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URGENT - Please Help with Electrical Inline Water Heater with Temperature Controller

Hi everyone!

I am a koi hobbyist living in Montreal, Canada. I have an 8000 gallon outdoor pond in which I have 24 koi, ranging in size from 12" to 24". I could or should I say "should" leave them outside for the winter, but I've opted to bring them inside now for many years. I used to have 3000 gallons in my basement winter set up, split between two tanks. One, which was a 1700 gallon above ground pool developed several leaks over the years, so I trashed it last summer leaving me with the one tank, a 1200 gallon capacity. Needless to say, this year fish are very stressed due to being overcrowded. I could give you plenty of more details as to how I care for them,may need for a hospital tank, but I'd rather get straight to my question. :)

Two fish have developed two small ulcers which I am currently treating, but I need to raise the water temperature from its current 60 degrees F to 76-77 degrees F.

I'm on a restricted budget (unemployed), so I am not in the position to purchase an expensive inline spa water heater or anything else in the same price range.

I've attached a couple of videos of DIY inline heaters, easy to make for under $100., but need to know what supplies I would need to change up if going with a higher watt system. I would like to use either a 1500 or possibly 2000 watt element. I'm assuming that the first video below is a 1000 watt or less, because nowhere is wattaged mentioned (unless I missed it). Second video is well under 1000 watts.

So if any of you have experience with these type of DIY devices, kindly advise the correct parts required, meaning: element, size of thermostat controller and If I need a solid state relay? The relay part has me confused as I have never used one in any electrical application. Remember, this is for a 110 outlet, which already has a 1/4 horsepower pump and a hefty air pump plugged in to. What amps should I have on this circuit? (maybe I need to call a licensed electrician to increase amps at my electrical box?)

So here are the a couple links for the general idea.
Please answer ASAP as my two sick fish need more warmth in order to heal.

Chris


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ8vUUpwYgU
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QWZ3qQ3R8_A

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Hi Chris,

I may be overly simplistic, but have you considered a few 500 watt aquarium heaters.  There are multiple low cost submersible heaters on Ebay and Amazon that are plug and play.  I bought one for $9 - 300watt the other day.  Are you wanting to have the heater out of contact of the fish?  or something like this?

Also then you get redundancy and fast installation.

I have looked into many different options similar to the solutions on your link. 

Himsteve, your correct, it would be easier, it's just that my koi are overcrowded and are rambunctious, so I'd rather have heat outside of tank. I'm in Canada, so Amazon here is way more expensive than the US. The project I'm proposing would be less than $75. Other application, even three 500 watt aquarium heaters would run me over $200. - so looking for a less expensive route. :)

StevedNETN said:

Hi Chris,

I may be overly simplistic, but have you considered a few 500 watt aquarium heaters.  There are multiple low cost submersible heaters on Ebay and Amazon that are plug and play.  I bought one for $9 - 300watt the other day.  Are you wanting to have the heater out of contact of the fish?  or something like this?

Also then you get redundancy and fast installation.

I have looked into many different options similar to the solutions on your link. 

I see.  the build on the first link looks great then.  I would be concerned about trace voltage in the tank. I would surely add a GFCI into the plan then.  

The STC-1000 Controller will handle a 2000 watt load on the relay built into it.  Similar or the exact unit the guy in the video used.  i bought one here in TN last mo for $12.  This is all you need to control the element.  A relay like he had might be good insurance over long haul, but for $12 i would try it.  

You can get 500 -1000 -1500 watt elements for water heaters.  They say you want stainless so as to not put any metals in the water.  should be inexpensive $10-15

Any element larger than this and you are pushing the capacity of any 110 circuit.  Not the best plan.  You are only looking to increase temp 16-18 deg, you won't likely need that much power. Once it gets to temp it is just maintaining it anyway.

Bigger element means it is going to kick on and run shorter time.  cycling your controller more.  Same cost in operation in the long run.

Make sure that everything is well grounded and honestly, I would put the ends of the element outside the tank as to submerged as the guy in the video did.  Over time, condensation will collect and could cause a problem.  If you put it outside the tank and let the water pass by the element then into the tank, you can have the wires all exposed to keep dry, monitor and maintain as needed.  Then the only risk of shock would be if the element cracks and but doesn't fail, then you can have stray voltage leak into the water.  Not common but happens.  

