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Wes
09-07-2011, 12:14 PM
I've been breeding baby clown fish in the garage and I now have 5 more fish tanks in there. Winter is not too far from the horizon. Just wondering what's the most effective way to keep them warm.

Although main fish tank is in the living room, I've been keeping the sump in the garage for easy water changing and avoid messy water splashing and flooding. In the pass winter, I was able to use 3 aquarium heaters, 100W + 100W + 300W, to kick in at various temperature to keep the water temperature constant. Now that I have 5 more fish tank in there, just wondering anyone have any idea to keep the room warmer so that I don't have to use that many aquarium heaters.

I'm also thinking just keep using aquarium heaters would be more efficient, since I don't need to warm the room. As long as the water is warm is good enough. Idea?

Ninjahedge
09-07-2011, 02:27 PM
Insulate the tanks.

The only other thing you can do is get a cover for them so the heat does not simply get out the top or dissipate through evaporation.

i just do not know what you would need to do to properly ventilate though. You would not want your fishies suffocating.....

Wes
09-07-2011, 02:53 PM
The tanks need to have the top wide open for air exchange.

I thought about insulating them as well, but it would be extremely difficult having lot of stuff hanging in and around the tanks. That's why I'm only considering heating the entire room or just the water.

I may try to just insulate the entire garage to make it air tight, but I still need to have something to warm the room.

Bald_Yew
09-07-2011, 04:19 PM
Conect the tanks to a loop cooling an I5@5.2 and a few insanely OC'd GTX 580's and run Folding@Home. You win, fish win, Stanford wins, we all win.

Wes
09-07-2011, 04:45 PM
LMAO! Now that is an idea!

shifty
09-07-2011, 05:04 PM
If I remember right, clown fish can be salt or brackish water, yes?

Would it be detrimental to the health of the fish if you circulated the same water between all tanks? If not, you could use an intermediary tank and heat the water in that tank, then circulate to the others?

Why not just get an in-water thermometer and insert into each tank? That's what we used to do with our fresh and brackish water tanks.

Wes
09-07-2011, 05:15 PM
The intermediary tank you mention is what we call the "sump". My living room tank doesn't have any heater in it. It rely on the 3 heater in the sump that's located in the garage. That one is fine since the circulation between the living room tank (which is a 125 gallon) and the sump is very fast.

For the baby fish tank, I cannot have too much current since the fish are much smaller and the tanks are much smaller as well. All the baby fish tanks current share a sump as well, but I'm sure it won't be enough to keep the tank warm enough relying just from the heated sump water, since the garage is so cold.

Ninjahedge
09-07-2011, 06:03 PM
Wes, you can try to put foam core around the tanks (that thin wall insulation, about 1" thick). You can then hold it onto the sides with elastic bands or some other crude method, the key is to just limit the tanks exposure to cold air.

As for the top, you can still close them in, but you would need to find some way to circulate the air. You just want to slow down that circulation so it does not act like a giant cooling fan.

As for the garage, if it is a separate structure, good luck. If not, your biggest waste will be at the door, unless you have gotten an insulated door. Next would be windows, unless those are at least double pane glass, and then lastly would be the remaining walls and ceiling. You may need to insulate those.

The only problem I see in that is that the better you insulate it, the better your cars will be at killing you when you start them up in the garage... :(

One thing you may want to try. Put an old fridge (or freezer) out in the garage. If the garage is insulated well enough, that will HELP heat the room (the colder it is, the less likely the freezer will kick on and the less likely it will heat the room.).

One last idea? If your garage is attached, try keeping the tanks up against the wall that is shared with the house. You WILL want to make sure no salt water gets out and penetrates your wall (it corrodes like nobody's business!!!), but the one face will be insulated.

The more volume you have clumped together, the less exposed surface area you will have for heat loss. 4 tanks clumped together will lose heat slower than one.


Hope some of this helps! GL!

shifty
09-07-2011, 09:14 PM
What is the average temperature of your garage in the winter?

Are the tanks in an area where the temperature fluctuates a lot because garage doors are opening and closing?

Wes
09-07-2011, 09:21 PM
The garage is pretty much just a storage room now. I only open it when I need to move something big in and out. In winter time, I would never open it. I'm pretty sure I'll use some plastic sheet and duct tape to seal off the garage door.

