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Old 04-22-2013, 02:36 PM
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Default Water Cooling Method

Good day! I am a current member of another forum that appears to be less active than this. I am currently a 2nd year student (major: Environmental Studies), and have been active in this hobby since I was very young.
As a new member, I intend to offer my thought process to the community, not just ask and forget. I live in a temperate climate (NY) and, unlike most, prefer that kind of reptile/amphibian. I've never been into desert or tropical animals (although if there were ever sand worms like in Tremors, that would be the first tank setup I'd make!)

Many of my ideas on the art are very unique. That mostly means they are outrageously complex and not practical. Nevertheless, I am always trying to find that little detail here or there that is abstractly different than what the community normally goes for when constructing a tank.

I have a 40 Breeder that I can't quite figure out how to properly manage. I had it up and running, but it just wasn't aesthetically pleasing enough, so I tore it apart. Now, I'm coming up with ideas that will hopefully diminish the issues with the old.
Note that this tank is now empty (minus the corkbark flats that I could not pry from the glass, as my silicone caulking job was a little too good). I do not have any animals, and do not want to even think about any until I can get my tank running.

Among many of the old issues is this: My tank's temperature. I don't personally like warm water, and I feel like it acts as a catalyst for organisms that shouldn't be there (such as white worms). That and improper filtration combined have a way of bringing in some nasty things.

So as not to be a burden on the first post, I will shorten this to a single topic (considering I can research others a little bit better than this in particular anyway).

I pour cold, freezing water, about 10-15 gallons in. After about two days, the water is warm. I want a small unit that can cool the water at least enough that fresh water fish can live comfortably.

I've been looking at heatsinks, PC fans, Peltier units, Water Chillers, Ice probe, and now I have a crap ton of questions on each.

Heatsinks. The glass lets heat transfer pretty well; I would think that I could just wrap the whole water section in metal fins and it would air cool, no?

PC Fans. Regardless, I'm going to have something in there to push/circulate the air. Placing a computer fan in there closer to the water should technically cool it, right? I mean, I doubt it's going to be of significant difference, and it will probably catalyze evaporation, but it should still work, no?

Peltier units. Now, from what I understand, these generate electricity based on heat differentials. One side is cool, the other side is hot. The greater the difference, the more electricity that is generated, right? Shouldn't I then be able to just put IN electricity and get a hot side and a cold side? Having enough area covered could significantly cool the water if I just slap one on the side of the glass, no?

In a more complicated setup, would a Peltier be able to simultaneously heat a rock (from underneath) and chill the water surface (from above, and as cold water is more dense than warm water, the entire body would then be cooled, technically)? Obviously there are a lot of things to consider, such as how to cool the hot side (with heatsinks and fans, most likely) and how to properly transfer cooling to the water without damaging the unit itself. Regardless, would it be possible?

Water Chillers. Pretty sure it's just a cooler with a copper coil, and ice around the coil. Wouldn't the copper rust or oxidize or something? Is it safe to use copper on water that's going into the aquarium? And if it IS safe, wouldn't the crap in the aquarium build up in my coils (even if I use the output from a filter)?

Ice probe. While this seems to be effective, the unit is ridiculously expensive for what it does. Is there no way to replicate it in some way? And let's say I did have the money for it (like $135), would using more than one decrease the temperature more, or would it only make lowering it to said temperature quicker?

Personally, if I had the resources, I would go about it like this. Have the output from the external canister filter change from one large hose to multiple standard aquarium hoses. They would be run through the fans of multiple heatsinks, probably around the entire container, and have fans blowing on them constantly. They would then return that water to the tank. I don't know how well that would work, if at all, but that's pretty much my cheap idea (well, not so cheap), haha. 10-15 gallons, how do I cheaply cool it without the use of ice? I was wondering what application this might have:
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Old 04-22-2013, 03:34 PM
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Your water is averaging out to the room temperature, so the first step is to figure out the differential you're trying to cover (ie, 72 is the desired temp, and 78 is the room temp, you are trying to cover 6 degrees).

In addition, you have any added lights that would put a heat gain on the water/tank.

IMO you're over thinking it a bit. For a small tank (10-20 gallons), you'll be hard pressed to find a system that doesn't take up more space than it's worth, never-mind the costs. And you have the entire surface area of the water AND its contact faces with the glass that are all adding heat if the surrounding area is warm (and cooling it in winter when the house is cold). So a small volume is prone to more swings than a larger volume.

