Problem with Heat
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Problem with Heat

This is a discussion on Problem with Heat within the Saltwater Aquarium Equipment forums, part of the Beginner Saltwater Aquariums category; --> I have a 180g fish-only tank that was professionally installed several months ago and is being professionally maintained, until I learn more, whereupon I'll ...

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Old 09-29-2011, 09:50 PM   #1
 
Problem with Heat

I have a 180g fish-only tank that was professionally installed several months ago and is being professionally maintained, until I learn more, whereupon I'll take over the maintenance. For pics and more info on the tank see Question about Clownfish Compatibility. I am growing quite dissatisfied with the person maintaining my aquarium (hereafter my “fish guy”) and would like a “second opinion” on a problem I’m currently having, since things don’t make sense to me.

Last weekend, my fish guy said the aquarium was fine to put fish in, so I put in 2 ocellaris clownfish. The next day, I bought a tank thermometer (digital with probe), since my tank didn’t have one. I put the thermometer in the tank and waited for the temp to properly register and, to my horror, it read 87F. I immediately called my fish guy, to ask where the heater was and how to turn it down. I was told the tank doesn’t have a heater. Thus, I’m trying to figure out why the temp is so high. I have since managed to bring the temp down to about 80F, although I can’t keep doing what I’m doing permanently.

The temp in my house (room temp) last weekend was 70F, yet the tank was 87F. I’ve since brought my room temp down to 65F, and have taken the tank “lids” off, along with the lid to the sump, which has helped to bring the tank temp down. By leaving the lids off and bringing the room temp down, I have managed to reduce the water temp to 80F, but I’m freezing and I can’t live like this permanently. On the plus side, my clownfish are fine!

I’ve measured the air temp all around the tank. The air temp inside the cabinet (with all the equipment) is only 67F (two degrees higher than room temp), so this is not a case of the pump throwing off a lot of heat inside the cabinet and the hot air heating the water (which is my fish guy’s explanation for the problem, but that makes no sense to me). I have very low intensity lighting (T5 HO), since it’s a fish-only tank. The bulbs aren’t throwing off much heat. I can comfortably touch the bulbs even after they’ve been on for a while. I also measured the air temp in the upper cabinets, putting the thermometer right underneath the light, and the air temp in that area was about 69F (4 degrees above the rest of the room). So, the lighting doesn’t seem to be the problem (although I’m trying to use the lights sparingly). The pump is not submersed in the water…it’s located in the cabinet below the tank, but is external to the tank. I bought a second thermometer, lest the first one was giving an incorrect reading, but the two thermometers give the same readings (give or take 0.1 degrees).

I’m at a loss to understand why the water might be heating up so much, given the very low air temps and the lack of high intensity lighting. Any thoughts?
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:07 PM   #2
 
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Hi Susan and welcome to TFK.

My first thoughts is that you're thermometer is faulty. Do you have a cheapo thermometer that you can throw in the tank and see if it still reads 87 degrees? I'd use two at the same time to make sure you get the same reading.

My second thought is, how the heck are you going to keep the tank warm in the winter? I'm further south than you are and there is no way that I could ever get by with having no tank heaters in the winter. Unless I want to keep the house at 80 degrees - NOT!

Is the guy maintaining the tank the same one who installed the equipment?

I hope he's planning on adding one soon or he has no idea what he's talking about and there IS a heater somewhere that needs to have the thermostat reset/temp. lowered.

And your tank is beautiful
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:25 PM   #3
 
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My first thoughts is that you're thermometer is faulty. Do you have a cheapo thermometer that you can throw in the tank and see if it still reads 87 degrees? I'd use two at the same time to make sure you get the same reading.
I went out and bought a second thermometer and I'm getting the same readings from both.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Romad View Post
My second thought is, how the heck are you going to keep the tank warm in the winter? I'm further south than you are and there is no way that I could ever get by with having no tank heaters in the winter. Unless I want to keep the house at 80 degrees - NOT!
My fish guy says the pump is throwing off enough heat to heat the tank and that I will never have problems with heating. He says I need to buy a chiller, but I'm beginning to think he's just trying to talk me into things I don't need. I always thought a chiller was optional, and only required if you were maintaining a reef tank with high intensity lighting, or lived in a very warm climate. I'm in Toronto, which is not exactly in the tropics!

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Originally Posted by Romad View Post
Is the guy maintaining the tank the same one who installed the equipment?
Yes he was, although there wasn't much to the install. The tank was manufactured by ATM (Acrylic Tank Manufacturing) in Las Vegas. The tank was delivered together with the stand and all the equipment. Everything was already in place, all holes were drilled, all plumbing was fitted, etc. So, the "installation" consisted of moving it off the truck into my family room, testing for leaks and filling it with water.

