Water Chillers: an aid in keeping coldwater fish
The life forms that grow within the confines of a tank are often only as good as the conditions that exist within the tank. Fish and other aquatic life are very sensitive to temperature. Optimal temperature is a definite must for a thriving aquarium. Most fish do well when they are kept in their native temperature. That is why it is best to put fish from the same geographical area into the same tank.
Maintaining a steady temperature in an aquarium can get quite tricky. A sudden change in water temperature can stress your fish and can lead to diseases and even death. There are many things within the aquarium setup that contributes to a high temperature within the tank. The tank, being a closed system, does not lose temperature to the atmosphere. Lighting and water pumps, electrical filtration systems that are submerged in the water all contribute to the high temperature within the tank. Add to this the heat during the hot summer months, and some of your fish are in danger of being cooked alive.
This is where the water chiller comes handy. The water chiller not only helps to decrease the temperature within the tank, it is also useful in maintaining a steady temperature within your system. This is the most important use of a water chiller. Without a water chiller to reduce temperature, the water may become warm enough to have hardly any oxygen. This will cause the life forms to die.
It is a good idea to plan for your water chillers early on. Often, water chillers require some amount of plumbing work. They also need enough space. Sufficient ventilation is another prerequisite for putting your water chillers in. Ironically, water chillers also give out a good amount of heat. Therefore, water chillers should never be placed in an enclosed aquarium stand; otherwise it will give off enough heat even to raise the temperature of the water.
Aquarium water chillers usually are of two types: in-line and drop-in chillers. The in-line water chillers are placed right next to the sump or tank and coolant is fed through an external probe that is placed in the water. There are different kinds of water chillers for different capacities.
Thermoelectric water chillers are usually used in small saltwater or freshwater aquariums. This kind of water chiller is best for a tank with a capacity below 60 gallons, and with a slow water flow. Large aquariums make use of the in-line water chillers. These are intended to be used with in-line filtration of already-filtered waters. Primarily, saltwater set-ups with reefs use the in-line water chillers. These chillers come in a variety of capacities; therefore they can be used with a variety of tanks. The in-line water chillers need plumbing and therefore they should be incorporated into the overall schema of the tank well before it is setup.
Saltwater reef set-ups also make use of the drop-in water chillers. These kinds of water chillers have a probe that is placed in a filter with a sump. As the name suggests, these are the easiest to use, and do not require any plumbing. They are also easy on space requirements.
When it's time to go shopping for a water chiller, there are various things that need to be considered. The size of your tank, the filtration system used, the average amount of heat generated, climatic conditions, and the optimal temperature that is ideal for your tank. If the cooling requirements are in the upper range of a particular water chiller, then it is advisable to go for the next higher model. It is also important to vary the settings according to the prevailing climate. The temperatures that work well during winter will not be ideal for a harsh and hot summer.
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