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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If I decide to keep my mantellas in the room, I have a plan to utilize a DIY chilling system.

I don't know how effective this would work, but considering the outrageous cost of chillers, and the fact that they can lose efficiency if the coils are placed in a sump, I came up with the idea that I could make an insulated box that I could seal with Silicone or Weld On over the vent of the A/C. I could pipe the box up to a drilled tank, and set it on a low setting. Obviously, it would be smart to insulate the walls and the pipes of the tank.

It would be excellent in getting fresh air into a tank, but there are a few things I need to ask. One thing is, if freon ever leaks, does it come out the air vent and potentially cause harm? I seriously doubt this would be a problem though, considering we have our ACs hooked up to our houses all the time.

Probably the only real drawback I see is the tank drying out. I would definitely need some sort of humidifier to keep things humid, or a water feature just may work fine.

To avoid temperature shock, I think its just fine to keep the A/C going all the time at a low setting, but definitely one could pipe this up to multiple tanks, and save lots of big $$$ compared to buying several Cool Works Ice Probes in a sump.

I have considered the dorm fridge, but like Jason Hupp told me, they only give out about 100 BTUs vs. a same cost A/C with 500 BTUs.
 

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I use a 6000 btu air conditioner to cool my frog shed, and they are extremely effective. I would suggest a model with a thermostat, so it shuts off when it is too cold. It is a 8 x 10 shed and it easily cools it even though, there is about a 1,000 watts of lights in there.
 

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It was $130, the smallest size commonly available is 5000 btus.
 

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I got mine from Home Depot, but even here in Fl they dont have them now, I would be surprised if they had some air conditioners up in DC now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Unfortunately, I don't have a frog room. I have been geared at buying an Ice Probe by Cool works that plugs into a drilled tank in a false bottom. However, it uses lots of electricity with very little effect.

I have come across a few reef sites that say an extremely effective (even better than a true chiller) is to make one from the coils on an AC. The real difficulty here is it is VERY challenging.

The problem comes from the coils being made of copper. You have to surround the coils with water that must be pumped back into the tank. The site said you can go over the copper with epoxy resin, but he reported that it cracked after a while. You can't have it on too thick, as it provides too much insulation.

Another problem is trying to seal everything, as the copper will corrode at any point exposed to water. Sometimes I wonder if GE silicone 2 smeared all over the coils will do the trick, but it would still prevent exchange.

Anybody know where to get titanium coils? I don't think that will help much as you'd have to remove the copper coils.
 

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You can occasionally find (if you are willing to dig into the local industrial underbelly) companies that do custom coatings. You might be able to find one that would do a coating for the copper coils of an AC.
 
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Have you thought about evaporative cooling? Water enters your home at various temps, but usually this temp is well below what is needed to keep mantellas. Here are the basics of evaporative cooling. You could use a slow drip system to cool an aluminum baffle/heat-sink that is placed within a closed loop air circulation system, which draws warm dry air from the tank and returns cooled and moist air. You could return this "spent/warmed water" to your water heater, garden watering bin, or holding tank for a misting system.

You could also just buy one of those tiny cheap beer can fridges and just take a hole saw to the left and right sides. If you just passed air through the fridge at intervals, this would keep your tank nice and frosty :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have definitely considered the evaporative cooling idea, however, my ol pal Jason Hupp has tried that and hasn't reported much success. I considered using a Walmart fan blowing over a screen of dripping water with a return pump, but I don't know how efficient it would be.

Honestly I think it would work, but you really, REALLY must be careful that the tank temperature doesn't make too large of swings, critical for tiny, land dwelling anurans. I'd mostly be concerned about temperature shock, as I need the night temps to drop. I have to do it slowly. That is another reason why I'd prefer the "coil" method, as water changes much slower than air. Chilled water will slowly cool the tank substrate, and finally the air. Not a bunch of drafty, chilled air blowing in at once.

No, Joseph, evaporative cooling must have an open circuit. The higher the humidity, the less effective it becomes. The air in a home is relatively dry though, so the dry air must go through the pads into the tank as cool, moist air. Only an A/C will utilize an open circuit, as it uses freon to recycle the air.
 

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Do you already have the ice probe? I was thinking of trying something like that for my mantellas. Do you think it would work better if you circulated the cool water below the false bottom up and over the background in a drip wall?
Just an Idea
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Funny how you bring this post back up! I was going to anyway, because I discovered a DIY article how to build a chiller from a dehumidifer. As they use aluminum coils, they will not corrode if you put the coils directly in water. Therefore, you can buy some titanium coils from the frog/ fish tank and route them into the sump with chilled water! :D

http://saltaquarium.about.com/gi/dy...rium&zu=http://www.guarriello.net/chiller.htm

The problem with the Iceprobe idea is that they are pretty inefficient. Peltiers draw a ton of energy and they are only good to lower the temperature a few degrees.

I will tell you this. I'm going to try and build this DIY chiller hopefully. My plans are to route a powerhead that will pump through a titanium coil (from Mcmaster carr) into a sump with chilled water and back. I have been building wooden, epoxy coated tanks, so I can drill for bulkheads.

The majority of the animals I keep (mantellas, tricolors, xenopus, firebellies) all appreciate some sort of cooling, especially at night. Plus, my nepenthes are VERY stunted because the nights are much too warm.
 
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