If anything, I'd focus on evaporative cooling options. Some of the HOT filters have exposed filters that will increase the surface area of water and give you a degree or two of cooling. Running a fan over the surface of the water (either in or out of the tank) will provide significant cooling, but is directly related to the rate of water loss, so you have to weigh that option.

Water chillers typically don't use the water from the tank directly in the cooling process, but rather cycle the water through a cold area, or with some kind of plate/heat exchange process. Pretty big and expensive system for small volumes, you'll chew through lots of electricity just running these systems.

Lastly, there is no magic, so any heat you remove will be put back into the open environment, raising your surrounding ambient temperature, plus the inefficiencies of the motors generating heat, which will cause you to need more cooling (viscous cycle).

All that said... I'd recommend turning down the AC to a comfortable temp, and bubbling dry air through the water. It will add dissolved oxygen, and provide some cooing. I've never had issue running systems like this and maintaining 72-76 degree temps. More often, I've needed a small tank heater in winter months.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:56 PM
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Default Re: Water Cooling Method

Thank you for your input!
That does make a lot of sense, so I suppose there isn't much I can do. It's just summer is coming and I HATE the heat, and I'm sure the tank will too. I have no Air conditioning, and the ceiling fan just circulates hot air.

I have a canister filter, and I'm pretty positive it helps the water heat up. I was wondering if switching from canister to over-flow/minisump would do any good? Then I could worry about cooling the water in the sump instead of in the tank. Would that work or be any easier?

I have a lot of junk lying around the house that I just want to put to good use rather than throw away (lot's of PC fans saved over the years, a heat sink, a PSU, etc. etc.)
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Water Cooling Method

Cropper kill your fish and frogs, so you may watch using it.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:52 AM
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Default Re: Water Cooling Method

Welcome!

How warm is your place? If you are under 80 degrees in the viv your probably ok. Tropical fish might prefer it a little cooler though.... If your viv is frequently over 80 you need to look into better ROOM COOLING solutions for the safety of your animals....But if you want a thermoelectric chiller here is the ice probe, about the cheapest pre-made chiller device out there for aquariums... (It will lower smaller tanks or viv ponds about 4 degrees or so, will probably require drilling the tank to fit the probe piece in)


https://www.google.com/aclk?sa=l&ai=...ply-P3160.aspx

If you can use cool lighting solutions (led), and some kind of chilling device, basically make it so you are not pumping heat into your tank all things being equal then you can consider enclosing the back/sides/bottom in sheets of 1/8- 1inch foam...basically turning the tank into an insulated cooler to keep warmer outside temps from raising your internal temp beyond what your cooling solutions can cope with. You have to be very careful though not to to pump heat into the tank in the form of hot lights, or sitting it next to a window that puts sunlight on the tank...because then you've turned your insulated cooler into an insulated hot box.

Another Idea I've toyed with is basically ripping the door off a mini fridge and attaching the open area to the side of an aquarium, like just silicone the door rim to the side glass of the aquarium, then perhaps use the insulation panels around the tank like I suggested before except for the front viewing area. You could try filling the fridge with somekinda gel packs, or container of water..something that will basically absorbe the cold and take up space inside the fridge so most of its cooling power can be spent on the tank and not just the inside of the fridge. For smaller tanks you could probably use some of those smalll USB pop can coolers, and mount them to the tank lids so the cold the produce falls into the tank, with their vents areas is hanging off the the tank so they can pump their heat away...and it seems like they would benefit from insulating their sides and back (leave the vent clear), That seems to be the issue that limits their effectiveness at cooling your beer really well, instead of just slightly cool. (Been working on these ideas so I can keep red salamanders)


See how thin those side walls are? ...ya that probably is why these are only kinda ok at doing there job...notice the vent at the bottom...make sure that part isn't blowing into the tank, and insulating the tank will help keep any ambient temp increase outside the tank caused by the cooler from affecting your internal tank temps.

Here is another thread about diy thermoelectric viv cooling...
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...ool-viv-2.html

Fans help, probably best to run them on timers...be sure not to over dry the viv by running them to much.

Cool mist humidifiers modded to pump their fog into the viv produce cool air also.

And you can run a reverse day night cycle to help keep day time tank temps down.

