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FAQs about Aquarium Chillers: Therm-Electric

Related Articles: Marine Tank Heating, Cool/Coldwater Marine Systems Coldwater Sharks,

Related FAQs: Chilling 1, Chillers 2, & 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,  By Make/Model/Manufacturer: DIY, Arctica, 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,

Good for small (tens of gallons), well-insulated systems that don't have much need for a large thermal draw-down

About Thermo-Electric Chillers 12/8/2009
Hi there,
I have been looking into chillers for my 55 gallon saltwater tank. I have been looking into the thermo-electric method however this stuff is so very confusing to me.
<They are simple in practice - A quick crash course in how they work can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoelectric_effect >
Anyway, I was looking on your site and found the below response. My question is what OTHER larger thermoelectric chillers besides the ice probes are there. I have been searching but haven't found any. Thank you for your time its really appreciated.
<There are quite a few of them out there actually. Just Google "Thermoelectric Chiller". That said, most of the bigger ones out there are meant for industrial use and use anodized aluminum or stainless steel for the heat exchanger, and are not likely to be suitable for a salt water aquarium. The exception to this would be if the heat exchanger surface was coated with Teflon or something of that nature. Further, most of them do not work efficiently with water flow rates as high as we would need >
<Lastly, for the amount of money they cost, you are better served using a conventional chiller for now.>
Hello Guys,
<Good morning, JasonC here.>
Great site, I have learned much and have a very successful 55 reef tank.
<Glad to hear it.> Much of it due to your help. Deep sand bed, frequent water changes etc. I digress. I am a bit concerned about the heat of my aquarium. Are you familiar with a product called cool works ice probe?
<Yes.> Look a bit gimmicky, but I don't need too much help, just maybe 4-6 degrees in a 55 gallon tank during the day. <I don't think this device will do it for you on a tank of this size.> I was wondering if it is a useable product. <On much smaller tanks, yes.> One more thing, I would like to install it into my refugium instead of my tank itself. I have the 18 inch CPR hang on, and frankly would rather drill into that than my aquarium.
<Do-able, but not advised... again, consider something a little larger - there are other, larger chillers on the market now that use the same thermo-electric devices as the Ice Probe and are capable of handling a tank of your size.> Any suggestions would help. Thanks.
<Cheers, J -- >

Iceprobe Thermoelectric Chiller 6/28/08 Hello, <Hello Chris!> I have a small FOWLR 18 gallon tank with 7 gallons in sump. I have the 65W Current Dual Compact light, which has no fan, but I plan on installing one or two on the ends. I have a 395 gph sump pump running as well. I live in hot southeast Texas and have been having problems with my temp staying around 84-85 a large part of the day. I want to one day get a few pieces of coral, but I know this temperature is unacceptable. <Your temperature is definitely in the upper limits, but the temperature swings throughout the day are likely of more concern in such a small tank.> I was wondering if anyone knew anything about how efficient these Iceprobe thermoelectric chiller systems worked. I couldn't find anything about this technology on your site. <They do actually work to a certain extent. For the money consider saving up about $100 more and buying a small traditional chiller. This will give you more cooling power and stable temperatures throughout the day. In the meantime I advise you to use the fans you mentioned above first. Not only on the lights, but blowing across the water. Evaporative cooling can be a very powerful tool, may make the decided difference in this case.> Thanks for your help. Chris of Texas <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Thermoelectric Heater/Chiller Dear WWM crew, Do you guys have any comments/insight into the thermoelectric heater/chiller like the one advertised in the Drs. Foster and Smith catalog?  I have a 55 + gallon flat back hex acrylic tank with a hood and three 23" power compacts.  The temp hovers at around 84 F. The tank is pre-drilled and is powered by an Iwaki pump with a mechanical, carbon, and UV (which I'm not currently using) Rainbow canister filters.  There is no practical way for me to implement the usual "cooling" methods, but I don't want to spend $700.  The DIY plans seem sketchy.  Any suggestions? <Yes. Many times aquarists seem to think in order to get fans to work that you gotta have your canopy drilled etc. Hogwash! Is the back of the canopy open? Yes? Then go to a computer store and get two of those $13-20 fans and put one on either side of the tank and blowing across the water. Put them on a timer so they will stay on as long as your lights. If the top of your tank is open, you can mount the fans on the back of the canopy. This will save you $700 which you really don't need to spend...and it works! More than likely, this will get your tank under 80F.> Thanks guys, Stu <You're welcome! I hope this helped...David Dowless>

Chillers Greetings Bob I have a quick question for you. I have a 55 gal reef. I am having problems with temperature and am looking in to a chiller. Have you or your cohorts heard anything about the "Ice Probe Thermo-Electric Chiller"? The price is hard to beat but is it worth it? Please pass along anything you may have heard.  Thanks in advance. Ron <I have seen this unit at a few trade-shows in the last few years, but never used it. According to its re-sellers it is capable of a draw down of 20 degrees F of ten gallons in an insulated container... Not much of a pull... as your system is much larger, not-insulated... but for only a 50 watt power consumption, and maybe you're only looking for a slight thermal reduction... it might be worth trying. Otherwise, a simple "fan blowing across the surface" of the tanks water would likely produce the same reduction. 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>

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