My over-engineered inline heater/controller
So, a couple of weeks ago I noticed the 300W heater that came with my 90 gallon craigslist tank was stuck on, with the water being around 90. Good thing nothing was in the tank...I was doing a leak test a few days beforehand and got lazy and didn't dump the tank out.
So, being an engineer, I designed a DIY inline heater system which I just completed today. Of course, a simple PVC tube with a heater in it wouldn't satisfy my engineering gene, so I made things a little more complicated.
I haven't had great luck with heaters heating to the temperature I set on the dial, so I opted to spend a bit of money and get a PID controller off of ebay. I got the controller, 6' thermcouple, and a solid state relay for $38 shipped. Much less than making one myself!
The thermocouple is attached right near the outflow of my canister, so it senses the water temperature from the side of the tank opposite the outflow. From there, the water flows into the main heating pipe where a 300W Eheim Jager heater resides (set to maximum, so it will always be on when power is applied). From there, the water flows into a T joint, off of which the main outflow to the tank is piped through a valve, and a hose bib is attached for water changes/water fills.
All the electronics reside in a grey box next to the heater assembly.
After I realized my old heater was bad, I considered a Hydor inline, but from the reviews I have read they are not very reliable (especially considering the $50 price tag!), and people recommend hooking up an external temperature controller for safety which just adds to the cost.
So, for approximately the same cost as a Hydor inline 300W heater and an external heater controller, I was able to put together this system. It is considerably larger, but I have full confidence that it will work, plus the drain/fill attachment is an added bonus.
Total cost of the system was around $100. PID controller was $38, heater was $27, PVC/fittings were around $25 (valves are expensive!), plus miscellaneous screws and the wood I mounted it on - $10.
I can give more detailed instructions if anyone else is interested in building something similar!
Credit to this thread for the idea: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=36257
That is pretty sweet. What brand of controller did you use. Judging by the price it wasn't a honeywell.
I generally use two lower watt heaters, much safer, in case one goes you won't loose your tank
I am glad I found this thread I was trying to do something similar but more compact. flexpvc.com link in the other thread has an interesting product called thermal wells which would allow us to get temperature without trying to seal the temp sensor into the water. The hardest part is when you know what you want to do but you don't know the names of the products and so you can't search for them. Or maybe you just need ideas for which products to string together.
The one product I am still searching for is some sort of 3 or 4 inch PVC distributor that would split it into 2 2 inch tubes so I could stick the heater right into my main filter chamber.
If I am understanding what you are looking for correctly, you could try a PVC TY fitting with a 45 Elbow on the part that splits off and use two reducers to bring the size down to 2 inches.
Originally Posted by fearsome
If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
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Yes sort of like that the problem with those is that I worry about flow, creating a dead space since the heaters are typically around 12 inches, I have tried to think of good ideas for how you could force water to run up into the 45 degree, but you also have to remember I am strapped for space. Flex pvc was those wyes in 22 degree angles but none of them are 3" with a smaller side port. If you goto flexpvc.com and search for 672-4280 that would be the perfect product if it had a 3" size on the larger side. You could insert the heater assembly in one side and the inlet for water on the other side of the fork.
Originally Posted by Cliff
I have a 12 inch high by 18x 40 space where everything has to fit including lights, air and water heating controls, misters, filters and all timing and electronics. On top of that things like filters need to be serviceable.
In this setup OP, why did you turn the heater way up instead of say, letting the heater control the heat and then using the thermostat at 1 degree higher as a sort of fail safe?