Friday, August 19, 2016

Cooling Your Nano: Nano Chillers and Fans for Small Aquariums





Cooling your tank in the dead of summer can be a challenge.  Drastic temperature changes can be detrimental to corals, fish and other animals when it comes to any size aquarium.

When keeping a nano tank, temperature fluctuations are even more problematic due to the small volumes of water.  Changes happens much quicker when compared to larger aquariums.  This is  similar to boiling water, it takes much longer to boil a couple gallons of water compared to a quart of water.

In this video, we cover a few of the most effective pieces of cooling equipment perfectly suited for nano aquariums. We will also provide some creative tips to keep your tank cool through the long hot days of summer.

One of the most economical yet effective options for cooling a nano tank is a simple cooling fan.  When using a fan, you want to direct the air movement over the entire surface of your aquarium which increases the rate of evaporation and cools off your tank.




We have a couple of different cooling fans available; The Tunze AquaWind is a high powered fan that attaches directly to the side of your tank and is positioned in such a way to maximize air flow over the surface of your tank. The Ice Cap variable speed fan which has a really cool feature that basically increases the speed of the fan as air temperature rises.




Personally, I have used fans on numerous tanks both large and small without a hitches.   The downside is that you experience a much higher rate of evaporation so you will need to top-off your tank more frequently to keep salinity levels stable.  Using an ATO system is highly recommended for assuring that water level is always stable.

A chiller is classically the best way to efficiently cool your tank.  Many of the chillers available are quite large in size and made for larger aquariums.  Hooking up one of these standard size chillers to your nano tank is cumbersome at best.  Here at MD we have a couple of awesome alternatives.




The Chill Solutions Thermoelectric aquarium chiller is the smallest in-line water chiller I have seen measuring at only 4" Wide x 5.25" long and 4" Tall. These little chillers are powerful enough to lower temperature by 2-4 degrees in a 30 gallon aquarium.  They accept ½” tubing with a recommended flow rate between 40 and 250 GPH. A small powerhead like the Cobalt MJ will easily provide enough flow.



For applications where a hang-on device is a better fit, the CoolWorks micro-chiller is a perfect solution.  This little chiller combines the CoolWorks IceProbe mounted directly on top of a AquaClear hang-on power filter.  These little thermoelectric chillers work great and easily hang off the back of your tank so no additional plumbing is required.  They are suitable for tanks up to 10 gallons to achieve a maximum drop in temperature of 6 degrees.

One thing to keep in mind is that thermoelectric chillers are basically heat exchangers that takes the heat from the water and dissipates it in to the surroundings. If the room is hot, the thermoelectric chiller will not be very effective.

In cases where fans and thermoelectric chillers are not able to cool the aquarium sufficiently, your best option is still a traditional refrigerant-based chiller. JBJ offers a great little 1/15HP chiller that works well for aquariums up to 40 gallons, just be sure to install the chiller in a well ventilated area.  

- Take care and happy reef keeping!