&bkid=41 Not much to do with this/these types of units... there is a single in/out plumbing fitting to the Titanium exchange section... you want/need to provide a pump to run water through the unit... best to push rather than pull... and this pump can also service other devices if you'd like... as in a sump, skimmer... Keeping it clean entails situating the chiller where it can get good air-circulation and occasionally vacuuming the outside to keep it dust free. Bob Fenner>

Re: AZOO chiller hey Bob, thanks a lot for your information....however, I would like to know which one of the two sources (on top of the chiller) is in and which one is out. someone suggests that the right pole is in and left pole is out........someone else suggests the opposite.......wondering if you can provide me with this very information. thank you in advance. Calvin <Mmm, doesn't actually matter... one in, one out. Bob Fenner>

The Heat is On (8/1/04) My god It's hot here. <Where?> For 3 days now its been up in the 35c and is great for swimming in the river and cooling off, too bad it isn't that easy for my fish. The temperature in my tank has been going through the roof! <How high?> A couple of times its been past 83 luckily my fish are fine. I've been trying to figure out how to cool it down, my heaters off there's 2 fans and a swamp cooler against it and I've been putting frozen bottles of water in. <Be careful not to shock your fish but dropping the temperature too much too fast.> Finally I get it down put its putting a lot of stress on my fish. <Yes, I would not stress them too much to get it down. Low 80s' should be OK.> The tank is a 55 gallon saltwater. I have zero dollars for a chiller and am leaving tomorrow for 4 days I'm worried about what will happen. the neighbor can only come once a day and I'm hoping that will be enough. He can put a few frozen bottles in if its too warm. Is there any other way I can cool down the tank that I can leave on all day? <Only a chiller. Fans are next best, but there will be a lot of evaporation for the neighbor to replace. Read more ideas here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chillersmar.htm> Thanks very much your site if very much a godsend and your dedication to these hobby is immense. Thank you, Tristan <It is a pleasure for me to play a small roll <<Heeee! RMF, who intends to play a jelly roll>> in this great venture. I hope this helps some. In the long runs, a chiller is your best bet. That or central air conditioning. Steve Allen.>

Chillin' Out (Is a Chiller Necessary for a Small Tank?) Hi There! <Scott F. here with you tonight.> Do I really need a chiller for a small 24" reef tank in my bedroom that very rarely gets to 24 degrees C? Some fishy people say I do. Others don't. I'm really confused about everything though now! <Confused?  About something in the marine hobby?  Really? hah! hah! Just kidding.  Seriously, unless you have a significant heat problem you could probably do a real good job by using a quality fan directly over the water surface.  A chiller may only be necessary in instances where your tank reaches high temperatures for sustained periods of time.> Anyway, do I need one. They're pretty expensive though and if I did need one could I do a DIY one with a fridge compressor and run the filaments through the tank? That is if even need one!! Thanks for your time anyway.  Bye, Ben <Well, Ben, quite honestly, as above, I only feel a chiller is necessary if you experience a heat problem.  Otherwise, save your money for fun stuff like salt mix, and activated carbon.  Good luck.  Regards, Scott F.>

Cooling Options Hello Experts, <Hi! Ryan Bowen with you today> I currently have a 30 gallon very healthy aquarium. <Great> Unfortunately, I reside in an apartment  which does not provide air conditioning. The room where the tank is located  will get into the 80's and even low 90's on a warm day. The complex will not allow us to alter the property for the convenience of cooling ourselves....or the fish aquarium. I currently run a consistent 76 degrees, but the temp slowly creeps to around the 80 degree mark and my understanding is that 82 is lethal. This is too close for my liking and surely the fish are a bit uncomfortable also. <Surely> I have priced coolers, which I did not know existed, and they are just too expensive to justify. I almost feel caught between a rock and hard place because I do not want 8 months of babysitting this tank to its present state to go for not and lose the battle to the heat. I need cost effective solution (if there is one) or any suggestion which may help prior to the upcoming summer heat. The tank takes no direct light and carries perfect chemical water composition. Its just the front of our building takes direct sun and heats the room where the tank  is. Can you advise or recommend a solution.....I care too much for the livestock and want to give the needed attention, but need advise from someone who knows. <There are lots of options here- But none of them better than a chiller.  Ice probe chillers are small, compact chillers that run about a hundred bucks a probe.  Each probe does 20 gallons.  Two of these, and a controller would be ideal, but if not, there are still more options.  Have you looked into a swamp cooler for the room?  They sit in your window, and would cool the whole room.  They do need a hookup to water, however.  For the tank, another simple thing that you can do is to fashion a clip on fan blowing horizontally across the surface of the water.  This helps to increase the exchange at the surface of the water.  If you know it's an especially hot day, you can float a frozen water bottle in the tank.  If you tank needs daily water-top-off, simply leave the top off the bottle, and it will slowly supply the aquarium with water.  Leave the lights off, and that's about it.  Hope this helps, Ryan> Thanks, Eddie

