Do Aquarium Chillers Heat The Aquarium Water? (How They Can)

Goldfish in an aquarium with aquarium chiller

An aquarium chiller reduces the temperature of the tank water. It removes the heat from the water and disposes of it in the air. But do aquarium chillers also heat the aquarium?

Aquarium chillers don’t heat the aquarium water. They are primarily designed to reduce the water temperature. However, the aquarium’s surroundings can impact their performance. If heat released by the aquarium chillers gets trapped due to poor ventilation, it can transfer back and heat the water.

The location of the aquarium chiller and poor ventilation can result in the heating of the aquarium water. So, let’s delve deeper to understand how aquarium chillers can heat the water due to poor ergonomics.

How Aquarium Chillers Can Sometimes Heat The Water

Aquarium chillers are used to lower the temperature of the water. They facilitate heat exchange from the water.

The waste heat moves out from the rear end of the unit and gets released into the atmosphere. However…

Aquarium chillers can heat the aquarium if they are not placed in the correct location. If the aquarium is poorly ventilated, then the heat emitted from the aquarium chillers might get trapped and end up heating the aquarium.

Given below are some other factors that can also contribute toward the heating of the aquarium:

  • Location of the aquarium: Water absorbs heat faster than air. So, if the fish tank is placed facing a window, it will absorb more light energy than if it’s in an area with no direct sunlight. This means the surrounding light may be enough to cause some amount of heating inside the aquarium.
  • Source of illumination: The fluorescent lights used for lighting the aquarium emit a lot of heat. And since most of them are placed above the aquarium, they tend to heat the entire aquarium. The use of LEDs can help reduce heat emissions.
  • Wavemaker and pumps: Most wavemakers and pumps generate heat while working and quickly transfer it to the water. This increases the water temperature during the hot season. Also, prolonged use can overheat the devices and emit excess heat. The absence of proper ventilation can lead to an increase in the temperature of the aquarium.

Since these external factors can increase the temperature of an aquarium, you should be mindful of the placement of the aquarium chiller and other devices.

So, let’s understand where you should place the aquarium chiller to avoid heat transfer.

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Where Should You Locate An Aquarium Chiller To Avoid Heating Aquarium Water?

Many aquarists overlook the importance of finding a proper location for their aquarium chiller.

However, all the devices, including the aquarium chiller, play a crucial role in supporting the aquarium and its ecosystem.

A wrong location can result in heat transfer that can be detrimental to aquatic pets and plants.

Given below are the main factors to consider for determining the location of an aquarium chiller.

1. Proper ventilation.

The aquarium chiller removes the tank’s heat and releases it into the air.

If the aquarium and aquarium chiller are located at a place without proper ventilation, the heat can get trapped and absorbed back into the aquarium.

If you keep the aquarium near a window, ensure that the ventilators drive out the warm air. Make sure that the vents are open all the time.

The best way to ensure good ventilation is by using a fan.

The fan circulates the air around the aquarium and prevents heat build-up.

2. Electrical connection.

You can use many devices to maintain the health of an aquarium.

However, if you use the same circuit to plug all the devices, ensure that you use a heavy-duty power strip with a flexible cable that plugs into an electrical receptacle to avoid overloads or melting.

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3. Aquarium equipment.

Good quality devices will maintain a proper environment inside the aquarium.

For example, if you have an aquarium chiller with better capacity, it will consume less energy than the one which draws a large amount of energy.

This will save you money by reducing energy consumption.

It will also avoid overheating of devices and subsequent heat transfers.

Let’s now see if it’s practical to use both aquarium chiller and heater in your tank.

Can You Use Both Aquarium Chiller And Heater In A Tank?

Both aquarium chillers and heaters are used to maintain the temperature inside the aquarium.

They have unique capabilities and should be picked up as per your requirement.

An aquarium chiller is used to cool down the water in an aquarium.

Besides regulating the temperature, the aquarium chiller also increases dissolved oxygen levels.

This reduces stress from rising temperatures and aids beneficial bacteria.

Similarly, a heater is used to raise the temperature of the water above ambient temperatures.

It helps the fish and aquatic plants to flourish.

Most tropical freshwater and marine aquariums need a heater to maintain the required range of temperatures. So…

When to use an aquarium chiller with a heater will depend on several things like:

  1. What kind of fish species do you want to keep?
  2. Does your room have provision for multiple circuits to avoid overload?
  3. Are you planning to install additional lighting fixtures?
  4. How much space is available to install them?

These questions will help you decide whether you need both the devices or manage with just one of them.

It’s a good practice to use separate devices instead of a combo.

It will provide you with the flexibility to switch off one of them when not in use, depending on the ambient temperature.

Interesting Further Reading:

Can You Use An Aquarium Chiller And Temperature Controller For A Stable Environment?

An aquarium temperature controller can provide a stable water temperature for maintaining the right balance in your aquarium.

It will keep both aquatic pets and coral healthy.

In most cases, fish and invertebrates can manage minor temperature fluctuations.

However, drastic changes in the temperature will cause stress to the inhabitants. This can lead to diseases and be fatal.

Installing a dual-stage controller will help regulate the heating and cooling devices.

The display unit shows the aquarium temperature and the pre-determined setting at the same time.

As aquarists, you must ensure not to overload the controller while using both the aquarium chiller and the heater at the same time.

However, with the help of a suitable temperature controller, you can easily create the perfect environment for your fish to thrive.


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