I tried for a year and a half to run the tank without purchasing a chiller. Unfortunately ths just isn't possible.
The tank is located in a room addition that gets weaker airflow from the airconditioning. Although we do run the air, we prefer our electric bill stays under $150 per month (which means we need to keep it around 79 degrees instead of 74-76).
I also purchased 2x LED
assembly boxes with high-intensity LED
's. Each box generates 125 watts - which (in theory), should generate a lot less heat than the T5's (and the metal halides). Overall I was very pleased with the quality of actinic and white light color temperature.
We have a canapy on the top of the tank, and have noticed a temperature spike (heat) during late spring this year. I noticed the tank sometimes reaches 88+ degrees!
So I bit the bullet and purchased a used chiller :-(
I didn't really want another "appliance" that adds to the monthly electric bill, but we have already lost a cleaner shrimp and our beautiful frogspawn (it probably reached to about a $60 size before it croaked).
Both last year (around summer time) and this year (during the spring heat wave) we had a serious case of Cyanobacteria red slime bloom! We do NOT overfeed. So my only guess is that either the RODI
water we purchase at the store is really RO
water (with excessive phosphates - which sounds unlikely). Or... just maybe with the warmer temperatures bacteria is more "apt" to thrive? Who knows.
To make a long story short...
What I'm trying to accomplish is techniques in keeping the tank as cool as possible... so that the chiller runs as LEAST as possible. We're trying to create an environment where the chiller is the "safety net" instead of the main appliance, etc.
I am still a relative newbie to the hobby, but here is what I've done so far:
1) I took the glass topper off from the tank (the tank came with it). I'm hoping the fish won't try to jump out - but the Yellow Tang & Coral Beauty species are not cautioned to be prone to this like other fish (ref:LiveAquaria).
Just doing this alone seems to have much better "gas exchange" as you aquarists call it. The top surface isn't dripping back with steam or humidity.
2) I prefer to keep the canapy ON. The back of the canapy is completely open - only the 3 sides are enclosed. I still feel the LED
boxes have overheated. I mounted them with stainless steel L brackets - hoping bringing the light boxes down from the top 2" was sufficient enough airflow. Apparently, it's not.
So my next step is to mount 2 or 3 CPU fans, but I'm not sure exactly how to do this. I was told by one aquarist to blow both sides inward toward the front of the tank (cool air from outside blowing in to the front). I was told this would cool the lights as well as blow some air across the surface of the water. I also read on this board that it's best to blow one direction inward (toward the front) and another fan outward (back outside). On paper, it would seem like the "circular movement" of air brings in cold air while pushes hotter air out. However, no canapy is "hermetically sealed"... and the warm air should find its own way to eject out I would imagine.
I'm also considering mounting a clip-fan somehow to point toward the sump (but far enough away in case if falls it doesn't electrocute the tank). I'm not as concerned about this with the canapy because I intend to mount with them with screws, etc.
Anyway, I would greatly appreciate it if someone could offer some advice and instructions to the best way to accomplish this. We've already suffered some frustrating losses. It appears all the other chemistry levels of the tank are very well established... the only thing I can imagine that's causing the problem is heat. This also makes the most logical sense because the only time we've seen problems are during certain times of the year when it gets hot.
Many MANY thanks to the board, and sorry for the long-winded message.