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Old 26th May 2007   #1
dcnylund
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Default Using water cooler/dispenser to lower temp

Hi, I'm new to all of this and am struggling with keeping the water temperature down. I read the tips on the website, but was wondering if anyone has tried using one of the bottled water dispensers with the cooling function. If it were kept at the same level as the aquarium, there should be a way to circulate water from the aquarium into a used 5 gallon water bottle, through the cooling unit and back into the aquarium. I've seen some of the table top models for around $50.

I think they use thermoelectric technology so it might not be much, but this combined with fans might do the trick.

Anyone tried this? Any ideas on the topic from the experts?



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Old 9th June 2007   #2
dcnylund
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Well, my experiment using a water dispenser as a cooling device is working out great .

I bought a water dispenser that has a cooler at Brandsmart for about $80, and circulate the water from the tank into the top of the cooler, where it is cooled and then siphons back to the tank. The water temperature was at a dangerous 79 degrees (fahrenheit) and is now kept consistently at a cool 60 degrees.

I bought a dispenser with a compressor cooler, because I wasn't sure that the electronic cooler would provide enough cooling power. The water cooler with the electronic cooler cost around $40.

I had a couple of setbacks that I had to work out.

First, I found that the suction/vacuum at the top of the water dispenser was key to keeping the water from gushing out where the bottle is inserted into the dispenser. I figured this out when I drilled a hole in the top of the water bottle to insert the tube from the aquarium pump. I solved this by using silicone to seal the bottle to the dispenser and cutting the top of the water bottle off completely to make it easier to to fill with water.

The other problem I had was that the water filter was pumping the water from the aquarium into the water bottle faster than it was siphoning back into the aquarium. This was solved by putting a secondary water container inside the aquarium, positioned so that the top of the container was lower than the top of the water bottle. The water filter pumps the water into the secondary container. The water siphons from the secondary container into the water bottle. The excess water flows over the edge of the secondary container, forming a nice little water fall.

As soon as I get the chance, I'll try to post a picture to make the setup more clear.
It works great, and I don't have to constantly rotate frozen water bottles from the freezer to the aquarium. The system also adds an additional 5 gallons of water to the overall system, hopefully making the water more stable. Water changes are even made easier, because I just let some of the old water out through the second, hot water valve (heater is turned off) and add the new water in through the top of the water bottle.

The section on water cooling ideas was a great help. The idea of cycling water through an ice bucket, along with the aquarium chiller solutions helped inspire me.



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Old 9th June 2007   #3
Kaysie
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This does sound awesome. I would LOVE to see the pictures and maybe go about trying to duplicate it.



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Old 9th June 2007   #4
dcnylund
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Here are the pics.
1) The whole setup.
2) The water goes from the filter/pump.
3) Into the secondary container.
4) The water from the secondary container siphons into the water bottle, with the overflow going back into the aquarium.
5) Into the top of the cut-off water bottle.
6) Through the cooler and out of the cold water spigot of the water cooler.
7) And siphons back into the tank.
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Last edited by dcnylund; 10th June 2007 at 02:05.
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Old 9th June 2007   #5
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Why not just direct the water from the pump directly into the water bottle? Would the flow rate be too fast?

How much temperature decrease can you get from this setup?

Can I use your photo(s) in the cooling article on Caudata Culture?



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Old 10th June 2007   #6
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I originally had the filter pumping water directly into the water bottle, but the flow rate was too fast and the water level rose very quickly to the top of the water bottle.

The setup with the second container siphoning into the water bottle has several advantages.
1) Because the water siphons from the container into the water bottle, the level in the water bottle will never go above the rim of the container. This is very reassuring.
2) The flow rate into the water dispenser and then from the water dispenser into the aquarium is slower, allowing more time for the cooler to chill the water.
3) I like the little waterfall formed by the overflow from the second container .

The water was originally 79 degrees fahrenheit. I was able to get it down below 70 degrees with frozen water bottles. With this setup, it has stayed around 60 degrees. The water dispenser I purchased stated that it can cool 0.5 gallons per hour.

Feel free to post the pics in the cooling section. I've learned quite a bit from this site, so I'm pleased if I can contribute a little.



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Old 10th June 2007   #7
Jennewt
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This is a real innovation! The drop in temp is impressive. Thanks for taking the pictures and posting!



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Old 11th June 2007   #8
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This is indeed pretty awesome! Do you know exactly how the water is cooled in this system? Is the water cooled in the bottle or is their a reservoir in the base that hold the water where it is cooled?

Do you think it would be possible to break down the water cooler and remove the extraneous bits of the base and outer shell?



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Old 11th June 2007   #9
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The water is cooled in a reservoir in the base. I had to pour a gallon or so of water into the base before it even reached the bottom of the water bottle. The water in the bottle itself is not being cooled.

I'm sure that some people could probably take one apart and use only the cooling components, but that would be beyond my expertise. I wasn't willing to risk damaging the unit. For me, the interesting apect was using the cooling function of a fairly common piece of equipment (as opposed to a specialized aquarium chiller) to get the chilling function at a lower cost. I'm sure people will run with the idea and we'll see a lot of improvements on this in the future.

I could imagine that there are probably a lot of used water coolers on E-bay, that could bring the price down even lower.



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Old 11th June 2007   #10
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Okay, so how do people think this would work on a large scale aquarium, say 55 gallons? You seem to be chilling maybe 15 gallons of water? I wonder if this would work on a larger tank, or if it would make little difference.



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Old 11th June 2007   #11
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I think it would work to some extent, but that the larger aquarium would make a difference. You probably wouldn't get results that were as dramatic as what I got.

When the room temperature gets up to around 79 degrees fahrenheit, the cooling unit seems to run almost all the time to keep the water temp at around 60 degrees. When the room temperature was lower (around 75 degrees fahrenheit), the cooling unit was able to keep the water temperature slightly under 60 degrees and would turn on and off.

I don't think you would be able to keep a 55 gallon aquarium at 60 degrees if the room temperature is 79. I do think you would be able to lower the temperature quite a bit, especially if you have a slightly cooler room.



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Old 31st July 2007   #12
jameswei
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would adding multiple coolers solve the problem for a larger tank?



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Old 31st July 2007   #13
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multiple coolers should make it more efficent in cooling but the cost in electricity may be a drawback.

Did you check to see if you could use pvc pipe to use to make the connection to the chiller unit? If you could use pvc then you could hard plumb the line to the chiller into place. This should reduce the increase in the temperature from running the water into the open top jug.

Good thinking.

Ed



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Old 31st July 2007   #14
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That really is an impressive and innovative piece of work.



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Old 1st August 2007   #15
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More info on thins topic can also be found on the fish boards. There are lots of folks there trying all kinds of things with some decent sized tanks. I really do like the look of this though. I have an old cooler in the basement, I may need to play a bit. Man, my wife is gonna kill me.



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Old 31st July 2019   #16
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Default Re: Using water cooler/dispenser to lower temp

I live in Florida, so the basement t idea is out of the question. No indoor swimming pool for me! I havenít had a problem keeping my 55 gallon cold with a top and bottom fan on and the house at 73-74 but with the heat index pushing 115 outside the house has started to stay at 75-76 making my tank go to 68. Itís only going to get hotter here till the end of October I was thinking of giving this a try but then I saw the store carries a smaller type of counter top cooler that cools the same amount but without using a bottle. Do you think this might work? I just wanted to see what everyone thought because I can place it under my tank setup.



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