Are Aquarium Chillers Loud? (How To Reduce Their Noise?)

Image of a fish tank with a quite aquarium chiller

Aquarium chillers aren’t too loud, but they make some noise as the fan moves the air through the cooling elements. However, factors like continuous usage, wrong placement, and inadequate maintenance make them loud. Moreover, poorly designed units or incorrect installations create vibrations.

Let’s now understand why aquarium chillers get loud.

When Do Aquarium Chillers Get Loud?

An aquarium chiller can get pretty noisy. The aquarium chiller fan and the compressor are the ones that create a lot of noise.

A quiet system is the one from which you don’t hear any sound from these components.

If your aquarium has a loud chiller, something may be wrong with it or its installation.

Given below are the main components of an aquarium chiller that contribute the most to make it noisy:

1. Fan

The sound coming from the fan is primarily caused by airstream turbulence and mechanical components.

Let’s look at each of them to find out how they contribute to increasing the noise levels.

  1. Airstream Turbulence: It means airflow through an opening of a specific size. If the airflow speed increases beyond a certain point, we get turbulent airflow which causes high-frequency pressure fluctuations. These pressure fluctuations create sounds at higher frequencies than those created by smooth laminar flows. This phenomenon is called “airflow instability.”
  2. Mechanical Components: There are many parts inside the fan assembly like blades, bearings, etc. All these parts have their resonant frequency. When these parts vibrate together, they generate acoustic energy.

2. Compressor

The sound coming from the compressor is attributed to friction, compressor type, and the unit’s location.

Let’s understand how each one of them contributes to increasing the noise levels.

  1. Friction: When moving parts within the compressor hit or rub against each other, they create friction. Constant hitting or sliding of metal against another metal will create noise. Additionally, the more the moving parts, the louder the noise from the compressor.
  2. Type of compressor: Gas-powered compressors make more noise than electric compressors, as they have more moving parts inside and create more combustion than electric compressors.
  3. Location: Large empty rooms amplify noise because of the echo that gets created. A smooth concrete floor also amplifies the noise.

Besides the above reasons, low-quality compressors and poorly designed units result in increased noise levels.

Let’s now understand if the noise coming from an aquarium chiller affects your aquatic pets.

Can An Aquarium Chiller’s Noise Affect The Tank Inhabitants?

Sound is a wave created through vibrations.

Did you know that sound waves travel 4.3 times faster in water than air?

Moreover, when sound travels through water, the particles carry the sound waves better than in the air.

In the air, sound becomes weak as it travels farther from the source.

Given below are some of the critical factors that determine if the tank inhabitants will get affected by the aquarium chiller noise:

  • Tank size: The tank size determines how much noise generated at the surface travels through the water. Sound waves are widely amplified near the water surface than at the bottom. In other words, fish can detect sound better in shallow water than in deep water.
  • Intensity of the sound: Sound intensity depends upon two things; first is the amplitude, second is the duration of the signal. Amplitude determines how much power is being transmitted, while duration refers to the length of time the sound is present. The longer the duration, the greater the impact on the fish. For example, a continuous blast of music may cause discomfort to the fish, but a short burst of music might barely affect them. You may observe that in case of longer noise duration, the fish will seek refuge at the bottom of the aquarium.
  • Size of the fish: Fish size also matters. Small fish may get scared of loud noise and seek refuge at the bottom of the tank or hide behind aquatic plants. On the other hand, large fish may completely ignore the noise and continue swimming around the aquarium.
  • Water temperature: Sound travels faster in warm water than in cold water. If a molecule’s temperature increases, it creates a better medium for the sound to travel through water. So, an aquarium with cold water will reduce the speed of sound waves more than warm water.
  • Distance from the source: If the aquarium chiller is near the aquarium, the distance for the sound wave to reach the water is less. On the contrary, the farther the aquarium chiller is from the fish tank, the lesser impact its noise will have on the aquatic inhabitants.

Alright! Let’s now also understand whether the water flowing inside the aquarium chiller creates loud noise or not.

Does The Water Flow In An Aquarium Chiller Create Loud Noise?

An aquarium chiller is used to cool the water inside the aquarium.

The process is simple; aquarium water is pumped into the aquarium chiller for heat exchange, and then the cooled-down water is added to the aquarium.

It’s unlikely that the water flow will create loud noise in the aquarium chiller to unsettle or stress the aquarium inhabitants.

However, if the water flow is fast, it will reduce the efficiency of the heat exchange process.

Therefore, the fan, compressor, and other components of the aquarium chiller will have to work harder to lower the temperature.

A stressed aquarium chiller will undergo faster wear and tear, resulting in higher noise levels.

So, setting the recommended flow rate is necessary to allow the water plenty of contact time with the heat exchanger to improve the heat removal process.

That’s why you must ensure the water flow rate is neither too fast nor too slow.

Let’s now also understand how to reduce the noise of an aquarium chiller.

How To Reduce The Noise Of An Aquarium Chiller?

There are few ways to control an aquarium chiller’s noise, like installing quieter components, but you will have to spend more on this.

However, by making a few changes to its location and performing regular maintenance, you can also reduce the noise levels.

Given below are some tips to minimize the noise created by an aquarium chiller:

  1. Use a slightly oversized aquarium chiller. It will ensure that the required temperature is maintained faster, and the aquarium chiller doesn’t have to work continuously.
  2. Use a silent pump as a noisy pump will increase the noise produced by the aquarium chiller. Also, install a quieter motor to decrease the noise generated by the aquarium chiller.
  3. Make sure the screws are correctly holding the aquarium chiller housing to its base. It will help eliminate any vibrations that cause noise.
  4. Keep the aquarium chiller away from the walls to reduce vibrations and noise.
  5. Place the aquarium chiller on a soft surface, as hard surfaces such as concrete flooring or tiles will make them vibrate quickly. This will result in loud noise.
  6. Ensure the aquarium chiller has sufficient ventilation to dissipate excess heat and moisture. Excess humidity increases corrosion rates, shortens the life span of metal parts, and creates friction between them.
  7. Clean the aquarium chiller regularly to remove dirt particles, debris, and algae buildup that can clog up the filters and other components.
  8. Turn off the aquarium chiller when not needed. It will save electricity and reduce noise levels. Use a temperature controller to turn off the aquarium chiller once the pre-determined temperature is maintained. It will also improve the efficiency of your aquarium chiller.

By following the above tips, you can improve the performance of the aquarium chiller and reduce its noise levels.


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