For whole rooms solutions portable or window unit AC's and swamp/evaporative coolers are some of the few options available.

I'm probably forgetting something...but anyways you sound like the kinda guy that may be interested in some of my wacky ideas...so check these threads out if you haven't already seen them...

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...f-concept.html
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...f-concept.html
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/pla...wers-vivs.html
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...fx-plants.html
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...-fx-light.html
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:54 AM
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Default Re: Water Cooling Method

About your peltier idea, i used a peltier to cool my viv. It dries my viv out a little, but it keeps it cool
Here ya go
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...-cool-viv.html
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x5tr41ghtj4ck3t View Post

I have a canister filter, and I'm pretty positive it helps the water heat up. I was wondering if switching from canister to over-flow/minisump would do any good? Then I could worry about cooling the water in the sump instead of in the tank. Would that work or be any easier?
The sump system would give you easier access to the water, and as an open system would probably giv e you a degree or two of evaporative cooling vs the closed canister, but I doubt the canister is adding much more heat to the system, they both operate with a pump to move the water, one open , one closed.

To be clear, this is a fish only system, or do you plan on running a paludarium of some kind?
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:23 PM
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Thank you ALL for your excellent responses!

Blehrer: From the first post that I didn't precisely address
I can't believe I haven't thought of evaporation in terms of cooling! The only thing is, I REALLY think (all electricity and efficiencies aside) that blowing cold air on the surface of the water will do more cooling than evaporation. BUT, by blowing that cold air, I am also slowing the evaporation process down, which I'm assuming doesn't necessarily mean that I'm "heating" the water, but rather getting cooling mostly from air blowing, not from evaporation.

Because I intend the setup to act somewhat like the summer of the temperate climate, there will be a 2.0 UVB bulb (incandescent size, twist shape) and a long fluorescent tube lighting during the day. On a side note, I have done infinitesimal research on UVA and UVB and STILL don't understand the concept. Reptiles NEED UVB, correct. But DO they need UVA also? And what kind of lamp provides UVA? Heck, WHAT IS UVA?! I was under the assumption it was just heat (whereas UVB provides some sort of wavelength that activates specific systems in animals so that they can develop bones properly). I need to know about UVA so that I can purchase a more proper lighting system, in case reptile addition becomes an option. Is there any one light that provides UVA, UVB, and heat?

To make a note, the fish that I had while the tank was operational did not die due to the raise in temperature (and that's without any cooling method, not even a single fan blowing). However, I do believe it promotes the formation of other life that I do not want in the tank, and as well chilly water doesn't seem as unclean as warm water (like everything is just stewing).

Anyway, this setup will take sufficient light during the day, and therefore heat. The temperature, if I am correct, really won't raise too much higher than ambient (if at all above it, that is), so with a 6-8 hour night time period, I think the small body of water can have it's temperature lowered to freshwater comfortable.

I do NOT have an AC, so my room would be relying on a fan. A quick question on that: Would I want outside air blowing IN, or inside air blowing OUT?

FIT BMX
Yeah, I did some research on that. Really not sure how to go about making a metal coil sitting in an ice box if there is no metal that's aquarium safe. 316L Steel hose, maybe?

Dendro Dave
I do not have a thermometer, which I realize is an absolute necessity to have inside a vivarium for monitoring. I will get on that as soon as I have the chance. Let's just say that in about 30-40 days, it's going to be 90F all day long (and that's cooler than it feels).

Room cooling is such a pain =/ It looks like that will be the option I go for.
As for that Ice Probe, I saw a video where a guy slapped some different PVC parts over it so that he didn't have to drill glass.

If it wasn't $135, I might not look down upon it. I'm going to have to work hard this summer to afford luxuries, I guess.

I have seen a LOT of DIY LED fixtures; I simply don't have the drive/patience with electricity =/ I get frustrated pretty quickly when it comes to understanding just what the heck is going on. But even switching to LEDs won't change the fact that I'm probably going to have a rock or two with a lamp blazing on it if my tank turns out to be successful (I am tired of making crap tanks, and want to make this one worth being looked at by the community, so this one is using up a good amount of my energy to get right).

Yeah, I'm not insulating the sides (and if I do, it's only going to be at night). No point to making a tank look pretty if you can't see it (three sided viewing area).

