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So after seeing someone that turned a deep fryer into a tank heater, I thought I can do that. So  Here is the build

Looking around my garage i found a wall paper steamer that i got and used once to remove car window tent. I also went to the pluming store and got some  parts. (listed at bottom)

After cutting the top off the steamer I Removed the heating element

Here are the parts laid out  (after this I had to do a tip for parts)

after drilling hole in 2 inch cap i installed the heating element

Here is the Dry fit

The nice part of the steamer it uses a computer style power cable with no odd wiring. 

Final assembly is simple just glue all the joints.

Now after testing this works great How ever there is no thermostat controls. To solve this Pick up a heater control from your local Grow shop (hydroponic shop) or your local brewing supply store (beer or wine). depending on type and what it dose this may run $60-$100

Due to the water displacement It dose float. I anticipated this I will be adding a resin inside to weight the piping and keep moister out of unit. I did not want to add this in during build so that i can test for leaks first.


One Wall Paper Steamer (1500w)

One 2 inch cap

One 2 inch elbow

One 2 inch to 1.25 inch adapter

Two 1.25 inch Two foot long pipe

Three 1.25 inch elbows

My Cost was about $15 for the heater parts and $70 for the controller.

So For $85 I now have a a 1500w tank heater. 

Note: this dose get hot to touch in 35f water and will burn you or anything that is in contact very long. I Will be installing it in The sump. a 700 gallon tank.

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Comment by Michael Silberstein on January 17, 2013 at 9:22pm


yes you can us a heater element. But there are some seals brackets to get and wiring to do,for the water heater element. I got the wallpaper steamer second hand at a garage sale For 6 bucks, to remove the window tent in a jeep. My total for this build was 15 bucks not including the 6 for the steamer. If i was building new I problem get a water heater element but the steamer comes with everything you need but the pipe. and control but the steamer has a standard wall plug cord with ground. so you can just plug it it and unplug it. This was not an option for me because I am not at the farm every day.

It took about 2 days to get 700 gal up to 70 from 40 with this 1500w heater. Not looking forward to adding the first 2 1400 gallon tanks. That will take 16 days for a 1500w heater to bring 2800 gallon up to temp. I will be building a bigger heater soon.

Comment by Adam Vicknair on January 17, 2013 at 12:10pm
Sweet build, I need to get on that for next year, as here in Texas winter is almost over already :D Couldn't you have just gotten a water heater element rather than taking apart the steamer? Dunno, just figured it might be cheaper that way. Kinda curious if there is any specific reason you used that kind of heating element.

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