Likely wouldn't hurt the fish, but could be dangerous to a person for sure.  

Hope this helps. 

 

The ends of the element, by that you mean contacts, will definitely be on the outside of my pool filter through a threaded bulkhead (see attached pic). Now, just to be sure I understand you, I would connect contacts from element to ssr and then on the other side of ssr wire that to the temperature controller, then wire the controller to my 110 power supply to a 110 GFCI outlet??

I really appreciate your help!!!!!!!! Here is my email address. If I am wrong about connections, would it be possible for you to sketch out a drawing for Me???? I could send u some great Canadian maple syrup in return!!!!... Lol. Also, I looked online at Home Depot Canada and they don't specify whether or not their elements are stainless steel or incoloy???? Suggestions?

Kindly email me if it's easier for you: my2563@gmail.com


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StevedNETN said:

I see.  the build on the first link looks great then.  I would be concerned about trace voltage in the tank. I would surely add a GFCI into the plan then.  

The STC-1000 Controller will handle a 2000 watt load on the relay built into it.  Similar or the exact unit the guy in the video used.  i bought one here in TN last mo for $12.  This is all you need to control the element.  A relay like he had might be good insurance over long haul, but for $12 i would try it.  

You can get 500 -1000 -1500 watt elements for water heaters.  They say you want stainless so as to not put any metals in the water.  should be inexpensive $10-15

Any element larger than this and you are pushing the capacity of any 110 circuit.  Not the best plan.  You are only looking to increase temp 16-18 deg, you won't likely need that much power. Once it gets to temp it is just maintaining it anyway.

Bigger element means it is going to kick on and run shorter time.  cycling your controller more.  Same cost in operation in the long run.

Make sure that everything is well grounded and honestly, I would put the ends of the element outside the tank as to submerged as the guy in the video did.  Over time, condensation will collect and could cause a problem.  If you put it outside the tank and let the water pass by the element then into the tank, you can have the wires all exposed to keep dry, monitor and maintain as needed.  Then the only risk of shock would be if the element cracks and but doesn't fail, then you can have stray voltage leak into the water.  Not common but happens.  

Likely wouldn't hurt the fish, but could be dangerous to a person for sure.  

Hope this helps. 

 

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What do you mean by SSR?

That square white device used in the first video... Solid State Relay? See link:
http://m.lightinthebox.com/en/ssr-10aa-24-380vac-solid-state-relay_...
Are you saying I just need a 120v - 1500 watt element and the temp controller STC 1000 ?

That would be my suggestion.  Then you let the relay in the controller control it.  Simpler.  Less electronics to control.  and to protect from water etc

Why is it called STC 1000 and nowhere on the net can I find its maximum load specs? Is it safe for a 120v - 1500 watt element? Why does first video show the white ssr box with little explaination.... That is why I'm so confused?
See 15:00 minute mark on first video

I have a 900 gallon system and made a DIY type of heater. The system is outside in a greenhouse with no heat in the greenhouse. The heater usese an instant hot water tankless heater. It cost about $300.00 to build and runs on propane. I dont know your budget or if you have a way to vent the heater outside but sure has worked for me. My tank temp was averaging 57 degrees before and now I can set it to whatever temp I need and it stays within 3 degrees. I can send pics and parts list if you are interested. It is very simular to a thread that was active a couple of weeks ago. Good luck with the KOI!

Hi Don,I would be interested in seeing your build if you wanted to upload pics on the site.  I have a system similar size to what you are describing in my greenhouse and will be likely using a tankless propane water heater next winter for heat.



Don Cole said:

I have a 900 gallon system and made a DIY type of heater. The system is outside in a greenhouse with no heat in the greenhouse. The heater usese an instant hot water tankless heater. It cost about $300.00 to build and runs on propane. I dont know your budget or if you have a way to vent the heater outside but sure has worked for me. My tank temp was averaging 57 degrees before and now I can set it to whatever temp I need and it stays within 3 degrees. I can send pics and parts list if you are interested. It is very simular to a thread that was active a couple of weeks ago. Good luck with the KOI!

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