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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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Tank is built on top of 2" X 6" framing, so not directly on floor. On top of framing is 1" plywood, then a layer of styrofoam and finally the liner.

Last night covered was 71.52F - this morning covered was 71.76. At 9:30am decided to peel back tarp halfway and at l:00pm was 71.96, so it is climbing, perhaps slightly faster than covered? If I don't see a big difference by tomorrow, I'll cover back up to prevent evaporation.

One thing I noticed the other night while doing a 10% water change was, by blending hot water to the cold and mixing through filtration via skimmer I was able to increase temperature by almost one degree F. It held with no problem even though the room temp was cooler than water. I'm currently doing a series of medicated treatments inside tank and I am unable to add dechlorinator while treating, only every four days. So on my next water change on Thursday I will increase the hot water slightly to speed things up. Room now is a toasty 80 degrees.
On a different note - Remember when I installed my 1500 watt / 120v heating element last week and I wasn't sure which terminal was hot or neutral, well, I contacted the sales rep and he just got back to me this afternoon saying that it doesn't matter because the element is not polarized. Does this apply to 120 wiring???? I know with a 220 hot water tank it doesn't matter but with 110 I need clarification?

Yes, with a/c alternating current, polarity is seldom an issue. What is important is that neither conductor is connected to or touching anything that might cause a path to ground. Normally the white wire in cables and cords is referred to as the "grounded conductor" or neutral. And in 110/120 volt systems the neutral/grounded conductor IS connected to ground at the meter or breaker service panel. And that is Ok. just don't connect either conductor to ground anywhere else. The green and actual "grounding conductors" should be tightly fastened to all metallic components and frames etc. It provides the desired path to ground back to the source if or when either of the current conductors short to the frames or structure. Without proper "grounding conductors" the shorted current is more likely to flow through water, fish, and people. So caution should be the rule.

Ok - seems your insulation is good.

I'm still not sure you get all the power you need from your heater.

Please post a photo of your Multi-meter,  DVM or Volt meter - I just want to confirm what type of instrument you've got.

- a part number/manufacturer/web reference also appreciated.

Thanks Glenn for the thorough explanation. Much appreciated!

Hi Pieter,

Are you saying the heating element is too small (1500 watt)??

As for the volt meter, I returned it to the store.... No one answered when I posted I had purchased one, and I didn't want to push the issue. Im on a tight budget, so back to the store it went.

I'm beginning to think for my tank set up that I do need a stronger element to speed things up? I purchased a 1500 watt space heater and it's running most of the day, but its impact on water temperature increase has been slow... I don't think there's a simple solution to this. Someone on another forum suggested I drop a 1500 watt farm stock tank heater directly into tank? But I'm apprehensive about this as part of the element must sit (hang) above water line. Koi can get frisky throughout the day, and I know this element would get splashed on, so not comfortable.
Correction - it's called a bucket heater, 1000 watts.

http://www.homehardware.ca/en/rec/index.htm/Hardware/Farm-Supplies/...

Hi Chris

No - I think your heater is not firing on all cylinders. But without measurements all is speculation.

If accessible - you can check your electricity unit counter - for best results switch of all large loads i.e. geyser/heating/etc.

!) switch off the space heater and FT heater - and note the difference in energy consumption (kWhr) for say 1 min.

2) switch on the 1500W space heater with FT heater off - and note the difference inenergy consumption (kWhr) for say 1min

3) switch the space heater off and 1500W FT Heater on - and note the difference in energy consumption (kWhr) for same time as 2.

Readings 2 & 3 should be reasonably near each other. - Note this will only indicate if the heater is not working - if it's a wiring/dry joint issue - there could still be energy consumption - with heat only dissipated in wrong location.

4) Reset action done in 1)

Good luck

Chris,

 How much would a 220volt 3500 or 5500 watt stainless element and a 10 Gauge extension cord long enough to get to the nearest 30 amp or bigger power circuit be?  You could plug in where an electric dryer is?  

You mentioned that you were doing water changes, how do you heat your water for your house?  Electric or gas?  Would it be feasible to do a constant trickle in from your water heater to raise the temp?   If my math is right, if you drained 50 gal of 70 deg water out and replaced with 130 deg water you would gain 2.5 deg.  Do that twice a day and maintain the increase with heater installed, may get you up that 5 deg you need?

Hi Pieter,

My meter is located outside, so although feasible I would need a assistant to time / read accurately.



Pieter Swanevelder said:

Hi Chris

No - I think your heater is not firing on all cylinders. But without measurements all is speculation.

If accessible - you can check your electricity unit counter - for best results switch of all large loads i.e. geyser/heating/etc.

!) switch off the space heater and FT heater - and note the difference in energy consumption (kWhr) for say 1 min.

2) switch on the 1500W space heater with FT heater off - and note the difference inenergy consumption (kWhr) for say 1min

3) switch the space heater off and 1500W FT Heater on - and note the difference in energy consumption (kWhr) for same time as 2.

Readings 2 & 3 should be reasonably near each other. - Note this will only indicate if the heater is not working - if it's a wiring/dry joint issue - there could still be energy consumption - with heat only dissipated in wrong location.

4) Reset action done in 1)

Good luck

Hi Steve,

10 gage cord is about $150. and element is about $40. Think I'll stick to adding hot for now when doing water changes. Did one yesterday and I hit 24.5 Celsius. I need to be at 25 Celsius, so close. I covered back up with plastic tarp and this morning there was a small increase in temperature to 24.6 Celsius - so I think we're on to something.




StevedNETN said:

Chris,

 How much would a 220volt 3500 or 5500 watt stainless element and a 10 Gauge extension cord long enough to get to the nearest 30 amp or bigger power circuit be?  You could plug in where an electric dryer is?  

You mentioned that you were doing water changes, how do you heat your water for your house?  Electric or gas?  Would it be feasible to do a constant trickle in from your water heater to raise the temp?   If my math is right, if you drained 50 gal of 70 deg water out and replaced with 130 deg water you would gain 2.5 deg.  Do that twice a day and maintain the increase with heater installed, may get you up that 5 deg you need?

Even if you left water trickling in from water heater, you are likely ahead in the long run there. 
Great

I'd be too apprehensive about running a slow trickle... What if I forgot to turn off while out? Anyway, that would mean adding small amounts of dechlorinator daily - certain meds that I use won't work with dechlorinator.



StevedNETN said:

Even if you left water trickling in from water heater, you are likely ahead in the long run there. 
Great

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