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Originally Posted by Romad View Post
I hope he's planning on adding one soon or he has no idea what he's talking about and there IS a heater somewhere that needs to have the thermostat reset/temp. lowered.
I agree (although try as I might, I can't find any heater). So either there's a heater in a spot I can't see, or this pump (or something) is malfunctioning since, if there's no heater, the water should not be 80 degrees when the house is only 65 degrees.

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And your tank is beautiful
Thanks!!
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:32 PM   #4
 
Its your lighting that is heating your water up. Tell your fish guy to install 4 cpu fans on the back of the tank, blowing across the surface of the water. I live in AZ, temp outside 115 in summer, temp in house 87 during the day when I'm not home, tank water temp 79. I have those fans blwoing across my water, and my lights are Metal Halide, 6" off the water surface. You may only have T-5, but I bet its in a enclosed canopy. Right?

Last edited by Reefing Madness; 09-29-2011 at 10:35 PM..
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:34 PM   #5
 
Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Cooling Fans
with a canopy, the lights may be cool, but there is heat coming off of them. Where does the heat go? And, my bad. Do you have glass lids on the tank? Or is it open on top?

Last edited by Reefing Madness; 09-29-2011 at 10:38 PM..
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
 
IMG00405-20110605-1534.jpg
This is the top of mine. No glass lids, and you see in the back of my tank, 2 fans. This is only one side.
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Old 09-30-2011, 08:33 AM   #7
 
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i agree, you need some fans.. and if that doesnt get the temps down enough maybe a chiller, fans should be enough, imo...and i am just a newb, but something has to happen.
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:50 PM   #8
 
Thanks, Reefing Madness. However, I can't believe it's the lights. I should have mentioned this in my post, but I had the aquarium set up for two months and never had the lights on in that entire time. I finally put them on after I got the fish, but by the time I took the first temperature reading, the lights had only been on for the grand total of 3 or 4 hours (in the entire 2-month period that I'd had the tank!). I can't believe that 3 or 4 hours of lighting could possibly cause the water to go to 87F when the house was only at 70F. There is a canopy (well, it's an upper "cabinet" with doors), but the top of the cabinet is open. I don't have a full lid on the tank. It's an acrylic tank, so there are two cut-out pieces on the top which I can (and do) remove to increase evaporation.

All that said, I do like your idea about the CPU-type fans, which will help as a temporary fix.

I think the problem is that my pump might be emiting a lot of voltage/heat internally, which is heating up the water inside the system. So, the permanent solution might be to change out the pump, if possible.

Wannalearn: Yes, a chiller would help, although I'm hoping to avoid a chiller, because there's no room for it beside the tank, so it would need to be remotely located. The only area I have is in the basement and, regrettably, installing it in the basement will require me to tear apart ceilings, since the area under the tank is finished, and I'd have to go through two finished rooms to get to the unfinished part where the chiller could go. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that!
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:32 PM   #9
 
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lol i completley understand that... would be a whole mess of trouble... good luck
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:25 AM   #10
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan21 View Post
Thanks, Reefing Madness. However, I can't believe it's the lights. I should have mentioned this in my post, but I had the aquarium set up for two months and never had the lights on in that entire time. I finally put them on after I got the fish, but by the time I took the first temperature reading, the lights had only been on for the grand total of 3 or 4 hours (in the entire 2-month period that I'd had the tank!). I can't believe that 3 or 4 hours of lighting could possibly cause the water to go to 87F when the house was only at 70F. There is a canopy (well, it's an upper "cabinet" with doors), but the top of the cabinet is open. I don't have a full lid on the tank. It's an acrylic tank, so there are two cut-out pieces on the top which I can (and do) remove to increase evaporation.

All that said, I do like your idea about the CPU-type fans, which will help as a temporary fix.

I think the problem is that my pump might be emiting a lot of voltage/heat internally, which is heating up the water inside the system. So, the permanent solution might be to change out the pump, if possible.

Wannalearn: Yes, a chiller would help, although I'm hoping to avoid a chiller, because there's no room for it beside the tank, so it would need to be remotely located. The only area I have is in the basement and, regrettably, installing it in the basement will require me to tear apart ceilings, since the area under the tank is finished, and I'd have to go through two finished rooms to get to the unfinished part where the chiller could go. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that!
The fans are a permanent fix, no need to do anything else once they are in place. But, what kind of pump are you running that would transfer that much heat, being on the outside of the tank? I have 2 3200gph powerheads in my tank that don't produce that kind of heat. Curious. Ane I woulod have to agree with you, that if that thing is getting that hot, you'd have to change it. What kind, what size is it? Does it have an external cooling fan on it?
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