My house is a high range and the garage is part of the downstair. 2 walls of the garage are connected to inside wall. But we don't use downstair at all and have the heat set at just 60F. In winter time, the garage is very cold, since it's not heated. I would say it is most likely just a few degree higher than outside, if not the same as the outside temperature.

shifty
09-07-2011, 10:28 PM
Well, if it were me, I think the logical answer is getting the temp of the room up to a range that an in-tank heater can take over.

My first step would be controlling the temperature of the air in the garage. By keeping the surrounding air warm, the water is unlikely to get to a temperature much lower than the surrounding air. You live up north - you know better than me how to accomplish that .... Radiator? Space heater? Heat pump? I don't know.

If you can control the heat of the room within about 5-10 degrees of where you need the water to be, install a small temp-controlled heater in the water to do the fine-tuning adjustments.

If this is for a hobby, I guess you do not care about dollars spent, because it is your passion and enjoyment.

If this is for business purpose, then you probably should calculate the wattage you will require and compare the cost to the profit you may achieve from the best possible yield of fish.

Wes
09-07-2011, 11:20 PM
Yea, that's what I was thinking as well. So, what is a good way to heat up a garage?

Ninjahedge
09-08-2011, 09:27 AM
Radiator.

Get a plumber in to install one and insulate the garage. Make sure you have a way to either turn the heat off (valve) or control the temperature (separate zone/thermostat).

You heat an un-insulated garage and you will be paying through the nose this winter.

Wes
09-08-2011, 09:45 AM
Hmm... Don't have the budget to hire someone to do that. It sounds expensive. I guess I'll learn how to do the copper plumbing work. :D

shifty
09-08-2011, 12:29 PM
I think sealing and insulating the room is probably the better starting point, personally. Our local electric company will come out and do an inspection of your place to tell you where you have air leaks, I think it is a free service. If you post a picture(/s) of the space, we can get a better idea of what is involved with insulation.

Wes
09-08-2011, 12:48 PM
The previous owner had 3/4 of the garage boarded up and made it a room. When he sold the house, he had to took down the wall that blocked off the garage door. So, basically, 3/4 of the room is finished. I just need to seal off the garage door.

I'm thinking just use a plastic sheet and duct tape to seal the garage door area. I don't know what else to use that make it easier to take it down when the winter is pass.

Ninjahedge
09-08-2011, 01:15 PM
Um...... You say he did that, but there is no guarantee that that "finished" wall was insulated (you may feel some drafts come winter).

I would go as shifty is saying and see if PSE&G or whatever power company you are with will come out for free and help you find where you would be losing your heat the most.

As for plumbing, yeah, you will get some loss, but it all depends on how you will use that space in the future.

Heated garage or converted living space?

Wes
09-08-2011, 01:21 PM
Most likely just heated garage. You have no idea how many flooding I caused there. lol.

Oh, and the garage is part of the house and it's already have good insulation all around. I had to drill some holes to get some new power cable through and saw those pink fiberglass thing.

garm
09-08-2011, 02:13 PM
If the garage is an average size, then spray foam the sucker. Its about $3.37 per square foot and worth every penny.

Ninjahedge
09-08-2011, 02:19 PM
You just like spray foam.... ;)

Wes
09-08-2011, 02:31 PM
lol.

Here are some pictures I took when we first bought the house. Of course the garage was completely empty.

This is what it looks like when standing at the garage door looking in (and now has shelf lining up against all the walls):
http://wesley.net/2004-08-House.New/DSC_3390.JPG

Look to the right:
http://wesley.net/2004-08-House.New/DSC_3391.JPG

The garage door:
http://wesley.net/2004-08-House.New/DSC_3392.JPG

shifty
09-08-2011, 02:56 PM
It looks like you already have heaters along the floor on one wall (on the right as you look from outside).

I see how you would need to "draft proof" the garage. I would also slide the lock on the left of the garage over to prevent anyone from opening the door. I would also do as Garm says and use "Great Stuff" spray foam insulation into any holes that are in the walls.

If you are worried about air entering from around the garage, buy 2-3 rolls of good fiberglass insulation and tape or tack it to the perimeter of the door, and then over the door itself. The panels of the door are thin, so transmission of heat/cold will be greater there than it would be on a brick wall, I would think.