Evaporative cooling of a sump Hi crew, thanks for all the great advice.. this may be a question in thermodynamics,  but I bought a cheap fan from Home Depot which I have blowing directly down on my sump's water surface, and it has brought the temp of the tank down from  87 degrees to 84 degrees in a matter of a few hours. My question is, If I keep the fan on, will it continue to lower the tank temperature even more through evaporative cooling, even though the ambient room temperature is around 83 degrees,<< I would say no.  I don't see (and it has been a couple years since I've had a thermodynamic class) how it can cool the water below ambient room temperature.  The energy from the water has to go somewhere? >> or is it impossible to lower the water temp below that of the room temperature << I think even if it is possible, it would be very difficult. >> without the use of more expensive means... (it's a FOWLR tank, and no one seems affected by the high temps, though I know the inhabitants can't be comfortable)<< Obviously if you can, cooling the room temp by 10 degrees would make a big difference. That is what I would try to do. >> Thanks -Blair <<  Adam Blundell  >>

- Plumbing in the Chiller - Yo WWM dudes, "Capt. Nemo" here, <Yo, do you have a submarine named the Nautilus?> I have a "shark victim" customer with major problems. They just bought a 125-gallon aquarium and cabinet from a local shop "shark" (if you get my drift), and they are now having nothing but trouble. Soon after, they heard about us (bad timing). They came down to our showroom and were very impressed with our systems but since they already have a "system", for lack of a better word, they are reluctant to buy a whole new system, which I can sympathize with. I agreed that I would try to design a retrofit system to eliminate all the problems they have (abysmal filtration, super-puny pump, a 400 GPH submersible as the main pump!, i.e., almost no water flow, and a lot of heat. All the coral and fish they purchased (from the shark) are all dead. Truly a shame. <Indeed.> Most of the redesign is no problem except that they purchased (from the shark) an in-line chiller to minimize the heat, which they want to continue to use (they paid over $750.00 for it). Since I've been able, so far, to design systems without the need for a chiller, I'm trying to figure out how to integrate the chiller they have without restricting the water flow. According to various sources, water flowing through the chiller will restrict the flow from the main pump 2-4 feet worth of head. Part of my original design was to install a high-power pump (at least 1400 GPH) to run the system. In a nutshell, here are two questions: If I plumb the system with the chiller in-line, does that drastically reduce the flow? <To an extent, yes, but more importantly too high of a flow through the chiller will drastically reduce it's ability to chill the water and in turn the chiller's efficiency.> If so, can I plumb the system using the same main high-output pump and then add a second, lower-output pump to circulate water only through the chiller? <Yes.> It seems to me that the second option would be best. <This is the best, and in my opinion only option that will "work".> This adds a second pump but it seems overall, it would stress the low-power pump less than making the high-power pump work hard for nothing. This would leave the main pump to get that water moving. Any thoughts or pearls of wisdom (pardon the pun)? <None other than what you've already covered... seems to me that you're on it.> Steve "Capt. Nemo" Bicker <Look out for that Maelstrom - Cheers, J -- >

