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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I've been looking into getting a chiller system for my tank and just wondered what is the easiest and cheapest way to go about it? From what I understand the basic idea is to fit some kind of pump into the tank (powerhead?) to push the water through piping into a mini fridge, where the piping is zig zagged through the fridge and back out into the tank? I'm going to have a look for some kind of pump and check out a few car boots as I'm told mini fridges can often be found there, and as I'm working on a low budget I dont want to really go drilling holes in a new fridge! I'm also considering having some kind of inline filter box in the system before the water runs back into the tank to save excess clutter in the tank. Any thoughts, ideas, information or pictures would be greatly welcome!:2thumb:

...heres a basic diagram of the system as I understand it.
 

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Yep you've got the idea.
Fridge wise it depends how much of a drop in temp you need you might be ok with one of the little portable fridges that use peltier coolers, the type available from places like argos or look for one out of a caravan they're a little bigger than a portable but smaller than a standard undercounter fridge and use the traditional type of fridge cooling system so might be more effective. Freecycle might be worth a try.
You simply need to put the main coil of hose inside the fridge, it's a bit of a balancing act between the number of coils inside the fridge and the speed of flow through the system to get the desired effect.
You might be able to put an external cannister filter in-line before the fridge but I'm not sure how well it would pump with such a long length of pipe to push the water through back into the tank, I guess it depends on the head height. Personally I'd keep the filter and cooler seperated that way you're not disrupting the cooler each time you want to clean the filter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yep you've got the idea.
Fridge wise it depends how much of a drop in temp you need you might be ok with one of the little portable fridges that use peltier coolers, the type available from places like argos or look for one out of a caravan they're a little bigger than a portable but smaller than a standard undercounter fridge and use the traditional type of fridge cooling system so might be more effective. Freecycle might be worth a try.
You simply need to put the main coil of hose inside the fridge, it's a bit of a balancing act between the number of coils inside the fridge and the speed of flow through the system to get the desired effect.
You might be able to put an external cannister filter in-line before the fridge but I'm not sure how well it would pump with such a long length of pipe to push the water through back into the tank, I guess it depends on the head height. Personally I'd keep the filter and cooler seperated that way you're not disrupting the cooler each time you want to clean the filter.


Good point
 

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I've heard of beer chillers being used- no idea of the practical points, though!
Do you mean the ones used to chill the beer from the barrel to the pump?

This is what I first thought of when I read this post.

Some places just use blocks of ice ( if the water is always moving )where the hose just goes though the ice and chills the water inside as it passes.

I know nothing about phibs. So what is a system like this used for?
 

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Do you mean the ones used to chill the beer from the barrel to the pump?

This is what I first thought of when I read this post.

Some places just use blocks of ice ( if the water is always moving )where the hose just goes though the ice and chills the water inside as it passes.

I know nothing about phibs. So what is a system like this used for?
That's the dingus. At a guess, this is wanted for some kind of newt or salamander- they tend to need cooler temperatures than most frogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Indeed, the set up is for an axolotl as I've noticed the tank temp slowly rising this year and I think its starting to effect him. Dont want to have to be constantly putting ice in so a chiller system is a must. Just got to find a good enough chilling source for not to many notes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Thanks, thats quite interesting and would probably be a cheaper alternative if I can find one for £20. Just hope it cools enough.
 

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Wow, £50+ for a modified laptop cooler...Oh well...Just shows ya when you aim something at a specialist market you can up the price. :lol2:

My local poundland has something similar, essentially 2 pc fans in a plastic sheet, although the quality will obviously be inferior.

However if you have a look for Laptop Coolers on ebay, you'll be able to pick a quiet one and maybe even one you can rest on/between the lid sliders of your tank.
Then all you'd need is a cheap mains adaptor or mains usb plug.


EDIT: I just thought on...Depending on how much condensation there is, this may be a bad move...depending on what kind of fan I suppose.
 

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How to make a homemade aquarium chiller


Equipment
  • A hand drill
  • A ½ inch or 5/16 inch drill bit
  • Screwdrivers
  • Knife or scissors for cutting tubing and pipes
Materials
  • A small refrigerator with a freezer/ice cube tray section. A 1-1/2 cubic feet refrigerator is suitable.
  • ½ inch thin-wall PVC pipe. You will need roughly 1 foot.
  • Epoxy glue (5-minute)
  • PVC fittings. It doesn’t matter if it is threaded or slip.
  • 3/8 inch hard plastic tubing. You will need roughly 50-100 feet.
  • Silicone sealant suitable for aquarium use.
  • A pump/powerhead (powerful enough to pump water through the chiller fast enough)
Overview


Everything is placed in the plastic box inside the refrigerator housing.
The turquoise square on the sketch symbolizes freezer compartment with temperature probe attached to the inside wall of the cooling box.
Point 1: This is where the water will enter from the pump.
Point 2: The water is transported through the 3/8 inch coiled plastic tubing. (The more coils, the better the cooling effect.)
Point 3: This is where the chilled water leaves the chiller.

How to make a homemade aquarium chiller
  • Ideally remove the box that isolates the freezer/ice cube tray section from the refrigerator. (In some models, this will unfortunately be virtually impossible.) Leave the temperature probe as it is.
  • Drill access holes for plastic tubing on the top. (You can also drill them in the sides; the important thing is to choose access points that are practical for your particular set-up.)
  • Prepare two pieces of PVC pipe; roughly 4 inches each.
  • Insert the PVC pipes through the access holes.
  • Reinforce the pipes with epoxy glue at the access holes.
  • Seal with silicon. It is important to seal well.
  • Glue or thread the PVC fittings onto the pipes and connect the pipes to the 3/8 inch tubing inside the box (coiling) and outside the box (running from the pump to the chiller and from the chiller to the aquarium/sump).
Important factors to think about
#1: The pump must be powerful enough to keep the water fast flowing; otherwise it might freeze to ice inside the chilling box.
#2: When the water runs back from the chiller to your aquarium it will be heated up again by room temperature. Using a long piece of plastic tubing between the chiller and the aquarium is therefore not a good idea. If you have to use a long tube, insulate it properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you for that, will see if I can get a cheap fridge otherwise will have to modify design slightly. Thanks again, most helpfull. :2thumb:
 
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