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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.


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May I call u instead ?
Will do - thanks!
And the Lord said, "let there be light (and heat)"...

Many thanks to those of you who took the time to offer your assistance - very much appreciated!

To be honest, I was initially intimidated by all the steps involved, looking not unlike the plate of spaghetti I had the other night for dinner. But, once started, and taking the time to reason with each and every step, it gelled rather quickly for me. In all honesty, it's wan't that difficult... I just needed to dive in head first and think about it logically.

Special shoutout to my man Steve, without whom I'd probably be on some mortuary slab looking like some overcooked piece of Canadian bacon!

I'll post more pictures once everthing is installed in a day or two.


PS: Steve, delete your post with telephone number. You don't want to be turning into a helpline... Lol.
Dumb Question...

I've read that 220 water heater elements have terminals that are both hot. Does the same thing apply to 110v?

The only thing that distinguishes terminals on my 110 element is, one terminal has a hand painted letter "N" in white, so I'm thinking this is the neutral terminal?
PS: I installed element just the same. Has been running now for 2.5 hours with no increase in temperature thus far. It's sitting at 18.5 Celsius?? Also, controller displays temps in tenths of a degree, so should have seen at least 1/10th of a degree in change in 2.5 hours?
Hi Chris. On 110 element hot goes to one screw the white to other. Can you turn pump off for a min or two and leave heater on to see if it warms up?
These elements must not be plugged in when out of water. They call that a dry food and it burns them up almost instantly. Was it plugged in before being in water
It was totally submerged in water when plugged in, and pool filters operate under pressure, so always filled with water... No risk of running dry.

I only need temperature to climb 6.5 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius. I've used a few calculators online and most agree it should take about 24 hours to reach desired temperature. STC controller is set correctly, and light shows that it is heating. I plugged my lamp back in just to be sure and outlet is live.

Guess I wired element incorrectly, just like the PSU... What do you think?
Snap a pic of wires on element and post
One more thing. I didn't have a short in length heavy duty 3 pronged plug available, so I cut off an old 3 pronger from an old wine refrigerator. The gage of wire is lower, so in multiple strands that I needed to twist to make my u under contact.

Also, the the washer under the stainless steel nut is factory fused to element, so I ended up wrapping ground wire on top of nut and taped it down big time with electrical tape. Would you have done the same, or peeled back the washer and sandwhiched ground in between washer and nut?
Give me a few minutes.... I have many layers of electrical tape to peel back.

StevedNETN said:
Snap a pic of wires on element and post

if you plug heater directly into wall, you could watch and see if it heats.  Test heater vs controls 

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