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DIY Heater, build your own 2000 watt heater for $20 ***DONT USE COPPER OR NICKEL ELEMENTS!

submersible virsion... http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/forum/topics/diy-heater-sub... ...this how-to has the link for the stainless elements.

After many variations, this is the simplest heater I've been able to build. I had to come up with this last year while waiting for my $600 heater to be built and delivered. when it finally arrived, I just left it in the box and continued to use the home built unit.

DO NOT USE THE COPPER ELEMENT FROM HOME DEPOT!  YOU MUST ORDER A STAINLESS STEEEL ELEMENT.   ....This is a 2000 watt element from Home Depot, a 1-1/2" to 1" reducer, a 1-1/2" uniseal, and a fitting with net pots to keep the fish off the element. I found that a heavy duty timer works for a thermostat. I run it for 15 mins on the hour to keep my 150 gallon tank toasty. this would be adjusted according to your needs. i have used this on as much as 600 gallons, but would recommend going to the 240 volt, 4000 watt for anything over 400 gallon. Note - the 2" net pots slip right onto a male threaded 1-1/2" nipple.

The top pipe is optional, i like to keep it as tall as the water level will allow. This will create a convective flow of water across the element. Works great!

here is the newer version...

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I am finding it almost impossible to find a stainless heating element

were did you get it  and  do you have a model number

thanks

bruce

Bruce,

I found them at Lowes.. they don't say "Stainless" on the package.. they are the ones that don't look chrome plated.

they also sell the black ones at home depot... they don't say Stainless, but are suppose to be Incoloy plated stainless as well..

then there is the whole .."don't worry about the leaching because we don't have an extreme environment that it takes to leach metals" argument..    FTR- I used a copper element the first two seasons, and didn't have any fish kills.. buts who's to say if they didn't have metal toxicity.,., etc.


THANKS ROB

bruce


 Rob Nash said:

Bruce,

I found them at Lowes.. they don't say "Stainless" on the package.. they are the ones that don't look chrome plated.

they also sell the black ones at home depot... they don't say Stainless, but are suppose to be Incoloy plated stainless as well..

then there is the whole .."don't worry about the leaching because we don't have an extreme environment that it takes to leach metals" argument..    FTR- I used a copper element the first two seasons, and didn't have any fish kills.. buts who's to say if they didn't have metal toxicity.,., etc.

Whether you use the plated-copper or incoloy/stainless element... the screw in base is made of zinc-plated steel.  If anything is going to "leach" into the water it would probably be the zinc; which would prevent the absorption of the copper anyway.  LOL

Excessive absorption of zinc can suppress copper and iron absorption. The free zinc ion in solution is highly toxic to bacteria, plants, invertebrates, and even vertebrate fish.

link: zinc toxicity

im all for playing it safe.. thus all the warnings.... But..... when you research what it takes to leach out any of the zinc, copper etc. .,.it appears we would never have those environmental conditions..of all things we can find on the subject, it seems to be OK.

FTR- Ive used these heaters for 5 seasons now.. just had a water test last month and non of the copper or zinc were high.

We can set these concerns aside, by using a non submersed heating method. Such as Self regulating 8 watt per foot heat trace cable.

 I use 40 feet of this http://www.heatingelementsplus.com/low-temperature-to-150f-c-1_3_4....

evenly wrapped along 20 feet of 2 inch pvc pipe with a 300 aprox. GPH flow rate. 

The secret to success with this cable is that at about 55 deg  f. ( the low I want for now) it outputs about 300 watts. and at 67 deg f it, it outputs by my readings less than 40 watts. I use a high temperature safety switch and a "sail switch" style no flo safety to prevent over heating.

I tested this system where I had a 55 deg. temp throughout and watched the wattage gradually decrease. with a 1200 gallon over all system, it took about 6.5 hours to reach 67 deg.f. throughout. I don't think it has varied more than 4 or 5 degs. since, and there has certainly been no wild swings.

It's about that simple. I intend to change to a system where I'll have the trace cable inside a 3/4 inch pipe inside a two inch pipe and a longer 40 -50 foot distance. I also intend to have an automatic standby diesel generator kick in should normal power fail.There is no worry about the heating element or the electrical current itself reaching and harming the fish, plants, or bio organisms.

There is a little more to know about the different types of trace cable and the different manufacturers and what it takes to make end caps and terminations. You can research how to yourself or hire a commercial/industrial electrician who is familiar with process temperature control and the maintaining of temperature quality control.

I don't mean to detract too much from the submersible tank style elements, I use one myself. But I think heat trace cable and heat tape even in some instances can serve the cause as well.

Hope this helps.

Way to go rob! Awesome :)


Interesting. I never knew this existed. 


Glenn said:

We can set these concerns aside, by using a non submersed heating method. Such as Self regulating 8 watt per foot heat trace cable.

 I use 40 feet of this http://www.heatingelementsplus.com/low-temperature-to-150f-c-1_3_4....

evenly wrapped along 20 feet of 2 inch pvc pipe with a 300 aprox. GPH flow rate. 

The secret to success with this cable is that at about 55 deg  f. ( the low I want for now) it outputs about 300 watts. and at 67 deg f it, it outputs by my readings less than 40 watts. I use a high temperature safety switch and a "sail switch" style no flo safety to prevent over heating.

I tested this system where I had a 55 deg. temp throughout and watched the wattage gradually decrease. with a 1200 gallon over all system, it took about 6.5 hours to reach 67 deg.f. throughout. I don't think it has varied more than 4 or 5 degs. since, and there has certainly been no wild swings.

It's about that simple. I intend to change to a system where I'll have the trace cable inside a 3/4 inch pipe inside a two inch pipe and a longer 40 -50 foot distance. I also intend to have an automatic standby diesel generator kick in should normal power fail.There is no worry about the heating element or the electrical current itself reaching and harming the fish, plants, or bio organisms.

There is a little more to know about the different types of trace cable and the different manufacturers and what it takes to make end caps and terminations. You can research how to yourself or hire a commercial/industrial electrician who is familiar with process temperature control and the maintaining of temperature quality control.

I don't mean to detract too much from the submersible tank style elements, I use one myself. But I think heat trace cable and heat tape even in some instances can serve the cause as well.

Hope this helps.

How about putting the heating element in a "swirl filter" like tank just above the height of the fish tank? In my attached picture the water heater is mounted in a cover plate on a 2-3gallon jug acting as a swirl tank. The output goes down a tube or chute filled with bio filter media and into the fish tank. This should eliminate the need for submersible anything, allow warm water to flow through the biomedia, enhancing the bacterial action, and there should be good aeration of the warm (high O2 capacity water). What do you think?
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@Patrick,,, makes sense to me..

I know everyone doesn't have an extra tank on hand to pump all the water out and stick it through the side of the tank, but if you can, its the best option.

Patrick, I just looked at the pic.. don't hang these upside down like that! they make tiny bubbles as it heats up and they will collect and burn out the element.

PS - why would you swirl out your solids? why not let them go to the media beds where they get to do their job?

other than overstocking the fish, or not having enough media, there really is no reason to filter out solids... worms are less trouble and do a great job, and add to the overall system nutrient portfolio.

Hi Rob!

Would the bubbles still collect with a swirling water flow? I would put a tap on the bottom of the swirl filter so the sediment can be collected and poured onto plants.

The primary reason to use a swirl container there would be to ensure the heating element would be in a constant good flow of the coldest water in the system...it also gets physical separation of the element from the plastic components and should be a design that will never, unless badly neglected, leave the element dry. Anyways I've not seen how the elements perform in person, so I'll take your warning to heart and use caution when I try this.

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