Controlling heat and humidity of a 1000 gallon aquarium?

malfist

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 23, 2018
Messages
105
Reaction score
60
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
How is everyone controlling the heat and humidity of their aquarium rooms?

We're in our process of building a home and we're planning on putting in a 1000+ gallon aquarium in our basement. The aquarium itself will sit into a wall and behind it will be an unfinished maintenance room for the aquarium.

The question we have from our builders is what's the best way to manage heat and humidity in this room. Google isn't much help because this is pretty far outside the beaten path for standard questions. We live in kentucky and humidity during the summers is commonly over 80%.

This is the plan for the basement:

lOdyiiD.png


We'd like to avoid a chiller for the aquarium and instead use evaporation to cool the aquarium. We've currently got a 320 gallon and that's what we do for it. Fully automated ATO with an RO refilling it.


We had three thoughts on how to manage the humidity and heat, but we are far from the experts and would love input from you guys.

First idea: Vent in aquarium room
If we put an exhaust fan in the aquarium room, we can run the fan whenever the temperature or humidity reaches problematic levels in the room. This should create negative pressure and pull conditioned air from the rest of the house to both cool and dehumidify the room. As long as the house's humidity and temp is below a problematic level (it will be), this should work.

Second idea: Vent in aquarium room, ERV in house
Building on the previous idea, vent in the aquarium room to remove hot, humid air and pull cooler, drier air from the house. To save on HVAC costs, an ERV could be used inside the home to keep us from losing all the conditioning that went into the air that's getting sucked into (not out of) the aquarium room.

Third idea: ERV or HRV in aquarium room
If we put an ERV or an HRV in the aquarium room, we could ventilate the room with fresh air from the outside without sucking conditioned air from the house into the aquarium. However, my knowledge of ERV's and HRV's are extremely limited. Would one of these allow us year round humidity control? We wouldn't want to pull outside air into the room during the summer without dehumidifying and cooling it, or at the very least, dehumidifying it. One benefit of this route is easy pH control through fresh air for the skimmer.

Would love thoughts, suggestions and ideas
 
AquaCave Logo Banner

blaxsun

10K Club member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 15, 2020
Messages
16,248
Reaction score
19,089
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
The Abyss
I have an HRV in our home plus a dehumidifier that I run in the fish room. Humidify climbs to around 42 in the summer without the dehumidifier and about 36 in the winter without the dehumidifier. This is for a 200-gallon system (so a fraction of what you're proposing).

I like your third option the best. I'm not sure if it's possible, but I'd almost be inclined to run a separate HRV in the aquarium room and keep it separate from the rest of the house. You may be able to configure your HVAC to have the fish room setup as a separate zone so you can regulate the overall temperature and humidity, and then have the HVAC run separately on either a timer of manually via a wall switch.
 

AlexG

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
Messages
2,082
Reaction score
4,707
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Illinois
Here is the methods I have used for humidity control successfully. I set my humidity level to 45% in my fish room and normally maintain that easily in my 2100 gallon fishroom.

Best to keep it simple when thinking about humidity control. The methods to keep proper humidity levels maintained will range in complexity depending on the aquarium system water volume, climate, and structure. I find that minimize, contain, mitigate is an easy way to think about humidity control. With several years of experience operating large aquarium systems 1000+ gallons in a home it has proven to be effective in maintaining proper humidity levels.

Minimize - Tank covers over sumps or tanks without reef lighting. Especially important with tanks overflow drain lines discharging and tanks with skimmer discharges as the cover will prevent salt spray from entering the room. This will also allow evaporation to condense inside the sump tank and re-enter the aquarium. (Covered tanks with reef lighting just account for PAR loss through the cover if you need one)

Contain - Tank tops complete this function but on larger scale systems containing humidity generated from evaporation becomes necessary. My preference is to contain humidity with a canopy and/or room. Moisture barriers on unprotected surfaces to prevent moisture from absorbing into the home. I am also prefer to utilize negative air pressure to keep the humidity contained into protected areas.

Mitigation - I have utilized a couple of different methods to mitigate. Exhaust fans with humidistats that run at a lower CFM as not to reverse air flow on a chimney help mitigate the humidity by venting it outside. De-humidifier once again can be utilized to mitigate the air directly and condense the moisture removed to a drain line. De-humidifiers must be properly scaled to perform properly. Both exhaust fans and dehumidifiers can be utilized to generate a slight negative air pressure for a fish room that is designed to contain humidity. The idea here is that most of the air in the fish room must go through mitigation before exiting the fish room with humidity containment.

With my current fish room setup (~2100 gallons) I have covers on all the sumps, canopies over the uncovered tanks, plastic on the ceiling for a moisture barrier, and a whole house de-humidifier ducted to pull air from the tanks with canopies and from the room to keep humidity levels in check. Eventually when my new display goes online that canopy and the entire fish room will also utilize negative air pressure as an additional containment step. I am also planning to add an HRV which is more for CO2 reduction but will also mitigate some humidity.
 
World Wide Corals

djf91

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
387
Reaction score
280
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
For my 500 gallon display + 200 gallons of sump I use an hvac unit that is vented out the window. Tank is in wall with dedicated fish room closed off from rest of house. Luckily there is a window in the room. I have a 12,000 btu mobile hvac unit (dual hose) that exhaust condensate out the window and pulls fresh air in as well. You want to go dedicated A/C unit over just getting a dehumidifier or exhaust fan.

C658F5AF-E0EA-46FD-A740-2B311A061304.png
 

Is there such a thing as an "easy" acro?

  • YES (tell us about it in the thread)

    Votes: 99 44.2%
  • NO

    Votes: 50 22.3%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 72 32.1%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 3 1.3%
Aqua SD
Top