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Old 03-06-2011, 10:48 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, 11:02 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, 11:17 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, 11:24 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 03-07-2011, 12:11 AM   #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 03-07-2011, 12:19 AM   #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, 03:36 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, 05:26 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, 05:31 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, 11:19 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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