Wes
09-08-2011, 03:32 PM
The heater there is part of the downstair zone, but we usually keep it at 60F since we don't use the downstair at all. Since those baseboard heater uses a hot water loop, there is no easy way to cut off the rest of the downstair while only heat the garage, I was thinking setting up a new zone over there. But of course, that would be a lot of work.

Ninjahedge
09-08-2011, 05:13 PM
There sorta is Wes.

What you need to do is close down that louver on the top of the heater. It does not work 100%, but it prevents the development of a convection current that acts as the form of air circulation for the heating system.

IOW, you have the vent open, it heats the air, the air gets out through the vent and then sucks more cold air into the bottom. If you close the vent, it still heats the air, but you do not get it done as efficiently. Try it one time with only the garage open and the basement vents all closed and set to 60 and see what happens...

As for Great Stuff, just be careful, it expands like crazy and sticks to EVERYTHING!!! I still have some left on my fingers from trying to seal up a leak due to Irene (DURING Irene... I know, it does not work on wet surfaces, but I needed something to help block the flow....). It also clogs the dispenser, so once you use it, look for something that you can dissolve the foam in (Acetone?) to get it out of the plastic tube or you will have a half a can of foam you can't use.

Wes
09-08-2011, 05:34 PM
It's not air heater. It uses hot water to circulate around the house in copper pipes. The heater it's just a section of exposed copper pipe with "heat sink" fins all around it.

That Great Stuff sounds nasty. lol. I'll watch out for it.

Ash
09-08-2011, 08:27 PM
Any way you look at it this it wont be cheap. A garage door stops the wind not the cold.

garm
09-08-2011, 09:05 PM
You just like spray foam.... ;)


I do, I do. :)

I'm actually saving up to do several rooms in my house. Great against noise and bugs too.

Ninjahedge
09-09-2011, 09:34 AM
It's not air heater. It uses hot water to circulate around the house in copper pipes. The heater it's just a section of exposed copper pipe with "heat sink" fins all around it.

That Great Stuff sounds nasty. lol. I'll watch out for it.

Wes, my dad's a plumber. :D

It heats the air by using hot water pipes, radiator fins and an induced convection current.

You close the vent and it impedes the heating. Hell, you could even put some towels or something under the bottom to slow it down even more!

Ninjahedge
09-09-2011, 09:34 AM
I do, I do. :)

I'm actually saving up to do several rooms in my house. Great against noise and bugs too.

I hate noisy bugs.

Wes
09-09-2011, 10:35 AM
Wes, my dad's a plumber. :D

It heats the air by using hot water pipes, radiator fins and an induced convection current.

You close the vent and it impedes the heating. Hell, you could even put some towels or something under the bottom to slow it down even more!

Oh, I see. Mine don't have vents that could close though, but I got your idea. So basically, just try to not losing any heat from other place from downstair and let it heat just the garage. I think that would be way more doable than creating a new zone myself.

Ninjahedge
09-09-2011, 02:21 PM
Actually, they do (at least the ones in your garage picture look like they do...).

Take a look at the unit on the floor. It should have a body that covers the radiator fins that are on the heating pipe. Above the main body is the gap where the heat comes out. MOST, if not all, baseboard heating units have something that looks like a long thin spoiler in there. That spoiler can be rotated (usually downwards) to block off the vent opening.

http://www.homeadditionplus.com/images/home_pics/Hot_Water_Baseboard_Heating_System_Element.jpg

Wes
09-09-2011, 02:41 PM
I gotta check it out. I always thought that's how it looks. I always use that gap to squeeze cables in there to run along the wall. lol

Saboteur
09-10-2011, 07:43 PM
Yeah... running network cables next to a heat source? Not such a good plan... :)

Wes
09-11-2011, 04:23 AM
It's been over 5-6 years now. It doesn't seem to affect it at all. The hot water that goes thought the pipes would never go higher than 180F. Not even close to boiling water temperature.

Ninjahedge
09-12-2011, 03:20 PM
Increased heat increases resistivity... albeit only marginally.

If you are not running more than 50 feet or so of cable, it should not make any difference. Hell, running it next to an electric motor or fluorescent lamp would probably cause you more problems than the heat!

But, running cables in there will make your heating less efficient. It would be like blocking your AC vent or radiator grill. Things will still work, just not as efficiently.