HOW TO: DIY Aquarium chiller TUTORIAL
Hi everybody, joey here again and welcome
back. So today, I’m going to show you how to build
an aquarium chiller. some hobbyists live in areas where it might
get very hot in certain months. Cooling their aquarium water on a constant basis is something
they might need to consider. In today’s video, I’m going to show you how
to build a chiller that you can do at home that will not only work well, but look good,
be functional and be cost effective. I wanted to keep this project under $100 and
be universal for any aquarium. As with all my videos, I also needed to create a project
that many people would actually be able to do. So simplicity is always key. Smaller chillers start around $500 for a chiller
rated for aaround 50 gallons. This project will only cost around $100 for
the same size tank, and use less power. More so, this project will serve to inspire
you with a simple idea. So let’s get started. I started off with buying a mini fridge second
hand. I built the chiller out of one of these as they are commonly available, cheap, and
easy to work with and look pretty good. Since I bought mine second hand, I only paid
$30 for it. Even new, they are only $100. You will be able to find many mini fridges
on crags list, kijiji or other similar sites for around the same price or even less. I started by removing everything out of the
fridge. I removed the grating, and all small doors inside. Most mini fridges will have
a small “freezer” inside. Removing the door from it will allow for more circulation of
the cold air. DO NOT freezer tray as this is what actually produces the cold air. With the fridge now emptied out, I got some
garden hose. I used garden hose as it is rigid and cheap.
It also has excellent insulation properties compared to other types of hoses. You can
use whatever you find is cheapest. BUT you will need a lot of it. If using garden hose,
running some water through it for a few minutes will insure there is no dust or anything else
in the hose making it more safe to use. I got two 50 foot hoses for $15 total. I just
picked up the cheapest ones I could find and they were on sale.
You will want to Test fit the hose in the fridge first, to make sure it fits. Again,
the more hose you have the better. I would start with at least 100 feet… If using garden
hose, don’t bother unraveling it. It is better just to leave it alone and not cause any kinks.
Plus, it’s already nicely coiled for you. Now prepare the hose. Start by cutting off
one end of each hose. Cut off opposite connectors. We need to still be able to connect the hoses
in the middle. If you only have one long hose, you can simply cut off both ends. Then connect the two hoses in the middle. Using your spade drill, drill the holes where
you want the hose to enter and exit. Location doesn’t matter as long as you don’t go through
the back or top of the fridge. This will general be harder to work around and more risk of
hitting something you don’t want to hit! The spade should be slightly small then the diameter
of the hose, as this will insure a tight fit and allow the hose to form a seal with the
fridge. Slide the hoses through the holes.
If you notice it is a loose fit, fill free to silicone them in place.
You can even use some expanding foam to help insulate that area. While not needed, and
will drive over all costs up, the benefits of it are slightly better than silicone. Notice the thermostat is still intact and
the “freezer” is still fully functional. It is only now ventilated and the colder air
can freely pass through the whole fridge. Turn the fridge on, and let it run on its
own for at least 24 hours with the temperature set to the coolest temperature… This will
get the fridge ready for use. Now before we talk about connecting it to
your aquarium, let’s first talk about how this works. Water will be pumped into the fridge through
the hose and back out to the tank. Water is cooled because of the time it spends
in the fridge. The more hose you have in the fridge, the longer the water will be in contact
with the cool hose and the cooler the output of the water will be. To control temperature, changes must be monitored
over time, until you get the right temperature of the tank. By simply turning down the flow
of the pump, you cool the water. Turning it up, warms the water.
You might also find playing around with the thermostat useful as well. This style cooler
will be good for tanks up to 50 gallons. However, that will also depend on just how cool you
need your water to be. This might work on larger setups. So how do you connect this to your aquarium? Well, this is where YOU get creative. Every
aquarium is unique. You might not want a pump inside your aquarium, so you decide to plumb
the pump “inline” outside of the tank and simply make a couple of PVC intake and output
for the chiller. Maybe you don’t mind an extra pump in the
tank and you just run a pump down to the chiller and the output hose back up to the tank.
Ultimately, this is easiest and cheapest if you are running it to a sump. This way you
only need to use a cheap and low powered power head or small pump.
What I also like to do is on the output hose, I connect a ball valve so I can control the
flow a little easier. This is basically a must to be able to control the temperature
more precisely. The thermostat in the fridge will help with that as well. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed this project
and it gave you a few ideas to use on your own. I also want to thank you guys for watching
and we’ll see you next time.