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Old 01/02/2018, 06:54 PM   #1
mrsixstrings12
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Having trouble keeping my tank warm with this weather

Hey everybody. I just came back from a week long vacation to happily see that my few tank inhabitants survived without my help. While I was away, the ambient temperature outside PLUMMETED (like most of the states it seems) and I noticed my tank is down to 76F. I have a basement sump but my plumbing runs across the ceiling of my unheated, unfinished garage. Before I left, I wrapped my smaller return pipes in foam insulation and my big pipe, form my pump, in that metallic bubble wrap type insulation. I have also upgraded both of my heaters to the next size up. The only other things I can think of doing is wrapping the few unions and elbows in the garage with insulation and re-installing my old heaters along with the new ones for the time being, until it warms up.

Anyone have any other ideas or tricks to beat this cold spell???

P.S. My only tank inhabitants are 2 oscellaris clowns, an aster snail, 1 blue legged hermit, and a nassarius snail. They all seem fine even with the slight drop in temperature.


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Old 01/02/2018, 07:23 PM   #2
nereefpat
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76 isn't a serious situation.

The insulation was a good idea. I would just plug in another heater, especially if you have a spare anyway. See if that can bump it up to 77-78.


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Old 01/02/2018, 09:49 PM   #3
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For my tank 76 is where my heater kicks on. I let it warm to 77 before the heater kicks off. My fans kick on at 79 and second stage fans at 80 (they are louder).

76 to 80 seems to be a large temperature swing, but normally speaking the house is either cold or hot, so normally it swings from 76-78 or 78-81 tops.

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Old 01/02/2018, 10:01 PM   #4
outy
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76 is fine, this time of year mine is between 74 and 79 daily-weekly swings


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Old 01/03/2018, 03:40 AM   #5
homer1475
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While 76 is fine, I would throw a heater in the DT if it worried me that much.


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Old 01/03/2018, 04:34 AM   #6
alton
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I figure if my Bluespot Jawfish has to live with 77 here in the summer sometimes, my clownfish can handle 74 as a low in the winter before the heater comes on. My tank averages 75 to 76.


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Old 01/03/2018, 07:30 AM   #7
RobZilla04
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You can try throwing a towel or blanket over the top but you'll have to monitor pH.

Also wouldn't worry till 70-72 imo.


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Old 01/03/2018, 09:01 AM   #8
jjencek
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Do you still have any cooling/evaporation fans going? You can turn those off.


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Old 01/03/2018, 09:22 AM   #9
tkeracer619
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I would insulate those pipes. Garages can get hot in the summer and the problem could be the opposite come summertime. Other than that 76 isn't bad, but you are burning some electricity if the heaters have to stay on to keep it that temp.


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Old 01/03/2018, 09:46 AM   #10
mrsixstrings12
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No cooling fans on my setup.

Maybe I will wrap my pipes in another layer of insulation just to try and help the heaters out.

Thanks everyone!


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Old 01/03/2018, 02:47 PM   #11
BigDave
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If the heaters are in the sump, then it sounds like you're getting a temperature loss through the pipes to the display. Bump up the temp that your heaters are set to to offset the temperature loss. Just be aware that when the house warms up, you'll now be warming the tank to that higher temp.

Alternatively, you could just let it go. As mentioned, 76 isn't that big of a dip.


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Old 01/03/2018, 03:18 PM   #12
Bono
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Is your sump on the basement floor? Cold concrete will suck out the heat very fast.


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Old 01/03/2018, 03:47 PM   #13
mcgyvr
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2 solutions
1-decrease heat output (insulate, insulate then insulate again..insulate the pipes, insulate the non-viewable sided of sump and display.. add tops but ensure sufficient gas exchange)
2-Increase heat input

If the temperature of the basement and display area has remained stable then your pipe area is likely not sufficiently insulated..
Insulating whatever you can will be "better" than adding more heaters in the long run..


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Old 01/04/2018, 09:06 AM   #14
nemosworld
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I keep my tank at 74-75 degrees
the thing most people forget to do is to add a heater to the top off system, that's another source of temp swings.
another thing to do is have 2 heaters for your display, that way if one fails the other will still be working, I would say 2x 200 or 300 watt heaters on large displays up to 220 gals.


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Old 01/04/2018, 12:39 PM   #15
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I have an NPS pico that I keep at 72F and the neon goby does just fine. All my other tanks are at 74F. Maybe just keep your tank at the lower temp for the winter and don't worry about the 2 degrees. I would tend to agree that you will likely have the opposite issue during the summer.


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Old 01/05/2018, 02:04 PM   #16
NS Mike D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nemosworld View Post
I keep my tank at 74-75 degrees
the thing most people forget to do is to add a heater to the top off system, that's another source of temp swings.
another thing to do is have 2 heaters for your display, that way if one fails the other will still be working, I would say 2x 200 or 300 watt heaters on large displays up to 220 gals.
I do this and it's a easy solution. I would also recommend using a controlled on all heaters. Heaters are, as far a I know, the piece of equipment most likely to fail - either flailing to work or failing to shut off.

if you don't have any plans to add a controller system, consider a basic temperature controller like the WILLHI or an Inkbird, that will turn of the heater at a pre set high temp or sound an alarm at the low temp while leaving the heaters mechanism to regulate within your range.

My tank has been within one degree of my set temp (78) since going this route (2 heaters and a WILLHI) a few months ago giving me a good deal of piece of mind and creating a more stable temp environment .


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Old 01/06/2018, 04:20 AM   #17
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If you haven't already you could try wrapping the pipes in heat tape like people use on trailer plumbing to keep them from freezing. I've never worked with the stuff so not sure exactly how warm it gets or if it gets hot enough to melt pvc but maybe worth looking into. GL


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Old 01/06/2018, 06:11 AM   #18
oldhead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by top shelf View Post
If you haven't already you could try wrapping the pipes in heat tape like people use on trailer plumbing to keep them from freezing. I've never worked with the stuff so not sure exactly how warm it gets or if it gets hot enough to melt pvc but maybe worth looking into. GL
We use this on pvc drains in the attic for our high efficiency heaters. Just need an outlet to plug it in.


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Old 01/06/2018, 05:29 PM   #19
rjjr1963
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I thought about heat tape too. I don't know how hot it gets but it's always on. You could use a simple heater controller to cycle on and off as temps fluctuate.


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Old 01/13/2018, 05:47 PM   #20
mrsixstrings12
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Hey everyone, just wanted to update this thread for any future viewers. I managed to get my temp up by adding another heater. Once the outside temps came up , I was able to remove the extra heater and all is well.

Some info about my tank: 120g display, plumbed through the floor into an unfinished garage, the pipes then go across the garage and through a wall into a semi-finished basement area to the 40g sump. From the sump, the return T's to a 38g and follows the drain pipes back to the display. I use 2 200w heaters, controlled by an apex, and did not need a chiller over the summer. The extra heater I used for when it was extremely cold was a 150w heater. I do not heat my ATO (though I may consider it now). I plan on getting a thermometer for my display to see what the difference is in temperature compared to my sump.

Thanks for the help everybody!


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