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DIY aquarium chiller




An inexpensive aquarium chiller would be difficult to get especially if you are going to use them regularly as the cheaper ones will not sustain longer. The expensive ones you might not want to buy so there is also a way to create an aquarium chiller at home with quick and inexpensive appliances. Here is a rather simple DIY to making an aquarium chiller.


Materials and equipments required

• A small refrigerator with a freezer/ice cube tray section. A 1-1/2 cubic feet refrigerator is suitable.

• ½ inch thin-wall PVC pipe of roughly 1 foot length.

• Epoxy glue.

• PVC fittings.

• 3/8 inch hard plastic tubing of roughly 50-100 feet length.

• Silicone sealant suitable for aquarium use.

• A pump/powerhead (powerful enough to pump water through the chiller fast enough).

• A hand drill.

• A ½ inch or 5/16 inch drill bit.

• Screwdrivers.

• Knife or scissors for cutting tubing and pipes.


Simply take out the box that separate the freezer/ice cube tray segment from the refrigerator. In some models this will be literally impossible so good luck with that. Leave the temperature simply as it is. Next you have to drill access holes for plastic tubing on the top. You can also drill them in the sides. The significant thing is to select access points that are practical for your exact set-up. Arrange two pieces of PVC pipe of roughly 4 inches each. Insert the PVC pipes through the access holes and strengthen the pipes with epoxy glue at the access holes. Seal with silicon so that it is well sealed which is very important. Glue or thread the PVC fittings onto the pipes and attach the pipes to the 3/8 inch tubing inside the box (coiling) and outside the box running from the pump to the chiller and from the chiller to the aquarium/sump.

Keep in mind

The pump must be strong enough to keep the water fast flowing otherwise it might freeze to ice inside the chilling box. When the water runs back from the chiller to your aquarium it will be heated up again by room temperature hence using a long piece of plastic tubing between the chiller and the aquarium is not a good thought. If you have to use a long tube, insulate it properly with shields.

Emergency homemade chiller

Sometimes you might need an aquarium chiller urgently due to sudden change of weather conditions. If you require a fast emergency chiller for your over-heated aquarium while putting a more long-lasting structure together or waiting for a new one to arrive here is how you can do a temporary set-up.


• A small canister filter with the motor on top
• A bucket
• Plenty of ice

How to do it

• Fill the bucket with ice.
• Submerge the lower half of the container filter in the ice.
• Use the filter as you would use a normal aquarium filter.
• Replace the ice constantly.

As I said above this is just a temporary aquarium chiller which can do well just for a short duration of time and that too under regular scrutiny. This type of chiller can be really hazardous if the temperature of the water goes too low. Get your permanent chillers soon and replace the emergency set-up.