One more time...

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by Jim123, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    Feb 9, 2013
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    I have been trying, off and on, for several years to get a reef tank going.
    This time for sure!

    Here is my plan:

    200gal, soft coral, light fish load.
    I want to get this up and running with help from BAR.
    I will come to the meetings.

    I have two questions for now:
    I am planning my setup and working through different issues.

    Tank temperature:
    This is a show stopper if I can't find a reasonable way to maintain the temperature.

    1) Winter temperature:
    From what I have read 82F seems a good reef temperature.
    My house has a open plan and I can't close off the tank in a separate room.
    Say I keep the house at minimum 68F.
    How many watts of aquarium heater do you think I need to keep a constant temp in the winter?
    I plan to insulate the tank on the back and one end.
    The stand will insulate the tank on the bottom.
    I have LED lighting and a efficient sump return pump.
    Assume that these do not contribute to tank heating.
    What is peoples experience with this?

    2) What do I do about the summer?
    I don't have air-conditioning.
    Do I need a chiller? How large?
    Again assume lighting and pumps don't contribute to heating.
    Can I do this?
    Can I afford this?
    Do other people have this situation?
    What do other people do?

    I greatly appreciate any help and feedback.

  2. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
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    Hi Jim,

    I run my tank in my garage haha so cold in winter & hot in the summer. Though I don't advise it but I run my tank at 74-75 degrees in the winter & 78-80 in the summer, if your home is heated to 65 degrees I would say that two 200 watt heaters should do the job just fine.

    As far as cooling goes I don't use a chiller even on 90+ degree days my temps stay at 80 with the use of 4 ball bearing fans mounted on the sump BUT my tank is much smaller than yours. I imagine a decent chiller could easily do the job for you and if one doesn't keep up fans are more impressive than one would think. Of course your evap goes way up when using fans.
    wpeterson likes this.
  3. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2015
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    I too have my tank in my garage but it's only a 40g aio. I have 2 150w heaters and they keep it a constant 77-78. In summer the tank is cooked by a fan blowing across the water. All controlled by Apex.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    Jun 15, 2008
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    I think 82 is higher than most people run their tanks. I recently decided to start running at 80 but I previously always keep it at 78.

    If you do end up needing cooling, fans pointed at the water surface are quite effective and way less expensive than a chiller.
  5. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2008
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    Hey Jim
    I have a 300 with leathers and fish going on 9 years
    If you make the journey, I can show you how
    Simplicity is key
    wpeterson and Kmooresf like this.
  6. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    Apr 10, 2014
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    I agree with kensington.

    I like to try and keep my tank at 80 in the winter but my 200watt+150watt heaters barely keep my tank at 78, which is fine.

    Personally I think the ideal reef tank temperature should be 78-80. That's just my opinion. I know people who run tanks colder and hotter, outside that range. But 78-80 seems to be the most common.

    Temperature should not be a big deal. You can beat it. Just need the right amount of wattage for heating in the Winter. And need the appropriate cooling in the Summer. We're lucky in the bay area, it doesn't get too hot and if its a heat wave it doesn't last more than a few days.

    My tank has been able to survive two summers with just fans pointed at my tank even on 96 degree weather days, keeping the tank temperature at 78.

    I have no personal experience with huge tanks like your 200 gallon but I imagine a chiller would be best in summer.
  7. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2010
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    I have a 300G tank system (remember to include sump), insulated very well, acrylic.
    A single 300W heater usually does the trick. But I have an extra one for redundancy.
    I run 78 deg.

    For the summer, I use a simple 120mm computer fan blowing across the water,
    connected to the controller for a "chiller." Works for me, but I am near the bay.
    Worst case, you may have to get a chiller. Used ones are not horribly expensive.

    But : "Can I afford this?"
    Only you can answer. Make a budget.
    Up front expense like tank, etc are easy to calculate.
    Largest ongoing expense will usually be electricity, by far.
    I am pretty energy conscious (LEDs, DC pumps, etc), and I figure it costs me $80 a month or so.
    Heating is by far the largest power use.
    Someday I will get a gas heater....
    Enderturtle likes this.
  8. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Mar 26, 2010
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    Buy a big heater and run it in a controller that can run it r cooling fans based on needs. Fans work well as long as you have an auto top off.
    I run my 225 at 76 degrees. I have an 800 watt heater on a reef keeper lite.
  9. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Oct 15, 2014
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    I would advise changing your target temperature range as others have suggested. I target 78 in the winter and 77 in the summer. On hot days, I use thermostat controlled fans to keep the tank at 80 or below by evaporative cooling (one on display and one in sump). We run a window A/C on hot days when it's over 80 in the house.

    The biggest factor in heater sizing is how much temperature delta you keep above the ambient room temp. In the winter, 68 ambient and 82 in the tank will be tough to maintain. A rough calculator says ~ 600 watts to maintain and ~1200 watts needed to initially raise from 68 to 82.

    However, if you can target 78 in the winter you'll only need ~400 watts to maintain and ~800 from a cold start. That seems more manageable.

    I derived these estimates from Hamza's reef heating/cooling calculator, it may help you ballpark your needs:

    In general, it's often easier to heat/cool the room around the tank. Barring that, you may have an easier time allowing the tank to get s bit cooler in the winter and hotter in the summer as long as you have a good plan.
  10. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
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    haha I feel great about my guesstimate of 2x200w heaters, nailed it
    Coral reefer and wpeterson like this.

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