Thermal conductivity test! 4/14/04 Hi crew, Now that I got your attention with the subject, I have a real test for you! <Ummm... Yeah.  That wasn't funny.  Well, OK, maybe a little bit funny.<g>> I am making a chiller for my reef and I need to maximize the heat transfer from the water.  For this I need to fill a liner with some type of liquid (or gel, paste, or something that hardens but is originally non-solid) that has very high thermal conductivity, is non-corrosive to aluminum/steel AND is non-toxic to fish and corals. <Is that all<g>?  I'm thinking fiberglass resin, acrylic resin or epoxy, none of which is particularly conductive, and none of which I would trust to keep salt water out unless they were so thick as to be ineffective at heat transfer.> Do you have any ideas???  I am considering using a methanol / water solution but I am concerned the water might eventually oxidize the metal chill plate (thus causing a Freon leak) and I think I should be able to find a better conductor of heat than water. <May I suggest a thorough search for titanium heat exchanger coils.  I am quite sure they are available and surprisingly affordable.  If you have some sort of refrigeration device, an interested refrigeration technician can assist you in fitting a titanium coil to the existing compressor and re-charging the system for you.> I thought this might give you a break from those 'normal' fish questions :-).  I appreciate any help you can provide!--Greg <Yes indeed!  Thanks for the welcome change of pace. If my suggestions are not addressing what you are trying to accomplish, please feel free to write back and describe what you are planning to do, and I may be able to come up with some better input.  Best Regards, Adam>

DIY chiller questions 4/14/04 Adam, Thank you for your response.  To clarify, I am not looking for a material to use for refrigeration coils.  I am using (aluminum) refrigeration coils (actually more of a flat refrigeration plate) from a small refrigerator.  I am enclosing this refrigeration plate in a plastic liner to isolate it from the saltwater.  I run the saltwater across the surface of this plastic liner several times by attaching channels to this liner and enclosing the entire contraption inside a second liner. I need a highly conductive substance to fill the inner liner (to fill voids between the refrigeration plate and the inner liner).  Ideally a liquid, gel or paste would be used for this "filler" as this would continue to conform to the irregular surface as shape may change.  In case the inner liner should develop a leak, this "filler" substance would begin to slowly mix with the saltwater, hence the requirement for a non-toxic substance.  Since this substance will be in constant contact with the refrigeration plate, this substance must not corrode / oxidize the aluminum refrigeration plate over time as the Freon would eventually leak. Hopefully this better explains what I am trying to accomplish.  I have also attached a rough sketch.  I appreciate your help! -Greg <Ahhh.... This makes much more sense, and base on this I do have a couple of other suggestions.  If this is all still part of a refrigerator, many folks have placed a bucket of water in the 'fridge as a heat sink with a long coil of tubing in the water.  A temperature controller turns a powerhead on and off to control the flow of tank water through the coil.  The thermal mass of the bucket of water is sufficient for most tanks. If this is already out of the refrigerator and you must use it as described, I would suggest that the aluminum coil be situated to hang through a hole in the lid of a picnic cooler or similar highly insulating container.  The container can be flooded with plain water and a coil of tubing can be used as described above. I can see that the solution in your diagram would yield a more "elegant" final product, but I suspect that finding a material that will suit your needs will be difficult, and the actual device will be complicated to construct.  I am very much a fan of keeping it simple!  A lot does depend on how the heat exchanger is oriented/mounted to the compressor unit.  Best of luck with this project.  Adam>

New chiller install - Temperature swings Being in Arizona, and using as much lighting as one can stuff into canopy, I have always struggled with temperature related issues. Using fans, I achieved a stable 84 degrees. With exception of the rare spike, and lots of algae, I have not had many problems with this temp. I finally decided the fan attrition rate was too high, and have purchased a 1/4 hp chiller (around 120 gallons of water to cool). I would like to get to that magical number of 78 degrees, with the occasional swing to 79 or 80 on the 115 degree days. My question is: what is a safe amount to drop the temp from day to day without causing stress to the corals or fish? Should I do this over a couple of weeks, or a couple of days? Thanks! <Hi. I would aim to drop the temperature over a period of a few days. Lower it one (1) degree every day until you achieve the temperature that you want. 79 degrees F. sounds like a good temperature.> Take Care, Graham Stephan Wetwebmedia.com Crew 

