DIY Insulation

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DIY Insulation

Post by jared on October 6th 2010, 3:14 am

My tank is made of glass. Running the chiller on that thing seems kinda like leaving the refrigerator open all day every day. I'm thinking I'll just wander over to Lowe's and see if they sell styrofoam (ideally black), then cut it to size and attach it to the bottom, sides, and back with tape...

Any tips on materials/design for insulating?
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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 6th 2010, 11:53 am

I was going to go that route before I found my current tank. I never could find sheets of black styrofoam so I was going to wrap the pink foam sheets in a black covering. I was able to find black spray foam, they should carry that in most pond supply sections of major hardware stores. I was either going to use just the spray foam on 3 sides, or use the spray foam as a way to adhere the pink foam to the tank and also make a black background.
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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by jared on October 6th 2010, 2:18 pm

Thanks for the ideas.

I have also read that double-paned glass helps a lot.

I am still thinking about buying or building an acrylic tank. I'm going to do some research into how the thermal insulation relates to the thickness. ie How much more insulation does 1/2" provide compared to 1/4" compared to 1/8", etc.
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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 6th 2010, 3:31 pm

My marineland tank has double paned glass, and its awesome Cool
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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by jared on October 6th 2010, 6:47 pm

Went to Home Depot and picked up a 1/2" thick sheet of pink insulation board, some beaded drywall corners and some black spraypaint. My plan is to cut 5 pieces insulation, 2 for the sides, 1 for the back, and 2 for the bottom. I'll spraypaint the visible sides (outside and inside). Then I'll make it into a box with the drywall corners. Opinions?
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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by jared on October 6th 2010, 7:51 pm

Google Sketchup Design:
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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by jared on October 7th 2010, 2:46 pm

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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by jared on October 7th 2010, 3:03 pm

BTW, I found out that acrylic provides 20% more insulation than glass. I think I can do better than 20% with insulating foam.

I may also add make the front dual pane. Here's a link to a DIY dual pane glass aquarium: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=17380454
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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by jared on October 7th 2010, 7:03 pm

I bought some sheets of glass and a handheld glass cutting kit from Home Depot. Planning a DIY dual pane glass front (and maybe the sides if that works). I will still use the insulating foam on the back and the bottom.

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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by AquaticEngineer on October 7th 2010, 11:26 pm

That is great thread over on Reef-Central, we should definitely link that or sticky it somewhere here so the knowledge doesn't get lost.
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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by jared on October 7th 2010, 11:44 pm

So, I finished the dual pane for the front of the aquarium. It took me a lot of practice using the glass cutter on smaller pieces of glass before I got the hang of it. My tip to you: wear gloves. To create spacer between the panes I used very small squares of cut glass placed at the corners. Before I attached the cut glass to the aquarium with silicon I made several trial runs with small (~4"x~6") pieces of glass. I found it very difficult to apply the silicon uniformly, which is apparent in the end result - ugly silicon lines all the way around. Not sure what I would do differently next time.

I also cut the pink insulation foam and spray-painted it black. The thin sheet of plastic coating the insulation curled up a lot at the edges. Hopefully it won't be too noticeable. Probably it would have worked better to cut all 4 edges from the middle of the insulation sheet.
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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by Hero on October 8th 2010, 12:58 pm

I've seen that thread on RC before. He has a nice tank.

Do you have pictures?

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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by jared on October 8th 2010, 1:42 pm

I decided to spraypaint the back (and possibly the bottom) black. I thought I wouldn't have to because I painted the insulation but it isn't adhering well.

I hope to have it all set up later today. Will post some pics then.
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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by Hero on October 10th 2010, 11:53 pm

Will the spray paint insulate the tank?

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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by jared on October 11th 2010, 12:51 pm

The black spray paint is basically decoration. I like it because it hides the all wires and tubes on the back of the aquarium and the imperfections in the insulation on the back and bottom.

Since adding the dual pane front, the insulation on the bottom and back, and a glass lid I have definitely noticed that the chiller is working less.

Unfortunately, if I close the windows in my study / fish room, I do get some condensation on the glass (even on the dual paned glass front). My aquarium is 1/8" thick and the 2nd pane is 1/16" thick with a 1/16" gasket in between. The successful dual pane glass tank described on RC (see above) used much thicker glass than I am using. Also, Steve Weast has reported condensation on 1/2" thick acrylic when the ambient temperature gets high, but never on 1" thick acrylic.
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Re: DIY Insulation

Post by Hero on October 11th 2010, 8:30 pm

I would say temperate aquaria definitely have to be of thicker material than the tropical stuff. Nice to know that it actually works!

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