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I am thinking about rebuilding the 10,000g pond, and making it into a reef tank. I have access to LR and Sand from the local Aquarium, I just need a heater for winter. It can get down to 32 at night, I know a pool/spa heater would work, but they are several thousand dollars. If anyone has an idea on how to build a cheap heater, please let me know.
Build a building around it, run pipes under it and heat the pipes and the building. Once the temperature is where it belongs it should take very little to keep it there if the building is insulated.
I don't see any other way to keep the temperature regular enough without spending hundreds of dollars a day in electricity to keep it heated.
Should only cost between $800 and $1000 to build the building with the heating units. Maybe up tp $1500 unless costs are drastically different then they are here.
There are SO MANY reasons not to build an outdoor pond. You've listed one. Have you figured out how to keep out predators, leaves, grass, local water fowl, rain (if it rains have you figured out how to compensate the salinity?) etc....
I am building a clear acrylic top to go with it. The 'pond' isn't in-ground, it will be above ground, with glass walls. I have build a salinity-monitor that adds saltwater or viceversa if needed.
If keeping it covered in the summer in SC would it not get extremely hot? Any plans for a chiller as well as a heater? You may want to invest in some sort of heat sump. In the winter the AC unit runs in reverse, thus heating the water that is forced through the coils. Runs like an AC unit in the summer. Used for residential applications.
It isn't planned to be completely underground, there will be 1ft above-ground. Yes, it does get hot, and I have figured out how to solve that problem, we do the same thing with our 45,000 gallon pool.
Please share that information so I can pass it along when my local club members bring up building ponds as they always do, since they all think the weather in TX would be great for such a tank.
I'll try to get a copy of the plans from the pool company, they left me an extra system, so I couldn't give you anything accurate. I'll try calling in the morning.
BTW: They use fish safe materials.
Have you thought about using a GEOTHERMAL unit? Every year when we get together in the spring (our club meets monthly) and we all begin debating why we should or shouldn't build outdoor salt ponds there is always the idea of geothermal temp control.
Basically you call a well company out to drill a hole about 200-300' deep in your yard. You pass hundreds of feet of tubing (we all debate upon what type, I'll explain later) into the hole and have it loop back to the source. The idea is that you pump pond water down the hole inside the tubing, as it passes it will naturally set at around 68F which is a constant temp underground in most stable areas. The concept exchanges the hot or cold underground and brings it back to the surface at 68F year round. One problem with the principal is that you'd probably use PVC pipe. PVC is considered an insulator and may actually prevent any exchange in temps. If you timed it so that the water stayed underground for a long time it may indeed change temps. The best way would be if you could coil some 316L stainless steel or Titanium alloy tubing at the very bottom of the run as the metals will quickly exchange the temp differences.
Research the idea online and see if you can figure out an application that might work for you. This is different than harnessing hot springs as is being done now in several prime areas for heating homes. Most of these also use copper pipe which is something we definitely cannot do as reef keepers.
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