- Chiller can't keep up! - I currently have a 110 Gallon tank with 2 x 250 watt Metal Halides and 2 x 03 Actinics PC.  I am having, what I think is a problem.  My tank temp. goes from 78 in the morning, then when the light start turning on it will reach about 84 degrees. <A six degree swing is pretty sizable and stressful.> I think that is too much fluctuation in temp.  I currently have a 1/5 chiller, which runs about 12+ hours a day. <I guess it can't keep up w/ the tank, unless it's plumbed incorrectly or you have it in the aquarium cabinet.> What should I do?  Buy a bigger chiller (1/3 or ?)? <I'd start by removing all or part of the cover (if one) and using a cheap fan to blow across the surface of the water. My 120 that runs 2x400w MH and 220w of VHO actinics uses only a 9.99 Wal-Mart fan for all its cooling needs. Try it!> If so, in-line or coil, which one is better on electricity and chilling? <In line's are better.> My current electricity bill is 200 + a month. <Ouch! Good luck! -Kevin> Help and thanks in advance. Michael

Keeping His (Tank's) Cool! Hi Scott <Hey!> I have been browsing through the FAQs on WetWebMedia regarding heating. From what I have read most of the advise given says that temp in a marine tank is fine up to 80deg Fahrenheit which is close to 30 degrees Celsius. <True> Is this true my tank is around 28degrees Celsius and probably around 30 with my lights on or on a very hot day. <On the high end of acceptable...> I am gonna be adding a fan or 2 but is temp up to 80 Fahrenheit ok? I need not worry too much if this is the case. Thanks Again Regards Ziad Limbada <Well, Ziad- I wouldn't be too concerned if the temperature hits 30 for short periods of time. If you're exceeding this temperature for extended periods, there is some cause for concern. It's important to maintain a high degree of oxygenation and water quality, as there is less margin for error at higher temperatures in closed systems. In the end, if you're obeying the rules of good aquarium husbandry, you should be fine if the temperature gets up there...Stay cool! Regards, Scott F.>

The Heat Is On! Hi Scott <Hi there!> Got another one for ya. <Ask away> My tanks temperature is extremely high I think it could be because of all the additional equipment that I have added as well as we currently in Summer in South Africa so it is rather warm. <Not fun, huh?> Their is normally not a lot of ventilation in my home during the day as we are not at home so the place is pretty locked up. My temp is currently sitting at 28 degrees Celsius and this is not even with my heater switched on. <I believe it...> I have tried leaving the hood of my tank open to allow some air to circulate. Have you got any ideas I mean 28 degrees without the heater is really hectic! I am thinking of running a fan over the tank to keep things cool but then I would have to run this 24/7 Please help Thanks Again Ziad <Well, Ziad- the idea of leaving the top open for ventilation, along with some strategically placed fans can help knock the temperature down a few degrees. Of course, the best solution is the most expensive (why is it always that way?)-a chiller. A properly sized chiller can do the trick with a minimum of hassle, but there is definitely expense involved in the purchase, setup, and operation of chillers; something to consider when investing in one. Hope this helps, but I think that it will lead you into another expensive direction, unfortunately! Regards, Scott F> Regards Ziad Limbada

- Temp Activated Fans - Hey guys!  I'm not sure who will be reading this but I want you all to know that this site is the best source of information anywhere. <Glad you find it useful.> I own a 90 gallon reef aquarium that I struggle to keep cool during the summer months.  I have taken your advise and purchased muffin fans which do a surprisingly good job of lowering the temp; however, I have seen them lower it by too much as well.  I was wondering, is there any product that monitors the water temp and controls when the fans turn on and off? <I've only seen variable speed fans as yet.> I have noticed that there is a similar setup being used in the world of water-cooled personal computers.  A device called a 'thermistor'  monitors the water temperature and then turns the cooling fan on when it gets too warm and off when it gets cool. <Yeah... too bad they're not up to the saltwater environment.> Is there something out there for us fish guys? <Hmm... well there are combined heater/chiller controllers which aren't exactly cheap... you could use one of these to turn on the fans rather than a chiller, and it would modulate the heater and fans as needed. Otherwise...> If there's not, could you invent one? ( : <Just need some funds for design... perhaps you can provide some investment capital? ;-) > (I'm currently building a water return manifold like the one that Anthony Calfo designed.) Thanks for all the help you guys give! - Chad <Cheers, J -- >

