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Hydroponic Chillers

Discussion in 'Hydroponics / Aeroponics' started by gvega187, May 11, 2008.


    gvega187 Well-Known Member


    I am finally considering the purchase of an hydroponic chiller for my res. Temperatures rarely exceed 70, but I have to be sure....Algae is my arch nemesis. Does anyone have a favorite brand or type? Yes I know polar bear chillers work really good...they also cost twice the amount of others and appear to have a monopoly in the hydro market.

    Are aquarium chillers any different? I am loooking at Coralife chillers, Jbj and sealine. Any thoughts? I plan to go for about a 1/10th hp size to save on electricity while providing a 20 degree temp drop.:confused:

    Earl Well-Known Member

    I got mine on ebay.


    gvega187 Well-Known Member

    kickass earl, I was hoping you would check this thread out. I think I remember you having one of the more expensive 1/4 or 1/2 hp chillers. Do you think 1/10 hp is adequate for a 40-50 gallon res? I only need cooling power of about 15-20 degrees.

    Earl Well-Known Member

    I have a 1/4 hp Polar.

    I only have a 20gl rez.

    After I insulated my rez,
    the chiller was much more efficient.

    I am going to move the rez and the chiller
    into their own space
    to further isolate them from the heat.

    The chiller puts out heat like an airconditioner.

    I am going to move my chiller,
    and then build a wall
    to channel the heat away from the rez,
    which I am also going to isolate from the grow room,
    to make everything more energy efficient.

    I think you could buy a cheap window unit
    and duct it into your rez,
    and that would lower the temp
    just by blowing cold air
    over the surface of your nute solution.
    I can get used 5000btu window units
    for $50-75 in my neighborhood,
    I'm sure you can find the same.
    Check the yellow pages under "appliance, used"

    Just don't use any copper tubing in your rez,
    cause the nutes will react.

    The really nice thing about the chiller
    is the thermostat,
    which keeps the nutes
    within 1.5º of your setting.

    But I wouldn't worry about getting too cold,
    some hydro farmers in Canada,
    are running solution temps as low as 50ºf,
    without chillers.
    (wouldn't that be a bitch)

    bezerker 420

    bezerker 420 Active Member

    ou can check out pacifis coast chillers their kinda pricy though

    gvega187 Well-Known Member

    hmmm, well price is not 2 much a factor, but I refuse to spend over $350 on something I may OR may NOT need. Earl I would use your suggested method, but don't want to start cutting holes in my res. My temperatures appear to be extremely variable. I feel that a chiller would be able to keep me at 68 all the time without venting the room, dumping ice in my res or some other dumbness. Thanks for u guys helps and ideas. Has anyone seen a significant jump on a power bill using a chiller? They are not technically on all the time...so cant be that much more power r ight?

    purplehaze2 Well-Known Member

    It was the last thing I bought for my hydro system,I was like you couldnt see paying so much for a water chiller.well now that I have 1 it would of been the first thing I bought.your plants are going to love it,and your system will stay cleaner longer. I have the polar bear one. its like having a hot sunny day and then diving into a florida fed spring. refreshing!
    bezerker 420

    bezerker 420 Active Member

    i bought the 1/5 polar bear which claims to drop an 80 gallon tank 10 degrees.i currently have two 25 gallon resvs.i ran a T out of both the in and the out to try and chill both resvs with one chiller.i changed the tubing to a 3/4in hose and im running the out from the resv and a short return back in to the top.i turned on my chiller and nothing happend.no water will suck in or out.do i need to prime the chiller with more water?dose the upgrade in hose slow down performance?do i need to have the resv alot higher than the chiller?right now they are on the same level.the chiller is outsibe my chamber and has plenty of ventilation.do i possibly have a bunk unit?the lights come on but it doesnt apear to be trying to take water in at all!please respond soon

    gotcha1st Active Member

    I think you need a waterpump to recirculate the water.

    Could be wrong tho.
    Last edited: May 18, 2008

    gvega187 Well-Known Member

    lol, i'm pretty sure most chillers, especially those over 1/10th hp have their own pumps. I would love to be corrected about this though.

    kuhdoffi Well-Known Member

    lol then consider yourself corrected .. everyone iv seen needs a pump .. doesn't really sound like u need one just keeps some bottles of ice on hand for when it tips out at 70

    gvega187 Well-Known Member

    lol, next person who tells me to drop bottles into my hot res gets drug tests till the end of this month...jk. Really thou I didn't know you had to buy a pump AFTER SPENDING $400 on a decent chiller. Turns out...you do....and an expensive pump at that. (500-1000 gph depending on size).

