Greener aquaria - insulating tanks
Anyone ever tried insulating some sides of an aquarium with styrofoam sheets? I was wondering if it would make enough difference in heat loss to actually save any electricity. I'm not talking about making a cooler, just putting some insulation on the bottom and back (behind any background).
Im not sure it would make a difference as heat rises and will escape through the gaps between the lid and filter.
That's what I was thinking, but I'm pretty sure at least some heat is lost through all exposed surfaces. I couldn't really think of any easy way to insulate the top, particularly with lighting installed for plants. I suspect the entire idea probably would not be cost-effective overall. After all, that's still leaving 4 uninsulated surfaces.
on my porch during the freezing winter i use an insilative fiber that is in side a plastic sleeve..and plexiglass the tops...i have even used seran wrap when i new a really big frost was inevitable..i am not sure if you would save on power but i do know that the yeaers that i didnt inslate the tanks somewhat heaters would fail..or you would see heat lines from the overworked tanks...in theory yes you would save..but i must say the tanks were far from astheticly pleasing..
Using styrofoam 1" sheets to insulate the sides not viewed through would have a effect on conserving energy. Heating is usually by far the biggest energy consumption on the tank. The glass also has a low insulating effect. Covering the sides will help reduce heat loss, though not stop it completely. Tightly sealing the top of the tank will also help reduce heat loss. If you experience lots of evaporation, its generally a sign that something can be done better. On really cold winter nights when its in the negative teens or more outside I throw a big opened sleeping bag on my 55 in the basement for the night, just disconnect any light timers. Helps the heater from overworking and saves power.
You would be surprised actually at what you can do via cheap, non-ground breaking methods. In summer I disconnect most of my heaters. The tanks run a little on the cool side. I was starring at one of the lights on my planted tank. A 55 watt PC on a 20 gallon. These things get hot. I think I had been flushing my cars radiator a few days before... I got an idea. Basically if you pump tank water through the light fixture and back into the tank. It will have a surprising effect on tank temp. I tested it. It of course has limitations, possible problems/downsides, and of course hazards. It does work though;-).
All these are interesting possibilities. Plastic tubing run over the light outlet to warm tank water from waste heat (GFCI electrical outlet in use, of course!)....Very "cool" :lol: Problem is, if an extra pump is used, then we waste power with the pump. Run it off canister filter circulation? Could use an automatic solenoid valve to divert the flow to tank when the temp got too high, but that's $$ for the valve, the thermostat, and requires electricity to run/monitor. hmmmm.
Good ideas! Keep 'em coming and I'll try a few out!
Kymmie - glad to have you back in the discussions, missed your insights!
efficency and asthetics rarely go hand in hand. A very stong pump power head is needed. Canister would work but you need to get down to a small diameter tube. Though I got surprising results with what I setup I am positive it could do better. I was limited on supplies and never really got around to modifying it. There were lots of inefficiencies. I used a modifie pump from a whisper 10 filter. The pump consumes very little power. Control as you mentioned is certainly a hassle. Tank is heated a set degrees above outside temp. For simplicity its not a stand alone system. Used along side a normal heater it should still reduce heater useage.
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If your looking at something to insulate and is somewhat ascetically pleasing then your best bet is probably going to be to create an acrylic cover for the back and sides of the tank its a little expensive but heres what I'm talking about;
The general concept will be to create a U shaped structure to go around the back and sides of the tank, the pieces of acrylic will be larger then the glass of the tank because we want there to be a gap between the glass and the acrylic and the plastic strips that hold the tank together will give us a perfect sized gap for this. The reason for this gap is because one of the best insulators we can use is just plain old air the reason we think of air as not a good insulator is because it is constantly moving and exchanging with colder/warmer air so we have to keep the air still so their is no exchange. Essentially what we are creating is a double pane window (except with out the special gasses they pump into them to get an even better insulation value).
I've never created this but from my stand point this would be the most aesthetically pleasing way to insulate your tank, and if you wanted to go a bit more crazy, use the fogged acrylic for a nice ambient glow coming from the sides of the tank instead of just the standard clear stuff. And if you use the fogged stuff you could probably also add in some see through colored plastic wrapping paper to create different lighting effects around the tank. Nothing like an ambient blue or green light on the walls around your tank while still having clear light inside it.
My 2 cents :)
zof, you always have the great DIY ideas!
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