diy aquarium chillers

DIY Aquarium Chillers: Your Complete Guide for a Cool Aquarium

If you’re an aquarium enthusiast, you probably know how important it is to maintain a cool and stable temperature in your aquarium. Heat can be detrimental to aquatic life, as it can cause stress, disease, and even death. This is where aquarium chillers come in handy. But, what if you don’t want to spend a fortune? Well, you’re in luck because in this article, we’ll discuss how to make a DIY aquarium chiller that is both cost-effective and efficient.

What is an Aquarium Chiller?

Before we dive into the DIY part, let’s talk about what an aquarium chiller is. Basically, an aquarium chiller is a device that cools down the water in your aquarium. It works similarly to an air conditioner, where it removes heat from the water and releases it to the surrounding air. Aquarium chillers are commonly used in warm climates where the ambient temperature is high, or in aquariums that house heat-sensitive species.

Types of Aquarium Chillers

There are two main types of aquarium chillers: thermoelectric and compressor-based. Thermoelectric chillers are usually small and affordable, but they can only handle small volumes of water. They’re also less efficient and produce less cooling power compared to compressor-based chillers. Compressor-based chillers, on the other hand, are more expensive and larger, but they can handle larger volumes of water and are more efficient at cooling. They’re also more durable and have a longer lifespan.

DIY Aquarium Chiller

Now, let’s get to the fun part, creating a DIY aquarium chiller. Here’s what you’ll need:

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– A mini fridge or a freezer
– PVC pipe
– Aquarium water pump
– Acrylic panels or plexiglass sheets
– Hose clamps
– Silicone caulk
– Thermometer
– Metal pipes, nuts, and bolts

Step 1: Choose the Right Mini Fridge/Freezer

The first step is to choose the right mini fridge or freezer. You can find used ones on online marketplaces or in garage sales. Make sure it has a decent size and can fit your aquarium water pump and PVC pipes. Don’t worry too much about its cooling power, as we’ll be modifying it later on.

Step 2: Build the Coil

Next, you’ll need to build a coil that will run through the fridge/freezer. This coil will be responsible for cooling down the water in your aquarium. Cut the PVC pipes into equal lengths and connect them using metal pipes, nuts, and bolts. Make sure the coil fits inside the fridge/freezer and can accommodate the aquarium water pump.

Step 3: Attach the Coil to the Fridge/Freezer

Once you have the coil, attach it to the back of the fridge/freezer. You can use hose clamps to secure it in place. Attach the aquarium water pump to the coil, so it can circulate the water through the coil.

Step 4: Create the Enclosure

Now, it’s time to create the enclosure that will hold the coil and protect it from the surrounding environment. Use acrylic panels or plexiglass sheets to create four walls and a top. You can use silicone caulk to glue them together. Cut holes on the side of the enclosure for the PVC pipes and for the aquarium water pump cord.

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Step 5: Put Everything Together

Finally, put everything together. Place the coil inside the enclosure and attach the PVC pipes on each end. Put the enclosure on top of the fridge/freezer and connect the aquarium water pump to an electrical source. Fill your aquarium with water and connect the chiller to it. You can use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the water.


1. What is the ideal temperature for an aquarium?

The ideal temperature for an aquarium depends on the species you have. Most tropical fish prefer a temperature range of 75-80°F, while cold-water fish prefer a temperature range of 60-68°F.

2. Can I use a mini fridge instead of a freezer?

Yes, you can use a mini fridge instead of a freezer. Just make sure it has a strong cooling power and can fit your DIY coil.

3. Do I need to add insulation to the enclosure?

Insulation can help keep the temperature stable inside the enclosure and can increase the efficiency of your DIY aquarium chiller. You can use foam insulation or reflective insulation for this.

4. Can I connect multiple aquariums to one DIY chiller?

Yes, you can connect multiple aquariums to one DIY chiller, but make sure the chiller can handle the combined water volume and the species housed in them.

5. How often do I need to clean my DIY aquarium chiller?

You should clean your DIY aquarium chiller at least twice a year. You can use a mixture of water and vinegar to clean the coil and the enclosure. Make sure to rinse thoroughly before using it again.

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An aquarium chiller is a must-have device for keeping your aquarium cool and maintaining the well-being of your aquatic pets. Making a DIY aquarium chiller is not only cost-effective but also a fun and challenging project for aquarium enthusiasts. Just follow the steps above and you’ll have a cool and efficient DIY aquarium chiller in no time. Enjoy!

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