Chillers and Best of the Best for the Price

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Uriken

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Hello my fellow Reefers!
I been in the hobby for almost 26 years in a couple days and have flushed many of wallets of money down the toilet buying equipment that just wasn't what it was advertised as and being a quality product. I know with saltwater you cant expect even some of the best equipment to last more than a few years. I'm finding that I need a chiller at my recent living space for my aquarium. Its the one piece of equipment I never have purchased over the years. I had an issue this past weekend here in Northeast Ohio where we went from 45 degree days into a weekend that was 84 to 86. Enough to take my reef tank from 77 degrees to 83 degrees quickly. I ran my apartment AC Unit for a bit to pull it back down but because of the tank location in the farthest room the AC was freezing out the main living room while the air getting into the tank location wasn't quite doing much. And the room that the tank is in I cant add an AC due to the window design. Thus now thinking about seriously buying a chiller. Many brands I have already looked at online. Most look to be made in the far east and a "few" were American made. Regardless, a piece of equipment running 500+ bucks I would want something to last and work. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Also, being the type of guy that is mechanically inclined, I also thought about buying a mini fridge with a freezer. Possibly get some copper 1/2 inch line and place a 5 to 6 foot coil inside and just add hose connections drilling through the wall of the fridge to pump water through it. I quickly priced a self build around 300 to 350 complete. But I think I want to try the chiller first depending on feedback.
Any suggestions from those of you that have chillers I would appreciate it.
Happy Reefing.
 
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homer1475

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Never used a chiller, never had a need living in the norther most part of NY.

Just reading through your OP, if you do go the DIY route, do not use copper pipes. Copper will leach out of the pipe and kill your reef.
 
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Uriken

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Homer 1475. Good point on the Copper! Should have thought about it more as I know better at this point. Ohio weather is so crazy how from one day to the next we can have 45 degree changes depending on which direction the wind is coming. I'm thinking the DIY Build may be the route. I just have thousands of dollars in my reef that water temps shooting up to 83 degree levels can damage and need to do something before the next temp swing.
 

DeniableArc

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Hello my fellow Reefers!
I been in the hobby for almost 26 years in a couple days and have flushed many of wallets of money down the toilet buying equipment that just wasn't what it was advertised as and being a quality product. I know with saltwater you cant expect even some of the best equipment to last more than a few years. I'm finding that I need a chiller at my recent living space for my aquarium. Its the one piece of equipment I never have purchased over the years. I had an issue this past weekend here in Northeast Ohio where we went from 45 degree days into a weekend that was 84 to 86. Enough to take my reef tank from 77 degrees to 83 degrees quickly. I ran my apartment AC Unit for a bit to pull it back down but because of the tank location in the farthest room the AC was freezing out the main living room while the air getting into the tank location wasn't quite doing much. And the room that the tank is in I cant add an AC due to the window design. Thus now thinking about seriously buying a chiller. Many brands I have already looked at online. Most look to be made in the far east and a "few" were American made. Regardless, a piece of equipment running 500+ bucks I would want something to last and work. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Also, being the type of guy that is mechanically inclined, I also thought about buying a mini fridge with a freezer. Possibly get some copper 1/2 inch line and place a 5 to 6 foot coil inside and just add hose connections drilling through the wall of the fridge to pump water through it. I quickly priced a self build around 300 to 350 complete. But I think I want to try the chiller first depending on feedback.
Any suggestions from those of you that have chillers I would appreciate it.
Happy Reefing.
I went with a teco tk series chiller. They are not the cheapest but very reliable and my model has a inline heater built in so I set it and hot or cold it does it’s job.
 

homer1475

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Do a search on here. Seen a few DIY chiller options that actually work.

Out of curiosity, have you tried just a small desk type fan blowing across the top of the tank? Evap will raise obviously, but evaporation can lower tank temps by as much as 10 degrees depending on how humid the air is.

I do in the summer have some issues with heat(we see temps like you do at times), and a simple clamp on fan blowing across the top of my tank can lower my temps from 83 down to 78 without a problem.

They do make aquarium specific clamp on fans, but they are pricey(looking at you GHL). I went the cheap walmart clamp on fan.

Might be something you want to try before committing to an expensive chiller.
 
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gbroadbridge

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Hello my fellow Reefers!
I been in the hobby for almost 26 years in a couple days and have flushed many of wallets of money down the toilet buying equipment that just wasn't what it was advertised as and being a quality product. I know with saltwater you cant expect even some of the best equipment to last more than a few years. I'm finding that I need a chiller at my recent living space for my aquarium. Its the one piece of equipment I never have purchased over the years. I had an issue this past weekend here in Northeast Ohio where we went from 45 degree days into a weekend that was 84 to 86. Enough to take my reef tank from 77 degrees to 83 degrees quickly. I ran my apartment AC Unit for a bit to pull it back down but because of the tank location in the farthest room the AC was freezing out the main living room while the air getting into the tank location wasn't quite doing much. And the room that the tank is in I cant add an AC due to the window design. Thus now thinking about seriously buying a chiller. Many brands I have already looked at online. Most look to be made in the far east and a "few" were American made. Regardless, a piece of equipment running 500+ bucks I would want something to last and work. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Also, being the type of guy that is mechanically inclined, I also thought about buying a mini fridge with a freezer. Possibly get some copper 1/2 inch line and place a 5 to 6 foot coil inside and just add hose connections drilling through the wall of the fridge to pump water through it. I quickly priced a self build around 300 to 350 complete. But I think I want to try the chiller first depending on feedback.
Any suggestions from those of you that have chillers I would appreciate it.
Happy Reefing.
Get's to over 100 here in summer and i just have fans blowing over the top of the tank.