That fridge idea is neat; somewhat where I'm going with the Peltier device (more on that below). It just seems a bit out of place/strange to look at, haha.

Out of all those links, I think the most amusing was the storm cloud viv. I didn't really do any reading, just watching the videos, so I can't tell if there's going to be frogs or whatnot in there... Plants would be okay in there, but I think animals might get freaked out all the time, haha. Otherwise, it's a pretty darn good concept as far as being unique goes. I like it =].

goof901 5 degree drop in the tank is pretty impressive; I like the way you designed that. My friend has an Corsair H100 that he doesn't need so I'm inheriting that; it's going to cool the hot side of the Peltier, if I get one. Then I would have a fan blowing air from the cold side either at the water, or into the tank (or slap it on the side of the tank and insulate it, to see if it can cool the water just using a single point). I think the heatsink with air blowing through it into the tank might be a better choice though.

Blehrer: Again So, the sump idea is more hassle than it's worth? Or is having that setup (intake, filter, refugium, output) beneficial in the long run, aside from how it acts temperature-wise)?

The process is going to work like this:
Design the tank, and construct it.
If the tank operates AND is aesthetically satisfying, then I can add a single fish (probably a minnow) from the huge lake we have (not from any LPS, considering I don't really support their treatment of animals). There are concerns about that that I will address upon request such that I can better explain my opinion (in case it is frowned upon to capture fish).

If one fish survives, then I will add more fish to see how they hold up. If they manage, then all fish are automatically considered food, if I manage to get a water snake. I have done this for a few years now, and the snakes do very well (the tank just sucks when it doesn't look nice. That, and when you get white worms, which are pretty unsightly). I have read and talked to many people about it. The main concern is NOT to feed: goldfish and minnows (store-bought or caught) to snakes because they contain parasites. Thing is, the snakes are doing it in the wild anyway, so what does it matter if they're eating them in my tank?

Typical time that I observe the water snake is 2-3 months before releasing it. Gotta do it before the weather gets cold, or risk them not making it to their burrow.
Anyway, the snake is what requires the blasted UVA/B/Heat lamp on a rock. Guy has to sunbathe, and I'm not taking him outside every single day.


ALL
All comments, concerns, and criticisms are welcome; I would be glad to discuss any controversies or other subjects on this topic. The only concern I have is digression (is it better to make a new thread and discuss the related subject there so that it is searchable, or is it fine just having a slightly irrelevant conversation in the same thread?).

Thank you ALL for your input; this information is INVALUABLE to me!
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:30 PM
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Although keep in mind my viv is only 10 gallons, I'm not sure how well it will work for larger vivs
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:24 PM
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Just as an update, I have received my Corsair H100 (for about $20 from a friend who does not need it). And got a Peltier device as well. I did not trust the cheap ones, so I bought a more expensive $20 12V 168W.

Upon testing for hot and cold side, I do NOT recommend repeating what I did. Using an old PSU we had lying around, I plugged the red into the yellow slot and black in black. I plugged it in, and went to grab it. The damn thing burnt my finger and was pretty cold on the other side, so I Immediately unplugged the PSU. I wrote "H" in pencil on the hot side, and "C" on the cold.

I now have a setup that, if nothing else (meaning, if it fails as an idea), it's a pretty cool experiment/toy. So while I also do NOT recommend buying products on a hunch/ to test theories, for $40 total, I felt it would be a worthwhile idea. I mean, I can still reuse the H100 if I get a desktop.

Anyway, I set it up as a direct mount to the screen top. I don't have any pictures yet, but just imagine a PSU on the top left corner, zip tied in. All of its wiring is zip tied along the center (Vertical zip tie, horizontal wiring) until it reaches the top right. In the top right is the cooling plate of the H100, attached to the hot side of the Peltier (via Arctic Silver 5 leftover from another project). The Peltier is attached to an old heatsink that I rigged together with a Delta fan pointing downward. This entire piece is screwed through the holes of the screen top, and therefore holds very nicely.
The radiator is sitting upright on the screen, ziptied as well, and the fans are blowing out the front of the tank. I imagine it would not take too much from the tank, but rather blow from the surroundings through out to the surroundings. Not that it matters, because it all stays pretty cold. Anyway, When everything is turned on (minus the one delta fan), the heatsink gets frost on it in about 5 minutes. As soon as the delta fan is turned on, all the frost turns to water, but it's still pretty cold. I think that if I insulate it and make a vent out of it, I just might be able to cool the water. If not, then in the very least, I'd be able to cool the air in the tank at night.

