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I live in Oregon, and temperatures are in the 20's-40's F

I am looking for a way to heat up my 250 gallon fish tank, aquaponics bed and greenhouse. I was planning on using a wood pellet stove to do all three. I was going to make a heat transfer from copper tubing wrapped around the stove pipe to heat up my planting bed and water for the tilapia, but I read that using copper is not good for the fish. Does someone have an idea on what metals would be okay for fish and be a good source of heat transfer from the stove pipe.


Has someone come up with an alternate way of heating water, greenhouse, planting bed?

Thanks Greg

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I think Jim Fisk came up with a method using I think Cres.

If your system is in a green house effect. Then you can use a controlled heat that you put in water. There are several heaters out in the market that you can but. That you can either adjuster the heat or just have a continuous heat. They are really inexpensive. I got one for my 1,000 gallon tank system and it works great.  Less work and don't have to worry about a fire. :)

Are you referring to the aquarium heaters that are like a glass rod that you put in the water? What type of heater, name brand etc info would also be helpful as an alternative method. What I am looking for is a way to heat the greenhouse, heat the planting bed and heat the water for the tilapia all at the same time. I have a pellet stove, and found out that I can use stainless steel tubing in stead of copper tubing to make a coil around the stove pipe of the pellet stove to heat the water.


I am using a Catalina RF-1000T in my tanks. We just had a cold spell in AZ and it maintained my system around 60 degrees. Then I had three heat lamps that I got from Lowes that kept it warm in side. The lowest I saw the temp was down to 50 degree's inside. I have a made shift green house. That is 12X30 w/8 grow beds.

Thanks for the info. Glad your system worked

Stainless steel piping and or stainless steel heating element. But I would try trout Tilapia die at 50 deg.

Our spring and summers are around 70-90 F its only the winter time that things get cold 4 months out of the year. I figured it would be much easier to keep things warm then to go all cold water. But if you know otherwise, open to new ideas.


I live over in Michigan, a little colder here.  I'll be starting my first AP system this spring inside a large pool building/greenhouse.  Similar situation, I want to heat two 250 gal totes for Tilapia.  The totes will be insulated to cut down the heat loss.  I built a wood fired hot water heater using a single loop of 1 1/2" copper inside the stove.  Last winter a friend raised a dozen Tilapia in a hot tub and used my wood stove to heat the water.  He was just raising fish, no AP.  The greenhouse temp got down to freezing and he kept the hot tub at 75 - 80 by building a small fire once a day.  He would pump out about 15 gallons and replace it with heated well water.  Back then I wasn't thinking about doing AP.  Now I'm retired and have time and resources to make a go of it.  I'll use the same wood stove water heater, because I saw no harm done to his Tilapia.  I think the concern using copper is with chlorinated water as chlorine reacts with copper.  I will also not be reheating the fish tank water as that would be more likely to leave a scale/residue inside the copper heating pipes.  I plan to heat well water to exchange the fish tank water. The fish tank water will go to a sediment tank and then be used for AP grow beds. If you have well water I think you can safely use copper tubing, but I think it's best to not heat fish water in the copper tubing.  Whatever you do, please keep us posted and I plan to do the same.

CSST gas pipe can be peeled (take the yellow plastic wrapper off it) and used for heat transfer. It's stainless steel, safe for fish, and reasonably priced.

You can use copper depending on what your growing. But talking with others its best not to use copper at all as the copper its self can kill many types of fish , water snails etc. The copper leaches in to the water. I found some stainless steel tubing online for $70 for 50' . Good luck greg

Jay said:

Stainless steel piping and or stainless steel heating element. But I would try trout Tilapia die at 50 deg.


I believe that depends on your breed of Tilapia.

I know that holds true for the white that I'd had a couple of years ago. I now have all blues and they are the most cool/cold hardy of Tilapia that I'm aware of.

I'm in Tucson, AZ and have a 750gal stock tank in the back yard with well over 100 blues of various sizes. I have a heater, largest I could find, that is for an aquarium up to 125 gallons. Of course it doesn't sufficiently heat as much water as I have, but it helps to give them a somewhat 'warm zone'. The water thermometer has hovered around 46 during our coldest days recently, and the fish loss has been very minimal. Otherwise, the temps range from 50-60 on a daily basis. They've been outside since we had warm weather, so they appear to acclimate with the weather gradually getting colder.

Last fall when I harvested about a dozen, I was surprised it took close to 45 minutes in the ice bath before they succombed to it. The whites I'd had were ready to process within 15-20 minutes.


Thanks pam thats some good info about the tilapia

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