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Old 03-06-2011, 09:48 PM   #1
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Evaporation & Condensation Question

Hello, I'll sum this up as much as possible.

I own a 5g/20L freshwater tank with a filter, heater and lid. It houses one Betta fish, and the temp is constantly around 26C. Last week I walked into the room and discovered a pool of water coming out the front of the tank, I had lost a good inch of water. I guessed there was a leak, so I put towels around the tank. I woke up a few days ago and saw that another inch had gone, I opened up the lid and saw a LOT of water sticking, it was dripping everywhere. I ran my hand down the back and felt the wet, the water appeared to have been dripping down the back from the lid. The towel at the back was saturated. The lid was closed during the night. I live in Eastern Australia, nights at the moment won't go below 12C and days are in the 20C's.


My questions are:
How much water is a normal amount to be subject to evaporation?
Is a pool of water coming out the bottom front (under the glass) a good indication of a leak?
Could it be both evaporation and a leak?

My problem is that I don't want to go and buy a new tank and then just lose the same amount of water through evaporation...

Thank-you for reading,
Mark.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:02 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

There's a lot of factors that will weigh in on your evaporation. Is the room the tank is in temperature controlled? What does the temperature in the room do throughout the day? What does the Relative Humidity where you are look like? Hotter and dryer air will cause higher evaporation from your tank.

You shouldn't be collecting a pool of water, that seems really odd to me. It does sound to me like you do have a leak somewhere. Is the tank new? Can you return it and get a replacement tank?

Going to move this to the general hardware forum.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:17 PM   #3
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Ok well the tank is in my room, so the room temperature is not controlled at all. The window is open virtually all the time, most of the time a little bit rather then fully open. At night it stays open at about 3 inches. We're in Autumn at the moment, the day-to-day temperature really isn't that hot. Just doesn't make sense to me why all of a sudden there would be problems with evaporation when I've had the tank for about two months.

Yes there was a pool of water, at the front of the tank. I would honestly find it hard to believe that evaporation would do that. The tank is second-hand.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:24 PM   #4
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I'd add a new flat (glass) lid so the water has no way to run down the back.
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Wheatley View Post
I'd add a new flat (glass) lid so the water has no way to run down the back.
The only problem with that is I'd have to wreck my filter/light system because the light is bolted to the inside of the lid, and the filter sits on top of the water, it's not under-gravel. By the time I get a piece of glass cut to size and figure out a way for a new light - would it be worth it?
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:19 PM   #6
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My betta tanks get condensation on the lids, and I get a piece of a rag and stick it between the lid and the lip of the tank in the back, so the water runs down the front of the lid and then down into the tank. Not sure if this would solve your problems or not, but it's what I do.
Also, I keep my water about an inch down from the top of the tank so the filter flow doesn't push the betta around a bunch.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:36 AM   #7
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Well I started a method of problem-solving. I took the fish out and put him in one of those betta-tanks, took all the gravel out, refilled the tank and drew a line where the water sits. I also took out the heater. Within a few days I'll know if it's a leak. If nothing happens, I'll put the heater back in and run it like normal. If I lose water, then wa-lah, it's evaporation. Then I'll start on getting a glass lid.

I was trying to avoid wrecking his habitat but oh well, it's the only way to truly find out what's happening. Hopefully he'll survive.

Thanks for the tips by the way.
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:26 AM   #8
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It wouldn't by any chance be an aqua one tank would it?
Reason I ask is I've got 2 large tanks and the design flaws with the above water filtration dumping water down the back I scrapped those for internal filters on one and an external fluval for the other.
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:31 AM   #9
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You can buy a condensation lid made from plastic that you trim to size with scissors that's easier than glass and cheaper.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:19 AM   #10
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I've got a 5g Marineland acrylic tank that I have leak problems with on occasion. If I fill the tank too high, water wicks up between the side of the tank and the plastic frame at the top and runs down the outside of the tank. The water level is still a half-inch from the top of the tank when it does this.

If I did my math right, your days range between 80 and 110 degrees F. That could cause a lot of evaporation. When I was fishless cycling my 40B without a lid at 80 degrees F, I was losing about 5g a day to evaporation. A tight-fitting glass canopy cut the water loss down to almost nothing.

If your "leak" is really just condensation that's running across the lid and down the side of the tank, a simple piece of plastic or felt strip strategically placed will prevent the water from going out the back and direct it back into the tank.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:43 PM   #11
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i just got a 41g osaka set . its a cube-ish tank with open top, been thinking of starting my first saltwater. at the lfs the owner has his main display tank uncoverd. today i got a hagen glo t5 ho , i took off my old hoods(55g) and mounted the new 48" on the trim of the tank using the mounts. looks good, but now i have two tanks with no hoods covering them. i will see firsthand how much water i lose from one 55g coverd and my uncoverd 55g. when my 41g is set up, i am wondering if it will be noticebly more humid or wet in my house? we will see soon enough.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:35 PM   #12
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@Richard871: Hmmm no it's a generic brand, called AA. It's relatively unknown. Here in Aus. the tanks are sold as 'Blueplanet'. But I'll have a closer look at the filter as well.


Where can I get these condensation lids? Why does everyone say glass, does it work better then plastic? Should this piece of plastic or glass fit perfectly to the top of the tank OR should it be raised leaving gaps underneath?

The other development is that the betta cube the fish is in at the moment... Literally lost about a cm of water over-night. The normal tank also lost a tiny bit, and that's WITHOUT the 26C heater on 24/7.
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:36 AM   #13
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Mark,
The condensation lid I refer to is made by algarde it's a heavy duty clear plastic that you can trim to shape with a sturdy pair of scissors, you can trim them to make a snug fit but unless you work for NASA you won't get completely sealed. You wouldn't want to anyway.
The moulding of the tray has undulations (raised peaks and troughs) where the evaporate / condensation collects then when they are big enough drip back into the tank.
I've converted mine not long ago as the over tank filtration box and lid was not very good.
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:59 AM   #14
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Interesting. I think I've thought of a way to do it without having to get rid of the current lid entirely. I'm going to cut the pieces to fit around the filter, like puzzle pieces. There will be a few little holes but it would be silly to cut a piece that small. So then there will be: Water surface - inch of space - plastic lid - lots of space - plastic lid.
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:07 AM   #15
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You can use the tray underneath an existing lid they have a lip round the edge of the tray for that. Trim a little at a time, if it takes a while a tidy job is much better than a rushed half assed hatchet job.
I'm guilty of the latter in my early days.

(dont forget to cut a hole for feeding the little aquatic beasties)
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:39 AM   #16
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Sounds like a plan. Have you got yours just sitting on top or have you stuck it down in some way, with glue etc.
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:47 AM   #17
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Just resting on the top. There are gaps all round so air still circulates and holes for cables filter pipes feeding access etc. The point is to reduce evaporation. You'll not stop it completely nor would you want to the tray catches the majority as it evaporates straight up as heat rises stops on the tray collects then when it cools a little and collects drips back down again into the tank.
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:08 AM   #18
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Heres some pics of the condensation lid I just put on mine, I need to trim a little for a flush fit but it does the job for the time being.
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:03 AM   #19
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that stuff is used for greenhouses and outdoor patio roofs, i think? ya, that looks good. maybe i'll do somethin' like that on my open top 55g for now. thanx
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:09 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by doogle
that stuff is used for greenhouses and outdoor patio roofs, i think? ya, that looks good. maybe i'll do somethin' like that on my open top 55g for now. thanx
It's similar but a lot thinner and cheaper than greenhouse not to mention smaller in size. But least it gives you an idea.
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