Aquarium Chiller Overview

Do You Need An Aquarium Chiller?
Maintaining an optimal tank temperature in the summer months can be a challenge (see below for optimal temperatures). An aquarium chiller (also referred to as an aquarium cooler, aquarium water chiller, saltwater chiller, fish tank chiller & tank chiller) is one of a couple options for maintaining temperature. Although aquarium chillers can be quite expensive, finds that aquarium chillers are quite economical for a couple of reasons:
1. Running an aquarium chiller will be cheaper than running your air conditioning when you're not home or on vacation. This is especially true for situations where no one is home during the day and the air conditioning is being kept on just for the sake of the aquarium.

2. Aquarium chillers are low maintenance and high longevity products.

What Is the Optimal Aquarium Chiller Size?
The Teco & JBJ Arctica aquarium water chillers we carry each have a recommended tank size (provided by the manufacturer). Determining the correct size chiller takes many factors into account--including the amount of water in the tank and sump, the ambient air temp, the temp of the tank and the heat put out by the lighting and the pumps. We highly recommend that you get an aquarium chiller that is more powerful than recommended. This is because as you go from the less powerful to more powerful aquarium chillers the price does not increase much while the capability increases greatly. The larger the chiller for any given system, the longer it will last because the less it will run.

What Is the Optimal Temperature?
Corals come from a variety of ocean environments where the temperature ranges from the low seventies to the low nineties. Ideally, you should stick to corals from a single environment and maintain your tank at the normal temperature for that environment. However, since most reef aquariums have a variety of corals from different marine environments, sticking to the 75-82 degree range is a somewhat safe choice.

Chillers For Smaller Tanks?
Nano reef tanks, such as the JBJ Nano Cube & Red Sea Max are creating a new need for small aquarium chillers (aka nano chillers and aquarium micro chillers). We carry a number of 1/15 & 1/10HP chillers for smaller tanks.

Alternatives To Aquarium Chillers
Air movement and ventilation can significantly reduce the temperature of a tank. Blowing air across the water surface, or across the lights, or blowing air out through a vent in the hood or canopy can be easily done with a canopy fan. Cutting back lighting hours in the summer will also help.

How Do Chillers Work?
An aquarium chiller operates on the same principles as a refrigerator or air conditioner. Refrigeration gas, such as Freon, is compressed and run through a condenser. The condenser is a heat exchanger which removes heat from the hot compressed gas and allows it to condense into a liquid. The liquid refrigerant is then sent through an expansion valve, or capillary tube, where the pressure drops--which lowers the boiling point and makes it easy to evaporate. The refrigerant then goes through an evaporator where it can absorb heat. Tank water is pumped into a chamber around the evaporator allowing heat from the water to be transferred to the refrigerant. The loop is completed when the refrigerant goes into the compressor and back through the condenser where the heat is then transferred to the room air. Please note that the heat is simply transferred from the tank to the air so it is important to provide good ventilation for the chiller to operate properly.