For the PSU, I intend to put an acrylic sheet beneath the unit to prevent direct evaporation into it. I really don't know how dramatic that would be, nor do I know if the sheet will actually help to "guard" the unit, but its still safer. I am still a long way off, don't have a thermometer, don't have the tank foamed/designed, etc. etc. But, I have to say, it is making for a very fun experiment. Yeah, I know the costs of the electric draw, but hey, this semester is almost over and I haven't tinkered with this for half a year.

Which reminds me. If I wanted to replace my long tube flourescent with LED lighting, could I wire it to the PSU? (I mean, I'm sure I could (I'll research in a moment), but what are your OPINIONS about doing so?)

Updates when available.
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x5tr41ghtj4ck3t View Post
Just as an update, I have received my Corsair H100 (for about $20 from a friend who does not need it). And got a Peltier device as well. I did not trust the cheap ones, so I bought a more expensive $20 12V 168W.

Upon testing for hot and cold side, I do NOT recommend repeating what I did. Using an old PSU we had lying around, I plugged the red into the yellow slot and black in black. I plugged it in, and went to grab it. The damn thing burnt my finger and was pretty cold on the other side, so I Immediately unplugged the PSU. I wrote "H" in pencil on the hot side, and "C" on the cold.

I now have a setup that, if nothing else (meaning, if it fails as an idea), it's a pretty cool experiment/toy. So while I also do NOT recommend buying products on a hunch/ to test theories, for $40 total, I felt it would be a worthwhile idea. I mean, I can still reuse the H100 if I get a desktop.

Anyway, I set it up as a direct mount to the screen top. I don't have any pictures yet, but just imagine a PSU on the top left corner, zip tied in. All of its wiring is zip tied along the center (Vertical zip tie, horizontal wiring) until it reaches the top right. In the top right is the cooling plate of the H100, attached to the hot side of the Peltier (via Arctic Silver 5 leftover from another project). The Peltier is attached to an old heatsink that I rigged together with a Delta fan pointing downward. This entire piece is screwed through the holes of the screen top, and therefore holds very nicely.
The radiator is sitting upright on the screen, ziptied as well, and the fans are blowing out the front of the tank. I imagine it would not take too much from the tank, but rather blow from the surroundings through out to the surroundings. Not that it matters, because it all stays pretty cold. Anyway, When everything is turned on (minus the one delta fan), the heatsink gets frost on it in about 5 minutes. As soon as the delta fan is turned on, all the frost turns to water, but it's still pretty cold. I think that if I insulate it and make a vent out of it, I just might be able to cool the water. If not, then in the very least, I'd be able to cool the air in the tank at night.
Pictures would help, because I'm having a little bit of a hard time visualizing this. Also just FYI, writing H and C on the peltier really doesn't do too much, because if you reverse the polarity (ie + into -, and - into +), the hot side and the cold side will switch.
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goof901 View Post
Pictures would help, because I'm having a little bit of a hard time visualizing this. Also just FYI, writing H and C on the peltier really doesn't do too much, because if you reverse the polarity (ie + into -, and - into +), the hot side and the cold side will switch.
Yeah, I read about that. Thing is, I am NEVER going to change the polarities. As long as I ALWAYS choose Red on Red (or well, Red on Yellow for higher power) and Black on black, the designated H/C will ALWAYS hold true (as long as the damned electricians did their wiring correct, and everything is DC, of course). The labeling was strictly so that I didn't forget when mounting it.
Here are the photos of the very sloppy job that WILL come together eventually



Frost buildup:

Fan Blowing:


I want to insulate the rig and make it into a vent. I don't imagine that would be too difficult, but being efficient will be close to impossible, since the lid will have to be insulated/vented separately from the inside of the tank.

My Bed is on the right side, so I should probably mount it in such a way that the radiator faces my bed, so that I don't burn up in the summer, haha. The radiator doesn't blow hot air (though I haven't used the thing for more than ten minutes at a time), so I think it would work (just a little digression).

EDIT:
I was wondering if instead of my fan/heatsink rig on the cold side of the peltier, something like this would work out better:

The only worries I have is if it gets too cold, I imagine the fan would seize.

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