    LoudBlunts Well-Known Member


    gvega187 Well-Known Member

    hell yeah, I been looking at those a lot. They seem like they would work, but Im afraid such a small unit may only be able to chill me 5 degrees or so. I think if your using upwards of a 40gal. tank you should use a 1/10th HP unit. Can anyone please correct me again? Thanks blunt

    LoudBlunts Well-Known Member


    gvega187 Well-Known Member

    you are wise mr blunt. I am scared the 85w coralife wont work and dont want to pay $400 for the unit you listed here lol. The worst part is after you pay $350-400 you have to buy $100 pump. Thinking about the hydrofarm active aqua and 1/10 current prime usa.

    gvega187 Well-Known Member

    ok, now to answer my own questions so that others may take advantage of my weeks of chiller research.

    I went with the 1/10th HP current USA prime chiller. I chose this unit for several reasons.

    -made in USA (easy warranty service. and not supporting outsourcing)

    -I believe the 1/15th HP models may not be adequate for reservoirs over 25 gallons despite claims that say otherwise. (from the company)

    -If you are running a smaller reservoir like most smart people 10-30 gallons I would highly recommend the 1/15th HP models. Note that 1/15th HP current USA models provide twice the amount of power to the heat exchanger than some comparable models.

    -ALMOST ALL chillers do NOT come with a pump.

    -I would NOT recommend the hydrofarm 1/10th hp models as they appear to be VERY inefficient and comparatively cheap lately....sketchy.

    -Cora life models appear to be of higher quality than most chillers I have seen on ebay, but can anyone find their website? Do these guys still exist? I sure as hell couldn't find them...which makes warranty and or servicing an impossibility.

    -ALMOST ALL CHILLERS are capable of running hydroponics and aquarium settings. Hey...we both tend to build up a lot of salt right? whats the difference? Important to note that you may not want to get a used chiller on ebay that could have been used in a very dirty salt water reef tank. If you get a used unit...be prepared for some serious cleaning...and try to get a unit with a removable screen.

    -newho ill get back to this thread in a week to let you know if my unit has an adequate temperature pull down.

    if your looking for a chiller and don't know what to get basically just follow this quick guide:

    1) good manufacturers - JBJ, polar bear, cora life, Current,

    2) what size res. r you trying to cool?

    less than 30gal - consider 1/15 HP

    30 gal-45gal. -consider 1/10 HP

    more than 50 gal. -consider some 1/10th HP models, but really need to think big at this point....possibly 1/6th-1/4 HP.

    if your only trying to cool 5 degrees in your 40 gallon you may be able to work with a 1/15 HP!

    3) $$$$$$, I find that the hydrofarm units really give you the best bang for your buck...that is if they live up to all the pep talk the company gives itself. You can get a 1/10 HP hydrofarm chiller for $250-300 some places. Similar 1/10 units will cost you $100-300 more. Cora life apparently has a lot of history in the aquarium sector. People really like them and the price shows it. If you can find one cheap, get it...same with JBJ.

    HOPE THIS HELPS! Feel free to correct me on any of this stuff...I will make an edits. IF you are realllly having trouble deciding you should send me a PM. C'mon im bored neways give me a holar.

    purplehaze2 Well-Known Member

    very informative thread.Im getting asecond chiller so this will help.those water chillers company are stupid, if they would sale the pump with the chiller they would blow the doors off every body who sales them.these companys have marketing issues, and it sucks that you pay fucking 300 $ and not get a pump.And I know your going to say that they do it ,because they can,but thats not always the best route.why not just say a pump comes wiyh our water chiller and I think everybody would go with this company hands down. yes ! they would have to take a pump in the ass but the word of mouth would get around that they would just take every body buiss. yea it might be low balling but its all about the duckets when it comes to buiss.

    gvega187 Well-Known Member

    there is an ebay store that sells the hydrofarm chiller series with an adequate pump. I bet he/she makes a lot of $. My prime chiller gets here tomorrow...yay i can finally hydro

    acer Well-Known Member

    hey guys where can i find one and what part are yall going to chill ...oh yeah my first hydro grow so still a noob....cuse the reservoir and my bassin is 10 gallons so wich one am i suspose to chill and here is the systtem i am using http://sunlightsheds.com/ .....then click on products and click the mini cool cab and that is the one i got ..... just so yall know what iam working with .....so thanks for the help...oh yeah iam not trying to steal the thread just had a question an the same form
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008

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