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Maybe this topic is hidden deep in another discussion thread....but in case not...

 

I am wondering what different types of containers people use for fish tanks & plant beds. I was going to build a frame and line it with a pool liner. My uncle is a pool man and I thought I could get a scrap piece of liner. Thank goodness my uncle is very knowledgeable man because he told me that even a new liner would be deadly to fish. Just thought I would share that knowledge for anybody else who had the same idea. 

 

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Epoxy is your friend!

http://www.jonolavsakvarium.com/eng_diy/2200litre/2200litres.html

(link above is about building a 2200 litre fishtank out of plywood)
Since some of the talk has veered off to heating, I thought I would toss out what Cosmo and I just got. Some background first - we were going to go solar. We looked at panels (but was warned of particulate clogging); then a hose in a solar collector (after doing the math, the water volume heated was low; 100' of 1" line was around 8 gallons. Plus it got costly with lumber, gas, pump.. well over $100.Then the temp rise would only be 5-10 degrees.). We looked at a water-tank based solar collector heater and that was better but needed a diverter at night and cloudy or rain days would be a issue.
Then I looked at stock tank de-icers. Looked perfect except the built-in, nonadjustable thermostat was set for a 35-44 degree range. Too cold. I even looked at spa heaters but cost was higher and it required fancy electrical work. I'm not sure enough of my skills to play with that around water.
So finally I hit on an over the side stock tank heater. Fully adjustable thermostat from 34-90 degrees. Cost was $115 shipped, which seemed costly until looking at the price of building the other systems. We could set it for the temp we wanted. There were two downsides - 1) it's a 1500-watt heater. But I'm not going to run it at higher than 65 and will insulate the outside of the tank, float a styrofoam lid atop it. So heat loss will be reduced. 2) it cannot be in contact with plastic due to melting. I plan to put it inside a metal or clay container that water can circulate through but will keep the heating element away from my liner.

Here is what we got and a link to the cheapest source I found (from Colorado):

jaxmercantile.com

Hello Ron,
I too have been looking into something very similar (had a micro one for boiling water for coffee). Great idea...as always, necessity is the mother of invention :-)
Thank you for this link. It will certainly save me searching further.
God bless


Ron Thompson said:
Since some of the talk has veered off to heating, I thought I would toss out what Cosmo and I just got. Some background first - we were going to go solar. We looked at panels (but was warned of particulate clogging); then a hose in a solar collector (after doing the math, the water volume heated was low; 100' of 1" line was around 8 gallons. Plus it got costly with lumber, gas, pump.. well over $100.Then the temp rise would only be 5-10 degrees.). We looked at a water-tank based solar collector heater and that was better but needed a diverter at night and cloudy or rain days would be a issue.
Then I looked at stock tank de-icers. Looked perfect except the built-in, nonadjustable thermostat was set for a 35-44 degree range. Too cold. I even looked at spa heaters but cost was higher and it required fancy electrical work. I'm not sure enough of my skills to play with that around water.
So finally I hit on an over the side stock tank heater. Fully adjustable thermostat from 34-90 degrees. Cost was $115 shipped, which seemed costly until looking at the price of building the other systems. We could set it for the temp we wanted. There were two downsides - 1) it's a 1500-watt heater. But I'm not going to run it at higher than 65 and will insulate the outside of the tank, float a styrofoam lid atop it. So heat loss will be reduced. 2) it cannot be in contact with plastic due to melting. I plan to put it inside a metal or clay container that water can circulate through but will keep the heating element away from my liner.

Here is what we got and a link to the cheapest source I found (from Colorado):

jaxmercantile.com

What is the metal element made out of? (remember metal and fish water should cause caution.)

And as to floating a foam lid on the fish tank, you might think about simply placing it over and leaving an air gap so as not to reduce the dissolved oxygen too much though I know the oxygen levels are not as much of an issue overnight.
Can't speak for Cosmo, but I plan to isolate the coils and essentially create a water bath. I will use the heater to heat up a barrel of water that will then heat the pond conductively.

I will likely use a 55 gallon barrel in the center of my pond. Since the water inside the barrel will be isolated, I don't care what was inside it (within reason). The pond water will only contact the exterior and I can sleeve that with a couple layers of large plastic bags.






TCLynx said:
What is the metal element made out of? (remember metal and fish water should cause caution.)

And as to floating a foam lid on the fish tank, you might think about simply placing it over and leaving an air gap so as not to reduce the dissolved oxygen too much though I know the oxygen levels are not as much of an issue overnight.
Well then, if doing a heat exchanger like that, no problem. If it is a good clean blue barrel then I expect there would be not need to sleeve it either. If the water in the barrel has no salt in it, and the pH isn't low, then the corrosion of the heater will be minimal and it will last longer too. Only thing to watch for would be mineral build up which should be minimal for this usage (unlike what can happen in a home water heater.)

And if the fish are feeling really chilly, they will huddle against the barrel.



Ron Thompson said:
Can't speak for Cosmo, but I plan to isolate the coils and essentially create a water bath. I will use the heater to heat up a barrel of water that will then heat the pond conductively.

I will likely use a 55 gallon barrel in the center of my pond. Since the water inside the barrel will be isolated, I don't care what was inside it (within reason). The pond water will only contact the exterior and I can sleeve that with a couple layers of large plastic bags.

I'll second the concern about oxygenation and lids over the tank - unless you use underwater bubblers. (Rather to my surprise, I've found that I don't need them for a 1000 gallon tank, with a vigorous shower/fountain on the water return. so far my fish are small, though, so I'm watching it.)
Heater came today.. it's a stainless steel heating element. so metal interaction is not a concern. Now I'm trying to decide if I even need to bother with a water bath or just mount the unit straight into the tank (just insuring it doesn't touch the liner.)
Perhaps with a cage or basket around it to keep fish from actually coming into direct contact with it and also to keep it from touching the liner.

Ron Thompson said:
Heater came today.. it's a stainless steel heating element. so metal interaction is not a concern. Now I'm trying to decide if I even need to bother with a water bath or just mount the unit straight into the tank (just insuring it doesn't touch the liner.)

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