Cooling off my tank

Linkisnotzelda

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Hi there folks! I know summer isn't coming for a couple more months but my tank is already starting to push 69 degrees vs the regular 64 its been at. Even though I live in the Pacific Northwest (around Portland Oregon), my room is located where the AC doesn't run very well, and my parents estimate that my room temp could be around 80 degrees in the summer, which any water temp near that would likely be fatal. I'm looking for the cheapest option to cool down my tank, (a 20 gallon long). I don't have a lot of money and a chiller, unless I could get one for a super good deal, is out of the question... Should I get a portable AC unit, or load up on a bunch of fans... What will be enough? Please respond with any and all ideas, especially if you know any ways to get a chiller of good quality for a good price... thanks!
 

MnGuy

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Can you relocate the tank to the basement? Or if you don't have a basement, to the most northwest room of your house? A small bedroom in the most northwest corner of my house is always so much cooler than the rest of my house.

I have no advice on chillers or fans, sorry. But if you can afford a window AC unit that sounds like a good option.

Good luck.
 

Murk

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A fan angled so that it blows over the surface of the water (so the water ripples) can cool of the water by about 2 degrees Celsius (I'm not very familiar with Fahrenheit). Fans can be quite cheap, though the cheap ones are noisy. Most people say axolotls don't like too much current, but I haven't noticed any obvious dislikes.

Another cheap, easy option are cooling blocks (or even plastic bottles of water) which you freeze and then put in the aquarium. If you do this consistently, it can cool the water down by about another 2 degrees C.
I was worried myself the stupid axolotls would bump into the frozen blocks and hurt themselves, but I've never noticed that either.

Not much fun, but also effective, is simply blocking any sunlight - wrapping the aquarium in white cloth (or, if you want to be even more ridiculous, tin foil) would definitely help. It does defeat the purpose of having an aquarium, I guess.

Chillers are definitely expensive, but their job can also be replaced by your fridge and manpower. A chiller is basically a small fridge that the water gets pumped through. If you can get a few gallon of tank water in the fridge, and keep swapping the water in the tank with the water from the fridge (back and forth), you're basically doing the job of the chiller. I doubt you'd want to do that for a whole summer, and do be careful not too replace too much water at once. Sudden temperature fluctuations aren't good for aquariums.

Lastly - and I won't make any friends with this - 80 degrees Fahrenheit is survivable. The axolotls definitely won't like it, and it's not good for their long-term health but if you can keep the water clean, they'll manage a few days of 80 degrees.
Of course you should try your best to prevent this, but don't panic and think they'll drop dead from the temperature.
 

Linkisnotzelda

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Thanks for both of your responses! I’m down to three options/ ideas:
1. Opening door overnight: It always gets cold in the night, and I’ve found that leaving the sliding door open a crack in my room overnight helps to cool down the room and the tank to around 61, which then increases in the day slowly to about 64-66, which lowers gradually over the evening, and so on. This is the cheapest way, but it has two flaws: the temperature is slowly increasing and decreasing throughout the day, and I do still need to monitor temperature just in case, because there’s no consistency.
2. Fans: I have one smaller clip on fan that lowers temperature by around 5-7 degrees if I place it right by the outflow of my canister filter, but it disturbs the surface and the couple times I’ve used it my axolotl seemed stressed out by it. I would probably need to buy more fans because in the dead of summer 5-7 degrees might not be enough, but water disturbance could still be an issue.
3. DIY chiller?: This is an idea I came up with using various strategies that people use to make DIY chillers; since I have a canister filter, I could place the canister filter in a small ice chest/cooler with ice water in it to cool the water as it goes through the filter. I have no idea if that would work, or how often I would need to monitor it, but if it did work it would provide the best cool down with the water disturbance.

If you've tried any of these or have any opinions, let me know! Right now I’m doing option one until I decide the best solution. Thanks!
 

basilstorm

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You could possibly get a regular (non-aquarium) stand-up fan and aim it at the front of the tank, might get a degree or two cooler. As it wouldn't be blowing on the top of the tank water it wouldn't cause water disturbances or evaporation. There's also the frozen water bottle method, but that's better as a last resort. If you find something that works pretty well let me know, I have the same issue of my tank being in a room with bad air conditioning but I don't have the option to move it to another room. Thinking I'm going to end up buying clip on aquarium fans because my axie doesn't get too bothered by water flow, but I'm always looking for other options.
 

Viking

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The cheapest method method would a window AC unit. I used to live in Washington state. I didn't think that got that warm often. I had problems when my house hit 90 in July. My Spanish Ribbed newt were fine the baby Axies not so much. If you have basement it is cheaper and easier.
 
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