- I am in Need of Answers!!!!! - Good morning Gentlemen, I stumbled across your site while researching prices for accessories for my new salt water hobby. I read the various questions and answers and I found your website to be very informative. However I am going to purchase your book so I can learn more about the salt water hobby. I am transitioning over from fresh water with over 10yrs experience and I have found that everyone has a different opinion about what is best "product" especially if they are the ones selling the product. <Quite true.> This is my question. I am purchasing a 150 gallon reef ready tank. I don't know which skimmer to use. I heard a lot about the Euro Reef and I was told to purchase the ETSS 600 skimmer. I did see the sump I was going to purchase which was the UHF Sump 72 system by AETECH. AETECH had the complete sump and skimmer setup on their site. I need your opinion as to which skimmer/model to purchase for the size tank I have. <I'd go with the EuroReef.> I will have live rock etc. I am going to have North Dallas Aquarium to maintain my tank as I learn more about the hobby. Also what do you think about the JBJ chiller? Which chiller would you recommend? <Have no practical experience with chillers - know that some are crap, but not entirely sure which ones those are. Best to look and ask around on the forums where you're likely to find several people using chillers.> Please reply to my personal address so I won't miss what you have to say. I greatly appreciate your help. Warren <Cheers, J -- >

Live Rock Thanks for your fast reply. Feel much more relieved.. :D The tank's still cycling though.. no livestock yet.. I'm worried about the temperature though.. I understand it should be around 24-27 degrees,<yes> but as I live in tropical Singapore, the it soars to about 29 in afternoons. A chiller is not really feasible due to costs (I'm a poor 14yr old.. :D) and a fan would look out of place.<agreed> I have heard from a retailer about freezing bottles and immersing them and I'm worried about the fluctuating temperatures.<you could do this and put the frozen bottles of water in your sump> Are there any other solutions to keeping it cool or must I beg my mum for the chiller? <you could try the freezing bottles of water idea...but the chiller is probably your best bet, Good luck, IanB> :D Thanks again, Hector

Now He's Chillin'! Hey Scott, It's Garth <Hey Garth! Howzit?> Chiller all sorted out. <Excellent!> Well without getting a controller I now have my temp fluctuations down to within 0.5 deg C. woolah! All that I changed, was to put the outlet from the chiller in the sump (the where the inlet is) and it actually thinks its colder than it is, and this maintains a very constant temp in the main tank. Prob solved so it looks... <Doesn't it always seem that the tougher the problem is, the easier the solution is? LOL> Ok well I bought 2 purple headed fire gobies the other day (about a week ago) have been in QT since. <Love that word...Quarantine! And those are great fish! You'll love 'em!> Now the 2 clowns (ocellaris) in the display tank... one of them had 2 spots in his main body. But have now gone after a 5 min.s FW bath for each of them. All seems good now. <Super! Another simple solution that worked out fine! Good job!> But should I wait another 4 weeks before I release the purples into the main tank to be sure white spot outbreak comes back, or will a 21 day visit in the QT tank (assuming no more spots on clowns) be ample? I hope this makes sense. <Well, 21 days in QT is fine for the new arrivals...My favored approach to marine ich is the "fallow tank" routine, in which the fishes are removed to a separate tank for treatment, and the tank is left without fishes for about a month to cause the parasite population to "crash" for lack of hosts. Not 100% effective- but quite good, nonetheless...> And will 2 banana wrasses be compatible with 2 ocellaris clowns, 2 purple headed fire gobies, 2 red and white coral banded shrimp, and 2 clams? <I love Banana Wrasses (Thalassoma latescent), but they can be predatory towards smaller fishes, such as the Firefish and possibly the clowns. I'd opt or a more "compact", less predatory wrasse, such as the Canary Wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus)-similar coloration, but no real threat to other fishes...> Just don't want anything to pick on anything... <Excellent approach...There's nothing worse than having to net a "nasty" fish out after the tank is all stocked!> Thank you so very much. Cheers MATE! <Any time, my Southern Hemisphere Fellow Fish Nerd! Regards, Scott F>

