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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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no thats fine

Steve and Pieter,

Well, I think I'm done, but I have an important question that needs to be addressed, but I'll get to that later.

For verification purposes I've left the ssr outside of gang box for ease of inspection. Also, I haven't plugged in the temperature sensor, thought it would make it easier to inspect wiring. Will install onnce I get green light that all is okay.

Attached photo shows gang box on left side of photo with two sets of wires coming out. First wire is the main power cord that I chopped from a powerbar, and the second is the PSU (wall wart) which is the black wire which I have split into hot and neutral... Which prompts my question below.

The PSU's black wiring is hard to distinguish the hot from neutral as wires are both black. The only differance I can see on the wires is, one side has extremely small white writing on it throughout the length of the wire. I can't read what it says as writing is too small and faded. I did some googling about "writing on wire" but got conflicting results. So I need someone to tell me which black wire is the hot and which is the neutral (writing or no writing?). Please advise. :)

Waiting for stamp of approval and or corrections...


Looks good.  would you shoot one more picture from another angle, the 110 volt blacks are a bit hard to follow in the picture.  Think you have it though

Here you go... This pic is better.

And what about the PSU wiring question regarding what's what.

Looks good to me.  Nice work

Thanks Steve!

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PSU WIRING? Which one is hot? The one with or without the white writing on wire?

Hope you understand my question?

Sorry, you will just need to put a volt meter on it and find which end is positive.  It should say on the back of the plastic housing, but I always just check with a volt meter

I don't have a true volt meter. The only gizmo I have is this thing (see pic). When wall wart is plugged into my kitchen electrical outlet, both wires show as "live" (meter lights up?)


Don't know exactly what to tell you.  I am rather confident that temporarily hooking it up backwards won't hurt it, but I am not sure.  Sorry, not sure.You might have to hook up the 110 power.  Get the stc-1000 running with thermostat installed and set it up so that it is "heating"  should show on display.  Then when you should have power going through the SSR, touch the 12v wire to the ssr and see if it turns on a lamp or something plugged into the socket.  

Tough to work on electricity without a meter.  Too much left to the imagination.


I switched out PSU to the Palm model (one I was told to use in the first place) as the Palm model has silver wire (hot) and insulated white (neutral). Got everthing hooked up...

The STC is working, but the plug isn't. I have a lamp plugged in to see if and when it comes on. I've done cold water and hot water... The funny thing is, when I plug in a low volt nightlight it glows slightly?

Have any ideas???

Connect the dc directly to ssr and verify it turns on. Then troubleshoot the stc. Likely in the programming of stc
Okay, if I understood you correctly, the PSU neutral is on ssr port -4 and hot wire on ssr port +3.... Right? If so, still no power to plug. Here's a pic.

Also does it matter if I didn't break the little tabs on either hot or neutral on electrical receptacle?

I have STC set at 25c and its at 18c, so lamp plugged in should be on? Red light on STC is on "heating", but lamp plugged in is still off?

Let me know after looking at pic if I did what u wanted... Feeling frustrated.

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