Aquarium Chillers and How They Work

Teco - Aquarium Chiller - HY500
Teco - Aquarium Chiller - HY500

Fish make great pets. They’re easy to feed, delightful to watch, and they don’t tear up your furniture! The only drawback to owning fish is you must learn to care for them properly. You’ll have to clean the aquarium without harming the fish, keep the water at the correct temperature and have the right bacteria balance in the water. Fish are very sensitive, so the least little change might harm them or cause death. Fortunately, there are many new products on the market to help you care for your fish. For example, adding an aquarium chiller is one way you can control the climate in your aquarium easily.

How an Aquarium Chiller Works

A chiller is similar to an air conditioner or refrigerator in that it compresses gas to cool the temperature of aquarium water. A heat exchanger, along with gas, separates heat from the water, carries the heat to a radiator, and releases it from the chiller with a fan. Some chillers are simple to use and some are complicated, requiring some plumbing work during installation.

Does Your Aquarium Need a Chiller?

The location of your tank, operating equipment used, and the type of fish in your aquarium can each help determine whether or not you need an aquarium chiller.

Location of Your Tank

Is your tank located in a room where air circulation is limited or no air conditioning is available? Is the tank exposed directly to sunlight throughout the day? If so, an aquarium chiller will come in handy to keep the water cool.

Operating Equipment for Your Aquarium

A chiller might be necessary if you use operating equipment in your tank for lighting or filtering. These devices often warm up the water too much, so a chiller would work great to keep a balanced temperature at all times.

Types of Fish

Different types of fish require different climates to live. For example, goldfish typically live in water temperatures of between 78 degrees F and 85 degrees F. The temperature of your tank water might fluctuate with the seasons, so it’s a good idea to have a way to cool or warm the water when necessary.

Save on Energy Costs

If you’re away at work all day, you might want to turn down the heating or cooling thermostat for your home to save on your energy bill. During the summer months, you can use an aquarium chiller to keep the water temperature cool while your home might become very warm during the day.

Types of Aquarium Chillers

There are several different types of aquarium chillers. The size of your aquarium and the room temperature where it’s located will determine what type of chiller you need. The types of chillers are described below.

Drop-In Chillers

Normally used for saltwater reef aquariums, the drop-in chiller works by putting cooling coils in a filter sump. Drop-in chillers work great if you have limited space, and they come in a variety of sizes.

Thermoelectric Chillers

These usually work with small freshwater or saltwater tanks that hold 55 gallons of water or less. They’re easy to install and operate quietly. To operate a thermoelectric chiller, a probe is placed in the water along with a fan that disposes of heat. Ventilation is required for this type of chiller.

In-Line Chillers

These chillers are used for large aquariums such as saltwater reef systems. They use internal cooling coils to cool water that has been filtered. The cool water is returned to the tank. Because in-line chillers put off a lot of heat while operating, you will need to provide plenty of ventilation, or place the chiller away from the aquarium if necessary. Plumbing is required to set up this type of chiller.

You’ll find that using a chiller to control the temperature of your tank water is much easier than trying to control the temperature of the room, and often less expensive. A chiller can help keep your tank water cool and prolong the life of your fish.

Written by Candice Pardue