Chillers need to sit outside to vent the heat they pump out of the tank, too much effort for me.
 

SPS2020

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I have two JBJ and one AquaLogic Delta Star. The AquaLogic is by far a more robust chiller, but requires an external controller such as Ranco. The JBJ is more of a plug and play with a built in controller. I have also heard that the JBJ cannot be repaired, whereas the AquaLogic can be.
 

dking271

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I have an AIO nano tank that runs hot. I’ve replaced all the different submerged pumps at various times to try and solve the heat issue to no avail. We keep the house 75 degrees during periods where the AC is running and the tank would get up to 83 degrees. I finally put a JBJ chiller on it paired with an Inkbird controller. During the summer the chiller comes on about every 2 hours for 15 min and the temps stay between 78 and 79.
 
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Uriken

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Do a search on here. Seen a few DIY chiller options that actually work.

Out of curiosity, have you tried just a small desk type fan blowing across the top of the tank? Evap will raise obviously, but evaporation can lower tank temps by as much as 10 degrees depending on how humid the air is.

I do in the summer have some issues with heat(we see temps like you do at times), and a simple clamp on fan blowing across the top of my tank can lower my temps from 83 down to 78 without a problem.

They do make aquarium specific clamp on fans, but they are pricey(looking at you GHL). I went the cheap walmart clamp on fan.

Might be something you want to try before committing to an expensive chiller.
I did have a large fan that I positioned on some crates to get some air across the surface. It helped by a degree or 2 yet one other issue is there is an older lady living below me that even on 80 degree days she has her heat cranked up and above me is a flat rubber roof exposed directly to the sun with no shade.. So with poor design and insulation her heat rises and makes my place even worse with the outside temps. Winters my life at home is comfy but summers not so much. I saw some of the new aquarium surface fans but they are designed to fit rimless tanks. Mine has the old school plastic rim. I'll take a look at some of the builds and see what may be the best long term option to work as I don't see me moving anytime soon in the coming years.
Thanks for the feedback.
 
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costaricareef

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Hi. I have two Artica 1/10 hp chillers (JBJ). One of them is from a previous tank and after two years of use, was stored for almost 10 years. It is now pulling daily duty for my 80gal reef for over 15 months straight without issue. Just need to clean the grate every 6 months. Very reliable and the thermostat barely shifts with time. The temp calibration every 6 months is of less than 0.2 degrees in my case. The other one is new and I bought it for a 140 gal system that I set up two months ago. Both bring the temp down from 80 to 78.8 in about 75-85 minutes, and I have about 200gph flowing through them. Make sure to leave at least a foot clear in the front and the back and do not put inside a cabinet, unless very ventilated. I also have a fan that helps the chillers bring the temp down faster and as a failsafe in case a chiller would stop working. Fans do more than you would think, they really help and are cheaper. Evaporation increases a bit with the fans. Hope this helps
 
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Uriken

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Peltier Junction Coolers are 10 bucks on Amazon and a 12v power supply that is 6 amp to power it is about 20 bucks. The cooling side of the heat sink I saw sitting on a small hang on filter (partially submerged) without the lid on acts the same as a chiller. I think I'm going to see if my Inkbird can help turn this thing on and off to regulate temp and then go that route.
 

14 foot reef

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What size is your tank, what size is your sump, what is your turnover rate? All of these questions will need answers before we can determine what brand and size you should go with.
I run a chiller and have for about 6 years now, one of the best moves I ever made was adding my 2 hp Tradewinds Chiller to my 850 gallon system.
 

ReeferBud

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I second Tradewinds chillers. These are much closer to commercial grade quality than most of the cheaper hobby grade chillers you’ll find sold at most retailers.

my 1/2 hp tradewinds chiller has been running for over 10 years on my 400 gal
 
BRS

Did you start off in the reef hobby buying used equipment? Do you still use pre-owned equipment? (Choose all that apply)

  • Yes, I did start off with some used equipment. It made getting everything going easier!

    Votes: 136 40.2%
  • Yes, I did start off with some used equipment, but it was a mistake I won't make again.

    Votes: 17 5.0%
  • I still buy used equipment! It's a helpful way to save money in this hobby!

    Votes: 105 31.1%
  • Nope! Everything I used to get started was new! And I'm glad I started with all new stuff!

    Votes: 82 24.3%
  • Nope! Everything I used to get started was new! But, I should've looked around for used options!

    Votes: 34 10.1%
  • I still only buy new equipment! Lots of problems avoided that way!

    Votes: 44 13.0%
  • Other... (Post in the thread)

    Votes: 13 3.8%
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