Chillin' Hey guys... just a quick question <Sure...! Scott F. here for you...> PLUS thanks for all your great help so far!! well done <We appreciate the kind words!> I just bought a chiller (Resun) and it turns on at 26 deg C and turns off at 24 deg C. 2 deg C limits, not adjustable is this too much of a temp difference for a reef tank? with: soft and stony corals,2 ocellaris clowns 2 Nemateleotris decora (purple fire fish) (about to come out of QT) some clams and  2 reg and white striped coral banded shrimp. <Well, two degrees is an acceptable variation...I wouldn't want to see more than a two degree swing in temperature, if possible. A temperature controller hooked up to your chiller can help...> How to these thermostat controllers work if I need one of these? Does the chiller plug into it (even if the chiller is designed as a 'stand alone' unit?)? and the controller itself plugs into the main power (supply)? <Yep...That's essentially it. You could use any of the off-the-shelf models available, such as the Medusa, which is also available in a two-stage model, which can control both your heater and your chiller....> Thus a more accurate controller... so more stable temps? <In theory, yes! Most controllers have a one to two degree "differential", but the accuracy should be pretty good...> I live in Australia, so I'll have to find one down here... but am just curious as to what I need to do. I have found one that is called "Nema" controller for up to 1/3 hp chiller or 1000W heating (this is fine size wise) 1 degree C accuracy. Remote titanium probe <Sounds exactly like what I'm talking about...You're definitely on the right track...> Or I can spend an extra 100 dollars and get one that has 0.1 deg C accuracy just after your opinion(s). Thank you very much for proving such a great site. Keep it up! <Well, accuracy is good! If you can get a super accurate controller at a good price, go for it! Otherwise, the "standard" models are fine for most purposes...Good luck with your search, and thanks for the support! Regards, Scott F.> Cheers -Garth-

Chillin' (Pt. 2) Thanks mate <Glad to help!> well its seems to be quite accurate the thermostat in the chiller, always switches off and on at same temps, but its the 2 deg CELSIUS differential that is concerning me. Should it? <Well, I think it is acceptable to many animals, but I'd much rather see a smaller differential, if possible. If all other system parameters are stable, it should be of minimal concern, IMO...> The chiller has a memory, so if its main power is shut off (via the controller) it will remember its previous temp setting. <Nice feature!> So all I will have to do it turn it to full cool (0 deg C) and let the external thermostat control the temp? In theory... <Sounds correct, in theory...Do monitor carefully...> and as for what you said it is "Acceptable" for what sort of fish or we talking:)? <Many fishes which inhabit lagoonal areas and reef flats do see shifts in temperature, specific gravity, turbidity, etc. on a daily basis, so they are more forgiving than we might think. Again, I suggest that if the other environmental parameters are acceptable and stable, then a modest daily swing would be acceptable. Not ideal...But acceptable> I'm planning on adding a pair of banana wrasses in the next few weeks, that should be ok, right? <I have found these to be very durable, hardy fishes...> Again thank you SO very much... you help me sleep at night with all the help you give.. haha <Yeah...I guess my writing style does have that effect on some people, huh? LOL> Take care, and until next time -Garth- <You, too, Garth! Stay in touch and let me know how this chiller works out! Regards, Scott F>

-Mystery chiller- Hello, I have a product question. I have a chance to buy a 1/3HP for about $300.00. <Whoa, that's pretty cheap> A friend of mine has to sell off all his fish and supplies because he owes people money. Don't take up gambling, could lose your fish. <Haha, made a mental note> The only problem I have with this chiller is that I can't find anything about it on the internet. It says TUNG.FA on it and it is a model TF-400B. I was wondering if you have ever heard of this. <Nope, never. I had no luck on any forums or search engines.> Didn't It is brand new still in the box. It comes with a controller. I think he also said it was a chiller and a heater. Mainly want to know if it is quiet. <There's no instruction manual? I would buy it, if it's the appropriate size. It is also important to note that all chillers are loud, especially larger ones like this. I hope this helps, somehow! -Kevin> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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