Vivarium Cooling Idea.......

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Okay, so here is North Carolina it gets mildly hot and the house stays around 80, but I've noticed that my darts have done the best this winter when they were kept in the high 60's low 70's ( common knowledge anyway).....I have a very open house so it is hard to cool just the area with the frogs, and the basement gets far to cold to heat effectively.

That being said I started looking for a way to cool everybody down that didn't cost me my right kidney, to no avail really. I am the kind of person that will find a way...maybe not the easiest way, but I will. So, here is my idea.

In the process of building my new rack setup I am building my own enclosures (which I may try to sell...idk) and I thought about computer fans on top. This lead to drilling a hole in the top of one and mounting a computer fan....which needless to say was great for air movement, useless for cooling. After some research most ideas were to far fetched or to expensive. I settled on this idea though, take 2 inch pvc tube and put it through the hole made for the fan, connect all the vivs together with pipe and plumb that pip through a decent sized refrigerator. Then using a pretty good size cfm fan to blow the colder air through the pvc and into the vivariums. Now maybe I have missed something along the way more experienced people will catch for me, but I believe this could work fine. We don't need a 50 degree drop, just 10, and with some tinkering with monitoring systems, I think it would be ok.

Ideas....and I know this topic has been discussed, but this was started to get opinions before I went out and started spending money.
And if this should belong in the enclosures tab I apologize, I thought it could go please move if needed.
don't know if air alone would be enough of a transmitter to lower the temperature by being passed through a chilled chamber. Following this methodology you might be better off using one of those portable A/C units and plumbing that to the vivs and running it on a timer. That way you are truly using chilled air.

Something like this -

You would have to build a way to plumb it but it may work. The one issue I think you may have is drying of the environment as all cooling units tend to lower humidity.

This is a more temporary, albeit more expensive, alternative that would be fairly easy to plumb and uses ICE as the coolant.

Also going back you your original refrigerator idea you could possibly store a cool air humidifier inside the fridge and plumb that to the vivs and that would allow for a cool fog to be pumped into the viv at set intervals based on a timer or even a temperature controller hooked to the fogger. You would still have to modify the fridge as in your first idea, but with the water tank for the fogger being inside the fridge it would make for a much cooler fog then just passing air through the cooling chamber via a pipe.
Google 'Swamp Cooler'.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
Evaporative cooling is another method (Swamp Cooler) but it fails to produce good results in areas where the relative humidity is already about 60% on a regular basis. I have included a RH graph for the OP's region and in the summer it hovers in that 50-60% range. The idea is that as water evaporates due to low humidity and as air is passed over this process it cools the air. Extremely effective in arid climates like AZ, NV, far west TX and the like but NC would probably be too humid for this to be very effective and it also requires a lot of air movement which in turn would dry out the vivarium more than is optimal.

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In my experience evaporative cooling was effective even here in Austin where the summer humidity is ~50%+ indoors. I was able to see a 2 degree drop in viv temp relative to ambient by using active venting in the viv I tested. In this example, the viv temp (gray and tan) stays below ambient:
[Image: file.php?id=4647&mode=view]

Now that we have a dehumidifier the indoor RH drops to 42% in the summer, so the cooling may be more effective (I have not taken new readings since installing the dehumidifier). I do use an automatic mister 4 times per day for 30 seconds, and that balance of relatively frequent misting and active venting keeps the conditions in the low to mid 70's with RH's in the 80's to 90's.

I know there are a lot of folks that don't like pulling air through a viv, but I've found it to be quite effective when balanced with the right misting and adjustments for seasonal changes.

If you do go with the refrigerator setup, I'd consider building out an enclosure around your tanks and cooling the air surround the vivs that rather than blowing cold air directly into the vivs. Perhaps jacketing them will provide you with a more stable setup?
Jim from Austin |
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